Everything I’m Into (August 2015)

Books:

  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
    Once again, Liane Moriarty had my body glued to the couch for three days straight. I would stare at Nick like he was crazy whenever he (rightfully) asked me for help with Josh because I could not put this book down. What I love about Moriarty is that she never leaves any knot untied. The ending to this book was unbelievably satisfying.
  • In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen
    So good. He sounds like a non-secularized Brene Brown (but he came first obviously). Nouwen has a way of stating things that are so simple, yet SO profound. This book was all about Christian Leadership and what the church and our world needs, more than anything, is people who are vulnerable and know Jesus intimately.

places:

  • JW Marriott in Palm Desert
    Nick and I picked this place for vacation because we wanted somewhere that was a close drive (ish) to LA and somewhere we could lounge by the pool all day and relax. Let me tell you, this hotel is unbelievably nice. And we had the BEST time (so much so, that we wonder if we should make it an annual trip). Here’s the view from our hotel balcony:

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ust so you know, this was one of their numerous pools.

  • Big Bear Lake
    Ok not gonna lie… I realized I don’t really like Big Bear. I’m not a skier. I’m not a mountain climber. And I certainly am no fan of long windy car rides that make me (& my son) want to throw up. BUT we had a wonderful time thanks to the fact that we were with friends we love (we came for one of Nick’s work conferences). Would I choose Big Bear over other vacation spots? Probably not (If I must get all cabin-y, I’m a Lake Tahoe girl). But I realized that when you’re with friends & family, it simply doesn’t matter where you are.

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Josh & I exploring Big Bear while Nick was in meetings

Experiences:

  • Taylor Swift 1989 World Tour
    First time seeing my TayTay live and it was everything I dreamed it would be. She is an incredible performer. Sheer talent. The best part was that she gave every single audience member a wrist band that lit up throughout the show (different colors for every song). It was so cool to see all 40,000 people in the audience lit up.

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s in front of the TayTay tour bus

  • Ultimate Girls Night
    lady friends. wine. fancy cheese. a chick flick. facials. nail polish. cookies. That is literally everything you need for the BEST. the ULTIMATE girls night. Needless to say, we will be having another one this weekend.

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Food & Korean Face Masks

Foodie:

  • Salt & Straw
    A famous L.A. ice cream spot located in Larchmont. Everyone was telling me to try this place. They had really unique ice cream flavors and a line that poured onto the street. We ended up getting: roasted strawberry macadamia nut, almond brittle with sea salt (Natalia) AND black olive goat cheese and something chocolate-y I can’t remember (Nick).

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  • Shinsengumi Ramen
    Our new favorite ramen place in West L.A. (well, mine… Nick still prefers Santouka). I love this place!

Music:

  • Shawn Mendes
    Thank you TayTay for having a phenomenal opening act, named Shawn Mendes. I’m sure I’m lumped in with all the 12 year old girls for loving this guy. But he is SO talented. Listen to his songs “Stitches” and “Weight” on Spotify. (the video is weird, but the song is ridiculous. so good.)
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On Motherhood, Fasting & Waiting

It’s been a while since I’ve written a real post. You know… one that isn’t a list of things I’m “currently into”… As most of you know, I was working full-time at a skilled nursing facility all summer, while trying to mother a not-sleeping 18-month-old toddler who is also constantly testing his limits. It’s been exhausting and I haven’t had the mental capacity to write about anything real. But now I do 🙂 Let motherhood update commence.

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irst of all, can someone explain to me how my baby now looks like this? He’s a little man now! So handsome. My heart can’t take it.

On looking for work & mothering:

Well, I’m back to being at home full-time with my son. But this time I will be simultaneously studying for my board exam and looking for a job (which may as well be a full-time job in and of itself). I am realizing more and more how much I love being home with Josh and have decided that I don’t think I can work more than 30 hours a week (MAX). I love too many other things. I love being involved at church. I love reading. I love going to mommy groups and hanging out with my boy. I consider motherhood a ministry and one that I really don’t want to take lightly. So as great as it would be to make a full-time salary, I would really rather not.

So for the next month or two you’ll mostly find me running around with Josh, studying for my board exam and getting to know other mommies.

On Fasting:

Some of you know, many of you don’t: I will be fasting most forms of media until September. This includes Facebook, instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, TV & movies (if you see my blog link posted on FB, my husband did it for me). Obviously I’ve decided to keep blogging, as I find it’s more therapeutic for me than it is distracting and mind-numbing.

