The Happiness Report: 8-10-2020

Dare I say that last week felt “normal.”  Or at least normalish?  Normal Lite?  Okay, whatever you want to call it, besides the masks, and hugging aversions, and excessive use of hand sanitizer, the last week actually felt fairly ordinary, and it was certainly filled with a lot of happy moments.

Check it out!

  1. Fall, Is That You?  Y’all.  This weather!  I know that God has a plan for our lives.  And when times are challenging, it’s hard to see what that plan might be.  And I know that we learn lessons in tough seasons.  I’m learning so much right now.  So much that it’s exhausting and invigorating all at once.  But it’s like God said, “Look friends, I’m not quite finished teaching, but here’s some bomb weather to help you out for a few days.”  If it offends you that I’m speaking as the voice of our Lord and Savior, I’m sorry.  But the Big Dude has shown me MANY times that he has an incredible sense of humor.  Whatever it was, gimme all the 75 degree and sunny days.  Forever and ever, Amen.
  2. Voting.  In case we haven’t talked about it yet, one of my degrees is in political science, I cry at the National Anthem, and I take the right and responsibility of voting very seriously.  I read, I research, and I know my stuff.  (Well, as best I can.)  So when an election day and ability to vote comes around, I seriously nerd out.  Last Tuesday was the Kansas Primary, so I got to start my day in a voting booth.  With a mask, no contact, and a lot of social distancing, but voting nonetheless.  (Although, kind of loving the new process that was created due to COVID, and kind of hoping it sticks around…)
  3. Farmers Market Friend Date.  Last week was National Farmers Market Week, and I absolutely love the Overland Park Farmers Market.  Although we went so many times last year (I even have a full blog post about it.), sadly I had not been back yet this year.  Like every other industry, our farmers and food makers have been hit hard by COVID, so they need us more than ever.  I also owed my friend Kara a coffee date, so I asked if she would meet me at the OPFM for coffee and shopping, and she was game.  We met at The Wild Way coffee truck, grabbed some drinks, walked, and talked, and shopped for about an hour.  Everything was safe, and healthy, and we had such a great time.
  4. A Little Treat Yo Self.  There’s really nothing like ending your work week with a facial.  I recently started working with Sara from Elevate Esthetics, and on Friday, I had my first service with her: a Dermaplane Facial.  Okay, so I’ve had a dermaplane facial multiple times, but I wish I could have them every week.  Not only are they relaxing, but they leave my face glowing, and my skincare products and makeup go on like butter for several days after.  Estheticians have a lot of new protocols that they have to implement due to COVID, which can ultimately affect the vibe of their space, turning it more clinical than relaxing.  But somehow Sara has been able to create a perfect balance.  Everything was very clean and safe, but I was transported into an incredibly luxurious experience.  I know that everyone loves a massage, but in my opinion, facials are far superior.
  5. Winery Tour.  Oh yes I did.  Yes. I. Did.  Go Explore KC is a new business venture by my friend Maria.  It’s a very cool concept, where you sign up for an account, and you can take tours, check in along the way, earn badges, partake in specials, and earn prizes.  My friend Mindy and I have been dying to try it out, so we dragged our friend Mandy and all of our families along for the ride.  (Literally.)  We explored three wineries in the rural Paola, Kansas countryside and had the best time.  The weather was perfect, the grounds of Isinglass, New Lancaster, and Somerset were stunning, and the wine was pretty great too.  There are many more wineries to visit and tours to take, so we’re already planning our next adventures.

 

I hope you had a wonderful week and that you’re walking into this week with a positive outlook and a whole lotta joy.

XOXO,

Molly B.

The Happiness Report: 8-3-2020

It’s Monday and the sun is shining for the first time in days, and I am just the happiest lil thing on the planet!  Last week was filled with dark and rainy days, and it had me all up in my feels.  But that’s kind of par for the 2020 course, right?  Lots of dark and rainy days.  Lost of reflection.  Sometimes it can be a little too much, and I find myself longing for the light and playful and carefree days that don’t come as easy right now.  But last week, although the weather was challenging, I had some of the most carefree moments in months.  Check them out…

