Friday, January 31, 2014


Watching: Downton Abbey! I preordered Season 4--waiting for a new episode every week has been KILLING me!--so I'm having a marathon today and finishing up. So far, it's been amazing; there is one episode with Mary, and I just can't even. SO GOOD. I won't post any spoilers, though, don't worry!

Eating: overly expensive Scottish shortbread cookies that I bought almost entirely for the Downton Abbey tin they came in. Obsessed, I tell you.

Drinking: Earl Grey Creme tea from Teavana. I hate that I love Teavana teas, because I hate shopping there (they are SO PUSHY). This tea, though. It's one of my favorite things on the planet. So good!

Reading: I've almost finished These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf. I really didn't expect it to finish it first of all the books I'm reading, but it has grabbed me and won't let go.

Working on: Project Life. Always. I have taken on the Goliath task of not only making a wedding album (which is really coming along pretty quickly, thank goodness--probably because it's the most enjoyable of the albums I'm working on) but also a weekly album for this year AND attempting to go back and make an album of highlights from 2013, since it was our first full year of marriage. I spent about $70 on pictures at Walgreens yesterday. I'm clearly insane.

Excited about: the fact that I may or may not be getting another tattoo in a week. Eeeeee!

Wishing: my momma was here already! She is coming to visit for the weekend though. She planned on coming last weekend, but I had gotten sick during the week, so we postponed it. We've gone back and forth about her coming since the weather is supposed to be a little unpredictable this weekend, but it looks like she'll be here tonight!  Now, to clean the apartment....

Thursday, January 23, 2014

On My Reading List

It's been a while since I've posted an update on my current readings. The books have changed, but the chaos remains--I'm still reading a bunch at once. Is it bad that I also have about ten sitting in an Amazon wishlist? Oh well. No apologies. Here's what you'll find me reading through lately:

1. East of the Mountains by David Guterson. I haven't gotten very far into this yet, but I loved Snow Falling on Cedars and The Other (which remains one of my favorite novels of all time). His descriptions of the Northwest are beautiful, and I can already tell that this book--about a man diagnosed with terminal cancer who goes off into the forest to end his life--is going to wreck me.

2.  These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf. Gudenkauf's first book, The Weight of Silence is always on my list of books to give people looking for reading recommendations. I love books that keep me guessing, trying to predict the ending, and this is definitely one of those.  Don't worry, though, I won't give away any possible spoilers by divulging my guesses. 

3. Foxfire #1 by Eliot Wigginton. My mom got me the first two books in this series (which I've been coveting for awhile now) for Christmas. These are my go-to for a quick read; if you aren't familiar with them, the Foxfire books are a series of articles about rural Appalachia. They were produced in the 70s by Eliot Wigginton, who was an English teacher; the articles were written by his class as part of a project and include interviews with locals about daily life, history, folklore, and instructions on everything from blacksmithing to natural medicine. They're incredibly interesting. 

4. Plantagenet England by Michael Prestwich. This really doesn't need an explanation.  Right now I'm reading about the weather in the 1200s and loving every second. (And yes, the book is so comprehensive it addresses the weather.)

5.  The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). As much as I love crime dramas on television, I really don't like reading them much (with the notable exception of my John Grisham phase in high school). This just might be the one that changes my mind, though. I also got this one for Christmas, so I'm not too far in, but I'm definitely hooked. If I had to guess, I would say this will be the book I finish first. Unless, that is, you count.....

6. Locke & Key #5: Clockworks by Joe Hill. I know this is going to come out eventually, so I'll just cop to it now: Tyler has managed to get me interested in graphic novels. Before you go all Judgey McJudgerson like I did, just know that (1) there are no superheros involved and (2) this is written by Stephen King's son. Yes, it's a little bit out there (you caught the part where it was written by Stephen King's son, right?), but it's good, you guys. Stop looking at me like that. 

I think The Fault in Our Stars by John Green will be joining this list next. I'm open to suggestions, too. What are you reading now? 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

“A day, a livelong day, is not one thing but many. It changes not only in growing light toward zenith and decline again, but in texture and mood, in tone and meaning, warped by a thousand factors of season, of heat or cold, of still or multi winds, torqued by odors, tastes, and the fabrics of ice or grass, of bud or leaf or black-drawn naked limbs. And as a day changes so do its subjects, bugs and birds, cates, dogs, butterflies and people.”  John Steinbeck

Monday, January 20, 2014

I miss England.

