Supporting the Small Business

I’ve always believed in supporting small, family-owned businesses and now is arguably a time where it’s even more important that those types of businesses get support.

The community I live in is composed almost entirely of family-owned businesses. The restaurants, clothing stores and personal services have the face of the family that runs it with their dedicated employees. Being in a small tight-knit area where everybody knows everybody is difficult because at this uncertain time everybody knows someone that has either lost their job or is struggling to keep their business alive. It’s heartbreaking to know so many individuals who are struggling and that’s why my family and I are trying our best to support our local businesses.

Many businesses have adapted to work with what they have and are able to do with restrictions. Restaurants are offering takeout, retail stores were able to shift to online sales before they were allowed to open again and services encouraged gift certificate purchases if they couldn’t operate within the guidelines set forth by the local government. They are offering what they can in hopes that the community can continue to support them so they are operational when the time allows them to get back to 100% operational.

For my family, some of our favorite restaurants are still open and offering take-out so we have tried to spread the wealth and ordered from a few different ones over the past two months. Others that aren’t open we hope to frequent when they are. We’ve purchased what we can from local retail stores that are open after being closed down due to Colorado executive orders instead of ordering online. We even were able to move up some work we had planned to have done on the outside of our house to help a carpenter friend whose wife isn’t able to work. But it’s not just our locals that feed our small community economy.

In our county, like many others in Colorado, several businesses don’t just rely on local support, but the support from visitors. Our economy is maintained and boosted by the tourists that frequent our area in both the winter and summer. Some businesses chose to close during the slower months simply because they do not generate enough revenue to justify being open. Usually this time is now, in the spring after the snow has melted and in the fall when the weather isn’t warm but the snow hasn’t stuck to the ground. Generally those businesses close for a month at most. As of today, it’s been almost two months for not just those business but others as well that have been forced to close.

For me personally, I know too many people that work for or own businesses that are a part of that list of temporary closures. Thankfully, with openings beginning in Colorado, some of those establishments are ready to open and welcome back their devoted customers. It’s when these places open that the community has to take action. We have to support those that are a vital part of our community.

Re-opening might not be an easy task for some businesses. It could bring a whole different challenge for some. Employees that were laid off might not be able to return. Some have had to move from the area or start a new job leaving owners short-staffed and wondering how they will conduct business like normal. It’s a challenge that many will have to face and I hope that they have the support to rebuild.

I’m lucky to have a job that was able to keep me working from the start of all this but I have always had a soft spot for a small family-run outdoor store that I have worked for off and on for five years. The family that owns the store have become a second family to me and I was worried when they were forced to close. They’re working on an addition to the building and I know it’s a large project that is taking a lot of time and energy that has been delayed. Thankfully, they have a great local group of faithful customers that are happy to make purchases regularly. Plus, they always look out and genuinely care for their staff which keeps team members happy and ready to work.

With Memorial Day weekend already here we know there will be a surge of tourists looking to escape to the mountains. I hope that the surge helps local businesses, but I also hope that those coming to our community take precautions and understand we want to keep everyone who calls this place home safe and healthy.

If you have an opportunity to support your locally-owned businesses I know they’ll greatly appreciate it. Here are five ways you can support a local family owned business:

  1. Make a purchase.
  2. Plan services for the future.
  3. Buy a gift card/certificate to gift or use later.
  4. Write a positive review online.
  5. Follow the business’s social media accounts.

It’s a challenging time no matter where you live or what you do for a living. I hope that everyone is staying safe and being cautious and keeping the well-being of everyone in mind.

Book Review: “The Nightingale”

I read this book from a recommendation and was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. I have never been a huge historical fiction person, but I really enjoyed this story and got to a point where I couldn’t put it down. I even ended up purchasing the book after my library borrow time had expired and I hadn’t quite finished the book yet.

I was not the best history student in school and didn’t retain much about World War II which made me look up a lot while reading this book. It’s fictional in the individual stories but the history is accurate and I genuinely learned more about the war and how truly devastating it was. I obviously knew it was tragic, but didn’t fully grasp the personal stories outside of those in camps. In school you don’t really get to hear about personal stories, what you learn are mostly general, broad ideas and timelines.

Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale follows the personal stories of two sisters living in World War II occupied France. One sister, Vianne, and her young daughter are living in a small town that becomes host to several Nazi captains, one of which requisitions her household while her husband heads to the front line. The other, Isabelle, continues her teenage rebellious tendencies and joins the resistance determined to undermine the Nazi regime and operate right under their noses.

The best element of the book was the emotional tone that came through and made the narrative so engaging. It was the two personal stories that made it great. I felt for the characters and every up and down they had. I felt the emotions they were feeling and that’s what kept me reading nonstop for hours on end. I didn’t want to put it down because I had to know what was next and I think that quality in a book is a sign of a great author.

I think many authors can go wrong when writing fictional novels that are based on major historical events. I think there is a fine balance to writing the history and writing your own story. I’ve been afraid to read historical fiction because I don’t want to feel like I’m reading a textbook that drones on and on about the facts. I’d much rather have a story that plays into the facts of the event or time period with personal stories that are easy to follow and that the reader can latch on to.

I also think it’s important in these types of novels to really develop the characters and illustrate how they are reacting to the events transpiring around them. If you don’t have an interesting character then it’s going to feel like a textbook with little to no emotion. I think the best stories about historical tragedies encompass the heartache, the struggle and the thinking or decision making of a character living through that tragedy. And I think Hannah did that with not just one character but two very well. I also find it really enthralling because the two characters are females that are dealing with having to become strong individuals. It’s a bit different than other WW2 novels too because the majority of the ones I’ve seen or read about focus on the soldiers at war or those imprisoned in camps. This story was different and I think that’s why I chose to read it.

Overall, I was very happy reading this book and pleasantly surprised about how I couldn’t put it down despite it not being a genre I usually gravitate towards. I’ve started to recommend it to others because it is a fantastic historical fiction read and I hope those that I’ve recommended it to enjoyed it as much as I did.

World Book Day Recommendations

In honor of World Book Day I want to give my top five book recommendations. I could recommend a long list of books but these are five that I find to be great reads for anyone. I realized just the other day that I ask people for book recommendations a lot and I’m always grateful for whatever gets recommended so I might as well return the favor out into the universe. I’m definitely not a genre-specific reader, I generally like most out there and will pretty much read anything.

Here are five of my top book recommendations:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This classic is by far one of my favorite reads. I just love the story and the writing style of Fitzgerald. I read the book in high school for the first time and then had to read it again when I was in college for my comparative literature class. When I was in high school I definitely didn’t appreciate the story and the poetic depiction of the 1920s. When I read it again I just couldn’t believe how dense and unappreciative I was the first time reading it. Needless to say I still pick it up from time to time to read just for fun.

The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah
This is the newest addition to my favorites list. I just read it a few months ago from a recommendation and after struggling just a little to get into the story I quickly fell into the lives of the characters and couldn’t put the book down. I just loved the way it was written with historical accuracy and true emotion. I will be writing a book review for The Nightingale soon so stay tuned for that post.

The Giver by Lois Lowry
Another read from when I was younger that I actually enjoyed and appreciated at the time. If I remember correctly I actually read this book when I was probably too young to understand it completely but read it again when I was in high school right before the movie adaptation came out. It’s just one of those books that I really enjoyed because of the seemingly normal story that isn’t as normal as you think in the beginning. The story definitely parallels modern ideology and I think that’s what I liked about it most. It’s the similarities in stories that reflect the story of modern life in unconventional ways that make them relatable and hard to put down.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
One of my favorite books and surprisingly also one of my favorite book-to-film adaptations. I love a good mystery/drama and this one just tops my list. It’s a great twist and turn type of novel that certainly keeps you on your toes chapter after chapter. It’s a suspenseful story that you can’t stop reading.

The Poet by Michael Connelly
I absolutely love Michael Connelly’s writing and his large collection of novels. My first taste of Connelly’s books was The Poet. I think I first picked it up at the library and read it and really, really enjoyed it. I knew I liked crime novels because there’s a mystery that as a reader, I always try to figure out before I finish the book. Connelly’s writing usually keeps me guessing until the very end. I specifically resonated with this novel because it’s the introduction of a new character to Connelly’s world of crime. Instead of the original perspective of detective Bosch, it’s from the perspective of a reporter that covers the local beat in Denver. Always a great read and I hope he keeps writing so I can keep reading.

Of course there are many more books that I could recommend and a fair few series *cough, cough Harry Potter*. I’m also always open to recommendations. I find myself gravitating more towards fiction crime/suspense and then fantasy which can arguably be placed at two ends of the spectrum but alas, I still like reading any type of genre. There are more than 130 million published novels in this world and it’s honestly a shame there isn’t enough time in a life to read them all.

As always, stay tuned for more posts and more book reviews.

30 Days of Being Grateful

Self-isolation started for me on March 23rd. Because the state of the entire world is shrouded in chaos at the moment I wanted to stay positive and think about the things I’m grateful for during this uncertain time. Here are those thirty things that I thought about for the past 30 days.

Monday, March 23rd: First day working from home. Today I am grateful for fast internet.

Tuesday, March 24th: Today I am grateful for still living with my mom. If I was living alone (like some of my close friends are) I’m not sure how I would be handling this.

Wednesday, March 25th: Today I’m grateful for long phone calls and Facetime sessions. Connecting with my friends in this time is important for me to keep my sanity. I also love being able to talk to and see my friends that are in a completely different state.

Thursday, March 26th: Today I’m grateful for a large house. Even if I’m sharing it with my wonderful mom and her supportive boyfriend, an energetic ball-crazy dog and a sleepy kitty.

Friday, March 27th: Today I’m grateful for having a job that is able to keep me employed during these uncertain times.

Saturday, March 28th: All three of us are staying home on the weekends for the foreseeable future. Today I’m grateful for streaming services and many, many movies that we can watch as a family.

Sunday, March 29th: Today I’m grateful that I have a large book collection.

Monday, March 30th: Week two of work-from-home begins. I’m grateful that my superiors understand I’m here to help and that I’m able to help take something small off their very full plates.

Tuesday, March 31st: I would have been leaving for South Lake Tahoe today for a work trip if the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t come to it’s peak here in the US. Today I’m grateful that Southwest has a flexible booking policy. I have credit for when things calm down and I’m able to travel for work, and leisure, again.

Wednesday, April 1st: Today I’m grateful that people are able to keep humor and lightheartedness in this time of melancholy but also know the boundaries of what’s humorous and what’s crossing the line.

Thursday, April 2nd: Today I’m grateful for our local grocery store staying as stocked as they can and working hard in these crazy times. Everyone just needs to stop panic buying.

Friday, April 3rd: Today I’m grateful for Fridays. I am usually always grateful for Fridays, but now even more so.

Saturday, April 4th: Today I’m grateful that we have a nice backyard and that spring is definitely here.

Sunday, April 5th: Today I’m grateful for my mom and how she has taught me how to cook, enjoy reading and to keep a clean home.

Monday, April 6th: Beginning week three of work-from-home. Today I’m grateful for Nash, our family dog. He is keeping things positive for all of us.

Tuesday, April 7th: Today I’m grateful for Gordan Ramsay. The many shows he has available through streaming services is making time go by faster.

Wednesday, April 8th: Today I actually left the house for a short amount of time. For not leaving in the past two and half weeks, it was nice to get out and just drive for a little bit. I’m grateful for living in the mountains where the air is fresh and there’s rarely any traffic.

Thursday, April 9th: I’m grateful for social media. It might be a hindrance sometimes but most of the time it’s there to keep me connected to the rest of the world and the friends that I don’t get to see.

Friday, April 10th: Today I’m grateful for sweatpants and long sleeve t-shirts. And I’m even more grateful for the fact that I have enough to wear everyday of the week.

Saturday, April 11th: I’m grateful for weekends. Who isn’t though?

Sunday, April 12th: Today I’m grateful for having the freedom to believe in what I chose to believe in.

