Sierra's View: March 2016

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Rising Strong // Sierra's Book Reviews

via instagram 
Love this page from this book!!! 

Genre: Self Help/ Nonfiction 

Rating: 5/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)
Summary: The physics of vulnerability is simple: If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall. Brene tells us what it takes to get back up, and how owning our stories of disappointment, failure, and heartbreak gives us the power to write a daring new ending. Struggle, BrenĂ© Brown writes, can be our greatest call to courage, and rising strong our clearest path to deeper meaning, wisdom, and hope.

I LOVE Brene Brown. She is one of my favorite researchers and writers. I was listening to a part of this book (I tend to listen and read a book at the same time. Does anyone else do this?) with T and he kept saying, "Uhhh...she sounds exactly like you. I feel like she thinks like you!" My response was a resounding YES, I KNOW! I feel like she "gets me" and I absolutely love her research. I think I want her job. Like I stated a couple of weeks ago for my review of  Daring Greatly, to this day, my favorite novel of hers is The Gifts of Imperfection (How have I not written about this book on my blog? On my to-do list!). , Rising Strong was my second favorite. I loved that Brene used her own life stories and examples in this novel to help get through the challenging life experiences that may get you down. I don't have much to say, other than this book is a great one. It helped changed my way of thinking when it comes to difficult times.  I would even recommend listening to it! 

Favorite Quotes 
*I tweeted this book like crazy because it had so many fantastic quotes. 

+We only judge others when don't feel good about ourselves. 

+The most compassionate people have the strongest boundaries. 

+Just because someone else doesn't see your value, doesn't mean you don't have worth. 

+Give yourself permission to feel your emotions. 

+Hurt doesn't go away simply because we don't acknowledge it. 

+Rising Strong after a trial MUST be a spiritual experience. 

+Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They're compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.

+The opposite of recognizing that we’re feeling something is denying our emotions. The opposite of being curious is disengaging. When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away; instead, they own us, they define us. Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending—to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends.

+Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.

+There are too many people today who instead of feeling hurt are acting out their hurt; instead of acknowledging pain, they’re inflicting pain on others. Rather than risking feeling disappointed, they’re choosing to live disappointed. Emotional stoicism is not badassery. Blustery posturing is not badassery. Swagger is not badassery. Perfection is about the furthest thing in the world from badassery.

+...sometimes when we are beating ourselves up, we need to stop and say to that harassing voice inside, "Man, I'm doing the very best I can right now.

+I don’t know. I really don’t. All I know is that my life is better when I assume that people are doing their best. It keeps me out of judgment and lets me focus on what is, and not what should or could be.” His answer felt like truth to me. Not an easy truth, but truth.

+I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life.

+It’s always helpful to remember that when perfectionism is driving, shame is riding shotgun.

+How can we expect people to put value on our work when we don't value ourselves enough to set and hold uncomfortable boundaries?

+Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

It's Spring and I am Happy!

The sun was shining  this weekend. It was beautiful and I am a happy girl. I spent the other day hiking up the canyon (you all know that's my favorite thing to do) and it made me itchy for summer. NOW, it's snowing. WTH, Utah? Yet, everyone is freaking out! Somehow, every year, we are surprised that it's it always does at least once in March. Still, this weekend was a tease. Even with the rain and some of the cold, aomethong about that change from winter to spring brings a renewed happiness. Does it for anyone else?

Recently, I am happy because...

1. I spent last Saturday doing yard work (we are completely re-doing parts of our yard) and starting a little bit of Spring Cleaning (I still have lots to do!). In June, we will be in our house for a year and I feel like we are ALMOST done with moving in on the inside. We are, eventually, going to do more updates on the inside, but for the move in/decorating part, I am getting there!!! Some of you may be asking why doing this makes me happy, and it's because I love cleaning and organizing things. I love the feeling of renewal that comes with the beginning of Spring after a COLD winter--and that renewing of cleaning out messy, dusty places correlates with that. I am a clean freak, what can I say? 

2. Hiking in the mountains will be happening more often. Hiking series will be coming back.  You know I love this, guys!!! Yessssss. As always, I love hiking buddies if anyone wants to join! 

3. I have been killing it at the gym. I am so grateful for friends and trainers who have been motivating me to do some awesome and killer workouts. Although my weight isn't down any more (still 18 points from October!) but I have more energy. I feel better. This health plan  has changed my view of my body in all facets and I just feel GOOD.

4. I have been reading like crazy. I have  loved to read since I was a little girl, and for the first time in a long time, I have really enjoyed reading as another stress reliever. I have been doing a lot of book reviews on this blog (I am sorry if some of you hate these...Ha!), but I have become even more obsessed with GoodReads. I love being a part of three book clubs (yes, three!) and I am grateful for friendships and conversations that stimulate connections in my life.

5. I have realized that there are certain people and certain things that I don't need in my life. I was going to audition for a play, but I realized that I want to spend my time ending the school year on a high note, to focus on my social, emotionally, and physical wellbeing. Even though I want to be on stage, I am already a busy person and I don't want to stretch myself more than I need to. I have had to deal with the fact that I am not as close with old friends. It's been hard to sort of "let go", but I'm accepting this. Letting go can be freeing. 

6. Nine more weeks of school. And Spring Break is in a week. Hallelujah. It's been a difficult school year. I cannot wait for summer.

7. WE BOOKED OUR TICKETS TO MAUI IN JULY. We are going for an entire month and I cannot wait!!!

8. The sunshine is out. And a little bit of spring rain (which I am okay with! But the snow and wind needs to stop). Still, sunshine makes me happy! 

9. But, like, my dog makes me happy. Is that nerdy? Kind of.

10. Also, I GET TO WEAR MORE DRESSES. I just bought more dresses and my little heart is jumping for joy.

Happy Spring, y'all! 
What is making you happy? 

Monday, March 21, 2016

My Accidental Jihad // Sierra's Book Reviews

Genre: Memoir/Biography 
Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)
Fifteen years ago, Krista Bremer was a surfer and an aspiring journalist who dreamed of a comfortable American life of adventure, romance, and opportunity. Then, on a running trail in North Carolina, she met Ismail, sincere, passionate, kind, yet from a very different world. Raised a Muslim—one of eight siblings born in an impoverished fishing village in Libya—his faith informed his life. When she and Ismail made the decision to become a family, Krista embarked on a journey she never could have imagined, an accidental jihad: a quest for spiritual and intellectual growth that would open her mind, and more important, her heart.

I am on a reading kick. I can't seem to stop reading and it's been awesome. I am at the point of my life where I can open a book and read to "escape" and sometimes, that's exactly what I need. This novel, for me, was a quick read. I opened this book and was instantly involved. Krista's story is so unique and special, I had to keep reading to find out what she did to cope with her Libyan husband's roots. My favorite aspect about this book was the romantic, honest prose that it was written in. I think Krista did a wonderful job conveying the hardships of marriage, in general, which is something that many of us can relate to. To add onto that, though, I think that she was brutally honest, which I enjoyed (probably because I am a brutally honest person! Ha!). Her transition could not have been easy, trying to deal with all of the cultural differences, and that was fascinating to read about. Yes, she was a bit whiny, but I think that I would probably be whining too, in that situation! :) 

One thing that I did not love about the book was the lack of explanation with Ismail, her husband. I felt that she did not convey the growth of their relationship from the beginning very well. I feel like she just threw in some information so that she could talk about her experiences while in Libya. I wanted to know more about their relationship. I think it was interesting that title of the book says "A Love Story" because I felt a majority of the novel was her experience dealing with his Libyan family and friends more than their relationship, if that makes sense. 

Overall, I enjoyed the novel and I would recommend it to someone who wants a quick, interesting memoir. It was definitely interesting! 

Favorite Quotes: 
+Love like an anvil had cracked my locked heart open and unleashed an excruciating flow of tenderness

+I would not find happiness in status or possessions. Every breath takes you one breath closer to your final destination. This body I cherished and adorned was just a temporary home for my spirit, which would one day fly away like a bird released from its cage.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Spring Outfits.

I have started to feel Spring around these parts, I am not sure about you all. With that being said, Spring means that I will be wearing some dresses. I am wearing my U by Kotex and SweetSpot Labs to help me stay confident when wearing your Spring whites and lights...and all of my dresses!!!  

Here are some of my favorite spring outfits. 

When that time of the month hits, my face completely breaks out. I didn't realize that I was still fifteen years old. But, it does. I have started to use SweetSpot Labs and I have noticed a significant difference! I LOVE it. 

My favorite kind is the grapefruit, but I like the Vanilla Blossom as well. 

purchased at my local target. 

What are some of your favorite Spring Outfits?
Tell me HERE.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Quotes to Lift You Up.

Sometimes you just need to spend an hour on Pinterest and find quotes to lift you up. 

And sometimes you need to share these pictures with your readers on your blog. 

I may or may not have lost it while reading these. Is it just me or do quotes just speak to you, especially when you are feeling kind of down? 

Okay, maybe I'm just a Feeler. 

Either way...enjoy. 

You're welcome. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

February: Glad THAT'S Over.

Ew. I lied. I said that January is a hard month. But, I digress. I think February might be worse. I feel like the thrill of the snow and the cozy evenings are at an all time low.  The Christmas season is REALLY over and I am just over the cold, ya know?  My students tend to get out of control because they haven't been outside to play. I get grumpy because my mental and physical well-being needs sunshine and warmth. 

Yet, it has been 65 and sunny all week. I have noticed a significant difference in MY attitude with teaching and just life in general. I tried to keep myself busy in February because otherwise I get into a "funk." And I did just that. It actually wasn't too bad  of a month. The cold got old. Real quick. But I had a ton of fun with friends, parties, the gym, etc. I am so grateful for people who love me through the winter ;) 

(pics via instagram) 

Went to the Provo City Center Temple Open House. My choir in college was one of the last people in this building before it became a temple. We were rehearsing for a show the next evening. It was an electrical error that caused the fire. The LDS church saved it and it became a temple. So, basically, you're welcome. It was beautiful! 

Played in the snow in the mountains! 

This is what I do to relax...and during church. What? You don't? You should. I'm five. 

Cheered on the Broncos during the Super Bowl! 

Read the ever-controversial "Go Set a Watchman." I actually enjoyed it. GASP! 

Wrote "love letters" to my students....and they wrote them to themselves. Ha. 

Had a cabin getaway to Brian Head Ski Resort with friends. Such a fun weekend! 

I actually cooked dinner. And I talked about how I still hate cooking. 

Co hosted Bon's Book Club Meeting for February: "A Man Called Ove." 

Chatted for three hours for BFF's who are getting married. Love college friends. 

Decades Day with my awesome faculty! 

Fell in love with Kundalini Yoga!! 

Oh, look. Saylor. Shocking. Had to throw that in. I spend a lot of time with her. Ha. 

When the sun shined, I got outside and hiked as much as possible!! 

Slowly started putting my home together (after a year!) 

Harry Potter Book Club Tea Party (yes, I am a part of three different book clubs. Nerd!) 

Bridal Shower with dear college friends. 

T Money is a babe. Spent a lot of time talking with him through a tough time of feeling insecure. 

Oh, February. SEE YA. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Daring Greatly // Sierra's Book Reviews

I love to read. I have loved reading and letting my mind wander since I was a little girl. I loved Historical Fiction and Realistic Fiction as a child. Now, as an adult, I still love those genres, but because of my teacher ways, I have expanded my library, if you will. I now love listening to nonfiction/self help novels in my car. My car is where I do most of my thinking so it is the perfect getaway while I am stuck in traffic (and I don't lose my temper while driving..I mean, what? This has never happened!).

Because I love to read, I have found that I am reading, listening and sharing book quotes, reviews, and ideas from novels constantly. I find that I am doing all of these things with five or six novels at a time. I truly don't know how I do this, but I somehow do. Because of this excessive reading habit (can I call it that?) I find that I can only post some of my favorite novels, or novels that truly stuck out to me positively or negatively on this blog. You can see the other novels that I am reading on my GoodReads, but I only post the ones that stick in my brain on here. Otherwise I would be posting about books three times a week. And, let's be honest, I highly doubt that you want to only read book reviews on this blog.

via instagram 

"Yes, we are totally exposed when we are vulnerable. Yes, we are taking a huge emotional risk when we allow ourself to be vulnerable. It's taking off of the mask and hoping that the "Real me" isn't too disappointing to myself or to others"- Daring Greatly, Brene Brown.

I posted this video on my blog a few years ago and that is when I sort of fell in love with Brene Brown. She is a researcher who studies shame and vulnerability, which I think is amazing. Side note: I am a little envious of this. I would absolutely love to do research with her on this subject. I find it surprisingly fascinating. She became "big" after this awesome TED Talk. I read the novel "The Gifts of Imperfection" a year ago and I may or may not have drove in my car and cried as I listened. It spoke right to my "emotional" being and nodded my head along as I listened to it. It spoke to me, okay? :)

Because of my love for her first novel, I had to pick up "Daring Greatly." And, yes, I loved it just as much. "Daring Greatly" is filled with information on how to combat shame and become vulnerable, authentic, and courageous - not just in romantic relationships, but at work and with your children as well (and for me, even as a teacher!). I have always struggled with vulnerability, but I loved how Brene Brown explained that we can't live fully and wholeheartedly without it. This is, honestly, a must read for anyone who feels a bit closed off from the world and/or the best parts of themselves. Personally, I loved her "Gifts of Imperfection" novel a little bit more. I think, personally, it resonated with me on a deeper level because of my own issues. But both of these novels are wonderful. 

