CURRENTLY // JULY 2021

Reading

Watching

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, booktube per usual

Planning

Summer reading, last minute details and purchases for our 3 month road trip

Cooking

Honestly the bare minimum, attempting to eat all the food in our fridge, freezer, and cabinets before we move out at the end of July

Eating

Wixey’s donuts for my birthday at work, grilled cheese from Manhattan’s, Kroger donuts for out last day in our Holland apartment, Joe’s KC BBQ and ice cream at Silas and Maddy’s in Olathe, Kansas

Drinking

Catawba Island Brewery (Port Clinton, OH), Brewery Becker (Brighton, MI), Boulevard Brewing Company Beer Hall (Kansas City, MO), Afterword Tavern and Shelves (Kansas City, MO), Causal Animal (Kansas City, MO), Boiler Brewing Company (Lincoln, NE), White Elm Brewing Company (Lincoln, NE), McKinney’s (Lincoln, NE)

Going

Camping in Brighton, MI, St. Louis, MO, Kansas City, MO, Lincoln, NE

Loving

The absolute freedom and badass energy and vibes from quitting my toxic job in healthcare to travel the US

Creating

Summer and road trip TBR list

Dreaming

Physical and mental space from my work in healthcare

Feeling

Disappointed by Riley Sager’s newest release Survive the Night, a little sad but mostly excited to wrap up work at my nursing homes, nervous about living on the road for 3 months, stressed about moving out and cleaning our apartment, to be 100% honest, also stressed about finances prepping for this trip, extremely frustrated by my company and their mismanagement of my retirement accounts, impressed by my own gusto and risk taking

Listening // Books + Podcasts

Listening // Music

Songs: Almost by Hozier, Breathe and This Kiss by Faith Hill, Breathe (2 AM) by Anna Nalick
Spotify Playlists: Rom Com Pop Hits as recommended via Tik Tok, Grand Teton by Parks Projects

Celebrating

The announcement of Alex Snodgrass’s second cookbook The Comfortable Kitchen, My 28th birthday, last day of work, the start of our “first retirement”

Learning

You are easily replaced in the eyes of management, everyone wishes they could do what we are doing, ya’ll just need to do it

Buying

Silicon bands, playing cards and dice for our road trip

Instagram Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn


REVIEW OF YEAR 27

The people, places, and pleasant pastries that defined my year

Year 27 highlights:

1 | 30 pounds weight loss

2 | exploring Detroit

3 | Traverse City for Kyle’s birthday

4 | solo half marathon

5 | COVID19 vaccination

6 | 7 years with Kyle

7 | BFF’s wedding in Presque Isle, Michigan

8 | longest run of 10 miles

9 | quitting my job to travel for 3 months

10 | car camping in Brighton, Michigan

Until next time, Meryn


CURRENTLY // JUNE 2021

Reading

Planning

Birthday weekend camping trip near Brighton, Michigan (Brewery Becker and Bourbons Brighton), packing and moving out our of first apartment, last minute purchases for our road trip

Cooking

Tomato basil frittata, grilled hot dogs, baked beans, and pasta salad for Father’s Day

Eating

Double dates at Twin Oast Brewing, The Heights, and Bronze Boar, Garden Harvest, Mr. Freeze sundaes for Father’s Day, authentic Amish donuts in Pennsylvania

Drinking

Sibling Revelry Brewing’s Blood Brood, Twin Oast’s Kellys Island Pilsner, Ship Burner, and Legitimate Swells, Wilhelm Winery (Hadley, PA) samples and Fredonia

Going

Many trips to the library, Twin Oast Brewing, Delaware, OH for PT classmate wedding, The Lodge in Pennsylvania for the annual Fourth of July pig roast

Loving

Audiobooks, exploring new coffee shops, new library books, double dates with friends, Book of the Month subscription

Creating

Color coordinated book collages, an aesthetic bookstagram

Dreaming

Again, but always, moments of calm and serenity surrounded by beautiful landscapes and breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, the next chapter, together

Feeling

Relieved finally announcing my resignation, excited for this next chapter, proud of our courage and gusto for quitting our jobs, foraging our own path, thankful for the support from family, friends, and coworkers

Listening // Books + Podcasts

Listening // Music

Albums: SOUR by Olivia Rodrigo, Normal People soundtrack
Spotify Playlists: Today’s Top Hits, 2020 Half Marathon Jams, Grand Teton by Parks Project