But why am I fasting media? Well… a lot of reasons. It started with this book I’m reading (“7: an experimental mutiny against excess”) and I’ve become obscenely aware of how much of the noise in my life distracts me from the things that really matter to me: my time with God. my time with my family. my time with my son. I’ve come to realize how superficial everything has become. How superficial I’ve become. And I don’t like that… I don’t like looking back at my day and realizing how much time I’ve spent mindlessly searching the internet, looking at YouTube videos and stalking everyone’s Facebook. I’m ready for a media detox. It’s only been 6 days and it’s been both harder and easier than I expected. Harder because I LOVEEEEEEE my shows. I just want to watch Mindy Kaling all day and laugh. Easier because I don’t miss social media that much… I may even delete my Facebook when the fasts over… but we’ll see.

On Waiting:

This is an interesting transition in my life. Waiting to work… waiting to make money… waiting for “our lives to resume” (or so that’s what it feels like). I am eager to just move forward and get everything in place, but at the same time, I love where we are right now. And I am constantly learning to stay mindful of the present. Life almost always feels like it’s in a transition phase. For once, I’m going to embrace now.

A few tid-bits you need to know:

  • I started “Something Borrowed” (the book that was on my Fall reading list) and instantly quit. I got to page 30 and couldn’t really handle all the adultery (sorry for ruining the book for you, but that’s the whole premise and it starts within the first 3 pages). I’m okay with putting down a book if I know I won’t like AND it will make me crazy. Just thought I would let you all know.
  • Speaking of books, “7: an experimental mutiny against excess” is messing me up. In such good way. Go read it.
  • Disneyland won major points yesterday. My son had a huge accident in his diaper that went all over his onesie and bottoms (something that actually hasn’t happened since he was less than a year old). One of the ladies who was working at the baby center gave us a slip that let us buy $40 worth of baby pajamas at the Disneystore. WHATTTTTTTTT? Major points, Disney.
  • I finished my “capsule wardrobe” timeline (3 months) and loved it. I’m probably going to keep going (although I threw some of my old clothes back in the closet). I did say I was going to write a post on how it went. Hopefully I’ll get to that soon. Just know, I really liked it.

That’s all for now! Guess that turned into another “list” type post… oh well 🙂 off to mommying! Here’s another snapshot of Josh, just because 🙂

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My Reading List for Fall 2015

Do you have ever make reading lists? I just started this year!

I’ve found that reading lists:

1. Help me prioritize books I really want to read.
2. Give me a goal, thus keeping me motivated, determined and excited to read.

I’ve read quite a few books so far this year (it’s probably not much compared to the avid reader, but it’s a lot for me). Reading has been an amazing leisure activity, as it keeps me away from TV and social media, while keeping my mind stimulated. Not to mention, it’s incredibly fun 🙂

Here are the books I’m eager to read this upcoming Fall:

fall 2015 reading list

  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
    Without question, Moriarty is one of my favorite authors. I’ve already read ‘My Husband’s Secret’ and ‘What Alice Forgot’, BOTH of which had me pinned to the couch for hours upon hours. And when I finish her books, the stories & characters continually ran through my mind for weeks afterward… She never leaves a single loose end untied. This is her latest novel and I’m thrilled to read it.

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  • 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatchmaker
    This is actually something I’ve been thinking about A LOT lately, so I was thrilled to hear that someone actually wrote a book about it. Jen Hatchmaker realized how much excessiveness her and her family were living in (isn’t the American life so driven by money & possessions?) So for 7 months, each month her, & sometimes her family, gave up a different item (media, possessions, clothing, spending, etc.). I cannot WAIT to read this book. I hear it’s incredibly challenging, but it’s something I am so thirsty for. I need a detox.

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  • In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen
    I love Nouwen. He’s one of my favorite Christian authors. My husband is reading this book right now and I will definitely pick it up after him.

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  • Soul Keeping by John Ortberg 
    A Christian book about caring for the most important part of you: the health of your soul. I’ve been hearing so many good things about this book (and REALLY good things about the author), so I’m eager to read this one.

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  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
    I’ve been eyeing this one for a while, given how much attention it’s getting. I picked it up at the store and started reading for a bit and fell in love. I’ve avoided reading what it’s about, so that I can just read it and not know (& also in fear that the tragedy aspect of it may deter me, if there is one)… I believe it’s about WWII and it takes place in Paris, France.

