Music for the Heart

The last 2 months have been full of the ups and downs in love for those around me. When I say the ups and downs . . . I really mean, the ups and downs. There has been weddings, engagements, new relationships and unfortunately, breakups as well. So to help with all the emotional places our hearts are going right now; here are 5 songs for each situation. Let me know if you have a favorite song for one of the situations below!

  1. The “this is going to last forever love” song
  2. The “oh no you did not (cheating) love” song
  3. The “I really, really, really like him love” song
  4. The “I can’t wait for you to meet my parents love” song
  5. The “we have been doing this for a long time but I can’t imagine being with anyone else love” song


Festivals of the Summer Part 2

In May I shared ideas of events to participate in during the month of June in Portland. It was so popular that I am going to share what to do in July with you this month and finish out the summer months in the same pattern. Wherever you live, take a look around and see what is going on in your community. There are so many wonderful things to do with little expense and a lot less travel time.

  1. Sea Dog Nights & Gypsy Carnival: Only in Oregon can you find a camping trip based exclusively on everyone acting like pirates or gypsies. Once I have a costume in place; I headed out to participate! 
  2. Sherwood Robin Hood Festival: This was a lot of fun last year and can’t wait to participate again! 
  3. Portland Highland Games: If you haven’t ever been to a gathering of highland games before, you really should remedy that this year. It is a lot of fun and absolutely amazing to watch. I promise—your kids will love it just as much as you. 
  4. Hawaiian Festival Pacific Northwest: This is the closest I am going to get to the islands this year so I am going to make the most of it. Aloha! 
  5. Portland Slavic Festival: This is a culture I am not very well versed on and would like to learn more so I am headed out to explore.  

Summer Goals

I don’t know about you but most of my summer is always taken up with the things that other’s plan or need. Not that I am complaining because it usually is something great that I get the opportunity to be involved with but I do have goals of my own and this year I would like to see 5 of them accomplished.

  1. At least 20 minutes of outdoor breathing every day. I hate being cooped up inside during the winter months just because it is cold. I love fresh air and I love to hear nature thriving. 
  2. At least one, full-body submerge in the following: river, lake, ocean, and pool. Got to get my hydration on! 
  3. Try at least one seasonal fruit and vegetable in new recipes during their peak. My mind is already running away with lots of possibilities. Try this one from The Recipe Critic.
  4. Let my hair air dry instead of using the blow dryer for one week. My hair has tight curls, kinky curls, and straight parts—in short, it is a nightmare when left to its own devices but I am willing to tackle it all in the name of healthier hair.
  5. Find a place where I can lay on my back and watch the night sky bloom with stars.

Study Habits

Many of you know that I am taking a job related exam this coming July. It is making me nervous and I am just praying that I pass even if it is just one question above the pass mark. From all accounts, I hear it is a nerve-racking four hours, one step up from absolute hell. Yea for me!! So I thought I would share some thoughts about my study habits that might be helpful. What helps you get the most out of your study time? 

  1. No distractions: Really this is a no-brainer but you really do retain more in 15 minutes of undistributed focus then you do in an hour where you are constantly distracted. For me, this is my kitchen table as long as others are not around or the public library. This kind of intense studying really does require me to park myself in a quiet corner of the library.
  2. Music: This does mean classical music for me. I work best with music for 2 reasons: first, it keeps my mind focused and not running off in thought about what I need to get done or what I would rather be doing and second, when played over headphones, I can drown out all other distracting noises around me.
  3. Time limits: I studying in 30 minute intervals. I set a timer and I focus intently. When the timer goes off, I can stand up, stretch, use the restroom, grab a drink of water, etc. all while I review what I just studied. I hate working in long stretches and forgetting what I read 3 hours ago because I didn’t pause for a moment to review.
  4. Sleep: No, this isn’t to praise getting a good night’s sleep before an exam (although that is good advice); this is to push for a 15 minute cat nap. After 3-4 hours of intense studying and review; I set an alarm and take a 15 minute nap. For me, this solidifies the subject matter. It really does work. When your alarm goes off, stand up, stretch and read the headings of what was studied. You will find you can more easily grab the key concepts and they are committed to your memory.
  5. Real world application: If I need to remember a date, name, formula, etc.—I always attach it to something current in my life and then it doesn’t seem like such an abstract concept anymore since now it is directly relatable.