Favorite Quotes: 

I tweeted this novel while listening/reading it (I did both) throughout. I wanted to share some of my favorite quotes from my tweets and otherwise. Now, I feel like I could write down half of this book in quotes, but, alas, I can only choose a few that stuck with me (or, well, that I had enough time to write down ;) ).

*Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It's going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn't change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.

*Empathy can be spoken without saying a word.

*We like to see and feel vulnerability from others, but we don't like to feel it or show it ourselves. Can you value your own vulnerability like you can in others? Admitting this does not mean that you are weak.

*To grow up is to accept vulnerability. To be alive is to be vulnerable.

*Love is a form of vulnerability.

*Vulnerability needs boundaries!!!!!!

*For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is "I didn't get enough sleep." The next one is "I don't have enough time." Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don't have enough of.... Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we're already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds are racing with a litany of what we didn't get, or didn't get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to that reverie of lack.... This internal condition of scarcity, this mind-set of scarcity, lives at the very heart of our jealousies, our prejudice, and our arguments with life....

*One way to think about the three components of scarcity and how they influence culture is to reflect upon the following questions. As you're reading the questions, its' helpful to keep in mind any culture or social system that you're a part of, whether your classroom, your family, your community, or maybe your work team:

1. Shame: Is fear of ridicule and belittling used to manage people and/or to keep people in line? Is self-worth tied to achievement, productivity, or compliance? Are blaming and finger-pointing norms? Are put-downs and name-calling rampant? What about favoritism? Is perfectionism an issue?

2. Comparison: Healthy competition can be beneficial, but is there constant overt or covert comparing and ranking? Has creativity been suffocated? Are people held to one narrow standard rather than acknowledged for their unique gifts and contributions? Is there an ideal way of being or one form of talent that is used as measurement of everyone else's worth?

3. Disengagement: Are people afraid to take risks or try new things? Is it easier to stay quiet than to share stories, experiences, and ideas? Does it feel as if no one is really paying attention or listening? Is everyone struggling to be seen and heard?" (p. 28)

*Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.

"Give me the courage to show up and let myself be seen."

"The vulnerability journey is not the kind of journey we can make alone. We need support. We need folks who will let us try on new ways of being without judging us. We need a hand to pull us up off the ground when we get kicked down in the arena (and if we live a courageous life, that will happen)." 

Sierra's Other Book Reviews: A Man Called Ove // Go Set a Watchman // These Is My Words //  Intuitive Eating // Happier at Home // Happiness Project // Wild // Elizabeth Smart: My Story  

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts on it? 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

How We Wore It // Spring!!!!!!!

It's March 2nd. 
I don't know about you, but when I see that date, I instantly think, "SPRING TIME!!!!!" Yes, with that amount of enthusiasm as well. Although there is still some snow on the mountains and I know that it will snow at least once more in March here in Utah (it will probably snow once in April as well!), I am feeling serious Spring time action. And I am not complaining about it one bit. I need some sunshine and warmth. 

For this month's How We Wore It (I've done enough of these, that I hope y'all know how it works. If you're new...I'm sure you can figure it out. I'm so kind), this is the original outfit: 

When I saw this outfit, my first thought was: DRESS. YES. I have a problem. I literally wear dresses three of four times a week. In fact, I'm sure people are sick of seeing my dresses. In the Fall and Winter, I throw some leggings under them with boots. In the Spring and Summer, I wear them with my birks or saltwater sandals (am I a fashionista or WHAT?) So this outfit is close to home. For me, when I looked at this picture, I got the "spring vibe" with a cute dress. So I pulled out my flowered dress and flats. I put on my sunglasses (love them) and stood awkwardly in front of a photo. Ugh. I still hate having my photo taken...especially full body. It is still chilly and I am around children all day (#teacherlife) so I like to throw leggings on under, mostly for functionality. 


Go see how these lovely ladies styled it:
Deidre at Deidre Emme
Katelyn at The Suitcase Blonde
Amy at Harris inc.
Madeline at CaseyLand
Rachel at Rachel Sayumi
Brooke at Silver Lining
Berkley at Here in the Now
Kyla at FordOlogy
Robin at Penn & Quill
Ashley at Absolutely Ashley
Autumn at Stay gold Autumn
Aubrey at Aubrey Zaruba

See my other awesome (ha!) How We Wore It and Fashion Posts below:
Vest It Up (HWWI)

Do you like to wear dresses? 
Where are some of your favorites from? 
(I am always looking for more dresses)