Habits Not Exclusive

It currently smells of both gingerbread and balsamic-Dijon mixture in my home. It’s our first really cold day of December and it felt perfect to have a pot roast and some gingerbread to anticipate the season.

For a while I had joked about being wife-material with baking and cooking since I am single. However the more I have thought on it, I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. I don’t have to cook well and be a wife, I don’t have to be a poor baker and single.

Simply stated, this is something that I enjoy and not a means to snagging a spouse. I just enjoy cooking and baking. I prefer a homemade cake to a store bought one (unless we are talking about Cheesecake Factory). Putting heart and care into preparing a meal for myself, or for others, is something I just plain enjoy doing most of the time. (There are nights when a frozen dinner or chips and salsa are all that’s happening)

But I think we often want to talk about preparing for marriage in ways that aren’t spiritually or emotionally sound. Learning to cook should be for one’s own gain and not for the allurement of another. Our habits are not exclusive to our marital status. In fact they should be grown and groomed apart from that as we are unique humans who have the interests and abilities gifted to us for our own enjoyment. We shouldn’t want to better ourselves for someone else, but out of our own desire for that.

I couldn’t help but think of this as I have watched this season of This is Us and the dynamic played out by the twins Kevin and Kate. They both are in to being that person for other people in alot of ways. I was really impressed with Kate when she finally told Toby that she couldn’t make it work with him because she needed to do her weight loss for herself.

Bravo writers! Our own self and our hearts should be what motivates us to lose weight, to take care of ourselves, to delve into a new craft or hobby, to learn a new skill. You cannot live off of someone else’s approval or attention. The economy of trade on that does not sustain a person for long before causing suffering or hurt.

So learn to cook, or don’t. Go to that class you’ve wanted to take at the gym, or don’t. Learn to paint, or don’t. Watch football, or don’t. But let it be for you and who you want to be, not the expectation of someone else.

Lovin’ It, the Summer Edition

Every little bit I like to share what I am absolutely loving on. As random and weird as I am, you can bet it’s always a bit interesting around these parts. So below is a little rundown of some things I simply cannot stop loving on. So it’s summer, what’s good for summer loving? Check out below.


Maren Morris
Y’all, seriously. I am a bit late on the bandwagon with this one around Nashville as I have seen my peeps here sharing her for a bit. My word it’s so good. She’s country, which I know is so not my style. But let me just say, I cannot stop listening to her. Especially this song.

For King and Country
I know I have talked about my love for them before, but I seriously cannot stop listening to Run Wild, Live Free, Love Strong from start to finish. I have used it to write to quite a bit, and this is me in song form, a simple glimpse into my mind:

Most people don’t know that my favorite band is Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (after NEEDTOBREATHE, obviously). I have long been a Tom Petty fan and his Southern rock sound found in his side project Mudcrutch, which was his original band in the 70’s. They have a new album out called 2, and I have it in heavy rotation, all the way through. That’s the mark of a really good album, that it’s a story from start to finish. Go grab it, or stream it your favorite streaming service. I’m curating some Spotify lists these days so find me and follow along!

Movies & Television

Superhero Movie Goodness
I love a good superhero film. Frankly, I love a bad one too. I am a dork and I freely embrace that when it comes to these big action films with caped crusaders, and villains alike. Captain America: Civil War? LOVED IT. X-Men: Apocalypse? So cannot wait to see it. Did I clap at the Doctor Strange preview? Yes I did. I will geek out at Suicide Squad. Honestly we could probably scratch out Superhero up there and put Action instead. I love a good action movie, especially in the summer. Jason Bourne? Yep, because MATT DAMON y’all. Independence Day twenty years later? Why of course I will see you. This is where my girlfriends get off the bus and leave me be. Don’t get me wrong. I love a rom-com (sobbed at Me Before You screening), but I want fight scenes, big explosions and hopefully some chase scenes with sharp objects involved.

Crime Shows
I confessed some time ago that I have a penchant for crime shows. Some Saturday nights in college you could find me watching Cops. I think part of me wanted to be a cop or FBI agent growing up (I wrote to the FBI at age 8 asking for info on the academy, such a nerd). Nancy Drew was my sister in crime-fighting in my elementary school days. Harriet the Spy was my Halloween costume of choice one year. So it’s fitting that I now cannot stop watching crime-related shows. I part ways at Law & Order, I have never watched it and don’t really ever care to do so. But this summer’s biggest binge? Southern Justice. It’s Cops, in my hometown. I kid you not y’all. It’s on NatGeo channel, and my neighbor growing up has been on there (she was the officer), as well as some guys I went to high school with. It’s insane to see the places I know, roads and sites, and people that I am familiar with on national tv. It’ll give you a good laugh, and a little insight to my App-a-LATCH-an upbringing. If you missed Quantico this season, I encourage you to binge it. That’s my other good summer suggestion because y’all, so good. (It has nothing to do with the guy named Ryan in the least). Not a cop show, but Zoo is also my other summer suggestion. Being a big fan of James Patterson (hi crime novels), this show is fantastically wonderful and back for a second run this summer.

