May Things

May was fun! I mean, summer time is here again for SURE! It’s 97 degrees outside right now. I can’t wait for a day when I’m able to go to the swimming pool. I love swimming so much.

IMG_7639
Image description: a selfie of Libby and her partner, Ryan. They are standing outside, in front of a field. Libby is in front, she’s wearing navy plaid and a grey sweater. She has big, round glasses and a pink lipstick. Ryan is standing behind her, he’s wearing a white button down shirt with black bird illustrations all over it. He’s wearing square glasses. Both are smiling.

Also, Ryan and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. When we were thinking about how on earth we wanted to celebrate, we considered a fancy date or a trip but when it came down to it, we really just wanted to spend time with our friends (which seems like such an impossible task once you’re all in/ near your thirties). So a few of us met up at the park. We grilled burgers and let the kids play. It was really such a dream. And we didn’t get any photos because in true, Libby fashion, I never remember to take photos when I’m having fun. That’s why my camera roll is full of pics of latte art. Anyway, happy anniversary Ryan. This past year has been more together-making than any, before. ❤


Here are some other things that happened in May:

The NYT covered Why You Should Stop Being So Hard On Yourself. So, that’s solved. But for real, let’s make “self compassion” our mantra this summer.

I’ve been wanting to up my skincare game recently but for real, I can’t really afford to just try everything out (and I don’t live close enough to a Sephora to ask for samples, as per direction of the Forever 35 podcast). So, I restarted my Birchbox subscription. My first box is in the mail right now and I can’t wait to see what’s in it. If you want to sign up, too, here’s my referral link!

This article by Roxane Gay had me stuck in some very real, big feelings for a long time this month. I couldn’t get it out of my head. It broke my heart in a lot of ways but a lot of things felt so similar to me. When Roxane Gay talks about her decision to get weight reduction surgery, I can’t help but see the reasons that she lists… none of them are because she thinks it will help her to feel better in her body. It’s because she’s so tired of what the world has done to her. And that’s… man. It hurts. And it’s so real. I’m glad she’s doing something that feels the most right for her. I’m broken hearted at the world we’ve created where a fat, black, queer woman is forced to slice herself in order to hope to be treated like a human.

Friend of the blog, Staci, has been killing it over on The Voyageer. I loved this piece that she wrote about managing group travel. The reason I love this is because I dream of going on vacay with all my besties.

I grabbed this box of note cards and I LOVE THEM! They’re full of bright, neon colors and they’re weird? But still, like, exactly right. Thank you cards, birthday cards, no reason at all cards. I’ve been popping them in with every order I’ve sent out this month. [affiliate]

5
Image description: an abstract paintin in purples and pinks. Some bits look like they could be ferns but there are also water splotches and paint running down the page.

Speaking of orders I’ve sent out, here’s a link to my shop and through the whole month of May and for a few weeks in April I was donating a portion of my sales to End The Backlog. I wrote a whole post about it. At the time of this writing, I’m still not sure exactly how much I sold during the month of May because I have some pieces still on display in Hutchinson but as soon as I know how much we’ll be donating, I’ll post that number on Facebook and Instagram.

For the first week of JUNE, 15% of all sales in my shop will be sent to The Trevor Project. Which helps to provide aid in crisis situations for LGBTQ+ youth. And, because of that, there’s a going to be a brand new crop of new merchandise in there! I sold out of postcard packs last time so if you see something you like, act fast!

I’m doing an elimination plan right now to learn about how different foods are affecting my chronic illnesses (I might talk about it here on the blog but I might not, too). But as soon as I have the go-ahead, I’m making this batch of Granola Cookies from Tracy.

It’s summer time and it’s hot and all I want is light colors and flowy dresses. Like this one from Eshakti! It’s so pretty. And since with Eshakti, you can customize before you buy, I think I’d take the arms off of this one. Oh!! Or this seersucker skirt. Yeah, I need that. [affiliate]

Also, in the summertime all I want is watermelon, pineapple, and fat, mildly overripe tomatoes off the vine. I don’t have a link for that, I just needed to tell you.

Other places you can find me on the internet:

I was interviewed by a super cool site called As Told By Women! Go check out my interview, right here Q & A With Libby Monaghan. It was so fun. Women empowering women is a topic I could definitely will talk about forever and always.

