Sunday, March 31, 2013

loving lately: teacups

If you follow me on Instagram (or pretty much anywhere, actually), you already know I have a near-obsessive relationship with tea. If I don't have at least a cup of tea a day, you know something is wrong. I used to drink it out of coffee mugs, but I really prefer teacups, for reasons I can't even explain. My sweet sisters-in-law, Heather & Mandy have each given me teacups & saucers as gifts, and I think they've started something. I can't quit looking on Pinterest & Etsy. Aren't these perfect?

Ummm....a fox in a teacup? I neeeeeeeeed.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

On Marriage Equality

I have started to write a post about my thoughts on marriage equality almost every day for over a week now. Every time I've scrapped the whole thing and started over, because I just get too angry.

I'm angry that there are real people behind the "homosexual" label who are being deeply hurt.
I'm angry that Bible verses are being mistranslated and used out of context to push an agenda.
I'm angry that the Golden Rule has been tossed in favor of self-righteousness.
I'm angry that shouting matches on social media have taken the place of rational dialogue.
I'm angry that my homosexual and bisexual friends, people I love and care about, feel like second-class citizens in the eyes of the people around them.
I'm angry that there are individuals who are withholding from others the freedoms they enjoy for themselves.
I'm angry that there are homosexuals who will never know the love of Jesus because of a few vocal Christians who misrepresent him so severely.
I'm angry that people flippantly toss out labels and assumptions without looking into the faces of the people they wound.
I'm angry that there are individuals who act as if they are somehow personally affected by the sexual behavior of two other consenting adults.
I'm angry that there are Christians who treat homosexuality as if it's a terrible, terrible sin.....and then gossip about their gay neighbor, yell at their kids, and give other drivers the finger in traffic.
I'm angry that I can't say I love Jesus without people assuming that I'm anti-marriage-equality.
I'm angry that my religion has been hijacked and used as an excuse for hate, bigotry, and marginalization.
I'm angry that there are Christians who place priority on pushing morality rather than showing love.

I'm angry. I'm also unbelievably sad and profoundly frustrated. Sometimes I really just want to grab people by the shoulders, shake them, and say, "Don't you see?! Don't you see that there are real people whose lives you're tampering with? Real, flesh-and-blood human beings with hopes and dreams and goals and families and feelings?"  I want to sit them down with a member of the homosexual community over a cup of coffee, and have them talk about everything but marriage equality. Then, after a couple of hours, I want them to try to look that other person in the eye and say, "You can't have same freedoms as me. You don't deserve the same happiness I do."

This isn't an argument. I have a plethora of Bible verses, real-life examples, and well-designed arguments that I could argue passionately...but I'm not going to. I don't think there are enough good arguments in the world to change a mind that's firmly made up. I think that takes real people talking about their lives, feelings, and experiences--about their hopes and dreams and desires.

And my hope--my hope is that the Christian community will begin to show the homosexual community the same radical love, grace, and freedom that we have been shown. My hope is that we will begin to welcome them with open arms rather than keeping them at arms length. My hope is that the community of faith that I love--and am yet so frustrated with--will one day be known for what we're for, rather than what (or whom) we're against. My hope is that we would treat people as Jesus would. My hope is for equality for all people--regardless of their sex, gender, color, beliefs, or sexual orientation--in all things, including the right to marry whom they choose.

**Note: Currently, comments are open, and I welcome a diversity of opinions. However, comments that are hateful, inflammatory, or disrespectful toward any person or group will be deleted; if this occurs, all comments will be moderated before posting. Keep it civil, folks.

Friday, March 29, 2013

On my reading list....

I'm one of those people who can't read just one book at a time. I shuffle between four or five different books, and it always takes me forever to finish one. For example, here are the books I'm currently reading:

Tinkers: This is such a beautiful book about a dying man's final hours. I honestly didn't know if I would be able to handle it. I tried reading Faulkner's As I Lay Dying years ago, and I honestly had to stop because I was getting depressed. I get super wrapped up in people's stories--even if they're fictional. So that, combined with all the deaths in my family over the past 2-3 years had me hesitant to start it. Honestly, it's given me quite a bit of peace.

