Tuesday, December 31, 2013


2013 was pretty quiet for us around here, and I honestly wouldn't change that. The past few years have been filled with unpredictable highs and lows--both exciting and exhausting--and this last year really leveled off for us. I'm grateful for a little break from the craziness...but I also wouldn't mind a couple of adventures in 2014. That's not to say that we didn't have our share of fun (or stress!) this past year, though.

January: We celebrated Tyler's birthday (at Cheddar's of course. I swear, that boy would eat Cheddar's every single day if he could!).

February: February I had my big quarter/early-mid life crisis (but it started some great conversations) and we celebrated Valentine's Day like a couple of saps.

March: March was a blast. I (finally--after about five years) ordered some new glasses! I had a brother/sister day with my little brother, and we ended up going to see a friend of mine that I rarely see who was in town for a speaking engagement.

April: I bought my first turntable and started a whole new addiction.
May:  May marked one year at my current job and the weather finally warmed up enough for us to have dinner at the park.

June: June was busy busy busy! We celebrated our anniversary (and I reminisced with a million posts: 1//2//3//4//5//6//7//8//9//10//11/12//13), I chopped off my hair, and Sarah, one of my very best friends came to visit for a weekend.

July: Our computer bit the dust (sob), but we took an amazing trip to Ha Ha Tonka (and took tons of pictures!), and I did a fun shoot with my friend Paula.

August: August slowed down for the most part, but my mom had double-knee replacement surgery, so I spent some time back home until she was recovered a bit.

September: We went to Silver Dollar City with Tyler's work and I made a reverse bucket list in anticipation of my birthday.
October: I celebrated the big 2-8 on the 1st, learned a lot about the power of words, and went with Tyler, his mom, and our niece to a corn maze.

November: We spent some time at Wilson's Creek, took a trip to Kansas City,  and I started Project Life,  learned to take fashion risks, and wrote the most difficult post of my life. 

December: This little blog turned a whole year old, and hello Christmas!


Such a sweet, simple, fun year. I really needed one of those. Hope you had a wonderful year too! Here's to 2014!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


"...and they shall call him Immanuel, which means 'God with us'" --Matthew 1:23

That has always been my favorite Christmas verse, for as long as I can remember. A God that reaches down, a God that appears, a God that shows up--a God that is with us. No matter our crap, our sin, our issues, or our wounds, God is with us. He came down to be with us in the midst of the mess we had become, not to clean it up and make our lives perfect, but to walk with us through it, and give us hope--to show us how to live, how to bring Heaven down. And when He came, he came humbly, quietly. How much we could learn just from that. Today, I hope you feel the quiet presence of the One who came to be with you, and that you know just how very much you are loved. Happy Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Currently: Christmas Eve Edition


Thinking: HOLY MOLY, YOU GUYS. It's Christmas Eve! How did that happen? Where did the year go?

Waiting: for my family to hurry up and get here already. I have no idea what we're going to do when they get here, but I'm getting antsy anyway!

Excited about: Christmas, obviously....but also our yearly tradition of driving to see the Monett Christmas lights! We won't go until the day after Christmas, but I'm already looking forward to it so much.

Listening to: Christmas music, of course! Currently it's Frank, but Bing and Charlie Brown have been making regular appearances too.

Wishing: it would snow for Christmas. Definitely not going to happen, but brief downpour yesterday seems like SUCH a tease. Not nice, Mother Nature. Not nice.

Drinking: Sinless Pastry Coffee, and I'm pretty much in heaven (and really highly caffeinated, because I've had an entire French press' worth....yikes! So good. )

Eating: an entire box of chocolate truffles--because, let's be honest, if I haven't gained ten pounds by the time this week is over, Christmas was a fail, right?

Hoping: You all are having the most wonderful Christmas Eve, seriously. I love this time of year, but I know it can be really hard and stressful for some people. I hope yours is truly the happiest.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Music Monday: 2013 Favorites

2013 was a pretty darn good year for good music--or at least music I like, anyway. Of course, if there's one thing I learned from making this playlist, it's that my musical tastes are all over the place. Laura Marling and CHVRCHES on the same list? I'd call that a decent range. I pulled a song from each of my favorite albums this year, which was incredibly difficult, because some of them were consistently amazing from start to finish. Have a look. Anything you'd add (or remove)?

In no particular order:
  • CHVRCHES, The Bones of What You Believe
  • Volcano Choir, Repave
  • Arcade Fire, Reflektor
  • Lorde, Heroine 
  • Daughter,  If You Leave
  • The Head and the Heart, Let's Be Still
  • BOY, Mutual Friends
  • Tegan and Sara, Hearthrob
  • Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City
  • Laura Marling, Once I Was an Eagle
  • HAIM, Days are Gone
  • Neko Case, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
  • Local Natives, Hummingbird
  • Josh Ritter, The Beast in It's Tracks

Friday, December 20, 2013

December Wishlist

Dec Wishlist

Source: 1//2//3//4//5//6//7//8-original source unknown

1. Again with the raw crystal jewelry, I know. But how pretty is this necklace?

2. HOLD UP. There is a Downton Abbey-inspired cookbook! I'll take 20. 

3. I would probably have to sell a kidney to afford these boots from Anthro, but they're so perfect that I'm seriously considering it. 

4. Maybe I'm just feeling a little girly today, but I think I need this skirt

5. My walls are so full of Christmas decorations right now that I'm not even sure where I would put this print if I got it, but I think I'd find a place. It's lovely.

6. I love metallics. Totally sold on this copper mug

7. White Christmas tea? I'm in love and I haven't even tried it yet.

8. I have skipped past all the fox-related things and I just want a fox. A real one, please. Immediately. Tyler and I have actually talked about getting one when we buy a house (!). I've wanted a pet fox for awhile, but I blame this Instagram account for kicking my obsession into high gear. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cheesy Dill Potato Soup

When I was a kid, my mom made this amazing soup out of a recipe she found in the back of a magazine. Once I was old enough to cook, I started making it too. It's one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. After I went to college, she lost the recipe and eventually I just kinda forgot about it in all the craziness of classes, studying, and roadtrips. It was sometime last year when I remembered Cheesy Dill Potato Soup--and of course, that resulted in an immediate and insatiable craving for it. After scouring the internet for the recipe in vain, I found a cheesy potato soup recipe that was similar, and tweaked it a bit. Now that winter weather is here, I'll be making it quite a bit, and I thought I would share the recipe. I'm pretty sure there's nothing healthy about it, but it's definitely good for the soul....and the taste buds!

You will need:

4 1/2 cups of water
4-5 medium-sized potatoes
1/2 cup of uncooked rice (I use Minute Rice)
3-4 Tbsp dried dill
2 Tbsp chopped onion
2 chicken bullion cubes
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
8 oz Velveeta*, cubed
1/2 c sour cream

*I'm typically one to use generic products because I think it's really dumb to pay more for a virtually identical product (my husband and I get most of our groceries at Aldi, for heaven's sake), but there are sometimes it does make a difference. [Case in point: Cheetos. Generic Cheetos are gross.] This is one of those times. I've tried using generic processed cheese and it results in soup that's overly salty and kind of waxy. So buy Velveeta.



Pour water into a large pot. Peel and cube potatoes and add to water.


Add in rice, dill, onion, bullion cubes, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.


Add in Velveeta cubes and sour cream. Heat and stir until melted, but do not bring back to a boil. You're done! Enjoy!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Project Life Update: Wedding Edition

Tyler went to Lowe's on Saturday, and this is what he saw when he walked back in the apartment:

Oy vey.  When he took this picture,  I was tackling the Goliath task of starting our Project Life wedding album. It only took me about a year and a half to have any of our wedding pictures printed--including the ones we promised our families (yikes. I'm the worst). I actually made quite a bit of progress; all the pictures are actually in the album, and I have several pages completely finished. There are even more that have the PL cards with the pictures, but all the notes and embellishments aren't there quite yet. Overall, I'm pretty proud of the progress, even though this is very much still a beginner's album. What I love about Project Life, though, is that I'll be able to add and update some of the "extras" as I get better at it.

Since they aren't quite finished, I didn't want to post detailed, straight-on shots of my pages, but I'm so excited that I had to at least post some "in progress" pictures. And hey, PL experts (you know who you are!), I'm open to suggestions!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DIY 12 Days of Christmas Calendar

When the Christmas decorations first began appearing, there was a common sight found during every one of our trips to the store: my husband, looking at the Advent calendars. Neither one of us had ever had one growing up, and he really wanted to start that tradition in our home...but we really couldn't find one that we really loved. Some were really cute, but the compartments were barely big enough to fit a single piece of candy in; others were bigger, but not particularly attractive (I like Santa, but I draw the line at creepy Santa. No thank you, ma'm). So I started thinking of ways I could make one. My first thought was to use cardboard tubes, but I wanted something sturdier, so we could use it for several years. While brainstorming, I thought that magnetic spice tins would be a great reusable alternative, but a quick internet search revealed that buying enough for this project would be a little on the pricey side.