I was also featured in The Hutch News where I did an interview with Jennifer Randall and got to talk all about my art! Click here to go read that one.

Follow along on Instagram. I’m @realxoxolib. I joined the @fatgirlflowfam account! So, every Friday I’m over there reposting cool content from the #fatgirlflow community! It’s so, so fun.

Join the private Facebook group, The Cove: An XOXO, Lib Community.  It’s a space for women, femmes, nb folx, etc. to have a safe space to get to know each other, build one another up, and maybe just talk about certain topics that you might not don’t want to get into on a more public page.


What happened for you in May? Did you learn anything? Have a cool life event or milestone? I want to hear all about it!

XOXO, Lib

 

 

Meet Me Monday: Staci Jackson

Staci Jackson is one of my people. You’ve heard me talk about her a lot on this blog. When we met, I want to say seven years ago? Staci was writing for her brilliantly named blog, My Friend Staci. I liked Staci instantly. She’s been a long-time a dear friend to me. She and her husband, Doug, even opened their home to us when we went to San Diego in January. Two years ago, Staci, along with her sister Stephanie and I, all started the Virtual Book Club together. Since then, Staci has launched The Voyageer–a travel website full of tips and tricks and honest reviews. The Voyageer is a travel resource that you should have bookmarked. Or follow along on Facebook and Instagram to keep updates in your face!

Anyway, please enjoy this conversation with Staci and just try to keep her excitement about the future from infecting your attitude going forward on this Monday morning.



Calpak Davis 4
How do you want to introduce yourself to these readers?

Hello! I’m Staci! This is awkward… introductions are so difficult! “I contain multitudes” right? I am thirty years old, married with no kids, #metoo and #blacklivesmatter supporter, heavily invested in social media, transitioning jobs, and navigating the line between being happy with myself the way I am and “there’s always room for improvement.”

What gets you out of the bed in the morning?

My future!! I just celebrated my last day at an office job I’d had for four years. The job provided stability, a paycheck, and vacation days, but the day to day tasks were frustrating and draining.

I am now working for myself as a travel blogger and real estate agent. The excitement of learning new things, exploring corners of the world, becoming a boss lady, and finding people the home that’s right for them fills me with vitality that I haven’t had for a while. Every day I wake up impatient to take steps toward my big moves.

 What word/ phrase resonates the most in your life?

“The long and winding road that leads to your door.” This Beatles lyric is one I wanted to get tattooed on my feet in college. At the time, it jumped out to me because I was in the midst of a long distance relationship following a couple years of sitcom-grade “will they/won’t they” flirty ambivalence.

Now, I feel it’s still applicable on a more spiritual level. Life moves us through many phases and it’s impossible to plan or predict what will happen. We do our best to plan and mitigate risk, but it is a long surprising path until we each meet our end.

What does your ideal day look like?

Wake up and feed the pupper. Go for a jog (I am not a runner but in my ideal day, I am). Then I get brunch on a weekday; weekday non-busy brunch is my favorite. Then I do some blog brainstorming and write a handful of outlines for future posts. Spend the rest of the day window shopping at some of my favorite small businesses. I would end the day cooking at home with my husband (did you know you can use Blue Apron recipes even if you aren’t a subscriber?) and then get comfy on the couch to catch up on one of my favorite shows such as New Girl, Brooklyn 99, or Outlander.

Libby, thanks so much for hosting Meet Me Monday; I have begun following everyone you’ve featured so far, all inspiring people living their best lives. I’m so glad to be a part of it!

IMG_2805 (1)


That last part was probably just for me but I wanted to leave it in to encourage you to go out there and follow all the cool people you’ve met through Meet Me Monday. And let them know where you found them!
It’s vulnerable to introduce yourself in this way and it feels really good when someone seeks you out to say, “Hey, you said something that really resonated with me.” So go ahead and do that for people every now and again.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Please enjoy the week ahead of you.

XOXO, Lib

Page 56: I Don’t Do Resolutions, But…

This is the part where I tell you, like everyone else does, that I’m not really into resolutions, but…

Here’s the thing—I don’t need to make any resolutions. Did you read my last post?? Enough is going to change in 2016 on its own. Other years, resolutions have been important. This year though, the concept is utterly unnecessary for me.

