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.

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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

 

 

February Things 2018

We got home from San Diego on the first day of February. We stayed with our dear friends, Doug and Staci. Yes! The same Staci who runs the travel site, The Voyageer. If you ever get a chance–definitely go visit your friend the travel blogger who lives in one of the best vacation destination cities in the US. 10/10 highly recommend. We, seriously, had the best time! Truly, one of the most fun and relaxing vacations we’ve ever taken. Here’s a post that Staci wrote up following our visit!

Lately, I’ve been really drawn to reading and learning about physical beauty. I’m super into it as a theory–not so much about chasing it but about what is beautiful and why. I’m loving these new posts that LaTonya Yvette is posting about “the beauty we choose to dismiss and/or makes us self conscious, different, or had an integral part in the way in which we’ve grown up”. This particular piece is about freckles.

Don’t read this NPR piece, make sure you listen to it. It’s only two minutes long. It’s worth it. Two Vets Celebrate Love: ‘If You Came to See the Bride, You’re Out of Luck’

I’m 1000% on board with this grandma’s family-dinner-related dating advice! We’ve all got our deal breakers. “Grandma Daniels rejected the idea that women should get less of anything: whether education, respect, or protein.”

I love interviews with photographers (here’s my most recent one, actually) because I think they tend to see the world in just a tiny bit different way than other people. This interview with Bridget Badore is full of stunning, practical insights. “I began to realize how important it is for personal narrative to be accessible. That’s how people build empathy outside of their immediate surroundings. Sharing your feelings is one of the strongest and bravest things you can do. I came to realize that you’re doing the people in your life a disservice if you’re not honest with them about your experiences.”

“Many so-called allies honestly believe that they’re fighting the good fight because they donate or protest at every chance they get. But if they’re not standing up for people like me when it counts the most, when we’re alone in institutional spaces that don’t make room for us, maybe they need to rethink their use of the label.” Academic Allies Treat My Queerness With Comfort, My Blackness With Hostility

I wrote a little bit about self-care: what it is and what it isn’t.

I wrote a travel piece called “Passengers of Size” for the Spring Issue of &/Both–our Body Issue. Click here to place your order.

 

I Don’t Think That Means What You Think it Means.

Last week I went a little overboard and bought all of the skin creams, face masks, foot masks, nail polish, and discount Valentine’s chocolate that Walgreens had to offer. Then, I went home and watched the better part of the entire season of Queer Eye on Netflix. And then, because I am a good Millennial (albeit an old one), I uploaded a photo of my haul onto Instagram. It didn’t take long for the comments to start rolling in congratulating me on my self-care day and how “oh my gosh, I really need to work on my self-care game as well.” Self-care. Self-care. Self-care. Self-care is the buzziest of Buzzwords these days and I’m starting to cringe every single time I hear it. Because self-care is not what we keep saying it is.

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Self-care is not the act of slathering your face in expensive clay. It’s not making sure that you’re using the right serums in the right order at the end of the day. And most importantly, it’s not the kind of thing you should feel guilty about if you’re not doing it right. Guilt has no room in self-care. Guilt is the opposite of self-care.

Capitalism has this way of infiltrating every single movement towards human betterment and making us think that we need to buy things in order to take part. That’s not true at all. No. It’s infiltrating the Bopo community right now… kind of. Brands are coming out with clothes that claim to fit a size 24 (which in reality fits more like an 18) and they’re patting themselves on the back for how great they are. But even if their sizing was accurate, I still can’t wear any of it. And I’m not the biggest person I know by any means. But regardless, in the same way that Self-Care isn’t about laser hair treatments, Body Positivity isn’t about making overalls for fat people. Yeah, it’s part of it. It can help some people get what they are wanting out of life. But that’s not all it’s about.

Self care is about taking care of yourself. Self care is and should be accessable to everyone regardless of their body or ability or financial status. Self care is free and important and oftentimes difficult work. It’s not always relaxing and bubble baths and french terry bath robes. A lot of times it’s doing, today, that from which Future You will benefit.  And maybe a small part of that involves expensive beauty products for you but self care is something so much more.

