Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Local Flavors Swap is Open!

The next Chaotic Goddess Swap is now open!  I've signed up, and if you want to, now is the time!  The Local Flavors Swap is always an interesting one because you send a box of regional and/or local items to your partner.  I always have trouble coming up with cool ideas for this one, but I'm feeling like I have a handle on it this year!

So you want to play?  Here's what you have to do.
  1. Go to the sign up page, and fill out the Google form.
  2. Wait to be assigned a partner.
  3. Talk to your partner.  Find out what they like.  Stalk them on Instagram, but not in a creepy way.
  4. Send out a package of at least five items with a total value of $20-$30, by the shipping date.
  5. Send you confirmation info to your swap buddy and the girls at Chaotic Goddess.
  6. Wait for your package of goodies from your partner to arrive.
  7. Write up a nice post about all the awesome things you got.
And that's it.  Want to play?  Click the pick below for more information.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Musical Mondays- Radical Face's "The Crooked Kind"

It's Monday, so that means it's time to get a little musical.  :)  I first heard this song at the end of an episode of "Elementary", and I really liked it and had to track down the artist.

There really isn't a music video for it, but here's the song.

To me, it made me think of all the people who have drifted out of my life.  Kids I went to grade school with, who you thought you were going to be best friends with forever, people you used to work with, and laugh with, friends you used to see all the time.  But then life happens and you kind of drift outside of each others circles.  But, they still leave an impression.  And this goes both ways- you leave an impression on people too.  What do you want to be remembered as?

You can check out what everyone else is listening to over at My So Called Chaos' Musical Mondays and feel free to link up with us, if you have a song to share.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Weekly Round Up- June 28

Another week is in the books, and that means it's time to share some of my favorite reading from the past week. I'm linking up with Miss Angie at My So Called Chaos and Brandi at High Heeled Love.

The Weekly Round-Up

  • I loved this post from Pretty Lovely about edible flowers.  She gives some good tips as well as a list of some to try as well as some tips for how to use them.  And just to warn you, the photography on her blog is beautiful!
    Used from and with permission from Pretty Lovely.

  • Kaitlyn Marie Co. shared about why she's going vegan.  As someone who's trying to be more conscientious about what I eat, and knowing where my food comes from, it was interesting to read her thoughts.  She also offers a couple good resources if you want to learn more.
  • Middle Places had a great post about the joys of hospitality called The Joy in Just-Enough, about how we don't need to have the best of everything in order to share it with others.  It struck a chord and made me tear up a little too.  You should read it!
    Used from and with permission from Middle Places

  • Ashley from A Cute Angel shared her favorite barre workouts.  I've done at home barre workouts and they're a nice change up.  It gives me the same feel that yoga does.  Like I'm all stretched and just feel taller and more graceful.
    Used from and with permission from A Cute Angle

  • Chaotic Goddess' Local Flavor Swap opens on Monday!  If you want to sign up and send a box of local goodies to a new blogger friend, and in return, receive a box from them, then this is the swap for you!  These girls run a professional swap.  And there's a giveaway to go with it to boot.  So what are you waiting for? Go check it out!  

    And don't forget to head over to the link up and see what everyone else is reading this week!  Or join in, if you'd like.  We'd love to see what you're reading.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

We Have a Winner!

My second blogiversary giveaway ended last night at midnight.  This morning I had Rafflecopter pick a winner, emailed the winner, and have already heard back from them!  I hope she loves the prize pack as much as I loved putting it together!

Congratulations to Kathy and thank you to everyone who entered!  I have big plans to make year number three the best yet!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Please Don't Ask Me What I Do

It's one of the first questions we ask someone new, when we meet.  "What do you do for a living?"  Uck.  This question has always made me feel kind of like I need to issue a disclaimer.  Like "I'm a health unit clerk, but that's just until I figure out what I want to really do with my life."  It feels kind of unfair that so much of my identity is wrapped up in what I do for a living, when  I feel like my job has so little in common with who I am.  I write, I like to cook things from scratch, I love nature and walking outside, and watching birds, I blog, I love prowling used bookstores.  None of these things are related to my job.

Is there anything wrong with not loving your career?  I don't think so.  I think it's possible to have a job which is just that, a job.  (As long as you give a 100% while you're there and try to have a good attitude.)  Trust me, if I could afford to just stay home and blog, and craft, and cook all day, I'd definitely be doing that, instead of working as a HUC.  

So what's a girl to do?  I think you need to feel free to add that disclaimer, like, "I'm a health unit clerk, but if I had my way, I'd just read and blog and explore nature all the time."  I'm guessing people would be more inclined to ask me what kind of books I like than what a health unit clerk does.  And when you meet new people, be conscious that most people have some deep inner stirring that is probably totally unrelated to where their paycheck comes.  Ask deeper questions, like "What would you be doing if money was no object?" or "What are you passionate about." or "So if you could get a redo, would you still have chosen the same career field?"  Some people love they're job and they'd stick with it, but I bet you'd be surprised how many people would have chosen a different way.

And most of all, keep working towards your dreams.  Just because you're not passionate about your current job, doesn't mean you'll never find one you are passionate about.

So what are you passionate about?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Musical Mondays- "Empire" from Of Monsters and Men

So remember last week, when I told you I had a bunch of songs I wanted to share?  Part of the reason is that two of my favorite bands had recently released new albums, and this week I'm going to share one of them with you.

Of Monsters and Men is this cool little band from Iceland who had a great first album, which I loved, and still listen to all the time, but years had gone by and nothing new had come.  Finally, a few weeks ago, they released their second album, and I love it so much!  Here's a song from "Beneath the Skin".

Heavy stones fear no weather, and from the rain,
comes a river running wild that will create,
an empire for you.
I love this line!  And it made me think of an article a friend had recently shared on Facebook.  It was called, "To Be Happy, You Have to Go Your Own Way".  It was all about how, doing things you really want to do is hard.  It's hard to eat healthy instead of hitting up a fast food place.  It's hard to exercise every day.  It's hard to declutter your life.  And if you want to grow your blog, it's hard.  Basically, anything we want out of life is going to be hard.  There's going to be rain.  Lots and lots of rain.  But it's up to you to harness the river all that rain creates and use it to make your empire.

And it's up to you to decide what your empire is.  What would you love your life to look like?  Want to work less hours, travel more, or become polylingual?  It's not going to happen if you're laying on your couch binge watching "House of Cards".  You have to go out there and get it, and it's going to be hard, and it's going to suck sometimes.  But hard, sucky things are the things that make us grow as a person and help us build our empire.  So don't be afraid of that!  Go out there and get it!

Want to see what everyone else is listening to this week?   Check out the link up at My So Called Chaos.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Weekly Round Up June 21

It's been a busy week!  The remodel on the nurse's station at work has finished, and we got to move into our work area, that's been freshly painted and carpeted.  It's so nice and big, and just way prettier than our old set up. :)  I've also been reading a lot, sewing, going for bike rides, and just trying to enjoy Wisconsin summer.

For the first time, I'm joining in The Weekly Round-Up, which is hosted by the lovely Miss Angie of My So Called Chaos and awesome Aubrey of High-Heeled Love.  Basically, it's just a collection of some of the blog articles I've read this week, that I think you should check out.  So let's take a look, shall we?

  • Like to  travel?  Just Bee started a series about her month in Cambodia and her first post on the Angkor Wat Temples is pretty neat.  It sounds like it was a journey just to get to them.  I can't wait to hear more!

    (Image from and used with permission from Just Bee.)

  • Joyfully Organized is a blog that's new to me, and while going through some of her older posts, I found this one for Creating a Prayer Flip Book.  As a lover a cute paper and crafty things, and as someone who is trying to be more diligent about praying for the people in my life, I think I have to try this one!
(Image from and used with permission from Joyfully Organized.)

  • The Kardia  shared a great article called 10 Things to Stop Wasting Time On.  And she's not calling you out on your Netflix binges (which you already know is wasting your time), she's talking about things you probably don't even realize.
Image used from and with permission of The Kardia.

  • Miss Angie is buying a house and looking to downsize, so stop by her Virtual Yard Sale and see if there's anything you need.  She'll be adding new items in the coming weeks, so keep checking back.

And finally, don't forget my Two Year Blogiversary Giveaway is still going on for a few more days, so if you haven't entered yet, hurry up and enter!  I've got a bunch of my favorite things up for grabs, all wrapped up in one fabulous prize pack!

Oh!  And head to the link up so see find more great posts!
The Weekly Round-Up

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chaotic Goddess' Favorite Color Reveal!

Any of you regular readers know I love a good blog swap.  They're just so fun- you can meet new bloggers, pick out some goodies for them, and then see what they picked for you.  This is my third time doing Chaotic Goddess' Favorite color swap.  The first year I got an awesome purple themed package from Cindy at A Crafter's Corner and last year I got a great yellow package from Ashley at A Cute Angel and this year I was paired with Kenzie from Chasing my Extraordinary.

I've finally decided that yellow is really by favorite color (and it's hers too- great minds think alike).  And Kenzie did it up big!  Want to see?

She spoiled me!  And my picture doesn't really do a good job showing all the awesomeness but here's what she sent.
  • A box of Lipton Chai Tea (one of my favorites)
  • A box of Lipon Peppermint Tea (another of my favorites)
  • A bag of Ghiraelli Carmel Squares (I love good chocolate!)
  • Some Metallic Jewelry Tattoos (pretty fun for summer)
  • Some yellow polka dot ribbon (great for crafty projects)
  • Nail polish in both bright yellow and metallic gold (love both!)
  • An awesome pin cushion and holder in rainbow of colors- including yellow (perfect for me, because when you have curious cats, you have to stash your pins somewhere they can't get into when the pins are not in use)
  • And the thing that made me laugh out loud- a copy of Janet Evanovich's Wicked Appetite with it's own handmade dust jacket so that it fits the yellow theme (I love a good mystery, but have never read any of Janet's books.  She comes highly recommended from Kenzie.)
  • Oh!  And not pictured is the cutest Ipsy makeup bag ever.  It's square, zips, and is made with rattan and ribbons.   I use it to hold my headphones and sunglasses inside my bag, and forgot to take it out to photograph it. :)
I loved everything she chose and just for reference, there's a begonia flower next to the ribbon that is kind of my favorite yellow shade.  You can see Kenzie was right on the mark.  Her blog is pretty awesome, so you should really go check her out.

And, don't forgot to go to Chaotic Goddess' blog and see what everyone else got, including what I picked for Kenzie.  Her post is already up.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Chair in the Shade is Turning Two!

Can you believe it?  June 26 will mark Chair in the Shade's second birthday!  Time really does fly.  I've changed directions, and learned so much since I started.  I've met so many interesting people and really love the community blogging provides.

I've really been working on simplifying my life in all areas as of late- whether it be what I eat, how much stuff I have, or what I buy.  So I decided to do a giveaway full of some simple pleasures and what is more simple than good coffee, a great book, or a relaxing bath?  To see more about all the prizes, please read on.

So much in the way that I filled a bag with a bunch of favorite things last year for my Blogiversary giveaway, I thought I'd do the same this year.

Here's what in this year's prize pack:
  •  A bag made by yours truly in a funky pink and turquoise batik with turquoise lining and accents.  Great for lugging things to the beach, hauling books to the library or filling with snacks for a road trip.
  • A bag of Panera Bread's Columbia coffee- my current coffee of choice.
  • A brand new copy of Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire.  It's not a diet book, there are n recipes, but it will really change your thoughts about food.
  • A pair of copper hoop earrings from Copper Harbor, Michigan.  These little cuties are engraved with flowers.  I have a similar pair, and they're my most favorite earrings.  They go with everything.  You can dress them up or down.  And they're unique.
  • Two bath tea bags of Maple Hill Farm's Relaxation bath tea.  (Love these guys- it's locally and family owned and and run)
  • A large Moleskine notebook.  Perfect for journaling, making lists, or plotting what to do with your life.
Prize value is approximately $50.  Unfortunately, due to the weight of the prizes, contest is only open in the US.  But don't worry!  There will be future contests open to all.

Just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below and be sure you leave an email address where I can reach you if you are a no reply blogger.  Giveaway runs from today through my blogiversary.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for celebrating my Blogiversary with me and good luck!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Musical Mondays- The National Parks' Wind & Anchor

Hey!  It's Musical Monday again!  That means it's time to share a song with you all.  A couple weeks ago, I was racking my brain for a song to share, and this week I had three in mind and had to narrow it down to one.

It was just about 10 days ago when I heard this song for the first time.  I was sitting in a little cabin on Lake Superior with two girl friends and we were sitting around playing cards, but being from the constantly plugged in generation, we needed music.  But... wi-fi was super spotty, and non-existent in our cabin, and there was no cell reception.  So, what's a girl to do?  Luckily, Annie had her laptop along, and we were able to sift through her downloaded music.  She put on "The National Parks" and it was love at first listen.  They just seemed perfect for the occasion.

And now I'm sharing them with all of you.  They're a nice mellow summer band and watching other videos of them, they seem like they'd be totally laid back and fun to hang out with.  So enjoy. :)

Want to see what everyone is listening to?  Feel free to check out My So Called Chaos' link up and why don't you join in?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Want to Trade?

After reading Blog Inc., I started really thinking about what I want to get out of (and give) through blogging.  One of the first things was that I want to feel like my blog is authentic.  I don't want to be pushing people to buy things when I myself am trying to limit what I buy.  And I want to help foster community.  I want to bring people together and help them build friendships.  One of the things I've loved the most about blogging, is the people I've met online.

In an effort to be more authentic and to encourage community, I'm restructuring my advertising.  While I will still keep my affiliates, I want to focus more on promoting other blogs or small businesses. So, if you blog and would like to swap buttons, or if you have an Etsy shop and would like me to post your button, please contact me.

Standard ad size is 250 x 125.  Spots are limited, but will run for one month and will rotate in order.  If you're interested, shoot me an email at info@chairintheshade.com and we'll work something out. 

Note: I do reserve the right to refuse ads.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

June Goals (and May Recap)

I'm a little late announcing my June goals (and recap of May), but here they are.

May Goals

  • Downsize I think I'll be continually working at this one, but I've gotten rid of more stuff, and I'm setting goals for continuing it.  I'm just so tired of stuff.  Clutter.  Paper.  All of it.  Cluttering up my life!  Less really is more.  And when the things you keep are things you really, really love, it's makes you feel happy to get dressed in the morning. 
  • Start a morning ritual.  It's been going really well.  I feel like my days have more order, I'm reading more, and even writing some each day.  I try to start each morning with a cup of coffee and then I sit and read and write and pray and plan what I really want to get done for that day.  This obviously doesn't work as well if I'm scheduled to work the 7am shift at work, but then I try to sit and relax a little when I get home at 3:30 and read a little and write.  I'm also adjusting my morning wake up time for the days I work second shift to no later than 7:30am during the week.  That way it's not so hard to get up at 6:15 on the days I work day shift.

June Goals

  • Give up coffee creamer.  I realized that I'm consuming about 150 extra calories and 20 grams of sugar each day, just by putting creamer in my coffee.  I'm switched to a splash of milk, and plan to eventually get to just black.  This is part of my goal to get my weight own 25 pounds by the end of the year.
  • Walk every day for at least 15 minutes.  This is also related to my weight loss goal, but maybe even more so, it's a mental health and creativity goal.  I can walk at work on my lunch, walk at home, or walk up town to run errands, but a lot of days I just don't.  15 minutes isn't much, and most days I do more, but I wanted to set a minimum.
  • Blog three times a week.  I'm pretty excited about some new changes I have in the works here, and I want to try to focus on blogging more regularly.
  • Continue to get up by 7:30am on weeekdays.  Mentioned more on the why above, but I just feel like when I get up early, I have so much more productive time before I leave for work.
What to see how everyone else did?  Or want to link up with your goals?  Click the pic to be taken to link up headquarters. :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

June 2015 Reading List

I'm still working on finishing a couple books I started last month, but here's what I'm hoping to tackle in June.

Sherlock in Love by Sena Jeter Naslund-  We all know I have a soft spot for Sherlock and ever since I've discovered that we're the same Myers-Briggs personality type (INTP), it's only been growing.

Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose- As someone who loves books and is interested in writing them, this book sounds extremely interesting. 

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay- This one came in from my last book swap and I saw a copy of it this past weekend when I was at a bookstore.  I really think it's time to find out what happens to Sarah's brother.

First and Second Things by C.S. Lewis- This is one of my favorite authors and a for sure guest at that "If you could have four famous people- dead or alive- over for dinner, who would you pick?" question.  He was an amazing man with an awesome mind.  This is a collection of his essays.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

May Book Recap

May was an interesting reading month.  I didn't get much reading in until about 2/3 of the way through the month, but I did finally finish a couple books that had been taking me forever to get through so it was nice to finally move them off my Goodreads "Currently Reading" shelf.  And, the only two books I added were from Bookmooch, so they didn't cost me a sent.

What I Read
Blog Inc was gifted to me from Miss Angie of My So Called Chaos as a prize from her Blogentine's Giveaway.  It was really interesting, and I actually learned quite a bit.  It fired me up to make some changes to the aesthetics of my blog as well as updating my pages and I have more big ideas to come, thanks to this book.
A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot is a biography of Amy Carmichael, the missionary who started an orphanage in India in the early 1900s.  It started out soooo slow, but about half way through it picked up and I managed to get through second half fairly fast.  It was very interesting and I really liked that Elliot didn't paint Amy as this perfect paragon of virtue, she talked about character flaws and struggles Amy had, which was very refreshing, and almost makes you respect the work she did all the more.  And as an interesting side note- the author is also a missionary, who lost her husband in 1956 to an attack from the Amazonian tribe they were trying to work with.
Called to Greatness by Ron Hutchcraft has been on my bookshelf for quite a while, and I finally decided to read it.  It's a book about Christianity and living your life as a light.   As a Christian, it was kind of a wake up call and was a good read.

