I saw Lauren of Lot 48 answer these questions last week and decided to follow suit this week!

What’s your favorite candle scent?

I love woody scents or clean scents. The woodsy cozy autumnal scents or the fresh lemon and eucalyptus scents.

What female celebrity do you wish you were related to?

Julie Andrews. I’ve loved her since I was a young girl and think she is just incredible! Or Dame Maggie Smith; she’s amazing too!

What male celebrity do you wish was your brother?

My brother is hilarious and so kind, so I’d want someone similar. Maybe ???

What’s your favorite thing about marriage?

The partnership I have in everything, and getting to fall asleep next to and wake up with my best friend every day.

What’s one thing you own that you should probably get rid of, but just can’t?

Honestly, I’ve moved enough that I’ve gotten rid of more than I’ve kept.

Can you do a split?

I used to be able to, but can’t anymore.

How old were you when you learned how to ride a bike?

Without training wheels I think I was around five?

How many oceans have you swam in?

Fully swam in just one, the Atlantic. But I’ve waded in the Pacific and the Adriatic Sea.

How many countries have you been to?

The United States, Canada, Germany, and Italy, so four.

Is anyone in your family in the army?

My grandfather and two cousins were.

What was your favorite TV show when you were a child?

In kindergarten I loved Gumby. I also loved Boy Meets World, Sabrina and anything Mary Kate & Ashley were in.

What did you dress up as on Halloween when you were eight?

I can’t remember! Either a nurse or a fifties girl in a poodle skirt.

Have you read any of the Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Twilight series?

Yes to Harry Potter – they’re a regular reread too! Yes to the Hunger Games, no to Twilight.

Would you rather have an American accent or a British accent?

As an American, definitely a British accent!

Have you ever taken karate lessons?

I have not.

Do you know who Kermit the frog is?


What’s the first amusement park you’ve been to?

Idlewild in Pennsylvania.

What language, besides your native language would you like to be fluent in?

Given the nature of our country and the global future, either Spanish or Mandarin.

Do you spell the color as grey or gray?


Do you know triplets?

I do not.

Do you prefer Titanic or The Notebook?


Have you ever had Indian food?

Yes! It’s delicious!

What’s the name of your favorite restaurant?

I don’t know that I have a favorite!

Have you ever been to Olive Garden?


What would your parents have named you if you were the opposite gender?

Zachary Scott.

If you have a nickname, what is it?


Who’s your favorite person in the world?

My husband, William.

Would you rather live in a rural area or in the suburbs?

A rural suburb so I can have the best of both? It kind of describes where we live currently actually.

Can you whistle?

Not really.

Do you sleep with a nightlight?

I do not.

Do you eat breakfast every morning?

I don’t, but I’m getting better at doing it!

How many times have you been to the hospital?


Have you ever seen Finding Nemo?


Where do you buy your jeans?

Loft or Gap.

What’s the last compliment you got?

That I make a good cheesecake.

Do you usually remember your dreams in the morning?

Sometimes I do; other mornings they fade quickly.

Favorite beverage that isn’t water?

Sweet tea.

How many pairs of shoes do you currently own?

Probably close to 20😳

How old were you when you found out that Santa wasn’t real?

Honestly don’t remember, third grade maybe?

What is one food that you used to hate but now you love?

There are many! Most recently it’s pickles; I used to hate them, but now I love them!

Heels or flats?

Flats or wedges, but not ballet flats.

What is a phrase or word you always say?

Bless it.

What is a song that you blast or belt out when you are alone?

Wide Open Spaces by the Dixie Chicks, She’s In Love With the Boy by Trisha Yearwood and American Honey by Lady Antebellum.

Do you sleep with your closet door open or closed?


Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees?

Neither. But bees I guess?

What movie could you watch over and over again and still love?

There are many actually! Five are Mary Poppins, The Holiday, Sweet Home Alabama, Steel Magnolias and the original Disney Beauty and the Beast.


Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!

I’m thankful for another slow, easy weekend. Friday night we spent cuddled watching Mulan on Netflix and cringing at how dated much of it is, but loving singing along! In fourth grade my friend Amber and I entered the talent show singing Reflection; she wore a kimono and I dressed as warrior Mulan and we thought we were great! 😂 In college I took a course on modern Chinese history and my professor recommended a book about the actual legend of Mulan that I then received for Christmas, so that goofy movie will always hold a special place for me, despite its cringe-worthy-ness!

