Resolving to Just Be More Awesome

In 2014 I resolve to…

Be a Better Blogger

  • More than posting regularly, I will be more creative in coming up with post and series ideas.
  • I will be more conversational with other bloggers.
  • I will tweak my blog design so it’s more appealing and appropriate for my blog, my audience and me.

Read More

  • I will keep the next few books in my reading list on hand, so I can quickly get to the next book once one is finished or if the first one isn’t going so well.
  • I will discover new and new-to-me authors.
  • I will include more diverse authors in my reading list. First up are black authors for February’s Experiencing Black History Through Literature month. (And, of course, Murakami!)

Write More Actively

  • I will write and possibly share one essay a month.
  • I will make at least a little time in my day for writing-fiction and essays.

OK. Now I need you all to keep me honest. Stay tuned for some awesomeness this year!

Do you have any goals or resolutions for the year?

Living Intentionally

This year Lent is providing me an excellent opportunity to push myself to live my life more intentionally, to really focus on how I live and how it impacts me, my family, my community and the earth.

My first step in to learning to live intentionally was figuring out how I spend my time and if it fits with my goals and values. I quickly identified one way that I spend my time that doesn’t match up to my goals. I frequent a forum where I can spend hours chatting away without accomplishing anything.  I really enjoy my time there, but it’s become my go-to for entertainment when I could be focusing most (not all) of my time and energy actively engaged in achieving my goals.

A large part of living intentionally is truly understanding the world around me an embracing my spirituality. For the next 40 days, I will be reading 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker and Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly. These books will help me understand how my actions impact me spiritually and my community.

I’ve been gradually working towards being more environmentally friendly, but I’ve been a little too gradual. I believe it’s time to be more focused on how I can be a better steward of the environment. It’s really time for me to define a strategy to become more environmentally friendly.

Are you giving anything up for Lent or trying to live more intentionally regardless of a religious or nonreligious affiliation?

100 Super Important Things, Part II

Read Part I here

Better late than never, here’s Part II of my 100 Super Important Things:

What I Would Do If Money Were No Object

  1. Have a second baby
  2. Travel the world
  3. Go on wonderful adventures
  4. Volunteer a lot
  5. Read good books
  6. Drink good wine
  7. Eat good food
  8. Hire a tutor
  9. Turn a barn into a country house
  10. Renovate an old house in the city

5 Things on my Bucket List

  1. Attend a Presidential Inauguration (preferably a President I support)
  2. Finally write a novel
  3. Attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
  4. See all 10 things on my places to see list
  5. Start a successful business

The 5 Best Moments of My Life

  1. My wedding day
  2. Claire’s birth
  3. College graduation
  4. Nick’s proposal
  5. Finding out I was pregnant

My 5 Favorite Places

  1. My bedso comfortable
  2. My home
  3. My parent’s home
  4. Barcelo Maya Resort on the Mayan Riviera
  5. On a boat

10 Places I Need to See Before I Die

  1. The Irish countryside
  2. Paris
  3. The French Riviera
  4. London
  5. Spain
  6. Germany
  7. Italy
  8. 8. All 50 states
  9. Prague
  10. Russia

5 Things I’m Grateful For

  1. Family
  2. Health
  3. A roof over our heads
  4. Food on our table
  5. Love

10 People who Inspire & Influence Me


  1. Jesus
  2. My parents
  3. Barack Obama
  4. Claire McCaskill
  5. Elizabeth Warren
  6. My Grandma Irene
  7. My Grandma Faith
  8. Isabel Allende
  9. Laura Hillenbrand
  10. Pablo Picasso

100 Super Important Things, Part I

Well, this my friends, is my 100th post. Despite many stops and starts, name changes and questions about the focus of my blog, I’m proud to say I have it all figured out (for now)!

So, to celebrate, I wanted to share 100 super important things. I decided to split the post in two because these are so important that I didn’t want to overwhelm any readers.

My 10 Favorite Books

  1. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  2. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  3. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  4. Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer
  5. On Writing by Stephen King
  6. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  7. The Heart is  a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
  8. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  9. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  10. Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende

My 10 Favorite Posts

  1. Election Day BONUS Post
  2. Last Night in Tweets
  3. Rain Taxi’s Twin Cities Book Festival
  4. Book Review: The Giver
  5. Book Review: Bringing Up Bebe
  6. My New York Fashion Week Top Picks
  7. The Book vs the Movie: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  8. Embracing the Best of the Holidays
  9. Book Review: Remarkable Creatures
  10. Winning Looks at the 64th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards

My 10 Favorite Movies

  1. Beauty & the Beast
  2. Couple’s Retreat
  3. 8 Seconds
  4. American History X
  5. Guys and Dolls
  6. Harry Potter series
  7. Dead Poet’s Society
  8. Mona Lisa Smile
  9. The Phantom of the Opera
  10. Planes, Trains & Automobiles

10 Goals for the Blog

  1. Establish a routine posting schedule.
  2. Add a Poetry Thursday feature every week.
  3. Add new features as they become relevant.
  4. Custom design the blog.
  5. Finish categorizing and tagging everything.
  6. Increase readership
  7. Increase engagement.
  8. Learn Photoshop to develop custom blog graphics.
  9. Keep it a fun place for me to post.
  10. Evolve as needed.

10 Important Things About Me

  1. I love the feel of clean sheets. So lovely!
  2. I love Diet Coke.
  3. I’ve been married for four years to a wonderful man.
  4. I have a two and a half year old daughter is amazing, smart and cute.
  5. I’ve loved photography since high school. I wish I had the guts to pursue it.
  6. The first story I wrote that I can recall was a gift to my mom when I was in early elementary school.
  7. I have a new thing for hummingbirds.
  8. I’m a reformed organizational nut.
  9. I’m trying to be a re-reformed organizational nut.
  10. I love my Nook, but I still love the feel and look of a physical book.

I’ll be back on Friday with the remaining 50 Super Important Things. Have a great day!

Book Review: The Last Lecture

By Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow

With more than 15 million views and more than 64,000 likes on YouTube, Randy Pausch’s last lecture continues to inspire people to achieve their dreams five years later.

When Randy stood on the Carnegie Mellon auditorium stage to give his lecture on achieving childhood dreams, he was trying to leave a legacy for his young children. No one, not even Randy or the audience, could have imagined just how lasting his legacy would be.

The Last Lecture was a series presented by Carnegie Mellon in which the speaker ponders his/her death. Although that wouldn’t have been difficult for Randy, a computer science professor and virtual reality geek who was dying of pancreatic cancer, the university had decided to rename the series “Journeys” before offering Randy the slot.

In this small book, Randy strengthens that legacy by recounting his life, how he came to be on the stage that night, and the advice on living he gave to that lecture’s overflowing audience. He wrote a little about death, dying with grace and living while dying.

Great advice and humor are sprinkled throughout the book and the lecture. Randy used the humor to grant levity and avoid pity. As he said during his lecture after proving that he was in great shape by doing push ups, if anyone wanted to pity him they could come on stage, do a push up, and then pity him. He was happy. It’s all he knew how to be. He was a Tigger, not an Eeyore.
The book while short, is chock full of inspiration and provides many thought provoking points throughout. I highly recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t read it yet.
Randy Pausch passed away July 25, 2008 at his home. He lived five months longer than the three to six months his doctor had given him. He was survived by his wife, Jai, and three children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe. Representative of his legacy, his obituary was published in the New York Times.