An Uncomplicated Life Blog


Monday, February 17, 2020

Small Blog Break

Hey friends! Time for a small blog break. I'll be back February 24 with some hot new content. Between my children all taking turns being sick (and therefore at home), Teddy's hospital stay several weeks ago and the nonstop rain (no light for photos), I'm terribly behind and just need to play catch up for a bit!

I'll still be over on Instagram and posting funny memes to Facebook, so follow me there and I'll see you in a few days.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

5 Books To Read This Year

On the hunt for a good book? Check out this short list of entertaining, inspiring, thrilling or just plain good books to add to your reading list this year

One of my goals for 2020 was to watch less TV. I'm always amused by TV, but I never feel particularly great about myself after I watch, say, The Real Housewives of New Jersey. In fact, I actually DO feel much better after I've spent the night reading. I feel like my brain was actually exercised. I also notice that my vocabulary is improved, even if I'm reading a relatively "dumb" or merely entertaining book. If you want less screen time, or simply to enjoy yourself curled up with a good book, I couldn't recommend reading more. It's really a great hobby to enjoy. Even if all you do is carve out 15 minutes a day to read before bed, I bet odds are you'll be happier than watching TV until you go to sleep! With all that said, if you're looking for some good reads to embark on a new reading/less TV spree like me this year, I have this post that has some great titles in it. I've also got these 6 books to read this year, all of which I've enjoyed:

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In A Dark, Dark Wood
I'm a fan of a good thriller. Why? I don't know because I read before bed and when my husband is gone traveling for work, it becomes challenging to fall asleep at night. This one is about a bachelorette party that starts weird and gets weirder, with secrets between friends and a few dead participants to boot. If you want a fast read with twists and turns, this one is for you!

The Woman In The Window
Another thriller. It was after reading this one that I realized I needed to cool it on the thrillers because it was getting hard to sleep! I got this as a recommendation from a girlfriend's book club. It didn't disappoint! A heavily medicated shut-in woman witnessed something, but what did she really see, and how does she convince people she really saw it when she's so heavily medicated? When this book gets to the culmination, you absolutely can't put it down! I stayed up until midnight reading it one night, which is saying a lot because I usually get up at least once a night with a child and then get up for the day around 6am. So if it's worth it to lose that much sleep on a book, it must be good.

Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe
I can't believe it took me 35 years to read the book behind my favorite movie of all time, Fried Green Tomatoes. For my 30th birthday, a girlfriend and I took a trip to Georgia to see the town the movie was filmed in and eat at the cafe (the fried green tomatoes and the fried chicken were indeed delicious!) It's an endearing story about an unlikely friendship. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll think of yourself as one of the characters in the book, just another friend following along the story. This classic stands the test of time, and is a sweet read (that, if you also are a fan of the movie, will give you so much more insight to the film, so definitely read it).

The Alchemist
My mom handed me this on one of her visits, and told me that the woman on the plane next to her had given it to her to read. It starts out a little slow, but I have to say - this book is inspiring, and it has some one liners that really get you thinking about your own life. It's a super fast read; I think I finished it in a matter of days. If you're looking for a simple book with a simple story that, somehow, gets you thinking about your life and the choices you make, this is your book.

The German Girl
I really wasn't sure if this one was going to make my list. It starts out SLOW. And perhaps just as bad as being a slow starting novel, it's repetitive. So it repeats the slowness. However, about a quarter of the way in, I found myself unable to put it down! It gets really good. You get invested in the characters. And it's a deeply emotional story that makes you think about WWII, The Holocaust, and Nazi Germany in a whole new way (at least for me, a non-Jewish woman who, frankly, never considered the details of what 1930's Germany was actually like). It's an intense book! It's not uplifting. But I think it's a really important story to read. If it doesn't leave you a more compassionate person, nothing will.

I've now rounded up all the titles that I've enjoyed lately, and am in need of more titles to read! We're creeping up on summer though, and I find that I like happier, cheery novels that are quick reads. I can handle dark thrillers in the dark months of winter, but in summer I want romance and comedy and all things light and airy. If you have any recommendations, let me know! Otherwise I'll blindly get a list of books together and likely craft a list next spring for some easy going summer reads. Happy reading friends! I seriously recommend turning your TV off and turning your mind on to enjoy yourself, even if it's just a few minutes before bed every day.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Favorite Mood Boosters

