The Life of Bon: August 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

8 Ways to have a perfect introverted + extroverted vacation:

It is no secret that Greg and I are very different people.  Over our five years together we've had to learn to do a lot of give and take and learn how how to meet in the middle so that both of us are happy.  Who would have thought that merging two totally different people could be difficult?

I would say our biggest differences are:

1.  He's sees big picture/ I see details (dreaming vs. planning maybe?  Not real sure how to word this one... optimist vs. pessimist?  But I don't think I'm pessimistic, I just like to be prepared!)
2.  The way we spend money
3.  Introvert vs. Extrovert

The good thing is we also have lots in common.  Like how much we love each other and how committed we are to our marriage and family.  That's probably the biggest one.  We also have very similar senses of humor, love going on vacations together, and we are both sensitive.  We are feelers which means when we argue we both get our feelings hurt easily, but are also very aware of how we might be hurting the other and are quick to apologize.  Let's just say our disagreements can be quite emotional.  We're different but differences aren't everything. (Although it can sometimes feel that way.)

Greg and I do both love going on vacations, but our introvert/ extrovert personalities take vacations very differently.  When Greg is on vacation he wants to take it easy- sleep in, do some casual sight seeing, eat at a slow restaurant, take a nap in the afternoon, go back out at night to eat or do something casual.  We might turn in early and watch a movie or just relax.  I'm the total opposite- I want to be up at 6 am and literally do every single there is to do in the city we're visiting.  Napping and resting feels like a waste of time to me- we came all this way and spent all this money, now we must go out and do all the things!!!  If I had my way we'd literally go from activity to activity with no rest inbetween!

At the beginning of this month Greg and I enjoyed a week long cruise.  We celebrated five years of being together and a year of being parents.  June stayed home with her grandparents and Greg and I were really able to just soak up the good times.  We went with my cousin and her husband, who are both extroverts, (Sorry, Marianne, I refuse to believe you are an introvert!) and it really took me by surprise to see how far Greg and I have come in that department.  Have we finally mastered the perfect introvert + extrovert balance on vacations?!

Probably not.  In ten years I'll read this post and laugh at my 29 year old face and say, "Oh Bonnie, you knew nothing you stupid little fool."  But right now I feel like we maybe kind of figured out a thing or two, so I want to share it with the rest of you out there who might be in extroverted/introverted relationships are afraid you will never have an enjoyable vacation together.

8 Ways to have a perfect introverted + extroverted vacation: 
(From an extrovert's POV)

1.  Save high energy activities for when less people are doing them.  I always want to do things that are more high energy- hiking, swimming, snorkeling, dancing, karaoke, etc.  This is the extrovert in me, but it is hard for an introvert like Greg to always hop on board.  I have discovered that Greg will do these things and enjoy doing these things with me as long as there are not a million other people trying to do them, too.  We figured out that the best time to go swimming on our cruise was around 6 or 7 in the evening... most people were getting ready for dinner and we could have the pool practically to ourselves.  If we tried to go swimming at 1 or 2 in the afternoon it was packed and miserable and Greg's introverted energies were quickly depleted.

The times where most people were doing extroverted activities were the times when we would play cards with Marianne and Adam, take naps, or just do something more low key.  (Also best time to go hot tubbing for us was RIGHT after dinner.  We'd literally book it out of the dining room, change into our suits and get to the hot tubs about 9:30.  Most of the time we had the hot tub all to ourselves compared with sharing with twenty other couples.)

Up on the deck when no one else is- the secret to an introvert's heart!

2.  Be willing to go places alone.  The craziest thing about Greg's intense introvertism is that I have learned that I might be a little bit introverted too. Maybe?!?  Like sometimes I just wanted to go up to the deck by myself and read a book.  I would always be happy to have Greg there with me if he wanted, but I really enjoyed my quiet moments of reflection, studying, and reading- especially in the evening hours when the decks were pretty empty.  On lots of our vacations I have gone on walks alone, gone to get ice cream alone, or just enjoyed a tourist attraction on my own.  Sometimes it's really awesome to do things by yourself.  Don't get me wrong, I'd always rather have Greg with me but if it's do it alone or do it not at all I'm all about doing it alone!

