Skip to content

cheers to another semester

April 30, 2013


Photo (and tutorial) from Piece of Cake/Peace of Mind

With one more semester in the bag, I’m officially halfway through my masters program at Johns Hopkins! I’ve spent the last few weeks researching, reading, writing, rewriting, and editing…along with planning a 2nd birthday party, filling out a lot of paperwork regarding lost luggage from this trip, filing taxes, taking various meetings, and other real life moments. I’m ready to fall back into a normal pace after the end-of-semester marathon.

As I settle back in, here is a random assortment of things I’ve come across over the past couple weeks…articles, recipes, and other inspiring gems.

The Secret Faith of Washington (from Newsweek)

How our kids will read books growing up: An Interactive Kids Novel by Tank & Bear

The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the ocean

Raw kale and brussels sprouts salad with tahini-maple dressing (yum!)

What it’s like to file your taxes when you’re young and single

How the I.R.S. Hurts Mothers (from the New York Times)

Really cute Rifle Paper Co iPhone cases

DIY idea: Use polka dot paper to dress up a floral gift presentation (pictured above)


real life

April 8, 2013


I posted this picture just before I dropped a head of perfectly roasted garlic into a sink of soapy water and watched as it fell into the drain. At that point, I did what any rational person would do – I cried.  We were expected at a friend’s house for Easter dinner and the incident set us back 45 minutes.

So my instagram feed showed a pretty picture of the ingredients for broccolini and charred lemon flatbread, while in real life I stood at the sink crying over ruined garlic.

Obviously, Instagram isn’t a running reel of our life. It may look like it is – as if life moves from cute cafe, to peaceful morning walk, to cooking corn tacos with zucchini-radish slaw in some dream world.

But it’s not really like that, is it? Instead social media sites like Instagram showcase small bits of life, curated with the most charming moments. The result is a museum-like presentation of life. Yet, in between those photos are tears, stresses, and really boring things like sitting at the auto-shop waiting for the mechanic to tell you that the car repairs will be $500.

I’m grateful for the small, beautiful moments that get us from one stress to the next, and I believe in celebrating those moments. And let’s be honest – Instagram feeds that show nothing but the stresses of life all the time would be a little depressing!

However, there is a place for acknowledging that real life does happen. Our social media-consuming selves are starving for it. I’ve noticed a renewed focused from some popular online personalities to be a bit more transparent and a little less life-is-perfect-and-colorful-all-the-time (here and here, for example). It helps to know that others have the same human struggles and stresses we do.

A couple of weeks ago, some friends and I were discussing this topic and thinking about what we could do to shatter the myth of an Instagram-curated life. Among the photos of picnics, lattes, and travels, we’re trying to also capture those moments when life didn’t turn out the way we intended. We’re doing it on Instagram and tagging them #reallife.  It’s a fun and small step, but one that makes us more aware of the stories we’re telling the world about ourselves. We’d love it if you would join us!

PS This issue keeps drawing in more discussion. One of my favorite authors just wrote about this very topic here.

a cafe creates community by storytelling…on plates

April 1, 2013



A London cafe is creating community by featuring diners’ stories on plates used to serve customers. This article says “Users are asked to describe these fun café reminiscences and stories and then pick a font.” Customers of the cafe design their stories online and then the restaurant fires the designs onto plates.

It’s kind of like paint-your-own-pottery meets storytelling meets cafe. Seems like a fun way to create community among customers. I think the end result is pretty cute, too.

See some of the designs here.

how an imperfect house can be good for the soul

March 27, 2013


Our white couch used to look pristine before we had Emerson. Upon close inspection, you might have been able to see a pin-sized splatter of pasta sauce overlooked from a dinner-and-a-Red Box movie night.  Occasionally, the bluish tint from our new dark-rinse jeans would appear on the couch prompting us to wash our slipcovers as if it was an eyesore of the worst kind.

Now, upon not so close inspection, the white couch boasts gray fingerprint smudges, pink pen marks, and water stains from leaking “spill-proof” sippy cups. We still wash our slipcovers, but the time between washes has gotten longer and the care with which we iron them has eased. The washing machine is burdened with extra loads of laundry and our schedules are filled with other responsibilities like feeding another human being, giving baths, managing changing work schedules, picking up toys, and making time for play dates.

I used to get frustrated with our post-baby white couches. “Horrible!” I would mutter to myself as I gathered books and puzzles from the surface, revealing the dingy cushions. “What kind of insane parent keeps a white couch?” I would rearrange throw pillows before guests came over to cover the worst blots.

And maybe we are crazy to still have our white couches. Gray would certainly hide more. Perhaps we could make a family rule about what can and cannot be done on the white couches. But we want our children to be comfortable in our home; to know that we value them over our material possessions.

So, what if I look at the white couches through the lens of something else?

These imperfections in our life tell stories. Not the story of dirt or what Emerson had for her snack today.  That extra-discolored cushion on the left tells the story of a joyful toddler who loves to stand on the couch peeking out the window anticipating her dad’s arrival home. The pen mark tells the story of the pop of color I like to add to my life when I’m studying for school – and the curiosity that kicks in when our toddler finds said pen sitting on the end table.

The worn carpets in our lives, the scratches on the bookshelf, the impossible-to-remove cheerios crumbs found in the crevasses of the car’s leather seats are representative of something else: the company of good friends, the imaginative curiosity of a small child, and the pure joy that can be found in something as simple as O-shaped whole grains.

I can choose to see the dirt as dirt. Or I can see it for what it truly is – the beauty of this stage of life.

a california barn wedding

March 26, 2013




Molly and Stephen’s wedding was so perfectly them. Set in the gardens and barn at Camarillo Ranch, it was by far the most well-done casual wedding I’ve attended. They put so much thought into everything down to the smallest detail: Molly’s custom-made lace wedding dress, the repurposed Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters displays as decorations, the illustrated placemats, Molly’s air cactus bouquet, a choreographed dance… They even chartered gourmet LA food trucks at their barn reception, which Huffington Post ended up featuring in its wedding review!


I can’t wait to see the professional photos, because my sad iPhone photos just don’t do it justice.

Molly and Stephen we are so happy for you!!

Photo Credits from Top: Twine Events on Instagram, me, Fondly Forever on Instagram, and the last two are by me

10 days in california

March 21, 2013


Emerson and I spent 10 days in California eating Carmela Ice Cream, dropping cheerios in Janna‘s new Prius, eating (or sleeping through) blueberry cobbler, getting to know these awesome people over dinner and a fire pit, meeting a friend for breakfast at Bottega Louie, and “driving” a way cool vw bus.

Tim joined us a few days into the trip where we spent some family time driving up the coast visiting the beach and trying delicious coffee. We love our yearly treks to California. These pictures show some of our highlights.

More to come in a second post with details on Stephen and Molly’s wedding!


february reads: the art of storytelling

March 7, 2013


Last month, much of my reading seemed to fall on the topic of storytelling – sharing stories, perfecting the craft, and becoming more intentional about listening to stories.

Darling is a quarterly magazine that shares thoughtful commentary from women through storytelling. The contributors share thoughts from the perspective of various attributes women hold: Dreamer, Explorer, Hostess, Achiever, Confidant, and several others. Read more about the magazine’s awesome mission here.

Annette Simmons’ book is all about the types of stories we tell and how to become better at telling them.

Tell me – what have you been reading lately?


P.S. What I read in January.

(Darling Photo Credit: Going Home to Roost)


  • Subscribe to my blog via email.

  • Archives

  • Advertisements
    %d bloggers like this: