O H M Y H E A R T

a life with style blog

February. And, it's lit!

bookshelfcourtneeComment

This year I’ve set 45 books as my reading challenge. Last month I managed to read two books. Not as many as I hoped to finish but I enjoyed both of them!

That being said, I’m ready to dive into my February TBR(to be read)stack! Because this is black history month I’m focusing solely on reading black authors. I’m also broadening my horizon in terms of the kinds of books I’m reading. I tend to favor mysteries, non-fiction and as of late, historical fiction. This month I’ve added two YA novels to my list and one, while not technically science fiction-something I never read- per se, is set in the not so distant future with some sci-fi elements.

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The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead This novel won a Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, was selected for Oprah’s Book Club and was on the NYT best seller list for weeks! It’s also been on my TBR since it debuted in 2016. It twlls the story of Cora, a run away slave from Georgia and reimagines the Underground Railroad as more than a metaphor. It is an actual network of tracks and tunnels where engineers and conductors operate beneath the country’s soil.

Pride by Ibi Zoboi This is a Pride and Prejudice remix! The author balances “cultural identity, class and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic”

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo This one has received much critical praise and is a favorite new release among a lot of my favorite booktubers. A young girl discovers slam poetry as way to understand her mother’s deeply held religious beliefs and as a way to make sense of her own relationship to the world around her.

The Red Queen Dies By Frankie Y Bailey This is set in 2019 and there are pharmacutical advances that offer soldiers the ability to take a pill and erase PTSD. Murder and mayhem ensue as a detective races to make sense of clues linked to Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and the assassination of President Lincoln in order to stop a serial killer.

Black Water Rising by Attica Locke A thriller set in Houston during the 1980. Big oil, racism, politics and of course, murder. I can’t wait to dive into this one!

I’m currently on the wait list at the library for a few more novels authored by black writers and I’m not sure how soon I’ll move up the list. I’m excited to check out some new to me authors!

What are you reading this month? Have you read anything lately that I should add to my list?



Psstttt….join me over at Goodreads



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Art Play on a Snow Day

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Like most of the Midwest, we’ve spent the last week buried under the snow and frigid temperatures dished out by the polar vortex. The snow and lack of school for Rowan was starting to get to all of us a bit. So last Thursday we braved the cold and the ice and headed downtown for some fun. The Contemporary Arts Center has always been a favorite place for us to hang out with Ro but we have an appointment every Thursday that has kept us from going to Art Play the last few months. My husband was on vacation so we rescheduled our appointment to have some impromptu family fun. The fact that Dad got to join us made it extra special!

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During our last visit he was much more of an observer. This trip he had a ball interacting with all of the exhibits.

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After some quality time getting our culture on we headed across the street to one of our favorite restaurants, NADA, for tacos!

One of the things I’m committed to doing this year is journaling. So, when we got home I printed out a few photos of the day and had a little memory journal session.

{worn} Snow Leopard

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Yesterday it was almost 60 degrees. Today it’s not quite 40. So I guess we’re going to do this long gray January thing! Sigh.

Lately, I’ve been craving all of the neutrals. And because I’m a maximalist at heart I pile them on with reckless abandon! There is nothing particularly extraordinary about this outfit. And, during the cold months jeans, a cute sweater and boots-and all of its variations-become my uniform. But, the thing I love most about this look in particular is that it’s the perfect example of mom style on a budget.

The boots are the only relatively expensive thing I’m wearing. They were $120 and are at least 5 years old. I’m fairly certain these were a pre Rowan purchase so that would put them at closer to 6! The chunky and relatively low heel make them manageable for wearing when I’m out with him. At this point the cost per wear is down to a few cents! The cardigan and the jeans were thrifted and totaled $10. I scored the blouse on the Tj Maxx clearance rack for about $6 and the scarf was left behind by one of my daughters when they moved out so it was F R E E!!

Mom-ing is hard! I’m certainly not going to tell any one of us how we should or shouldn’t dress on any given day. My kid is almost 5 and there are still days when managing a shower requires a plan as detailed as a scene in Mission:Impossible. We struggle with taking time for ourselves or spending money on ourselves. This year I’m really focusing on putting together a closet that not only makes me feel good when I can grab a few minutes for myself but is also priced so that when the inevitable peanut butter fingerprints end up on my top I’m not too freaked out about it!

Do you have a winter “uniform”? How has motherhood changed the way you approach getting dressed?

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L I G H T

courtnee1 Comment

And with the stroke of the clock another year begins and we think about all of the things we want to accomplish. Improvements we want to make. People we’d like to become. The older I get, the less likely I am to shit on proclamations of “New Year, New Me!” Perhaps getting old is enough to deal with. Do I really need to add cynic on top of it?!


I’m a champion self saboteur. So I’ve shied away from resolutions in an effort to keep from beating myself up when I inevitably fail. The last two years I’ve chosen a word to be my touchstone for the year. Plot twist: I failed at that too!

And here’s where that sliver of optimism comes into play, I’m trying it again! Unlike the past two years I didn’t struggle or labor over “my word”. It came so easily that I immediately dismissed it. I haven’t become so Suzy Sunshine that I’m not a little suspicious of things that are easy. But, the more I thought about the more i liked it!

My word for 2019 is L I G H T.

light

/līt/

noun

  1. the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible.

    synonyms:illumination, brightness, luminescence, luminosity, shining, gleaming, gleam, brilliance, radiance, luster, glowing, glow, blaze, glare, dazzle

  2. understanding of a problem or mystery; enlightenment. synonyms:aspect, angle, slant, approach, interpretation, viewpoint, standpoint, context, hue, complexion 


verb

1.

provide with light or lighting; illuminate.

synonyms:make bright, brighten, illuminate, lighten, throw/cast light on, shine on

adjective

  1. having a considerable or sufficient amount of natural light; not dark.

    "the bedrooms are light and airy"

    synonyms:bright, full of light, well lit, well illuminated, sunny"a light, cheerful room"


The last two years have been heavy. Emotionally draining. Physically exhausting. And it shows. I look back at photos from a few years ago and I see a person with a light in her eyes. A woman who was excited about life and its infinite possibilities. I don’t see that anymore. And, I want that back! I need it! This year I want to reclaim the things that inspired me, that sparked curiosity and self reflection or simply made me happy! I want to lighten myself emotionally by letting go of anger. SO MUCH ANGER. At life, the world, the politics of this country. I want to find a way to work for what I believe in without it consuming me. I want to lighten myself physically. This is the heaviest I’ve been, aside from pregnancy, in a decade. I hate it. It literally drags me down. My emotional health is suffering from it. I want the extra weight gone. But I want to lose it in a way that makes me feel good about myself. I want to be physically strong and capable. The effects of being sedentary are depressing. I have young child and I want to be strong and healthy so I can be better mom for him.

There will be more posts about how I want to apply my word to various aspects of life but for now let’s celebrate surviving the shitstorm that was 2018!

Cheers to 2019! Let’s live in the light!

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Photo by Leighann Renee on Unsplash

The Girl With The Glasses

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Earlier in the year I went to have an eye exam. I was expecting to finally get the news that is another harbinger of middle age…bi-focals. Color me shocked that I was able to hold that one off!

Anyway, a few weeks ago I finally got my act together and ordered my new glasses. Since I discovered I could get stylish and affordable glasses online I cannot remember the last pair I purchased from a regular retailer. Zenni is bae! I’ve flirted with a few other websites but I always end up back where I started. I ordered 3 pair. A new pair of sunnies, a pair to wear around the house, and a new every day pair. Three pair of prescription glasses and shipping was a whopping $75! I couldn’t be happier.

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An Exercise in Self Care

heart+homecourtneeComment

Self care is a word that is being thrown a lot lately. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what it means for me. Here’s what I’ve discovered. Self care is less about pampering and more about doing things that nurture my creativity. As of late that has included lots more reading, listening to music and journaling. I’ve never been huge into journaling for the same reasons I sometimes find therapy difficult, confronting what I’m feeling is really freaking hard! Emotionally, the last few years have been brutal and my survival has been partially due to my ability shut off a lot of what I’m feeling.

I recognize that it’s not healthy. Perhaps more importantly, it’s also not how I want move through the world. So I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and writing. I’ve also started to do little bit of creative journaling. I’m not an artist in any way, shape, or form so collaging and scrapbooking makes me feel artistic. It’s also been a great coping mechanism in the last few months.

