CURRENTLY // OCTOBER 2020

Reading // The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle, Urban Jungle by Igor Josifovic, The Mothers by Brit Bennett, The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

Planning // potentially to quit our jobs early to mid next year, an epic 2 to 3 weeks roadtrip out to Seattle and back

Watching // Bachelorette season 16 with lead Clare Crawley, Normal People tv drama series on Hulu, 2 tik toks that literally had me crying – I’ve watched each over 10 times, the feel good ABCs of careers, beat boxing-kid-edition linked here, Amber Burns youtube videos

Cooking // bacon triple cheese grilled cheese, shepherd’s pie, Primal Gourmet’s chicken meatballs with sun-dried tomato cream sauce from his cookbook (similar recipe on his blog here)

Eating // Holey Toledough donuts, brunch at Fowl and Fodder downtown, Taproot Cider House, North Peak Brewing Company

Drinking // Taproot Cider House, North Peak Brewing Company, Right Brain Brewery, Silver Spruce Brewing Company

Crafting // the absolute bare minimum anymore, I don’t decorate my planner at all, I haven’t kept up with my fitness planner in months, reading has occupied all my free time

Going // weekend in Traverse City with Kyle, hiking Mission Point lighthouse at the end of the Old Mission peninsula in TC,

Loving // my beautiful and thriving house plants, time spent with Kyle’s cousins

Dreaming // of Donald Trump out of the White House, a less divided country

Feeling // nervous but excited for the end of this election, heart broken for my residents contracting and dying from COVID-19 (pt count 2, 4, 6, 7, then up to 19 this month, our isolation unit had to become a COVID unit which became an entire wing of the facility), loved by my partner and friends during tough times, surprised how every sect of media is encouraging people to register to vote this election, from Instagram to Facebook, from Credit Karma to small and local businesses, relief and crying tears of joy when patient’s have moved off the COVID unit having recovered

Listening // Now That’s What I Call Music Volume 6, Normal People official soundtrack, Today’s Hits playlist on Spotify, huge decline in listening to podcasts, I’ve been really leaning into playlists on Spotify, also listening less and less to the radio

Celebrating // national physical therapy month and 2 years as a SNF PT, Kyle’s 27th birthday, running 8 miles, then 10 miles, then 2 weeks later, running a half marathon in 2 hours 41 minutes, having read 40 books this year, surpassing a net worth of 100k, brother and SIL home purchase

Supporting // postcards to swing states, a program encouraging registered votes to vote in the Nov. 3rd election (I personally sent 150 handwritten postcards to South Carolinians), independent bookstore Horizon Books in Traverse City

Buying // new jeans from H&M since most of my pants don’t fit having lost over 30 pounds this year, new battery for my car, 3 ARCs from the independent bookstore in Traverse City

Monthly Mood Board //

Until tomorrow, Meryn


CURRENTLY // SEPTEMBER 2020

Reading // We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda, The Whisper Man by Alex North, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Verity by Colleen Hoover, The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim, Final Girls by Riley Sager, blogpost on white silence and white privilege linked here

Planning // blog post reflecting on what I’ve learned in my first 2 years as a PT, blog post about inspirational and influential black people, weekend trip to Traverse City, MI in mid October

Watching // “rating things my grandma says wrong” parts 1, 2, and 3 on tik tok, also, too much tik tok, professional football – GO Browns!

Cooking // Half Baked Harvest herby tomato soup, Rachael’s Good Eats stuffed peppers, Primal Gourmet kung pao lettuce cups, The Defined Dish whole roasted Greek chicken with potatoes, Paleo Running Momma stuffed acorn squash sausage and rice

Eating // Forage Public House in Lakewood, OH, Lagerhaus No. 5 and Eastern Market Brewing Co. in Detroit

Drinking // Biggby’s black iced coffee (it runs through my veins), Starbuck’s pumpkin cream cold brew, Biggy’s sweet foam caramel cold brew, Maddie & Bella’s iced pumpkin spice latte

Pinning // fall desserts (puppy chow, s’mores, coffee cake, twix bars, chocolate chips cookies), sweater inspiration, acorn squash recipes, road trip itineraries for Montana and Wyoming (a girl can dream), reading challenges, pilea plant care