I spotted these tins with clear tops in the party favor section of a craft store and thought they would work great. I bought enough for a full Advent calendar, but thought it might be a little overwhelming to do this year (which has been an exceptionally crazy holiday season so far), so I decided to cut it down to a "12 Days of Christmas" calendar instead. It ended up being such a quick, easy, and relatively cheap project!

Materials needed:

Party favor tins (found here)
Adhesive magnets
Magnetic board
Patterned paper (upcycled Christmas cards)
White or light-colored cardstock
Glue or tape
Pen or marker
Extra embellishments as desired

My friends at Tiny Prints sent me these beautiful sample cards to use for this project. The patterns on the backs were adorable and coordinated perfectly with each other. I cut circles from the cards; then I cut smaller circles from white card stock, wrote the numbers on them, and glued them on top of the patterned circles. 

I then placed the circles inside the lids, taping them securely, and attached the adhesive magnets to the backs of the tins. We decided to make our calendar an activity calendar, so I wrote out twelve activity ideas and put one in each tin.

 I also decorated the magnetic board using some extra tinsel we had laying around, as well as some large clothespins and gold & white twine from my scrapbooking stash.

 I arranged the tins on the magnetic board and done! The whole project took less than half an hour, and cost less than $20.  I'm really happy with how it turned out! If you try it yourself, I'd love to see pictures!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Local Loves: London Calling

I might have just fallen in love with a food truck, you guys. It's no secret around here that I'm completely obsessed with anything to do with British history, culture, etc. So when Haley posted a picture from London Calling on her Instagram, I freaked out. I have a strange love for food trucks anyway, but a British food truck? I couldn't wait to try it out. 

We first visited London Calling a couple weeks ago and fell in love with it immediately. The food was amazing (British food gets such a bad rap!) and it's such a friendly place--we ended up talking to Neil, one of the owners, for almost half an hour when he came to tidy up the bus (and yes, he's British).

It's such a fun setup--you order at the food truck and then head to the double-decker bus. The inside has been gutted and booths have been installed to give you a place to eat. These pictures are from our second trip this past weekend. Slick roads and icy parking lots couldn't keep us away. Besides, the bus looks pretty lovely in the snow. 

London Calling specializes in pasties, which I described to my husband as "basically a calzone, but not pizza-filled." They have several varieties, but my personal favorite (so far!) is the bangers & mash. Yum! We tried the Banoffee pie (think banana pudding on crack with a graham cracker crust) and became pretty darn smitten with that too. 

Oh, and I'm not sure how long they'll have it (I'm thinking at least through Christmas, but hopefully through the whole winter), but WASSAIL, you guys. Tyler had never tried wassail, and he was amazed. I could drink that stuff every day. So good!

 Needless to say, we'll be back--often. My England-loving heart (and stomach) is full.

For you locals (or upcoming Springfield visitors!) London Calling is located on the east side of N. Glenstone, between Chestnut and Division. Their hours are Thurs-Sat 10:30am-8:00pm.  You can check out the menu here.

(FYI: This is not a sponsored post. I just think it's really important to support local businesses, especially the ones I love. I want them to stick around, after all!)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Xmas at the Abode

If I'm being honest, I've had most of our Christmas decorations up since the weekend after Halloween, but I thought I would hold off on flooding you guys with pictures--partially out of consideration for Thanksgiving celebrations, and partially because I decided to make some of them and they weren't finished. Actually, they still aren't finished (*gulp*) but I couldn't wait any longer. Here are just a few peeks around the apartment. (I can't show you everything or you'll definitely think I'm a Christmas-obsessed crazy person...although there might be one more little post when I finally finish all those darn decorations!)


Mismatched Christmas trees all day long.



Target knows how to drain my bank account: foxes in scarves!




Clearly I have a very defined Christmas style. It's called, "Yes, I will have all the Christmas things."


I'd love to see how you're decked out for the holidays. If you have any awesome Christmasy photos, leave me a link!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Union Station Holiday

In my Thanksgiving recap post, I had mentioned going to Union Station in Kansas City. We headed down there after the Plaza Lighting Ceremony, and I gasped out loud when we rounded the corner and saw all the decorations. What I would have given to have brought a camera along, but we were stuck with just our little iPhones. It's truly one of the most breathtaking Christmas displays I've ever seen. Okay, enough buildup, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.











There was even Mistletoe! Mistletoe! If you're feeling a little grinchy this year, I guarantee that you'll be cured after about five minutes in Union Station. So pretty. Kansas City is pretty swell.

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