Link Love + Obsessions.

This is a combo post between Link Love, which I often do on Fridays and Obsessions, which I sometimes post about randomly throughout the week--I realized I haven't done one of either of these lately, so here is a little Linksessions for you (see what I did there? I know, witty) on this rainy Friday afternoon.

1) Bethany Mota: How am I just finding out about this girl?  I mean...she's my new obsession and watching her YouTube videos is always as much fun as eating cookie dough.  So apparently Ms. Mota is an 18 year old Internet sensation who now has her own clothing line and over 5,000,000 followers on YouTube and Instagram.  I found out about her while watching Hulu and saw a commercial and I was like, "Oh, that girl is probably an idiot." And then I started watching her videos on YouTube and I am HOOKED.  Yes, I realize I am saying that I am hooked on watching DIY and tutorial videos made by an 18 year old, but just trust me--head on over to Bethany's YouTube channel and you'll be hooked too.  Girl is hilariously adorable and so upbeat and chipper.  Adore her.

2) As I Am Curling Hair Jelly:  I have often shopped in the "ethnic" aisle for hair products, so this is not a new thing for me, but I have just rediscovered my deep love and appreciation for this specific product.  Not only is it filled with all sorts of good things like coconut oil, but it is also free of bad things like parabens and sulfides.  Now that it's getting to be summer again, I will be embracing my hair in all its messy, thick, massively long (almost down to the middle of my back--what?! I know!) glory and this curly jelly is just the right thing for it--slop some in post-shower and you're good to go.  


3) Heavy weights and double cardio:  Before we left for the road trip, Ian and I both got pretty addicted to the YMCA--it was pretty much the only human interaction I had sometimes since I work from home, so I took advantage of the winter from Hell to mix up my fitness routine.  In addition to double cardio workouts (swimming and running or running and biking), I added heavy weight lifting.  I've always lifted, but now I'm lifting pretty heavy weights--like 100 lb squats, which is a lot for me (maybe not for you, but for me, it is)--and I am on the 2nd month of my 30 day squat challenge, where you start off with 30 squats and end the month with 350 squats.  A day. Weighted. Boom.  

4) Go Fit Jo:  In addition to my heavy weight training, I've also started following a super inspirational fitness Instagram account, GoFitJo.  Joann Encarnacion is a photographer and works for VSCO in California--I had followed her personal and business account for awhile and then she started a new account about her total body transformation.  She started working with a fitness coach and trainer and she has seriously changed her entire body--it's amazing and super inspriational.  Definitely check her out--she keeps it real, is a mom, and works 2 pretty much full-time jobs.  Just her time management alone is something to be reckoned with.   

5) Chicagoland:  I am late to the party, shocking, I know, but Chicagoland is rocking my socks right now.  Unfortunately, since we only have a Roku, I'm not able to watch it live, but I have been pretty successful in finding pirated copies of various episodes and what I miss, I can piece together.  I know the show is sort of contorversial, but as someone who lived in the city for 7 years, it's a pretty accurate representation of what's going on.  Liz Dozier is kicking ass along with Karen Lewis (who, despite being well spoken, I've just got to say really needs some pretty significant PR support for her appearence. Really), Rahm Emmanuel plays a powerful super villan and Gary McCarthy is the cat's PJs.  I will write a whole blog post about the mini series once I managed to claw my way (illegally) to the end of it.  If you're not watching, I recommend you do.  

6) Online Quilt Auctions:  I have always had a pretty intense soft spot for textiles, but this has been only exacerbated by my recent discovery of online and Instagram quilt auctions.  Basically an Instagram user will host an auction where she'll post a beautiful handmade Amish quilt with a ridiculously low price and then the first person to comment with an email wins it.  It's awesome.  I've won a beautiful quilt and two fabulous wool blankets so far. They've arrived and are just about the best thing ever. I think what makes an online auction so fun is that you never really know what's going to pop up in the auction--it's always a surprise and some of the quilts and blankets are about the best surprises ever! Next auction is in a couple weeks!


7) Northern Exposure: I love this show.  I've watched the entire series at least 3 times, but Ian and I recently started re-watching on the road trip.  We had a few DVDs with us, and since it didn't take internet to watch, this was a great way to get some television fix in after a day of driving.  They just don't make shows like this anymore.

8) Educational reform books:  I am reading a book by Michelle Rhee. Let it be known.  But I am also reading a book by Diane Ravitch, to balance it out. I'm also reading about home schooling and the homeschooling movement.   Basically, I am trying to get some knowledge in my blood about what exactly is going on in public education.  I feel like I know a lot of what's going on, obviously, but the more information the better and the more I can understand this obsessive culture of testing we seem to have throughout the nation's education system, the better job I can do helping my students combat the insanity that is standardized test obsession.  Rhee and Ravitch are at the forefront of the educational debate and they are both talking different tunes, but both with a lot of quality thought and insight.  If you're a parent, you should be reading about education and considering what standardized testing means to you and your children....because it's a pretty huge deal.

9) Lululemon We Made Too Much section:  Ok.  Apparently the Lululemon sale section is updated like...hourly.  I KNOW.  I didn't know this until I recently started checking it out to see if my favorite racerback tanks were on sale...and I would notice that one hour they wouldn't be...and then an hour later they would be...and then an hour later they would be gone again.  I started checking more frequently and really, about every two hours, there are all new products on the section...then they're gone again--you've got to be dedicated to this one!  But it's totally worth it.  So, the sale section is quite a busy area of the site and you can find some really fantastic sales and deals (because, let's be honest, who is buying full price Lulu? Not me!).  Check it out--it's addictive!

10) My AE-1 Canon film camera:  Can someone help me remember where I got this beauty?  I feel like maybe it was originally my dad's...but that doesn't seem right--I know he had one, but it's not this one.  Maybe from a thrift store?  No idea--anyway, I love it.  The AE-1 is one of Canon's most popular and wide selling film cameras--it's also very sturdy. It's been awhile since I've shot film, but I'm back at it and loving it--the shutter advance, loading film, shooting in all manual, the excitement of waiting for the film to come back--it's forcing me to be so much more intentional in what I shoot and I've been really pleased with how it's translating into my digital work.  Plus there is just something awesome and timeless about film that even a Lightroom film filter cannot come close to touching.