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  • The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer 
    I’ve been wanting to pick up this book for a really really long time. Dietrich bonhoeffer is one of the most important theologians of the twentieth century and this book addresses our call to discipleship (Jesus’ great commission to Christians). This is one of the ‘must reads’, as far as theology books go.

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  • Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin
    Chick lit at it’s finest. I adore these types of novels (romantic, funny & lots of girl drama). They’re my ‘guilty pleasure’ of literature. I’ve been wanting to read this one for a long time and will probably be picking it up this week, actually!

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Your Turn! What’s on your reading list? 

Everything I Love Right Now (March 2015)

What I’m Reading:

  • The Thousand Dollar Tan-line by Rob Thomas
    A mystery novel that is part of the new “Veronica Mars” series in books. This is the first installment and I have absolutely loved it so far. It’s definitely my kind of mystery. Not overly intense or violent, but certainly intriguing and a page-turner.

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  • Biblical Healing and Deliverance by Chester Kylstra & Betsy Kylstra
    Just started this book with my church and so excited to learn more about God’s power in healing people.

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What I’m Listening to:

  • (500) Days of Summer Soundtrack
    I recently re-watched the film and almost forgot about how incredible the music is. I dug up the soundtrack I bought years ago and began listening to it again.

What Brought Me Joy:

  • Pi Day
    Yay for Pi Day (March 14th!) and for celebrating anything and EVERYTHING with friends. We had a Pi potluck and will definitely be doing this again in the future. (PS I of course made the whipped cream sprinkles one on the bottom left)

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  • Bubble Baths
    Our resort in Orlando, Florida (where we went for my spring break) had a whirlpool bubble bath. I spent every day in it relaxing and reading. I need one in my future home.
  • World of Color
    Nick and I saw this again after it’s 3-month hiatus! The show is still the same, but (as usual) still worth the 2 hour wait. We always leave in awe.

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  • Matcha Green Tea Latte (at Starbucks)
    It’s amazing.

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What I’m Watching:

  • Fresh off the Boat
    My husband and I are obsessed. It’s so funny. He can relate a lot. And I LOVE that it’s set in the 90’s!
  • Lizzie McGuire
    Um… sometimes I need a break from the real world. So yes, I watch Lizzie Mcguire episodes because it makes me happy 🙂 (and yes, all the episodes are free online)
  • TED Talk: “The Price of Shame”- Monica Lewinski
    Everyone go watch this. It’s kind of like the gospel (but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post)

New Discoveries:

  • Amazon Prime Pantry
    Sort of like grocery shopping online, but better. You pay for the box (huge) and then just stuff as much as you can in it. The box is $5.99, but the stuff is generally cheaper than at the store. We got stuff like toilet paper, diapers, wipes, etc. It turns out a bit cheaper than going to Target. Have only done it once so far, so we’ll probably give it another go to see if that always holds true.

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  • Jamberry Nail Wraps
    Ok, so I actually haven’t tried it yet, but saw it on a bunch of girls and thought it was SO pretty and fun. It’s nail polish (sort of) that stays on for a long time and doesn’t chip (kind of like Shelac) except it’s way better for your nails. Want to try it with me?
    http://jamberrynails.net

Start Reading Again (& Enhance Your Reading Experience)

I have incessantly been blogging about how much I’ve loved picking up the habit of reading for pleasure again. There is nothing that makes Joshua’s nap as relaxing as curling up to a good book with a cup of coffee.

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As a mom, it hasn’t been easy maintaining habits or hobbies that I love. But I’m glad I picked up this one (& have kept it for the past several months). I thought I’d write out a few things that helped me keep reading… maybe it will help you too.

  1. Get a Library Card
    I cannot tell you how much money I’ve saved by getting a library card to the Los Angeles Public Library. It’s opened me up to a plethora of books. There are 73 branches of the L.A. public library. Five of these libraries are within ten minutes of my apartment. If I am ever in need of a book, I simply look it up online and see if it’s at any of the 73 branches. If it’s far away, I call and have it transferred to one of the libraries closest to me and pick it up within a couple days. So easy. So cheap. So time-efficient.
  2. Make a Reading List
    I made a 2015 Spring reading list of books that interest me and it’s helped me keep track of what I want to read and has also given me a tangible goal/ schedule.
  3. Keep Track of What You Read: Goodreads.com or the Goodreads app
    Apparently, this is a thing. But I just discovered it recently! You can keep track of books that you’ve read, books that you’re in the middle of reading, and what you plan on reading in the future. It has all books stalked virtually (kind of like amazon) so you can look up what books are best suited for what you’re looking for and you can see what your friends recommend (I was surprised by how many of my friends are on this site!). You can also rate books you liked and didn’t like, which helps the site make recommendations that better fit your preferences.

