a really good story...

Today seems like an appropriate day to finally write down the best story I know. Not only because it was on this most-auspicious holiday that Strider and I met exactly 3 years ago, but also because I’ve felt like Eyeore all day with a rainy cloud following me around…so why not write about the person who makes me the happiest, ya know?

It was 2009 and I had handmade the coolest pirate costume ever (seriously, it was). Little did I know that a quiet freshman across campus was putting on a vest and a fedora to spend the night as John Dillinger. Most of the night I hung out at a house party just chilling with other senior friends (no freshies invited, obviously) and being cool. Much later, I decided to head home and was considering going to bed when a friend called. Apparently there was major drama at his place and he wanted to come over to get away from everything; I said no problem but told him that it was just me and that I wasn’t doing anything fun. He said that was fine and he was on his way. Just before hanging up, he added, “Oh, and I’m bringing someone. Bye!” Shortly thereafter, they arrived…and there he was: a freshman, in a fedora. And that, as they say, was it. We stayed up early into the morning talking about Harry Potter and I knew I was in trouble.

The next week, I played the “cool older girl card” and took him to a little-known bookstore and coffee shop in the next town over. A week later, I convinced him to get up at 3am to drive to a pier to watch a meteor shower in the absolutely frigid November air (lots of blankets to snuggle up with, naturally). The week after, we went to feed fish and, though he wouldn’t admit it till later, he realized he was in trouble too.

We became friends easily and effortlessly. He was sweet and goofy and I was silly and spontaneous. We started spending as much time together as possible (our friends definitely didn’t catch on at all, ha!). And by December we were a couple, both trying not to think about the fact that I was graduating in 5 months and that he would leave for summer to go home to PA. …We’ve been best friends ever since.
He is kind, handsome, funny, and has a knack for his plans never quite working out right. And most importantly, he loves God with his whole heart and has the most amazing family. Even though 3 years isn’t a long time in the grand scheme of things, we’ve been through a lot during that time. I’ve grown to love him more than I thought I could ever love another person, and what’s more, is that he has loved me more than I ever though I could deserve (isn’t it cool how God works!).

We’ve had our bumps in the road but we both know that what we have is authentic and special. Plus, I’d be an idiot to let him go—seriously—once after I fell on a creek bed, got pretty hurt, and lost one of my favorite earrings, he went back and scrounged around in the dirt to find it a week later! The point is, I feel so incredibly blessed to love and be loved by this man. And I thank God every day that He knew (far more than I could have predicted) exactly the kind of person just right for me, someone who can make me laugh till I cry and hold me when I’m just crying.

I know this is a long post, but really good stories take time. He graduates this year (yay!) and even though we aren’t sure what’s going to happen next with grad school and such, I know that whatever our journey looks like from here, it can only be more amazing than it has been since that Halloween night 3 years ago.

About the nickname…I call him Strider because he is obsessed with Lord of the Rings (we’re not nerds at all *cough cough*) and, if you don’t know, Strider is the nickname of Aragorn, the son of the king and rightful heir to the throne of Gondor. He is a courageous leader, a fierce friend, and loyal to the woman he loves. And even when he doesn’t believe in himself, his people do, knowing that in time, he will become the great man and king he is destined to be. That’s how I feel about my Strider: he doesn’t always believe in himself as a leader or as a great man, but I do and I know he belongs to the one true King.

So to my Strider, these past 3 years have been wonderful and I can’t wait to celebrate our actual anniversary in a few weeks! And to everyone else, have a happy and safe Halloween!


tuesday tunes: home

Debuted in 2010, I hope you have all already heard this amazing song by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. If you haven't, prepare for your new life anthem. No exaggerating. Even though the weather is cold and dreadful outside, this song makes you feel like it's a sun-shiney day and you're running through a field holding hands with the people you love the most. It makes me happy every time I hear it. Every.single.time. Even on repeat. What's your love-it-even-on-repeat song for this rainy Tuesday?