The War of Art: I bought this book a couple years ago and started to read it, but at that point, I didn't really view myself as a creative (I bought it more for the psychological aspect), so I lost interest pretty quickly. Now that I'm beginning to nurture that side of myself a little bit more, I started in again. His writing style isn't my favorite, but it's full of great advice and perspective.

What We Talk About When We Talk About God: I will always love Rob Bell. That man could completely go off the deep end and start writing books about elves and fairies, and I'd still buy them. A lot of folks have issues with his writing style (well....and his views, too), but I honestly don't mind it. The thing about Rob Bell is he doesn't view faith as existing in a vacuum, and he doesn't view science as an enemy. He addresses what it means to live as a person of faith in a chaotic world, and he brings up string theory, quarks, and relativity. Even if I don't always agree with his conclusions or views, he always always always makes me think and question the beliefs I've taken for granted. His books have helped grow my faith more than almost any because of that.

Etsy-preneurship: This one is brand new--I haven't even gotten through the first chapter yet. I heard about it on a blog I follow (although I honestly can't remember which one!) a while back. It took me a few months to order it, though; I've toyed with the idea of opening an Etsy shop for almost a year now, but I felt like really researching it/buying a book on it was way too close to taking the plunge. Tyler told me to "just order the darn book--if you read it and don't want to do it, don't." So.....I did. We'll see how I feel about Etsy when I finish it. :)

The Princes in the Tower: This book has been on my shelf for a while, mainly because I tend to buy British history books in bulk at used book stores. Alison Weir is one of my favorite authors in the genre, and this particular work is super interesting. It's about King Richard III, a Plantagenet king who's somewhat of an enigma. Contemporary works about him were destroyed by the king who followed him, and he was so villified by the Tudor historians that wrote after his death that nobody really knows what he was actually like. I started reading after his body was discovered in England (under a parking lot!) last month.

Storyline: This is actually more of a workbook than a book-book. A friend of mine wrote it, and he sent me some copies after my brother and I saw him a couple weeks ago at a speaking engagement in town. After hearing him talk, I am crazy-excited to start this. I really think it's going to help me focus, because I feel like I'm going in about a thousand different directions right now.

So yeah, that's my list! Yikes, right? I'm enjoying all of them so much, but it'll take me until June to finish them--especially with all of the little projects I keep picking up. Anyone else reading any of these?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Around Town: Elle's Patisserie

Tyler and I went to Elle's Patisserie for the first time a couple weeks ago, and it instantly became my favorite place to get ice cream in Springfield.  Tyler agreed that this is our new spot, and I thought it would take an act of God to make him want to go anywhere but Coldstone.

The thing is, I don't really like ice cream that much; it's too sweet, and there's always too much. Not to mention the brain-freeze. Elle's might change my mind, though. The serving sizes are perfect, and the flavors are the best--they even have lavender! As you might remember from my recent post, I love the taste of lavender, and this ice cream was super refreshing. Sweet, but not too sweet. Tyler had some salted caramel ice cream (which was also amazing), and my brother showed up and got cream soda ice cream, which was probably my second favorite. There aren't many places that can satisfy both Tyler's sweet tooth and my not-too-sweet tooth, but we found one!

Elle's also has some other sweet treats including truffles, pastries, brownies,coffees, and even chocolate covered potato chips & bacon! (We tried the chocolate-covered bacon, and it was actually surprisingly good!) The owner's husband, who is as nice as can be, was behind the counter, and he chatted with us for a bit. Overall, it was one of my favorite experiences anywhere in Springfield. I used to live right around the corner (long before Elle's existed), and it's probably a good thing I don't anymore....otherwise, my clothes probably wouldn't fit after a few weeks, and I wouldn't have any money left. We'll still be back often, though!

If you're in Springfield and want to check out Elle's, it's a1454 E. Cherry Street, (between National and Glenstone) on the south side of the street. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

So, about this Google Reader business....

As you all have probably heard a million times by now, Google Reader is shutting down July 1st.  But fret not! I’ve been using Bloglovin’ since I got into blogging, and I love it. I use their iPhone app on breaks during the day to keep up with the blogs I follow too. If you’re looking for a great alternative for Reader (and want to keep following my silliness!), I definitely recommend Bloglovin’.  You can follow me here. If you’re a fellow blogger, leave your link in the comments so I can follow you too!