  1. Playlists.  Why don’t we ever talk about my love for music.  It is a huge part of my life, and I really haven’t shared much about it.  Oh no, I am not personally musically gifted (AT ALL), but I love music and so much of my life has been shaped by it.  Back before I was a mom and I was actually cool, I went to a lot of concerts.  Like a lot.  It’s been a really long time, and who knows what concerts will look like in the future, but there are few things I love more than live music.  Last week, with the rain and the gloom, I decided to work on my playlists.  I add to my Running Playlist almost daily as I hear songs at the gym that motivate me.  So last week, I gave a little TLC to my Chill Playlist, and I was so fun to relive memories through the lyrics.  It’s playing as I type this, and it’s a whole mood, y’all.  (Don’t forget, these playlists are public, so you can listen to them here anytime you want!)
  2. Insta Interview.  Anytime someone reaches out to me and asks if I would be willing to do an interview for them, I instantly assume they contacted the wrong person.  Sure, I’ve been through some stuff, but I’m really not that cool.  It is such an honor when anyone asks me to share my story, and if it will bring even one person a little more joy, I’m totally game.  Laura from New Strong KC reached out and asked if I would be willing to take part in her Tuesday chats, with a focus on resilience.  I’ve been following New Strong for months, so I was thrilled and said “of course.”  We chatted all things cancer, Jesus, marriage, adoption, and Kansas City faves.  Laura is an absolute joy, so it really was a fun way to spend a few minutes, and I could have chatted with her for hours.  If you’d like to watch the interview, you can access it here.  Maybe it will give you a little inspo during your dark days.
  3. Day Trip to Manhattan.  Not New York, my friends.  I WISH!  Chad and I have been throwing around the idea of a day trip for weeks.  We’ve looked at different articles about day trips in Kansas and Missouri, and last week, we decided it was time.  Ultimately we chose Manhattan, Kansas.  Growing up in Big 12 country, we knew Kansas State as an opponent, so we wanted to check out the site of 38 OU football victories.  Okay and we have a lot of friends that went to KSU, so we knew it would be a fun time.  On Friday, I took to my InstaStories, asking for recommendations.  And holy cow, my crew came through!  We left after breakfast and made the just shy of 2 hour drive to Manhattan.   We explored Aggieville, where we had a Nancy (Old Milwaukee draft and pineapple juice) and Chipotle Raspberry and Black Bean Dip at So Long Saloon.  We swung by campus and Snyder Family StadiumBill Snyder Family Stadium.  We walked up and down Poyntz, grabbed lunch at Tallgrass Taphouse and shared a slice of Chocolate Peanut Butter cake and a Snack Attack cookie at Bourbon and Baker. We rounded it out with a Manhattan Hill driveby on our way out of town, and Jack yelled from the backseat “I love this adventure!”   This was one of the best days our lil fam has had in a really long time. Highly recommend a change of scenery for a change of perspective.  There are so many more things we want to do in that area, so we will definitely be back!
  4. Sunday Workout.  One of my favorite boutiques in Kansas City is Array, which is a boutique collective, meaning they carry multiple boutiques under one roof.  They opened a new storefront in Town Center earlier this year, and they have been growing ever since.  (Even through COVID.)  In the month of August, they will be hosting two parking lot workouts, and they invited a few local ladies to take a preview class on Sunday.  Typically Sunday is my rest day, but I didn’t think the workout would be too challenging, so I went for it.  Oh my!  I was wrong.  Look, I’m fairly athletic, but this booty focused workout by local fitness instructor Kristy Rae was ridiculous!  We used a resistance band created by local business Cakey Bums, and it was intense.  The workouts are designed for all fitness levels, and you can take it at your own pace.  The weather was perfect, and it wound up being a lot of fun.  But woah my booty was sore this morning!
  5. Happyfeed.  Last week, I was on a conference call, and the icebreaker question was “What is your favorite obscure app?”  I kind of rolled my eyes at first, but it actually wound up being really fun and actually really helpful.  One of my coworkers shared an app called Happyfeed.  Essentially, it is an online gratitude journal that makes it unbelievably simple (and fun) to cultivate little moments of joy each day.  Although I don’t think that I will use it as a journal, it does have daily prompts to get you started, and I love the questions that it asks to get you thinking.  The app is cute, so the aesthetic alone makes you smile, but its capabilities are pretty fun too.  If you’ve been trying to find more ways to cultivate gratitude and remind yourself of the joy in your world, I highly recommend it.

 

As I look at my August calendar, there is a lot of fun to come.  I can’t wait to share it will all of you and to hear what’s bringing you joy this month too.

XOXO,

Molly B.

The Happiness Report: 7-27-2020

The scariest thing I’ve heard all day?  Saturday is August.  Like how?!  Isn’t it crazy how time feels like it is standing still but simultaneously moving at the speed of light?  One thing I’ve talked about before that has me struggling is the absence of things to look forward to on the calendar–events, vacations, etc.  And while that sometimes makes it feel like time is standing still, part of getting older is that the clock moves faster.  This year is over half over, and perhaps it’s the lack of milestones that is making it seem aimless.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few months of COVID and staying home more often, it’s that we have to take control of what we can control.  And no, there are parts of our calendar that we cannot control–those events, vacations, etc.  But there are things that we can add in to create more milestones, memories, and overall joy.  This last week was filled with those things.  Check em out!

