Will This Be Together or Separate?

A few weeks ago I hosted a super informal and unscientific experiment on my Facebook page. I asked my friends, “when you and your partner are out to dinner (without kids) and it comes time for the check, how often does the server ask if this will be on separate checks or all together?”
My answer: every single time.
Continue reading “Will This Be Together or Separate?”

Meet Me Monday: On Tuesday

Hi. It’s me. I forgot all about writing up a Meet Me Monday post! No reason. I won’t blame anything or anyone. I juuuuuuust forgot. Like you do. We all forget stuff now and again. I haven’t looked at my planner in about two weeks… that might have a little something to do with it. I also forgot a skype meeting that I had planned for Sunday morning… cool. I’m really killing it these days. Seriously though, chill vibes only. We practice self-forgiveness.

So anyway, it’s 4:15 pm on Monday, I thought why not interview myself? I’ve got a few more interviewees coming down the pike but starting in May I’m running low. So if you or anyone that you know would be interested–hit me up! Let me know. I want anyone and everyone. It’s not about showing off fancy, interesting people, it’s about showing how ordinary people are also interesting.


How do you want to introduce yourself to these readers?

I’m Libby, a writer, a painter, and co-creator of &/Both Magazine living in Central Kansas. Kansas is my most problematic fave. I live with my partner, Ryan, and our pets. In our off hours, we can often be found on the couch watching old TV shows from our childhood, sipping on beers at Noffy’s pub, or running around with our old lady pup at the dog park. Meal planning and grocery shopping are my primary forms of self-care, though I am just as interested in sheet masks and serums.

What parts of your life are you finding most rewarding, lately?

Planning ahead. Lately, I’ve been trying to consider what Future Libby is going to have to go through because of what Current Libby is slacking on. Sometimes I really load up Future Libby’s plate but I try to at least be aware of it. Other times, just a little extra work right now can make something infinitely easier in the long run.
Also, meditation. For the past few months, I’ve been meditating before bed. At first it was just because I was having trouble sleeping but as time goes on, I’ve found myself reaching for this app whenever I’m feeling stressed or bummed or any way that I would normally consider completely out of my control.

What word/ phrase resonates the most in your life?

This summer, my friend Kalene told me so often that it still rings in my head like a song that gets stuck, “you always have a choice.” Every time I feel like I’m stuck in a corner or have to do something that I don’t want to do–there’s always an option. There’s always a choice. I’m always in charge of the things that I do and say and the way I respond to the things that others do and say to me.

What does your ideal day look like?

My ideal day has a strong mix of work and pleasure. I’ll sleep in with my partner and then we’ll go get breakfast at our favorite cafe–even though it closed down earlier this year. On my ideal day, Mr. B’s is not closed.
Then I’ll grab my laptop and head to the coffee shop where I’ll get really in the zone and write a couple blog posts without any difficulty or struggle at all. When I’m done, a friend of mine will happen to walk in and we’ll sit there another half hour and talk.
Ryan and I will take Fiona to the dog park and let her run her guts out. Then, we’ll head to a friend’s house where they’re having a potluck dinner. I’ll bring two bottles of wine and peach cobbler and we’ll sit around until night time talking with all our friends while the kids run around.
That’s my ideal day.



PS: I did not proof read this.

March Things

Funny thing about March, 2018: After about the first week, I just assumed we were in the last week. I had something really fun happening in the last week of March (I’ll write to you about it soon), and my impatience had me just assuming that we were in the home stretch through the whoooooole month. Like when you’re trying to fall asleep on Christmas eve but you’re so excited that you keep yourself awake and the the night seems to stretch on forever. That still happens to me and I’m 34.

Anyway, here are some things that happened in March when I was paying attention. Please be advised that a few of these links are affiliate links and I will receive compensation if you make purchases through those links.

I finished 2 books, both of which are completely out of my usual genres:
You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero (which I will post about early next week and can not suggest enough even though I hate anything related to money talk).
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory (which was a really fun, light, quick romance novel. An incredible pallet cleanser.)

Since those were both completely different from what I ordinarily read, I’m looking for something with a little more depth and story to it. I’m trying to decide between these two–what do you think?
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah or
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

I recently started re-watching Master of None and it’s reignited the desire to start making pasta. I’ve always wanted to learn but my kitchens have always been so small and tiny. So if you hear of anyone offering pasta making classes in Central Kansas, hook a girl up. Of course I’d need one of these. Oh… and one of these.

Speaking of Netflix… I’ve always been a little bit of a font nerd but this fascinated me and I am going to be looking for/ noticing it all the time, now.

Once March hit, I only wanted to eat salads all the time always. Here are a few of my favorites:
From Cookie and Kate (I made this one all month long–it’s got all my favorite flavors).
From Shutterbean (I make this one the most)
From Love and Lemons (I’ve never made this one but it’s on my list. I can’t wait to try it.)

Raising My Kids to Be Unapologetic American Muslims. This is important, I think.

Design for Mankind is one of my favorite blogs of all time. Erin has an incredible way of melding the everyday, the spiritual, and the practical all together–which is my favorite way to live. Anyway, while we’re talking about food, here’s A Guide to Family Dinners.

Modern Mrs. Darcy wrote this article about The Discipline of Staying in the Room which really spoke to me. Rushing around makes me feel rushed. I love the intention of staying in the room.

I happened upon this Ted Talk interview with Jane Fonda and Lilly Tomlin and I’ve so-far shared it everywhere I possibly can. I love learning about friendships and I love learning about long-time female friendships. This whole thing is full of beautiful, hilarious quotes. “I don’t know what I would do without my women friends. I have my friends, therefore I am.” –Jane Fonda

And last but not least, I bought this kimono on Amazon on impulse after my friend Alyssa told me about it. I have never bought clothes on Amazon before and I fully expected it to be… janky af… to be completely honest with you. But it’s kind of perfect and I’m in love with it and fully intend to wear it everywhere this spring and summer. Over feminist t-shirts and ripped jeans. Over dresses and heels. Over my swimsuit. This thing will work for you I promise. I ordered my usual size and it’s a little big so if you’re worried about that, maybe size down. But there’s so little structure to it, sizing kind of doesn’t even exist. Also, I plan to just belt mine because there’s another look. For a mere $16, I’m telling everyone I know about this. Oh, also there are so many different patterns you could buy a dozen. I’m only half joking. I knooooow this sounds like a sales pitch but it’s just because I want you to have this in your life.

Image description: Black and white photo of Libby being very, very extra in her beloved floral kimono, posing with one hand in the air and a huge smile on her face.

Other places I was published this month:
The Voyageer let me share a story of Ryan and I’s recent weekend away. Here’s a link to my favorite places to spend a weekend in Wichita. (And since we just got back from our trip to CA, we’re dreaming about where we should go next, this list should help.)
-I wrote an article for &/Both Magazine about being a fat person on vacation. I felt really vulnerable regarding this article because there were some parts that I hadn’t shared about, before. But it feels good to talk about it. You can order the magazine from here.
Or if you live in Wichita, Hutchinson, McPherson, or Lawrence Kansas, you can pick up an issue locally! Message me and I’ll let you know where.

XOXO, Libby



When I Am Alone

I am, much like an heirloom sourdough starter, a person who requires an awful lot of alone time in order to become my best and most delicious self. Preferably on top of the fridge.

I am, also, a person who has a lot of alone time. Since I only work outside of the house a few days a week and my partner works out of the house five days a week, I have grown accustomed to a certain standard of introvertedness. Like a touchy houseplant with a delicate ecosystem, not enough alone time can throw me for a loop from which it takes a long time to recover.

Recently LaTonya Yvette wrote about five of her favorite things to do alone in her city and since alone-time is so near and dear to me, I wanted to write about my favorite alone-things, too.

Washing the dishes is my number one favorite alone thing. I can almost never do it when there’s someone else in the house. The dishes get all piled up over the weekend.

Going grocery shopping early on a Monday morning before it gets busy.

Driving aimlessly to a nearby town (usually Lindsborg) with hardly a plan except to grab a coffee and walk wherever I feel like.

Prep vegetables for us to use the rest of the week. My sister and I both are firm believers in chop therapy. If we’re having roasted veggies or fajitas for dinner, you know that I’ve maybe had a hard day.

Wandering a book store for as long as I darn well please. When I go to bookstores with other people I’m always in my head about how much time I’m taking or I feel self conscious about the way I oftentimes audibly swoon over book covers or the photography in certain cookbooks or the way I want to read every single greeting card. But when I’m alone, I can stay forever doing whatever I want for however long I want and it fills me up.

What are your favorite alone-time things?



A Post About My Heart and Soul and Money

It’s important for me that you know that I never sit down here to write to you without doing some real work, first. This is a job. I feel like I’m working for you and I’m working for me and I’m doing what it takes to feed my soul. And when I’m feeding my soul… maybe my soul helps to feed you a little bit. That’s my goal. That’s what my intuition is telling me is happening.