Misc. Stuff

I had an M thing going, and I couldn’t stop y’all.

Food from the Garden
So I started an urban garden this year. I have a couple of herbs going nutso (basil and oregano for daaaays) as well as some tomatoes and peppers starting to pop up. But more than anything I am loving all the stuff from the gardens whether my own or a farmers at the market. Avocados are beginning to be an obsession, along with foil-wrapped corn on the cob with just a splash of EVOO and garlic powder. Grilling peaches for ice cream? YES MA’AM! Fresh strawberries and blackberries with a simple syrup, absolutely. Even last night I whipped up a fun, and mildly decadent, banana pudding to take to a work picnic. No Nilla wafers here, this ain’t yo momma’s pudding we’re talking about. Food from a garden beckons creativity and not treating it like you do in the winter, but giving it life just as it sustains you. It’s nice to get the creative juices flowing again in the kitchen (pun intended).

Workout clothes
I am obsessed with my Danskin workout crops. And the fun shirts that make me want to work out, to run, to get up at 4:30 to get my butt to POUND class. (except this week cause migraine) They were a reward for weight loss and muscle tone, and now I want more…but I have said it’ll only happen when I hit another marker, so I go workout for a couple of hours at the end of the work day when I just don’t really wanna. It’s better than feeling like a lump sitting on your couch though y’all. Get some fun workout clothes, or shoes even, to inspire a healthy attitude.

From theme parks to state parks and national parks, I cannot quit you if you have a park in your name. Dollywood-YES! I have had a season pass for years, years. I hit up Mammoth Cave National Park already, and have a couple of other parks on the list this summer. Also, Holiday World. It’s a thing, and I will be there for my birthday. I cannot wait y’all. Can-not wait.

So what are you loving on right now? What’s something fun you are doing, reading, listening to or watching? What’s a favorite summer activity?

I’m Loving It

It’s Saturday and here in Nashville the sun is shining and it’s supposed to warm up….why not share some things I am loving right now? You know, other than a good run outside. Cause last weekend I got in seven miles and it was glorious!


It sounds ridiculous but I love a fitness class. Mondays never looked so good than ending the day doing this. It’s fun, it’s a workout (yes, I hurt after) but I look forward to it. ABC News did a story on it and it provides insight on the class, and how it is more than a trend. New release music along with weighted sticks and fast cardio.

Judah and the Lion

This new release from Judah and the Lion, Folk Hop N Roll, is outstanding and completely different. It was released yesterday and I cannot stop listening to it. All day I had it in my ears and I think you should too. I jammed it while I ran, lifted and worked on travel itineraries. Don’t miss this album and the absolute gold that it is. All the way through.

DNCE’S Cake by the Ocean

Speaking of fun music, this song y’all. It’s one of the routines from POUND class and I just cannot stop listening to this song. When I looked up the band, I was shocked to see another Jonas brother behind a song I really like. They are super sneaky like that (also, get Nick’s album because yes). I love some pop music, always have and probably will when I am 80 if it gets me tapping my fingers.


I was looking for something new to read as my current options were getting a bit worn. I thought I’d try some memoirs from female comedians I enjoy but instead of reading I got the audio books. With about 90 minutes of commuting each day, and running/working out several times a week I have loved listening to them! I have tried leadership books on audio and hated them, but comedic memoirs, yes! I loved Mindy Kaling’s book far more than Amy Poehler’s…I just kept expecting more from Poehler and it never got there. Mindy though, I feel like she and I are friends now in some common ideas.

Stepping Out

Right now I am stepping out of my comfort zone on some things and I am loving it. I am exploring some different ways to write, how to explore creativity and not accepting less than producing content. I am also seeking how to widen my net of community. It’s scary and full of possible rejection, but instead of having a negative perspective on it I am choosing positive turns on it. So I encourage you to go beyond the norm for yourself, find a challenge and pursue it, no matter what criticisms come.


Crazy Fun

Life has been what I would call crazy fun over the last two months. I prayed and 11923214_10103299607187635_5614688240623052797_njourneyed through a really difficult season this summer and I truly believe God is showing me what joy and contentment look like when I leave it to Him.

So with that I wanted to share some absolute fun things popping up.

First off let’s talk new fall television. Here’s the rub yall, I enjoy television. I find good quality stuff and I will find utter garbage to watch. I run the spectrum and I am quite okay with that. You should be too. Unless you have an addiction issue then seek help, seriously. A couple of new shows that have debuted this last week I am digging, since frankly Fox allowed Mindy Project to jump to Hulu (sorry, I’m just going to have catch up later) I was side-eyeing Scream Queens. But this is a mix of fun, campy and terrifying all rolled into one. There’s a ton of pop culture references that may have you in need of a pop-up video version.

