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I LOVE These Things: Favorite Summer Read, An Alternative to FitBit & Mad Men


It’s been a hectic week.

Between PTA meetings, meetings about being President of PTA next year, and my son’s 6th Grade celebration (plus, all the other actual work related stuff), I was thankful for Saturday morning. And then I remembered we had two soccer games and two graduation parties.

I’m trying SUPER hard to live in the moment during the hectic weeks, I’m notorious for being at the event, but then having my mind be somewhere else…usually planning for the next thing. I have to make a conscious choice to this, because it isn’t my natural tendency. But being aware and choosing to be in the moment has made this week so much more of a blessing.

So, I guess I’ll go and grab another cup of coffee…cause I’m going to need it this weekend.

Here are the three things this week that are making me happy…

Me Before You

1. Me Before You

If you are looking for a good summer read, I can not recommend Me Before You enough. I realize this book is a couple of years old and the majority of you have already read it (story of my life, always behind by about two years), but it has been awhile since a book touched me this deeply or I devoured it this quickly. (I read it in two days.)

I laughed. I cried like a baby (so make sure to wear sunglasses if you are reading at the pool). And after I read the last page, I desperately wanted the book to keep going…I wasn’t ready to be done with Will or Lou. In fact, it took me a good 24-hours to get the book out of my mind…I kept re-reading scenes to make sure I took it all in. Here is a synopsis.

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

And PS…I also read this book last week and it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be with all the “hype” it received.

Withing Pop

2. Withings Activite Pop Watch

When I was at Mom 2.0 blogging conference a couple of weeks ago, they had a 5K Fun Run.

The course looked beautiful (it was through a PGA Golf Course) and since I had been sitting for almost two-days straight, it seemed like a good excuse to get a run in before the last day.

First, running in Phoenix is very different than running in Kansas City. And I got my BOOTY kicked. I was dehydrated. I couldn’t catch my breath. And it was hot. (The only upside is that I got to talking to Ann of Listen To Your Mother fame….because she is from Wisconsin and was getting her booty kicked too.)

But at the end of the run, the first 40 people who registered were able to get a Withings Activite Pop Watch.

I had never heard of this watch before (and honestly, it wasn’t why I ran), but after getting it home and using it for a couple of weeks, I’m in love.

Withings Pop

The best way I can describe it is “It is a Fitbit on steroids that actually looks like a watch.”

It’s a little crazy all of the things it can track and monitor. And I love that it has the ability to be customized by me…I can choose the number of steps, the sleep goal, or the calorie daily if I want. Better yet, it works with programs like My Fitness Pal and Run Keeper, and syncs to one dashboard. Brilliant.

And it freakin’ looks like a watch, instead of piece of plastic on my arm.

Mad Men

3. Mad Men

I’ve watched this series since it premiered a gazillion years ago. Literally, I watched the first episode on July 19, 2007.

My reason for watching was simple…I was a former marketing and advertising dork and I wanted to see a show set in my beloved industry. And from the first episode with Don’s affairs and Peggy’s first day at Sterling Cooper (and getting hit on by everyone and their dog), it didn’t disappoint.

It is more than great television however. It was one of the forefathers of the dramatic television revolution. It was groundbreaking in so many ways…and it, along with shows like Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy and Justified raised the bar for cable television programing.

It proved that great dramatic television could be (and should be) made on regular cable television and not just HBO or Showtime. And it was part of the streaming revolution…when Netflix first started streaming, one of their selling points was being able to watch past seasons of Mad Men for free.

And this Sunday, tomorrow, is the series finale. And while I will agree, like the critics, that it isn’t as “sharp” as it used to be, it is still and will always be one of my favorite televisions shows ever.

And if you missed it, here are some new articles from last week.

Slow Cooker Spicy Beef and Broccoli Recipe

This Slow Cooker Spicy Beef and Broccoli Recipe is for all my "cooks" who love a good Chinese meal, but can't make one for the life of them.  This dish is super easy to make. And don't let the spicy scare you (or your kids), it's very simple to dial it up or down by adjusting the red pepper flakes and you won't lose any flavor.

DIY Air Freshener Using Downy Unstopables

Have a spot that smells like stinky feet instead of fresh sheets? Create this compact DIY Air Freshener Using Downy Unstopables to eliminate odors instantly.

See past editions of I LOVE These Things.