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An Inspired Season Series

One of my favorite things about the blogging community is connecting with soul sisters. 

One of my sweetest encouragements and biggest inspirations is Katie of A Place to Dwell. Her e-book about living An Inspired Life fell into my hands at just the right time, at the start of diving into what it means to savor my season.

She and I have talked about those very ideas many times over, and we've been wanting to collaborate on something fun to get us (and YOU) writing and creating while celebrating our current season. Be it school, singleness, summer, you name it, we both believe where you are RIGHT NOW is so important and worthy of all the confetti and heart-eyes a girl can muster. And we've finally come up with a master plan to make it happen:

#AnInspiredSeason Series
Tusdays & Thursdays || July 2nd - July 30th

During the month of July we plan to get our creative juices flowing, whether they be online, on paper, for all to see or for our eyes only, and we want to invite YOU into the journey! There will be a prompt for each Tuesday + Thursday of the month and you are welcome to share your creations/discoveries publicly or tuck them away for your personal enjoyment. If you DO choose to share, use #aninspiredseason to follow along :)

Thursday, July 2nd. Introduce yourself by writing your biography as if being interviewed for The New York Times, sharing your history, accomplishments, and where you are right now. Complete it with what you would want it to say in the future (biggest dreams and goals included) in italics. 

Tuesday, July 7th. Describe your current season in pictures (make a mood board/art collage/whatever)!

Thursday, July 9th. Write a bucket list that's FOR your current season (focusing on things you can do and want to do in the very near future, rather than dreams for what you hope is ahead).

Tuesday, July 14th. Pick a verse for your season and create something based on it (a blog post, a painting, a poem, anything you're inspired to make)!

Thursday, July 16th. (My 24th Bithday!) Take a look back at the past year. What are some highs and lows from this season? What were some surprises? What advice would you give yourself if starting this year/season anew? (Feel free to choose one, any, or all of these questions!)

Tuesday, July 21st. Write about one of the best adventures you've had so far in this season.

Thursday, July 23rd. Who are others you admire that are living/celebrating a similar season well? What resources/books/posts have encouraged you?

Tuesday, July 28th. What's one thing you can do this week to celebrate your season? Set the intention (on Instagram or Facebook) and then do it! Write about the experience.

Thursday, July 30th. Write about something this season of life has taught you.

Again, feel free to participate in any way you'd like. This is about savoring and celebrating YOUR season while infusing it with fresh perspective and inspiration. I quite honestly think we'll be changed by the end of it and be able to see this place we are planted in with new eyes.

Are you in? Join us with #aninspiredseason starting on Thursday!

#Collaboreads | Very Good Lives

You know me, I like a good book, and I like a good challenge. When I first read about Rachel and Amber's #Collaboreads series, I was positively delighted. It's the summer of books, as I said a few weeks ago, and I love the idea of sharing reviews with fellow book enthusiasts. Each month of the challenge there will be certain criteria. June's was the following:
 On the NYT Best-sellers List When You Start Reading

I scanned the list the first week of June, marking a few titles (I downloaded The Girl on the Train as an audio book initially!) and then when I was wandering around Target I spotted the shiny cover of J.K. Rowling's Very Good Lives (which had been #2 under Education). 

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!

First things first, I adore J.K. Rowling. My love affair with the Harry Potter series seriously marked my childhood and has left lasting effects throughout the years. I just finished re-reading the final four books last month, and I've recently wanted to get my hands on her other fiction pieces. 

PS. Is anyone else excited for the next series of movies?! JKR is writing the screenplays for a spin off series based on (a HP Textbook) Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them. It will be set in 1920's New York AND Eddie Redmayne is going to play the lead, Newt Scamander. Y'all, I'm beside myself with happiness! Okay, back to the book. 

This little book, Very Good Lives, is a recording of JKR's 2008 address at the graduation commencement at Harvard University. I don't remember a thing anyone said at my graduation, but if she had been the guest of honor you bet I would have! I actually read it cover to cover while wandering said Target, but one of these days it will come home with me. Her words are simply that good.

Now onto the promos provided by the #Collaboreads team:

RIVETING. What part of the book could you NOT get enough of?

  • JKR's writing style is so easy to follow, and it's easy to picture her at the podium that graduation day, eager faces turned up at here, or sitting across from you at a coffee shop (wouldn't that be a dream?!). I, of course, loved any and all Harry Potter references, but I was mostly fascinated by her story. She gives readers and audience members a glimpse into her unique post-grad/pre-HP-glory journey which is encouraging no matter where we are on our own path.
  • A favorite quote"Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation; in its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared." 
    • THIS is what I love about what I do as a theatre artist! It's part of what makes theatre so powerful. Anywho, moving on ;)

ELEMENTS. How did you relate to/care for the characters? What's your thought on the plot line and twists and turns?

  • I suppose this isn't your conventional novel, so these questions don't entirely apply. However, the tagline of the book is "The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination" which are her two key points in the speech. As creatives, and as people in general, I think both need to be embraced for success and a better quality of life, and her words on the two are honey. 
  • Another favorite quote: "We do not need magic to transform our world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better."

ASSOCIATE. What other books are like this one? If none, did it remind you of a particular TV or movie with it's themes and characters? Does it serendipitous-ly line-up with things going on in your life or the news right now?

  • I'm sure I'm not the only one to have received a gift book from well meaning teachers or family members after high school or college graduation. I particularly remember the sporty and pink UChic: The College Girl's Guide to Everything (although I don't remember reading it...) and The Red Rubber Ball (I did read that one! But I don't remember what it said...). However, this is a book I would ABSOLUTELY gift to someone graduating, experiencing that life-altering transition into "the real world". Returning to the ideas of imagination and failure, both can be daunting as the major change is being made, but both are worthy of sharing JKR's wisdom.

DESIGN. You know you judged this book by the cover. What did you think of it? How did it relate to the contents of the novel? And the font and layout of the pages?

  • A pretty script and plenty of white space certainly caught my eye with this one! It's smaller than the novels it sat beside but is larger than the gift books I listed above, and only around 40 pages.  Each page of text is partnered with an illustration or a pull-quote in a similar style, pleasing in its aesthetic and memorable. The main font was nothing special, but it didn't need any embellishment there. All in all, I thought it was fitting and enjoyable!

STARS. How many out of five do you give this book? Would you recommend this book to a friend?

  • I'd give it 5/5 stars in its category, for sure! It was entertaining, encouraging, and an easy read. I'd absolutely recommend it (even if you simply browse it in the store like me) and feel free to watch it live from the queen herself HERE.

Mr. Thomas and Me

There you have it! Now go out, grab a good book, and tell me all about it :)

On the Silver Screen | June 2015

Y'all, there are some good movies out this summer. When I lived in Seattle, one of my roommates and I were at the movies practically every week, catching a new film in a different genre on our Thursday night outings. Seattle had a lot to offer. Recordings of plays from the National Theatre in London, indie films shown at multiple theatre, and then the big box office hits.

Emily has a background in film & digital media, and you mix that with my passion for theatre and the production side of things made for some crazy conversations during the car ride home. And the next day before work. And that night after Lifegroup.

This year out in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma, I'd have to say my choices were much more limited. The gold ol' Carmike 10 would put 50 Shades of No Way on half its screens and be packed each weekend. Plus with my school schedule there ain't no way I had time for that. It was the sad truth.

BUT NOW. Oh ho, now I am back in the glorious Pacific Northwest where movies abound! In the past few weeks I have had my fill, and I couldn't resist rounding them up for you. 
  • CINDERELLA. This movie was STUNNING!  I may or may not have seen it four times. 
    • One, the costumes were DIVINE. 
    • Two, the casting was perfection. 
    • Three, Kenneth Branagh is brilliant. 
    • Four, if you don't know who he is SEE ALL THE THINGS! 
    • I'm a fairytale-aholic and the Cinderella stories always send me swooning. What I loved about this one is Cinderella appeared to be so much more sure of herself, willing to make the best (dare I say SAVOR) her season. 
    • The prince was charming, of course, but in a fresh way that kept me grinning!
    • AND THAT DRESS! The thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours put into the 7 different skirts makes my heart go pitter-patter. All of the step-mother's ensembles were incredible, even when some were seen for less than 10 seconds. 
    • Okay, theatre nerd rant over. It's an incredible film and you have to see it! 

