Wednesday, November 4, 2015

tips for enjoying the holidays with less stress

photo by clarissa fidler
November is here, which means the holiday season is kicking into high gear. Today on the Spokane County Library District blog, I'm sharing my personal strategies for combating the stress of the holiday season, getting everything done, and still finding joy in the process.

Click here to read my post. Cheers to a wonderful (less stressful) holiday season!

Friday, October 30, 2015

unique holiday gifts for couples under $50

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November is right around the corner, which means the holiday season is about to kick into high gear. Just a few days ago I was perusing Target and let out a short squeal of glee when I saw the Christmas aisle. To say that my family loves Christmas would be a bit of an understatement.

One of my favorite parts about the holidays is being able to give thoughtful, unique gifts to the people I love. Most of my friends are married or engaged, which poses a little bit of a dilemma when it comes to what kind of gift to get them. It can be a struggle to find something special that doesn't cost a fortune and someone will actually like and use.

I recently discovered UncommonGoods, an online site where you can find a variety of unique artisan goods for anyone on your list (including yourself). Every product includes an engaging description along with a profile of the artist who made the item, which I think is super cool. Not only am I impressed by the quality of their products, they're also really committed to sustainability, which I can't help but admire. At checkout you can even select a non-profit organization to receive a $1 donation from the company.

To help you check off some couples on your holiday gift list, I've rounded up six of my favorite gift ideas that are all under $50. I've also pinned many more to my Pinterest board. There are definitely more than a few things I'd like to put on my Christmas list. Visit UncommonGoods to see more gift ideas for couples, amazing home products, unique artwork, and more!

This post is sponsored by UncommonGoods. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

bacon is a present pigs give you when you're good

You know your boyfriend loves you when he calls just to tell you he saw a sign for a bacon fest happening next month. It was one of those moments when I smiled to myself and thought, "Yep, he gets me."

In light of recent headlines this week, I must take this opportunity to profess my love for the wonderful processed meat we call bacon. I don't typically eat at Arby's but I can't help but love their ad right now that states:"Bacon is a present pigs give you when you're good."

When it comes to bacon, I tend to take Ron Swanson's point of view. Luckily for me, so does my boyfriend.

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If you are worried about processed meats causing cancer, my friend shared a great article on Facebook earlier this week that lays out all the facts. It's important to be informed but the recent reports are certainly not going to stop me from enjoying my bacon from time to time. All things in moderation, right?

Monday, October 26, 2015

trying to move forward with a happy spirit

image by Whitton & White
Yesterday, everything I've been trying to juggle and cope with slapped me in the face--hard. I've been combating feelings of anxiety and stress ever since. As a result, I turned to junk food to cope and now feel even worse. Isn't it awesome how that works? Coke, brownies, and french fries do not eliminate stress, but my goodness it certainly seems like a good idea at the time. I'm never going to give up comfort food, but the amount I've consumed in the last 48 hours goes a little beyond "comfort".

Today I've realized I need to regroup and deal with my stressors through healthy forms of self-care. Going for a walk, writing in my journal, painting my toenails, calling a friend, and reading my scriptures are all much healthier ways to lessen my anxiety and feelings of self doubt. Remembering to be patient and taking lots of deep breaths usually helps too.

It's not always easy to move forward with a happy spirit, especially when you're dealing with a lot of unknowns and life changes. This quote from Gordon B. Hinckley is a good reminder to keep an eternal perspective and attitude. I do have faith in his words that if we strive to move forward with a happy spirit things will indeed work out.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


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This morning when I opened Twitter I discovered it was National Day on Writing. Writers all over the world have been sharing their individual motivation for writing with the hashtag #WhyIWrite. Naturally, I followed suit.

I write for a lot of reasons but my main motivations is this---truth. I write to reveal the truth inside and around me. Writing is one of the main forms I use to process my emotions and feelings. It's therapeutic but like so many self-care tactics can be difficult to do. Sometimes the truth is scary. Sometimes I don't want to come to grips with reality. Sometimes it feels easier (even though ultimately it's not) to keep it all inside.

I chose my career based on my ability to write. Even though I doubt myself and my abilities more than I care to admit, like the Anne Sexton quote above, I know writing is something I was born to do. That sounds cheesy, I know, but being able to write is one of the few things I've always known I can do well.

