The belt line drive of Dallas

One of our favorite things to do when we finally were able to leave the house was to take a drive. Most days to no where in particular but on this day we chose to drive all of Beltline Drive in Dallas. You span a 30 mile radius, 19 different cities in 4 hours.

We saw back roads and main roads and a lot of the cities that surround Dallas. What I realized was the smaller the city the more signs and town pride there was. The bigger the city the more often the Beltline Rd name was changed to Main street for example.

If you live in Dallas, this is a fun drive, follow the map above because the name changes quite a bit. But have fun, go slow, roll the windows down, crank up the tunes, avoid the highways and see what the smaller cities have to offer.

Stay fancy,
Ana Maggie

Fall Fabulous Series

Covid called me home. This quarantine really made me appreciate our home. Staying home I realize how much fun I had filming videos so I’m starting back up my YouTube channel. Imma open up our home and start creating content to show you how I {mis}manage my home. Trying to add some fancy to an otherwise simple life. See you there but don’t laugh at me though. #seethegood Bienvenidos A Casa Torres

Fall Favorites
Bella Grace Magazine
Audio Books
Online classes or workshops
Kimberly Snyder Beauty Inside Out
Sophia Amouroso Business Class
Happy Notes
Dirty Chai Tea with soy milk
Stay Fancy
Ana Maggie

Paper & Glam Book Club: Harry’s Trees

Happy September! This month one of my many books I read was Harry’s Trees for Paper & Glam. Check out the video below from Paper and Glam.

Icebreaker |  Do you have a reading routine? If so, what does your reading life look life?

I usually like to read every afternoon on the porch swing if it’s not too hot out. Or I read in my bed before I go to bed. As of late I started waking up earlier and read on the front porch. I also listen to an audio book in the car on the way to work and back.

1. What was your experience reading Harry’s Trees and how many 🌱 (seedlings) would you rate it?

I would rate it 🌱🌱🌱(3 out of 5) I found it to be a little too “trees” heavy, in the end what even was Harry’s Trees? There are a lot of characters in this book and it’s a bit confusing at first to keep up.

2. Harry’s Trees is a the story of two widowers attempting to right their world after the devastating loss of their spouses. At a time when we’re all working towards “right our worlds,” this plot line felt especially timely. To quote the Lion, the Witch, & The Wardrobe and paraphrase Harry’s Trees, “it’s always winter and never spring.” How did Harry, Amanda, Oriana and/or Ronnie’s path to healing resonate with you as you worked to overcome loss?

This is a hard question for me, as I just experienced loss. I thought that it made death a magical thing. My father passed last month and while I’m still grieving, this made death into a whimsical thing. I loved way Oriana made said her father was an wing-ed angel. There was quite a few times where I thought about my father’s rights and wrongs in his life, as death usually makes you look at the life as a whole. It made me appreciate everything he said and did that much more.

3. According to Harry, “Everybody’s got a special tree, whether currently as an adult, or a tree from childhood.” What is it about us humans and our love for trees and nature, yet the constant drive towards the cities and suburbs keeps us in a constant state of anxiety and lacking peace? Do you have a special tree or spot in nature from childhood or in your life today that brings you peace?

I have mostly always read in my room when I was young, as an adult I keep it the same, reading in my room. But as of very late I have started reading outside on my porch. Or I read in my swing chair in the back patio. Reading outside really separates you from the “real world” and you are able to dive deep into your book. I don’t know that a city is not peaceful enough to read, but you do have to make more of an effort to remove the noise to get into a book.

4. Harry’s Trees is based on the belief that “the ordinary world is extraordinary, all the time, for everyone.” What is meant by the “ordinary” world, and does that world have special meaning for you? (Thank you, Lit lovers)

I love this and I totally agree. I think that God has a hand in everything and nothing is by coincidence. If you take the time to see how things are connected you’ll agree too. You have to really try to see the extraordinary, you have to work to see it all.

5. What creates the magical feel to this otherwise realistic novel? The book asks the question, where does reality end and magic take over? Where do you think the lines are drawn…in the book and /or in real life? What roles do chance or luck play in our lives. (Thank you, Lit Lovers)

Chance is about personal human decisions, when we make harsh rash decisions and don’t see the whole picture, I think that’s where we lose the magic and make decisions based on the reality that’s in front of us, not the “could happen” future.

Let’s keep a watchful eye on the magic of our lives.