Saturday we got up early for our usual walk and stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee. I tried their Maple Pecan swirl in my hot coffee and it was delicious! Definitely a new favorite treat! After our walk we came home to prep the wings for supper, cut the potatoes into fries to soak, and to do a bit of cleaning. I did some laundry, dusting and bathroom cleaning and William vacuumed. We also watched a lot of football which we both enjoy. Air Force fought hard against Michigan which was fun, and my sister’s alma mater visited Alabama and put up a valiant fight. We were in bed long before the crazy end of the Texas vs. USC game!

Sunday we both woke up exhausted. I know I barely got any sleep because crazy Mavis Jane kicked me every time I was starting to fall asleep and woke me up – she must have been chasing something fun last night. We decided to have a low-key day, which meant an early morning trip to the grocery store, lots of laundry, burritos for a late lunch/early dinner, and watching the Steelers game on the tablet, while the Bills game was on the larger TV screen. It was a super lazy, indulgent day that left me feeling much more rested for the week ahead.

How was your weekend?

Happy Birthday

Today, is my handsome husband’s birthday! I thought today would be a wonderful occasion to love on him on the blog.

William is an incredible man who is intelligent, funny, kind, driven and deeply loving. He makes me want to be a better person and to do more and chase after my dreams.

I love the way his eyes crinkle when he laughs and think he has the best smile!

I love when William cooks dinner – it’s always delicious and he has a gift for playing with flavor combinations and tweaking recipes to make something even better.

I love how William gets excited by his work – teaching and research light a fire within him and I love the front row seat to watching him succeed.

I love the heart William has for building community and giving back, whether through donating to scholarships or school lunch rooms so no child goes hungry or gets embarrassed, or finding creative ways to bring service learning to the classroom, I love seeing William identify needs and work to solve them.

I love the way he plays and talks with our dog. Mavis Jane brings out so much joy and laughter from him and their relationship is so sweet!

I love the passion William has for travel and experiencing new things. He tries to live as locally as possible when we travel so that we can really experience a place and I love that!

I love how he takes care of our family. He keeps our home looking beautiful through the work he does around the house and he works hard to provide a good life for us.

I love William’s musical abilities. He has a beautiful voice, but he also just knows a lot musically and it’s fun to be introduced to new bands or hear things differently than I did before. He also has an uncanny ability to change song lyrics so easily and it always impresses me!

I love the way William loves me. So sappy, but I can feel his love in the way he looks at me or hugs me or just surprises me. I feel so secure and loved because of how he loves.

I love that William values our time together so highly. Family walks or Saturdays spent watching football or nights snuggled reading together – there’s nothing better and William really makes this time together a priority.

Thanks for indulging me in sharing about my husband on his birthday. I pray this year is filled with abundant joy, adventure, laughter, love and blessings for him – he deserves it all!

Back to School

Last week The Blended Blog hosted a link-up all about Back to School. I was sharing about my sister’s wedding, but still thought this was a fun idea, so I’m doing it this week, the second week of school for the kids in our district & third week for the students at the University.

Looking back at school is always fun to me. In elementary school I went to four schools in three states – Colorado, Alabama and Virginia. In middle school I went to three schools in two states – Virginia and North Dakota. In high school I went to three schools in three states – Alabama, Colorado and Montana. It’s interesting how my answers to these questions change based on where we lived!

1. Did you love school or hate it?

I loved it. The only year I didn’t like was tenth grade.

2. Start school before or after Labor Day?

This depended on where we lived!

3. Wake up: eager beaver or slow poke?

I was a slow poke. There are so many days I went to school with my wet hair slicked back into a bun in high school… until I discovered hot rollers and showering at night!

4. Favorite breakfast?

I remember loving egos and toaster strudels in school! Bagels were also a go to!

5. Favorite cereal?

I used to love honey bunches of oats and captain crunch!

6. School uniform or no uniform?

No uniform.

7. New outfit for the first day or no?

We always got a new outfit for the first day!

8. Walk to school or ride the bus?

This depended on where we lived!

9. Backpack, tote, or messenger bag?

Backpack kindergarten through sophomore year. Junior year messenger bag. Senior year tote.

10. Eat school lunch or pack lunch?

Depended on the day, but school lunch was a treat. I mostly brought my lunch!

11. White or chocolate milk?


12. Paper bag or lunch box?

Lunch box. Paper bags were for field trips only!

13. Favorite thing to do at recess?


14. Favorite back to school supply?

New crayons and markers in elementary school, and new planners and notebooks in middle school and high school.

15. Chalkboard or dry erase board?

I mostly remember dry erase… the last chalkboard I can recall was in 6th grade!

16. Regular pencil or mechanical pencil?

I loved mechanical pencils.

17. Homework as soon as you got home or after dinner?

As soon as I got home! The only way we could watch a show or play a game or read for fun, was to finish our homework.

18. Favorite after school snack?

I always liked fruit after school, especially apples!

19. Favorite after school show?

I loved watching The Magic School Bus when I was younger, but the show that makes me think of high school is One Tree Hill – it began my freshman year!

20. Favorite subject in school?

I always loved English, Social Studies, Science (minus chemistry!) and History!

21. Least favorite school subject?

Chemistry and Geometry. Or gym class early in the day – at the end of the day it was awesome!

22. Name of your best friend in high school?

9th Grade – Bart, Audra, Tifany, Kristin, Sarah, Connie, Joe, Laura

10th Grade – MaryHannah, Alex

11th & 12th Grade – Colette, Matt

23. High school mascot?

9th Grade – Lions

10th Grade – Kadets

11th & 12th Grade – Rustlers

24. SAT or ACT?

I took both because I applied to school in Montana, Pennsylvania and Alabama. Some were private, some public, and both were required.

25. Favorite year in school?

So many years were great! In elementary school I really loved fourth & fifth grade, mostly because of the field trips! In fourth grade we went to Jamestown and Williamsburg and in fifth grade we went to Philadelphia! Second grade was also awesome – both my teacher and student teacher were men and I learned so much about science and different countries from them!

In middle school, sixth grade and eighth grade were awesome. Sixth grade we had the most amazing science teacher and science field trip where we took a boat out on the Potomac and tested water PH, learned about ecology, and just had the best day! We also did a Veterans Day field trip into Washington DC where we left bound books of letters we wrote in social studies class at the Korean and Vietnam memorials to the soldiers who never made it home. I was selected to lay the book at the Vietnam Memorial, which was special because every time we’d visit with my Pap-Pap, he’d sneak away to find the names of his friends who didn’t make it back with him. It was just a really special day that I felt connected me to my Pap-Pap.

High school I loved freshman and senior year. Freshman year was just so much fun with the intense school spirit and community pride in the high school, plus I had great friends, a great youth group, and wonderful teachers! Senior year was just fun – I was on yearbook and newspaper, loved all my teachers, really enjoyed my AP Literature and AP Government classes, I emceed the pep rallies, and I just had the best time!

26. Class ring or no class ring?

I did get a class ring!

27. Attend or not attend class reunions?

This summer was my first reunion as we were the class of 2007. I did not go, and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever go to any of them. My family moved away from Montana within the week I graduated and I haven’t been back to town since then. I also was only there for two years, so while I really enjoyed my junior and senior year, I just don’t care to go back.

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!

This weekend was really relaxing and enjoyable!

Saturday morning we went on one of our usual walks around the local river trail. We saw a lot of deer and enjoyed the cool, crisp weather that was beginning to smell and hint of autumn.

I had a nice long chat with our backyard neighbor, whom I love. We made homemade Chick-fil-A style nuggets to enjoy while watching the Alabama game (Roll Tide! 2-0). We watched some fun football games this weekend in some big early season match-ups. It was just a really low key day.

Sunday morning we woke up a bit earlier to head to a state park, Letchworth and meet up with some friends from William’s PhD program who live in Rochester. I really enjoyed meeting them and the park was gorgeous! We got there early enough that we felt like we had the park to ourselves until we were almost back to the cars.

On the drive home we picked up some Chinese take away to enjoy while watching the Bills play the Jets (Go Bills!) and then took some family naps. While we weren’t able to watch it, my Steelers also started the season with a W today, so this house is happy!

It was such a relaxing day, which I am so grateful for. Two of my cousins and their partners are riding out the storm in Florida, as are many friends from high school, college and my working life who’ve made Florida home. I have family in Texas and more friends and family in the west where wild fires are raging. I know that for many of them they aren’t given the luxury of a peaceful weekend like we enjoyed, and my heart goes out to them. Nature is awe inspiring in her wrath and beauty, and thankfully this weekend we were able to indulge in her beauty.

How was your weekend?

Friday Favorites

We are already well into September and I feel like the days are flying by faster.

Last night we went to our first get together of the young professionals in our town. They meet once or twice a month, and we’re hoping to both make friends and meet people this way, and also that the networking will help me land a job. I really need one. We ended up sitting with another couple that recently moved to town, though they both grew up here, a woman whose company is based in our town though she lives in New Jersey and just comes to town every couple months, and a local realtor. I also met William’s Assistant Dean, and he was able to talk to some other people from the university too. I even won a door prize – free registration for a local nonprofit networking event in October! I think I’m going to try and go to the yoga class on Monday, and then the event in early October too. The sponsor for the evening was from a leadership training program that also helps fill different board seats around the county, so I’m going to follow up on that opportunity too. Overall, I think it was a good thing to go, though when we first got there I wasn’t feeling it.

Last Friday I got my nails done with Rae and the other bridesmaids. I love the color on my toes and the look of my French manicure! That nail salon is hands down my favorite ever.

I decorated our mantle in the living room for the autumn season and I am loving the textures and colors!

Wednesday night I made a gluten-free lasagna that turned out so good! I’m sharing what I did next week, but I am so excited to have found a noodle and recipe that worked for me!

I also made a mixed berry gluten-free cobbler. I feel like cooking gluten-free is finally becoming natural to me after a couple years!

What are you loving this week?

Reading People

I am so excited to be a member of the launch team for Anne Bogel’s book, Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything, which publishes on September 19!

The book is still available for preorder, which will also get you a free audio version of the book and free access to a course Anne created about different reading personalities with personalized book recommendations based on your personality! Amazon currently has the book listed for $9.16 which seems like a steal for how amazing this book is!

Before I dive into all the reasons I loved and resonated with this book, I have to share just how pretty the physical copy is. The spine is gold foil and the title and her name are gold embossed on the front – it is just a really attractive book!

Reading People condenses different personality frameworks into a single book to equip you to better read yourself and this around you. I’ve gone through each framework to see what I can learn about myself to improve as a wife, daughter, friend, sister and hopefully, future mama. I feel stronger in each of my roles, when I feel confident about how I am likely to engage with different situations.

I am an introvert and a highly sensitive person. I need time alone to recharge and process my thoughts and emotions from my day and the world at large. I know I’m an HSP because I feel emotion deeply, cannot view anything too graphic visually, audibly, or read it in a book – it gets engrained in my brain too easily! I feel sensitive to caffeine, fabrics, sounds or too many people in a crowded place – it can all become too much and I need to retreat somewhere I feel I can breathe. Realizing this about myself makes so much sense when I reflect on my preferences in every sense – my entertainment choices, textile choices, food choices, travel choices, etc. I want to make choices that bring a sense of calm and comfort, so I prefer happier, cheesier television and films. I love soft, cozy fabrics and hate anything scratchy or uncomfortable. While I love to try new foods, certain textures can be challenging. I prefer to travel places when it’s not tourist season and you can feel more like a local. Having a name to describe these preferences helps me feel less alone. In college I always felt a bit uneasy going to the fraternities or bars if I hadn’t been preparing for it all week because the noise and strangers and unknown of it all overwhelmed me. I preferred a cozy night in watching a movie and eating sorbet to dancing until the early morning. Being out could feel really draining. It’s why I love being a homebody, and spending time with my husband. I’d much rather go out for brunch and to the Farmer’s Market or on a hike, than out to a club with loud music. The way William and I live and travel recharges me and brings a deep sense of comfort and peace.

My love language is a tie between Acts of Service and Quality Time. While Physical Touch makes me feel connected to William, and still gives me butterflies, and while I love hunting for the perfect, meaningful gift for the people I love, and a thoughtful letter or comment can make my heart warm, there is something about serving those I love to honor them, or finding someone has done something to serve and honor me. It can be as small as making the bed in the morning, or fixing my cup of coffee, but doing something to make my life easier just melts me. Quality Time fills my soul because in our busy world to have that time set aside for the ones you love is such a valuable offering. Time is such a precious gift.

Kiersy’s Temperaments was a new framework for me, though it ties so closely to Myers-Briggs that I feel a bit Sikh for not being familiar. I learned I’m a Guardian, or sensing and judging type based on my ISFJ result of the Myers-Briggs. While my brain does easily remember names, important dates, etc., and I do enjoy my routines, I feel much more like an Idealist. The high empathy, focus on what could be, sensitive to nuance, a good reader of facial expressions and body language, intuitive and fascinated by the study of personality all feel like a stronger fit to how I perceive myself. I resonated with every aspect of the Idealist description, so on reflection, I definitely think I’m an Idealist and not a Guardian.

As I mentioned, I’m an ISFJ, a Defender. I love the quote by Brian Tracy on 16Personalities – “Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.” Anne describes ISFJs as a “kind-hearted nurturer who unites strong powers of observation with a deep-seated desire to do good.”

My cognitive functions are Introverted Sensing (Si), Extroverted Feeling (Fe), Introverted Thinking (Ti), and Extroverted Intuiting (Ne). Introverted Sensing means I like to collect and store details, taking an inward, reflective focus to understand the present. Extroverted Feeling prioritized harmony, helping everyone get along, and requires social interaction to be satisfied. It means I am quick to read and empathize with the emotions of others. It also means I wear my heart on my sleeve. This resonates so deeply! Introverted Thinking means I am non confrontational and may seem to others to live in my head, but also, that I like to think things brought from all angles – which is true! If I don’t catch myself, I can get over analyzing which isn’t healthy! Extroverted Intuition loves to draw connections between seemingly unrelated things which I do ALL the time! I love finding new ways the world fits together! It also means I am skilled at seeing possibilities and patterns of meaning an can lead myself down a rabbit trail following different ideas as they evolve and crate new pathways.

The Strengths Finder is a framework I first learned of several years ago. My five strengths are Positivity, Developer, Arranger, Empathy, and Individualization. I love how Anne said that Strengths can be developed and to seek out opportunities to keep growing. Both Positivity and Developer are Influencing themes. On the Strengths Finder website Positivity says, ” naturally positive, upbeat and energetic – and their enthusiasm is contagious.” Developer says, “can recognize and cultivate the potential they see in others.” Arranger is a Strategic-Thinking theme and says, “brilliant at managing all the variables of a given situation into the best possible plan. They are characterized by strong organizational skills and flexibility.” Both Empathy and Individualization are Relationship-Building themes. Empathy says, ” instinctively understand how others are feeling.” Individualization says, “believe every individual possess unique qualities and seeks to understand these qualities so they can draw out the best in others.” I find it interesting that I have no executing themes in my strengths. If I just saw the list of thirty-four themes, I would be surprised to not have Relator, Connectedness, Ideation, and Belief in my top five alongside Empathy. I do, however, feel the top five I do have make sense as to how I navigate the world.

Enneagrams are new to me and a framework I want to learn more about. It looks at our motivations for why we do what we do and that’s intriguing. Of the nine types, according to a quiz I took, I’m a Type Two, though I thought I could have also been a Type Nine. Type Two is “The Helper” – the need to be needed. According to Anne “unhealthy twos repress their own needs to tend the needs of others,” and I have definitely done that before! But, she says at our best we “delight in appropriately caring for others and loving them unconditionally” which is also true!

I appreciate these insights into my personality and trying to better understand who I am, why I feel certain things, how I process the world, and my actions. These insights allow me to understand my own brain which is so peaceful!

I look forward to going through all of this with William and the other people I love to understand which frameworks they fall into. I think understanding personality frameworks in a work environment is also important, as it allows you to improve communication and teamwork. I also think from a counseling perspective understanding the frameworks will allow you to better help your clients process through situations by understanding the inherent ways they are approaching a situation to equip them with best tool set.

I see so much value in understanding personality frameworks and highly recommend this book to everyone!