At 28 years old, I'm just getting started in my career. I have so much more to learn and many writing techniques to master. Every day I hone my copywriting, blogging, and marketing writing skills a little bit more. Thanks to the blogosphere there have been at least a few occasions when my personal writing has found its way into people's hearts. Those are the moments I cherish most and hope to produce more of in the future.

I know as long as I follow my high school teacher's admonition to never stop writing, I'll be ok.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

fall is my favorite

I know I'm not alone when I say that fall is my favorite season. There's something about the leaves, pumpkins, and football games. They make my heart happy. To usher in this wondrous season, I planned a "fall extravaganza date" which consisted of Dale and I eating homemade pumpkin oreos and carving pumpkins.

I really wanted the authentic experience of going to the pumpkin patch (a Fidler family tradition) and not just get pumpkins from the grocery store. However, I also didn't want to fork over $6.50 a piece just to get access to a pumpkin patch. After some diligent online research, I found Job's Nursery in Pasco where we could go pumpkin hunting free of charge. 

Saturday afternoon we headed to the cute little nursery for our fall adventure. It took some searching, but eventually we each found a pumpkin to our liking. I've learned over the years that when it comes to pumpkins bigger isn't always better. Bigger just means more guts to clean out! 

After church, we spent Sunday afternoon tackling the task of carving our pumpkins. I forgot how labor intensive that task truly is. We were both sweating and felt pretty triumphant when we finally finished the job. If you ask me, I think our his and her pumpkins turned out pretty cute. Happy fall to us!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

welcome to cam country

Every day on my way to work I listen to The Bobby Bones Show. The past few days it's been all about #ILoveWomen AKA Women in Country Week. One thing I love about Bobby and his crew is how supportive they are of emerging country artists. You get your song played by Bobby Bones, you're going to be sitting pretty. Country fans like myself gravitate towards Bobby because even though he's not just a radio personality with a good voice. He's a real person and you feel that when you listen to his show. And how can you not love a radio show that does a Friday morning dance party?!

Alright, now that you all know how much I love The Bobby Bones Show, let's move on to the main reason for this post. Yesterday, as part of Women in Country Week, new country artist Cam visited Bobby in the studio, and this morning he played her single, "Burning House". I immediately pulled up Shazam on my iPhone so I could tag the song and buy her EP album once I got to work.

"Burning House" haunted me like no song has since the first time I heard my beloved duo, The Civil Wars. Cam can sing--no doubt about that. Her sound is deep, rich, and powerful with a touch of twang and legitimate pain. Cam, where have you been all my life?!

Her EP is titled Welcome to Cam Country, and I say welcome to country indeed. I can't wait to see where this girl goes. Bring on the music, Cam!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

a fabulous trip to pdx

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Over Memorial Day weekend, Dale and I took our first road trip together to the wonderful land of hipsters aka Portland. We headed out from the Tri-Cities Saturday morning armed with large sodas from McDonald's (Diet Dr. Pepper with no ice for him, Diet Coke with lemon for me), sourpatch kids, and goldfish--all topped off with a mix CD I made for the drive.

We spent a few days in Portlandia exploring the Pearl District and the Kenton Station neighborhood. Minus me catching a nasty cold halfway through our trip, it couldn't have been a more perfect mini vacation for us.

Portland Saturday Market

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Our first stop was the Portland Saturday Market. We arrived a little after 10am and spent the rest of the morning exploring the area before we headed to Mi Mero Mole for lunch. I wish I'd taken a picture of the burritos we got. They were AMAZING. Dale did an excellent job picking out this place. After lunch we headed towards the heart of the Pearl District for a little book browsing at Powell's

Kenton Station

For our two-night stay in Portland, we decided to try out Airbnb and stayed at a great little two-bedroom studio in the Kenton Station neighborhood. It was perfect for us and was much more reasonably priced than a hotel. For anyone who hasn't used Airbnb before, I would definitely recommend it. It took putting in for a few places before we got this one but it all worked out quite well in the end.

airbnb kenton station studio 
Kenton Station was a cute little neighborhood on the north side of town. Only a few blocks from where we stayed was a quaint little corridor filled with shops and restaurants. Saturday night we ate dinner at the Kenton Station Restaurant & Pub and it did not disappoint. The sandwiches were so big we saved half for lunch the next day.

his and hers hot cocoa at cup & saucer cafe
We ate a lot of good food on our trip but my favorite place was definitely the Cup & Saucer Cafe. Just a few blocks from our Airbnb, we walked down for breakfast two days in a row--it was that good. From dense blueberry biscuits to delish egg scrambles filled with bacon, Tillamook cheddar cheese, and jalapenos, this place knew what it was doing. The staff was also incredibly friendly and welcoming, which in my opinion always adds to a pleasurable dining experience.

hanging out with paul bunyan

Washington Park

international rose test garden
On Sunday we headed to Washington Park, home to the International Rose Test Garden, Oregon Zoo, and Portland Children's Museum among many other attractions. It was a busy day at the park. The rose garden was filled with tourists snapping pictures and admiring the bountiful blooms, so naturally we joined in on the fun. After we'd had our fair share of roses, we hopped on the very convenient shuttle and headed to the Oregon Zoo.

The zoo was packed with families and couples but we still enjoyed spending the afternoon walking through the exhibits. By this time my cold was starting to take over, so we only made it through about half of the zoo before heading back to our little studio so I could take a nap. After some much needed rest, we ventured out for dinner. I still wasn't feeling too good so we stopped at the grocery store for medicine and juice. Then we spent the rest of the night relaxing, eating sorbet, and watching Netflix together.

posing with the roses

Multnomah Falls

multnomah falls
Monday morning we took a little scenic detour to see Multnomah Falls before heading back to the Tri-Cities. When we drove out of Portland a reader board indicated the parking lot for the falls was full but we didn't let that deter us. Armed with determination and patience, Dale was able to snag us a great parking spot. The falls are over 600 feet tall and there's a lovely bridge you can access to get a closer look.

Our first road trip was an absolute blast. We're looking forward to many more fun adventures together!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

losing my single status

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Well kids, it's finally happened. This longtime single girl is single no more. Yes, I have a boyfriend! Are you still breathing? Did you fall over in your chair? Take a step back and just breathe. Everything is ok. You have not been transported to Tomorrowland or any other land where dreams come true. This is real life.

Two months ago I had a different job and was just mildly testing the waters on I'd messaged a few guys and a few had reached out to me, but I hadn't found anyone I was particularly interested in. Then one day I received a sweet, well-written message from a cute, LDS guy from the Tri-Cities that made me laugh out loud and smile in a special way.

Over the course of a week or so we sent a few emails back and forth and started getting to know each other. I could tell that this guy was truly interested in me and honestly, the whole thing really freaked me out. It was such a foreign feeling. I was excited but also scared and unsure how to act. 

A few days after we initially started talking I started my new job and used that as an excuse to not reply to his latest message for a couple of days. I wasn't sure how to move forward or if I even wanted to keep emailing. Do I really like this guy or is it just nice to be wanted? What does dating even look like anymore? Can I really do it? Am I capable of letting someone really know me again? All of these questions, along with so many more, bounced around in my head. I was definitely having what they describe in the scriptures as a "stupor of thought". Then, he sent me a short message saying he hoped my first week at my new job was going well. It was time to make a decision--jump in or walk away.

I've struggled with my spirituality over the last few years, especially this past year or so. In my darker times I let simple sources of strength like prayer and scripture reading fall to the wayside. When faced with my aforementioned stupor of thought, I decided to do something I hadn't done in a long time--say a real, heartfelt prayer. It was a short, simple prayer asking for direction and guidance, but it was the first time I humbled myself enough to submit my will to Heavenly Father's. I was blessed with a distinct answer that I should continue my correspondence with Mr. Tri-Cities. I jumped in and haven't looked back.

Next week it will be a year since my personal essay, Accepting the Single Status When Everyone Else is a Couple, was published on The Everygirl. I am in complete awe at how quickly one's life can change. Everything they say about finding love when you least expect it is true. I always thought it was a load of crap, but now thanks to Mr. Tri-Cities, I've joined the believers. And I've got to say, it's a pretty amazing place to be.

I've found that light at the end of the tunnel that I've been searching for. Like I predicted, it's certainly a different hue than I ever imagined, but it's brighter and more brilliant than anything I could have ever hoped. The kind of happiness I am experiencing right now is unlike anything I've ever encountered.

The smallest step really can lead to great things. I believe that with all of my heart.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

learning to define yourself

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Taking risks allows you to define yourself. You learn your likes, dislikes, interests, beliefs, and opinions. By being vulnerable with someone, you not only get to know them on a deeper level, you come to better know yourself. It's empowering to be able to answer questions about what makes you who you are and why you've made the decisions you have in this life. 