stitchy little heart

yesterday i sewed my first real applique ever! well, not entirely ever...there was one incident back in the early 2000s when that recycle-the-butt-of-your-old-jeans-into-a-purse trend was really popular. i made one of those (seriously reducing the butt size while doing so...even i knew better than to give away my booty size with a voluminous purse). during it's production, i vaguely remember feeling inspired to add a semi-appliqued denim star on one of the pockets (in a contrasting denim color, ob-vy). it was awesome truly hideous and even though the purse was sturdy, like everything in high school, i came in at the very end of the trend, carrying my newly crafted bag to school for one day before it was pronounced lame by my life's equivalent of Regina George (we all know one).

anyways...last night i sewed an actual applique and i'm really excited. i even used fusible, double-stick web and everything! woot! this very close-up pic is part of a very soft red flannel pillowcase currently on its way to my sweet sweet sister. i decided to finish it off with a chunky imperfect whip stitch border and overall, i'm very pleased. 

now i have a whole package of fusible web and nothing immediately requiring it. so naturally i'm all...

yay for stitchy fun times!


cinema spotlight: the best exotic marigold hotel

I watched a truly sublime film today and knew immediately that I had to share: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is an absolute must-see! It is exactly what you'd expect from an all-star cast including the always exceptional Judy Dench and Maggie Smith, as well as Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, and Celia Imrie. Rotten Tomatoes gave it an understated 77% on the Tomatometer, though audiences scored it at 81%. The RT synopsis reads:
"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel follows a group of British retirees who decide to "outsource" their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past."
Covering a range of emotional issues, it has humor and conflict, stunning cinematography, and characters portrayed with the authenticity and sincerity you can only get from a cast of BEMH's caliber. The film also gives viewers the opportunity to see the ever-graceful Maggie Smith as one of the most brusquely outspoken racists imaginable (very funny if you think of how much it contradicts her as a person). With only references to sexuality and a few bits of language, it's the most enjoyable film I've seen in a while...perfect for a lazy Saturday morning. Go rent it now!


not-quite-tuesday tunes: watch it die

An awesome track from one of my all-time favorites bands...Eisley! Though the lyrics couldn't be less accurate to my current life, it's still amazing and super catchy! I also have to confess that even though I've been seriously jammin to The Valley lately, I still think I prefer their earlier album Room Noises. (what can I say, it's where our musical love affair began) Hope you love them as much as I do!


swimming in ink – sense & sensibility

Finished rereading one of my all-time favorites yesterday…Sense & Sensibility. It almost goes without saying that no matter how many times you read her work, Jane Austen is perpetually brilliant, witty, and insightful. And every time I finish one again, I come away with something new. (such is the mark of great literature) Her words linger and her characters become as familiar as old friends. Every time you open the cover, turn a page, and read, "The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex," you know you're in for something really good. I miss that feeling with a lot of newer books. I don't know whether it's the semi-complicated language or the etiquette or the gold-leafed pages, but Austen's books always feel like they are somehow "more" than the stacks of glossy paperbacks today.

I have to confess that I love the romantic side of Austen, too. What Janeite doesn't, really? Even if Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman are a far cry from their literary counterparts. But I won't run away with my "romantic sensibilities" so-to-speak. A huge aspect of Jane's wonderful-ness is how relatable she is to time periods well beyond her own, particularly in romance. Men may not bow and don riding jackets, but here in 2012, there are plenty of Willoughby's out there choosing the cheerleader over the geek because it will hurt his reputation. An Edward today is just as likely rush in to a relationship, only to immediately regret it when she spreads the news far and wide on Facebook (Edward Ferrars, for clarification, and not the other horrid kind of-whom-we-do-not-speak). And no matter how many decades we get from Jane's day, the Marianne's never seems to fade. I'm friends with one in particular, who right now is frankly painful to be around. In this instance, I need to take a page out of Elinor's book and hold my tongue…even during this person's incessant hysterics. (Though between us, I think some Marianne's just need a good slap in the face.

Jane is timeless and brilliant and if you haven't ever convinced yourself to go out and actually read her work instead of just watching the movie…do it now. You won't regret it!


the most perfect weekend ever

It was this past weekend, in case you didn't hear.

Friday night, Strider took me out on a surprise date night (rare and wonderful!) to dinner at Mellow Mushroom, where I got absolutely stuffed on a glorious pesto-mushroom pizza and thoroughly enjoyed eating on the sidewalk so we could watch all the interesting people walk by. Then, we saw Perks of Being a Wallflower at the a/perture theater—I give it 3 and a half coffee beans or stars or tomatoes or whatever your scale of choice might be. It was much more serious/intense than I remembered it being (I read the book like 6 years ago), but the acting was truly phenomenal. A lovely evening indeed.

Saturday, something truly miraculous happened…Strider was free ALL DAY. I kid you not, this was the first completely free day he's had since school started back…in August! (crazypants, no?) So we finally did something we've been talking about for a year…we went to Hanging Rock! The weather was cool and crispy-autumnal, the leaves were like a gorgeous, and it was sunny all day…nature was seriously struttin her stuff! Though slightly crowded, the trail was gorgeous and the view from the top was perfect. I packed us a picnic for the top and we spent some time just breathing in the air and relaxing before the hike back down. He napped in the car on the way back and looked oh-so-precious incredibly manly. Once home, we hit up George's with some friends for their super-ballin' hot wings. Another perfect day.
Then Sunday, that's right, you didn't even think more awesome could fit…it did! We got to head down to Charlotte to meet up with one of my craziest, most amazing friends Devon! She blessed us with an incredible gift of tickets to the Carolina Panthers – Dallas Cowboys game! The first pro football game for me and for Strider!!! After a cramped ride on the light rail, we had a fabulous lunch outside with Dev and then walked to the stadium. After a too-soon goodbye, we headed in, found out seats, and spent a fun few hours cheering on the team. Even though the Panthers lost, the light rail was so crowded we had to wait for three trains to come then stand next to some absurdly drunk guys talking about t-shirts, and that hit over an hour of traffic on the way home…it was still a perfect day. We amused ourselves in the traffic by making ridiculous sounds for no reason and listening to great music. Which reminded me of why I love him so much.
I've been smiling all day just thinking about how great it was to spend time together doing exciting, random things! This was certainly not our normal weekend (chilling around his dorm doing nothing), but its rarity is what made it all the more precious. I'm so happy that we can equally enjoy doing nothing and having crazy adventures together. Looking back, the song that's been stuck in my head all weekend is "It is Well with My Soul"…a perfect illustration of my heart…peace, joy, and surprise at all the unexpected, wonderful blessings that can be packed in to just a few days.

Have you ever had a perfect weekend like this? Please do share!


one casserole to rule them all...

Little did you know that today is the day you’ve been waiting for…a day to rival all other days. Today is the day my family’s famous Price Family Cheesy Chicken recipe hits the Internet! If you aren’t super excited about that announcement, then you clearly haven’t tasted it yet. Just you wait.... This is also a super fun recipe because it’s easy, inexpensive, feeds a lot, and messy to make (but not too messy, don’t worry!).

2 cans big & buttery croissants
1 family-sized can and 1 regular-sized can of cream of chicken soup
3–4 boneless chicken breasts
2 large cartons low-sodium chicken broth
1 large bag shredded cheddar cheese

First, cook the chicken. My mom and I prefer to do this in a crock-pot so the pieces stay really tender (boiling also works well). Dump both cartons of broth into your crock-pot or stovetop pot and add the chicken pieces. Cook a few hours in the crock-pot on high or until they reach safe serving temperature (165 F). Drain and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, either chop the chicken or shred it into manageable pieces.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Now, in a medium bowl, combine the chicken, the large can of cream of chicken soup, and 1& 1/2 cups of cheese. This will be a sloppy mess and look kind of gross, but just trust me here. Set the bowl aside and open the croissants. (If you’re like me, at the “expose line to air to open” stage, I get as freaked out as Buddy the Elf cranking a jack-in-the-box…uggg!) Unroll the croissants and stack them on your cutting board or a plate. Spray your casserole dish with nonstick spray and set the dish nearby.

