Twenty Five Days of Gratitude

Beginning November 1 and ending November 25, I have written down one thing I am thankful for per day. Self-awareness and perspective have been tools I’ve used towards¬†living a fulfilling, productive life and I believe this exercise helped me to continue on this road.

My writing is messy, so I’m retyping this little list:

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November 1: A roof over my head and not having to struggle to keep it!

November 2: Sharing a meal with clients, experiencing cultures different from my own.

November 3: Long walks in nature.

November 4: The kindness and concern of strangers.

November 5: The ability to be a life-long learner.

November 6: Yoga and the feeling of community it brings.

November 7: Creativity and being able to provide a safe space for it to flourish.

November 8: Craft shows and taking time out to be with family.

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November 9: Slow days at work (the calm before the inevitable storm).

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November 10: Strengthening relationships with friends.

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November 11: Being able to provide support when it is needed most.

November 12: A partner who is there for me, especially when things are stressful/overwhelming/busy.

November 13: Friends who give a shit and who reach out with an extended hand when I’m struggling (and of course, dolphin bananas)

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November 14: Relaxing Saturdays and the healthy body/physical strength I possess from yoga/exercise.

November 15: Long adventurous walks through the woods with my partner.

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November 16: Having time to organize my brain–both at work and at home.

November 17: The ability to cook tasty meals and to have someone else who appreciates them.

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November 18: The ability to save money to reach multiple goals.

November 19: Having healthy and supportive relationships.

November 20: Having resourceful, intelligent, and kind coworkers.

November 21: The ability and means to purchase and prepare foods of my choice and having friends to share it with (at Friendsgiving, for example :))

Friendsgiving

November 22: Having a healthy body, liking healthy food, making healthy choices.

November 23: Checking off my to do list and being able to relax when I have time off.

November 24: Having reliable transportation and cheap gas during the holidays.

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November 25: Time spent with family and friends and the ability to maintain important relationships, even when things are busy.

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Enjoy the holiday season and try to keep positive thoughts and a sense of gratitude–I will certainly be trying my best.

Amanda

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Spooooooky October

Hi everybody!

We have been so fortune in the Chicago area with the type of fall we have had this year and I’ve been going outside to enjoy it as much as possible! Matt and I took a mini vacation to a small cottage in Newaygo, MI. Close enough to drive to, far enough away to hike and see stars (we spent about three hours freezing and star-gazing on the second night). It was awesome, relaxing, full of fall color, and full of food. We used VRBO to find a sweet deal on the place, which was reasonable and a good find. We were right on the Muskegon River:

Newaygo, MI 10.2015.4

We stopped at Crane’s Pie Pantry and Winery on the way up and did a cider/fruit wine tasting. It was something neither of us had done before and was tasty. Who knew there were so many different types of cider? We obviously got pie for later.

Cranes Winery MI 2015

We were able to get some hiking in while we were in Newaygo at Coolbough Creeks, which had some nice medium length paths to hike through. Here are a few pictures of the hike. There were red shoe soles so that one didn’t get lost in the woods. Since we’re new to the wilderness, this was a nice touch:

Newaygo, MI 10.2015

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Newaygo, MI 10.2015.2

Newaygo, MI 10.2015.1

ShadowsintheWoods2015

We ended up eating/drinking at Newaygo Brewing Company that night, which was great! The food was nothing to write home about, but the beers were what really stood out. I got the following in a flight:

Newaygo Brewing Co 2015

Each beer tasted like the flavor advertised in the description–Peach, Coconut, Maple Syrup, and Peanut Butter. None were weird/fake flavors and it had Matt and I guessing how on Earth they were able to brew them this way. It was a fun tasty time!

On the way back to Chicago, we stopped at Bell’s Brewery, always a classic for Michigan adventures. Some Bell’s beer is readily available in Chicago, so we decided to get beers that were not while we were there. We also bought a ton to take home with us and an extra 6 pack of both Expedition Stout (one of my favorite beers) and 30th Anniversary Ale¬†(also fantastic) to age. We’ve hidden them from ourselves, so we’ll see how that goes.

The next weekend, I visited my sister when she was sick in the hospital. She’s doing much better now! Luckily, we got to wear some pretty great outfits:

Sick Sarah 9.2015

After that mini trip, Matt and I went to Ana and Phil’s wedding! It was a beautiful ceremony and reception in Lincoln Park (our old hood). So nostalgic to spend time there. Congratulations to you two!

Ana & Phil 2015

The rest of the month was spent with friends doing Halloween activities. I carved a cat into my pumpkin this year:

Hallowen Pumpkin 2015

Matt stayed classic:

Matt Halloween Pumpkin 2015

Overall, our friends are pretty good with knives:

Pumpkins 2015

I made a pumpkin shaped cheese ball for the occasion:

Halloween 2015

And Emily made Frankenstein rice crispy treats:

Halloween 2015.1

For actual Halloween, Matt made ghost truffles:

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And Dark and Spooky beverages:

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I also took walks by myself throughout the month in Winnemac Park near my apartment and enjoyed the colors changing:

Winnemac Park 2015

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Overall, I’m ready for the holiday season. Ready to spend time with family and friends. Ready to hibernate in Chicago once January rolls around.

Peanut Self

Enjoy your time with loved ones!

Amanda

Ninja Edit for your enjoyment: