i’m a rebel just for kicks… and other tuesday musings

excited about the start of kickball season
reading Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
dreaming about what i want in my dream house
loving my new niece Fiona

laughing about an oh so true sign

craving a chimichanga and a margarita
listening to Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man
watching The Wire
thankful for a friend who is officially cancer free!
looking forward to birthday doughnuts

Things I Know for Sure

Life never turns out as you expect. Life is constantly throwing curveballs, and can leave you wondering whether you can be certain of anything. If you’re lucky, there will be a few things you know for sure. For me, there are 5 things I know for sure;

With friends and family by your side, you can get through anything.
These past few weeks have been a little rough for my friends and family. My grandfather-in-law and my best friend’s father-in-law unexpectedly passed away and then my best friend was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. With all of this going on, it’s important to have friends and family by my side. With them around, I can get through anything.


You should turn off your phones when around those you love.
All too often I see people spending their time staring at their phones while they are around people they love. I believe family time should be family time, not time spent around your family while everyone stares at their little blue screens. I believe it’s important to be present with your friends and family. There is plenty of time to catch up on the internet when you get home.

You shouldn’t photograph everything.
Along the lines of keeping your phone in your car while you’re with your family, comes another phone belief I have. All too often people try and document every moment instead of truly enjoying it. Parents follow their kids around trying to take a photo of everything their kids do. Trust me when I say that you don’t need 7,000 photos of your kid playing on the playground.

Make time for girl’s night.
Trust me, I love hanging with the boys, but every once in a while it’s great to have a girls night. Wine, cupcakes, pizza, and trashy tv shows.


People should put down the TV remote and turn on music

It’s easy to get home from work, pour yourself a glass of wine, and turn on the TV. Trust me, I understand. But I also believe it’s so important to turn off the TV and turn on some music. Music can set a mood that TV can’t. Turning on relaxing music at the end of the day can help you wind down. Turing on music that is great for dancing can make cooking even more enjoyable. Plus, listening to music stimulates conversation whereas TV tends to hinder and even halt conversation. Don’t get me wrong, a Netflix evening is great, but every once in a while try turning on music and see where the evening takes you.


I Believe…

I believe…
in dancing when there’s music [or when the mood strikes you… like when you’re cooking or driving]

I believe…
that you can be moody but shouldn’t let it affect your relationships
that sometimes a bad mood seeps into your relationships, and the best thing you can do is apologize

I believe…
in bonfires
a great glass of bourbon or wine
naps and fluffy blankets

I believe…
in spending too much time with your friends and family
in turning off your phone
in listening to old music

I believe…
in working out but then heading to brunch after [it’s called balance]

I belive…
we shouldn’t always worry about the future
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I believe…
that lazy Sundays are necessary every once in a while [like at least once a week]

I believe…
finding your style, and buying pieces that fall into that category vs what’s trendy right now

I believe…
everyone should find someone who loves you. all of you. exactly as you are.

I believe…
everyone should find friends who love you. all of you. exactly as you are.11475add39b102dbbe1a233959900c75

What about you? What do you believe in?

Thoughtful Thursday

excited about my brother moving back from London in mid September!!
worried about nada
reading What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
creating flip book animation
loving memories from this weekend where nearly every single one of my family members were there and we just relaxed on a boat and caught up
laughing about the look I got from everyone in my skyfit class when I told them we were doing this [we did, and no one died]
wondering if you guys have any blog suggestions for me. I’d love to hear your favorites in the comment section below!
craving Ben & Jerry’s ice cream
listening to Higher Ground by Stevie Wonder
watching Jane the Virgin 
thankful for an incredibly supportive husband
looking forward to the end of our deck project [it’s been two months of board replacement, power washing, sanding and staining. first coat=done… one more to go!]