Now the messy part (and yes, there really is no better way to do this), take one croissant triangle in hand and with your other hand, scoop a small handful of chicken-soup mixture into the center of the triangle…enough to fill it, but not running out everywhere. Fold the croissant over into a little pouch and place it in the casserole dish. Continue doing this until you’ve lined the whole dish with little awesome chicken-y bread pouches. Note: My mom really likes to pack them in, but I prefer to leave around a half-inch of room at the top of the dish and give each pouch a bit of space to expand…that’s up to you.

If you have any remaining chicken mixture, add the small can of soup to it; if not, just use the can of soup. Pour this over the casserole and spread it around to lightly cover the whole dish. Put some foil on that masterpiece and bake it for around an hour. I say around because it really just depends on your oven and how densely you packed the dish…just make sure the croissant dough is cooked in the middle and you’ll be dandy!

Once it’s done, take the bag of cheese and put a ridiculous amount across the whole top of the casserole, pop it back in the oven for 10–15 min till the cheese melts and then serve while hot! (I don't have a pic of the final product because it really just looks like a glass dish full of cheese)

DISCLAIMER: I kid you not with this warning…you will want to eat too much of this stuff, but don’t do it! For your own sake, don’t. Like all good Southern homestyle food, Cheesy Chicken settles like a brick in your stomach and if you eat too much too quickly, you will absolutely regret it. No fatalities as of yet, but I'm serious...it's dangerous.

Some other notes:
  • I like to add sautéed mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, and Texas Pete, but not everyone likes that so the recipe above is the original. However, adding veggies creates lots of tasty variations and helps you feel less awful about eating something this unhealthy - haha. I’ve also seen some recipes that use sour cream or cream cheese instead of soup, but ours is better, for sure.
  • If you don’t like sloppy casseroles, you can always increase your chicken or decrease the amount of soup in the bowl mixture, but I think it’s better when it’s nice and saucy.
  • Before baking, you can freeze Cheesy Chicken for a week or so just fine, and after baking, it reheats okay as a leftover, but it definitely isn’t as good as when it is fresh.

Paring ideas: Try to avoid serving anything too starchy with this dish. I prefer grilled veggies or fresh fruit and a nice salad. On this occasion, I served it with a romaine/strawberry/sesame seeds/feta cheese salad and fresh grapes. It’s a heavy dish so keep the rest of the meal light.

**Also: Once you try it and love it and want to share it with all your friends, make sure to give credit where it’s due…my aunt Terri. Ya know, in case someday I get a sweet cookbook deal and want to include this recipe.**


apple cider cupcakes with creamy cinnamon frosting

spicy, sweet, creamy, and perfect for fall. i have a from-scratch recipe for this but i couldn't find it today so i opted for a cheater, modified-box mix version. also...a friend asked last night how to make box cake mix taste less "boxy"...well Lucy, here ya go!

to begin...put on some good music - this is essential. my selection for the day: Jenny Owen Youngs' An Unwavering Band of Light. Then grab 3 apples of your favorite variety (i prefer gala because they are sweet and crisp). peel those bad boys and chop them into smallish pieces. this recipe also works well in a normal, non-cup cake so if you are doing that, i'd make the apple chunks a little bigger. cupcakes = mini cakes so keep these chopped apples small. toss them with 1 tsp of cinnamon and set aside. *note: if you don't like the idea of apple chunks, you can always substitute the apples for 1-2 cups of cinnamon applesauce*

gather your batter supplies and modifications. although it says "spice cake", i never really feel like there is enough spice in it. as such, to the powder mix, i add 1/2 tsp each of ginger, nutmeg, and ground cloves. i also add ~2 tbsp of ground cinnamon...depending on how much you prefer. then add your eggs, water, and oil according to the box. *note: i usually take the oil and water down a notch to help keep the cakes more dense.* i also add 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract and 1 tbsp caramel extract (this gives it a nice, warm flavor). mix batter on low with an electric mixer until it is combined and smoothish, but not necessarily as long as the box may say. fold in apple chunks.

preheat to 350 and line your cupcake tin with papers (because if we're all honest with ourselves, muffin tins are the absolute worst dish to wash by hand). i use a 1/4 cup measure to fill each muffin well 2/3 full. bake for about 15-18 minutes and do not overbake. place muffins on your super awesome stackable cooling racks (wal-mart...holla!) and find something fun to do between each batch, like folding laundry or putting on a great movie (ex: Away We Go).