Crafting // not much these days other than a cohesive merynmade Instagram feed

Going // walks around the library, pumpkin hunting at Hoen’s Garden Center, Detroit Institute of Art

Loving // curbside pick up Toledo Public Library, new house plant pancake (pilea, Chinese money plant), spending time with an old college roommate, BOTM subscription

Dreaming // of a pre-COVID world, 2021 travel opportunities

Feeling // upset for Breonna Taylor, accomplished having read 30 books since April, annoyed by mandated COVID CMS trainings, excited for time off in October

Listening // Songs on repeat: September by Earth, Wind, and Fire, Dynamite by BTS, my ex’s best friend and I Think I’m OKAY by MGK, Holy by Justin Bieber

Celebrating // Kyle’s high school classmates wedding in Elyria, OH, 30 pound weight loss, longest run of 7 miles, fastest mile of 9’17”, do you remember, the 21st night of September?, first day of fall, the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Supporting // local library, promoting mask/facial coverings

Mood Board //

Until tomorrow, Meryn


TOP 15 INSPIRATIONAL + INFLUENTIAL BLACK PEOPLE

One of the first blog posts I wrote, which I was initially very proud of given the amount of time invested, was titled TOP 20 INSPIRATIONAL + INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE, linked here. The blog post is essentially a collection of my favorite Instagram accounts at the time of March 2020. It never occurred to me the whitewashing I was promoting, as all but one person listed was white.

The need to diversify my feed is more important than ever. America is in the thick of the Black Lives Matter movement after the unlawful and unnecessary deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, Breonna Taylor, 26, and George Floyd, 46. I’ve seen immense support for the Black community in response to these recent events, both in real life and on social media, and have been exposed to numerous Black people and Black promoting accounts to follow on Instagram as a result.

Having had time to reflect on what media I’m consuming, I’ve come to realize the majority of the accounts I follow on Instagram are white women that bare resemblance to me, whether it be professionally, socially, or geographically. I’ve spent the past few months finding new women and accounts to follow to improve the diversity of the media I’m consuming in an effort to be more inclusive.

Note: the following individuals are listed in alphabetical order by first name, this list is not meant to represent a ranking system

Anna Groves

website

instagram

Ashley C. Ford of smashfizzle

website

instagram

The Financial Confessions podcast episode

Berrion Berry

website

instagram: personal

instagram: the flo academy

Candance M. Read

website

instagram

Danielle Coke

website

instagram

Jade Purple Brown

website

instagram

Words to Live By

Jessi of Ettavee

website

instagram

Kamala Harris

website

instagram

Mashama Bailey

instagram: personal

instagram: The Grey Savannah

Michelle Obama

instagram

podcast

Becoming

Morgan Harper Nichols

website

instagram

Rachel Cargle

website

instagram

Well-Read Black Girl

website

instagram

2020 reading list

This is a start, but the work doesn’t stop here.

Until tomorrow, Meryn


CURRENTLY // AUGUST 2020

Reading // All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda, Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, The Night Swim by Megan Goldin, Normal People by Sally Rooney, The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn, Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Planning // October weekend getaway to Traverse City, Michigan, browsing homes for sale in Toledo, Cleveland, and Ann Arbor areas, for a successful September whole30

Watching // Cleveland Indians baseball, too much Tik Tok let’s be honest

Eating // southern butter pecan ice cream, pork chops with granny smith apples and caramelized onion, tomato chorizo frittata, lots and lots of BLT salads – Kyle’s new obsession is BLTs now that he has a cast iron bacon press, deli sandwiches from Garden Harvest

Cooking // Healthy Little Peach’s chicken bacon ranch stuffed sweet potato, Half Baked Harvest’s instant pot crispy carnitas with chipotle peach salsa (salsa 10/10, to die for, would make again), Half Baked Harvest’s herby tomato soup

Drinking // Biggby’s 24 ounce black iced coffee (no joke, 5 times a week at minimum), Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Wheat, Rhinegeist Slangria

Pinning // fall dessert recipes, recipes with cherry tomatoes, travel guides and blog posts in up state New York, reading challenges

Crafting // brewery stickers into temporary magnets for our wet bar mini fridge, planner spreads, blog post reflecting on my One Little Word document

Going // day drinking at a coworkers with yard games (including relay pong on our closet door, Kyle was so happy to be reliving his college days), neighborhood walks and runs, Biggby per always