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What’s on my nightstand right now:

  • Maisie Dobbs- I finally picked up a mystery novel and absolutely love the main character in this one & the strong female lead. It starts a little slow, but picks up after the first quarter of the book.
  • Hello, Darling- I know, I know…. who still reads magazines? Well let me tell you (moms), this magazine is amazing. It’s a magazine all about motherhood and is published by MOPS International (mothers of preschoolers). A lady sitting next to me on our plane to Florida gave me her copy and insisted I read it. Let me tell you, I read it for over an hour and I absolutely loved it and am so grateful she gave me hers to keep. It has topics I know every mom can relate to. Don’t want to buy the hard copy? Just follow their blog: http://www.mops.org/blog

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  • Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore- a friend gave me this book a while ago but I just started reading it. It’s helped me better understand the power of scripture (especially in prayer) & how to start really incorporating God’s word into your daily prayer life.

Healthy Habits: A little bit is better than nothing

I realized recently how terribly tied I am to perfectionism… and this, my friends, has resulted in plenty of missed opportunities.

For example, I really need to workout. As I mentioned in my last post, I literally have not exercised since Joshua was born. I know a lot of you health nuts are revolted by that… but I have had such a hard time committing and, moreover, being okay with doing a little bit rather than a lot.

I am so used to the mindset that if I don’t workout for at least an hour or two, it just wasn’t worth it. But that mentality needs to die if I am ever going to do anything. It has been the same way with my time in prayer and reading the bible… I need to be okay with doing a little bit rather than a lot because, in all reality, that’s all I can commit to at this point in time. And a little bit is certainly better than nothing.

With that, I am going to share with you what I’ll be committing to… hopefully all my nothings will turn into somethings. Here are my healthy habits for the year:

1. I will be reading through the bible in one year.
I found this simple book to help me go through the bible in a year, which I have never done before. There is a reading schedule that shows you what to read each day. I love the schedule that they’ve created, as it alternates from old testament book to new testament book. There are a couple pages for each week, giving you a historical context and asking questions that help you understand and learn from the reading. I am excited to have some sort of structure to help me actually read my bible.

IMG_5708A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year”- Diane Stortz

2. I will be doing 15-30 minutes of yoga in the mornings.
I don’t have time or money for an actual yoga studio right now. But I DO have something awesome: The yoga studio app. You can customize your own class, choosing level, style, time length, etc. I’ve done it before and it is absolutely wonderful (& bonus that it connects to our Apple TV from my iPhone). I believe it was $3.99 at the app store, but it’s money well spent.

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3. I am continuing to plow through my reading list.
Do you guys remember that reading list I made? Well, I am pleased to inform you that I’m making a tiny bit of a dent in it 🙂 I have just finished reading “What Alice Forgot”, which I absolutely loved and am now starting two new books: “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin (literary fiction) and “Encounters with Jesus” by Tim Keller (Christian Non-fiction). Both are wonderful and reading on my spare time has continued to rejuvenate me and keep me happy 🙂

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Everything I Love Right Now (February 2015)

1. My Friends- Not the TV show, but the real deal. I love my friends… all of them. And I feel incredibly grateful to have so many wonderful people in my life. God has made it abundantly clear that he has blessed me with a powerful community.

2. One Night- Speaking of friends, this is pretty much the only game me and some of my friends have been playing. It’s a lot like Mafia and Resistance. But requires more strategy and has way more variation. I love love love this game and really wonder when (if ever) we’ll get tired of it.

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3. My Library Card- I’ve had this for a little over a month now and have already read and rented out three books. It’s been amazing. There are so many LA libraries, four of which are within a 5-mile radius of my apartment! One of them is always bound to have the book I’m looking for. This card has been my saving grace (financially & emotionally).

4. My New Coffee Mugs– Thanks to two of my incredible girlfriends, I now have these limited edition BEAUTIFUL Starbucks Disneyland mugs that they picked up for me and nick at Disneyland (and now Disneyland is sold out, might I add)!

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5. Snail Mail- I’ve happened to get a lot of snail mail over the past few weeks, primarily due to Joshua’s birthday and Valentine’s Day. I absolutely love getting notes and boxes in the mail for the sheer surprise element of it (or maybe that’s just the little girl in me).