Once all your batter is baked (I ended up with 28 27 cupcakes total because i absolutely didn't eat one for quality control), combine 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter and 1 (8oz) package of softened cream cheese. mix these with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. add 1 tbsp vanilla extract, 3-4 tbsp cinnamon, and 4 cups of 10x sugar. beat on low until creamy and smooth.

Last but not least, decorate! I fitted a standard size piping bag with Wilton's #12 piping tip to make poofy icing dollops which mildly resemble whipped cream on cider. Then share with friends! I hope you enjoy them and forgive me for not so hot photo quality.  :)   happy autumn baking!


for the beauty...

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies;
For the love which from our birth,
Over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

For the wonder of each hour,
Of the day and of the night;
Hill and vale and tree and flow'r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise...

Can i just say that i really love this hymn. It is so simple and beautiful, and it makes me want to just praise God every single time i hear it. you may remember it from Meg's wedding scene in Little Women. all in all...it's definitely in my top 3 favorite hymns of all time. #2 is It is Well with My Soul, #3 goes to How Deep the Father's Love for Us.
What are the hymns that really touch you?


logical clothes for sensible, modest people

Today's post title is the name of my new designer clothing line (available March 2013). Okay…so maybe not.

Not to get all ranty, but can we talk for a moment about just how ridiculous women’s clothes are these days? I don’t even mean the outlandish runaway stuff that no one ever wears. I’m talking about normal, every day, see-it-at-work-and-on-campus attire. First of all, ladies…cover up! Maybe I’m just naiive, but I think simple, modest, and genuine are much more attractive than some other "looks". Think Audrey…not Ke$ha.

Keep in mind that, I’m 24…not exactly a senior citizen griping about ‘reckless youngins. The point is, I think clothes should make sense. If the whole point of clothing is to cover ourselves and provide warmth and protection…some currently popular trends just don’t seem to fit the bill. Major contenders in the currently ridiculous clothing corner are:
  • Asymmetrical skirts/dresses…cropped front-to-back looks like a duck tail, side-to-side looks like the designer ran out of fabric...or can't follow a sewing pattern.
  • Uggs with mini skirts…seasons are not really a “mix-n-match” kind of thing
  • Poof dresses…cute when you’re 3…not so much with heels and a beer
  • Shelf dresses…the half-tank, half-dress look. I just don’t understand and no matter what size your chest…it’s just awkward.
  • Awkward belting…belt it up girl, I get it, rock on for belts! Just aim for your natural waistline…not your bra line...belts are not boob shelves (especially for the curvy ladies like me)
  • Neons…I like to think I’m a pretty unassuming person so to me this look screams “look at me! I’m mimicking nature by wearing bright colors to attract a mate!” (for the record, this statement is fully retracted if you are wearing neon to avoid a hunting accident…otherwise, it stands)
  • And last, but definitely not least…tights/leggings/jeggings Are. Not. Pants!

I hope I haven’t offended (too much), but really, this isn’t fight club: we’re allowed to talk about the fact that sensible, modest clothes are really hard to find these days if you're younger or Land's End isn't really your thing (this is particularly true for the curvy ladies). And of course, I’d love to have the money to buy cute vintage stuff every day, but there again we are faced with the people-were-apparently-much-smaller-in-history problem. A good pair of jeans or modest skirt, a comfy top, a good sweater, and cute accessories. What more does a girl really need?

What bothers you about modern fashion?...come on...I know there's something. :)


that time I forgot to take pictures of my trunk project

so I have this trunk…a $30 craigslist find from 6 years ago that’s recently been given a whole new life. But as the title of this post suggests, I did indeed forget to take pictures of the entire project till the very very end—an egregious error I’ll be sure not to make again (though I do hope you keep reading cause it was a super cool project)!

