Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Coming Year

"In the little nest of days between Christmas and the New Year, take time - time to hope, to wish, to plan. Time to imagine what your year will hold, and decide how you will make room for all the things that matter. Celebrate the year that has been with reverence; welcome the year that will soon unfold with anticipation and joy. And remember that dark winter nights are made for dreaming of all the good things yet to be." - Days of Christmas

Happy New Year, everyone!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Peace and Joy.

Do you ever read something and realize it's exactly what you've been wanting to say? Emily's post last week was precisely what I've been thinking the last couple weeks. Her words, not mine:
This time of year is about joy and cheer and merry and bright. There is so much to celebrate, so many delicious smells and cherished traditions, festive parties and happy moments. It is the most wonderful time of the year. 
But the holidays also magnify heartache.
The loss of loved ones. Broken marriages. Sickness. Financial struggles. Unexpected hardships. Unrealized dreams. Fears coming true.
These things happen all year long, but it sure seems they pile up during the holidays. Heaps of sadness, heartbreak, struggle, loss come pouring down during this time of year when we should be singing merrily.
I don’t mean to be a downer. I just know there is a lot of pain underneath our glittery sequins – sometimes hidden masterfully, other times oozing out in the least expected moments.
You are not alone.
I mean, right? She nailed it. You can read her full post here.

This past week, I've watched my family come together after a sudden death in our extended family. I jokingly told my mother that we do funerals right in our family. And it's true. Because all it really means is that you are there for each other, no matter what. You hug each other a little longer, pitch in to bring meals, and generally thank God for each new day together.

Last year, I poured my heart out a bit in this post. And since the sentiments are still true, I thought I'd share some of those thoughts here again:

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world,
and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
-- Norman Vincent Peale

I am and will forever be a Christmas person. This time of the year is always so magical. Quiet snowfalls, twinkling lights, crackling fires. 

Despite the festiveness of the holiday season, I find myself extra emotional around this time each year. I can't help but think of those for whom Christmastime brings feelings of loss or disappointment. The joyful carols echo empty and haunting. January is willed to arrive quicker.

We have been blessed with a roof over our heads and food in the belly. We each have a job we enjoy most days. [Note: This is completely different this year. I love my new job and feel so terribly blessed to be where I am now.] And we truly have the best group of friends, near and far, that anyone could ask for.

But I am well aware that we are so lucky and blessed beyond belief.

Christmas is a light in a dark world. For those who's light grows dim this season, I wish you heart peace. Although the light is weak I hope your spark does not go out completely.

For those who's light shines brightly, I wish you strength to share your light with others. Take a moment to make spirits bright.

Be merry and bright this Christmas. Enjoy your precious time with family and friends. And keep the faith always.

With hope,

Monday, December 8, 2014

10 Years.

Warning. This post contains a few too many #tbt pics.

2004. Ten years ago my life changed completely. I graduated high school. I moved to Carolina for college. I joined Kappa. And in the past month, I've waltzed right down memory lane with all three.

Two weekends ago, the class of 2004 got together for a little 10 year reunion. While we started college with Facebook and have been insanely connected via social media for the last 10 years, it was fun seeing everyone and catching up!

High School Graduation with Lucky
Representing the class of 2004 in a silly outtake from this spring
Then, in early November, I was lucky enough to visit Carolina again for Kappa. Not having been back to Columbia in seven years, it was so exciting to see all that had changed while I was away. But so much has stayed the same too. I stayed in the Kappa house, my home away from home for three years, and that brought back a flood of memories. College. I waited my whole life it seems like to go to school, and then in a blink of an eye, it was over.

Kappa & Carolina - forever intertwined
The fabulous Melissa and me at graduation
Last Kappa function (someone was pissed I was leaving)
Home Sweet Home
Presenting as a Kappa Trainer

Forever to Thee
But that's what happens with life. You wish for moments to arrive and then they're here whether you are ready or not. And before you know it, those moments pass, and it's on to the next thing.