Loving // Goodreads, Toledo library pick up, the park that surrounds my local library, weekly COVID tests for peace of mind

Dreaming // of international travel

Feeling // sad but understanding in the decision made by the BIG10 to cancel their college football 2020 season, hopeful for professional football 2020 season, excited at even just the thought of browsing for homes, disappointed in having to give up the prospects of a fall road trip to up state New York, proud of my on going dedication to daily exercise and weight loss journey

Listening // Podcasts: new to me this month was You’re Wrong About and I really enjoyed episodes about Going Postal and Stockholm Syndrome, also loved the conversation Michelle Obama had with her friend Michele Norris which gave us this advice, “don’t reach for normal, reach for better

Listening // Spotify Playlists:

Celebrating // 1k profit in stocks, brother and sister-in-law bought their first home in their dream neighborhood, new lowest weight on 161.6 lbs, yet another custom wheelchair approved and delivered to a long term care resident

Supporting // UPSP, Black Lives Matter

Buying // anniversary gift for M and T from Giften Market, new thriller The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard, wire plant stand from Crate and Barrel, purple and grey face masks for a September wedding

Current Events // via wikipedia
[1] Chinese IT company ByteDance agrees to divest from US branch of TikTok
[7] two people die of bubonic plaque in the region of Inner Mongolia, China
[8] MAC announces cancellation of fall football season
[11] former Vice President Joe Biden selects Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, she is the first black woman and first Asian-American vice presidential nominee
[11] Big Ten announces cancellation of fall football season
[18] California Governor declares a state of emergency as 27 wildfires as raging across the state, exacerbating a stifling heat wave
[24] Ohio representative John Becker draws up 10 articles of impeachment on Governor Mike DeWine over his COVID-19 orders
[26] all 3 NBA playoff games are postponed as the 6 teams involved sit in protest after shooting of Jacob Blake
[26] NBA announces agreement between players union to convert franchise-owned-and-operated arenas into voting facilities for resumption of NBA playoffs
[28] Chadwick Boseman dies of colon cancer at the age of 43

Monthly Mood Board //

Until tomorrow, Meryn


CURRENTLY // JULY 2020

Reading // I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown, The Guest List by Lucy Foley, Where to Begin by Cleo Wade, The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister, Every Tool’s a Hammer by Adam Savage, The Shadows by Alex North, How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, Educated by Tara Westover, and All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Planning // to postpone Grand Teton and Yellowstone trip for 2021, crossing fingers for an October road trip through up state New York to western Vermont with Kyle, intentional eating, movement, and reading in August

Watching // Officer Anthony Dia’s televised funeral , Cleveland Indian’s baseball (without fans), Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, beauty youtube, planner youtube, the most hilarious TikTok (trend) that literally makes me laugh every time I watch it (below)

Cooking // pork chops, butter steak with homemade butter mashed potatoes for my birthday dinner, fresh key lime pie, bacon kale and sweet potato egg cups

Eating // 10 whole30 days at the start of the month, Cinco De Mayo, Chief’s iced sugar cookies (birthday treat from boss), Dunkin’ donuts from my #1 wheelchair vendor, homegrown cherry tomatoes, chicken tacos and pulled pork sliders from Witch’s Hat Brewing Co. (South Lyons, MI)

Drinking // Biggby’s sweet foam caramel cold brew (10/10), Starbuck’s cold brew with cinnamon almond milk foam (3/10 bitter, not a fan), craft beer from Witch’s Hat

Crafting // update to gallery wall, silk flower bouquets for BFF’s wedding

Going // first time back to Target since March, bonfire at Kyle’s coworker’s in Gibbsonberg, Hoen’s Garden Center, neighborhood walks and bike rides

Loving // new air-purifying house plant – Crouton the croton, picking tomatoes from our tomato plant (birthday present from Kyle), surprise Folklore album drop by Taylor Swift, thriller book swap with BFF, finding sticky-love notes Kyle leaves me around our apartment

Dreaming // 100k net worth by 2021, home ownership with Kyle, of the upcoming fall season – so excited for pumpkin desserts, beautiful fall colors, crisp mornings, and fingers crossed for the return of Cleveland Brown’s football