Monday, April 13th: Today I’m grateful for being out of school. I know that sounds so selfish but I can’t imagine how I’d be handling this if I was still in school, high school or college. I give lots of kudos to the students that are working through this, especially you seniors. Hang in there.

Tuesday, April 14th: I’m so so so grateful for my cat. She’s been a mega cuddlebug and I love love love it.

Wednesday, April 15th: I’m grateful for it staying lighter longer. I missed it and it is making me optimistic for summer.

Thursday, April 16th: Today I’m grateful for the support system that is in place for the company that I work for. Our executives genuinely care about what is happening in our various locations across the US and we all know we are here for each other.

Friday, April 17th: Today I’m grateful for the three other people that work in my office. We video chatted today for about an hour and it was exactly what we all needed. There was a little business but mostly laughs and lots of chats about what we are all doing to stay sane.

Saturday, April 18th: I’m grateful for really lazy days where I can just relax, lay in bed and not care at all about being productive. I think everyone needs lazy days and today is my day.

Sunday, April 19th: Today I’m extra grateful for having the ability to cook and make some decent meals.

Monday, April 20th: Today I’m grateful for having a second family. My second family lives really close and I occasionally dog sit/house sit for them. So right now I’m lounging in their living room with a pup at my feet and the other on the dog bed behind the couch. There’s also chicks in the bathtub so that’s fun.

Tuesday, April 21st: Today I am grateful for having this blog. I know not many people read it, but it’s a fun and creative outlet for myself and sometimes I just really need it. Thank you to those that do read, I hope you enjoy it.

I hope you can all find something to be grateful for in these uncertain and anxiety inducing times. I think finding the positive in any situation can mentally help a lot. Stay sane and stay healthy, but more importantly stay safe everyone.

A (Business) Trip to Park City, Utah

Early in March, before things in the United States started to escalate, I took my first business trip. Today I would have been leaving for another. This year is supposed to be full of those for me, but with the state of things I won’t be travelling for work until travel is safer. Now I’m not going to dwell on the fact that I’ve had to cancel trips and postpone booking others, instead I’m going to reflect on my first trip and how much I enjoyed it.

This trip was my first one of many but different from what my next ones will be. This trip was scheduled around my boss’s already scheduled trip for the property’s annual meeting of the owners. My boss is the Vice President of Resort Operations for the mountain region for my company which as of right now includes Colorado and Utah. As I live in Colorado, I am able to do the tasks that are set in place for my property visits whenever I want. So the only other place that falls under her region is our property in Park City, Utah. Since this was the first property visit outside of Colorado, it made sense to schedule and travel with my boss.

I’ve always been excited to travel and explore new places but when I began college traveling, and flying in particular, suddenly became a stressful experience for me. I didn’t know why it was so sudden but anxiety began to ruin any fun, travel experience I was going to have. Since then I’ve traveled a few times and without fail any time I’ve flown, I’ve become extremely anxious to the point of being physically ill. After travelling last summer to visit friends I decided I needed to speak to someone about my anxiety and get it in check so that not every flying experience was racked with full-body stress. Thankfully, I was able to get some help with that anxiety and my first trip was a success and felt like a major milestone.

I’m glad my first trip wasn’t solo and that I could experience travelling for work with my boss. Being in an office of just four people, my boss and I are close which I believe helped a lot in both a professional and personal way. We have a lot in common even though there is an almost 30 year age difference so there were never any dull moments. What surprised me the most was that we pretty much never stopped talking. We had a lot to talk about, both work related and non-work related which passed the time.

Aside from having a great travelling companion, this work trip was not a meeting-oriented, spend lots of time sitting in a room kind of trip, it was a fun-filled, get creative and explore kind of trip. My job as the Marketing and Communications Manager on these site visits is to explore the area so I can accurately market the property and the attractions that draw people to the area. I also took along my standard camera and 3D imaging camera to collect content. Of course, I had to monitor emails and be available if something came up that needed my immediate attention in addition to having fun so there was some down time in the room that I sometimes welcomed. Because the trip was only three days I had to use my time wisely.