A man I never met passed away last week in Minneapolis. Through his hilarious and touching obituary and his wife's blog, I've been so touched by their love. Her words basically sum up everything I've been feeling about the last ten years. 

This is what being an adult is: doing everything before you are ready. There is no syllabus for life that helps you graduate to the next event. It is happening all around you, all the time. This life itself is the lesson and the test and there is no honor roll, just the sum of your relationships and actions and how you feel when you lay down to go to sleep at night.

It's been a pretty full and incredible decade. Here's to the next ten, whatever they may bring.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Merry & Bright 2014

This holiday season, it's important for us to take time to spend time together and just enjoy each other's company. Here's our simple list of things K and I put together of what we want to do together this holiday season! 

Buy our Christmas tree.
Go sledding.
Visit the Holiday Market.
Watch Christmas movies by the fire with hot cocoa.
Hang Christmas lights.
Buy presents for the Giving Tree.
Decorate a gingerbread house together.
Make a special holiday dinner (with Christmas music).
Go to Seattle for the holidays.
Go ice skating.

What's on your agenda this season?!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Gift Guide 2014

I love putting together a gift guide this time of year. I tend to turn to pretty things to give as gifts, because why not, right? Mix in a little practicality and that's where this year's Merry & Bright Gift Guide lives. Check it out here.

What's on your list?


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gluten Free Spinach Balls

Not to be confused with Schweddy Balls. These are very different. And so good. We switched up Friendsgiving this year to be a mix of appetizers, drinks, and desserts, instead of a traditional sit-down turkey dinner. 

I was looking for a warm appetizer to balance out the offerings. A friend of mine gave me her recipe a couple years ago and Friendsgiving seemed like the perfect time to give these another whirl. These babies are loaded with flavor, can be made gluten free, and are generally a crowd-pleaser. What's not to love?!

Laura's Spinach Balls

2-10 oz. pkgs. chopped frozen spinach
2 c. Chef Jeff Gluten Free Seasoned Panko flakes (from Whole Foods)
1 onion, finely chopped
6 beaten eggs
3/4 c. butter or margarine
1 c. parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. garlic powder or salt (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. pepper

Thaw spinach, squeeze dry (with paper towels).  Mix all ingredients together.  Form balls and freeze on cookie sheet.  Place in plastic bag when frozen.  Bake frozen about 20 minutes (flip halfway through) at 350 degrees.  Makes 80 to 90 one inchballs.

If you aren't concerned about gluten, you can use any kind of bread crumbs. Stick a toothpick in each one and serve warm.



Friday, November 21, 2014

A Fresh Coat of Paint

It was a busy fall around here! If you've followed #YoungHomeMakeover on Insta, you know. We were trying to wrap up a million things outside so when winter hit, we could focus on inside fixing. Well, the snow it last week so let's recap what we did this fall!

First up, our little house got a Beach House facelift. They boys did an amazing job! The stucco, the trim, the garage door - everything got a fresh coat of paint.

The boys painted, I took selfies. Naturally.

So serious.


I'm obessed. It looks amazing. It's miraculous what a coat of paint can do to transform a home. To celebrate, we headed to Butcher & The Boar to refuel. Yum.

I'm thrilled we tackled this project this fall. What a difference it made on the house! More updates to follow soon.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Invest In Girls - Give to the Max Day 2014

Happy Give to the Max Day! Please consider supporting the Center for Girls' Leadership (CGL) today!

At the CGL, we truly believe that in order to increase female leadership across all aspects of society, we need to invest in girls.

Three years ago, I took a leap and helped start the CGL. It has changed my life in the most profound ways. Through our programs, we are teaching girls valuable leadership skills and encouraging them to be confident young women. We inspire girls today to lead tomorrow. Your contributions help make that possible by covering the costs of planning and conducting our workshops.

Will you join me in supporting the CGL?

