Author: ambersalhus@msn.com

If you’ve been reading here for any length of time then you probably already know about Let’s Play Oprah.

If you’re new here, (hey! hi!👋🏼) let me explain: It’s a game we play each month in which I share my top 3 “Favorite Things” at the moment, and then at the end of the month I give one of those things away to a lucky reader.

You’re always invited to share YOUR Favorite Things too, so I hope you leave a comment and tell us all what you’re digging right now. It can be anything- food, products, podcasts, t.v. shows, movies, drinks, music, clothes, you name it. There are no rules, except you must dish because that’s what friends do.

If you’re subscribed to this blog that means you’ve invited me into your email inbox which is a privilege I don’t take lightly, and also why I’ve decided that ALL subscribers are automatically entered to win the monthly giveaway. Forever. The only time your name comes out of the drawing is if you unsubscribe or if you just won (in which case your name goes back in 6 months later).

Sometimes I’ll spice it up by adding extra ways to enter, like commenting on a FB live video or over on IG/Twitter, but by far the easiest way is to subscribe by email, so if you’re picking up what I’m putting down, just scroll to the bottom of this post or to the right margin of the page and enter your email address!

Okay, now that we have all the business out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff!

This month my 3 Favorite Things are: Read More…

Some days having a dream to pursue feels dreamy. But some days it’s like an elephant is standing on your chest; you feel a lot of pressure and you’re acutely aware that you’re dealing with something much bigger than yourself.

Can I be honest? Today was one of those days. I woke up and before I even opened my eyes I remembered that I’m carrying around a dream. A dream that suddenly feels as is if it weighs a thousand pounds.

I’ve tried putting it down, I’ve tried ignoring it, and I’ve tried shouldering it alone only to realize two steps further that I’m exhausted and not cut out for this nonsense because I’d definitely rather be watching Netflix.

As you might imagine, none of these tactics actually worked, so here I am with my book dream. We’re no longer strangers, startled to find each other there every time we turn around, but we still havent quite figured out how to co-exist, either.

We’re sort of just chillin’ here together, except nothing is chill and The Book Dream and I are either madly in love or completely at odds, depending on the day.

It’s all very dramatic, you see. Read More…

I can’t believe I’m showing you this picture…

But I’ve always said I don’t mind being the butt of a joke, as long as it’s a good joke.

And, well, this obviously was. I’ll give him that.

A few weeks ago I actually got Nate to come along and help me with some back to school shopping for the kids.

I set him loose in the mall for ONE hour and he came back to me wearing this👇🏼:

I’ll just give you a moment to really take in this horrible photo of me… sleeping, slack-jawed and frowning.

It’s just so great, isn’t it?

Isn’t that just so nice?

The thing is, he’s been collecting photos of me like this FOR YEARS. He has a whole arsenal of them actually, because every time we’re in the car for more than 20 minutes my face just automatically does that. It’s been a long running joke in our home because he’s been snapping photos of me ugly-sleeping and promising that “one day” he’s actually going to use them for something.

So when he came walking up to me in the mall wearing THAT ☝🏼SHIRT, it only took my brain about 20 seconds to register what he’d done.

Read More…

🍂 We’re officially on our 4th week of school over here in Oregon, and I’m just going to be honest and tell you that it’s taken me this whole entire month to find a Fall groove that works. I make no secrets about the fact that this is my favorite time of year and that is largely because our whole schedule gets a reboot. I love a fresh start and there’s just something about September feels like a clean slate.

The kids head back to school while I head back into my home office and regular gym time, meal planning, and coffee dates all become a thing again. But as much as I love the shift that Fall brings, pivoting too quickly out of our relaxed Summer mode can get a little dicey.

Unless I give myself and our family a little wiggle room during those first few weeks, all our high hopes and good intentions for a smooth transition will crash and burn.

It’s okay to indulge a short season of trial and error.

In the last month we’ve already changed the “plan” for our Fall schedule like 17 times.

It’s fine.

Each family has their own rhythms and what works for us might never work for you. I think the most important thing is to listen to the pulse of your own people and figure out what works best for YOUR home.

That being said, I thought it would be fun too share a few of our favorite Fall rhythms this year. It’s not a regimented and rigid thing- we don’t do all of these things every single day/week. It’s just a rhythm that’s working for us as a family right now. Feel free to take it, leave it, scoff at it, or borrow it. Read More…

 

~ Guest Post By Emily Allen ~

I stood in the back of a women’s conference session with six-month old baby (my first) on my hip. A content, but increasingly active baby, I swayed with her and nibbled the side of her neck every few minutes so she’d light up and giggle at me, batting me with her chubby hands. A few feet away, an older woman whom I greatly respect, who has always been warm and encouraging whispered to me, “Enjoy her now while she is little and sweet. Before you know it, she’ll be driving you up the wall, and you might not even like her.”

I nearly gasped. How dare she say such a thing?

I smiled awkwardly and offered a courtesy laugh, but I could not fathom such a day would come when I would be anything but smitten with this darling little curly-haired creature and absolutely everything she did. I was in the honeymoon phase of mothering; a new mom just beyond the challenging newborn days (my baby slept mostly through the night by this point), but still quite unaware of how demanding parenting becomes as a child grows.

Five more babies came after her, and as each of them reached new milestones, so arrived new perspective. Read More…

It’s baaaaaaaaack!

Let’s Play Oprah is finally here again which means it’s time to talk Favorite Things and then I’m going to give one away.

Maybe even to you!

I’m not going to lie- I’ve been eagerly awaiting the return of Let’s Play Oprah even more than I’ve been awaiting the return of good fall T.V. And you know how I feel about my fall T.V.

We took the summer off from it but I’m so excited to be back dishing about all my Favorite Things. I had such a hard time narrowing it down to the usual three because I feel like there was so much good stuff we didn’t cover over the summer- like Cobian flip flops (sooo comfy) or my new favorite color of bullet journal (nordic blue), or how I made it 35 years until discovering how funny David Sedaris’ books are- but there’s simply not enough time to go over ALL the things so let’s just get right down to this month’s list.

  1. My absolute favorite wardrobe go-to this summer has been this long floral maxi dress.

It’s loose, comfortable, and IT EVEN HAS POCKETS, Y’ALL! 

I just love dresses with pockets. I’m not even sure why? It’s not like I really put much in them. I guess I’m just a sucker for a look that says, “Yah I’m fancy. What.” while also saying,“Look how effortless I am!” at the same time.I feel like a dress with pockets really nails that particular message, you know?

Anyway, I own this dress in 4 different colors/patterns and the red one is my favorite but I wear all of them all the time. But do you want to know the best part? I got it for just 20 bucks! Twenty bucks! For a whole outfit! The length makes it perfect for Fall too, just throw on a cute cardigan and you’re good to go.

2. My second favorite item this Fall is this cute leather backpack from Gap.

I’ve been wanting to transition from a purse to a backpack for a while now but it’s so hard to find one that’s the right size and stylish. Too big and you look like you’re 12 years old, too small and you’ve crossed over into the 90’s-Clueless-mini-backpack-era. I know that the 90’s have come full circle and are supposedly the “cool” kind of retro again, but personally I’m not just there yet.

This backpack is the perfect size for a purse replacement, it’s sleek and simple, and YOU GUYS, it’s so comfortable to wear! I might never go back to a regular purse. No more shoulder pain on long shopping trips! No more stuff flying out and hitting you in the face when you bend over to tie a shoe or unload the car! I am liberated! Don’t even get me started on how perfect it is for travel.

3. My final Favorite Thing, and the item I’ll be giving way this month is this limited edition lipstick at Clinique called Capri Pop from the Jonathan Adler collection.

It’s technically a Lip Primer and Lip Color in one, so it lasts for hours and this shade is just so, so fun. I tend to only wear lipstick if it’s a playful, bold color and this fits the bill on both. I’ve worn it all summer long and I’ll continue to wear it into the Fall. It’s a perfect shade blend between a true red and a berry, making it surprisingly versatile to wear. I wear it with both pinks and reds and it somehow manages to match them all. It won’t be around for long as it’s a limited edition so I snatched up a few and I’m giving one away to a lucky reader.