Day 1:
I have passed through a few airports but I will always love DIA. I don’t know if it’s purely because it’s my home airport or if it’s because I love the odd layout, but it is my favorite airport to fly out of. Because our trip was short we didn’t check any bags and with my boss’s TSA Precheck we zoomed right through to our gate and had extra time on our hands so we grabbed breakfast at a cafe and continued chatting.

Typically I fly with Southwest but they don’t offer a direct flight to Salt Lake City so we took Delta which I was pretty happy with. It’s a quick flight so we arrived a little after noon and went straight to get our rental car. After getting our rental car it only took about 45 minutes to get into Park City and to our property Park Regency. Because it was still early we went across the street for lunch at Einstein Bagels and then settled into our rooms. After we unpacked we headed to Main Street to walk around, shop and enjoy the beautiful early spring weather.

There were several stores that had everything from name brand collections to standard souvenirs. Mingled among the stores were restaurants and bars that offered a variety for the après ski crowd.

After walking up and down Main Street we headed back towards Park Regency to grab dinner. Thankfully across the street there are many dinner options to choose from. As my boss has been to Park City before she knew which restaurants I had to try while I was there. One of them being Sammy’s Bistro which was featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. We ordered take-out from Sammy’s, headed back to our room and decided to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and have some wine together to finish off a long day.

Day 2:
The day started with breakfast at Einsteins and then I began my trek around the property taking photos and scanning rooms for online tours. My company purchased a Matterport 3D camera to create virtual tours that can be shown on our booking platforms so potential guests can see what our rooms and common areas look like. I really like the camera and how it can bring our websites up a notch. On top of the 3D scans I also took regular stills to be used for other parts of our website and for third-party booking platforms.

Wandering around the property and taking photos allowed me to get familiar with the resort and gather content for social posts. It makes my job much easier if I’m able to put together a collection of photos to use later. I hope that I’m able to go back in the summer when there’s a whole different type of scenery and activity list.

After taking photos throughout the day and having a moment to check emails it was time for dinner. Because there was an annual meeting the board of directors were on property so we went to dinner with them and their spouses. We went back to Main Street to a wonderful restaurant called 501 on Main. The menu had a great variety and I really enjoyed my meal (and dessert).

The best part of dinner though was getting to speak with the board members and seeing what they thought could elevate our marketing for the property. For most of my trips I won’t be there at the same time as board members so this unique aspect gave me a bit more to work with.

Day 3:
Back to Einsteins for breakfast because it’s so convenient and I could probably eat bagels every day for breakfast. This time we were joined by our CEO who came in for the annual meeting scheduled for later in the day. It was nice to catch up with him and chat a bit about business. After breakfast I walked around a bit more to take photos and spoke with the front desk staff about recommendations they give to guests. This helped me to get an insiders/local opinion about where to eat and what activities to do.

After the very short annual meeting we set off to a potential new property with a board member. This wasn’t necessarily something that needed my presence but I got to see into how things like new contracts come together. I liked the insight and getting to understand more about how our company’s development process.

Afterwards we went for lunch with the board member to wrap up our time in Park City. We ended up at a nice bar and grille called the Boneyard Saloon. After lunch we headed back to Salt Lake City for our flight home. We were a bit ahead of schedule so a glass of wine and a small snack helped pass the time. My boss and I continued our long chats and before we knew it we were getting in the car at DIA and heading home.

We left on Thursday morning and came home on Saturday night and even though it wasn’t a long trip, we packed in a lot of work, play and plenty of food. I enjoyed the trip and got to gather a lot for the marketing department while exploring a new place. I’m happy to have had this opportunity and I hope I can continue these trips to explore all these great areas in the future.

I also learned a lot about how to pack light and how to maximize the time I spend in an area which will be beneficial for all my future traveling. My boss of course had tips and tricks that I hope to use in my future business trips. It was a great trip and a great introduction to business travel.

I really enjoyed the Park City area and I hope to return to explore even more in the future.

Other places I hope to be travelling to this year:
– South Lake Tahoe, California
– Big Bear Lake, California
– Long Beach Peninsula, Washington
– Sedona, Arizona
– Ruidoso, New Mexico
– Destin, Florida
– Pensacola Beach, Florida
– Gulf Shores, Alabama
– Biloxi, Mississippi
– Nags Head, North Carolina

Book Review: "Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree"

In honor of World Poetry Day I’ll be reviewing Simi K. Rao’s collection of Poems, Rants and Short Stories, Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree.