I took this photo on a hike a few weeks ago. Like many survivors of sexual assault and trauma, watching the Kavaungh hearing and the testimony of Dr Blasey-Ford was deeply triggering. My husband suggested a hike as a way to unplug for a bit. I snapped this photo as we were crossing the creek. I knew that I wanted to include it in my notebook as a reminder not only of how far I’ve come but also to give myself permission to bend or even break if I need to. It’s ok to have your shit together and rock at life. But, it’s ok if you’re not. It’s ok if you are getting through the day out of habit. It’s ok to not be ok.

And just in case you need to hear it today, I see you. I hear you. I believe you.

Worn{feeling fall}

worncourtneeComment

Fall has finally arrived and I am here for it! Yaaasssss! Give me pumpkin spice! Give me scarves! Give me boots!! We’ve had temps in the 80s until last week! But, you know….global warming is totes not a thing y’all! ::insert your favorite eye roll gif here!::

Anyway, I’m deeply in love with jewel tones right now. So this combination of red, mustard, orange and teal is perfection. These sneakers tho! I’ve been contemplating a pair of high top wedge kicks for a while. They were on trend a few years ago. For some reason I couldn’t currently get them off my mind. Comfortable and a little bit of edge! Why did I pass on them before?! I had a pair sitting in my Amazon cart. A few weeks ago I decided to pop in Goodwill because I had some time to kill before I needed to pick Rowan up from school. These were the first thing I saw when I walked in the door! And, they were $4. It was meant to be!

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Has the weather cooled off in your neck of the woods? Are you ready for all the fall things?

You Say It's Your Birthday!

G O I N G G R A Ycourtnee1 Comment
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Hey, girl, hey!! 

Today you turn 45. I'm sure you're supposed to have feelings about it but you don't. Or should I say, you don't have any feelings about it that you've been able to fully process? I do know that saying it out loud seems heavy, substantial. It feels like everything should be different but it's unremarkable in its sameness. At some point, you'll sit down and have a proper cry and mild existential crisis as GenXers are prone to do. I know you thought you would have conquered the world by now but these days you count any day you wear actual pants and finish your coffee before it needs to be reheated as a win. And, that's ok. Life may not be as grand as you dreamed it to be as 10-year-old, but it's a hell of a lot better than you ever imagined it would be as that wounded and fragile 25-year-old. Remembering that girl we used to be hurts my heart.

But, you put yourself back together, baby girl.  You are learning to love yourself. You fell in love and got married. You watched your children grow into pretty kick ass adults. You had your miracle baby and survived PPD. You embraced your new life with a new baby and like most of the time, you fucking rocked it! You became a grandmother! Fuck! Girl, I know. But that baby has changed you in ways you never thought she would. Basically, your life can be summed up by one of those cliche graphic t-shirts at Target. And, guess what? You are perfectly happy with it! 

Your first 45 years have been pretty great! I can't wait to see what you do next!  And, to quote the great American philosopher, RuPaul, "if you don't love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else!" 

xoxo

PS-

 

 

 

 

 

Worn{fancy dress day}

worncourtneeComment

Wearing a dress always looks more put together than it feels. Essentially when I don't want to deal with waistbands, ironing, or finding two things that look good together, I'll wear a dress! Sometimes it turns a regular day into fancy dress day and I feel like a proper adult!  I'm in the process of going thru my closet with a more critical eye because the amount of STUFF is overwhelming me at this point! But, that deserves it's own post. This dress is one of the things that will definitely be staying. I can't think of one item of clothing I've purchased lately that feels more like me than this dress! 

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Mondays Are For Messes

localcourtneeComment

Some of my best moments with Rowan are when I get to show him my favorite little places in the city. I love being able to watch his eyes light up as he falls in love with them too! 

A few weeks ago, we ventured out to one of those little gems, Blue Manatee. I've taken him here a dozen or so times before. But, the most amazing part of having a four-year-old is watching how magical the world is for them! Rowan takes everything in and needs to process the surroundings for a while. Even as he gets more comfortable it takes time for him to warm up and engage. Because of this, I'm always worried. But really, I had nothing to worry about! 

 

The new location is just as cozy and wonderful as it's previous space. The staff is warm and generous. Ms. Kellie is amazing with the kids. We had such a great morning "making a mess" a Blue Manatee!  

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He's already asked to go back to for another messy Monday! I think that means he loves it as much as I do!