What I Acquired
The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl is a historical fiction.  I've already read Pearl's books The Dante Club, and The Poe Shadow which were both super interesting.  He really has this skill of weaving a great storey into a historical setting.
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller is a book I've heard lots about but haven't read it and when I saw it was on Bookmooch, I decided I didnt' have much to lose. 

2015 Totals
Total Read: 17      Total Aquired: 23

Monday, June 8, 2015

Musical Mondays: Nina Simone's Feeling Good

I had a great four day girls' weekend in a little town in the northern tip of Michigan's Upper Peninsula called Copper Harbor.  The two girls from my goals group and I got together to rent a cottage, hike, sit on the shores of Lake Superior and just relax.  It was so awesome!  And I want to tell you all about it, but today I have about a million things to do- laundry to wash, stuff to unpack, and groceries to buy all before going to work at 3pm this afternoon.

So, I'm just going to tell you a little story about our trip.  On our way up to our cottage, we stopped in Calumet, Michigan, which is an awesome little town about 40 minutes south of Copper Harbor.  They have this used bookstore that I just love, and since all three of us are bibliophiles, we stopped to peruse.  Friday is apparently the day some of the local muscians get together for a little jam session so while we were slowly making our way through the stacks, we got to listen to them sing bluesy songs like "Lullaby of Birdland" with a folksy twist.  It was AMAZING!  Like, it's seriously one of my favorite memories of the trip- wandering through this little bookstore with my two friends (we were the only patrons), while the clerk, and a few other people sang Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn songs accompanied with strings.   We didn't want to leave.  But we finally figured we should move on.

Shore of Lake Superior
I have a stash of CDs in my car, full of my music tastes circa 2005.  And there was a handful of blues in there, so we popped in a compilation of Billy Holiday, Ella, Nina Simone and the like, and just drove along Lake Superior on our way north.  It felt like the perfect soundtrack and we all felt like everything was right in the world.

When I got home, I tried to find a version of Lullaby of Birdland that sounded similar to what I heard at the bookstore in Calumet, but I couldn't find anything like it.  So, here's a Nina Simone song that sums up how my weekend was instead.  :)

If you want to see what every one else is listening to this week, check out Muscial Mondays hosted by My So Called Chaos and feel free to link up if you have a song to share!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Omega 3 Fish Oil Review

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Quality Encapsulations asking me if I'd be interested in reviewing their Omega 3 Fish Oil supplement.  I'm usually skeptical about trying supplements.  I have three that I do take regularly- one of which is a fish oil, always buying the same brand because they're brands I trust and I think the supplements work.

Quality Encapsulations
But, I looked into their ingredients and process and I thought it looked promising.  Omega 3 Fish Oils are great for mental health, skin, hair, your heart, and so much more.  I've taken one for years.  It's important to take a quality supplement though.  You want a supplement made with pure ingredients.  Since fish oils are made with fish, it's important to take one that is pure and not contaminated with mercury or other potentially harmful things.

Easy to swallow soft gels
Quality Encapsulations uses pharmaceutical grade fish oils, they don't have a fishy aftertaste- which is a problem I've had with some brands in the past, and are non-GMO.  It has 1,500mg total Omega 3s in two softgels, which is slightly more than my current brand. 

So, if you are looking for a good Omega 3, you should really take a look at Quality Encapsulations.

I received a bottle of Qualtiy Encapsulations' Omega 3 courtesy of Tomoson in exchange for an honest review of their product.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Musical Mondays- Wide Eyes

It's Monday!  So here's a long overdue Musical Mondays post.  I've been listening to a ton of acoustic stuff lately, so it seems only natural to pick an acoustic song for you all.  So, here it is: Local Native's "Wide Eyes".

 I just love the beat and soft voices of this song.  I could tell you it's all about discovering things for yourself and growing as a person or something, but it's really just a good song.  In fact, a lot of Local Natives' stuff is just lovely.  And it just feels appropriate for how I've been feeling lately.

As always, if you want to see what everyone else is listening to, you have to head over to My So-Called Chaos and check out the link up.