As I’ve mentioned before, reading poetry is a great step away from the classic novel and I really enjoy reading collections from different poets to get a taste of the different styles and stories that each poet has. Some people say that poetry is all the same, but each poet has their own style that comes through in their selection and flow of words.

I really enjoyed Rao’s style and flow and how she put together her collection. The assortment is a mix of her own life experiences and of those of her friends and family which makes it far more realistic and enjoyable. Life isn’t always easy to write about and even harder to share with others. For Rao, the emotion comes out in each poem clearly. You can tell she took her time in writing and arranging the poems and short stories to best convey certain emotions.

One particular poem that I enjoyed and bookmarked to reread was Loneliness.

Loneliness

Introducing Loneliness,
your constant companion
You lie if you say you don’t know me
I’m the one who sits beside you in the empty
passenger seat
I’m the stranger who smiles at you at the mall
I’m the blanket you wrap yourself in every night
I’m the clock you hear ticking in the hall
I’m the breeze that ruffles your hair on a cold winter
morning
I’m the scream that reverberates through your lonely
frame
I’m the earth who cradles you in the grave
Where would you be without me?

If you didn’t get a little tug in the pit of your stomach from reading that, then read it again. It’s brutally honest in a way that is hurtful but also comforting. It’s a poetic interpretation of a typical, human element that most, me included, wouldn’t be able to put into words. It’s very powerful.

The collection includes other poems just as powerful as this one but also others that are more light-hearted and short stories that I wish weren’t short stories. I strongly believe that a good writer has written a good short story when the reader wants more.

The short stories and poems that reflect real experiences and emotions of struggle, loneliness, defeat and triumph make the whole collection worth a read. Rao’s writing is raw and relatable which makes it an easy and enjoyable read.

Day 5 of 5 Days of Love

“We just need to be kinder to ourselves. If we treated ourselves the way we treated our best friend, can you imagine how much better off we would be?”

Meghan Markle

I Love Me

I think one of the biggest problems in the world today is that nobody loves themselves as much as they should. We spend hours every day worrying about other people and making sure everyone else is okay, but we seem to forget about ourselves. And I’m definitely one of those people, but I’m going to start loving myself more, taking care of myself before others because there’s only one me in this world.

I love me. I love that I’m hyper-organized and plan everything to the finest detail. I love that I can cook and bake and that I get excited about trying a new recipe. I love that I have blonde hair and blue eyes. I love that I can justify buying pretty much anything and I love that I probably budgeted for it. I love a lot of things about myself and sure, I don’t love everything, but that’s okay. Flaws aren’t permanent, they can be changed or I can find a way to love them and that’s okay too.

Self-love doesn’t come easy and if someone says differently they are trying to sell you something. In my experience the first step to loving yourself is to accept yourself exactly how you are. Now this might sound difficult, but it’s the best way to start because then you’ll have a foundation to build on. Start accepting your crooked toes, your high-pitched sneezes or the way you organize your bathroom. It’s how you operate and who you are and you should accept that. If it’s something that you can change, like the way you organize your bathroom, then change it until you like it, and then accept it. Be confident in you.

Think about your dreams and aspirations and find elements of those dreams and aspirations that you love and go with it. To love yourself you should do things that you love to do and commit to them long term. Then you have stop complaining about everything you don’t love in the world. Leave the negative out of your life, it helps a lot. Promise yourself that you’re going to do that thing and stop doing that other thing. Find a balance in your life that works.

Loving yourself starts with the way that you live your life. If you don’t like certain elements of your life, then you’re not going to be happy and being unhappy will make it harder to love yourself. You’re your first priority, make sure it stays that way.

I’m still working on all this myself, but believe me when you step back and take an objective look at your life and what makes you happy and what you love about you, it vastly improves your self-love.

“Be healthy and take care of yourself, but be happy with the beautiful things that make you, you.”

