The Magic of Me Time

What does me time mean to you? For some of us, it’s a trip to Target alone, it’s the time we spend driving from here to there, that magical quiet time where we get to choose what’s on the radio, or 10 minutes without answering a million questions about when we’re going to get to our destination.

For some, it’s that moment right after you get home from work and you change from “business casual” to sweatpants casual. I've been known to take my sweet time taking off my bra, getting into my sweatshirt and yoga pants and okay, I'll be honest, just plain hiding out in my room for a couple minutes.

For my me time, it’s reading. I can’t go even a day without reading. With an hour commute three times a week, I also listen to a lot of audio books. I consider “me time” when I don’t answer my phone during the commute because it’s my time to drive, listen and relax. When I do take that time to myself, to really just sit down, relax and read a good book, I feel more relaxed.

I am blessed to be able to work from home on Mondays and Fridays. Without those days, I would hardly ever get any me time. Every Monday and Friday after I drop the kids off at school, I check my work email to make sure nothing that needs my immediate attention and then it’s electronics off, book open.

During my "Me Time" I've also started a gratitude journal so I try and spend a few minutes jotting down things I am thankful for a couple times a week. It helps me remember things that have happened that I might have let slip my mind but writing them down reminds how much fun my kids have together. It's turning into a mini activity journal, really because I get to go back and look at things that made me smile in the past months. Keeping track of what I'm grateful for makes me appreciate all the little things.

Other Me Time indulgences: Binge Watching Gilmore Girls in prep for their revival in November. I. Can't. Wait. And collecting coupons on Target Cartwheel, Pinning (obsessed), searching Goodreads and Litsy for my next list of books, sending funny memes to my girlfriends' group text, and watching celebrities' Snap stories.

Me time used to include baking, especially when the kids were tiny and still napped. Now, they are big enough that they want to help. And by help, I mean fight over who gets to crack the eggs and lick the spoon. So baking as morphed into family time instead and that's just as sweet

I think it’s important for everyone to take that time. It may seem selfish but it’s the most calming part of my week. It’s okay to say “This is my time” and just pick something that you enjoy and do it. Don’t make excuses, don’t put it off. Many of us are wearing several hats: parents, employee, boss, sibling, spouse...It can be nearly impossible to take all of those hats off and just be alone. I’ve read that physiologists recommend alone time in order to boost productivity, reduce stress and when people take that time to themselves, they are more willing and able to give time to others later. Helping myself and others PLUS I get to wear yoga pants and no bra? See, it's genius!

Here are the books I hope to tackle during my "me time" soon:

What does your "me time" look like?

My Favorite Things Lately

Some of my favorite things lately... 

I feel like I have been falling in love a lot lately, with many things here and there, little things that are just making my life that much more sweet and enjoyable and I wanted to share them with you. 

First, essential oils. I bought a starter kit and am in love with the diffuser. I have been using it mostly for our colds and congestion, but I've also found a great mix for purification that really helps to clear the air in the office. Especially the basement- because that's where my 8 year old and cat live, so you can imagine that it's in dire need of some fresh air :) I do not sell Young Living Essential Oils but learn everything I need to know from Jess so if you want to learn more, reach out to her and she will hook you up! Here are my favorite diffuser blends that I have been using constantly: 

Litsy: I know I have mentioned that before but if you are an avid reader and enjoy hearing what other bookworms are reading, you have to download the Litsy app. It's an amazing literary community that just blows my mind with everyone who is creative and passionate about books. And there's no other noise like other social media apps. It's just straight up books. You can review them, share quotes that you love and keep track of you favorite books and build a "to read" shelf as you find books you want to read. You can find me at JenniferJR. 

Junkstock: Last weekend the kids' grandma took them for a playdate and hubs and I found ourselves kid free for the afternoon so I bribed him into going with me to Junkstock, the happiest vintage market on earth in Omaha. It comes 3 times a year and October is my favorite because the weather is so perfect. I love the live music, amazing "junk" and friendly people. 

I came home with the cutest wall decor from LoveWell Lettering: 

My other favorite things lately: I've been binge watching Gilmore Girls in preparation for the big show on November 25. Jane the Virgin starts up again next week too. So you know where you can find me. That's right, on my couch. Did anyone out there get to go to "Luke's" when they had coffee shops all over pretend to be Luke's for the day? I only found out about it a day before and wasn't able to leave work for the day to go to Omaha or KC, which each had a couple. I would have loved to go! 

And of course, I've been doing alot of reading lately. Here's what's on my current reading list: 

What are your favorite things lately? 

Show Us Your Books: September

It's Show Us Your Book Time! 

Here's what I added to my conquered books piles in September: 

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett - This was probably the most buzzed about book on my to-read list and I was a little disappointed. It was enough to hold my interest in order to finish the story and held so much promised but it was wasn't developed enough. It started out with two families, the Cousins and the Keatings, who are all attending a party. Bert Cousins and Beatrice Keating end up kissing in a bedroom... and that kiss sets off a mudslide of events that leave to two families separating and scattering across the United States, sending children this way and that unattended on red-eyes. I think that the balance and intricacies of that life would have been enough of an interesting story but then Patchett writes in a tragedy that happens to one of the children and that's where it started to unravel. I wish she would have focused more on the lives of the adult children and how their lives were effected by the actions of their parents. However, most of the story was just vague references to the tragedy, the details of which are being covered by most of the children. A lot of build up, but not enough to keep the momentum. 