Feeling // terrified as I witnessed an assault in Toledo and called 911, disgusting covered in sweat after treating a patient for 25 minutes, accomplished having read 15 books since the start of quarantine, confident in my beautiful and strong body, anxious during COVID-19 nasal swap (tested twice in July by the National Guard), uncertain for our upcoming presidential election (voter safety, voter suppression, USPS mail delays, Trump’s threat to delay election day)

Listening // Podcasts: Approachable, Live Free Creative (ep. 35 Family Traditions Through the Year), Just the Good Stuff with Rachel Mansfiled (ep. 1 Priscilla Tsai – CEO + Founder Of Cocokind), Middle Ground Podcast (ep. 4 Body Image Q&A), Cleo Wade’s audiobook Where to Begin, The Michelle Obama Podcast, Nutritional Freedom, The Financial Confessions

Listening // Spotify Playlists + Music: All Out 00s, This is Bo Burnham, Today’s Top Hits, This is Bleachers, This is Taylor Swift, Folklore by Taylor Swift (cardigan, the last great american dynasty, exile, and seven on repeat + stuck in my head)

Celebrating // PT classmate’s bridal shower, my 27th birthday, 20 books finished in 2020, approval for my 7th custom wheelchair!

Learning // about my personal racial biases, working to be an antiracist, COVID-19 really isn’t going anywhere any time soon and we are all navigating a new normal, how fortunate and blessed I am to have had the loving and supportive parents that I have (perspective via Educated)

Buying // Roku, new Happy Planner product, Olive and June nail polish, Sephora birthday order (had to get that free birthday gift)

Current Events // via wikipedia
[4] Kanye West announces his campaign in the US presidential election via Twitter
[13] Washington Redskins announce decision to change team nickname and logo after decades of criticism
[16] NFL announces 72 players have tested positive for COVID-19
[17] civil rights activist and Congressman John Lewis dies of pancreatic cancer, age of 80
[22] Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issues a statewide mandate requiring masks to be worn indoors and outdoors whenever social distancing isn’t possible
[24] Cleveland Indians open 2020 season with win at home against Kansas City Royals
[25] record high temperature of 21.7° C (71.1° F) is recorded on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard
[31] Trump announces his intentions to ban TikTok from operating in the US

Monthly Mood Board //

Until tomorrow, Meryn


REVIEW OF YEAR 26 IN 26

Ahead of my birthday this week, I wanted to put together a post reviewing the past year of my life – year 26. This time next year, it’ll be interesting to see what year 27 looked like given its start during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

JULY 2019

DENVER, COLORADO

JULY 2019

GRAND LAKE, ALPENA, MICHIGAN

AUGUST 2019

TOLEDO, OHIO

AUGUST 2019

AFTER WORK SURPRISE

SEPTEMBER 2019

TOLEDO, OHIO MOMENTUM

SEPTEMBER 2019

TOLEDO, OHIO MOMENTUM

SEPTEMBER 2019

TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART

SEPTEMBER 2019

TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN

OCTOBER 2019

PACKING TO MOVE TO HOLLAND

NOVEMBER 2019

BROWNS BACKER BAR CANTON, MICHIGAN

NOVEMBER 2019

DETROIT RED WINGS GAME

DECEMBER 2019

OUR FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE

DECEMBER 2019

APARTMENT GALLERY WALL

DECEMBER 2019

BRECKENRIDGE, COLORADO

FEBRUARY 2020

BRECKENRIDGE, COLORADO

FEBRUARY 2020

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

MARCH 2020

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

MARCH 2020

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

APRIL 2020

SPRING BLOOMS

MAY 2020

SPRING PATIO ENJOYMENT

MAY 2020

STRING OF PEARLS MARGARITA

MAY 2020

WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY

JUNE 2020

USS SILVERSIDES, MUSKEGON, MICHIGAN

JUNE 2020

NORTON SHORES, MICHIGAN

JUNE 2020

HOLLAND, MICHIGAN

JUNE 2020

Until tomorrow, Meryn


CURRENTLY // JUNE 2020

Reading // The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda, The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, Home Before Dark by Riley Sager, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Planning // weekend getaway in Western Michigan along the coast of Lake Michigan, a July whole30 next month

Watching // Facebook live video of The Toledo Zoo’s reveal of Lily the Wombat, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man with host Emmanuel Acho (linked here), planner and beauty youtube as always