Peace & Lipgloss
Ana Maggie

Covid-19 Positive

Waking up in the middle of the night with a fever is not usually a deathly fear inducing panic. But in the wake of a worldwide pandemic that is exactly what it was. I retreated to our guest bedroom so as not to make matters worse and quickly made an appointment to get tested in the morning.

When the results came back it’s like a slap in the face. Positive.

Getting this deadly virus that has already taken so many lives is a mind warp.

The fear, anxiety, guilt, and unrest all settle into your soul and don’t leave.

Where I previously stated peace is a verb, I had to hold my death grip on it.

I had to find a different kind of peace, not a peace of heart but a peace of mind.

This virus makes your mind find avenues where the only thing left will be devastation and death. Every possible outcome is a horrible one. At least, that’s what you lay awake thinking at all hours of the night.

Somewhere at 4 am when you’re still awake and you’ve thought of every negative scenario you have to make a decision.

That your positivity and peace will pull you through. Or that you will succumb to the fear.

I for one chose to be positive and keep my peace. I must say that is when things turned around for me, mentally.

There is still of course the physical symptoms; the body aches, fatigue and sore throat. Constant reminders that no matter how mentally strong you try to be you are still in the middle of a deadly virus.

Sometimes you have to cry it out, let it out. With worship I belted out all those pent up feelings: fear, anxiety, pain, grief, guilt, all of it.

I can honestly say I felt so much better. That was a turning point in my 2 weeks out. The first week I spent flat on my stomach or sitting on my settee in my guest room that I did not leave my whole isolation. The next week I was able to walk more and actually read my books. I took a turn, for the better.

I hope my story does not become a reality for any of you reading this but I will say wear your mask and wash your hands.

Peace, Love & Lipgloss

Ana Maggie

August Reads

In August I read some great books and I want to share those with you, I was debating doing a small weekly video on this but then I just decided to do a “book review” on here. There will be spoilers, btw. I read Midnight Sun, Maud and Close Enough to Touch. I couldn’t get to read Godmothers this month, will keep that on my list for next month. For Maud, since its a book club read, I’ll review it separately. Look out for that post.

First book I read was Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer. In preparation of this read, I reread Twilight and New Moon in the months prior. So I felt ready for Midnight Sun, you really only have to read Twilight to catch up. Midnight Sun gives you Edwards version of the events in Twilight.

I am a fan of The Twilight series! I am on team Edward for sure. I understood the reason why she chose Edward and it was her choice of who she wanted to be versus who she was. I read the 2008 released draft of this book and have been patiently waiting for it since.

I rate it 🩸🩸🩸 out of five.

What I loved was that it gave so much more detail to my favorite scenes in Twilight. Since Edward can “see” more we get to read more. That was both the best part and the worst part, as he goes into too much detail at times and I forget what we were even talking about to begin with. He veers off a lot that I found it unnerving and some thoughts I felt didn’t need to be added.

What remains annoying is that all the guys like Bella and all the girls were jealous of her. I still find that annoying that all of the women in her life are jealous of her even the “perfect” Rosalie. I felt it could have used a female empowerment element. Even her best friend of Alice, you don’t see them interact much at all, and what they do interact is just Alice helping her spend time with Edward.

I like that you get in depth into the Cullens. I always wanted to explore more into their lives, as well as the other vampires especially the Denali coven. I did like that it explores more about their lives and how they came to be. If some of the other characters were to have “spinoff” books I would read them.

The hardest part for me was the fact that Edward saw himself as perfect or better than. There were a lot of times were he felt condescending. He calls the other students, children a lot and especially Jacob. I found that to be a put off. He doesn’t know how great he looks but also knows that he’s made to be attractive to humans to be able to kill them. I found him to be sort of douche so now I’m not sure if I am still Team Edward. Can I be Team Emmett, cause he really went up in my mind after reading Midnight Sun.

The other book I read was Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley, which was very fitting as I had Covid-19 and seriously couldn’t touch anyone for 3 weeks.

I rate this book 🧤🧤🧤 gloves out of 5. It follows a woman who has a human touch allergy and a man who has children he is having a hard time connecting to. She’s a librarian and he wants to read books to connect with his daughter. His son thinks she has magical powers since she wears gloves all the time and she understands his love of comic books.

It is a bit predictable but it has heart and for that I liked it.

Stay tuned for my book thoughts on Maud.

Stay Fancy,
Ana Maggie

Paper & Glam Book Club: Maud

This month for Paper and Glam Book Club we read Maud by Melanie J Fishbane. I have to admit was I hesitant to read this book at first but I quickly got into it. Take a look below as to what I thought about this book. Take a look at the video below to see what P&G book chatters had to say.