Most of the time that work involves seeming like I’m doing nothing. If I come up with an idea and I’m still thinking about it the next day, it’s a contender for a blog post. If, after that next day, I’m still mentally discovering new things about that topic, I’ll sit down and write out a bit of a draft to see if I can actually take it anywhere.

That’s where I’m at right now. I have been thinking for the past week or so about telling you that I’m always giving you the soft parts of me even when it might not always seem like it.

Even when I’m just doing a roundup of the things that happened last month. Or when I’m posting a Meet Me Monday interview. Or when I’m writing a book review. I’ve never written to you without unzipping myself and laying a piece of myself out there for scrutiny. I do that on purpose.

So, the reason that I wanted to tell you about that is because I want to talk about something that people don’t talk about often: money and how I make it. I went and got some new blog sponsorship. If you look down at the side bar of my site, you’ll see some ads there. I try to make sure that I only team up with brands that I think you’ll actually resonate with, buy from or care about. I’m always looking for new companies and if you have some favorites that you want me to know about, let me know because I want to provide you with things you’ll actually use.

After I write out a draft, I’ll let it sit for a little bit. I’ll come back to it the next day or a few days later. I’ll either edit the crap out of it–carving away at it like a sculptor until I’m standing here completely in love with what has showed up… or I’ll feel like what I wrote, originally, is exactly what I want to say. And I’ll just hit publish and wait for the praise, and money to come rushing in to me (just kidding, that has never happened).

More often than not, I’ll see that there’s really nothing of much use here, today, and this won’t be published at all. But it wasn’t a waste because every minute spent working on this frees up space and air to create something that is waiting to get born. It’s all a part of the gestation process and I’m not mad at it. I trust the process. I’ve been doing this long enough to know what I need and what I’m capable of.

The thing is, though… I often wonder if anyone knows how hard I and others like me work and how much effort goes into this job. I’m not saying that because I feel like I’m not getting the recognition I deserve or anything. That’s not the point of this post at all. It’s just that sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know so just in case, here’s what goes into creating content. And not just here on the blog but on my Instagram, Facebook, and Facebook group, too. Everyone says that bloggers should have an email list with exclusive content just for list subscribers but I don’t know, man. I don’t know if I have the emotional energy to create another thing. And I’m not sure I’m even mastering what I’m doing as it is. Not only that but who in their right mind wants to sign up for another email list?

That’s why I have these ads along the side of my page. So that, by chance, you might want to go place an order from someone and then, six months later, I’ll get a deposit in my account which equals, usually, about 8% of whatever you spent on that other website. It’s a very round-about way of making any money but it’s what’s available.
The Amazon affiliate program is better because more people shop with Amazon and they pay out more often (once a month) but I feel icky putting Amazon links into my posts. I really don’t believe in Amazon but it feels like if I want to make any money (usually only enough to buy a latte while I’m working on a blog post at the coffee shop), this is the route that I have to take. And I want to get paid because if I don’t get paid, I’m going to have to go back to working for someone else. I’m nervous to do that, though, because history tells me that when I do that, I get sick and I don’t thrive and I never have the energy to create. I’m afraid that if I do that, I won’t be able to write or paint and it might kill me. I know that sounds dramatic and maybe it is. It probably is. So, anyway, what I’m saying is that I’ve got to get paid and the only way to get paid is by schlepping goods from companies that don’t hate the very most and feeling a little bit icky about it.

But, I kind of feel like, there’s got to be a better way. Right? Like, is it completely unreasonable to break the mold a little bit?

I have an idea. I have a few ideas, so hear me out. I decided, you know, what if instead of posting a bunch of links that I hope you might maybe buy from, I’ll just put a link up there on the right side of the screen (on a desktop, if you’re on a phone, it’ll be at the bottom of this post) where you can help me out if you want to and if you don’t, that’s okay. Don’t feel like you have to. I just wanted to be straight forward with you and allow you to make your support as easy as humanly possible. This isn’t me asking for money. This is me making it easier for you to support one of the artists that you believe in. And if there are other artists that you want to support, hey just ask them for their paypal information. I promise you, they’ll be delighted. Consider it like a tip jar of sorts. I got this idea from Staci Jackson at My Friend Staci. She has a tip link on her site as well.

Also, I have an online shop in the works. I’m going to be selling postcards and prints of some of my work. That’s coming in the next several weeks and I promise to keep you updated as that comes about.

Thanks for always being great and for hearing me out when I come to you to talk about stuff like money.