  1. Misheard Song Lyrics.  When Chad and I had our date night last week, somehow we started talking about songs that we initially misunderstood.  If you’ve never had this conversation with anyone, I HIGHLY encourage it, because the result is hilarious!  (Seriously, try it at your next dinner party.)  Still laughing the following week, I took the question to Instagram, and I loved reading all of the responses that my friends had to add.  It was such a mid-week joy, and I loved getting to know people (and their senses of humor) better.
  2. Donating Blood.  I know, weird.  And perhaps it seems like a stretch.  But in case you didn’t know, there is a severe nationwide blood shortage, which is being exacerbated by COVID.  The American Red Cross has put out the call and has ramped up their drives across the country.  I donated a few weeks ago, and you have to wait a few weeks before you can donate again.  I was eligible again last week, so I spent an hour on my Wednesday afternoon donating a much-needed sample.  After years of being poked and prodded by needles and IVs during chemo and fertility tests and treatments, I can’t say that I love more needles, but when I know how much it is needed and appreciated, it makes it much easier.  (Plus I didn’t hate the few minutes of uninterrupted peace and quiet.)  If you’re interested in donating, the American Red Cross website has a locator tool to find a drive near you.
  3. Cupcakes.  YES!!!  It’s always a good week when cupcakes are involved.  Okay, we all know that your girl loves cupcakes.  I will always pick them over any other dessert, and they are one of my top priorities when I travel.  One thing I would change about Kansas City is that we would have more local cupcakes bakeries.  We have lots of the national chains, and we have several local bakeries that offer cupcakes, but we don’t have a ton of locals that specialize in cupcakes alone.  However, one exception is Cupcake a la Mode on Country Club Plaza.  They have been closed for several weeks due to COVID and the damage to storefronts during protests, but they reopened last week.  The team reached out to me and invited me in for a cupcake and to celebrate and share their reopening.  I was able to learn more about their store, what they offer, and how they create their menu.  And of course, I was able to pick up some goodies for the fam.  (PB&J for Jack Attack, Raspberry Lemonade for Chad B., and one of their July flavors, Banana Split for me…although we know I tried all of them…)  Their cupcakes are absolutely delicious from buttercream top, to often filled stump, and they are so adorable that they are almost too pretty to eat.  Almost…
  4. Lazy Sunday.  This may sound super lame, but a lazy day was so needed around here.  How could that be the case?  If we’re not doing as much, I’m not traveling, we didn’t go out at all last week, how are we so tired?  Y’all, I don’t know.  Maybe it was Chad going back into the office.  Maybe it was my intense work calendar.  Maybe it was crushing my workouts all week.  Maybe it was a moody toddler.  Maybe it was that I’m getting old.  Maybe it was all of those things or none of those things,  but we fully embraced the nothingness on Sunday.  Outside of some meal prep for the week, it was snuggles, and Netflix, and pajamas, and snacks.  (Okay I did a face mask, so we’ll call that productive too.)  It was so nice, and it helped me feel refreshed for the new week.
  5. Therapy.  I’m sharing my heart here, friends.  I debated sharing this, but it brought me joy, and I always want to be transparent, so it made the list.  For the first time in 37 years, I started seeing a therapist.  For the past 5ish years, it’s been on my mental to do list.  Yes, I am a very positive and optimistic person, but that doesn’t come without complication, baggage, scars, etc.  I know that I have “traumas” (therapy definition that I learned during my first session), and I want to deal with those in a healthy and sustainable way.  I want to be my best self for my son, my husband, my family, my friends, but most of all myself.  Maybe I’ll share more in the future, maybe I won’t.  But it belongs on the list, because I felt an immediate and overwhelming sense of relief the second I left that office.  I’m looking forward to future sessions and to doing the hard work.

 

It’s raining this morning, which gave a sleepy start to my day.  But I’ve got my “Chill” playlist going, I’m writing to all of you, and I’m planning my week.  All of those things bring me joy, so I suppose I know what will be making the list next week.  Until then, add some happiness to your calendar this week, friends.

XOXO,

Molly B.

Meet My Glam Squad: Microblading with Luxury Brow KC

Oh man, if I could go back to that fateful day in 7th grade, sitting in my hair stylist’s chair, when she asked, “Do you want me to wax your eyebrows?”

Pretty much every girl has some variation of this story that jumpstarted a journey into overplucking our eyebrows, and sometimes doing lasting damage that prevents regrowth.

Couple that with completely losing my brows during chemotherapy, and my adult brows were very sparse.  Even though I had since given up any plucking and relied solely on my monthly waxing cleanup with my esthetician, they still made me self conscious.

In June 2019, Dax reached out to me and invited me to come visit her business, Luxury Brow KC, and to learn more about microblading and her other brow services.  Since I love to meet new people and to hear about small businesses, I was excited to meet her!

