What I'm Into {a snapshot of August 2014}

What I'm Into {a snapshot of August 2014}

August has gone by quickly in some ways, slowly in others. I'm starting to be ready for fall in my bones. I've been wearing boots and leggings to work (and sweating all the way home). Part of me is even a little wistful about not heading back into a classroom, even though it's been a while. Fall is my favorite season, though, with all of the beauty and death and promise of regeneration, so I can't say that I'm too sorry to see summer fading (though transition is always a little hard). I have done my best to enjoy August to the fullest, accepting the month as it came and letting go of it now.

Once again, I'm linking up with Leigh Kramer for What I'm Into (check out the rest over at her site).

I hope you enjoy this little peek into my everyday, and I hope you'll share a little of yours with me.


perfectly-imperfect-home-coverThe Perfectly Imperfect Home by Deborah Needleman

I returned to a favorite book this month (since I'm decorating my new house). I first picked it up for the adorable illustrations, but I fell in love with the conversational writing and relaxed way that Deborah Needleman (founding editor of Domino magazine) approaches decorating. There is a section called "Glamifications" and one called "Cozifications" which just about sums up the sort of home I want to have. This is a book that I will probably return to again, as needed.

The-Girls-At-The-Kingfisher-ClubThe Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

The Twelve Dancing Princesses is one of my very favorite fairy tales (I must have worn out the library's copy of the Faerie Tale Theatre version with Lesley Ann Warren). When I read a review for this retelling, set in the 1920s, I was intrigued. There is something both beautiful and sad about any story set in the 1920s for me. Maybe it's because I know what is coming in 1929, maybe it's because of all the sneaking around to speakeasies. This book had that same sadness to it (as well as all of the sparkle). I enjoyed it, but I'm still not quite sure what I think about it.

WDBWriting Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

I finally read this classic (after numerous times checking it out at the library and so many recommendations). It was everything I hoped it would be and more. I'm sure that these words wouldn't work for everyone (which do?) but I found Natalie's zen approach very calming. I tend to be anxious about most things (even about writing, occasionally). I found myself wanting to take a deep breath as I finished each short chapter. I'll be going back to this one (and moving on to the rest of her work).

jennifergwyneth_1217-1Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me: The Pursuit of Happiness, One Celebrity at a Time by Rachel Bertsche

I was such a fan of Rachel's first book about friendship (MWF Seeking BFF). When I saw that she was writing another book (another work of stunt non-fiction, even) I didn't bother looking too closely before requesting it. This book is Rachel's attempt to see if copying certain elements of celebrity's lives will make her happy. The premise sounds sort of shallow, but the book itself is poignant, thought-provoking, and well-written. I loved this little look inside her head, and the personal way she chose to share things. It made me wonder about the people that I'm emulating, comparing myself to, and even dismissing.


My mom and I went to see The 100 Foot Journey this week. It's a story about food and family, hope and ambition. It's set in France, in a beautiful little village and if it had been an hour longer, I would have sat there and continued to soak in the gorgeous scenery and the fast chopping of garlic. Like most food movies, it's about so much more than food, and this one is very emotional, as well as being satisfying.

I was home sick for a couple of days this month and the time seemed right to finally start watching Parks and Recreation (as my roommate suggested when I moved in). Nothing could have prepared me for how much I love this show. My little type-A, perfectionistic soul finds a kindred spirit in Leslie Knope (who also just happens to work for the government). These characters have become my friends, and binging on this show has also provided an opportunity for roommate bonding. I'm working on season four (no spoilers please, la la la la).

For those who are paying attention, I'm still working my way through season two of Sex and the City.

As much as I enjoy the unstructured nature of summer TV show watching, I'm really looking forward to my shows coming back in September.


Ever since I heard about The Civil Wars official break up, I've been listening to the most recent album. It was sad before (they never were very happy songwriters) but now there is a deeper sadness to it, in the wake of the split.

But it's beautiful.

