Silent nights and twinkling lights.

There's something inherently enchanting about a cold, silent and still, winter evening when all you can see are small twinkling lights and all you can hear is the pounding of your feet and the sound of your breath. I've discovered a new found love of jogging in the dark, which is typically thought to be an absolute no n0 on my scale of risk taking. Let me not fool anyone here. I'm most certainly not a runner. On occasion, should the inspiration hit, I will throw on a pair of sneakers and take them around the block, which is precisely what I've done a few times this week.

There's something so magical about running at night in the dark of early evening this time of year. Perhaps it's the ambiance created by all of those small, mini Christmas lights everyone has decorating the outside of their homes. Or maybe it's the lack of crickets, a sound I love during summer, but one which creates an entirely new experience during winter where once there was sound and now there is silence.

Did I mention all of those twinkling lights? I'm in love. So much pretty to look at, it hurts my eyes. Aaaand simultaneously makes me want to purchase about 10 more strands of lights, garland, wreaths, and bows. No, really. I've been having to resist the urge. Now that we have what I consider our first "real" house, it has taken all that I have not rack up a little bit more holiday cheer on my credit card.

But as I've been pounding the pavement, I've been playing a game of thankfulness. Even during this time of year, when spending is an expected indulgence, I'm trying to remember what really matters in life. And here's a surprise. It's really not about how beautiful the outside of your house looks. Or the inside, for that matter.

So, without further adieu, here's our sad little display of lights. It's not all. But it's something. There may just be a few more strands popping up by the end of the season, but nothing over the top. It's unlike that anyone will drive by and stop to admire our display but that's okay. I'll just stop to admire theirs and I'm perfectly okay with that for now. 

Merry Christmas!

A recap: turkey & thanks for giving 2013.

Thank goodness my mom was here to assist in the turkey preparations because there was absolutely no way I was sticking my hand in that raw, beheaded bird. Oh, and did I mention the story of how we ended up with two? For the sake of posterity, I will explain.

I'm a complete novice when it comes to purchasing a turkey. I'm vaguely aware that there are two key differences: fresh or frozen. After milling around the grocery store for a good two hours, about a week or so ago, I went over to those vast bins in the meat department and proceeded to select a turkey. I had a coupon for Butterball, so I immediately zoned in on that brand and started by searching the tags for the right weight. When I felt confident in my selection, I lifted the 18 pounds by that little mesh loop they so kindly provide for easy maneuverability. Into the cart it went and soon enough I found myself shoving the bird into my refrigerator's freezer. That's when I noticed it.

It didn't quite feel rock hard. The outside of the bird felt.. soft. Like it had thawed a bit. I immediately called my mom, a bird buying pro, and asked if that was normal. She assured me that no, after all her years of buying turkeys, they're always distinctively solid and cold.

So then I called the grocery store to make sure I wasn't losing my mind. The meat department guy confirmed that yes, those bins are freezers.

And then, to the exasperation of my husband's nerves, I continued to worry and discuss my angst over the possible spoiled turkey. I mean really. What is more critical to hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner than the centerpiece itself!?

Eventually, at the insistence of my husband, a second bird was purchased. And for the record, the second bird, much to my relief, turned out just fine.


A brief picture diary of the day/evening:

Champagne gelee cocktail, to kick start the day. Recipe available here.
Delicious, freshly plucked pomegranates.
Finally, an excuse to bring out my PotteryBarn cheese markers.
My loving husband & I.

My beautiful sisters & mom. Sorry Dad & Brandon, somehow you managed to escape my camera's flash.
The table, prior to the serving of the main dish. And the mock "kids table" for my youngest sister. HILARIOUS doesn't even begin to describe her reaction :)

A late Thanksgiving dinner makes for the perfect ambiance.

A tinkling of glasses and the beginning of a beautiful evening.

Hostess with the mostest.

This will be the first year that I attempt to host Thanksgiving for my family. They've all packed into their cars and have set out towards Ohio. The anticipation is killing me.  I couldn't be more excited for their arrival! While I'm a complete amateur at all things cooking and decorating, I did try my best to throw together a few items I already own for our dinner soirée. Seen here, ceramic cups used as flower vases, spray painted bird salt and pepper shakers, and my wedding china... in all its glory. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!