As soon as you see Dax, you can’t help but smile.  With a full head of the most gorgeous curly red hair you’ve ever seen and a perma smile that will light up a room, she is, in one word, electric.  I knew instantly that I would love her, and I couldn’t wait to hear everything about her and her business.  We spent about 30 minutes together,  and I could have stayed all day.  During our time, Dax offered her microblading services, and I instantly said YES!  We scheduled my appointment for an upcoming Saturday morning, and I left buzzing.

The night before my appointment, I was very nervous.  Y’all, I don’t even have a tattoo, so adding something permanent to my FACE seemed a little scary.  I took a look at the materials and at the website again and again, and ultimately resigned to another service that was not so permanent.

When I arrived at my appointment, I was nervous to tell Dax about my decision to change services.  But those nerves quickly subsided, as she is so disarming in nature.  And as I spilled out my concerns, she spoke to me like a friend, asking questions, demonstrating empathy, and supporting my words.  She explained that the microblading procedure is actually semi-permanent and what that entails, and I felt so much more confident in proceeding in this direction.  Although she would support any service I chose, I knew that microblading was the way to go!

Here is everything you need to know about the procedure:

So what is Microblading exactly…?

Microblading, also known as feather-stroke brows, uses a very fine blade to create hair-like strokes where pigment is implanted.  The procedure is considered semi-permanent and will require color-boosts on a yearly basis to keep the color and strokes fresh.

What happens during the procedure?

After Dax walked me through my last minute questions and concerns, she walked me through the procedure and the aftercare and follow up.  Once the talking was taken care of, it was time to get started.

I started by getting cozy on the chair in Dax’s incredibly beautiful and very sterile salon.  She made sure that I was comfortable, even offering a blanket.  Once I was settled in my spot, it was time to measure.  Dax is very precise, so she takes her time in measuring your brows and your face to ensure that everything is symmetrical.  The measuring process takes about 30 minutes, at the end of which, she will give you a mirror to check the measurements and ensure it is what you want.

Once you’re in agreement, it’s time to start the procedure.  The actual process takes about and hour, but it flies by, because conversation with Dax is easy and fun.  Remember, I’ve never had a tattoo, so I have no comparison as to how it feels in relation to microblading.  The way that I describe the feeling is…You know when you’re little and you skin your knee and your mom squirts Bactine on it, and it stings?  It feels like that for an hour.  Just kind of an annoying sting, but not too painful, and certainly bearable.  Of course I know that everyone has a different tolerance for pain, and Dax will check in with you frequently and take breaks if needed.

After the procedure, Dax will hand you a mirror, and you will fall in love with your new brows, and she will go over the aftercare instructions.

After the procedure, you will need to wash your eyebrows with water and apply balm every 1-2 hours, until you go to sleep.  This is done to wash away excess blood, fluid, and pigment.  The other thing…No sweating or working out for 10 days!  Yikes!  But Dax knew this was important to me, so she gave me some solutions to still get in a workout but protect my brows.

 

So What’s Next?

Immediately after your procedure, and for a few days after, your brows may feel tender to the touch.  Your newly microbladed brows will go through several different phases during the healing cycle: too dark, too light, and finally…just right!  Color will appear very sharp and dark immediately after your microblading procedure.  This occurs because the color is sitting on top of the skin and the skin has not healed over the pigment yet.  The color will soften considerably as it is filtered through the skin.  Once the skin starts to heal, flaking of the skin will begin and will make your brows appear very light.  Again, this is normal.  The color flaking off is the superficial color that is being shed as part of the natural healing process.  During healing, your brows may feel itchy and tight.

Days 2-10:

Your brows will appear very dark and will start to flake.  When flaking starts, the hair strokes will appear very light and almost like they are gone.  The pigment takes 3-8 weeks to darken and develop under the skin.  But I promise, after your touch-up is done, you will see beautiful results.

After Day 10:

After 10 days, you can go back to your normal activities such as getting your brows wet and washing them.  Do not be afraid if dry skin falls off from the brow; this is normal.  Continue to expect the brows to get darker.  Some of the hair strokes will come off and this is why the touch-up procedure is essential.

After Six Weeks:

You will go back for a touchup to ensure that you are completely satisfied with your results and so that Dax can fill in any last spots.  This appointment will take about an hour, and there is aftercare required with this touchup as well.

It has been a full year with my brows, and I love them more and more every day.  They still look fabulous, and they have completely transformed my face.  They have also given me so much more confidence that I didn’t know I was missing.

One Year Touchup:

Luxury Brow KC is located at 620 E. 18th St., Suite 202, Kansas City, MO 64108.

You can book online at https://luxurybrowco.com.

And make sure to follow on Instagram at @luxurybrowkc.

And because Dax is the best, I’m able to offer $100 off your own microblading appointment with code MOLLYB.

I know you’ll love her and your new brows!

XOXO,

Molly B.