Celebrating

Wedding of two PT classmates, resignation from my first PT job , 49 books read in the first half of the year, coworkers 30th birthday, 100 followers on this blog and over 1,000 views

Learning

As an employee, you are always dispensable and replaceable to your employer

Buying

More bike shorts from Old Navy, sports bras from Aerie, vintage America’s National Parks book for our trip, pre-ordered Riley Sager’s new thriller Survive the Night

Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn


CURRENTLY // MAY 2021

Reading

Planning

Memorial Day weekend in Cleveland, weekend in Pennsylvania for 4th of July pig roast, Traverse City or Detroit for birthday in July, GART planning is slowing down, we’ve secured like 90% of our campsites, permits, and hotels

Cooking

Kyle’s favorite Alton Brown meatloaf for mom’s birthday, HBH corn, tomato, and avocado pasta salad, HBH browned sage butter chicken pot pie for Mother’s Day

Eating

Jolly Pumpkin in Ann Arbor, Royal Docks Brewing Co, Harvest, The 27 Club, Beerhead Bar and Eatery, Stone Made Pub, lots of salads at work and for dinners

Drinking

Earnest Brew Works, Jolly Pumpkin, from the tap at Harvest, The 27 Club, Southern Tier, Butcher and the Brew, Phoenix Coffee Co

Going

Ann arbor, Up North for Leeann and Anthony’s wedding, Canton, OH to visit #girlgand, Cleveland for Memorial Day Weekend, back to Planet Fitness with emphasis on stair climbing and incline treadmill walking to prepare for our hikes

Loving

Ann Arbor in the spring, free little library find – The Maidens, dog sitting, parents new cat Alley Cat, air brushed make up, thriving house plants

Dreaming

Moments of calm and serenity surrounded by beautiful landscapes and breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, the next chapter, together

Feeling

Incredibly proud having ran 10 consecutive miles (!!!!!!!!!!!!!), highly annoyed at the crack in my windshield (second incident in two years), excited and nervous to quit my job, overwhelmed by my June reading plans

Listening // Books

Listening // Music

Albums: Justice by Justin Bieber, SOUR by Olivia Rodrigo, Let Go by Avril Lavigne
Songs: 1 step forward, 3 steps back and happier from SOUR, MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X, Kiss Me More by Doja Cat and SZA
Spotify Playlists: Today’s Top Hits, 2020 Half Marathon Jams

Celebrating

7 year anniversary with Kyle in Ann Arbor, the wedding of Leeann and Anthony, parents 35th wedding anniversary, securing a Glacier hotel reservation

Learning

About white fragility and how to be anti-racist, to love my body for what it is capable of (running 10 miles) , not for what the scale reads (167.0)

Buying

Went hog wild buying camping gear and new clothes during the REI anniversary sale (30% off), tshirt and national park stickers from Keep Nature Wild (Memorial Day sale), Canon point and shoot camera – PowerShot G7 X Mark II

Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn


CURRENTLY // APRIL 2021

Reading

Planning

Anniversary weekend in Ann Arbor, weekend in Cleveland in May, weekend in Pennsylvania for 4th of July pig roast, Traverse City for birthday in July
Road trip: campgrounds, back county permits, hotels, continuing to tweak the schedule/itinerary, coordinating with friends and family

Watching

Booktube: Ellias, Gabby (gabbyreads), Kayla (booksandlala), Sabine (Sabine’s Book Nook), Jack Edwards, Joel (fictionalfates), Noelle Gallagher, Reagan (PeruseProject), Sydney (Syd Bookworrom)
Beauty Youtube: Kelly Gooch, Jessica Braun
Instagram: Hayden Cohen of @hayderz
Other: REI virtual class Exploring Crater Lake National Park, NFL draft live from Cleveland, OH, Cleveland Indians games

Cooking

meatloaf, Mexican cabbage soup (The Defined Dish recipe), cabbage soup, Greek chicken meatballs with Greek salad (The Wooden Skillet recipe linked here)

Drinking

Market Garden Frosty, Olipop strawberry vanilla sparkling tonic, King KoKonut from Avon Brewing Company, local kombucha from Boochy Mamas

Going

Ye Olde Durty Bird, Gathering Volumes independent bookstore, Flying Joe’s coffee shop with BFF, hammock hangs and reading in Oak Openings, dress alterations for MOH dress, lots of walks and hikes at Secor Metropark