Monday, March 25, 2013

music monday: josh ritter

I don't even know where to begin with Josh Ritter. He's my husband's all-time favorite artist, and Tyler got me hooked when we started dating. I had (much cooler) friends who listened to him, but I had just never gotten around to it. I'm so glad Tyler was such a big fan, He's one of my favorites now too.

I'm pretty sure Josh Ritter was sitting around writing poetry when somebody shoved a guitar into his hands, and here we are. I love his music, but I could also just sit and read his lyrics. He released a new album a couple weeks ago called "The Beast in Its Tracks," and I can't stop listening to it. If I had to describe it in one word, that word would be "bittersweet."  It wrestles with pain, but it's hopeful at the same time. There's a line on the back of the album, underneath the copyright information, that says this, and says it all: "The world is what the world is, everybody's gonna hurt like hell sometimes." Indeed.

Here's a sample: 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

This is not a DIY.

I had been talking about wanting to get an aloe plant for our apartment, and a few days ago, one of my friends from work brought me one! It was so sweet! We've been snowed in here today, and I decided I wanted to paint the pot it came in. 

I have a little bit of a blog pet peeve, and that's when bloggers post what I call "duh DIYs"--a step-by-step of projects that are super easy and obvious. It's probably just me, but I find it a little insulting. So this is not a DIY! There are no instructions here; just some pictures of what I did this morning.  It was actually really fun, and I did it in just a couple hours--even cooking lunch and working on other projects in between coats of paint. If you want to try it yourself, go for it! And if you do have any questions, send them my way and I'll do my best to help you out.

Don't judge the gold on this--it was only the first coat! 

Here's a tip: if you're using metallic paint, lay down a coat of white underneath. I tried painting the gold with no base, and it just looked really strange--dull brown with just a little shimmer.

There are a few things I would have done differently, if we weren't snowed in this morning:

1) I would have used painter's tape to get cleaner lines; they'll do as-is, but they're far from perfect, and that's going to bother me!

2)I would buy some firmer brushes for the lettering. It was definitely the hardest part, and flimsy brushes didn't help.

3) I might have actually made some stencils for the lettering. I'm not the biggest fan of my handwriting.

(Oh, and I'm going to buy some clear sealant for it this week. Acrylic paint & water aren't exactly good together.)

I'm about to curl up with my husband and watch Anna Karenina. Hope you all are having a lovely Sunday!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

snow day = outfit post, obvi.

Thanks to Springfield and its crazy-ridiculous weather patterns, we had several inches of snow dumped on us Thursday. I left work a couple hours early, so naturally I dragged my husband out in it to snap some outfit pictures before it got dark. I mean, hey, if I have to endure the cold, I get to take advantage of the beauty at least, right? Right. 

Details: blouse, jeans, sweater, triangle earrings, necklace: Forever 21 (am I a F21 catalog or what? jeez) // shoes: Charlotte Russe // glasses: Bonlook

Friday, March 22, 2013

brother-sister sunday

I love my brother. He's easily one of my favorite people on the planet, and he would be even if we didn't share half the same DNA. We've been hanging out a lot more lately, which is probably obvious, and though the reasons for it aren't that awesome, I love having him around. Last Sunday we had a brother-sister day--it was nasty & rainy, but we made the most of it. We started off with brunch at Gailey's--he's lived in Springfield for years and had never been! {I'm making it a goal for this year to show him all my favorite places to eat in town; I feel like I've failed him.} Needless to say, he loved it--there will be an "Around Town" post coming soon about that. Sweet potato hashbrowns? Never a bad idea.

We stopped by a record store and the mall for a bit, and I did more than a little damage at Forever 21. I went in there for one thing. I came out with all those shirts down there.....and an umbrella (it was raining, remember?). I'm pretty much in love with all of them, though. I've been paying off so many bills lately that it was time for a little bit of a splurge. I'm just thankful that F21 is so cheap! 

I had a friend in down from DC in town, too, that I only get to see about once or twice a year; he was super busy while he was in town, so we couldn't really get together, but he had a speaking engagement at Remington's on Sunday afternoon. Ethan and I went to hear him, and what he ended up speaking on really impacted my brother--he was taking notes! I was so grateful for that, and grateful for the time I had afterward to catch up with Don. There are people you meet who just breathe life into your day when you're around them--even if you're just talking about Downton Abbey!-- and Don is one of them; he was one for my brother on Sunday, too. Loved getting filled in about his life lately--it's always much more exciting than mine!

Ethan and I are planning another brother-sister day soon, and I'm sure you'll get to hear all about that one, too!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


 I love you, Springfield. I do. For a city in Missouri, you're not half bad. But there's this little issue of your weather. I know the weather is universally regarded as the most boring topic ever, what you talk about when you have nothing better to talk about...............yeah. I know. Worst blogger award. BUT SERIOUSLY. Stop it. 

Friday was amazing. I opened the balcony door to 70 degree weather and let the sun & spring breeze pour in. Then I grabbed a blanket & pillow, threw them on the floor, curled up on them in the sunshine, and took an afternoon nap. I'm not ashamed. Maybe I was a cat in a former life or something. It was glorious.

But then there's this upcoming Thursday--less than a week later--when we are all going to be hunkering down under a winter storm warning that's threatening to dump up to a foot of snow on us. A FOOT. Oh, and at the same time, we're under a local pollen alert. How?!

Springfield, I love you, but you're bipolar. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

life lately

Just a quick little blog post about life over the last week. I have so many posts in my head right now, and I had every intention of coming home last night and writing a couple out, but instead Tyler and I headed to town in search of Chicken & Waffle Lays potato chips. I know, they sound disgusting, right? But I'm dying to try them--still dying this morning, actually, because we couldn't find them anywhere. I guess my curiosity will have to live on.


Last week[end] was one of those week[end]s that just left my heart full. Thursday night, my brother came over to the apartment for awhile, and we headed to Five Guys. Our plan was to make homemade sushi with our friend Sommer, but her last meeting at work ran late, and we had no idea where she was or when she would actually be home. SO, we ended up at Five Guys. Never a bad thing.

The sushi still happened later. So did Mega Stuffed Oreos and blueberry tea. *Fat kid, right here*

Friday, I spent hours at Relics--more about this later! It's weird having Fridays off, because usually nobody else I know does (other than Tyler, sometimes). I have never minded doing things by myself, though, which is probably good, because otherwise I'd sit at the apartment all alone all day. Sometimes I do that anyway, but today I went exploring.

Then Saturday. Oh, Saturday. I cleaned like a mad woman. I'm talking full-on spring cleaning. I'm talking scrubbing the floor with a rag on my hands and knees like a modern-day Cinderella. I would eat off our floors right now, no lie.

Hope you're having a good week so far!

Monday, March 18, 2013


"God made a whole beautiful earth and decided to put you in it, to experience all of this beauty. You can't do that watching television all the time." --Don Miller

Sunday, March 17, 2013

loving lately: lavender

Oh, how I love lavender. It's beautiful, smells amazing, and I love the way it tastes. The first time I tried culinary lavender, it was completely by accident--I picked up a piece of fudge at an art show, and it was lavender fudge! I may have picked up a few more pieces after that. I've known for a long time that I liked floral teas, so lavender in tea made sense to me, but I'm amazed at how versatile it is.

We even had loose lavender for our guests to toss on us after our wedding!

Photo credit: Colby Moore

Here are some of my favorite lavender finds from the past week: 

Mmm. Lavender mojito from Sugar and Charm!
This lavender lemonade from The Talking Kitchen is making me dream of summer days.
Lavender fudge is my absolute favorite.
Lavender hot chocolate? Be still my heart. 

I love love love Lavender Earl Grey, and Twinings is one of my favorite brands. Unfortunately, their US site doesn't have this available, but I've had great luck just steeping a few buds of culinary lavender with a regular Earl Grey. Give it a try! 
This picture has single-handedly convinced me that I need a lavender garden. 

I can't wait to try this lavender sorbet recipe from  Sidewalk Shoes
This lavender ice cream from ABM looks amazing.