 

 

 

 

 

The Happiness Report: 7-20-2020

Two terms that are sure to enter any conversation these days are “unprecedented times” and “new normal.”  You can set your watch by it, and on some of my conference calls, turning them into a drinking game could get really ugly, really fast.  A couple of days ago, I was presenting on a call, and I adopted the term “next normal.”  Because the fact of the matter is, you can say “new normal,” but that changes daily, sometimes multiple times a day.  So right now, I’m only operating in what’s happening right now, because that’s all that I can control.  And while things feel so uncertain and so out of control, I do maintain that I have control over how I react to this environment.  And that only reinforces my desire to implement as many happy moments as possible.  Maybe that way the “next normal” will feel a little more, well, normal.

Here are a few things that felt a little more “normal” last week and certainly made me happy.

  1. National French Fry Day.  YES!!!  I’ve actually always been a fan of celebrating these silly national holidays, especially when they revolve around food.  Last Monday was National French Fry Day, and our little fam celebrated with a happy hour at Summit Grill.  They have a fantastic happy hour, and one of their appetizers are the most delicious French Fries.  They are crispy, sprinkled with Romano cheese, and come with the best garlic aioli dipping sauce.  The three of us shared a bunch of food, a bunch of laughs, and a bunch of fun.
  2. Restore Soft Opening.  Restore Hyper Wellness + Cryotherapy is a new wellness center in Olathe, and their soft opening was last week.  Friends, family, members, and in my case, ambassadors were able to try out their services before they opened to the public.  The center offers a variety of services including Cryotherapy, IV Drip Therapy, Compression Therapy, facials, and much more.  Last week, I tried out the massage chairs, the compression therapy, the sauna, and a Stretch Base Therapy session.  Y’all, everything was so good!  I left each service feeling so relaxed and rejuvenated, and I’ve now set up a reoccurring session for each week.  If you want to try it for yourself, you can use code CROWNINGGLORY for 20% off when you book.
  3. Coffee with a New Friend.  A few months ago, I signed on to be a contributor for City Lifestyle.  I’ve been writing a couple of articles a month, but recently, they challenged me with a couple of articles they would like written, asking if I was up for the task.  And since I don’t know how to say no, and I love a challenge, I said yes.  One of the articles was to interview a local artist of my choice.  Instantly, I knew that I had to ask Meggan Smith, owner of MRS Palette Décor.  I’ve followed Meggan on Instagram for a long time, and have admired her pieces that marry wood and metal in stunning creations.  But also, she is the meme queen, frequently sharing the most hilarious memes that I’ve ever seen.  So yes, I wanted to learn more about Meggan’s art, but it was also a great excuse to hang out with her, because I think she’s hilarious.  Fortunately, she didn’t think I was a creep and agreed to hang out with me last week and grab an early morning coffee.  We had the best chat about her art, her family, her interests, and of course, her memes.  I love learning about people, and I’m so happy to have made a new friend.
  4. Date Night.  FINALLY!  If we’ve been hanging out for a while, you know that Chad and I are big on date nights.  Prior to COVID and the Stay At Home Order, we had one date night per month, and one family date night per month.  When restaurants and other businesses closed, we tried as much as possible to have at least one At Home Date Night  per month, but they just weren’t the same.  We both genuinely enjoy getting dressed up and exploring our city,  and we’ve missed that connection the past couple of months.  With things reopening, we have still been a little uneasy and have observed the past month, letting businesses adapt their new practices and protocols.  Additionally, we rely on a babysitter, and we weren’t sure about that either.  However, our babysitter was available on Saturday night (She also works at Jack’s daycare, so that gives us peace of mind.), and we jumped on it.  We got dressed up, grabbed our masks, and we had dinner at Ragazza, followed by drinks on the rooftop of the new Loews Hotel.  It definitely felt a little odd, but we were cautious and felt safe, and we really enjoyed the time together.
  5. Brunch and Shopping.  Again, FINALLY!  Two of my best girls and I try to do at least one dinner or happy hour every month.  Sadly, we haven’t been able to make that happen since early March.  The three of us have also been pretty conservative, so we didn’t do any driveway hangs either.  Just a couple of Zooms.  And while those were okay, we have really missed seeing one another.  On Sunday morning, we met for some socially distanced shopping at Frankie & Jules for their Parking Lot Sale.  After we’d done some damage, we drove to The Market at Meadowbrook and had a lovely brunch.  Again, we all agreed that things were weird (um masks and not hugging…), but we were so happy to see one another, to catch up, and to have some much needed laughs.  I was on a high the rest of the day.

I don’t know a lot right now.  (Or ever really…)  I don’t know what’s next, what the future will bring,  what will change in our worlds.  But I do know that what brings me happiness really hasn’t changed.  I need my people, I need good food, I need to take care of my health, and I need to laugh.  Last week brought all of those things, so I’m calling it a win.

XOXO,

Molly B.

10 Unique At Home Date Night Ideas

Well it looks like we’re going to be at home for a while.  With the unfortunate continued surges of COVID-19, the safest option in most places is to stay home to stay safe.  And if you’re like us, you’re running out of shows to binge on Netflix.  And really, although it’s a way to kill some time, it doesn’t necessarily foster connection with your boo thang.  Our favorite thing recently is to grab takeout and have a post-bedtime dinner date in the dining room.  No babysitter or fancy dress required.  However, we’re getting a little stir crazy, so we’ve been getting a little more creative!  Today I’m sharing ten ideas for an At Home Date Night that you probably haven’t tried yet.  Check it out!

 

  1. Virtual Cooking Class.  Chad and I recently had the opportunity to attend a virtual cooking class, and it was so much fun!  You can read about it here, but don’t wait for a formal opportunity.  You can recreate this at home for just the two of you.  Get on Pinterest, find a recipe that you both want to try, go to the store to do the shopping together, and get to cooking.  You might fail, you might become a chef, either way, you’re in for a laugh and a lot of fun.
  2. Bar Crawl.  How many rooms do you have in your house?  Follow up question, how many rooms can be turned into a bar?  So if you’ve ever done a bar crawl, you know that the concept is to walk to and visit a series of bars in one afternoon or evening.  You can create this same thing at home!  Each room, or bar, gets a theme, and you visit each one.  One room is a tiki bar with leis, ukelale music, and fruity drinks.  One room is a sports bar with a football game replay and beers.  The sky is the limit!
  3. Game Night.  Okay, this one might land you in divorce court, but try it out.  What are some of your favorite games?  Compete for the evening.  Or maybe buy a new game and learn and play together.  A little competition never hurt anyone.  Right?
  4. Cocktail Making.  Is there a cocktail that you’ve always wanted to try, but you don’t want to look like a rookie ordering it at the bar?  Now is your chance!  Buy the ingredients for those cocktails you’ve been dying to try, and become the bartenders for the night.
  5. Tasting Party.  So many options with this one!  Pick a category.  Cheese, sour candy, beers, whatever you like.  Buy several types of this item and host your own tasting event.  Try them all, compare notes, and see where your tastes are alike and different.
  6. Theme Night.  Pick a theme and go big.  Maybe it’s New York night, and you order pizza, drink a Manhattan on the patio, make cannoli, and watch When Harry Met Sally.  Maybe it’s 50s night, and you put on your poodle skirt, play those records, and have a sock hop in your basement.  Let your imagination run wild!
  7. Just Desserts.  Oh yea!  Several ways to play this one, but it’s a date of just the sweet stuff.  Maybe you buy a ton from the bakery section of the grocery store.  Maybe you get take out from a few local spots.  Or maybe you get back in the kitchen for a baking marathon.  Whatever you choose, it’s sure to be sweet.
  8. DIY Project.  No, this is not remodeling your guest bathroom.  I’m talking much smaller scale.  Paint some pottery, create a piece of art, make face masks, whatever you choose.  Also, several companies are offering DIY kits of their prodicts.  We recently picked up a DIY Candle Kit from our favorite local candle maker Untamed Supply.  We poured some wine, whipped up a charcuterie board, and made candles.  It was so much fun, and we even had enough supplies left over for a family fun day the following afternoon.  If you want to try one for yourself, you can use code MOLLY10 for 10% off your order.
  9. Trip Down Memory Lane.  Pull out those pictures, take out the wedding album, watch old home videos.  Whatever you choose, have fun reminiscing and reliving the good ol days, while distracting yourself from the current days.
  10. Virtual Double Date.  And if you’ve had enough of one another by this point, make it a double date!  Invite your favorite duo, or group of duos, send them a Zoom link, and make it a group date.  Catch up, play a game, host a group cooking class, or really any of the ideas already listed.  The only thing better than experiencing joy is sharing it with others.

 

I hope that you found some inspiration in these ideas and that you find some ways to switch up your routine.  In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, wash your hands, and wear a mask.

XOXO,

Molly B.

 

The Happiness Report: 7-13-2020

Last week was a pretty busy one, and it certainly had a lot of happy moments.  And as you’ll soon read, one of these was a pretty big celebration that brought immense happiness.  In contrast, the other four items seem relatively small.  But what a great reminder that bright spots can exist in the everyday mundane moments.  And quite frankly, those are usually the best.

Here is what brought me happiness the past few days.

  1. A BIG Milestone.  On July 7th, I celebrated 12 years of being cancer free.  (I wrote about the anniversary, and I have a full blog post with my story if you need to catch up.)  Every year, I take the day off from work and spend the day by myself.  Typically I do a spa day, but with COVID, that’s not really a thing right now.  However, I was able to sleep in, take a later class at the gym, take myself to a yummy lunch,  and get a massage.  My dudes got me some pretty flowers, and it was an overall lovely day.
  2. Billie’s Grocery.  I have been DYING to try this new restaurant for weeks!  I’ve been drooling over the Billie’s Grocery plates that keep popping up on Instagram.  And I’ve had a close eye on their dessert case.  This seemed like the perfect place to dine on my day off from work,  so I made it happen.  I don’t even want to talk  about  how much money I spent, but I was determined to try all the things.  I got a pour of their housemade kombucha, the Raw Bowl, the Thai Bowl, and I got a box of desserts for the road to share with my guys.  I’ve been raving about it ever since and cannot wait to get back!
  3. Massage.  Like I said, I got a massage as part of my treat yo self day.  This was my first massage in over 6 months, and oh how I’ve missed it.  I used to get massages every single month, and now I forget how much I love them and how much my body loves me for getting them.  It was so relaxing, and I seriously need to go more often.
  4. Monster Milkshakes.  A new KC hotspot called Creative Culture opened this weekend in Westport.  It is a DIY studio with a gourmet milkshake bar.  But not just any milkshakes, these things are next level.  With inventive flavors like It’s Lit–S’mores, Life of the Party–Birthday Cake, and Treat Yo Self–Brownie Fudge, these have things like cupcakes, cookies, and cinnamon rolls perched on top and ready to devour.  Our little fam went for a visit on Saturday evening and had the best time.  We didn’t try any of the DIY projects, but we did get a milkshake to share, and we were all in heaven.  Jack had the best time, as evidenced by his massive post-visit sugar rush.  I can’t wait to get back for a date night or girls night and try one of the fun projects!
  5. Solo Day With Jack.  I rarely get one on one time with little man.  Especially when I am traveling, Chad gets the most solo time.  On Saturday, Chad went fishing, which meant that I got Jack Attack all to myself.  We ate breakfast together, we ran errands, we played, we cuddled, and we laughed a lot.  It wasn’t all perfect.  He is a toddler after all.  But it was so sweet, and so needed, and I always cherish and soak up these moments.  They won’t last forever.

Here’s hoping you find lots of happiness this week in ways big and small.

XOXO,

Molly B.

What I’ve Learned in 12 Years of Being Cancer Free

Yesterday, I celebrated my 12-year anniversary of being cancer free!

If we’re new friends, you can get the scoop on my entire cancer journey in this blog post.

Around here, we call my anniversary my “second birthday.” I take the day off work and celebrate just like it’s my birthday—treat myself to lunch, self care of some sort, and cake, always cake.

I often get asked what my biggest lesson was from having cancer, and while there are many, sitting at the top of the list: It WILL get better. Whatever you’re going through right now, whatever you’re feeling, however long you’re going through it or feeling it, it WILL get better. It may not always be in the way you think it will, or how you want it to end, or in the timing you expect, but it WILL get better. I’ve seen it and lived it.

I look back on so many moments in my life and wish I could go back and tell myself that, and that I would believe it when I heard it. I have vivid memories of crying in my middle school bedroom after a fight with a friend, thinking it was the literal end of the world. Asking my mom if I could transfer schools or move to live with my aunt in New Mexico, but within 48 hours, it had blown over. And that’s small scale (although life shattering at the 13-year-old time). Infertility, marital disagreements, family drama, finances, work stress, and yes, even cancer. Somehow, they WILL get better.

I hope that as you read this today, you can find some hope and peace in these words.

What’s something you wish you could go back and tell your younger self? Who knows, someone might need to hear it today.

 

XOXO,

Molly B.

The Happiness Report: 7-6-2020

Can I just say, I don’t have much to report from last week, and I’m totally okay with that.  Don’t get me wrong, it was an overall happy past few days; it’s just that not much happened.  And for once, in a very long time, I’m actually okay with that.  Over the past few weeks, my mind has been racing and has been busier than I’m used to, or than I typically would like.  And yes, things still feel very uncertain, but the past few days felt much more laid back with opportunities to relax, focus on my family, and focus on myself.

But like I said, there were several moments of happiness, so here are a few.