If you’re wondering how to be entered to win, there’s two ways to make sure you’re in the running:

  1. Comment on this post either here on the blog, or whatever social media channel you found it on (Twitter, FB, IG). You can tell me one of your Favorite Things right now (I’d love to hear!) , you say “enter me”, or you can even just say Hi. Every comment counts towards the drawing. *OR*
  2. Click the blue lighted bar at the bottom of this page and enter your email address. Subscribing with your email gets your name in the drawing FIVE times instead of once, so I mean, if you’re the betting type then you’ve got to love those odds.

Thanks for reading, and keep an eye out for my next Facebook Live, where I’ll go over all the items in person and draw a name from my big red bowl!

Yahoo! Blogging is fun!

You guys, September is here!

(I like to start out my letters to you by stating something boring and obvious. It just really gets those creative juices flowing, you know?)

But do you know what this means?

It means Fall is here!

Isn’t Fall just the best?

It’s my absolute favorite time of year.

Not because of pumpkin spice (ewe) or the cooler temps (yes please) or even all the football (I’m a little peeved after losing in my fantasy league last year. I was literally The Biggest Loser. I now drive with a license plate of shame).

No, I love fall because it is the biggest re-set of the year.

I loooooove me a fresh start.

All the things get an overhaul. The schedule, the routine, the bedtimes, the… okay I just realized that was three different ways to say basically the same thing. So I guess my favorite part of of Fall is just the fact that I get my structured schedule back. Sue me.

Over here in southern Oregon the kids don’t go back to school until Sept. 5th, which is apparently like, an entire month later than the rest of the world? I don’t get it. Not only are we always behind because of time zones, we’re also behind in just about everything else. Which is why fidget spinners only became a thing for us like, five minutes ago. There’s probably already a new Taylor Swift song out that we don’t even know about yet…

Anyway, I’ll just be honest and admit that normally by the last week of August I am so ready for my kids to go back to school. Like, packing-up-their-backpacks-on-a-Saturday-even-though-school-doesn’t-start-until-Tuesday-ready.

I start off the summer feeling like Leslie Knope on a Monday morning- full of hope and good intentions…

but then I end the summer a lot more like Sunglasses Amy, trying to care that she’s supposed to be hosting the Oscars right now. Read More…

My friend Melissa writes the best love stories. Her tales are enchanting not just because they’re real and true, but because her wonder of Love seeps through every word. For her birthday recently, she asked all the humans of the Internet to send her their love stories. Seriously- she really did that.

My sentimental, nostalgic heart jumped at the chance to write a love story of my own so I took her up on her offer. Husband and I went out that night, and over drinks we sat in a booth for hours recalling and retelling our own version of what happened between us 15 years ago. It was quite possibly the best date we’ve had in years.

I rushed home, typed it out, and sent it off to Melissa. She wrote me back at 5:30 am to say that she was crying on an airplane somewhere, because this story was beautiful and she thought that I should share it. I decided to leave it here for you guys because I think she’s right.

I think all love stories are important and worth sharing.

Here is what I wrote her:

“Dear Melissa,

I suppose if I’m going to tell you my love story, I should start by telling you that I too, have always been a lover of Love. I was a hopeless romantic with big ideas about what my story would look like, but one thing was for sure: I always took Love very seriously. In high school when my friends were trying on different loves like they were outfits, I was always too cautious to let myself go all in. Read More…

“I’m sorry I’m ruining our sunset cruise” I said as I leaned my greenish face against the ropes of the banister.

“It’s okay, honey” he said, patting my back until he remembered that the last thing I want is to be touched when I’m feeling like I’m about to die of nausea.

It was our 15th anniversary so we decided to splurge on a romantic sunset dinner cruise.
I’d managed to sit up and applaud for the couple who’d just gotten engaged on the bow of the boat (or maybe it was the stern?) but then I crawled right back into the coffin sized bathroom below deck to wretch and sway while everyone else slow danced on the deck as the sun went down.

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He waited outside the door, gently asking if I needed anything at 5 minute intervals.
It was maybe the most romantic thing he’d ever done.