In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware - This was an easy read, especially for a thriller. I liked the suspense, the interesting characters, the witty banter and the chilling, creepy setting. 

Leave Me by Gayle Forman - I was at first really fed up with the mother. How could you live through a heart attack and not want to make the most of your life? Especially with two beautiful twins to take care of? Instead, Maribeth flees. She's sick of her husband not helping around the house. She is sick of no one helping her in her recuperation. Everyone expects her to just pick up where she left off and she basically throws her her hands up in the air and says "I'm out!" It's very unimaginable, to take $20,000 out of your bank account, get an apartment in another town and try to find yourself, while your husband takes care of the children and doesn't hear from you for months. It's a little silly to even consider that, but that's what she does. Where she ends up will surprise you, but happily so. 

The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown - Loved listening to this on audiobook, if not only just for the Parisian accents and the descriptions of Paris in the 1920s, through the eyes of a young woman discovering herself as a writer, with her French artist lover. Intermixed with her story is that of her granddaughter, Meredith, who is struggling with an unhappy marriage, reading her grandmothers diary 70 years later. Her story wasn't as interesting, I could have read about Margie in Paris all day, but the two women's stories were beautifully intertwined. 

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover - I have seen Hoover's  books everywhere on Goodreads and Instagram so I thought I would give this one a try. I made it through but I thought that this was an ill attempt at making a dire situation seem sexy. It was pretty unbelievable and I didn't love it. I probably won't be reading any other. Too Lifetimey. 

The Marriage of Opposites  - Oh, this story was my favorite. It was 1824 in St. Thomas and Rachel Pomie is a girl who dreams. Dreams of Paris, of a world where women can be educated and run a business. But her reality is much bleaker than her dreams. This is the story about her long life as a very young widow and mother, forced into the rule of subservient woman in a very strict religious community. But Rachel's life takes many interesting  turns. It's a beautiful story that is based on true events and people. 

This month, I meant to also read The Underground Railroad (Thanks so much to Steph and Life According to Steph for sending me her copy!) But alas, it will have to wait. I can't wait to get started though! I started Behold the Dreamers but was so overwhelmed by the foreign language and talk of immigration trials that I lost interest pretty quickly. If you've read it and feel I need to give it another go, please tell me! 

This month was a GREAT reading month for me. Especially because I had this gal right there next to me, diving into her books as well: 

Thanks so much to Steph and Jana for hosting such an amazing link up for so many of us bookworms to get together and chat. I love it and look forward to it each month. Cheers to 2 years of Show Us Your Books! 

What Amy Schumer's Book Taught Me About Myself

When I read The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, I was anticipating funny anecdotes about her sexcapades...I got a huge kick out of Trainwreck and hoped that her book would contain many funny stories just like the movie. And it totally delivered. But unexpectedly, it was also much, much more.

I have to admit, some of her jokes make me cringe...only because they are so honest and I wish I could be the "lay it all out there" kind of girl. My only criticism of her is that she is too hard on herself. Her "fat  girl" jokes get a little old only because she's certainly not fat at all and she should be using her platform to say "I'm beautiful" not "I don't care that I am fat." But I know insecurities often get the loudest microphone because putting them out there as a joke makes it easier to handle. I get that. I've been that girl for most of my life. I saw Amy onstage at the Critic's Choice Awards last year and I was in awe of her confidence and her ability to hold the audience's attention. People couldn't help but smile at her.

Her book didn't disappoint either. I was in love with her stories and her quippy, whip fast story telling style. But, when I got to chapter 4, I was a little taken aback when I saw the title: "I Am An Introvert" and I thought, "well that can't be right."  

 As I was reading, I realized the book was moving...and then after another second I realized the book wasn't moving (because that's crazy, I know) but instead, it was me. My head, to be exact, was nodding over and over again. She was describing me. 

I've gotten to the point where I thought maybe I was depressed. I don't enjoy going to large functions where there are lots of people. I stress whenever it's time to get dressed up. As soon as I leave the house, I start counting down the hours where I can return to my couch, my blanket, my book and my comfy clothes. Home. 

Amy wrote about struggling with the balance of enjoying people's company and being a creative soul who needed to collaborate in order to practice her art...but at the same time, craving a quiet in her mind that could only be fed by spending time alone. 

I need that. My kids know all about it and it's a lifesaver that they appreciate how much I need it. I have to say "Okay, guys-decompress time!" and off we go to our respective rooms for half an hour. That calmness is essential. I need to quiet my bones, my thoughts and my hamster wheel of a brain. 

With a job that requires juggling many tricks in the air at once, with a life that has me wearing several hats all in the same day, the introvert side of me is saying "Leave me alone!" at least 10 times a day. You know in cartoons some people have a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other? 

With me, it's a super spunky, over friendly puppy dog who just wants to play and has major FOMO and on my other- a quiet, calm almost grouchy cat with resting bitch face that wants you to kindly step out of her personal space bubble. 

I like being both of those. And honestly, until I read Amy's words, I didn't know you could do both. I think that I can be both, I just need to take a step away and give myself the peace when I feel my introvert side needing more oxygen. 

I hope that others like me and Amy read her book and find comfort in her description and how being introverted isn't a bad thing, it's not depression and it's not sad. It's just a part of you. It's in the same category as my dislike for cucumbers and water chestnuts. It's one of my quirks- like pulling on my eyebrows when I am stressed or how I need a fan and my blanket for a good night's sleep. I need a quiet place to gather my thoughts. 

Any other introverts reading this? What's your favorite way to introvert?