#OopsImInLondon [aka: a pub tour of England]

Do you lovely readers have an idea how hard it was to not post about the amount of excitement I had about my upcoming trip??!! Unfortunately, I had to keep my travel plans under wraps because my brother didn’t know I was coming. What happened was that my sister and brother-in-law had bought tickets to visit my brother but had to postpone their trip. My sister then decided she wasn’t comfortable leaving their 1 and a half-year old alone so she asked if her husband could watch Ella and if I wanted to go, and I obviously said, “yes” [thank you airline miles for the free flight]! Now my brother knew that my sister would be there, but she had the great idea that we shouldn’t tell him I was going and show up as a surprise! How often in your life do you get to surprise your brother by showing up to see him when he lives in Manchester?! [aka: never] So my lips were sealed shut for the past two months in order to keep the surprise going and last Tuesday Molly and I hopped on a plane and headed to London. We got in at noon and were completely exhausted, so we walked around for a while and that lasted until a little before 8 until we were so sleepy we turned in.
The next morning we hopped on a train and surprised Matt!IMG_8875 We spent one day in Manchester, saw his school, his new house [which we named “a really nice crack den”], and the town. The next day we jumped back onto the train and went back to London where we basically took a tour of London pubs. IMG_8909
And no, we didn’t spend the entire time in pubs. One of my favorite afternoons was spent drinking coffee and eating macaroons while it poured. Plus [don’t judge me] I’ve never had macaroons, and I’m officially obsessed.
So I made it necessary to eat my way through all the macaroons London has to offer.
IMG_8946 We did a little touristy stuff and took a super pano in front of the London Bridge! Matt had this pose he called “putting out the vibe” which he brought out several times during the trip. IMG_8926
We went to this pub that had spots to sit right on the river with a view of the bridge, so we sipped wine and beer while taking in the London views.
And of course sought out the new Harry Potter movie! We weren’t able to see it, but it made the excitement of the new book even more prevalent.
So there you have it! My trip to London! It was incredible and I was so thrilled to be able to spend time with my siblings. They are some of my favorite people in the world, and being able to spend an entire week with them was more than I could ever ask for. Plus, I found out that he will be moving home [99% chance] in the fall! Wahoo!! I cannot wait!!

Phew! Now I’m fighting my jet lag and trying to catch up on the work I missed so needless to say I’m a little sleepy. But hey, can’t complain. I will accept the jet lag and get back to work while remembering all the wonderful times I had on vacation.


PS: Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shapowell/ or on Snapchat: [hoolination] to follow all the adventures!

Whimsical Wednesday

Oh, hey there lovely readers. Yes, it’s been almost two months since my last post, and I have no excuse other than a serious lack of inspiration. I haven’t been reading blogs or writing blogs, but I’m officially trying to get back on the horse. So in the spirit of finding inspiration I’ve created my list of things that are sparking my creativity.

First things first, the hubby has been traveling a lot and then I went out-of-town, so I’ve truly been savoring every second we get to spend together. This saying is so sweet and warms my lonely heart when he is away.


Second, there is this. Even if things feel a little off kilter, I’m a believer that if you have great coffee and spot on eyeliner, you can conquer anything.


I have a group text with my sister and my brother’s girlfriend, and we are always texting funny photos we have seen throughout the day. This morning my brother’s girlfriend sent me this and it reached me on so many levels. 1, because it’s officially summer and that means it’s bikini season. 2, because I have a love for tacos. They are absolutely my favorite food. And if there were truly a season dedicated to Taco Bod Season, I would move there and never leave.


I have also joined a kickball team! While my athletic skills are ok, my competitive nature is not usually something my teammates admire. I have a tendency to not care if we win. I’m really there for the fun of the sport, time with friends, and the beer we drink after. The “must win at any cost” attitude is sort of lost on me. [oh yea, I’m that teammate]. So now I have to find some way to make myself actually care about winning so I don’t make all my teammates angry…



And finally, there is this hairstyle. I literally cannot get enough of it. Bun on top, and either natural, curly or straight hair on the bottom. The ways to wear it are endless, and I plan on overusing this style until someone tells me I need to try something else [and probably a few weeks after that].



So there you have it. A few whimsical things that are sparking my creativity lately. What about you lovely readers? Anything sparking your interest, or like me are you struggling to find it?