Cooking // homemade meatball subs with broccoli salad for Father’s Day dinner, lots of salads with roasted carrots and sweet potato with some kind of protein like chicken sausage, kielbasa, or meatballs

Eating // Durty Bird, The Executive Diner, Cinco De Mayo, QQ’s Kitchen, Zingo’s, The Soup Cafe (Lansing, MI), Lakeside Cafe (Muskegon, MI), Grand Armory Brewing Company (Grand Haven, MI), The Biscuit (Holland, MI)

Drinking // Biggby iced coffee, lacroix, Arby’s jamocha shake, beer → Pigeon Hill Brewing Co. and Unruly Brewing Company (Muskegon, MI), Grand Armory Brewing Company (Grand Haven, MI), Big Lake Brewing (Holland, MI)

Crafting // ehh, not a very creative month, gave up on #the100dayproject at the beginning of the month when a lot of Instagram accounts stopped posting due to heightened exposure of the Black Lives Matter movement, lost steam with planner spreads at the end of the month when work hours ramped back up to normal

Going // first weekend visit back to Cleveland since January to see Kyle’s dad for his birthday/Father’s Day, weekend getaway to Western Michigan including USS SILVERSIDES Submarine Museum (Muskegon, MI), P. J. Hoffmaster State Park (Norton Shores, MI), Windmill Island Gardens (Holland, MI)

Loving // Lily the Wombat at The Toledo Zoo, Book of the Month subscription, picnic lunch and catching up with friends home from California, dog sitting for Kyle’s coworkers – pupper was so well behaved and calm

Dreaming // visiting national parks, road trips in Escape Camper Vans, visiting friends in California, fall and football season in Nebraska

Feeling // scared during sobriety test at 2am on the side of the highway while semis rush past driving 70+ mph (DD’ing for Kyle and his coworkers), upset and discouraged with the removal of my paid drive time privilege at work, overwhelmed with my increasing hours at work, like I’m falling more and more in love with Kyle through this pandemic, proud of my weight loss journey

Listening // Podcasts: Nutritional Freedom, Live Free Creative, Approachable, Fake Doctors, Real Friends with Zach and Donald, The Financial Confessions

Listening // Spotify Playlists: 90s Pop Rock Essentials, All Out 00s, Today’s Top Hits, This is Jason Mraz, 2000s Teen Angst. Song: Savage Love by Jason Derulo on repeat

Celebrating // 20 lb. weight loss, childhood friend’s baby shower (from afar, because of COVID), 20 blog posts shared, 2 custom wheelchair deliveries, high school BFF asked me to be her maid of honor, Father’s Day with homemade dinner and an evening walk at a state nature preserve, improving work hours to 30-40 hours a week by the end of the month

Learning // how to be an anti-racist, my own personal racial biases, researching engagement ring styles, learning about the 4 c’s of diamond quality

Supporting // Black Lives Matter, signing petitions to bring justice to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Julius Jones #8cantwait initiative for Toledo community (read more here), requested books from Toledo Public Library about race (all recommendations found here)

Buying // bike shorts from Amazon, new happy planner product, Lulu’s dress, new Nutpods flavor (toasted marshmallow)

Monthly Mood Board //

Current Events // via wikipedia
[4] Virginia Governor orders removal of Robert E. Lee monument in the state capital Richmond
[7] number of worldwide cases of COVID-19 surpasses 7 million, US remains global epicenter account for approximately 26% of all reported and confirmed cases in the world
[9] Harvard University study suggests COVID-19 may have been spreading in China as early as August 2019
[15] Supreme Court rules that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination against individuals on basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity
[22] NASCAR launches an investigation after a noose was found in the garage of Bubba Wallace, the lone Black driver in the series at Talladega Superspeedway (Alabama)
[23] NASCAR and the FBI uncover the “noose” was in fact the garage door pull, had not been touched or moved since early last fall
[24] MLB commissioner implements a 60 game season, players to report to training camps on July 1 to prepare for a July 23rd or 24th opening day
[30] Minor League Baseball cancels its 2020 season due to COVID-19 pandemic

Until tomorrow, Meryn


COVID-19 QUARANTINE UPDATE: TAKING THE GOOD WITH THE BAD

Facts and Statistics
As I type this, it is June 14, 2020. It has been 5 months since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in the United States. As of May 27, 2020, the US had the most confirmed active cases and deaths in the world and its death rate was 285 per million people, the 9th highest rate globally (source). According to John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, there are 7,893,700 total global cases with 432,922 global deaths – 115,732 of those US deaths. According to the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio has 38,188 confirmed cases (or 41,148 total cases) with 2,327 confirmed deaths (or 2,557 total deaths).