One of my favorite songs by the duo Elenowen is called 'Losing the Lonely'. There's a verse that says: "Long shot, we went against the odds in a game you'll never win, if you never go all in..."

I think the ability to "go all in" develops as you mature and can mean different things at different times in your life. Sometimes it means having the courage to try out for a sports team or sing a solo in front of a crowd. Other times it means changing your entire career or choosing to walk away from a dysfunctional relationship.

Going all in requires you to be brave. Being brave means discovering what you need to do and doing it despite your fears. The path we forge ultimately influences our character and the lives of those we touch.

Life is both uncomfortable and exhilarating. That's why we're here. To learn and grow. To develop meaningful relationships. To remember who we really are and to whom we belong.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

satisfying moments

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Today I had one of those rare, satisfying moments where I felt on top of the world. Like I could conquer my demons and accomplish my goals. That maybe I could have it all.

It's week two in my new job so I'm still in major adjustment mode. There's a lot to learn and grasp, but so far so good. This new role affords me a kind of freedom I didn't have in my last position, and I confess it's going to take some getting used to. I have a voice and the power to direct a creative vision which is extremely refreshing. My boss told me she doesn't want me chained to my desk (hooray!) so today I went out to meet one of the managing librarians and discuss social media and communication strategies with her. It was so awesome. We had a great discussion and I had a burst of creative energy as a result.

In addition to finding my bearings and pushing myself in my new job, I'm also trying to be braver and more vulnerable in my personal life. For whatever reason, it's hard for me to accept that I might actually be attractive and interesting to the opposite sex. It's scary to put yourself out there and start to let someone see the real you. But I've learned the hard way that you don't know if you don't try. So right now it may just be baby-steps, but I'm trying and that feels good.

Today was fairly ordinary. I got up, went to work, and came home. But what made today different was the strong, comforting reminder to believe in myself--that who I am is not only enough, it's extremely valuable. I'm grateful for tender mercies that remind me of my true worth. It's easy to forget, but don't stop believing in yourself. I know that good things--big and small--happen when you do.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

starting a new chapter

It's been a long time since I've written on my blog. Why? I'm not totally sure. I think too often I have ideas and then don't take the time to go through the writing process, which is odd since I consider myself a writer. I've had plenty to say but lacked the conviction or drive to say it. The time has come to break my silence.

I've lived in Spokane for over seven months now. That's kind of hard to believe. At the end of 2014, I made the decision to leave my awesome downtown apartment and move in with my parents. Student loans are a tough pill to swallow. Living with my parents is allowing me to pay down my credit card debt and student loans so I can starting saving to buy a house. My goal is to have purchased a house in Spokane by my 30th birthday--2+ years and counting! Being financially responsible and realistic is not a very fun part of adulthood but I keep reminding myself that making sacrifices now will help me secure a better future for myself.

When I accepted my job with Gonzaga and moved to Spokane last summer, I thought I would be at Gonzaga for a long time. I saw my current position with the Virtual Campus as the first step towards a successful career as a Zag. However, I've decide to cut my time at GU short.

I recently interviewed and was offered a Communication Specialist position with the Spokane County Library District. This Friday will be my last day at Gonzaga--at least for the time being.

My new role with the library is exactly what I branded myself for when I graduated from grad school. I have several years of professional experience, but this job feels like my first real move towards a career in non-profit communications. I'm excited and scared to peel off the security blanket of higher ed and put myself in a position where I can really showcase and improve my skills. School has always been my safe place, which is why I think I've always gravitated towards working for a university. Up to this point in my professional life, I haven't known anything else.

Taking this new job is a brave step for me. I have hope the risk will reap great rewards. Slowly but surely I'm working on improving the varying aspects of my life. I'm trying online dating and two weeks ago started working with a physical trainer to get myself back to a normal workout routine. Even though it hasn't been very long, I'm already starting to feel stronger and healthier. I forgot how awesome endorphins can make you feel. I've been attending church more regularly and with my new work schedule I'll finally be able to start attending institute on Wednesday nights.

Change is always a little unnerving. As I start this new chapter I'm both thrilled and terrified. However, despite my roller coaster of emotions, I have confidence that I'm charging forward on the right path.