It’s easy to do. Just head to our giving page (, or use the widget below and make a donation. And if you know people who are passionate about investing in girls, please feel free to forward this post to them! Thank you!


P.S. Don’t forget to give the CGL a shoutout on social media (facebook & twitter) by using #InvestInGirls!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Daily Thankful.

Two years ago during November, I started devoting space in my journal to record the different things I was thankful for. Last year, I decided to move my gratitude journal to instagram using the hashtag #dailythankful. Sometimes it's the little things like a good meal and sometimes it's the big things like spending time with my mama. But either way, it's fun to take a moment and share what I'm thankful for. 

I want to see what you are thankful for! Follow me on instagram, use hashtag #dailythankful, and you never know what might happen! I feel like it might just be time for another Life.Law.Luck giveaway...

As my friend Kelly says, we should be giving thanks all year long but November is a great place to start.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Hello, November.

If there ever was an autumn for me to fall back, this one has been it. One friend described it as my time to return "back to center." And it definitely has.

The end of summer brought much needed career changes. I took a major leap of faith and quit my job in August. Best decision ever. And yet, it was pretty scary but totally necessary to save my soul. K was super supportive, as always. Luckily, I stumbled upon a fantastic opportunity and for the first time in my life, I love my job.

In August, I also began teaching a class on Nonprofit Organizations at my law school. While I have been presenting and conducting workshops for a long time, this is the first time I've developed an ongoing curriculum. Probably the biggest challenge of my life but I'm learning a ton every day. It's always better to challenge yourself than to be bored.

At the end of September, K and I celebrated our first anniversary. Marriage is a funny thing. It's full of highs and lows and laughs and apologies and snuggles and dreams. For us, relationship-building is a priority and our weekly date nights and Saturdates are the highlight of my week.

Our schedules finally freed us up to tackle some big home projects this fall. I need to post an update but you can follow our fixer-upper adventures on instagram at #younghomemakeover. We're almost done with our outdoor prep work and this fall/winter we'll be starting to transform the ugly basement for once and for all!

Anyway, lots happening over here. Here's more of what I'm currently up to:

READING // Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World, Kristen Gillibrand's new book, Daring Greatly, A Whole New Engineer (for work), and a Gabriel Allon novel. 

LISTENING TO // Shake It Off...obviously.

ANTICIPATING // The HOLIDAYS!! I simply can't wait for Friendsgiving, Christmas, New Year's...Absolutely the best time of the year and it's happening now!

THINKING ABOUT // Wanderlust. We have a couple upcoming trips planned and I am pumped to be traveling again.

EATING // Breakfast cookies. I'm hooked. I'll post a recipe soon!

WATCHING // Brooklyn Nine Nine, The League, How to Get Away With Murder, Chicago Fire & PD, football, and hockey...

PLANNING // Our holiday cards...don't judge. I'm pretty excited about them this year!

WEARING // Lou & Grey Ponte Leggings. I mean, I have been living in these on the weekends this fall. I just love them.

LEARNING // Calligraphy! I took a class and now I'm literally obsessed. Need some inspiration? Check out my Lettering pinterest board

LOVING // K. Yeah, I know, totes cheesy. But he's been my rock the last couple months. 

WORKING ON // Fixin' up our house! Our basement remodel starts this week. I've been dreaming of this day forever. Well, for the last five years at least.

THANKFUL // For so much. But especially this time of the year.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Apple Picking Saturdate

We hit the Afton Apple Orchard over the weekend with a couple friends from law school. It was the perfect summer/fall day - sunshine, blue skies, leaves changing. Just lovely. 

P.S. I posted one of my favorite apple recipes on instagram - don't forget to follow me there!

Someone was not happy with my car selfies.



Raspberry fields forever...

K with our 9 lbs of apples!

It was a perfect Saturdate with K, wandering around picking a variety of apples, chatting with friends. Do you have plans to hit the orchard this fall?


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