Beyoncé

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Day 4 of 5 Days of Love

Have you ever taken the 5 Love Languages quiz?

I Love Quality Time

I took the quiz back in college when the guy I was dating at the time asked me what my ranking of the five love languages was. I had no idea what that meant so he showed me the quiz and I took it. I found the screenshot I took of the results just the other day and it still rings true today.

  1. Quality Time
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Physical Touch
  4. Words of Affirmation
  5. Receiving Gifts

Though I love to give gifts myself, I actually feel weird receiving them. I also feel super awkward when someone compliments me so it makes sense that ‘Words of Affirmation’ and ‘Receiving Gifts’ is lower on my list. ‘Physical Touch’ is also something that I sometimes feel odd about but I do like. I mean who doesn’t like a good cuddle? ‘Acts of Service’ is my number two because I generally like when someone offers to wash the dishes or help me clean the bathroom. But my top love language is definitely ‘Quality Time’.

‘Quality Time’ means the world to me, especially in a romantic relationship. It’s also important to me in all my normal, close relationships. I could care less what we are doing, just that we are spending time together. I love just being with the people I care about because you never know how much time you’re going to get with someone.

Want to spend a day just watching movies and eating junk food? Sounds amazing. How about a day hike? Yes. Running errands, getting groceries, washing the car? Would love to. Quality time to me means that we are together and it really doesn’t matter what we are doing. It could be seeing each other for just an hour or for a full weekend, quality time is quality time and I love it.

Stay tuned for the last day of love!

Day 3 of 5 Days of Love

Who doesn’t love being in nature?

I Love The Mountains

I always thought I was going to be a city girl and when I left for college I was excited to live somewhere “city-like” and away from the mountains but that excitement didn’t last long. I really thought that I’d like the city more because I was going to be closer to more things, but after spending less than a year in a city I realized I didn’t really like it. I liked being near stores and having access to items instantly, but I missed the quiet, the trees, the fresh air and even the snow.

There’s just something about being right in the mountains where wildlife is abundant and you can get lost driving just 10 minutes away from your house. I also love all the activities that come with having the mountains in your backyard. Hiking, camping, skiing, snowshoeing, you name it, I probably love it.

Now don’t get me wrong, living in the mountains has its challenges, but sometimes they are worth it. I love being up here but it is a bit harder of a life to live. As someone my age, unless you work at a ski resort, it’s hard to make friends and if I need that one item from Target I have to wait till my next trip to Denver. I love being up here but in the near future I am going to move away, but not too far away. I want to stay close enough to be able to escape to the mountains for the weekend because you can’t be too far away from something you love.

Stay tuned for the next two days of love!

Day 2 of 5 Days of Love

In case you didn’t already know from reading this blog, I love getting cozy with a book and getting lost in another world.

I Love Reading

I love reading and in the past year I’ve even expanded my reading repertoire and have been using Goodreads like a social media platform. I grew up without internet until I was in high school so instead of surfing the web or playing games, I read. My mom always had a book on her nightstand and when I was old enough to read chapter books on my own she made sure I did too.

I was one of those kids that got super excited when the Scholastic Book Fair came to my school and I’d gather up all my savings just so I could buy all the books I wanted. I also borrowed books from my school’s library when I could and when I got the chance to go to the next town over where there was a public library, my mom made sure I was able to get what I wanted. I would definitely say that my love of reading came from her and I’m so thankful for that.

Reading is far different from watching a TV show or movie and I think teaching kids early that reading is fun and not just something you have to do for school is important. The accessibility to books is astonishing and I personally think that everyone should take advantage of that accessibility. When I was in middle school I babysat all summer for a family that didn’t have TV or internet in their house so I spent a lot of my Friday afternoons grabbing as many books as I could at the library so I had something to do the next week. If it wasn’t for that easy access I don’t know what I would have done for those eight hour days.

Reading for me means constantly learning and keeping my creativity alive. I love getting settled with a book that I can read for hours and get lost in the story. I don’t just read novels either, I’ve become more interested in books of poetry, graphic novels and educational books. I just finished a book on how to get organized in every room of your house and I loved it! Right now, I’m rereading the Harry Potter series because why not?