Work Life
I can thankfully and joyfully share that both of my buildings are still COVID-19 free. While there has been administrative staff that tested positive, I am so fortunate to say that we haven’t had a single long term care resident test positive for the virus, nor have we accepted a short term patient who has been positive. From what I have been able to gather from the administration department, as long as there are other skilled nursing homes, with positive cases, with open beds, my buildings can continue to refuse to take COVID-19 patients to limit the spread of this virus, especially to our vulnerable and highly susceptible population.

This past week both my buildings were visited by a health department surveyor who examined our PPE and sanitation protocols. Up until this point, the CDC and health department’s recommendations had been changing weekly – N95 one day, face shield the next, nah you don’t need either, just wear a surgical mask, on and on and on, different week to week (of note, I was given an N95 and a face shield, only have worn them once in the past 8 weeks). The latest protocol is any new admission to the facility or resident who returns from a medical procedure (i.e. dialysis) must be quarantined in their room, preferably in an isolation unit, for 14 days, and staff is required to don gown, gloves, and surgical mask (last I heard not an N95, but again, that could change tomorrow).

My hours have been steadily rising over the past few weeks. On June 1st, I went back to my ‘normal’ schedule and started traveling between both my buildings each day, except that I requested to continue to have Wednesdays off for the time being. Because of the limitations in use of PRN staff and limited ability to pull other full time PTs to our building to cover weekends, I’m basically on call every other weekend, so I wanted to build in a day off into my schedule mid week in the event I have to cover both days of the weekend, and it has worked out so far.

Personal Life
While I am very fortunate to have retained my job, I found myself with a good chunk of extra time on my hands during the week since the start of this quarantine. With this time I was able to knock out some big goals, form healthy habits, and (hopefully) create lasting change in my life related to weight loss and hobbies. It goes without saying the privilege I have to be in a position of freedom with minimal responsibilities. I live in a one bedroom apartment with my partner, I have no children and no pets to care for, a sizable emergency fund, and solid support system. If there ever was a time to focus on myself and personal development, this is it.

This quarantine has allowed me to focus my time and energy on meal planning, meal preparation, and working out at home, which resulted in a 20 lb weight loss (read more about that here.) I also became quite the bookworm in quarantine. As of today, I’ve finished my 11th book (nearly four thousand pages) since April 5th with a new found appreciation and love for ebooks, the Toledo Public Library, and Book of the Month (which I joined in June). I’ve read more in the past 10 weeks than I had my entire senior year of AP lit. And lastly, this quarantine pushed me to do something I’ve thought about for years, starting this blog. It’s been so much fun brain storming topics to write about and drafting blog posts. I especially have liked working on my currently/monthly favorites posts and my book review posts.

Daily Life
Ohio has continued to re-open with Governor DeWine permitting the following to open effective June 10th: aquariums, art galleries, country clubs, indoor sports facilities, indoor movie theaters, museums, outdoor playgrounds, trampoline parks, zoos etc. From personal experience I can say the percentage of people wearing masks to grocery shop is quickly declining, though I still continue to wear a mask. My local gym reopened at the end of May but I opted to freeze my membership for 3 months, I figure I’ve managed to lose 20 lbs without the gym, maybe I don’t need it after all. In an unexpected turn, public health superhero and Ohio’s health director Amy Acton’s resigned on June 11th after continued backlash against Ohio’s lockdown protocols.