Let’s Go On An Adventure


My little brother has been over in England since August and I’ve only been able to see him once since he left. Steve and I decided to head across the pond to visit him, and I couldn’t be more excited!

We will be flying into Paris where Steve and I will spend a few days alone exploring, drinking wine, and relaxing. After that we’re meeting my brother, Matt, in Munich where we’ll spend a few days in Munich along with a day trip to Salzberg, Austria [which will probably entail a whole lot of Sound of Music sing alongs]. After Munich we will be flying over to Rome where we will spend a few days eating gelato and pasta, and attempting to get a glace at the pope. We’ll finish off the trip in London with fish and chips, pubs, sight seeing and hopefully a sighting of the queen!

Hanging with my husband and brother in some extraordinary locations! Words cannot explain how much I want this trip to be here today!

Since booking the trip I’ve been planning where to go, what to do, and obviously what to wear. I’ve been holding myself back from packing until the trip is closer but since we leave soon I finally get to give in a start packing!

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel abroad quite a few times, but this time I thought I would pack smarter, so I’ve been reading what seems like 1,000 blogs on packing a carry on, what to wear in Paris, and more. Now that I have this knowledge I want to pass it on to you so that you don’t have to read 10,000 blogs on packing for a trip abroad.


Ahh clothes… when you’re traveling light it’s important to pack and dress in layers. I’m bringing two pairs of jeans and a pair of leggings for those travel days.


Next, several neutral t-shirts. I’m bringing black, 3 shades of grey, and a white t-shirt.


Then a few cardigans. I’m bringing ones that pair with nearly every shirt. Pink, tan, and maroon. Plus I’ll be wearing a black one on the plane.


Top it off with several neutral long sleeved shirts. I’m bringing white, navy, black, and a black and white stripped.

Plus a few things that I didn’t see on those blogs:image

First, a towel. True, many places provide towels, it’s always a good idea to bring a small one in case they don’t have them available.

Second, a resistance band. While you’re traveling it’s hard to squeeze in a workout, but if you bring a resistance band, you can get a great workout without packing dumbbells! [see a great resistance band workout here: Resistance Band Workout]

Third, a garment bag for all your dirty laundry. You don’t want your dirty laundry mixed in with all your clean stuff, so bring a bag to put it all in. Bonus: bring a few dryer sheets; one to put in the dirty laundry and one in the clean to keep things smelling great. Plus if you can find a laundry machine you can use one to keep clothes soft, smelling good, and smelling like home.

Fourth, a pillow case. Yes, I know this may sound silly, but there is something so comforting about having a piece of home with you while you travel.

Fifth, a small purse with a few compartments. It’s a good idea only to bring the essentials with you while you’re out for the day.

Sixth, an adapter. Ok, obviously this is a must, but many blogs don’t mention it.

And finally, a camera adapter. This one has a macro lens, fish eye, and wide-angle. This give you the opportunity to take great photos without having to lug around a huge camera.


Now to put all of these things into my bag and head out! See you when I return! Au Revoir!

This is an Automatic Reply:: I am Out of the Office…Until Tomorrow


This year I made a New Year’s resolution to not use my phone in bed. I was noticing that Steve and I would wake up and immediately check our phones. I would look at e-mail and Instagram, and Steve would play Clash of Clans. This would go on for about 10-15 min and then we would get up. Steve and I have enough going on where quality time isn’t always easy to come by. Between house projects, his sporting events, and spending time with friends and family we don’t always have quality alone time. Then I realized that during the time we actually were alone, we were on our phones instead of communicating. After realizing this, I decided my resolution would be “no phones in bed” and it’s been wonderful! We actually chat in the morning and I feel even closer to him.

Now that I was paying attention to my phone usage, something else occurred to me. I was spending the evenings we had together checking my work e-mail to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. If an e-mail came in I responded to it without even thinking about it, even if it wasn’t important. Finally last week I realized that between checking my e-mail right when I woke up, during breakfast, while I worked out, during the work day, while I was making dinner, right after dinner, while I’m relaxing with a glass of wine, and before I went to sleep, I was working 100% of my waking hours. I was a slave to the little ding I get when I receive an e-mail.