Artsy smartsy.

I have a deep appreciation for those quirky, a little off their rockers, type of people. You know the kind. The oval shaped ones. No squares here.

Sometimes you're good at something but lack passion. I think that might be my issue. Or else, maybe I'm just really, really lazy. I posted about my artistic abilities in this post here and haven't lifted a pencil since. Why? Well, I can't quite put my finger on it.

I'm drawn to artsy people though. I admire them from afar, anyway, like some type of tropical flower that needs closer inspection. I think I admire their courage to be different the most. Maybe that's my problem. Maybe I lack courage. Maybe I've been trying so hard to blend in that it's inhibiting my true abilities. Blame it on the red hair. I like to think on a subconscious level I'm aware of my inability to completely blend into a crowd. So maybe it's a self esteem issue then?

Maybe I like to keep my artistic abilities locked up inside, away from prying eyes, because I lack the self-esteem to proudly prance around announcing how different I am.

Oh my. If that's the case, I feel sad...for me. 

Or maybe, as I said before, I just lack passion. If I truly loved doing something, wouldn't I be doing it? Even if it was just in the privacy of my own home?

I may not paint on canvas, but I do love painting for hours on end those little holiday, under the Christmas tree, village houses.  I also do occasionally enjoy pretending to be a photographer. Or dipping my toes into the DIY world every now and then. And I'm clearly not too embarrassed to post my random writings on the internet.

Although, admittedly, I've never really truly tried to be a great blogger. Just look at those huge gaping time lapses between posts. Or the fact that I don't have sponsors, or buttons, or an incredible layout and graphics. Or, followers. Ha ha. In fact, I'm surprised you're even reading this right now! Thank you for taking a liking to my half-assed attempt at blogging.

Half-assed. I think that's my problem. I really like people who go in with their whole ass because I'm only ever giving it a half-assed attempt. Maybe if you don't ever truly try, then you can never truly fail. Mmm.. I think I might be onto something.

What do you think?

Why in the hell....?!

"Jesus, Mary and Joseph!"


"Christ all mighty!" 

It's been awhile since I've posted a random pondering of mine. And, well, here's one for you. This whole business of using the Lord's name in vain. Did you ever stop and think about what it is people are actually muttering, spluttering or cursing? It's ludicrous really. And I want to know how it started.

Maybe it began as an actual prayer. As in, something happened and someone yelled out in a moment of desperation for assistance... "Oh, God. Help me!" And then perhaps over centuries it somehow evolved into a mere muttering under the breath. More like an "Oh for Christ's sake." Grrrr.

That grr changed everything.

Or maybe people just started using all of these names in vain because they were told not to do it. Kind of like if you tell me I'm never allowed to eat cheese again and then how ALL I WANT TO DO IS EAT CHEESE afterwards.

Who knows?

No, really...who actually knows the reason? I'm curious and my husband was incapable of procuring a satisfactory answer to my random inquiry last night as we were attempting to go to bed :)

Good morning.

I know everyone thinks that there puppy is the cutest, but really.. my dog is the cutest. I win. I win. I win. How can you not fall in love with this little poochey face greeting you every morning? Did I mention she's a snuggler? Like, under the covers, in between that little crook in your arm, snuggler. She's perfect.

Minus that whole house training thing. We still have mistakes every now and then.

But ohhh, that face.

I give up. The face wins. She's perfect.

Red, like love.


I don't know about you but, as of late, I've had to resist the urge to pull over on the side of the road like a crazy lady and take random photographs of all the vibrant yellows, burnt oranges and brilliant reds flying on the trees. But alas, I've kept my inner photographer at bay. I did manage to sneak a photo of the above specimen from my neighbor's yard. And they're e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. Those reds. I swear I really don't remember these incredibly bright colors in past years. How can you not enjoy the temporary myriad of colors? They somehow manage to make even a dark, stormy Fall day beautiful.

Ps. No, there was no tweaking of colors or contrasts digitally in these photographs. Clearly, from my slight overexposure, I think that's probably obvious. But you know, just in case you were wondering, these photos are au naturale.

Pure Michigan.

Oh my sad, sad little blog. How I've neglected you as of late. But really, was I ever a "good" blogger? I think not. Long lapses between posts are pretty much the norm on this side of the Mississippi. Did I spell that right? Oh hell, I hope I spelled that right.

Anwaaaaay. We did have a quite successful little vacay for ourselves in Pure Michigan. Not just Michigan. Pure Michigan, as those commercials always say. We absolutely loved it. I'm pretty sure Glen Arbor, MI is the most quaint, adorable town I've ever visited and we pretty much struck gold staying at the Homestead Resort. Because we showed up at the ass end of Labor Day weekend, we just caught the crowds dissipating and then mostly had the place to ourselves for the rest of the week. No complaints here! We lucked out with weather for about half of our stay. Having a bit of a cold, autumn breeze didn't feel so bad when you're looking to cozy up to a fire though. Between the adorable grocery store and restaurants in our resort to the local coffee shop and taverns, both my husband and I couldn't have been happier. Did I mention sand dunes, boat rides, crystal clear caribbean blue lake water (I didn't even know that was possible?!) and amazing rustic accommodations. Okay, I say rustic but it was really quite normal. Just a bit cabin-like in decor. Then we changed rooms mid-way through the week, which I had planned ahead of time, so that the second half of our stay we had a huge soaking tub in the middle of our bedroom. Enough said.

Part of my lollygaggin around with posting this update is because I can't figure out for the life of me how to get my photos from VSCO to blogger without uploading one at a time. If anyone has any secret tidbits on how to get around this, please do share!

And in the meantime, please excuse my obsessiveness with american flags and ominous skies. These somehow became my favorite spectacles during our trip. A few highlights below...

And that's all she wrote folks.

Gently bubbling.

I may be getting a wee bit ahead of myself with all of these ramblings about autumn scented this and pumpkin flavored that. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hot and sunny August afternoons, besides those tiresome neeeever eeeeending 85 degree temperatures outside. 

So in the spirit of a slowly fading Summer (yay?), I'd like to show off one of my new besties. Her name is Organic Elderflower Presse. Doesn't she just sound sweet and lovely? We first met at Fresh Market. If you're not yet acquainted with this chain of grocery store, I highly recommend you try one... should you find yourself so lucky to live in proximity that is.

Now, bare in mind that Organic Elderflower Presse and I are still getting to know each other.  Out of common courtesy, I ask that you please don't inquire about the specifics pertaining to elderflower. I really couldn't say. I can definitively tell you, however, that this lovely drink tastes and looks a lot like lemonade. A brilliantly delicious lemonade perfect for late August afternoons.

Hence, my lemon prop :)

The next chapter: Autumn in a new neighborhood.

We're moving! Again. We'll officially be... well, not quite homeowners, but homerenters. I've been having some lofty dreams about our soon-to-be home. It has a driveway. It has a fireplace. It'll have a hose... a hose! If a hose doesn't excite you, well, it's just because you haven't lived in a house for three years which doesn't have a hookup for one which means you haven't had the pleasure of jumping over your neighbor's chain link fence every evening to borrow their hose. Did I mention three years? Amen to nice neighbors. 

But back to the house. It'll be in an actual neighborhood with sidewalks. I've been longing for this since... oh, forever. A house in the burbs. Hubby and I decided we weren't feeling permanently sure of our location out here in Ohioland enough to buy a house so we decided to give renting a whirl. There's only one small upside to living in an area where you have no family ties and that's the fact that anywhere is an option. There's a pretty large radius we were able to consider AND since we've already done the city route, we had no qualms about being "out there." Hence, a house in the sort-of middle of nowhere.

I can't wait for trick-or-treaters. For real though. Walks around the neighborhood with Teacup in tow. Washing cars, in our very own driveway. Entertaining at the house. Gardening. Mums! Oh, I'm sooo excited for mums. And this image, which I've become obsessed with conjuring up: The warm and cozy smell of Autumn scented candles. Fire roaring (not sure if this fireplace quite "roars" but you know, we'll go with it). Sunday night football. Wings in the oven. Maybe some beer? Something amazing and season like though -pumpkin something or other, for sure. Crisp, cool, Fall day. Beautiful blue skies. Pumpkin lattes. Bike rides. Orchards. Sweaters. Pumpkin pies. Ok, ok...