The Player and Quantico were my gambles, pun intended for that Vegas set betting premise former show. I’m digging them both because they bring something different to the story of an hour long drama that I enjoy. It’s not the played out plot lines. Quantico also feeds my 8 year old self who wrote to the FBI for information about the academy. (Little known fact about me) strong female lead abounds in this show with her own issues but a sassy swagger. (We need more sassy swagger in our female leads)
Here’s the shows I’m aching to return: iZombie, Sleepy Hollow and Blue Bloods. (B2 returned on Friday and this was a summer addition after I watched all five season thanks to my neighborhood library!) My dad and I discuss Sleepy Hollow’s historical references  cause we are nerds like that. Plus who doesn’t love a British man with scruff and longer hair stuck in a 18th century outfit? IZombie is one that no one I know watches and I cling to the fact that it’s my Veronica Mars for this time of life. Throw in another smart female lead and you have a winner peeps.

Speaking of television and my love for all things cop shows, download this week’s PopCast podcast where I land on both TeamKnox and TeamJamie for a bit in relation to my rabid fascination with all things police detectives television shows.

While I do watch some serious TV, I am still chugging away at my book goal for the year. I’m a little behind and I blame binge watching B2 and cultivating friendships. Anyways I will be reviewing a book right here on the blog pretty regularly moving forward, and will be giving a copy away with some of them. Stay tuned on that in the coming weeks. Currently I am diving into Desiring God by John Piper.


In the last few weeks I kayaked six miles with some coworkers up the French Broad in North Carolina. Pretty spectacular day of getting to know people I work with and enjoying God’s creation. I highly recommend an excursion, especially in North Carolina if you get the chance.

Many of you know the foodie that I am. Well after doing reviews in several places I decided to launch it all on one hosting site. If you haven’t yet, check out the Dining Out Solo blog. It’s been fun going to try out new places each week and write up my thoughts on the experience and food. I’ll be taking it on the road next weekend which should be a blast!

11951151_10103329799422155_365463124412319475_nSo that’s just a glimpse of the crazy fun of the last couple of months….including multiple county fair visits with some great gals and checking out some new movies, seeing Kelly Clarkson live (eep!) and watching an NFL training camp practice (Titans, meh!). Seriously, life is truly great right now!

What crazy fun are you getting into as fall is upon us?

Stress Less, Eat More

Normally I don’t post in the evenings. Y’all that read regularly know this, but summer is finding me writing more in the evenings than in the mornings-possibly because I’m also trying to run in the mornings before it gets so stinkin’ hot.

I will be posting either tomorrow or Monday about the awesome time I had today at Macy’s Culinary Cookout and Sizzle Showdown. I was so inspired by all the fantastic chefs, as well as the tasty bites concocted by two of my favorite chefs Michelle Bernstein and Stephanie Izard. After an afternoon spent tucked away in my favorite local coffee shop (ahem, Starbucks) writing on my book, I came home and fired up that grill.

Tonight’s grill specialty was pork once again as I am just not feeling the chicken-but I need to be soon or this running won’t help the waistline a bit. I paired cubed thick-cut pork loins with pineapple chunks and red onion quarters on skewers. Then I brushed on a mix of teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce (because I am in love with this stuff) and some Asian seasonings. I let them grill along with some corn on the cob. I soaked the corn, along with those skewers, for about ten minutes in water. I put them on the top rack of the grill, then transferred them once the skewers were ready to come off to get a good char on them. Once I took the skewers off, I brushed them again with the same sauce mixture to get a glaze on them. You can see the finished dinner below. I also put on some brown rice mixture to eat the skewered goodness with as well.

FullSizeRender(5)I would have to say one thing to change on this, definitely brine the pork before cutting it up to grill. Having tasted the difference I won’t go back to not brining pork prior to grilling, or probably cooking any which way. It seriously makes the juiciest meat that you can cut with a fork.

Thankfully I did feel up for a little under two mile walk after dinner, but I am definitely going to have to run four tomorrow morning after today’s tastings at the Macy’s event and then tonight’s dinner. Today reminded me that I often don’t find myself writing for the fun of it much anymore. I push myself to write deeper or for production’s sake on the book, knowing I’ll edit down later. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see more easy posts thrown in the rotation these days.

The summer is finding me willing to loosen up my writing, as well as sharing some of my favorite hobbies with you all! That’s just another part of the #NoHSummer Have an amazing Sunday!

Friday Fun Time

I am not sure about anyone else but this week has been long. With it now being August, work has intensified as we prepared to welcome students back in a matter of days. (Yes, days…not weeks) So with that I just wanted to have a smidge of fun on this Friday. I wanted to share (one of) my favorite television shows with you. Here’s the deal though, this show has been off the air for years, but is making it’s big screen debut in 2014 thanks to myself and other Kickstarter supporters!

That’s right, Veronica is back!

Without further ado, I give the first glimpse at Veronica Mars, the movie!