One of the newlywed couples with us on the boat mentioned that we struck them as “a couple who seemed to get along really well”.

img_6256We looked at each other and smiled because it’s true, we do, but it feels hard-earned in a way worthy of acknowledging.

Last year I wrote about how sometimes love is like a battlefield, but that’s okay as long as you’re fighting your way TOWARDS each other.

This year our love feels more like a garden, with beauty springing up out of tender places.
And so it goes.

This is real life.

Some years you get sick and ruin your romantic celebration.

Some years you struggle and you wound, but you refuse to quit fighting for the best version of “us”.

Some years you laugh more and kiss more and you make new inside jokes.

Some years you celebrate your anniversary with little fanfare- at home, over takeout on the back porch. But some years feel special so you run away together to celebrate all the good, the hard, the new, and the old.

Because marriage is all of it together. Forever. Amen.

Hey, hi!

How are you, even?

I’ve been thinking about you guys a lot lately- all you moms (and dads!), creatives, and dreamers. I’ve been wondering how it’s going for you. Summer, I mean.

It’s a tricky time, amiright? We want to slow down with our kids, we want to speed up with our work, we want to remember to be present along the way. It can get a little dicey when all the kids-at-home and the work-at-home priorities “cross mojonize” for an entire season. (Bonus points if you can name that☝🏼 movie reference).

Dude, I get it.

I get it “big time.” (Double bonus points if you can name that movie reference. HINT:  Terrible Jamaican accent.)

Anyway, last time I wrote you, we talked a lot about this middle place between motherhood and creative work. I confessed that I worry a lot about whether I’m getting it right. We also talked about rest as an act of resistance.

Ever since I came across those words of Sarah Bessey’s:

– Rest… “as an act of resistance” –

I haven’t been able to shake them. So I’ve embraced them.

I’ve been resting.

I’ve been having a relatively unplugged, undocumented summer… and can I tell you something? It’s been revolutionary. I’ve been off my computer and away from my phone more than I have in a long time. I’ve been living moments with my people and capturing them in memory only. And you know what? The world keeps spinning. In a way, it even feels a little brighter and more spacious.

And besides, does the internet really need to know that I went paddle boarding or rode a horse for the first time? Do they really need to hear about that or see pictures? (Answer: No, because it’s decidedly not pretty.)

Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those conversations about how terrible social media is and how we should all post less in revolt… Because first of all- YAWN. And second of all, I honestly love social media and I think it’s a fun, useful tool.

No, this is one of those conversations where we make room for the possibility that it’s allowed, it’s okay, and it’s even good, to let ourselves off the hook every now and then. To rest and be a real person for a while. It’s okay to get off the carousel ride and go get some cotton candy and lie in the grass looking at the cloud formations with our kids. The ride will still be there. It’ll still be going round and round and you can hop right back on when you’ve gotten your bearings again.

Rest needs a full stop and it’s okay to take it.

I don’t know… Maybe this is bad advice?

I can’t be sure. I mean, deadlines and contracts and appointments are all real things that can’t be ignored just because we want off the ride at the moment. I guess we have to account for that.

All I know is that rest has been absolutely life giving for me at this juncture. For me, this juncture looks like the pause between two notes. It’s a quick refuel halfway through the marathon of my creative project. (Okay fine, if a marathon is 26.22 miles then I’m probably only like 2.8 miles in, which I’m pretty sure is technically less than half. Whatever.  I don’t know. I’m bad at math.) The point is, I just googled how many miles a marathon is, so obviously things are getting serious between us because I fact checked, and I told you the real truth of how far along I am.

No wait- the point is, I’ve been resting hard over here and loving it, but also thinking about you often. I wonder what your summer has been like. Has it been full of rest? Has it been full of work? Has it been full of both? If so, I’d love to hear how you’re balancing it. What’s working for you? What’s not?

If it has been full of rest, then please share! What are you reading? Watching? Listening to? Learning? Feeling? Leave a comment, tell me your things!

Tag, you’re it. 😎

*this post was sent from my computer and my heart*

P.S. Because I hate to leave you hanging, the movie references were:

Austin Powers

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&

I Love You Man

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But you knew that already, right?