These pics were taken while I was *gasp* alone reading on the deck.

3.  Travel with other people (if you don't want to always go on the laid back, introverted schedule.)  I loved that we had Marianne and Adam with us on this cruise because if Greg wanted to recharge and I wanted to go to an activity I could usually tag along with my other very extroverted friends.  It's always great to have more people around who like to do the same things you do.  The summer after we got married we did a study abroad in London and Scotland.  I remember several times where Greg just kind of wanted to chill and relax but other kids that we were with were going to museums, castles, etc.  I'd often go with them and let Greg rest up so that neither of us resented the other for making him (or me) go along with my (or his) own plan.

Dinner was always quite the extroverted activity- lots of conversation, people everywhere, talkative waiters.  I love it and so does Greg, but I know this sort of thing takes his energy instead of restores his energy.  Also, isn't my cousin, Marianne, so pretty?

4.  Don't plan multiple extroverted activities in a row  I've learned that if we do a high energy, super extroverted activity that I need to give Greg time to recharge before I unleash us on the next high energy activity.  I kind of have to pick the activities that are most important to me and then the other things  we will get to if we get to.  Our first day on on island we went on an awesome hike along the shore.  (We purposely chose something that not a lot of other people would be doing and we practically had the trail to ourselves.)  It was beautiful, but it was definitely draining as it was extremely hot and humid.  Instead of pushing for the next high energy activity, we went back to the boat, had pizza for lunch, took a quick dip in the pool (every one was on shore so the boat was pretty much empty) and then took an hour nap in our pitch dark, air conditioned cabin.  Before I met Greg I would never agree to take a nap in the middle of the day on vacation like this, but by doing so we were both recharged for the afternoon.  We enjoyed the afternoon swimming and playing in the sand, but only after I let Greg have a bit of recharge time.  (When we were in Prague last summer our days went like this: go out for three hours in morning, have slow relaxing lunch, go back to hotel and take long afternoon nap, go back out for dinner and night activities.  I hated to admit to Greg that I enjoyed that much more than I enjoy the constant go go go of my usual vacations.)

5.  Don't expect multiple high energy days in a row.  Just like the breaking up high energy activities, we have to break up high energy days too.  On a cruise this usually works itself out because there's a day on shore and then a day on a boat, day on shore, day on boat.  This cruise though we had three shore days on a row.  I knew Greg's introverted soul would struggle with so many high energy days on a row so when he wanted to stay in and snooze on the second day (also he wasn't feeling well) I said yah that's fine.  I went along with Marianne and Adam and was still able to have a great time while Greg restored his energy.

The coolest hike along the shore on St. Maarten.
High energy morning called for more low key afternoon.

6.  Let your introvert nap.  I have learned that when I let Greg recharge, and especially when I let him nap then he is so much more pleasant and has so much more energy for all the high energy activities that I want to do.  Greg napped like a little baby on our trip (that's what vacations are for he says!) and I would always just let him be.  I think he fell asleep for two hours on the beach in St. John's.  And then he was happy as can be the rest of the afternoon!

This is me reading in the shade while Greg napped on.

7.  Be flexible// Be willing to mix things up.  One of the nights of our cruise Greg was begging to not go to dinner in the formal dining room.  He wanted to do something more casual, not take such a long time eating, and not have to make conversation for over an hour.  I loved dinner in the dining room and especially wanted to go this night because it was a formal night.  I have serious FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) so just the fact that everybody else was going to be there, and I wasn't made me sad.  But I told Greg I'd be okay without the formal dinner and instead we ate spaghetti by ourselves in the buffet restaurant and then swam and hot tubbed just the two of us for over an hour.  It was probably my favorite night of the cruise- we had the back of the cruise ship completely to ourselves while everyone was dressed to the nines in the dining room.  The night was way more low key for Greg and allowed him to restore his energy while at the same time ended up being way more fun (and romantic!) than the dining room.