Self-care is making sure you’re hydrated and ending toxic relationships. It’s not skipping a shower when you really should take one. It’s letting that call go to voice mail. It’s trusting other people to be in charge of their own emotions and taking that burden off of yourself. It’s about not avoiding the mail box because you’re afraid of what’s inside of it. It’s about taking the medications that have been prescribed to you. It’s about busting yourself out of destructive funks and preventing destructive funks. It’s about washing the windows to let some more light in. It’s about taking out the garbage because that smell is coming from somewhere. Sometimes it’s about locking yourself in the bathroom with a magazine and an expensive clay mask–but the self care isn’t in the mask, it’s in the taking the time to listen to what you need. And if what you need in that moment is stillness, you’re choosing stillness. That is the self-care part of doing a face mask.

I was recently asked in an interview what my favorite “self-care routines” are. And, look, don’t get me wrong. I actually love hearing about people’s morning and night beauty routines. I can talk about this stuff all day long–that’s why I listen to the Forever 35 podcast. But I was uncomfortable with this question. So rather than focusing on the products that I use during my routine, I talked more about how it’s the routine itself that serves me. I don’t get sleepy and ready for a well-rested bed time because I use this brand of makeup remover or this particular gel-based moisturizer rather than an oil-based one. I get ready for a well-rested bed time because I’ve trained my body to use this time to go into shut down mode. These products aren’t magic, I’m magic. I create my own magic. The routine is the self-care.

Sometimes when I feel myself getting irritable and unable to bust out of a particular mood, I have some fall-back plans in place. I watch my favorite YouTubers, I listen to old episodes of my favorite podcasts, I tell my friends that I’m having a rough day and could use a check in every few hours. I try to eat something healthy or I eat something decidedly unhealthy depending on what my intuition tells me I should reach for. I put out a call on Facebook for everyone to tell me what their favorite cheer-up song is. That’s always fun.


I wanted to post this piece about twelve hours ago and it was really stressing me out that it wasn’t happening. But it felt pretty false to write a post about self-care while I was feeling rushed and unhappy so I gave myself space and took the time I needed. I walked the dog. I watched this video on YouTube about four times (Ryan showed it to me last night and it’s been stuck in my head ever since). I ate a salad and I might even make a smoothie for an afternoon snack.

Anyway, friends. I hope you’re able to come up with some self-care techniques to keep in your back pocket. Maybe keep a literal list in your phone. Number one on that list: hydrate. It’s amazing what chugging a glass of water will do for you. Or, do what I do, and keep this tab open on your phone at all times. Any time I feel like crap, I pull it out and it really, really does help me.

I love you. Take care of yourself, please.

XOXO, Lib

Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

5 Things That Are Making Me Happy Right Now

We went on vacation at the end of January and when we came home I was nervous that I’d fall into the whole “everything in my house is lame because it’s not as fun as when we were on vacation” rut. You know what I mean? So I started doing this gratitude challenge on my Instagram stories. I set an alert in my phone to go off every night to remind myself to think about the ways I’m #blessed on purpose.

And then I got the flu and that job was hard because when you have the flu you don’t have the energy to be grateful BUT you also don’t have the energy to hate everything around you. You just lay on the couch and wait for time to do its job to either kill you or heal you while you stare at the ceiling and wonder about exactly nothing. So while it wasn’t a step back, it wasn’t exactly a step forward either. Bonus: when you’re finally well, gratitude is at an all time high!

Now, look, I’mactually not the kind of person who thinks that you have to be happy all of the time. I’m usually the kind of person who sees those gratitude posts in November all over Facebook–you know the ones, right? And rolls my damn eyes and scrolls on because some days I just can not be bothered by everything that’s going right in Susan’s life. Okay? Haha! But also… I bet it makes Susan feel really great to be intentional about that stuff and if she needs it, she needs it. That’s why I scroll on and don’t, you know, leave a comment that says, “No one cares, Susan!!” I feel bad for Susans out there. If your name is Susan and you’re reading this–it’s not directed at you. I just plucked a name out of the thin air. Sorry, Susan!

So, sometimes we do have to dig deep and talk about the big and small things that are keeping us alive right now. So here we are in the deepest, darkest depths of bleak winter, making lists of five things that are making us happy. Ready? You do it, too, if you want to.