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6. My books

“The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness” by Kris & Jason Vallotton
This was recommended to me by a good friend who is reading it through a church group. I didn’t think I would love this, but I absolutely do. It is changing my perspective on so many of my relationships. It’s super powerful and I would recommend it to anyone… absolutely anyone.

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“What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty
Literary Fiction and so awesome… pick it up if you enjoy a good story for pleasure.

My Re-Kindled Love for Literary Fiction (& my reading list for Spring 2015)

It all started a couple weeks ago when I started reading Mindy Kaling’s book, “Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me (and other concerns)?”. This is certainly not literary fiction, nor is it anything I would necessarily recommend to avid readers (although I would totally recommend it to girly, rom-com loving chicks like me). Spending my time with my nose buried in a book re-opened my eyes to a pastime I love: reading for pleasure.

Why haven’t I done this in years? How did I drop such a wonderful habit? Probably because marriage and parenting and grad school preoccupied most of my time.

But I’ve realized something: making time for this despite my busy schedule is totally life-giving. And I guess that’s what most hobbies do… they give you energy, excitement and stimulate your mind in a way that a lot of things don’t…. and it keeps me away from spending needless hours on social media 😉

If you’re into reading (namely literary fiction), please do the following two things:

1. Pick upThe Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty

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I am not exaggerating when I say that this book literally had me pinned to the couch for three days. I finished this 400-page book in a few days (despite having a child and grad school and life to cater to). I really couldn’t put it down. It’s deep and intriguing and has you thinking about the characters and plot line for days afterward. Read it, read it, read it. (PS, it’s got over 13,000 reviews on amazon and is 4.5 stars… I mean… come on.)

2. Join me in my spring 2015 reading list! And maybe it’ll turn into a summer list, depending on how long it takes… 

  • What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
    I cannot wait to read another Moriarty book. Apparently this one reads more light-hearted than “The Husband’s Secret”, so I’ll be relieved to read something more romantic comedy than romantic drama.

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  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
    I hear people likening the main character of this book to Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory”… also apparently a romantic, touching novel about a socially-awkward genetics professor looking for the perfect wife.

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  • Lean In: Women, Work & the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
    Not literary fiction… but I absolutely love books about women and about leadership. I’m excited to dive into this one, as it’s been recommended to me by many different people I love and respect.

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  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin

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  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

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  • Ok, I know, I know. It’s about time I read the final edition of the book series I used to adore. I keep putting it off… but it’s officially on the list, so… it’s going to happen!

On Repeat

 The past few weeks have been quite exhausting (to say the least). I’m back in school as a full time graduate student, while also juggling being a (sort of) stay-at-home mom… How do I manage this? I’m not quite sure.

I do know a couple things…
One is that I love being back in school DESPITE the excessive amount of work. I love my line of work and if there’s anything that could keep me going while I’m not at home with my son, it’s being able to practice occupational therapy.
Two is that I’ve gotten into a bit of groove. A good groove. It’s not that I’ve found a routine (because I absolutely haven’t), but I have found a few things to do on my snippets of free time (i.e. during Joshua’s nap). Since I made it a point to continue partaking in hobbies I love, here’s a few stuff that’s kept me going:

What I’m listening to: “You Make Me Brave” – Bethel Music (Live)
I have about a 30 minute commute to school every morning and this album is the perfect way to kill the car ride. Although most people would hate a traffic-y 30 minute commute to work, I haven’t minded it too much this semester. It’s my time to unwind, to pray and to sing songs of worship (which is what this album is). If you’re looking for a new worship and/or Christian contemporary album, definitely look into this one.

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What I’m reading:

“Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)” – Mindy Kaling
You guys, I am in love with Mindy Kaling. I know that’s dramatic, but she is unbelievably clever and witty. No wonder she writes for the office. This book isn’t anything too intriguing, but if you love the office, girl talk, and witty humor, this book will definitely hit all those on the mark.

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Radical”- David Platt
So this one is way different than the book above, but it is absolutely rocking my world. I’m only a few chapters in and my mind is already blown. David Platt writes about Jesus and how Christian culture in America has molded him into someone he is not. To put it simply… he says,
“We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves.” 

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What I’m watching: The Bachelor

Every week. With a glass of wine and some girlfriends. Oh and we made a bracket. You should join in on the fun too and check out this hilarious clip from Jimmy Kimmel: