Favorite Finds

Sharing is caring so today I bring to you a few of my favorite finds!

If you aren’t subscribed to The Skimm, sign up ASAP for a daily does of witty commentary on current news. It will keep you in the loop with world affairs, politics, and entertainment.

Another daily email I love receiving comes from MindBodyGreen. From smoothie recipes and exercise routines to inspirational quotes and spotlighting the latest superfood, this site is full of good-for-you goodies.

Tired of paying for overpriced hummus filled with ingredients you can’t pronounce? Try making this buffalo hummus. SO SO GOOD! (Pro trip, go easy on the garlic. Or not. It all depends on how close you want your husband that night!)

Looking for a good read? Consider Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey. I absolutely love her writing.

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Need a quick pick-me-up? Meet Fit Crunch protein bars. The peanut butter ones tastes like snickers! You can find them at GNC, Amazon, and Walmart.

Got the travel bug but lack the funds? Check out “The Cheapest Places to Travel for Each Month of the Year“. Honolulu in February? Yes, please!

These oven roasted brussel sprouts(with bacon!) are addicting.

I have at least three cups of tea a day, easily. These sips will not steer you wrong.

Cinderella’s momma said it right: Have Courage and Be Kind.

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27.5

I unashamedly love birthdays. I don’t hide the fact that I celebrate my half birthday too (just like last year). You may say, “Grow up Shea” to which I reply, “Duh, obviously I am with each birthday and half birthday!”

On that note, the first half of 27 has been a whirlwind. I feel like I’ve lived out of a suitcase between trips to Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, St. Louis, Richmond, Winston-Salem, Kiawah, and Chester (SC).

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IMG_3942There have been bachelorette parties, weddings, and two maid of honor speeches given to some pretty special ladies in my life.

Between seeing Michael (in person or nightly FaceTime sessions), I’ve been busy at work playing more Bingo games than you know, frequenting Pure Barre and weight-lifting, creating new recipes around the kitchen, and enjoying home life with roommate Kate and Eleanor.

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What can I say? Life is sweet and I am blessed. Getting older doesn’t scare me one bit. I foresee new adventures, creative endeavors, and more wear-n-tear on the suitcase! Cheers to the rest of 27!

Bali, Baby!

Today is “tbt”… (throw back Thursday). That’s why our news feed is flooded with pictures of the poofed hair, bell-bottom jeans, and “that time I went to…”

Me? A throwback picture today? Nope. But I can guarantee in a few Thursdays (and years to come), I’ll be throwing back to this very day.

I met Stephanie on the very first day of college. I had no clue we would be traveling to the other side of the world together 8 years later! 272 days ago, we announced the next bucket list destination was to Bali, Indonesia! Guess whaaaaaaat?!

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That’s right. The journey starts tonight with a 20+ hour plane ride!

I’ve dreamed of Bali as my top “bucket-list” destination for years (since reading Eat, Pray, Love) and today I get to satisfy my wanderlust parched soul and go go go.

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There’s something so surreal standing on the edge of a dream about to come true. I suppose it’s a similar feeling people have when they’re about to walk down the isle or give birth and meet their baby for the first time. (Or eat frozen yogurt for the first time after lent…)

Anyways, I’ll be blogging our adventures in between massages, yoga classes, and market shopping. Perhaps one of my favorite subjects to write about (other than Eleanor) is traveling. Like that time I started Bird’s Next with a backing packing trip!

Sorry girlfriend, not this trip!

Sorry girlfriend, not this trip!

So come along with me to explore rice paddies, trying questionable foods, getting purposefully (and safely) lost, and more.

Ah…more. The unexpected. The surprises. The unbelievable discoveries.

“Certainly, travel is more than seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

-Miriam Beard

Let’s go!

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Currently Edition!

Eating: lots of greens topped with these barbacoa tacos, this turkey burger, and my new favorite breakfast / snack: cinnamon rolls topped with a teaspoon of Trader Joe’s creamed honey.

Reading: Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila and Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Listening: Banks’ EP “London”, Joseph’s album “Native Dreamer Kin”, and podcasts from Mosaic (specifically their Match series done in August 2013).