I digress.
So you get the gist. We're excited. So excited in fact that I've almost completely overlooked a little something special that my husband and I have planned for Labor Day. Ah, things are looking good! Life is really, really good.


Sail away with me.

Image available for purchase here.
Something feels different about today. The crickets are chirping their soothing songs of summer and the weather is caressing my face with her sweet embrace. The air is tinged with the subtle crisp of a summer's day cooling and the sky above, both overcast and ominous, soon promises the soft sound of rain drops. It's like Fall, in July, and I want pj's and parcheesi. I want my husband close and a fort of blankets on the family room floor, like languid days of yesterday. I want the soft melodies of David Gray and no worries of tomorrow. Tomorrow, the memories of today I will keep.
[Insert photo of parcheesi, purchased today, for memories tomorrow]

A time to remember: Holly Golightly and I.

I've never been more miserable than those first few months, post collegiate career. I have distinct memories of first staying, as a temporary squatter, at my sister's college apartment (which should respectfully be noted to have turned out quite charming once she moved in the following Fall). When I was there, this was not so. In the heat of June, with no air conditioning, no furniture or decor to speak of, with the exception of an ironing board permanently laid open in the middle of the floor, charm was not a term I would have used. I can still remember the feel of that thick woolly carpet, the childhood mattress on the floor and the loud whirl of the fan which was almost always directed at my face like some kind of ironic hair commercial. No internet. No cable. No friends. Those were my minimalist days. There was one hot evening in particular which found me huddled in the near dark, save the small overhead kitchen light, crying helplessly over the phone to my mom about how desperately I wanted to quit my first real big girl job. I needed her approval, even then, when I had supposedly moved out and was officially on my own. I begged for her approval. That small office with its florescent lights and the constant call for me to pick up the phone. The coffee I tried to convince myself I liked. The co-workers, all like myself, either vulnerable or stupid enough to agree to such a miserable position. My high school friends, the wiser of the bunch, had moved home and I was transfixed... no, no, that would be putting it lightly... I was obsessed with the image of them, all together, gossiping, drinking summer cocktails, and floating their long, lazy days of summer aimlessly away in the cool waters of their parent's swimming pool. How I wanted to be them. What I would have given for my mom to have convinced me it was a good decision, and not the other way around. 

I eventually moved. An upgrade, albeit a small one. A studio apartment, all of 400 sq. ft, in the same town. Not some borrowed space which my younger sister was to later inhabit. I still had no internet. No cable. I couldn't yet afford such luxuries. But I did have air conditioning and I was tremendously grateful to hear the soft hum of an old wall unit rather than the constant breeze and swirl of a noisy fan. It was mine. And one of the first things I did was to purchase the cheapest DVD player I could find. The second act of independence was to buy Breakfast at Tiffany's. Audrey Hepburn was to become my new roommate. She greeted me from a long, tedious, mind numbing day at the office. She entertained and dazzled as I made dinner and ate it hunched over alone at my table for two. She was my constant background noise during a time in which I had little else. I don't look back on those days with particular envy. I endured a job I hated, lived in a room in which only a narrow escape existed between my couch (graduation gift) and bed (childhood mattress). I couldn't afford proper entertainment. I couldn't really afford much of anything.

It's funny then, how it struck me at work today, to hear Tom Petty's "Learning to Fly" lyrics belt out over our little docking station's speakers. It was a song which played during the movie trailer for Elizabethtown. I never actually saw the movie, but in the Breakfast at Tiffany's edition I own, it's a trailer which runs prior to the movie menu screen. Inadvertently, this movie trailer also became one small tid bit of my evening routine as I played that DVD endlessly over and over. What's funny is not that the song reminds me of the movie and that the movie reminds me of my time during which I lived alone in that tiny studio apartment. That line of thought is pretty cohesive I'd say. What's funny is that I hear that song and it actually brings back good feelings. It's the warm and cozy embrace of nostalgia. It's as if my heart remembers that horrible time and resonates it back to my mind as a fond memory. 