Friday, March 15, 2013

flashback friday: a college playlist

I hated high school, but college was awesome. I made some of the best friends I've ever had, hung out backstage at concerts, drank waaaaaaay too much (coffee, sillies!), heard Sara Bareilles play in a Borders in Chicago, and even took a trip to England.  (Oh yeah, and I read some books, took some tests, and got a degree.) I've been organizing some pictures lately, and looking through them has me more than a little nostalgic. Here are a few of my favorites:

Do you ever have moments that you just wish you could relive over and over? Those are some of mine. Photos and music are two of the closest things I have to being able to actually do that. Damien Rice puts me right back in England. Listening to The Killers has me dancing at a Halloween party at the Skinny Improv. I hear Regina Spektor, and suddenly I'm walking around alone in downtown Chicago. So in honor of music's power of nostalgia, here is my (abbreviated) college soundtrack:

College Days by Jess on Grooveshark

**Edit: Just found out from a friend that the above link doesn't work in mobile, so if you're using a mobile browser, you can listen here. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

35mm love.

**I'm just going to go ahead and warn you that this is a pretty photo-heavy post. Then again, it's about photography, so I don't know what else you would expect. :)

 I have been enamored with cameras and photographs as long as I can remember. I swear it's genetic, because my mom has boxes and boxes and boxes of photographs spanning several generations, and we both get super depressed about seeing old photographs at flea markets & antique stores. I seriously was in tears once because I found somebody's wedding picture in a stack of old photos at an antique mall. We're both shutterbugs like I've never seen before, and I'm pretty sure we're the only people who fully understand this characteristic in each other. I even worked in a photo lab during my early college years. I loved developing film!

My mom bought a Canon AE1 SLR when I was a baby, and of all the things I've used to take pictures--my phone, various point-and-shoots and DLSRs, and even Polaroids--it just might be my favorite.

I love love love shooting film. I wouldn't call myself a photographer by any stretch of the imagination, but taking photographs is one of my favorite things to do, and it's just so much better with film (and, unfortunately, so much more expensive). Don't get me wrong; I love digital, too--I'm saving up for a DSLR right now, actually. But film is just.....purer, somehow. You have to adjust on the front end, because you can't exactly Photoshop film images. (Okay, I know there are ways to upload images so you can edit and all that business, but it kinda takes away the magic for me. Yes, I usually end up uploading them so I have a digital copy, but even then, I've never edited the digital versions. Call me a purist. Or a snob. I don't care.) I love the suspense of film, too. You're not able to see your results right away, but sometimes after you press that shutter button, you just know---you nailed that shot. It's a rush, and then the anticipation builds, and you have to slow down and not waste the rest of a precious roll just so you can hurry and get it developed. Gosh, just talking about it has me wanting to drive across the state and borrow that old Canon from my mom again.

I've been looking through some of the film photos I've taken over the years and these are some of my favorites that I've run across so far. You will notice that I tend to be a fan of black & white. :) None of them are perfect, but there's something about the imperfections that are so endearing to me. I remember exactly how I felt when I took every single one.

These were taken at my dad's neighbor's; he's owned a salvage yard for years, and some of the finer old cars have found their way to his property. My brother and I fed his dogs for him a few times when he went out of town, and we wandered around for awhile, exploring his collection. 

These were from my first trip to the Oregon in 2010. The Oregon Coast is like nowhere else on earth--it's one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places I've ever been. It gets into your soul, I think. My friend/tour guide/travel companion commented that using film would stress him out because he would be worried that the pictures wouldn't turn out; I told him that sometimes you just know....but I still brought a point-and-shoot just in case. :)

This is from the same trip to Oregon, and I know it's technically terrible, but I love it so much. There is actually another version of this picture, because I realized I hadn't set the correct exposure (yay for manual!), so I fixed it on the next frame. The crazy thing is, this version is by far my favorite. It's so moody. 

(P.S. This is Ponytail Falls/Upper Horsetail Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, and it's completely worth the short hike from the trailhead. If you're ever in the area, don't just stop at Multnomah!)

 These final two shots are from a trip to Grand Lake with my beautiful friends Sommer and Kristina (above). Kristina's grandparents own a house on the lake, and we spent a weekend there a few years ago. It was the most wonderful, relaxing, laughter-filled time. Love those two so much.

Have you ever used film for funsies? What did you think?

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