Drinking: Lakewood’s Pure Orange Juice. YUM.

Feeling: energetic!

Wanting: a new tattoo… 😉

Challenging: Pure Barre 20 days in a row!

Needing: Another meal from Brown Dog Deli…that place is incredible!

Watching: Scandal, Grey’s, New Girl, Modern Family, Resurrection

Praying: that Lent would be an incredible season of going deeper

Thinking: about the concept of sewing & reaping, pruning and harvesting for new growth

Craving: cheeseburger pizza or buffalo chicken pizza…so pizza?

Planning: to travel across the world in 1 week!!!

Missing: my summer roommate, Kate! Come home!

Enjoying: Day light savings!

And the Next Travel Destination is…!!!

There’s something about the mere idea of traveling somewhere new that makes my heart beat a little faster, puts a giddy smile on my face, and butterflies in my stomach. I’m like a lovestruck school girl, day dreaming of my life with Mr. New Destination.

For this particular destination, it’s been my “dream” since coming back from my backpacking trip in 2009. Hint #1: Reading & watching “Eat Pray Love” only increased my longing.

Hint #2: The plane ride takes about 24 hours to get there…

Hint #3: More than 80% of the country’s religion population is Hindu

And a few pics (of the actual place we’re going to stay) to clue you in…

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Screen shot 2013-06-21 at 8.39.56 AMDo you know this country!?

BALI, INDONESIA!!!

Happening March 2014 with my good friend, Stephanie!

Picture taken 2007 :)Picture taken 2007 🙂

Let the countdown begin to this 11 day voyage! (272 DAYS!)

A Little of This & That

A little of this & that has been going on. I thought I’d share!

Workouts: Teaching Zumba at St. Andrews Family Fitness & going to as many Pure Barre classes as I can! Also, the occasional 2-3 mile run around the ‘hood. (Neighborhood…not ghetto hood…though the two often merge depending upon what street…)

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Food cravings: Bourbon pecan pie. Or…butter pecan ice cream. Actually both—together.

Looking forward to: Helen coming to visit tomorrow & us going seeing The Lumineers in concert Friday night! WAHOO!

Reading: The Great Gatsby

Anticipating: Getting a male golden retriever puppy at the end of August!!! WOOF!

Newest Discovery: Yonanas. OMG. GET THIS. Thank me later.

Eating: CLEAN. With clean eating, exercise, & Advocare, I’ve never felt healthier! Specifically, I’ve been munching on Spaghetti Squash & yonana’s dessert creations.

Missing: My family (and friends) in Chester—especially my adorable nieces!

Listening to: Ray LaMontagne & Ben Howard. (Side note: friends don’t let friends go without listening to these guys.)

Planning: A trip overseas to my 18th country! Seriously, I cannot wait to tell you about this destination…

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Wake Me Up.

I’ve been trying to wake up all day. I yawned and groaned all the way through Body Pump class this morning, whimpered on the stair master, begged for energy at lunch, and I’m still groggy…and I got nine hours of sleep last night! It’s just one of those rainy Mondays and I need some inspiration! So I searched Pinterest for all the things I’ve been “dreaming” of and here’s my top five:

1. This place in Bali. Someone take me there ASAP!

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2. Perhaps I could sip on this healthy fruit-infused water while sitting in mentioned picture above?

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3. Or eat this Asian inspired salad?

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4. All the while my nails would be this pretty color?

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5. And when I return from Bali I’d come home to this?

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So much for dreamin’!

How’s your Monday going so far? Anyone out there still hoping to wake up?!

2012 Highlights.

What a year it’s been!  The first six months were fairly predictable—just like I assumed it’d be. The last six months have stretched me beyond comfortability! I’ve grown more as a person in the past year than I imagined I could. I’m so incredibly GRATEFUL for the really tough moments of rejection, struggle, and frustration. New life, vision, and purpose were birthed in those moments and I can hardly wait to share those dreams with you. 2013 is going to be incredible! (More to come for 2013, especially on the job front, but for now let’s celebrate this past year!)

Here are roughly (but not limited to) 12 highlights of 2012…so many outstanding moments!