  1. My New Balance [affiliate] sneakers. Ryan surprised me with them. I had seen them in the store window, went in and tried them on, found out the price and then told Ryan all about them, knowing that I wasn’t really going to buy them.  I just wanted a little taste of them. I almost never ever buy shoes. Especially at full price. Because of that, I have some really embarrassing cross trainers in my closet. Rather than bring those with me on vacation, Ryan came home from work one night with these under his arm to surprise me. I love a gift that intersects at the point of romance and practicality. And these shoes go with everything. Very handy.
  2. Reading Who Thought This Was a Good Idea [affiliate] by Alyssa Mastromonaco. I’ve been hearing about this book for months, now. It always sounded interesting and when it came to looking for something to read on the plane, it sounded perfect for me. Not something that required too much deep attention but something that was light hearted. Apparently I wasn’t the only one with the idea that it was a good plane read because my neighbor across the aisle was reading the exact same book!
    Mastromonaco tells really funny and exciting stories about working in Obama’s White House. I definitely recommend it.
  3. Cozy, hyggee scarf/ blanket. This one [affiliate] is nearly identical to the one that I bought on clearance at ModCloth at the beginning of the year. Under my coat, it has brought softness and comfort into these most harsh days of winter. I love adding it to my typical leggings+tunic uniform on warmer or at-home days. I’m a very tactile person so just wrapping up in it makes me instantly more happy.
  4. Searching for new recipes after being sick and only eating toast and applesauce. There’s still a lot of food that doesn’t appeal to me but I’m really interested in this recipe for Shrimp Tacos with Pineapple that I found in my most recent issue of Bon Appetit. Ryan and I have also been interested in trying our hands at making potstickers from scratch, sometime. I think we might use this recipe from Half-Baked Harvest and make an at-home date night of it? Eat some potstickers, watch a little Alpine Skiing? Ooh lala. Romance.
  5. Stepping out of my comfort zone has been huge for me this month (and, if we’re being honest, my horoscope told me it would be). I’ve found myself stepping into insecure spaces to say my peace or advocate for myself or someone else, recently. It’s a practice that I am grateful for even if it does require so much energy to do it. But here’s the thing–we think that stepping out of our comfort zone means stepping into a place of uncertainty or fear. But that’s not it at all. Or, rather, it doesn’t have to be that. We’re stepping into a place of vulnerability. A place where our faith is the only thing holding us steady. And that, my friends, is a great place to be.

What sorts of things have you been grateful for lately? Big or small, celebrate them. It’s important.

XOXO, Lib

January Things 2018

I’ve got “I’m here to take care of you” written and stuck around all points of my house. In the cupboard. In my makeup bag. Next to my bed.

I got into the habit of bullet journaling last year but I was kind of getting tired of being expected to be creative and draw my layout every week. My partner got me a planner for Christmas, though, and I’m using it. It’s great! I actually do KIND OF miss the customizability of a #bujo but only barely. But if YOU are on the Bullet Journal train, go follow Shayda Campbell’s doodles and get inspired.

This is basically my ideal salad. I’ve been craving it a lot lately. It’s been in my regular rotation ever since I happened upon this recipe a few years ago (although I leave out the beets–they’re pretty but I do not like them).

I’ve been working on building up my art collection for both my Etsy shop (which is coming at some point) and for a showing coming up in the next few months. I’ve also done three commissions this month! Here’s a little peek at a few things I’ve got coming together.

Lovely, Nameless Feelings (via Cup of Jo)

The most delicious vindication since… well… in my whole lifetime: watching the live-stream of the Larry Nassar sentencing. Judge Aquilina is every woman’s absolute hero. I just spent the whole day crying the most delicious tears.

We’re heading for San Diego to visit our dear, dear friends Doug and Staci!! In fact, by the time you’re reading this, we’re already there and if you’re following me on Instagram, you’re already seeing photos and stories about our trip. But right now I’m sitting at my desk in Kansas, staring out the window to a big field filled with snow (I’m scheduling this post to drop at the end of the month while we’re gone). I love the snow. I LOVE the snow and winter and Kansas but also… I’m excited to soak up some sunshine and see the ocean for the first time. I can’t wait to write a post about it for you all and for our next issue of &/Both which is scheduled to drop by the end of February! If you haven’t picked up our Fall issue, yet, for a limited time only it’s 40% off.

Favorite things this month:
Songs: Live by Billie Marten, Winterbreak by MUNA, Goodbye, Goodbye by Tegan and Sara
Snacks: Honeycrisp apples and hot chocolate
TV Show: Alone Together which is too accurate to my college experience and it’s oddly comforting?
Podcast: Forever 35 is the perfect podcast when you’re a little bit burned out on the news and politics and learning about serial killers and you just want to hear two best friends talk about serums and face masks.


Okay friends, those were just a few of my most favorite parts of January 2018. What were some of yours?? Leave them in the comments section or on Facebook.

XOXO, Lib