Ice Breaker – Do you annotate your books or otherwise track your reading? If so, how? If not, any reason why?

I use Goodreads.com although I forget to update the pages I’ve read and rarely ever leave a review. I want to fill out a little card with my review and put it in the book so when I loan it out people would know what I felt about it. I have yet to do that but I want to. I certainly don’t see myself writing in the book itself. This past week I spent a whole afternoon dropping books off at friends houses to share, had I put the little note in there it would have made it all the more special.

1. What was your experience reading Maud and how many 📕 would you rate it?

I liked this book even though I didn’t think I would. After you get past the first few chapters though it really moves fast. I finished this book very quickly. I would rate it 📕📕📕📕

2. Maud is a fictionalized account of L.M. Montgomery’s teenage years as she navigates the choice between her duty and her dreams. Told in 3 distinct parts based on her physical location, what do you think about this episodic structure that is reminiscent of Montgomery’s novel titles and how do you think the structure ties in with the themes of purpose, duty, and identity?

I love this question because I think this is how the book feels. It certainly does feel like her life was in those 3 stages/settings and she was learning about herself and who she was. I’ve lived in the same place most of my life and maybe that has always grounded me in who I am. Her moving to different places made her become who she was.

3. L.M. Montgomery was a great lover and master of the written word. Are there any passages or scenes that stood out to you as particularly moving or emblematic of the reading and writing life?

“She had underlined moving passages, perhaps it would reveal too much.” I love this quote cause I felt it so hard, books are very personal. That’s why I rarely do book reviews and sharing what I’m reading seems like it’s too revealing. Recently I’m starting to open up more about the books that I enjoy.

4. “This novel takes place while Maud is discovering what it means to be a writer and a woman. During a period where women’s education (let alone being a writer) was considered inappropriate. Maud’s passion, ambition, and dream for education set her apart. She didn’t have the luxury that many women in the Western world have today, of being allowed to choose between ambition and career or love and marriage.”

What do you think it means to be a woman and a professional? What insights about that balance have you discovered?

I recently switched to a female dominated industry so I see a lot of powerful women being respected and appreciated. Before that I was in the school industry which was also female dominated. However, in that industry I felt like it was caddy and combative. So it’s nice to be in an industry where the women empower each other.

I’ve also been raised by 4 strong sisters and a very strong mother who owned her own business, so I have always seen women as professionals.

5. The inspiration for this Paper & Book Club selection was an episode of the 14th episode of the What Should I Read Next? Podcast that discussed L.M. Montgomery’s journals. In the author’s note, these journals are also discussed. Did you find L.M. Montgomery’s record of her life inspiring? Do you to keep a journal or record your days?

I used to keep a journal when I was young and after a while I stopped writing in one. I think I will take this activity back up. I for sure keep a daily planner but to actually recount and my day and write my feelings out. It feels good to do it.

6. Do you have any recommendations for the L.M. Montgomery fans who want to know more about her life and times?

Definitely her books, Anne of Green Gables, which I haven’t read myself so I’m taking my own recommendation.

Stay Fancy,
Ana Maggie

Peaceful Passing

August 4, 2020 is not a day I’ll ever forget.

7:00 am my father gives his last breath.

Nor will I forget the desperate cries that my brother has as he delivers the devastating news to me just after 8 am that morning.

The stoic calm my other brother exhibits as he tells me what I have to do, which is get to my sisters ASAP for the 7 hour drive to my parents town in Mexico.

Or the quiet sobs my mom has as she’s telling me the love of her life is dead as I call her next.

As peaceful an exit as anyone would hope for, in his chair with a full belly of his favorite midnight snack, atole.

After those phone calls that morning my world pivots on itself. It’s as if I am no longer tethered to the world. I am a balloon with two strings and one string has let go, with the other I can’t steady myself anymore. I am a balloon that is flapping in the wind held by only one string instead of two.

I am the youngest of his 10 children, their combined 12 children. I am the baby.

Grief is a miserable feeling. It’s exasperating at times, longing most of the time.

What I have learned in these few days since then is that when you are struck with news such as this, peace becomes a verb.

You have to seek it. Hold on to it. It’s not something that will come to you, you have to find your peace. There will be unanswered questions, unattained goals, unsaid things, but that doesn’t have to disturb the peace that you have found. It is in fact letting go of those things that brings the peace. Surrendering to the feelings.

I’m still grieving. I still have a long way to do but I do know what comes what may my peace stays with me.

Peace, Love & Lipgloss

Ana Maggie

Planner life

Recently I got into planner stickers and decorative planning. If you have no idea what it is, this is where you place decorative stickers to make your week into a theme as a way of planning. This has been around for years apparently, but I just recently, as recent as July got into it. I was perusing the planner aisle at Michael’s and I instantly was drawn to these planners where you add stickers that are both functional and decorative. Apparently, the planners are empty, and you add stickers for each activity, even taking your pills!

I have always been a planner but just not with stickers. Every year I choose a new yearly planner with very careful thought. I think of the layout I want, the covers and design. I also have a small purse planner and there is a careful thought process in that too. I even have a work planner; this one has all my work to do’s and appointments. I love jotting my to-do list down and that accomplished feeling of checking things off the list. This planner is a July – June planner that I usually buy in the middle of the year.

Since as far back as I can remember I love planning. I remember wanting so bad an agenda when I was 8 or so! I did not have anything to write in it at all! No plans whatsoever, I am sure I did not even have a to-do list to make. The only lists I recall making was listing my sibling’s. I would write my very oldest sibling and then list the rest of my siblings down to me. If I were feeling extra type A, I would write down their birthdays as well. There is not much for a young 8-year-old girl to write so this is what I would write in my $1 agenda that I somehow was able to manage to convince my mom to buy.

I am sure my mom bought me this planner because she was an avid planner as well. My love of planning comes from mom. She always had an agenda, and I am sure hers was filled with appointments and things to do to manage her family of 7 kids and her notary business and her business cards! Enter my love of stationary! I will have to get into that in another post! But I loved seeing my mom’s agenda and then my sister’s agendas as well. As chaotic as our home was, I have vivid memories of her sitting at her desk filling out her agenda.

This current year I decided to buy a Prayerful Planner and I was truly happy with it. I loved the functionality of it and the spiritual reminders in it. But then I did not want to give up my prayer journal and I felt it was redundant. If you do not have a prayer journal than the Prayerful planner is a great one! I used it every day right up until I saw the Happy Planner in July. I was looking for a new work planner since my work planner is updated every July for the new school year. I bought the Happy Planner in July. And quickly bought 4 sticker books after that and fell into the love of sticker planning. Check out my November weeks below.

Now I am currently looking for my planner for 2020. I am going to do 3 planners next year one for work and one for home and then one for my purse. already bought a Happy Planner for 2020 for work to finish off the sticker books that I have. I already bought my purse planner too, which is another Happy Planner but this one won’t have any stickers just appointments in different pen inks, again I do not want to go into detail about my love of stationary but pens are a big component for it too! Anyway, as I plan next year I like to look back at this year and the planners I kept and how I used them. I found the Prayerful Planner was not for me as previously stated. Then I started to think of my Happy Planners.

I realized that my type A heart needs more cohesion in my sticker planning. Sticker planning is what I want to continue doing be next year, but the randomness of Happy Planner stickers was starting to get to me. I need them to be more uniform than what it allows. The stickers did not always fit in the boxes, they were always a little off, as you can see from my video above. That was not sitting too well or giving me planner peace. Yes, there is such a thing as planner peace. So, I continued to ponder my planner peace and realized I knew what I had to do.

I have been an avid Paper & Glam follower, finding their book club years ago and then quickly realizing I am a seasonal person too! That also is another post, which I will be posting soon. I have been watching these planner videos and have kept seasonal living lists and it dawned on me why did not I stick with the Paper & Glam planner inserts? Then I remembered why, the weekend space is smaller and stacked and upon reviewing my planners I realized that the weekend is a planner space where I need more room. So, I never bought the Paper & Glam Planner inserts until last week when the Glam Planner Luxe Inserts dropped! My mouth dropped as well! I knew this was the planner for me! The weekend space issue was fixed, and I knew I needed this planner for next year as well as the Ultimate Glam Monthly Planner Kit.

Wish me luck! I know this will be a hard task for me to stick with one planner all year, I think the Ultimate Glam monthly planner kit will help me keep this goal. It fulfills my Happy planner and my Glam planner needs. This might not be the simple side of me having 3 planners and I know having a monthly sticker kit delivery is definitely fancy. But it gives me planner peace!

“Planner” Peace & Love

Ana Maggie

 

p.s. Should I do monthly planner videos?