Image found here.
But honest to goodness, I'm prepared to turn on that long forgotten DVD player and reminisce about the days I supposedly hated. To Audrey, in all of her glamour. To honor a time in life when every aspect is a little, a lot, bit chaotic, but is simultaneously, spectacularly, remarkable. Much like Holly Golightly. Not at all entirely figured out but still living. Truly, really living

Elbow pads.

Oh me, oh my. Look at this little corner I forgot all about! Neglected, that's one word that comes to mind. Sorry beetles. I guess I've just been carried away with life, not minding the absence of documenting tid bits here and there. But no mind you. I'm still here kickin'.

A brief briefing:

Loving Passion Pit, Carried Away. It reminds me of work. Grooveshark it.

I work at Red Bull now. Well, actually, one of their distribution centers. I also love that too. And the fact that I get to jam out all day to whatever music my little heart desires... like Passion Pit. On an iPod with speakers in the lobby. Oh yes.

I'm slowly falling in love with country music. I know, I know. Dont' get me started. I caught myself actually trying to convince my sisters that it was worth listening to and I may have accidentally sent them an email with a link to all of my favorite songs.. 2 minutes ago. Oops.

We went to a comedy club tonight. The headliner was a skinny, bearded, hipster and I think I mostly stared at his padded elbows all night in wonder. Hah! I don't even know what to call them, those circly things where the elbows should be on a jacket. I just kept pondering, is this guy real? I thought I only read about these wonders on other people's blogs. How I would love to get totally smashed with one of these characters. I don't think my husband shared my enthusiasm. Then again, I've always been oddly attracted to people opposite myself. Where's the fun in finding someone exactly like you. How boring, right? Right?! But alas, that's what I find most people want.. someone exactly like themselves. Dull.

No offense. Not that you're one of those people.

Not that I'm above and beyond interesting myself. Clearly, not all that much.. or I'd have more to to write about.

Ah, just one of those nights. Warm air, flicker of candlelight in the breeze. Music.

Just                 r                        e                            l                                a                          x

And on and on it goes...

Forever & ever.

I just finished eating ramen. You know, of the noodle variety. I watched Celeste & Jesse Forever... alone. Loved it. A nice reminder of the messy bits in life. So now I'm drinking wine and listening to music, which naturally is a great combination. I wasn't having a particularly great day earlier. Irritable and indecisive. Those are my worst days. So now I'm enjoying a messy Saturday night, where the dishes go unwashed, the bathroom sink dirty and no one to see my unimpressive outfit. But hey, who cares right? Every now and then it's nice to let your hair down (or, in my case, to throw it up in a messy bun) and not mind every once in awhile. Let the lines blur. Let all the perfect plans fall to the wayside. I hope you're out there somewhere enjoying your weekend evening, no matter what that happens to look like.

Here's to you. Enjoying all that life has to offer. Even the messy bits.

Image found here.


According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary...
noun \ˈbü-ˌdwär, ˈb-, ˌbü-ˈ, ˌb-ˈ\

: a woman's dressing room, bedroom, or private sitting room
French, from bouder to pout
First Known Use: 1781

I've taken a special liking to the word. The way it so easily rolls off the tongue. Boudoir. Boudoiiiir. Don't mind me, I'm just going to take leave to my that I can pout, because apparently that's just what us ladies do! So fancy. And French. So you see, by default, I already like the word because I pretty much like anything French. French words and French mints. I happened upon the most amazing, unique, ginormous grocery store which consisted of little street-style sections of authentic foreign treats.  So this my friends, is how I got my pretty little hands on some rose flavored mints. Only in France, I tell you, would they make candy pieces scented like flowers. Love, love, love.

Now, off you go to your boudoir!


I almost always think of the best blog posts while laying in my bed, computer-less. My sincere apologies because this inevitably means that only about 1/3 of my most creative thoughts ever make it to my blog. This night... well, morning really, I was possessed with the desire to get up and actually type.

In bed, my thought process goes a little something like this...