8.  Thank your introvert for using so much of his energy on extroverted activities.  Our cruise was the perfect balance of introvert and extrovert, high energy and low energy.  We were able to do lots of activities that I love- karaoke, dinner, swimming, snorkeling, hiking, and even riding scooters around the island while still getting in lots of quiet recharge time.  I know all the extroverted activities were exhausting for Greg so I tried to be really grateful and thank him out loud for the energy he was constantly putting in to extroverted activities.  I feel like when I make an effort to show appreciation for Greg's efforts then he puts in more effort.  Make sense?  It's a lot of effort!

This is from an afternoon where we took it easy... 
shopped, ate, and walked around Nassau

This picture has nothing to do with the extrovert/ introvert dynamic, 
I just had to show off my cool tattoo!

May your vacation days be filled with the perfect introvert/ extrovert balance!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I got a watch and it's made of wood!

For a long time I have needed a watch.  But I kept putting it off.  The thing with cell phones is you can kind of make yourself believe you don't need a watch anymore, but always having to look at your cell phone for the time is a total drag.  Also people think you are scrolling facebook when you're just trying to check the time.  Also my phone battery lasts about an hour so by noon I'm basically screwed for the rest of the day and I never know what time it is.  Also when we went on our cruise I had to borrow my mother in law's watch.  So yes,  HOMEGIRL NEEDS TO ALWAYS HAVE A WATCH.

So I got a watch.  And it is the prettiest watch I have ever owned.  While I was at it I got Greg a watch because I am tired of him also never knowing what time it is. Let me tell you, the boy looks sharp with a capital S in his watch.  Do people still say that?  Sharp with a capital S?  I feel like that might be something people don't say anymore but what do I know? (Also my students tried to explain to me on fleek the other day and I was just like yes, but whyyyyyy?)

Anyway.  I introduce to you, the best looking watches we've ever owned-  His and Her Jord watches...

HERS (Fieldcrest Maple)


And because we're stinking crazy about her, Junie had to join in on the fun.  But she doesn't get a watch until she can read the time like a responsible adult.

Aaaaaaaaand this is my favorite picture ever in the whole world. Also isn't her tutu just adorable?  Because babies in tutus is so cute it shouldn't even be legal people!

I really can't speak highly enough of these watches.  I've been wearing mine all day every day for the past three weeks.  I love the big face and the color goes with every outfit I own.  The wood is of the highest quality and the watch really just stands out.  All my students notice it and they think I'm real hip.  Every day someone says " Hey Mrs. Larsen I love your wood watch!" and I say, "Thanks but that doesn't mean you can be ten minutes late to class!"

And that's a wrap, peeps!  Also, this was Greg's first ever "fashion shoot" and he was real nervous about it so go ahead and tell him he did a fine and dandy job and his hair looks real fly.  Oh, and tomorrow I am telling you all about how to have a successful introvert + extrovert vacation because I think maybe Greg and I have finally mastered it?!?


Wooden Watches For Sale

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ten Reasons I Love Blogging

September marks four years that I have been regularly blogging.  Four years!  Four years, fifty two weeks a year, five posts a week.  That's a lot of blogging.  And a lot of writing.  I feel like the whole blogging game has changed and then changed again since I've been here and we've rolled with it, this little blog and me.  Like any pursuit in this world, blogging has its ups and downs, but in general there are a lot more ups, and as I reflect back and think on four years of this little blog I can't help but feel overwhelmingly grateful.  Blogging has given me much more than I ever would have imagined when I embarked on it. And so, without further ado...


1.  I get to meet cool friends.  One of the perks of blogging that I never in a million years thought of was all the cool new friends I would meet.  Blogging is this awesome tight knit community and I have met some of the most amazing girls through blogging.  Utah is a hot spot for bloggers so I have gotten to meet almost all of my Utah blogger friends.  We go to dinner, watch Bachelor, hit up the gym together. Who am I kidding, I never go to the gym.

Once you are married and done with college it's exponentially more difficult to make friends, and I am grateful that blogging has given me that outlet to make friends post marriage and post baby.  These are amazing girls and I am lucky to know them. (It's also awesome that we can share in the weirdness that is blogging.) (I also have blogging friends who I have never met IRL and they are equally awesome.)