When the winter months seem to drag on and on, use these tips to boost your mood

At least we're no longer in January, amirite? Man, that's one long month. I feel like January, February and March all need to max out at 28 days each. Even down here in the South, where we barely have "winter", it felt long and dragging for me. Hubby was gone traveling for the first two weeks and then we've had nonstop sick kids since then. One week is was upper respiratory infections that landed Theodore in the hospital for four days, then it was double ear infections for Otto, Knox and Teddy and then I got a message from my kids' preschool telling me that hand, foot and mouth disease was confirmed in the twins' classroom... And the following day I was called to come get them both from school as they had symptoms! When will it end?! All the sickness has gotten me feeling the winter blahs, and a bit "cabin feverish" because I've been constantly at home with sick children. I thought this would be the perfect time to focus on some activities that help me get out of "a funk" and share them with y'all, in case you're feeling the winter blues too. Here are some of my favorite mood boosters. *affiliate links used*

I keep an arsenal of books by my bed: my devotionals towards the back, and some titles I'm working on for my next list of books to read (plus essential oils - I have those stationed all over the house!)

- Curl up with a good book
I'm working on my next list of great books for y'all, but if you don't have anything you're loving right now, check out the list of entertaining books I made two years ago. All of them were great reads that went fast and didn't require a lot of "brain power" - not that they were juvenile or dumb, just that they're written clearly so you can follow along easily. I'm a big fan of books like that to read for about a half hour before bedtime. Gets the blue light of my phone or TV screen away from my eyes so that I sleep better, too. If you're interested in learning more about the devotionals I have pictured, I wrote a whole post on them/finding spirituality, which you can find here.

- Soak in a mineral bath
There's nothing better on a cold day than a hot bath! One of my non-negotiables when we remodeled our master bath was that I needed a soaking tub. Even in the hot summer months down here I'll usually take a few baths a month, and in the winter I take one or two a week. I like to add Epsom salts, a sprinkle of baking soda and a few drops of lavender essential oil to my baths. A great way to warm up and unwind!

- Go for a walk outside
After dropping off my kids at school recently, I drove by White Rock Lake in Dallas and thought, "I used to go here nearly every day, and I haven't been here in months! What's my deal? I need to get outside to exercise more!" I was reminded how much I loved walking by the lake and promptly put a "walk date" on my calendar (with four kids, nothing gets done if it isn't scheduled on my calendar!) Granted, if you're in Minneapolis or Chicago, this one could be tough. However, even in the deep darkness of winter I got outside daily when I lived up there. I had a dog who needed to get walked, so there wasn't a choice! Even when it was cold, it was great to get outside and get some fresh air. Now that I've been in the South for so long, I love that I can get outside year round - usually with minimal bundling up. Even if it's just a stroll around the block, the fresh air an exercise does a body wonders!

Our first time decorating for Valentine's Day. Otto and I are into it!

- Engage in a favorite or try a new hobby
One of my hobbies is seasonal decorating. Typically, it's just been Halloween and Christmas that get the glory, with a few decorations on our stroller for the 4th of July parade, and this wreath I made for patriotic holidays. Otto also shares my love for decorating, so this year we did our fireplace mantel in pink and red. I'll likely pick up a few Easter decorations too. It's cheesy, but it's a fun way to bring a smile to my kids' faces and we all had fun doing it. Maybe your hobby is cooking, so get out there and try some new recipes or buy a new kitchen gadget you've been eyeing. Plan your spring garden. Take up a sewing project. It's ok if you don't have time to finish it, the important part is that you're starting and that you're spending some time doing something that makes you happy. That right there is a mood booster.

- Diffuse happy oils
For me, citrus oils are so bright and cheery with their fresh scents. When it's too cold to open windows for fresh air, create your own with some aromatherapy! You could diffuse just a straight up citrus oil, like lemon, orange or grapefruit, or do one of these combos that I love:
If you're new to oils or don't have any in your home yet, I highly suggest trying out Revive. They're high quality and affordable - no need to spend $160 on a starter kit like you do with wholesale club oils! Buy what you want, when you want it. This diffuser is my all time favorite, although I also have Revive's diffuser and it's also excellent. New customers get 10% off with code Paige10, and shipping is always free to the US and Canada!

I have oil diffusers running constantly in my living room, dining room, bedrooms and at my desk. Aromatherapy FTW in winter (actually, year round...)

Dunno about you, but we're definitely feeling the winter blues over here! With all the colds we've had and a recent bout of cold weather, I'm feeling bound up and cagey. I'm longing for the days of spring and summer that we get to spend outside, gardening and splashing around in a pool. I know I'm not alone in these feelings! I hope some of my favorite mood boosters work for you too, and that we all get get through these final weeks (if you're in the South) or months (sorry Northerners) of winter with as much health and happiness as possible.