Loving

Mike’s macaroni and cheese pizza, audiobooks, long runs to clear my mind and challenge myself, prioritizing time outside in nature weekly if not daily

Dreaming

breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, beautiful landscapes, freedom, lightness, togetherness, new beginnings

Feeling

very ready to quit my job and take a break from patient care, nervous for another new boss and another brand new PTA, excited for our road trip and our next chapter together

Listening // Books + Podcasts

Books: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho
Podcasts: Thank You For Asking

Listening // Music

Albums: Fearless (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift, Justice by Justin Bieber
Songs: MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X, Runaway by Aurora
Spotify Playlists: Today’s Top Hits

Celebrating

Independent Bookstore Day at Gathering Volumes in Perrysburg (3 book purchase), new personal best: longest run of 8.25 miles, over 34 miles ran in the month of April, 1 year of investing with 4.5k gain, Easter with family I haven’t seen in over a year, Earth Day by picking up trash around the neighborhood, the lives of the 18 lost in the past 6 months at Wauseon

Learning

various National Parks as we plan for our GART, camping food prep, how to be anti-racist, always, running is therapy as much, if not more, than it is exercise

Buying

active wear from Nebraska brand Little Movements Apparel, sunscreen from Sephora, hotel reservations for GART, spring dresses from Petal and Pip, spring colored athletic shirts for work

Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn


CURRENTLY // MARCH 2021

Reading

Planning

Logistics of quitting our jobs in July, our 10 week, cross country, Great American Road Trip starting in August (blogs to come)

Watching

Chef’s Table with Ana Roš (season 2, episode 5), movie I Care a Lot starring Rosamund Pike, March Madness basketball games

Cooking

Homemade meatballs, chicken salad, quick and easy weeknight meals, mini ground chicken meat loaves

Eating

Panda express, Jolly Pumpkin in Detroit, Bon Bon Bon, Delanie’s Grille

Drinking

Starbucks new spring drink iced brown sugar oatmilk shaken espresso, personalized non-alcoholic cocktails at Sugar House, craft cocktails at Cleveland Speakeasy

Creating

Starting and updating my reading journal, book cover collages, bookstagram content

Going

Detroit, Livonia, Garden Harvest, neighborhood runs, Defiance stops for spring cleaning

Loving

Running outside, I feel like a different, better human being returning to running outside! The Toledo Public Library, I don’t think I can express how much I love requesting and borrowing books from the library (21 of the 24 books I’ve read this year were library books!)

Dreaming

Of the satisfaction that will come from pushing send on my resignation email to my regional managers, of the amazing collection of postcards I’m going to gather during our trip to make the post amazing keepsake and conversation piece

Feeling

Beyond frustrated with the headache that is managing my health insurance coverage with my company (long story short, they had my hire date incorrect so I was uninsured in the month of February which left me to cover the cost of a pelvic US and f/u appt to check my IUD placement)

Conflicted about having a hand in getting a boss fired *grimacing face emoji*, equal parts excited and scared for the unknowns that come with quitting a stable job to spend 10 weeks on the road, supported by friends and family regarding our GART plans

Listening // Books

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Listening // Music

Of Monsters and Men’s My Head Is An Animal album, my 2020 Half Marathon Jams playlist, Justin Bieber’s new album Justice (favorite songs include As I Am, Holy, Unstable, Ghost)

Celebrating

Kyle’s 1000th transport, National Meatball Day, daylight savings time aka day light at 7:30PM, Women’s History Month, BFF’s bachelorette party in Ann Arbor at Vinology followed by Blank Slate ice cream, the joy of running 5 miles, $1,400 stimulus check, country wide vaccinations!

Learning

Life’s too short, it’s now or never to explore the country while we have so little responsibilities in terms of pets, home ownership, and no children

Buying

Bath and Body works hand soaps, Wax Buffalo candles – hummingbird and oatmeal stout, bachelorette lingerie from Aerie for a BFF, Osprey pack from REI

Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn


CURRENTLY // FEBRUARY 2021

Reading

Planning

To quit our jobs, move out of our apartment, road trip across the US for 4-6 weeks, and then move to Cleveland or Ann Arbor

Watching

Super Bowl LV Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated Kansas City Chiefs 31–9, Noelle Gallagher of booktube channel (link), Sabine’s Book Nook booktube channel (link), this tik tok on repeat:

Cooking

Pork carnitas and homemade pico for the Super Bowl, Half Baked Harvest 4 cheese sun-dried tomato pasta bake, Half Baked Harvest kung pao chicken, spaghetti squash with meat and tomato sauce

Eating

Mike’s mac n’ cheese pizza (a little too often this month), big freakin’ donut from Holey Toledough, chicken nachos at Wolverine State Brewing Co

Drinking

Sippin’ Pretty by Odell Brewing Co, HOMES Brewery in Ann Arbor, Wolverine State Brewing Co in Ann Arbor, Tiramisu Brown Ale by Maumee Bay Brewing Co, Grand Mimosa by Ciderboys, black iced coffee from Biggby, Starbucks pistachio latte

Pinning

Beautiful home libraries and bookcases, bullet journal and book journal spreads, gallery wall inspiration, kitchen inspiration, white bean Greek salad, buckeye brownies

Making

Finally finished lettering the addresses for my classmates save the dates and mailed them back to her, repotted my house plants

Going

First house viewing in Westgate, second house viewing in Old Orchard, Ann Arbor to visit BFFs and pick up an item at REI, dinner at cheers with a coworkers, the library like 2-4 times a week

Loving

Blue skies and 40 degree plus weather, hammock stand, The House in the Cerulean Sea, compliments on my skill, integrity, and clinical reasoning and decision making, methodology in my career, mentoring and learning from my new grad PTA

Feeling

Devastated with the unexpected news of losing the Wauseon building, pissed off having only been given 1 weeks notice, hopeful for the end of quarantine, excited for spring, euphoria running outside again, appreciated and seen by my colleague and mentor

Listening // Books

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo, You Never Forget Your First by Alexis Coe, The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Listening // Music

Of Monsters and Men’s My Head Is An Animal album, Taylor Swift’s evermore album, my 2020 Half Marathon Jams playlist, Summertime Sadness and Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Ray, Driver’s License by Olivia Rodrigo, 8 Letters by Why Don’t We, Heather by Conan Gray

Celebrating

Pre-approval for a mortgage, 812 credit score, Valentine’s week which concluded with the gift of a hammock stand (Kammok), running outside, beautiful blue skies and 40 degree weather

Learning

Big Bird has cousins (see below), cute and simple hairstyles from Tik Tok, George Washington didn’t have wooden teeth, no no, he had the teeth of his slaves

Supporting

Black authors only with February BOTM selections: NK Jemisin, Nancy Johnson, Bryan Washington

Buying

My own copies of The Night Tiger (50% off) and The Ghost Bride (second hand), foaming hand soap from Bath and Body Works

Mantra

Every emotion that I feel throughout the day I accept, because it’s what makes me human

Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn


WHY I RUN: FEBRUARY 2021 UPDATE

It’s February 24th and over 40 degrees in Ohio with beautiful, blue skies overhead, melting snow piles, and lots of puddles. Let’s run:


While running the same thought kept coming to me:

I feel alive for the first time

In a long time

That’s what running does for me

It grounds me

Connects me to the present moment

My surroundings

My breathing

My heart rate

What a release

What a feeling

What a high

Euphoria

Until next time, Meryn


INVESTMENT JOURNEY + WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A PERSONAL POP CULTURE INVESTOR

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed are for general informational purposes only and are not to be taken as financial advice

I have, by no means, any business writing a blogpost about investing, but here we go.

In March 2020, at the onset of the COVID19 pandemic, I started investing in the stock market. According to Wikipedia, the 2020 stock market crash, also referred to as the Coronavirus Crash and the Coronavirus Correction, was a major and sudden global stock market crash that began on Feb 20, 2020 and ended on April 7, 2020. Full disclosure, I am aware of my privilege in that I had a well established emergency fund and had retained my job throughout the pandemic in 2020, allowing me to start investing with little to no risk.

Now that I have been researching and investing for almost a year, I thought it was time to reflect on what I’ve learned. Also, I felt the need to name my investing strategy, because yes, I am an enneagram 4 and must identify myself to feel worthy and substantial.

I consider myself a personal pop culture investor. Let’s break this down:

Personal
For me, this means that I purchase stock as it directly relates to my life, career, field of work, purchasing habits, hobbies, etc. For example, my career and livelihood is physical therapy, thus I have purchased stock in U. S. Physical Therapy Inc. (USPH) and have seen 71.07% growth since my initial investment. Another example is Planet Fitness (PLNT), the fitness center I utilize (pre-pandemic of course); growth 37.77%. Also, Masimo Corp (MASI), a California based company that manufactures and sells pulse oximeters; growth 17.41%. Along the same lines I have also purchased Subaru stock, but it hasn’t done as well as the others mentioned.

Pop culture
These are investment purchases that I have been influenced to make through media, most notably Tik Tok, but also books and literature. This is just so hilarious to me because on whim I bought 50 shares of Aston Martin at $0.85/share, all because the book I was reading, Red, White, and Royal Blue, mentioned an Aston Martin vehicle. This completely random purchase has amassed me $67.85 and my stock with the most growth at 85.88%. My second best performing stock was a direct result of a Tik Tok video where the user recommended investing in clean and renewable energy sources, specifically mentioning Plug Power (PLUG). My 3 shares have generated $84.57 and 80.54% gain.

There you have it, the basics of my investment strategies where I let my personal affairs, Tik Tok, and popular books determine my personal portfolio. My dad is going to kill me.

Until next time, Meryn


CURRENTLY // JANUARY 2021

Reading

Planning

For the year of 2021, scheduling time off for weddings, weekend getaways, short trip to Nebraska in October, purchasing our first home, financial successes

Watching

News coverage regarding the attack on The Capitol, Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, Booktube’s favorite books of 2020, beauty Youtube’s 2020 favorites, news regarding Reddit’s impact of GameStop stock

Cooking

Romaine salads with weird toppings like green beans, hash browns, chicken sausage with ranch and/or barbeque sauce, various chilis and soups, taco salads, pork carnitas stuffed sweet potatoes, potato crusted frittata, hot cocoa cinnamon rolls with marshmallow icing

Eating

Afternoon appetizer’s at Manhattan’s Pub ‘n Cheer to celebrate coworker’s last day

Drinking

MAAANGO! IPA and Azaccazilla Hazy IPA from Zipline Brewing Co., iced black coffee with occasional coconut milk from Biggby

Pinning

Home interiors and inspiration, mid century modern design, ideas for book bullet journaling, chocolate, peanut butter, and coffee desserts, monthly habit trackers, beautiful home libraries

Making

Hand lettering wedding envelopes, 2020 half marathon jams Spotify playlist, reviewing 2020 finances

Going

To the library 2-4 times/week to pick up new books, Kroger about once a week, Biggby like 2-3 times/week still sipping on that iced coffee, a few neighborhood walks (it’s still way too cold)

Loving

Listening to audiobooks during my daily work commute, Toledo Public Library, buddy reading sci fi with my brother, Bernie Sanders inauguration sensible mitten meme (linked here)

Feeling

Embarrassed to be an American with the attacks against our Nation’s Capitol, pissed off by a 2% wage cut, empowered to negotiate a better rate, I thought I’d feel proud when I argued a higher rate but I felt kinda slime-y inside, but I also hate management of the companies I work for so screw you

Listening // Podcasts + Books

Book Riot: Episode 422 Our Favorite Reads of 2020, Episode 426 2021 Spring Preview
Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, and Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Listening // Music

Driver’s License by Olivia Rodrigo, Good Days by SZA, Save Your Tears by The Weeknd, Paradise by MEDUZA, Lana Del Ray, The Kid LAROI

Celebrating

Second dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine, Cleveland Brown’s winning season 12-6 and play off appearance, preliminary steps for getting pre-approved for a mortgage, successful negotiation for a $3/hour raise (“During a panny? A panorama? During a Patricia? In this ECONOMY” source here)

Learning

Online CEU: Imaging in Physical Therapy Practice: Medical Screening & Integration with Clinical Decision‐Making, about the life and legacy of Hank Aaron, how to purchase a home as a first time home buyer

Supporting

My own mental health and well being, creating boundaries and upholding them, choosing not to overextend myself for a company that doesn’t outwardly express gratitude for my flexibility, dedication, skill, and reliability – we aren’t here for that in 2021 hunny

Buying

Board games and card games with Christmas money, domain name for this blog, candle from Handzy Shop + Studio and sent to California as a late Christmas gift, maid of honor dresses from Lulu’s for May wedding

Monthly Mood Board

Until tomorrow, Meryn