I started with a vintage steamer trunk (circa 1930 from the Horn Luggage Co.), which you can see was a slightly putrescent yellowish green all over. (I didn’t paint the bottom panel specially so I could show you this later—jk, I just didn’t feel like it was worth it since no one will ever see it. and i know you can't tell in the pic, but it really does have a greenish tint) The inside was basically just covered in tattered brown/gold paper. I don’t remember where I saw it, but someone online mentioned putting legs on her steamer trunk to turn it into a storage trunk for the foot of her bed. Lightbulb! I have one of those! And so it began.
In the tutorial I saw, she just spray-painted the whole thing, but I knew from the start I wanted to save the original metal framework and leather straps. Thus, I took a tiny brush and went to work by hand. To save you from what could be an extremely long write-up (and still was in the end–sorry), imagine a stop motion film project run-down with these bullets:
  • two coats of hand painted light grey paint, then stare at it a while realizing there’s no going back
  • slight rub-down with a bar of dove soap for distressing later (this is a great tip I read somewhere online—since the paint doesn’t adhere well to the soap, you can sand the top layer off more easily later)
  • trip to lowes to find historically accurate blues & two coats of hand painted slate blue
  • a thorough going-over with coarse and fine sanding blocks (more so in the predestined soap areas)
  • step back and be happy…then realize it needs more aging which results in another trip to lowes to get Minwax English chestnut wood stain
  • wood stain wash all the painted panels – To do this I brushed on the stain with a 99¢ bristle brush then used an old rag to rub most of it off. I did this several times, letting it sit longer in corners till I got an nice chestnut wash over everything. This really brought out a warmer tone to the paint and gave it a nice authentically-aged look.
  • two coats of hand painted polyurethane on painted panels (satin finish, water based) then a what-the-hey mentality resulting in two coats also to the metal framework and leather straps (an excellent idea in the end!)
  • cover the entire inside with cute leftover contact paper (compliments of my sister and shown in pics below)
  • back to lowes to figure out how to get the legs on. Since the trunk’s panels aren’t solid wood (some kind of wood, chipboard, veneer business), I needed something more substantial on the inside for the leg brackets to grab on to. Trusty lowes guy suggested adding some cedar planks (which will also help keep out bugs later).
  • measure and buy cedar planks and wood glue, assemble in bottom of trunk
  • buy legs and brackets (6” or 4” legs, that is the question…4” in the end), stain legs with same English chestnut from wash, two coats of same satin polyurethane
  • bribe friend at work with a drill to come help install the brackets (holla to Doug!)
  • screw in the legs and add some extra floor scratch protector stickies
  • turn it over and marvel at my Frankenstein-esque creation!
And that’s all she wrote…well, mostly. It seems like the world’s longest project, but it was really fun to do knowing that it’s going to last a long time now and turned out exactly the way I wanted it to. Plus, its short stumpy legs make it look like it’s squatting, or fat…I’m naming him Boris... Boris the Blanket Chest.

If you’ve read this far I applaud you and if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them…just shoot me a comment! In the meantime, I’ll be staring at my trunk with glee and ignoring the 8 other projects already piled up on my craft desk.


a bed sort of day

Have you ever had a bed sort of day? Not a bad day, necessarily…just a bed one. The kind where, no matter for how many hours you’ve been awake, it is painfully clear that you should have just stayed in bed. Today is one of those days.

The weather here is grey, a little drizzly, blustery, and cold (45F). I think it's awesome! And though I am absolutely thrilled that it’s finally feeling autumnal (crunchy leaves and all!) it is also, without a doubt, stay-in-bed-watching-movies-or-reading-with-tea-and-a-snuggly-quilt weather. And it is definitely not sit-in-a-cubicle-on-a-computer-with-a-headache-for-8-hours weather. I don’t know what that kind of weather would be, but that’s not my point.

My point is that I’m a Negative Nancy today. A big ol’ double-N, Negative Nancy.

I have so so many things to be grateful for, and I know that! A wonderful family, an amazing boyfriend (more about him later), a job, a (mostly) warm place to live, enough food, breath in my lungs, and tons of other awesome stuff. So why it is so hard to remember all of that?