They should totally bring back trains. Right?! But they can be more like the high speed rail trains that they have in Asia. I bet people would pay a premium for a swanky sleeping car. It could be cruise ship worthy interior. Or better. With bars. I would totally ride a train just for the nostalgia of it all. Add to my bucket list: Ride in swanky train. What other cool things should they bring back? Oh, I know! The erasable Facebook wall. Does anyone else remember it? Remember, you could actually modify other people's comments on someone elses wall, like a whiteboard. That was legit. I kind of forget what it looked like though. Damn. I wish I had a screenshot. I remember getting into a wall WAR with an ex-girlfriend of my I-don't-believe-in-titles boyfriend. Too bad I can't see that on my timeline. Where does all of that information shared go once a person shuts down their account? Oh, and remember that time....

(Enter the actual blog post)

I don't believe in coincidence. Or chance. I've probably pointed that out by now more than a few times. 

There was an incident in college when I got caught up waiting on an apartment sixth floor stairway. I can't even recall why, or what my I-don't-believe-in-titles "boyfriend" was doing at the time to hold me up, but I remember standing there for that split second. I happened to idly gaze down at the cement floor. And just as I did so, something tiny caught my eye. Something that looked like it didn't belong amongst the dirt pile in the corner. I knelt down for a closer look and was astonished to find an earring. My earring! My missing earring from a few weeks ago! The teeniest, tiniest of stud earrings that to this day, I would be afraid to put in my ear for fear that it would slip right through the hole. And here it was, lying in a pile of dirt on the sixth floor of my boyfriend's apartment. The coincidence is not the location in which it was found, because honestly, how often did we venture up and down those steps? But the fact that I found it?! That I just so happened to gaze down, on that exact spot, at the exact moment I was mid apartment exit from the eighth floor. What are the chances? It was almost like a sign to notice. And I'm not entirely sure why, but I've always kept that little earring hidden away in a tiny compartment of my jewelry box. I can't bare to part ways with it. It was just too "random" of a coincidence. Just like this past weekend, on the anniversary of my father-in-laws death, when hubs and I were arguing in the car. It got so heated that he pulled into a parking lot and parked the car so that we could hash out our differences. For real. It wasn't until we noticed all of the people getting out of their cars and heading toward the building behind us that we turned around and realized that we had pulled into a church parking lot, at the very moment when service was about to begin. I mean, what are the chances of that?

I won't bore you with other examples. You get the point.

I think there are signs all of the time, for everyone. Do you want to see them? To believe them? If not, you'll likely miss them without a thought as to their existence.

But maybe it's time you started noticing the signs.

End post: 4:34 am.


Lost in a daydream of boats, blue waters and mint mojitos...

St. John, circa 2011

The unexpected cuddle.

I never before believed in soul mates. And why should I? Never having a specific type, I dated a variety of boys. My rational mind told me that I could have ended up marrying any one of them. Sure, the outcome might be different. It's true. I may have been happier with some more than with others, but if my heart had been into it and theirs too, we could have made it work. But funny how it should happen, it didn't.

And then I met my husband. Intoxicated and intoxicating, first thing in the morning at a football tailgate, wondering why he was even bothering to talk to me. Hair a frizzy mess, beer-in-hand, checking my reflection in a car side door mirror. That, followed by a very interesting conversation while he peed on a car tire. No joke. These are my memories of that day. It was tailgating at Penn State, in the cow fields, and in the pouring, cold April rain. But I was 20 years old, and that's just how some love stories began back then.

I found out later, much later, after we were married even, that he had walked away that day thinking, "I'm going to marry her." It still catches my heart off guard every time he tells me the story. And I wish I could tell you that our love story fell into perfect place afterwards but life isn't always a bed of roses. There were some twists and turns before we finally came together.

And so our love story continues to unfold every moment of every day. I've begun to think this wasn't an accident. That this was intentional and that we are here, together, to learn something bigger than ourselves. We're all put on this earth for a purpose. Mine with his and his with mine. And I was reminded in the wee hours of this morning, when I woke to both of us wrapped in an uncharacteristic cuddle, neither of us wanting anything more than to stay where we were, of just how much I love him.