1. For example, ALL of the traveling I did!

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[Miami, FL]

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[Cozumel, Mexico]

2. Memorable moments like finally trying brussell spouts (love them) and tried Bikram yoga (didn’t love), going into and out of an 8 ½ month relationship, and Gossip Girl ending. Big stuff for this year!

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That’s not the only change in 2012.

3. I no longer drive my red Honda civic, Roxy. She’s been passed to my younger cousin who I USED TO DRIVE AROUND WHEN SHE WAS 5! *First time I’ve ever truly felt “OLD.”

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4. Speaking of driving…I’ve never been pulled over until 2012…and it just so happens I got pulled over THREE times! (Rolling stop, headlight out, expired tags). Blessed to still claim I’ve never gotten a ticket: 🙂

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5. I finished my 3-year master’s degree. MAJOR WAHOOS!

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6. Keeping up with a consistent fitness routine that included taking body pump, body flow, other core strengthening & cardio pumping classes, as well as teaching Zumba at least 2x per week. Also, having a few new gym buddies made the experience enjoyable and could give me an extra push when I needed it!

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7. Playing “Rachel Ray” with the Junior League. We did a live cooking demo in front of a crowd teaching healthy eating. SO much fun!

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8. I baked my first wedding cake for some dear friends!

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9. I crafted some new creations, like paintings, canvas lettering, cards, wreaths, vases, and my favorite DIY headboard/wall art!

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10. Taking my roomie to her first college game ever! Good thing it was to a game where my Hokies won!

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11. Oh, and I couldn’t forget to mention this year’s autumn. It was BREATHTAKING!

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12. And then there were my nieces! Ohhh my goodness I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun I’ve had as an auntie this year. Amber is now 3 years old and full of personalities and conversations. My sweet baby Elena is now 3 months. I have the best of both worlds with a fun toddler to play with and a baby to cuddle. My heart is so full with love for those girls!

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Sigh. Such a beautiful life and a beautiful year filled with so.much.love. It was hard, yesssss indeeeeed, but I’ve never been stronger as a person. Cheers 2012, you’ve been better to me than I could have dreamed! My gratitude runs deep to a loving God for health, protection, and unconditional grace and love.

8.2%

NPR recently reported that unemployment is at 8.2%. It’s a little more than that if you include myself and the rest of class 2012 who hasn’t filed for unemployed standing. I found out quickly that status from “student” to “unemployed” goes as quick as it takes to walk across a stage!

I’ve kept myself occupied though… traveled to Mexico, celebrated the end of a three-year master’s degree with an awesome graduation party, enjoyed lunches with friends, making homemade cards, writing cover letters and editing my resume, teaching multiple Zumba classes, networked with various nonprofits in Winston, gone to as many body pump and body flow classes as I’ve wanted to in the mornings, had some batsh*t crazy nightmares, and have soaked up the sun to maintain that Mexico tan. All I’m missing is one of these awesome mermaid tails (found on Etsy) to relive my childhood summer pool times by making up mermaid names and acting like a princess of the sea.

A few other thoughts from the Unemployed:

I’ve had to pace myself with RealSimple magazines. In grad school, those babies would pile up for 4-5 months at a time and when Christmas came around or a week of Spring Break would grace, I’d catch up. Now have to learn to savor the next month’s issue.

The new Mumford & Sons CD can not come faster!

Gift cards! I’m pulling out all those gift cards that have been collecting some dust in my wallet and using those as a first option for any shopping/restaurant needs.

Someone come put an internet block on my computer to all Golden Retriever Rescue websites…PRONTO. I keep having these day dreams of owning a Golden Retriever and I hanging out during the day, going on walks, taking trips together…It’s bad, y’all. Real bad.

Truths: 1. God is good, faithful, and loving. 2. The support I feel from loved ones around me is undeniably humbling. 3. This sign sums up a decent life motto:

Marathons of Pretty Little Liars and Friday Night Lights have been a guilty pleasure.

She just keeps getting cuter by the day. I don’t even know how that’s possible, but gahhhh she melts my heart!

 

Well, those are just a few musings. More to come!