  • INSURGENT. I know this came out ages ago but I didn't have a chance to see it back when (#gradschoolproblems), so I saw it at the dollar theatre two weeks ago (on 50cent Tuesday!).
    • I read the books last year just before the first movie came out, and I thought the first film was really well done! Loved the casting, pleasantly surprised with how they stuck to the book, and so on. However I'd heard rumors the 2nd film was not in the same vein.
    • I understand taking creative license for book-to-film adaptations --and I may be mistaken since it's been a while since reading Insurgent-- but these seem to be two entirely different entities all together.
    • If you look at it that way then yeah, I enjoyed it, tracked with it, and am curious to see what happens next. However I won't race out to get the DVD. I'm sure I'd watch it again if it was on Netflix.
    • PS. I rarely literally swoon for actors, but Theo James is gorgeous. Just throwing that out there.

  • JURASSIC WORLD. I did not expect to like this as much as I did! I'd never seen any of the Jurassic Park movies (there are multiple, right?) and had heard very little about the plot or casting beforehand.
    • The day of seeing the movie I had these interactions: 
      • K (over dinner): Have you seen the new Jurassic movie yet?
      • Me: I have absolutely no desire to see it.
      • L (via text): Hey! We're getting a group to go see Jurassic World. Want to come?
      • Me: Sure! What time and where? 
    • I also never see action-y movies in theaters. Well, not unless I've read the books first. Therefore I was SO STRESSED OUT during this film! It was so much to handle! So good, but have mercy I thought my heart would come out of my chest. I can't imagine seeing it in 3D or IMAX. Heck no, techno. 
    • I loved seeing familiar faces in the cast. Bryce Dallas Howard is a wonderful actress; I loved her in Kenneth Branagh's As You Like It (again, GO SEE ALL HIS THINGS!) and I thought it absolutely ridiculous that she did this movie in heels. Go her.
    • Any time I got super scared, er, overwhelmed by it all, I'd just remind myself how stupid these people were for going on an island full of dinosaurs anyway. No thank you.
    • But overall I'd recommend it and see it again! 

  • INSIDE OUT. Pixar did it again! Thankfully! This has been on my list since seeing the first preview MONTHS ago.
    • As always, there was a super cute short at the beginning. My favorites are still La Luna and Geri's Game (and it's not Pixar but Paperman was precious). 
    • I knew it would be a tear-jerker even before I knew it was directed by the same man who directed UP! While UP! made me cry in the first 10 minutes, this one was more thought provoking and tears came much later.
    • The whole concept is fascinating. One of my friends asked me "who's your driver?" before I saw the movie, and I wasn't entirely sure what he meant. After watching it I'd say Joy is the driver with Fear and Sadness perched on her shoulders. You know like the little arguing angel and devil you see in cartoons? I'm pretty sure that's how my life/emotions function. If you haven't seen it yet, think about it!
    • As for my favorite character... I can't tell you that. Yet. I have to say it was quite a surprise!
    • While the six year old I took may have loved it, too, I really think there is so much more for the adults to enjoy and ponder. I highly recommend it!

  • WOMAN IN GOLD. This is one of those more "indie" films that definitely would not end up in small-town Oklahoma. Definitely worth the drive to Dallas.
    • One, Helen Mirren is a genius. I have loved everything I've seen her in. And she won a Tony this year! Woohoo!
    • Two, Ryan Reynolds. Need I say more?
    • Three, actually I'd say if you get to a point in your life where RR is playing you in a movie, you've done pretty well.
    • Four, this is a real story! How cool was that?! Woman in Gold tells the tale of a woman seeking to get back prized paintings that were stolen from her family by the Nazi's during World War II. It included flashbacks that were riveting (hello Tatiana Maslany!) and beautifully done.
    • You may have to hunt for a theater and drive a ways to get to it, but go see this movie! You won't regret it. 
That was probably more than you wanted to know, but oh well :) I LOVE movies and I rarely write about them, so there ya go. I've got quite a few on my list for next month, so expect a similar post at the end of July. 

What about you? Seeing any of these movies this weekend?

APP-solutely Amazing: IFTTT

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, oh my! Sometimes this blogger gets overwhelmed by all the ways to share and keep followers updated. It's a vicious cycle. I try to make a schedule, I get behind, and then I give up all hope.  Someday I hope there is an all-in-one, everything-a-blogger-needs app, but for now I've found one that comes pretty close.


stands for If This Then That and is an app that creates automatic actions which allow other apps to work together. These actions are called recipes, and there are plenty of pre-made and popular recipes to choose from or you can create your own.