It's official: I miss England terribly. I more than miss it; I long for it--in that awful way that makes your insides all achy and your heart too heavy. I'm homesick for it, and I've never lived there...but to be honest, I felt homesick for it before I even visited. And when I did visit? I felt home. More home than I've ever felt anywhere else. (I was seriously considering reincarnation as a viable explanation there for awhile.) It was weird. I won't lie, I cried on the plane back to the States.

The biggest thing about England, to me, was feeling like I was walking through history every moment I was there. I wandered in and out of buildings older than my country. I walked through doorways where monarchs had crossed and read the inscriptions where they were buried. I saw ceremonies that had been conducted for hundreds of years. It's a country of ritual and consistency. Some might view that as stale or oppressive, but it's so comforting to me. So steady. And for a few days, I was a part of the hum that stretched back thousands of years. I don't feel that here. Everything feels so rushed and monotonous. I feel free and individual, but I don't feel like a part of a grander history--at least not as much as I did there, for just a week. I felt like I belonged.

I know it sounds like maybe I'm ungrateful, but I'm not. I live in a wonderful country for the most part, and I'm lucky. I know that. I just feel displaced--like you feel when you go to stay in a hotel on vacation. It's great, and sometimes really fun, but it isn't where you're most comfortable. You can get used to it if you're there awhile, but something is still pulling you to where you belong. That, inexplicably, is how I feel about England. It waxes and wanes, but lately the pull has been stronger than usual.

And this--this is the sticking point every time: what do I do with that? Do we plan a vacation? A move? I've been planning a trip for us, but when I break down what it will cost us to be there for a couple weeks, spending that much money on a vacation seems irresponsible--especially when you consider that we're at the stage where we're thinking about buying a house and starting a family. A move would be the dream, but getting a visa, by all accounts, is akin to running the gauntlet; I know a girl who married an Englishman, and she still waited almost a year for hers to be approved. So the likelihood is small, and the thought of the place I love most and want to live in so badly not wanting me would be incredibly hard to stomach.

I guess I feel trapped. I keep hearing the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery repeating over and over: "A goal without a plan is just a wish." Ouch. (Also, I have a bit of a cold, so I'm feeling especially whiny today.) I need to feel some movement, but I don't know which direction to move in--so I move in a million different directions and get nowhere, really. Researching and reading and dreaming is wonderful, but it's becoming less and less enough. 

Okay, the more I write about it, the more this starts to sound more like a whiny journal entry than a blog post, and I'm not going to be one of those people. If anyone has any ideas, thoughts, or opinions (or better yet, experience relocating to another country!), feel free to leave it below.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


I've wanted to throw together one of these "10 Things" posts for awhile, but it never seemed to fit into my blog schedule (or writing schedule--this was harder and more time-consuming than it ever should have been!). I've conquered the beast, though, so I'm just a couple months behind the curve. Whatevs. This is my blog; I do what I want! Right? Right. Here goes!

1. I'm older than my husband by a little over a year and three months--which is exactly how much older my grandmother was than my grandfather.

2. I got a perfect score on the English portion of the ACT (a fact you would not be able to tell from reading this blog) and missed a perfect score on the reading portion by one point. We will not discuss my math score. Hashtag right-brained.

3.  I wish I could eat salads, but I HATE the texture of lettuce. It's like nails on a chalkboard to me. It squeaks when I chew it, and it gives me literal goosebumps. Bah! Truthfully, most of the foods I dislike, I dislike because of their texture rather than taste--but then, on the flip side, there are foods that I like primarily because they have a weird texture. Totally subjective.

4. I have really really terrible temporal awareness. If you bring up something that happened, I can tell you it happened in the past, but I honestly can't tell you if it was three weeks ago or three months ago. I can get close if I really think about it and have good reference points to link to it, but it's extremely hard for me.  Example: I was talking to someone about chopping my hair off last summer, and I swore I did it in August. Nope, June. Two whole months off.