Reflection
While it feels like we are shifting into a ‘new normal,’ the coronavirus is still very much a threat and likely to be around this time next year. Some speculate that nursing homes won’t allow visitors until a cure for COVID-19 is found. All I know is that this has been the strangest period of my life. I am so blessed and privileged to be coming out on the other side of a global pandemic with a job, my health, and all of my loved ones unharmed.
*knocks on wood*

Until tomorrow, Meryn


CURRENTLY // MAY 2020

Reading // The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

Planning // a return to my previous work schedule (going between each building every day) for June 1st, a cheat day of June 5th aka national donut day

Watching // Chef’s Table: Massimo Bottura, Melissa Urban’s Gus the Duck saga, local news coverage for riots in response to police, video of Flint, MI sheriff Christopher Swanson addressing and marching in solidarity with protesters

Cooking // zuppa toscana soup from The Defined Dish, black pepper chicken from The Defined Dish cookbook, chicken lettuce wraps from Life in the Lofthouse, sweet and savory chicken salad from Mary’s Whole Life

Eating // solely whole30 up until May 14th, took a few days off, then 97% whole30 through May 29th, homemade frozen fruit popsicles, lots of potatoes (frozen hash browns, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes)

Drinking // new la croix flavors – LimonCello, Hi-Biscus!, and old faithful Key Lime, hot coffee at work with either Nutpods or sugar free vanilla almond milk, always always Biggby ice coffee, either black or with a splash of coconut milk

Pinning // more whole30 meal ideas, sweet treats like coffee cookie crack bars and birthday cake pancakes, how to care for string of pearls, retro modern house numbers (for no other reason than style appeal), solitaire style engagement rings

Crafting // my own hand written fonts via Calligraphr.com (inspiration via Tik Tok), weekly planner spreads, #the100dayproject over half way through!

Going // walks at Toledo Botanical Gardens, Oak Openings, Westwinds, Wiregrass, and WW Knight Nature Preserve, vital stops at Biggby and Kroger, short stay in Defiance to deliver Mother’s day flowers

Loving // having evening fires in our fireplace, 25 lb. kettle bell, string of peals house plant (Margarita) Kyle gifted me for our 6 year anniversary, Toledo Public Library for borrowing digital books, Origins GinZing gel moisturizer, hanging out, listening to music, and reading on the balcony, spring blooms, patient’s doodles on the therapy gym whiteboard

Dreaming // of traveling literally anywhere beyond a 50 mile radius from Toledo, OH, but also returning to Scotland (inspired by reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine which is set in Glasgow)

Feeling // scared, worried, but hopeful we’ve turned a corner, at least in Ohio

Listening // Podcasts: binged Nutritional Freedom – Claire Siegel’s new podcast discussing “sustainable nutritional health habits and living a life in alignment with your values”, Live Free Creative episode 91 featuring Elise Cripe discussing her three things method, Almost 30 – I’ve just started episode 319 with Rami Sethi about wealth, Approachable with beauty youtube sensation Samantha Ravndahl, The Financial Confessions was back with 2 new episodes this month after a COVID hiatus

Listening // Spotify Playlists: 2000s Teen Angst, This is Adele, This is Lord Huron, This is Of Monsters and Men, This is The 1975, Today’s Top Hits, Lights Lacquer playlists including Olivia + Mila (in conjunction with their launch of nude nail polishes)

Celebrating // 6 year anniversary with Kyle, Mom’s birthday with a meatloaf dinner in our apartment, the re-opening of Ohio businesses including bars and restaurants for outdoor dining, high school best friend Leeann’s engagement, finding toilet paper at Kroger – like Charmin, not just Kroger brand, custom wheelchair delivery day x 2!

Learning // my preferred literary genre at this point in my life is thriller/suspense/mystery, to love myself through the ups and downs of a weight loss journey (down 18 pounds since the first of the year)

Supporting // Hoen’s Garden Center in Holland, #irunwithmaud a 2.23 mile nation wide walk/run in honor of Ahmaud Arbery on what would have been his 26th birthday, Sodbusters hole-in-the-wall bar in downtown Sylvania, joined Book of the Month with my first selection coming in June

Buying // bath and body works candles, soaps, and hand lotion, Happy Planner product, industrial looking strings lights for the balcony, Kyle bought a tin Guinness sign for the bar area

Monthly Mood Board // a collection of images I’ve saved on instagram

Current Events // via wikipedia
[6] video surfaces of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery (February 23, 2020) by 2 white men in his Georgia neighborhood by 2 white men
[11] Shanghai Disneyland reopens with new social distancing rules, death toll from COVID-19 in the US exceeds 80,000
[17] NASCAR becomes the 1st American sports league to resume its season
[19] Edenville Dam in central Michigan collapses after 3 days of heavy rainfall resulting in declaration of state of emergency for 3 central Michigan counties
[25] George Floyd is murdered by Minneapolis officer who was recorded on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck eventually causing his death, protests and riots break out nation wide in response to Floyd’s death to bring attention to continued police brutality
[28] death toll from COVID-19 in the US exceeds 100,000
[30] SpaceX launches Crew Dragon Demo-2 carrying 2 NASA astronauts to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral
[31] the number of worldwide cases surpasses 6 million and the US remains the global epicenter accounting for ~29% of all reported cases in the world