Some of my favorite recipes include:
-Share new blog posts to Facebook.
-Save links from favorited tweets to Pocket.
-Automatically post Instagrams to Facebook.
-Automatically post Instagrams as Twitter photos.

The last one was a game changer! I hated that sharing Instagram photos to Twitter left them in a little link, but now they appear automatically as a twitpic in my feed whenever I post on Insta, without the extra steps on my end of the deal. That is just one example of how IFTTT has streamlined the process.

Now I'm going to walk you through creating a recipe in the app.
The homepage of the app shows a history of recipes that have run and when, as well as provides a list of the recipes you currently have turned on. If for any reason you want to put a recipe on pause, all you have to do is hit the toggle switch on the right. You can also set it up to give you push notifications any time a recipe has run (this comes in handy when you have recipes like the one I'm going to create below).

Step 1. Browse the ready-made recipes. To create a recipe, click the circular mortar + pestle button in the top right corner. Then hit the plus button at the top of the "My Recipes" list.  It will bring you to a screen with various collections of pre-made recipes for you to browse. I'd recommend searching these first to see if one has already been made to suit your needs. The featured and recommended recipes are typically tried and true.

Step 2. Create your own. If you do not find a recipe that works for you, you can create your own by tapping the plus sign at the bottom of your screen. It walks you through the process, providing a multitude of combination options. It even has a little pop up thought bubble that says "Start here!" How easy is that? ;)

Step 3. Choose your trigger. The trigger is your starting app. Apps appear across the top of your screen and you can swipe side to side until you find what you're looking for (or discover an app that already does the trick). Often its easiest to simply use the search bar to hunt for the app you know you need. 

For this action, I wanted to save popular articles from The New York Times about theatre. I always see them floating around Twitter or Facebook after they've been posted, but I wanted a way to save them for later, using the Pocket app. I selected the NYT app as my trigger.

Step 4. Specify your trigger. Within each trigger there will be action options. Some will require multiple steps. For this action I selected "New popular article in section" then had to designate which section I desired. I scrolled through the list, finally finding Theatre, and my trigger was completed.

Step 5. Choose your action. The trigger leads to action, so next you'll have to select the app the recipe will land on. I use Pocket on the regular to save articles and blogposts to read at a later time, and it is among the more popular IFTTT apps used in this category. Within Pocket, there's really only one option "save for later" which makes this step a piece of cake.

ATTENTION: Make sure you have actually downloaded both apps in your recipe onto your phone. It may sound like a silly suggestion, but I previously made recipes I thought were cool but forgot to add the app back to my phone. They won't work if you don't! 

NOTE: You can set the same app as a trigger for multiple recipes and vise versa. I'd recommend browsing the pre-made recipes for your most frequently used apps and see what ways you can simplify your app usage!

Step 6. Finish/save the recipe. TADA! Just like that your app is complete! It will appear at the top of your "My Recipes" list. Some of them require action on your part (such as posting an image to Instagram so that IFTTT can post it to Twitter) and if so, I'd recommend giving it a try shortly after creating the recipe. Most work automatically, and it should give you a notification if the recipe fails. 

Let me know if you try out IFTTT for yourself! I'd love to know what you think of it! And if you have any questions, feel free to send them my way. I'll do my best to sort out an answer.

UPDATE: IFTTT is available for Android and they have a new app DO Button that released recently! I plan to give that one a try today and I'll let you know how it goes! 

What are YOUR favorite productivity apps? 
Would you be interested in seeing more posts like this?

Live, Dream, and Create with Courage

Sometimes I wish my brain had a print button. 
I know, I know, how ridiculous does that sound, but COME ON! How much easier would that make life?! 

There are moments, especially lately, that I positively bubble over with ideas, most commonly where I have no way to record them, and then when I sit down with a pen and paper I get a huge " .    .    .  " and nothing more. If only I could hit "print" so that when I got out of the shower, home from the gym, or finished watching the kiddos I'd have a list ready to go.

I imagine it would be a mess of doodles, words written in ALL CAPS when the ideas start flying too fast for me to keep up, arrows from one theme to another, but there it would be, ready to be tackled with a hot pink highlighter and translated into something real.