5. I am cold roughly 92% of the time.

6. I have a super severe clown phobia. People joke and laugh about it a lot because it is objectively a rather silly thing to be afraid of, but it's definitely not funny when one is around--or even a picture of one.  If I know to expect it, I can handle it, but if it catches me off guard, ohhhh boy. Tyler used to tease me about it until one day I was reading with the TV on and happened to glance up at the exact moment that an exceptionally creepy clown popped up. I burst into tears and started shaking. It's bad. My second greatest fear is the thought of waking up to someone standing over me. Jibblies. I blame too many episodes of SVU for that one.

7. Speaking of crying over things on television, I get waaaaaaay emotionally attached to fictional characters. Downton Abbey is like emotional torture that I can't quit. (Sunday's episode? What.the.actual.hell?) Of course, it's not just television, either. Some books have scarred me (um, still upset about Dumbledore) and there have been others that I've stopped reading because I've gotten so involved that I start to literally get depressed (I'm looking at you, Faulkner. As I Lay Dying almost sent me over the edge.)

8. In my head, every girl I know online, or know of (even if I've seen pictures of them!) is the same height as I am.  As a result, any time I meet up with internet gal pals, I'm always surprised at how tall they seem--because, let's face it, I'm 5'4", so they're always taller than me.

9.  This is something I don't talk about a lot--mainly because I HATE the thought of anyone feeling sorry for me, and also because I had some people say some really crappy things about me when it was happening--but I'm starting to be more open about it. When I was a kid, I had a lot of really diffuse health issues that lead to a myriad of medical tests and a diagnosis that finally came (after years of uncertainty) when I was in junior high. That diagnosis also came with a very difficult qualifier for a young, miserably sick kid to hear:  "incurable." Here's why you shouldn't feel sorry for me, though: my symptoms started inexplicably disappearing when I was seventeen. I mean, I'm not going to jinx myself by saying I'm cured, but......

10. I have a book-buying compulsion that is all my mom's fault. She read to me all the time--I had books memorized at age two, and she started teaching me to actually read when I was between three and four. When I was a kid, I had a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf in my room, packed with books--I read every one. During the summer, my mom would take my brother and I to the library, and I would fill up my card and check out one or two on hers too.  I think it's because of those summers (and also maybe because I watched Beauty and the Beast one too many times as a child), but I will honestly have a library in my house someday. With over 650 books now, I'd say I'm well on my way. Now if I can just get them all read....yipes!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Click Over.

I had a post scheduled for today, but I'll post it later. Instead, I want you to click on over to Mushaboom and read this post--it's very possibly one of the most important things I've read recently.

Read it.


Monday, January 13, 2014

To the guy:

To the guy who has more integrity than most anyone I've ever known--
To the guy who takes care of me when I'm sick--
To the guy who encourages all my projects, interests, and whims--
To the guy who brings me extra blankets when I fall asleep on the couch--
To the guy who is loyal, caring, and generous beyond words--
To the guy who tells me I'm pretty when I'm in sweatpants--
To the guy who puts up with my weirdness--
To the guy who makes all my days better--
To the guy who loves me even when I don't deserve it--
To my guy--

Happy happy birthday, Tyler. I love you beyond words, and I hope this year is even better than all the ones before it. You're my One.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Week Weirdness and La Television.

The past week was.....weird. We had a bunch of crazy winter weather that led to a snow day on Monday and a really slow work week after that. Our afternoon program closes if our local school district is closed--which it was, every day except Wednesday--and all of my individual clients were either sick or iced in. Of course, I had to be at work anyway, so I spent most of the week scraping together things to do for ten hours every day. Don't get me wrong, it was a nice way to ease back into work after Christmas break, but having almost three weeks without a typical work day kinda threw me off. Hopefully this week will have me back in the swing of things, and that will be reflected in a bit more regular posting schedule around here.

Okay. Now on to more important things.

I wish I could say that my weird work week led to a lot of productivity, but really I just watched a ton of television and took some naps. #reallife #ijusthashtaggedablogpost I know that binge-watching SVU and Catfish isn't that exciting, but (1) Downton Abbey is baaaaaaaaaack and (2) Tyler and I just starting watching THIS:


Yeah, yeah, I know--I'm way behind the curve on this one, but we don't have HBO, and I'm generally disinclined to spend $50 on a television season if I don't even know whether I'll like it or not. (Although since Game of Thrones is based on the Wars of the Roses, I should have known.) I started asking around, though, and not one single person had anything but glowing Best Buy had the first season on sale for $30, so we jumped on the bandwagon. Well, we ran for several miles to catch up TO the bandwagon, and then jumped on. Boy, though, are we sold. We were totally hooked within--literally--the first three minutes. (Side note: I've heard GoT jokingly referred to as "Dragons & Boobies" and while I can testify to the generous amount of boob shots, I'm still waiting for the dragons. Also, Jason Momoa looks like a centaur.) 