Blogging Friends
Miss you Deidre!

2.  I have a record of my life.  One of the greatest things about blogging is the history that it is keeping of my life.  I still keep a journal (some stuff will always be too personal for a blog) but I love how a blog keeps track of so much of my life for me.  One of my favorite things to do on any given day is go back and see what I wrote a year ago on this date, two years ago on this date, three years ago on this date.  On June's birthday last month I went back and read all of my blog posts in the days approaching her birth and in the month or two after her birth.  They were such sweet memories and pictures to recall, and I was so grateful to have that easily accessible record.

3.  I get to make a side income for my family.  For the past two years blogging has provided a side income for us.  At this point I look at it as my job- my job that I get to do at home on the hours that I decide and in the way I want.   I still dream about making enough blogging one day that it could be a full time gig for me, but then I would have to quit teaching and, for now at least, I am not ready to leave the classroom.  So the teaching/blogging mix of a career is awesome for me and I feel so grateful for this blog.  The days that I am home I try to do all my blogging stuff while June naps and then I get to play with her the rest of the day... I make as much from my blog in two-three hours on my days home as I do in eight-nine hours at school the other days.   Pretty awesome job, right? (That being said it took a ridiculous amount of free labor to get to the point where I can consistently make money now.)

4.  I get to try all the things!  I know sponsored posts get a bad rap, but I really enjoy doing most of my sponsored campaigns. To start with, I get to try all the new cool stuff that brands are coming out with and I get the stuff for free!  Right now I am doing a campaign for this product and as weird as it seems, I have really really enjoyed it.  (The highlight was when I asked for creative uses of the product on my facebook page.  People really blew it out of the water!)  I have tried out new cleaning products, face washes, clothes, jewelry, and all sorts of foods and drinks.  Once I was even sent a robot to clean my floors!  That might have been the coolest thing that has ever happened in the history of my blog life.

5.  Blogging forces me to get out and do things.  Working at a high school and taking care of my babe sometimes doesn't leave me with a lot of spare energy.  But the cool thing about blogging is that it forces me to get out and experience life.  One Saturday Greg and I were supposed to go to the Tulip Festival here in our city. (as that was my pitch to promote TreeTop AppleSauce for this post.)  I remember that Saturday was kind of gloomy and rainy and I was unexplainably feeling kind of nauseous.  Under normal circumstances we definitely would have just bagged it and stayed in, but I was grateful that we had a reason why we HAD to go because it got us out to see the beautiful flowers and we had a great time.

6.  I get opportunities to help people.  I mentioned earlier today that my childhood friend has been suffering terribly from an auto immune disease and I shared this link where you can go to help her.  I feel so grateful to have a space like this with an audience to help share important things like this.  I am humbled and honored when people ask me to use my blog to help them.

7.  I understand myself and my experiences better through this blog.  Writing is very cathartic for me and in many ways I feel healed by my writing.  Some of the blogs that have been most important for me to write have been the posts about my dad, my posts about marriage, and my posts about motherhood.  This blog forces me to sit down and think about my experiences and in a way face and understand the things that I am going through.

8.  I have an excuse to constantly practice writing.  One of my life's goals is to write a book.  I ain't nowhere close to this yet, but in the meantime my blog gives me practice practice practice.  I am so grateful that I am in the habit of writing regularly.  It  is beneficial to me as I teach too; I feel like I can "practice what I preach" a little bit to my students as I actively continue to read and write in my own life.  I want to be an example to them of a "life long learner" and this blog helps me to do that.

9.  I have been forced to learn some basic photography skills.  I will be the first to admit that I do not love photography and I held out for a long time on getting a DSLR or learning how to edit pictures.  I still do a minimal amount compared to most bloggers, but I am very grateful for a small knowledge of photography and cameras and mostly I am grateful that I have high quality pictures of my family, our baby, our adventures together.  This means the world to me.

10.  Blogging gives me a way to keep in touch with people.  All social media has the benefit of allowing people to stay in our lives, but blogging has allowed me to do this on an even grander scale.  I am constantly surprised by friends, neighbors, or family who ask about things I mentioned on my blog.  The way they care about my life is very touching to me.  I always love it when I see an old friend from high school or a cousin I rarely see comment on a blog post.  I feel honored and happy to have a way to connect with so many loved ones.