  1. Daily Walks.  In case I haven’t mentioned this, I’ve been going on almost daily walks for the past two months.  Typically, I take them at the end of my work day, but some days, it’s whenever I can squeeze it in.  No matter the time, I look forward to them, and I cherish this midday break.  I put in my earbuds, and I put on a podcast, and I walk.  Some days, I just walk and listen.  Some days, I stop by the neighborhood pool to sit in the sunshine.  But no matter what I do, it helps me reset and recharge for whatever the next few hours will bring.
  2. Running Errands.  Y’all, I am not even kidding with this.  For me, there is nothing quite like a Saturday afternoon running errands by myself.  Jack Attack is napping, my husband is mowing, and I am in my car doing all the things.  I’ve got a podcast through the speakers, and I am crossing off every little thing on my to do list.  During the Stay At Home order, this was not a thing.  And even now, I get in and out of places as quickly as possible.  But last Saturday, I had my first true errand-running afternoon, and it was maybe the highlight of my week.  (#nerdalert)
  3. Photo Shoot.  What is it about having a professional take your pictures that makes you feel like a freaking supermodel?  My friend Cassie is likely the most creative person I know, and she is a Jane of All Trades.  During these weird times, she has been offering a ton of specials to keep her busy and to generate more steady income.  For the month of July, she is running a photo shoot special for bloggers, influencers, and boutiques, and I jumped right on that!  She is so talented, and I could not wait to have her take my pics.  So last week, I put on makeup, curled my hair, packed a few outfits, and let her do her magic.  We had so much fun, and the sneak peeks that have been rolling in are uh-maz-ing!
  4. 4th of July.  Truthfully, I’ve always had a mixed opinion of this holiday.  I don’t plan to go into a political rant, but let me just sum it up by saying that, in the Pledge of Allegiance, we recite”…liberty and justice for ALL,” and I’m not sure we’re living that accordingly.  And in light of the most recent events in our country, the holiday hit especially different this year.  However, this holiday has a ton of tradition built into it for me.  Growing up, my uncle, Tim, loved this holiday and had a huge party at his house every year.  Even as a too-cool teenager, I looked forward to it every year.  We lost my uncle last year, and the party ended.  But the memories do not,  and I think of it with much fondness.  Additionally, Chad was in the military, and I am so incredibly thankful for him, his service, and his commitment to our country (no matter his politics or opinions).  For the past 3 years, we’ve spent the afternoon of the 4th at Stone Pillar Vineyard, which is less than 5 minutes from our house.  They have Red, White, and Blue wine slushies for the adults, and they have popsicles for the kids.  We discovered it the year that Jack was born, and we took our sleeping baby in his carrier, and now we look forward to it every year.
  5. The EveryGirl List.  I discovered this list back in May when The EveryGirl promoted it on their Instagram, and I’ve been loving it.  Essentially it’s a list of 50 things you can do to boost your happiness or to give yourself a little extra self care.  It has some really great reminders and tips, and I’ve loved revisiting it and adding some of these things into my routines. Little-Things-You-Can-Do-For-Yourself-Right-Now-main

 

Looking forward to the rest of July, things are looking pretty busy.  And yes, your girl loves a busy calendar.  But for now, I’m thankful and happy for the quiet.

XOXO,

Molly B.

How to Make a 5 AM Workout a Reality

When people hear that my workouts start at 5 AM, they think I’m crazy. Truthfully, I’ve been doing it for so long, it’s not a thing anymore. But that wasn’t always the case. Although now I can’t imagine working out in the evening, that used to be my preferred time. But I found that I wasn’t able to eat or sleep very well when I worked out after work, so I made the swap to early morning. I know this is a struggle for most people, so I put together ten tips for making a 5 AM workout a reality.

1. Lay out your clothes the night before. The less you have to think about anything in the morning, the better. Especially what you’re going to wear!

2. Wear a cute outfit. I promise I’m not being silly. Remember being excited about the first day of school, because you had a new outfit to wear? Same concept. If you like your workout clothes, you’re more likely to put them to good use.

3. Pick an activity you love. If you’re forcing workouts that you don’t like, you’ll be less likely to get up and go. Pick an activity that you enjoy so that you look forward to getting up.

4. Go to bed early. This is the most important tip of all! If you get enough rest, you won’t be as tired in the morning. Plus your performance and your mood will be much better with enough sleep.

5. Have breakfast, vitamins, preworkout, etc. ready the night before. Again, the less you have to think about or do before your workout, the better.

6. Make it a habit. Honestly, just sticking with it makes a big difference. Your body will adjust to the time quicker than you think. If you only go a couple of days here and there, your body will not adjust. Try early morning workouts for a month, and you will feel a big difference.

7. Wake up earlier. Don’t kill me. This has been a game changer for me. I wake up extra early to enjoy the quiet, to pray, and to let my mind and body wake up before I sweat. Just an extra few minutes has been very helpful.

8. Find partners. This is one reason why I love group fitness. There are people that I look forward to seeing, that would miss me if I weren’t there, that I would feel bad if I let down. A buddy, partners, or a group go a long way in motivating us to workout.

9. Get your gear together the night before—bag, headphones, playlist. Same with the clothes and food, your morning self with thank your night before self for taking care of these things.

10. Plan your workout. If you’re going for a run, or going to an open gym, or using the home gym in your basement, you need to have a plan. If your only plan is to go, you’re less likely to make it happen, because you don’t know what you’re going to do once you are there. Get a plan together the night before, so you know exactly what you’re doing and have it to look forward to in the morning.

I hope these help you in your early morning efforts. And I would love to hear what you try or what you would add to the list!

XOXO,

Molly B.