So back to Downton Abbey (because apparently not blogging for a week means I'm totally scattered and just going to jump from topic to topic, mmkay?): who's watching? Downton is my jam. I was glued to the television last week, and we're just a couple hours away from seeing me wrestle the remote (or, from the looks of it, the Xbox controller) from Tyler. Hooray! If you're a fan, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this season so far. I jotted a few of mine down last week and thought I'd share them (mainly so I can laugh at how they'll undoubtedly change over the course of the season). No spoilers, don't worry!

1) Lord Grantham is getting on my nerves so far this season. What's with the cranky-pants?
2) Mrs. Hughes is the most underrated character on television. I love her friendship with Carson.
3) Mosely was seriously breaking my heart. Actual tears, you guys.
5) Rose is t-r-o-u-b-l-e. 
6) That last moment with Carson & Mary--perfect. More actual tears.
7) If Julian Fellowes kills another character, it has sure as heck better be Thomas. Does anyone actually like that guy?
8) Maggie Smith is utterly brilliant. Dowager Countess always. 
9) I really really really just adore Carson.

Anyone else? I hereby grant my permission for the comment section to become a full-fledged geekfest for Downton (or Game of Thrones, whatever). If you're a UK reader, just know that here in the States, we're only watching episode two tonight, so please, no spoilers! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Beat the Winter Blues

It's been more than a bit dreary around here lately--freezing and snowy. While snow is pretty to look at, it also has a tendency to keep us cooped up in the apartment, especially when the roads are bad and the wind chill is well below zero. Being cooped up generally leads to cabin fever, which kinda bums me out a little. I grew up on 40 acres in the country; I need to be outside regularly to be happy (and sane!). Monday, that just wasn't happening, though; I'm brave, but not brave enough for a -25 windchill and unsalted roads. (Side note: I have family in Alaska that are probably laughing at me right now with their winter -50 actual temps!) Two days in a row without being outside might not seem like much, but it was starting to really get to me by Monday afternoon (besides, there's a difference between deciding to stay in for a couple days and not having a choice, amiright?). Instead of moping, I decided to make a peppy playlist and blare it while finding things to occupy my time--which may or may not have included dancing around the apartment. I thought I'd share in case you're fighting a case of the winter blues yourself.

Mobile link: click here

The New Year So Far


2014 started out pretty slow for us around here. Our New Year's Eve plans didn't involve any wild parties or even watching the ball drop, if we're being honest. The mister played video games and I read British history books all evening. We did manage to stay awake until midnight, welcome the new year with a kiss,  and have a few sips of champagne before we wearily dragged ourselves into bed (at roughtly 12:10). I swear, we're 80 under our 20-something-year-old exteriors.

New Year's Day I celebrated a little bit more--with some Hurts Donuts and a very long, very candle-and-champagne reinforced bubble bath. Sometimes I really have to force myself to slow down and relax. I usually have about a million different projects going at once, and I always feel the need to be working on something. Wednesday, though, I left the laundry in the hamper, the dishes in the sink, and the Project Life stuff disorganized (and also the blog posts unwritten, as you may have noticed. No regrets!) and just existed for a little while. Okay, I may have read a bit, too, but that could hardly count as being productive.

Friday I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Layne, another Springfield blogger, and chatting over coffee for a couple hours. We may have ended up venturing to a couple thrift stores, too.......maybe. (Layne blogs at The Room Journal, a wonderful DIY home design blog that is genuinely one of my favorite reads. Definitely check her out if you have an extra few minutes. She recently painted the floors in her bedroom white, and I'm obsessed with them!) As we were talking, I kept thinking of a C.S. Lewis quote I had seen“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: 'What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .'” We definitely had more than a couple "You too?" moments during our conversation, and I see many more thrifting adventures in our future. So grateful for new friendships!