That being said, however, I love a list of goals. I love a good bucket list. So instead of resolutions, I’m going to write a to-do list. And I want to encourage you to do the same! This is a list that only includes one-and-done items. There’s nothing (well, not much, anyway) about this list that encourages a habit. I think that’s the important distinction between a list of resolutions and a to-do-list.

image1(1).JPG

 

So here we go with my list of 25 things that I want to do in 2016:

  1. Have a pot-luck style brunch party with my friends.
  2. Take a long road trip with my husband.
  3. Really, really figure out how Evernote works.
  4. Monetize this blog.
  5. Bring a new plant into the house.
  6. Drink a Sazerac in New Orleans
  7. Send out gift cards randomly to people.
  8. Do a 30 Days of Yoga Challenge
  9. Have a BBQ.
  10. Interview my friends.
  11. Go to an Indian Restaurant for the first time ever in life.
  12. Meet Jamie for lunch ½ way between where we both live.
  13. Walk all the way from Wall Park to Lakeside Park on the walking trail (it’s not hard, it’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do and never done).
  14. Find a perfect lipstick.
  15. Donate a bunch of clothes.
  16. Explore cool things in Kansas.
  17. Explore cool things in Kansas (I want to do it at least twice).
  18. Put away all of the laundry in the bedroom (it has literally never all been put away before).
  19. Have my nephew, Owen, stay the night.
  20. Pay off my dental bill (this one might actually not be very reasonable).
  21. Paint—this time with watercolors, maybe.
  22. Finish a book (I didn’t finish many books last year and I mean to change that).
  23. Bake something with a kid.
  24. Make a really good homemade pizza.
  25. Make choux pastry.

Full disclosure: there are a few other things that I am going to do this year that I’m just not going to tell you about but they will happen and when they do you’re going to be so pumped! Probably. If I know you like I think I do, and I think I do.

What do you think? Are there any one-and-done things that you want to make sure that you try this year? Anywhere you want to visit? Any food you’ve been dying to try?

I really do hope that all of your most reasonable (and a few of your wildest) dreams come true this year.
XOXO, Lib

Page 52: Oh The Places You’ll Go (The Loft at The Volland Store)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Ryan and I have been deeply in need of a bit of a get-away. My full-time job doesn’t offer a lot of paid vacation time and so we decided to use the four-day weekend that comes along with Thanksgiving as our own mini-vacation.

We weren’t sure where, exactly, we wanted to go. Just that we wanted to go somewhere that we’d never been before and we wanted to be able to relax. So we hopped on Air B&B’s website. I’d never used Air B&B, before, and I didn’t really even believe that there would be much in the way of results for Central Kansas. But I was wrong. We found the listing for The Loft at The Volland Store in Alma, KS and booked it immediately.
We took a lot of photos and I wrote a lot in my journal. So, here’s what came of all of that.

Thursday (Thanksgiving Day):

trip3

Every time it rains in November, it’s noteworthy. I really love the way that it fogs up the glass. And it sounds like classic rain. It sounds like the kind of rain that you get when you select the “rain” feature on a white noise machine. It continued as we packed our bags and as we put those bags in the car and as we drove the two-and-some-change hours to Alma, KS. The rain continued as we tried to get into the room that we rented and then the security alarm went off and I had to call our lovely host (Wrenn) and surely disrupt her Thanksgiving dinner to come and help us. And it continued into the night–stopping a few hours after the temperature dipped below freezing.

Driving on the freeway in the rain can be a challenge. At a certain point, the road is the same color as the sky is the same color as the water splashing all around is, somehow, the same color as nearly every other car on the road. When we were passing through Salina, I heard Ryan say, “Oh no!!” And we started slowing down. He had caught sight of a pickup truck and watched it lose control and collide with a guard rail. We took the next exit to turn around to make sure the driver was safe and hadn’t flipped or fallen down an embankment. But it was a great big pickup, sitting right side up in a ditch. Some other drivers had stopped to help. Everyone was safe, it seemed, so we felt okay moving along though we felt bad that their Thanksgiving plans were likely ruined.

Friday Morning

It continued to rain all night and the weather isn’t expected to get above freezing for the next few days. Our original plan was to go into town and explore a bit. Every time that I told someone that we were going to Alma, KS for our trip, there was one of two reactions:
1. Where’s that?!
2. Alma is so cute!
I was excited that anyone who had ever been there had good things to say and I was anxious to explore every square inch of it. But then we woke up this morning and the whole world is frozen like Narnia. Once the sun is up, we will have to start by exploring the building that we’re in and then the grounds. Maybe after that we’ll go explore the town after all! But there’s 8 miles of hilly, curley-q roads between here and there.

Our AirB&B is delightful. It’s this warm, little cubby hole in the middle of an iced-over patch of prairie. It’s a legitimate retreat. With barely any cellphone reception and a persnickety wifi signal, it was exactly what I was looking for. It’s also gorgeous. Beautiful! It’s rekindling my dream of renovating a loft in downtown McPherson.

IMG_5511
IMG_5525IMG_5539IMG_5546IMG_5554IMG_5587
Last night we re-heated leftovers from our Friendsgiving dinner that we’d had earlier in the week. I love that there’s a kitchen here. It was a game changer as far as saving money goes on this trip. We brought food to cook for all but one meal. If we make it into Alma, today, we hope to try out one of the few cafes in town.

Friday Evening

The building where the loft is at, The Volland Store, is so cool. In the early 1900’s it was a general store but now it’s very different. We got all bundled up and set out to explore the grounds of this place. This room sits atop an art gallery. The exhibit is near and dear to my favorite parts of my heart. It’s entitled “Women’s Work” and it’s an exploration in textiles. It’s beautiful and minimal and magnificent. I promise that I didn’t touch anything even though there was no security guard to go “BAHP bahpbahpbahpbahp!” when I got too close.

IMG_5530
This is the view from one of the floor-to-ceiling windows that looks out over the gallery.

IMG_5541IMG_5542IMG_5598IMG_5616
IMG_5610IMG_5611
IMG_5540

The concept of women’s work is something that has been weighing heavy on my mind lately–since becoming a wife and since making the decision to quit my job and work from home. But in the end, I want to say that this trip has taught me that my husband and I are equal partners in this relationship. At least so far. And I know we’ll both work to keep it that way.
IMG_5593
IMG_5602IMG_5596IMG_5599IMG_5619IMG_5664

Since we didn’t fall down while w were out exploring the property, we decided to make the 8-mile journey into town. The road was covered in sleet and snow and it is very curvy without much of a shoulder. But it was beautiful anyhow and we stayed safe.

Alma, KS is a cute little town. Though I will say that on an iced-over day after Thanksgiving, there isn’t that much to offer. The Alma Cheese Factory was sadly closed–as well as the cafe. However there was an enormous antique store. What is it with Antique stores? They always seem small and normal at first glance and then all of a sudden you realize that the whole thing spans a city block. When we were there, we picked up some holiday ornaments and secretly took some photos of things that I wanted and things that I hated. When we were checking out, the owner pointed us in the direction of the Alma Bakery. We stopped for turnovers and bierocks (delicious–nearly as good as my mom’s) and headed back to the loft.
IMG_5632IMG_5633IMG_5636IMG_5637IMG_5639IMG_5643

We came back to the apartment and warmed up, took naps, watched Friends DVD’s and read books. In a few minutes, I’m going to crack open a beer and put on a pot of Velveeta Shells and Cheese for our last dinner here. I am grateful for this kitchen on this particular trip.

Saturday Morning:

It’s our last morning here and we are being our typical selves. Ryan is making the most of that glorious, down-filled bedding and I’m making coffee, mowing down this bag of chocolate chip cookies from the bakery, and writing.

Since this was a Thanksgiving trip, a list of gratitudes:
-I am grateful for a husband who adores my mind and my body and my heart and who is moved by the things that move me. And may I strive to see his pure heart in everything that he does.
-I am grateful for the opportunities to do things like this. For families who don’t make us feel guilty for choosing to use our vacation time for some R&R rather than big family holidays. And may I make space for others to be themselves the way they need to, as well.
-I am grateful for the freedom that comes from having been born within the borders of this country–which is something that I never really felt until recently. And may I provide others with safety and warmth and freedom wherever I can.

The sun is coming up. They’ll be opening The Volland Store soon and we will need to be on our way.

Thank you, little loft, for holding us warm and safe these past few days.

image

How did you spend your Thanksgiving? When was the last time you really got some good rest and relaxation? Could you use a weekend away? If you’re in the area, you should consider staying at The Loft at The Volland Store.

xoxo, Lib