Book Club Dates + An Opportunity for Generosity

Hi ladies and gents!

You might notice that there is no book review today.  Some of you might be aware that on the last Thursday of the month we do book club and some might be wondering, 'hey! what the heck happened to book club?'  Book club is being postponed today.  I just couldn't quite get my August act together enough to finish the 500 page book.  On Sunday I realized I could either read like a fiend and finish the book in time or I give us all a couple more weeks and actually allow myself to enjoy the book.  If you haven't started the book is absolutely gorgeous... some of the best prose I have read for a long time.  The plot moves a bit slow so I am having a bit of trouble immersing myself 100%, but I do know that I want to savor the experience instead of hurrying through it.  So that means that book club will now be THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 10.  If you have not finished the book yet, you have a bit of extra time.  If you haven't started the book yet, start it!  It really is such a beautiful book, one I am convinced I'd be remiss if I didn't read this year.

This will affect our last two book club selections of the year as everything will be pushed back two weeks.  Here is our new schedule for the rest of the year.  I hope that eases the pressure just a little bit for some of you.

FALL 2015

September 10... All the Light We Cannot See Anthony Doerr
October 8 ... Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin
November 12... And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

For more information on how to participate on book club go here.  Anyone can join in and anytime!

I am preparing a post for later this evening on everything that blogging has taught me.  I am approaching four years that I have been blogging consistently and it has been so good to me.  I am so grateful for this space and this blog and the people who come here to read it.  Thank you for that and tune in later for the full post.

Before I sign off for the afternoon (I'm meeting my sister for a little bit of Target Time.  Part time is my wildest dreams come true.) I have one more thing to share with you.  One of the coolest things about blogging is that it provides an outlet to help people who need a big audience.  My childhood best friend, Maika, has been suffering from an auto immune disease for years.  In the past year it has continually worsened where she cannot work or go to school.  She is one the sweetest, dearest people in the world and always happy even with the problems that plague her.  If you have a few extra dollars, any donations to her account to help her pay for her medical expenses would be so appreciated.  It is a great way to give and help someone out and you have my guarantee that it will be going to someone who is very kind, appreciative, and will use the money to pay for hospital bills. 

Go here to read more about Maika's situation and to help her pay for medical expenses.  May you be blessed for your generosity and kindness.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

How We Wore It// The Most Difficult Outfit to Recreate Ever

Every once in a while my blogger friends and I like to dress alike.  We all find a picture of someone looking totally fly and we do our best to mimic the outfit.  The point is to help us think outside of the box when it comes to clothes and be a little creative with our wardrobe.  Brooke heads this up because Brooke is awesome and any time I have the chance to do a little blog project with her I say yes please.

This month our picture came from Girl Meets Glam.

Before I show you my take on this outfit I need to warn you that it was an extremely tough outfit for me to mimic.  The idea is something about the textures, patterns, colors, etc motivates or inspires us. (Am I butchering this, Brooke?)  Well I've got diddly squat in my closet that looks anything like what Julia is wearing.  The only thing I kind of have is pants that have army green in them like Julia's shorts and sandals that are brown-ish like Julia's.  I tried to wear a summer type sweater like she is, but let's just say our outfits look nothing alike. (Also I will never ever be able to rock a hat like that.)  Ah well, can't say we didn't try!

Um... I have no idea where any of these clothes are from.  They're all old.  Oh, the wedges are from Target.  That much I remember.

All great fashion bloggers have jumping pictures, right?

Here's the other girls who did it with me.  Let's all go see if they did a better job than me.

Brooke at Silver Lining
Deidre at Deidre Emme
Jana at Bouvardian
Alexa at He and I
Aubrey at Aubrey Zaruba
Brooklyn at A Little Too Jolley
Rachel at Rachel Sayumi
Sharlee at My New Lines
Emma at Ever Emma
Kyla at FordOlogy
Kalyn at Geez Louise
Tayler at The Morrell Tale
Bonnie at Life of Bon