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This week’s #plotdrivenlife experience is one I’ve been ruminating about since last summer. In order to carry it out, I had to do some serious self-reflection and even a bit of soul-searching. Before I share about my experience, here’s my review of the book that inspired it–Emery Lord’s When We Collided:

Learn all about it through this week’s mini-podcast by clicking on the magical play button below.


The idea for this week’s #plotdrivenlife experience practically jumped off the page! As Vivi’s behavior begins to become more erratic, she decides a “Vividay” is in order. “Like a holiday, only better,” a “Vividay” includes any combination of activities that bring joy to Vivi. On her day, Viv decides to drive the three hours from Verona Cove to San Jose in order to test drive a Vespa. She’s bought in to the idea that she’ll look like an old-timey movie star whizzing through the streets on her motorized bike, intent on “driving the one that goes the fastest, so fast that I outrun every dirty memory like litter scattered behind me” (127).

While I had no desire to drive a Vespa, I relished the idea of a “Kellyday.” But very quickly, I realized, sadly, that I couldn’t easily come up with many ideas of what I would actually do on a Kellyday. I was out of touch with what truly brought me joy, and it made me feel hugely uncomfortable. How could I not know myself??

It was near this time that I discovered Gretchen Rubin’s concept of The Four Tendencies, a (free) personality test that categorizes you as an Upholder, an Obliger, a Questioner or a Rebel. Rubin has written a book about the tendencies, too, which is a great tool not only to better understand yourself but also to help you build harmonious relationships with your loved ones who don’t see the world in the same way you do. My test results revealed that I am very clearly an Obliger, the type of person who is GREAT at fulfilling everyone else’s requests but really terrible at prioritizing her own goals. Learning about my tendency was, for me, a turning point in my life. It helped me understand that I wasn’t lazy or unmotivated when it came to setting goals for myself, I just needed to change my approach by establishing outer accountability, like hiring a coach, or relying on a partner or team (both of which I did). By recognizing my Obliger tendencies, I was also able to cut myself some slack with regards to not knowing which activities brought me joy. I prided myself on being productive, but I was mostly crossing off items on my to-do list that impacted other people. Like a classic Obliger, I’d failed to make myself and my interests a priority. I spent several months reflecting on what brought me joy, and, just recently, I celebrated my first Kellyday!

Start your day with gratitude.

The day started with a routine that I have come to cherish. For the last year, I’ve made it a habit to get up at least a half hour before it’s necessary for me to start getting ready for work. On school days, this means rising at 4:30 am. Before you dismiss the idea, I want you to know that this morning time, when my dogs and husband are snoring away, has become my favorite part of my day. Instead of rising to begin the dreaded process of daily grooming for the sake of going to work, I start the day on my own terms. I listen to affirmations I’ve recorded for myself, I write in my gratitude journal, and I read from a book that serves to help me grow personally. Most recently, I finished Marie Kondo’s, The Magical Art of Tidying Up. I drink my coffee, eat my toast with peanut butter, and sit by a “HappyLight.” And when my second alarm goes off, I’m ready (and willing) to tackle the list of things I need to do for everyone else. There are PLENTY of resources online to help you build a morning routine that works for you, and I can’t say enough about the benefits you’re likely to feel. Developing my routine involved some trial and error, so stick with it if you aren’t feeling the happy vibe at first.

Once I was showered and dressed, Kellyday continued with some serious breakfast eating since this is my favorite meal of the day. If you don’t have a Shack location near you, I just feel sorry for you. Not only does the Shack have a punny menu (I got the Do It Yourself Meg Ryan), but also they let the guests write all over the joint with markers– as in the walls and floors are covered with guests’ art and proclamations of love. So fun!

My cranky breakfast date.

Next up, I picked up my friend Rosie, and we drove to Main Street in St. Charles, MO. This was a stopping point for famed explorers Lewis and Clark and later the original capital of Missouri. The streets are still bricked, and many of the buildings have stood largely untouched for centuries, making you feel like you’ve been transported back in time when you visit. I have two favorite stores on Main Street that I’ll take any excuse to visit: Joy’s Collective, an antiquer’s goldmine, and Main Street Books, my favorite local indie bookstore. Rosie and I stopped in to both, taking the opportunity for a photo op in Joy’s cozy book nook.

Rosie in Joy’s book nook.

I love to support these local shops, and one of the ways you can do so is by subscribing to, an audiobook subscription service that directly benefits independent bookstores. If you’d like to consider supporting Main Street Books, you can sign up here.

After dropping off Rosie, I excitedly arrived at Serenity Now Float Spa for my first-ever float spa experience. Mike had gifted me a float for my birthday, knowing I love to be pampered. The experience was unlike anything I’ve ever tried! Each guest has his/her own private “cabin,” which includes a large, fully enclosed tank with a little more than a foot of specially formulated salt water. Once you close the door to the tank, you can turn off the light to enjoy total darkness, and/or turn on meditative music. Even this big-bellied, eight-and-a-half-month pregnant mama felt weightless in the water, floating around in ecstasy and napping on and off for 60 minutes. It was divine.

I rounded out my Kellyday with a walk with Mike and the dogs (a daily goal) and dinner with friends (hooray for no cooking!), and I fell asleep watching the St. Louis Cardinals play their second game of the season (because baseball = spring). It was a fantastic day, and, now that it doesn’t intimidate me, I seriously can’t wait to plan the next one!

What would your own version of a Vividay look like?

Happy reading,



  1. Shannon Steimel

    Can’t tell you how much this blog post resonated with me. I didn’t take the online test yet, but I am fairly certain I, too, am an obliger. Glad you enjoyed your Kellyday!

  2. Tristen

    Love it! So happy for you to make time to be yourself!


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