Until tomorrow, Meryn


CURRENTLY // APRIL 2020

Reading // You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine, Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

Planning // #whole30athome meals, incorporating running into weekly workout routine, an update to my gallery wall with original watercolor art from @dawningrace and art print from Worthwhile Paper

Watching // YouTube videos on the tv via Chromecast, 2020 NFL draft (video conferencing edition), Leslie Jordan’s Instagram videos (basically diary entries and quarantine commentary, personal fav from March here)

Cooking // simple, Whole30 meals → egg casseroles, mashed red potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes and carrots, chicken sausage, seasoned ground beef, turkey, and chicken, chili, soup, meals from The Defined Dish cookbook and Healthy Little Peach blog

Eating // frozen fruit like mango, strawberries, pineapple, and peach, Ferris cherries, berries and nuts mix, take out from Durty Bird for our 6 year fake-aversay, whole30 approved Chipotle chicken bowl

Drinking // Jamocha shakes from Arby’s (pre-whole30), Hi-Biscus! La Croix, Biggby black coffee, unsweeted vanilla almond milk

Pinning // whole30 meal ideas, Half Baked Harvest recipes (hello post-whole30), “must read” book recommendation lists, geometric art prints, gallery wall inspo

Crafting // coloring free color pages (@haveanicedayy_ with Pottery Barn here, National Park pages from @thelandmarkproject here, @morganharpernichols with Garden24 here, Happy Planner here), #100daysofcreativeclusters, weekly planner spreads

Going // to and from work, neighborhood walks, Irwin Prairie State Nature Preserve, Oak Openings, Biggby’s drive-thru, Kroger

Loving // reading on my NOOK eReader, $7 tulips from Kroger, Paige Poppe’s new spring collection, almond and honey tree hut sugar scrub, Zoom coffee dates with #girlgang, snapchat video calls with James and Rikki, book suggestions from Reese’s Book Club

Dreaming // traveling in the Midwest (Cincinnati OH, Milwaukee WI, Madison WI, Grand Rapids MI, Traverse City MI, Indianapolis IN), strolling the aisles of Target, girls trip to Waco, Texas this fall (plz don’t get cancelled, kthnx)

Feeling // more worried and concerned as the risk and likelihood for my buildings having a positive COVID-19 case increases day by day (rumor is there’s a SNF in Lucas county that is 75% infected and that’s not including staff), also feeling so grateful that for the entire month of April, both my buildings have had 0 patient cases

Listening // less podcasts (spending more intentional time on the phone with my mom during daily commute), this Amy Tangerine podcast episode with Kate Northup (inspired to read her book, Do Less: The Unexpected Strategy for Women to Get More of What They Want in Work and Life), Lauv’s single Modern Loneliness (on repeat), artists like Maggie Rogers, The Fray, Alec Benjamin, Michael Bublé, Spotify Playlists: Today’s Top Hits, All Out 00s

Celebrating // 6 year fake-aversary with Kyle, Milo the therapy cat’s life (he was estimated to be 14 years old and spent 7 years bringing joy to the residents at the facility), LOL not having COVID-19

Learning // stupid life hacks and catchy popular music on Tik Tok, the stock market is VOLATILE but, as Kyle reminds me, “it’s not about timing the market, but time in the market”, as a kid you think your parents have it all together so it’s kinda disheartening when you realize they don’t

Supporting // Steffi Lynn of @haveanicedayy_ (purchased a mystery bag which included a pin, 2 stickers, and a t-shirt for $25) Home Slice pizza for date night pre-whole30, @dawningrace original watercolor (snagged off IG for $38.50), California BFF with a LUSH care package because she’s a badass acute care PT on the front lines helping (proof here)

Monthly Mood Board // a new addition to the monthly round up, a collection of images I’ve saved on instagram, very excited about this

Until tomorrow, Meryn