Sadly, this brain-magic print button does not exist, so I'm left to my own devices (and exhaustion) to attempt to put words into action. It's that will-power, or lack there of, that leaves blogposts half finished, stellar collaboration ideas in the drafts folder, and my dreams on pause. I recently read that perfectionists can often become procrastinators; if they don't have the skill set (or think they don't) to do something JUST RIGHT the FIRST TIME, they put it off or don't do it all.

DING! DING! DING! A buzzer went off in my head. "Oh hey, that's me!"

But I don't want that to be me. I don't want to doubt the voice in my heart that urges me forward, encouraging me toward dreams, by refuting it with "what if..." or "I don't think I can..." I want to say a BRAVE "YES". A humble I-can't-do-this-on-my-own-but-I'll-give-it-a-go-with-you-Lord COURAGEOUS "OKAY". 

It was when navigating these murky waters that another lightbulb went off. A phrase came into being that I could wrap my fingers around and hold on tight. Brave Love has long been a space to safely dive into my heart, life, and longings to find common threads and next steps, and now Brave Love has a more concrete definition. In my desire to make Brave Love active in my life, I've realized that I want to LIVE, DREAM, and CREATE with COURAGE.

This doesn't mean getting it right the first time or doing what everyone else is doing. This is me taking the next step --whatever that may be-- with courage, the decision that what is ahead is worthwhile even when the path may be messy or partially hidden.

I want to LIVE this way. I want to celebrate my season with my whole heart --be it school, singleness, adult life, you name it-- and encourage others to do the same. I want to live with enough courage to speak truth over the lies, to turn to Jesus first, and to say yes to adventures and opportunities as He leads me. I want to lift other people up, address the tough questions, and choose to love when it isn't easy. That's living with courage.

I want to DREAM this way. I want to stop worrying about getting my hopes up and GIVE my hopes up to the One who plans my days, holds my future, and loved me from the beginning of time. I want to dare to dream bigger than what I can accomplish on my own. I want to encourage others to name those dreams and claim them in Jesus, chasing toward His goal holding His hand without fear of what others may say or what others are already doing. That's dreaming with courage.

I want to CREATE this way. I want to tackle projects that I don't feel fully prepared for. I want to follow the prompting in my heart and say YES, learning along the way. I want to be secure enough in Jesus to step forward in acting, directing, teaching, writing, speaking, whatever it is (daring to chase those dreams again), trusting my instincts and pushing the boundaries. I want to collaborate with other creatives and put these ideas on paper. I want to start before I'm ready (because, let's face it, I may never be "ready"). That's creating with courage.

So here we go. It's going to be messy, it's going to be different, 
but it's going to be good. Are you in?

Currently in June

Reading... Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard.
Playing... catch up on e-mails and to-do's before the weekend.
Watching... Downton Abbey! Anxiously awaiting the discs from Netflix for Season 3.
Trying... to reflect on the school year and learn from my experiences.
Cooking... not a whole lot these days. But that's nothing new.
Eating... semi-gluten free. Oops. I gave it a solid 3 weeks and am keeping it to a minimum.
Drinking... water, water, water. Two pretty new tumblers are making it much easier.
Calling... Apple support. AGAIN. Come on, y'all. This isn't rocket science. Or is it?
Texting... with Lauren about lunch plans! Meeting a sweet Hope Spoken gal oh so soon.
Pinning... all the things. Mostly branding inspiration, succulents, and fuel for my wanderlust.
Tweeting... about the Tony Awards. I need to get to NYC ASAP!
Going... back to Seattle on SUNDAY! Be still my heart, the day cannot come soon enough!
Loving... She Reads Truth's "Women in the Word" study. Going through the Old Testament gals.
Hating... how much hate is in the world. People need Jesus, y'all, myself included.
Discovering... that I need to take my own advice; sometimes savoring your season is HARD.
Thinking... about the show I will be directing in the fall. So many ideas, such a small budget...
Feeling... like the numbness has finally worn off. I got a cavity filled yesterday. Bleh!
Hoping (for)... the Lord to move in BIG ways! Ready for fresh revelations and adventures!
Listening (to)... French jazz on Pandora (search La Vie en Rose and it's perfection).
Celebrating... the middle of the week! Even the mundane moments deserve confetti.
Smelling... like bug spray. It's mosquito season in Texas.
Thanking... the gals at The Well Studio for a lovely Book Bash last Sunday!
Considering... how to move forward with a few of my dreams. I want to do it all!
Starting... to pack for Seattle. Two suitcases and a carry-on... wish me luck.
Finishing... this blog post! I think I may include "currently..." lists monthly in the future.