I took a road trip with a friend this month (more on that later) and we listened to I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing as audiobooks on the way and back. It's been a little over two years since Nora Ephron died and it was about time I heard her voice again. If you're a fan at all, I highly recommend that you listen to the recordings of these books by the author. She's funny, and honest and such a good writer, and her tone is always so telling. I found her style sneaking it's way into my writing in the days and weeks after listening.


The last few times my alumni magazine has come, I've been overwhelmed with all of the marriages and babies in the pages. I decided to submit my own version of a "baby announcement." This blog is my baby in so many ways. Unfortunately, even though they mailed this magazine to me, they still can't figure out what city I live in. Oh well.


Some wonderful friends of mine have a big backyard, a screen and an old-fashioned popcorn machine and they take advantage of this by having movie nights to watch campy movies. This month I sipped signature cocktails and ate gourmet snacks while watching Kung-Pow: Enter the Fist and Fantastic Mr. Fox. I doubt very seriously whether many people can say that.

These are just exactly the sort of evenings that I want to have in my real life, so I'm glad they are happening. Life shows no sign of getting realer.


In pursuit of a few essentials for my house, I convinced a friend to travel with me to IKEA in Seattle. We left at 7am, listening to Over the Rhine (with whom she fell in love, as I had planned) and Nora Ephron. Four hours later, we arrived. I sampled my first ever IKEA food (mmm, meatballs) and we plunged in. Three hours later, we emerged triumphant and picked someplace lovely to go to dinner. In the middle of my craft cocktail, as I ate foie gras without bread (because I forgot you were supposed to eat it with bread), I was heard to remark: "You know that single girl dream everyone is always talking about? We are living it."

After dinner, we turned around and were home in bed by 10:30 (which may also be the single girl dream).


I made salsa one Sunday for hours (truly, there was a movie and two TV episodes involved). It was only after I was finished and washing my knife that I cut myself and had to put my nurse roommate to work. Incidentally, this was also when we realized that we should probably have some first aid stuff around the house (oops). No permanent harm done.


We went dancing (which is not something I'd done before moving into this house, at least, not like this). We go to the lounge at the casino and we go in force. This time, the theme was the 90s (note my Relient K t-shirt and jellies). I wore workout pants and prepared to get in some cardio. I do not wish the 90s back, but we had a lot of fun (even if I was exhausted by 1am). I would like to think that we ruined at least five one night stands with our jubilance.


I'm going to take you on just a little house tour (just in case you're curious). This is where I live:


Harry, Severus, & David: The Danger of a Single Narrative by Laura Brekke at On Pop Theology

I found this post very thought-provoking, but then, literature is the way to my heart. There are Harry Potter spoilers here, so if you haven't read them, steer clear.

What I Left Behind from My Childhood Faith by Rachel Marie Stone at onfaith

I relate to so much of this piece, including the part about hoping that the rapture would wait until after my wedding night. Oh dear.

Unusual Jobs: Pastor’s work takes her beyond church walls by Pia Hallenberg at The Spokesman-Review

This is my pastor.

A Memoir is Not a Status Update by Dani Shapiro at The New Yorker

'Nuff said.

Making Space Anyway by Addie Zierman at SheLoves

Thoughts on mentoring.

Be Sweet to Me by Erin S. Lane at Holy Hellions

This poem did me in. So beautiful.


This month, I wrote about my St. Martha's Day party and the waves of blessings that washed over me that night. I wrote about some of my thoughts on weddings. I wrote about some things that I don't regret.

In Single Minded Mondays, I wrote about my baggage with the phrase "put yourself out there" (and about the beautiful already).  I wrote a Monday prayer (you're still welcome to join, even though it isn't Monday). I wrote about a dream I had when I was young that still shapes my vision for relationships and I confessed some grocery shopping melancholy.

In the de(tales) series, I had the honor of hosting Nicole Sheets (writing about the one-piece rule and online dating), Caris Adel (writing about her first memories of safety), Abby Norman (writing about purple glitter), and Aaron J. Smith writing about some little hands.

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What are you into this month, friends?