Reading is what you make of it and I know some people don’t read at all and that’s okay, but I don’t think I could ever be that type of person. I hope to read as much as I can for as long as I can because it’s part of my lifestyle and I absolutely love doing it. AND I’m always open to book suggestions so if you have any drop them in the comments below.

Stay tuned for the next three days of love!

Day 1 of 5 Days of Love

In honor of Valentine’s Day this Friday, I wanted to share five things over the course of the next five days that I absolutely love, love, love. I’ve always believed that Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples, it’s for expressing your love even more for those you truly care about. I also think it’s great to get discounted chocolate the day after which brings me to Day One.

I Love Chocolate

I really love chocolate. Any type, form, with nuts, with caramel, all of it. Chocolate is my favorite sweet and I almost always have it on hand in my house, and in my desk at work (for emergencies of course). It’s my comfort food, my happy food, my I’m too sad to function food, you name it. If I have any choice of dessert, it’s probably going to have chocolate in it. Here are just a few of my favorite forms of chocolate:

  • My all-time favorite kind is the Lindt Lindor milk chocolate truffles. Literally the way to my heart is chocolate coated chocolate.
  • My favorite cookie is the classic Oreo. No double stuffed nonsense.
  • Candy bar: KitKat.
  • My favorite ice cream is Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food: chocolate, caramel and marshmallow perfection.
  • Cake form? Red Velvet with cream cheese frosting all the way
  • I love hot chocolate with a bit of whipped cream too.

Stay tuned for the next four days of love!

Book Review: “The Last Time We Say Goodbye”

Book thirty nine/forty of my 2019 Reading Challenge.

Cynthia Hand’s The Last Time We Say Goodbye

This book was a little hard to read mainly because of the central element of the story being about a teen’s suicide and how it affects those close to them. I think Cynthia Hand handles the touchy subject very well and really tells a genuine story about a sister who unexpectedly loses her brother. High school is hard enough but when your brother becomes “the kid that committed suicide” everyone starts to look at you differently and walk on eggshells whenever you enter the room. Lex faces a lot in this novel but that’s what makes her a great character.

I’ve said it multiple times before and I’ll say it again, I love character development. Lex’s character development is so well done in this novel. Saying it’s tough to deal with suicide is an understatement and you really see that through Lex’s eyes which made it kind of hard to read at times. Hand really did a great job in making the reader feel the pain Lex felt throughout the entire book so I was personally hoping that she would eventually get closure because I needed it too.

Something that I don’t like in books about touchy subjects is when an author leaves out details to “spare the audience.” I think if you’re writing a novel that has sensitive elements, it needs to be written correctly, no filter. Hand did that. If you sugar coat things or make them unrealistic, it’s not enjoyable to read. She didn’t sugar coat the story and it made it harder to read sure, but it also made in more enjoyable. Death isn’t an easy topic, but then again neither is life. The Last Time We Say Goodbye is about those not-so-easy topics. Lex deals with a lot of inner turmoil that in a way, buries her in a grave of her own thoughts and she has to find a way to dig herself out. Even though she’s alive, she’s dealing with death and how the moments leading up to her brother’s will never leave her.

I would recommend this book purely because of Lex’s character development and the emotional draw that Hand manages to accomplish with the story. It’s a hard subject matter, but it’s something that everyone has or is going to experience in their lives. Unfortunately, suicide is prevalent all to much in our current society and it’s not going to help anyone avoiding the topic. Of course, proceed with caution if this subject is too close to home.

This book completes my 2019 Reading Challenge. I technically finished the book in 2020, but I began reading it in 2019 so I’m counting it towards my challenge. I also listened to an audio book (Michael Connelly’s Two Kinds of Truth) back in August that I wasn’t sure about including in my challenge total, but after thinking about it, I did listen to the entire book and ultimately thought it still counted (if you disagree, keep it to yourself). So with that, my goal to reach 40 books was a success!

Thank you to all that have followed along and have read my reviews. I’m anticipating wanting to write more book reviews as I add to my “Read” list on Goodreads so head back here for more this year.