As soon as I would hear that ding I would be on my phone checking it because I didn’t want to miss anything and 99% of the time it was nothing urgent. But even then I was responding right away because I didn’t want my clients thinking I wasn’t able to help them. Finally after all this realizing and thinking I came to a decision. I am not checking my work e-mail unless it’s during work hours.

This was a promise I made when I first started working from home because it’s so easy to blur the lines between work and home life, and having access to e-mail and phone calls the entire time was blurring the lines even further. I didn’t want to do it anymore.

And you know what I’ve found? I love it! I am more productive during the day, I can fully relax during my non-work hours, and I am less stressed about responding to e-mails as soon as they come in. The message is always waiting for me in the morning and my immediate response wasn’t needed. It is truly a game changer. I don’t know why I strayed away from this idea in the first place, but I can promise that I will try my hardest to maintain the home/work boundaries.


What do you guys think? Is this idea crazy in this day and age? Should I let go of my pre-historic ideas and give into the idea that work will follow me everywhere or is this something you guys are going to try/already abide by? Let me know in the comment section below!

Mexican Musings

excited about heading to Mexico
worried about nothing!
reading The Nightengale by Kristen Hannah
creating a list of things to bring with on vacation
loving a new type of Christmas celebration
laughing about a silly Harry Potter tweet
christmas hp
wondering how early is too early to have a beer in Mexico
craving tacos and a corona
listening to Give Me A Try
watching Jessica Jones
thankful for a family I love spending time with
looking forward to a much-needed mani/pedi with my mom and sister

How To Black Friday Shop When You Don’t Need to Buy Anything


Now I know what you’re thinking… who doesn’t need to shop on Black Friday?? Most people haven’t even thought about Christmas until that day and wind up spending their Black Friday pushing people out-of-the-way to get the best deals on the newest toys of the season. Well let’s just say this is either a post for people who already shopped, don’t exchange presents, or really just love to shop…

This Christmas is a little different for my family in that we aren’t exchanging Christmas presents. This year the entire family [25 cousins, 12 aunts and uncles & 2 grandparents] is heading to Mexico for about a week and because of this huge trip we all decided to skip giving each other gifts.

Since I don’t have to buy for my family, and I’m already done with gifts for my friends, I don’t need to shop Black Friday sales. That being said, I still plan on going Black Friday shopping! This is a concept my dad and husband can’t seem to grasp. Why would you go Black Friday shopping when you don’t need to buy anything? Good question! Let me tell you why!

  1. Exercise. You get to walk off all the turkey and stuffing you ate the day before. You spend the entire day walking around several malls many times over.
  2. Deals for yourself. Who doesn’t love the thrill you get when you see a new sweater that you obviously “must have” and it’s 1,000% off! They are literally giving them away!
  3. Spending time with your family. I guess this one may not apply to everyone, but for me I spend every Black Friday shopping with my sister, mom, and aunt. We explore all the deals, talk each other into buying the sweater that’s 10,000% off, and eat lunch together. It’s an amazing day that I look forward to every year.
  4. Create memories & traditions. Ever since I can remember, the girls in my family spend Black Friday shopping, while the boys play football. When my grandma was still alive she would Black Friday shop with us and those are some of the fondest memories I have with her. My sister and I have so many inside jokes from our experiences during Black Friday shopping, and now she will bring her daughter with! Who doesn’t love creating memories and holiday traditions with their family?!
  5. Coffee. My family gets an early start on shopping and I’m fairly certain that no other coffee tastes as good as the coffee you’re drinking at 6 a.m.

So there you have it. Ready made reasons to wake up early, grab a coffee and your family and hit the malls [even if you don’t have to buy anything]!  What about you? Have you started shopping yet? Do you spend Black Friday pushing people out-of-the-way for the new necklace that’s 100,000% off or relaxing at home? Do you think Black Friday is a waste?? Sound off in the comments below!

Oh yea, and Happy [almost] Thanksgiving 😉