What are YOU up to currently?

For the Love of Books, Take II

Reading was not something I expected to love. In elementary school I knew I could read and that I had to read, but I don't recall particularly loving it those early years. It wasn't until a competition was tacked onto it that I dove in head first, somewhere around the 4th grade. I haven't looked back since.

This summer is the summer of books, I've decided, as I have had (and will have) little to no time to read for fun when grad school is in session. I have picked up some old favorites, tried out a few new authors, and finally got my hands on a few I've been eyeing for months. I shared May's books a few weeks ago, so here is what is on my bedside table for June:

What I'm Reading...

100 Essays I Dont' Have Time to Write by Sarah Ruhl
Ruhl is one of my favorite playwrights. Her style and flair for storytelling is unique, captivating, and I cannot get enough of it. From Dead Man's Cellphone to Passion Play and beyond, I have loved everything I have read by her no matter how strange or challenging the content/concept may be. Naturally when I stumbled upon a collection of her essays I jumped at the change. Some are long, others are half a page, and I am now even more fascinated by the way her mind works. Just look at that list above! It is both informative and hilarious, and it inspired my desire to tackle "100 Books I Don't Have Time to Read" this year.

31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer + Doer by Jen Sprinkle + Kelly Rucker
I am currently wading through The Well Studio's June book club and this is their pick! I've had it for a while and have been taking my time wading through the prayers. Many of my favorite bloggers and writers have contributed, and each day of the book club we get a glimpse of their heart behind each section. I highly recommend it! I even went to their Book Bash in Dallas this weekend and picked up a few goodies featuring quotes from the book. It is a must-have.

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard
This is one of those books I used to pick up every time I went into Anthropologie and devour a page or two. Paris has stolen a piece of my heart, and while a trip back is not exactly in my near future, I escape to it every chance I get. This story of Elizabeth's life abroad is engaging, entertaining, and various recipes found within the story are sprinkled throughout. She has written a second book, Picnic in Provence, that is on my list for later this summer.

What I've Read...

Cottage Hill Magazine
I typically save my magazine purchases for airports, but Cottage Hill is one of the few exceptions. You can find it at your local Barnes & Noble or order it online, and I'm telling you, you don't want to miss this one! This is the second edition of the gorgeous publication, filled to the brim with heart-warming stories and stunning photography. I followed Katie O'Keefe online for a long time before she chased her dream and started Cottage Hill, and it became a fast favorite.

Harry Potter 4-7 by JKRowling
I started re-reading the Harry Potter series last summer, making my way through the first three of seven. Once grad school started, I put them on hold until year one was completed, and I've burned though the final four in less than three weeks. My brother marvels at my ability (desire even) to read more than one 600+ page book at all let alone one summer. These books are dear to my heart and I practically have them memorized. Plus a little fiction is always a fun way to mix things up.

What Do You Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada
You don't know how much I have to fight the impulse to buy all the cute books in the children's literature section at B&N. What Do You Do... was no exception. This adorable book explores the ups and downs of discovering an idea and the bravery it takes to see it through no matter the obstacles or nay-sayers, revealing the beautiful pay-off at the end. The illustrations are beautiful and the story so sweet. It will be mine someday, I have no doubts of that.

What I'm Listening to...

Empires by Hillsong United
The latest worship album from Hillsong United is spot on. While I may not be listening to audio books this month (I'm saving them for my 5 hour drives back and forth to school in the fall), this has been on repeated in the background of my days.

An American in Paris: A New Musical
This new broadway musical re-envisions the old classic, and the music is just beautiful. And the dancing! I loved getting a glimpse of the show at last night's Tony Awards. It has some old favorites, a handful of instrumental pieces, and sends me to the city of lights with ease. and isn't the cover art gorgeous? I can't wait to hang my poster of it!

Seule ce Soire by Emilie-Claire Barlow
Lastly, Emilie-Claire is my most recent discovery. I have been listening to French jazz on Pandora (La Vie en Rose is a great station to start!) and this album has several of my favorite songs on there! I simply swoon. Paris seems to be a theme, so if anyone wants to volunteer to take me there, I wouldn't object ;)

What are YOU reading + listening to lately?

Making June Happen

Sweet summertime is here! We had record rains in May, so I'm hoping my time left in Texas is bright and sunny, and that Seattle follows suit as soon as I get there. These next two weeks in-between have me sorely tempted to toss productivity out the window in favor of relaxing and treading water until the big shift happens, but I know there are things to accomplish in every season. This one included. 

I am so enjoying my break from school, though I have 30+ pages of play analysis to do before I go back in the fall; my plans to take care of it last May did not quite pan out, but there is grace for that. I spent this past weekend in Charleston, South Carolina with my mom and sister, supporting Shelby in her fitness competition, and this post slipped away from me. Oops! But I had a blast, saw way more bodybuilders and sparkly bikinis than I ever expected, and I'm so proud of my little sis for rockin' it on that stage! 

Now to the goals. I think looking back at what worked and what didn't is so important when trying to move forward, so we will start with May and jump into June :)

May Goals:

1. Read 5+ booksI count this one as done even though I didn't read the books listed on my last goal list. However, I did PLENTY of reading! I read more of The Circle Maker and The Artisan Soul as well as most of Oola. Last summer I re-read the first 3 Harry Potter books, and last month I read Books #4-7. I also started Lunch in Paris and Essentialism, so over all I've read around 5. ;)
2. Find a workout routine that, well, WORKS. Mom and I went on evening walks around the neighborhood, but nothing really stuck. Hopefully next month I can cross this one off.
3. Finish the semester strongI declare a YES here! I walked away with a 4.0 and I'm pretty darn proud of that, considering how trying and stress-filled this semester was. Between my show, my anxiety, and my health concerns, I am very proud of what I was able to overcome and how things finished. 
4. Clean/organize the apartment before summer begins. Uhh... I'm pretty sure I did this. It's been three weeks so I don't entirely remember how the apartment looked when I left it. We will say yes though. Just because.
5. Write my play analysis for Almost, Maine. Nope. Not gonna lie, this was not a priority.
6. Memorize scripture. Painting in my journaling Bible has helped tremendously! I want to find a way to make it last longer in my memory, but I gave it a good start!
7. Spend intentional time with family. This is a yes! I got back last night from a weekend in South Carolina with my mom and sister for Shelby's competition, and I've had lots of time at home + out and about with the rest of the crew since coming home a few weeks ago. It's been so nice.

I recently refreshed my #powersheets and will be sharing the new SUMMER goals next week. It is so nice to refocus in the middle of a season change and prep for what's ahead.

June Goals:

1. Read 5+ books. This one is a repeater. I want to read, read, read this summer! I hope to finish the ones I've started AND pick up a few new ones.
2. Head to Seattle for the summer. EEp! I cannot wait to go back! I'm two short weeks away from The Emerald City where I will be teaching children's theatre camps all July long.
3. Celebrate Alyssa's wedding. One of my roommates from Baylor is getting married this month! I am beyond thrilled for her, and I can't wait to be reunited with so many friends to celebrate her!
4. Continue to go gluten free for 6 weeks. Doctor's orders on this one. I completed two weeks then tried a little over the weekend when out with my family in Charleston, so I'm hoping once the 6 weeks is finished I can get by with limiting my gluten intake instead of cutting it out all together. I love my junk food (aka pizza + donuts + BREAD) too much to completely give it up.
5. Write my play analysis for Almost, Maine. It WILL be done this month! It WILL! 
6. Follow the SRT Women in the Word study. It's been a while since I've followed a She Reads Truth plan, and their latest is a 9 week look at women from the Bible. I can't wait!
7. Follow the Elle & Co. Illustrator course. I may not be able to make every Saturday class, but I plan to learn all that I can in the course. Hopefully you'll see evidence of it here on the blog soon.
8. Re-launch the Be You, Bravely series. This was a favorite of mine last year, and I look forward to featuring more ladies in the near future.
9. FINALLY complete The Contentment Challenge. I have failed every single time previously. Nancy Ray shared about her contentment challenge ages ago, and I hope to follow it in order to cultivate contentment for what I already have and have an increased awareness of my lack of need when I get the urge to spend. I want to put money in the bank this summer.

There you have it friends. A few more than last month, but I plan to make them happen.

What do YOU want to make happen in June?