Probably because I caught the thrifting bug the day before, Tyler and I ended up at Relics on Saturday. We browsed around a bit, but ended up leaving before we got through the whole place (blasphemy, I know, but it's HUGE). We had spent the morning battling the crowds to get some essentials before the big winter storm that came through Sunday (because concealer and a kitchen utensil container totally count as essentials, right?), so I was a bit worn out. I'm glad we braved the crowds, though, because we got more than a little bit of snow and our roads are horrible, even today. I watched an interview with someone at the Dept of Transportation who said that it could be Tuesday before they make any headway on the roads at all because the temperatures are rendering the salt & chemicals useless. How to people in northern states survive? We have a -25 windchill, too, so if I'm being honest, I'm a little relieved that my clients cancelled and our afternoon program closed today. Even if I have to use the last of my vacation hours, I'm taking a snow day. I just hope winter calms down for a while! Or we could just fast-forward to spring, and I'd be okay with that, too. 


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014: Goals.

Happy 2014! I remember writing a goals post last January, and just how hard it was to come up with resolutions for the new year. It wasn't that my life was perfect (far from it!) but I really had so little meaningful direction. The result was some really generic, boring, broad goals that didn't really mean a lot to me and that (big surprise) I didn't make much progress with. This year seems different, though. I sat down to think about what I wanted out of this year, and the goals started flowing--so many that it's a little overwhelming for a post. Most of them are small goals, though, so they're very doable, but I decided to post only the most important ones (I mean, really, who cares about me cooking a new recipe once a month or paying down my student loans? Snooze.)  So here they are: (the best of) my 2014 resolutions.

1. Journal consistently: When I started blogging, I all but dropped the journaling habit that I had nurtured fairly regularly since I was in third grade. My journal basically just became an outlet for the venting I couldn't (read: wouldn't) do online. As a result, my journal is spotty and pretty negative, and I hate that. I really want to get back into the routine of journaling every day, but I would even settle for once a week.

2. Blog less consistently: So basically, the opposite of every other blogger's resolution. Here's the thing--I love blogging, I really do. I love the discipline, the creative outlet...but it's a little bit controlling. Blogging is not my job, so there's really no reason for me to post five times a week unless I really have something to say. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I'm struggling to come up with ideas...which usually results in sub-par (at least in my evaluation) posts. Also, stress. When we got a call about changing Christmas plans with Tyler's family fairly last-minute last Friday, one of the first things I thought about was when I was going to get my blogging done for this week. THAT IS DUMB. So I'm backing off a little bit, because when it starts to affect my *actual* life that much, it's so not worth it. Like I said, I really love blogging, so I'll still be around (probably quite a bit), but if I need to go a few days without posting, I'm not going to stress about it.

3. Go off-grid one night a week: My husband is going to hate this, but we need it. I can't remember the last time we had dinner without our phones, and it gets really annoying. I annoy myself, even when I'm doing it. I know there's no way I'm going to get him to agree a whole day without technology, so I won't even try for that. But one night a week, when we get home from work, the phones are down, the TV (and the Xbox!) is off, and we're disconnected from the outside world for the evening. I *might* let us use electricity instead of candles....maybe. ;)

4. Intentionally nurture friendships: This is sad and a little bit embarrassing to admit, but I do most of my interacting with friends online or in text messages. To an extent, that's necessary, because most of my friends don't live in Springfield anymore, but I don't want that to be all there is. I also really want to build new friendships with people around town, because sometimes you just need a good girlfriend around to grab coffee with, amirite? I actually have started making plans to hang out with a couple super sweet gals that I've "met" through blogging/Instagram/random run-ins, and it's a little pathetic how excited I am about it.

5. Stop comparing myself: The internet is a double-edged sword, I tell you. There is so much beauty out there, and so much to learn from other people that we would have never connected with otherwise, but sheesh. All these meticulously curated portrayals of other people's lives can start to mess with even the most confident of us eventually. I'm definitely guilty of it, even though I realize how ridiculous it is to be jealous of someone's flawless skin (almost certainly thanks to Photoshop or a bajillion Afterlight filters) or feel "behind" because I don't have a house and a baby yet. Again, DUMB.  So I'm going to work on knocking that off.

Those are the biggies. I'd love to hear what you're working on this year, so feel free to leave a link!

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