A particularly perky friend once told me that she has a folder on her computer just with pictures of family, friends, babies, puppies, flowers…all the things that make her happy. She looks at it only when she’s down. It’s her “You have way too many reasons to be happy to be depressed” folder. It doesn't seem that easy for me.

I’m trying to focus on all the great stuff, definitely not least of which is a God who loves me and continues to bless me every single day. But I’m human, and really…no matter how much great stuff I think of…I still just want to bundle up and sit outside of a coffee shop with an extra-extra-hot chai and a book. Apparently, you can just call me miss grumpypants.

So...if you can't beat em, join em...what would you rather be doing today than whatever you are doing?


blogs – schmogs

Confession time: I’m pretty sure I’d be happy just reading cool blogs all day. (see how it’s in smaller font…that’s me whispering!)

For the record, I do work full-time and I’m a responsible, involved member of the adult world (most of the time). But can I just take a moment to recognize how many just ridiculously awesome blogs there are out there?!

I’m not a huge advocate of technology (as evidence of my not-so-smart phone and lack of personal computer/internet), but I think blogs are a triumph of the Internet. Just imagine if we could replace all the crap on the interwebs with more awesome, creative, funky people writing about their lives. How cool!

There are a few that I love that are listed on my “blog lovin'” page (cause i'm Superbad...get it? get it?), but I feel like I find more every day. Pretty soon, I’ll be so busy reading about other people’s lives, I won’t have time to live my own. Okay, so that’s an exaggeration, obviously, but you get what I’m sayin. The point is, I think people are really cool and I love that you can connect with them and share pics and experience and ideas and such across something as lame as the Internet. Well…not always lame…this is definitely not lame:

So what are your favorite blogs?


my supermom

Best mom in the world goes to...my mom! This afternoon she came to my work and brought me the funkiest roses I've ever seen...for no reason! I'm normally not a rose person (which she knows) but she said they were so fun, they just reminded her of me. Crazy and unusual, definitely, but they're really fun and exactly what I needed today. Thank you mom for making my whole week! You are amazing and I'm honored to be so loved by you.

What's the coolest thing your mom has done for you lately?


bouquets of…apple peels??

Brriiiinngdundunnaaabliiiing…you’ve got mail. If you’re like me, this sentence is more likely to remind you of a cute, bookwormish Meg Ryan than a piece of seriously outdated technology. If so, you’ll well remember the line: “I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils….” Seeming to crop up on blogs and status updates around this time every year, this sweet sentiment is supposed to invoke the presence of fall. But not for me.

For two years during high school, I had the coolest job in the world. I was a barista. And not just any barista, I was a barista at a the kind of funky, artsy coffee shop almost unheard of in our town. Too small and too southern for “those hippie types” generally. I was so cool (seriously, I was)!

During one break, the owner had a family emergency and had to leave town for several weeks. She decided to put me in charge of opening the shop in the mornings. This also included taking over her baking duties for the variety of typical coffee shop pastries we offered fresh-baked every morning. Let me just say, the 5am wake-up was not kind to your average high schooler. BUT… I quickly discovered that there is a special kind of magic in coffee shops that early in the morning.

The shop windows fogging up against the chilly air, the quiet synchronized gurgling of four drip machines running at once, the quiet (and sometimes not so quiet) music of my choice on the shop stereo. Then...the apples. Our top selling baked item was our cinnamon-apple-pecan muffins. In truth they were just apple-pecan pound cakes baked in muffin tins, but oh were they delicious! I could have eaten them for days! It was the perfect sign of autumn.

Of course, I cut and burned and calloused my hands plenty (who wouldn’t chopping 15+ apples every morning), but it was perfect. Time stood still in this little, well-orchestrated wonderland. Customers would come in out of the cold and you could see all the morning’s frustration melt off their faces as they sipped their favorite drink.

So for me…forget sharpened pencils. The thing I love the most this time of year, the thing that signals fall has arrived and ready to be reveled in…give me a bouquet of fresh apple peels in a coffee shop at 5am.