August 13, 2014

hey, manhattan

^^bye, boston!  I'll miss that little dude^^

Well, after a long summer, I'm finally in Manhattan.  I'm in love with my apartment and am already falling in love with this city (even the roar of the 1 train that races past my windows at all hours).  I'm headed home (to arizona) for a week or so before my new chapter begins...

 ^^mid-move.  I posted up in the living room for a few days^^
ps- a huge shoutout to charlie, who embodies everything a big brother should be. I was sure happy to have him along for the adventure of moving into this city. I sure got lucky with my brothers.
^^post brooklyn ikea "i'm starving i'll eat anything right now" hot dogs in the back of the uhaul.  the best.^^

July 14, 2014

recent reads

it's been a while since i've posted what i've been reading.  many of these books turned into favorites and i'd recommend them all.  happy summer reading!

David and Goliath (Malcolm Gladwell) - "...wiping out a town or a people or a movement is never as simple as it looks.  The powerful are not as powerful as they seem - nor the weak as weak."

Congratulations, by the way (George Saunders) - "Do all the other things, of course, the ambitious things -- travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers... but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness."

 The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman) - "I saw the world from above and below.  I saw that there were patterns and gates and paths beyond the real.  I saw all these things and understood them and they filled me, just as the waters of the ocean filled me.  Everything whispered inside me.  Everything spoke to everything, and I knew it all."

Floating City (Sudhir Venkatesh) - "Because this was New York City, and those twinkling lights were a million different worlds beckoning us with their delicious possibilities of knowledge and commerce.  We might not know all the answers, but at least we knew what we had to do..."

The Perfume Collector (Kathleen Tessaro) - “She took down one of the vials from the shelf. Jasmin de la Mer, the label said. Opening it, she sniffed the cork. Its contents had long since evaporated, leaving a slightly grainy amber residue at the bottom of the bottle. But there was a ghost of the intensely white bloom, undercut by a coolness, an almost metallic airiness, slicing through the depth and lushness that lingered still.”

The Cuckoo's Calling (Robert Galbraith) - “He had hoped to spot the flickering shadow of a murderer as he turned the file's pages, but instead it was the ghost of Lula herself who emerged, gazing up at him, as victims of violent crimes sometimes did, through the detritus of their interrupted lives.”

July 11, 2014


it's been a humid new england summer for me.  filled with long days, fast nights, an overflow of emotions, lots of veggies and evening runs to the most peaceful waterfall.  i've watched a few movies (and docs) and have been working on a long, long book (that i love).  overall, it's been good (but hard, as those who are close to me know) and i'm so looking forward to moving into my beautiful, red brick manhattan apartment next month (that i got to visit last weekend!)  happy friday, friends.

July 9, 2014


last weekend brought the most frustrating travel disaster i've experienced.  i won't go into details because who likes listening to travel sob stories? (except those closest to me, who comforted me as i cried in the philly airport and then a cab and then the train station followed by a bus ... thanks ;) it tested my patience to the extreme (i'd say i did okay minus a few breakdowns over thirteen hours in).  although i didn't get to see k, it turned into an unexpected, whirlwind of an adventure.  it ended up being filled with old friends, a fabulous afternoon at the most amazing bookstore, lots of wine, and rooftop views.  oh, and a visit to my new neighborhood.  NYC, i love you already.
 ^^ a fitting wine for the weekend ^^

 ^^ this beautiful lady saved my weekend, twice ^^

May 15, 2014


I love sending (and receiving) mail.  There is something so thoughtful about it.  These note cards are so easy and add a personal touch to thank you or just because notes.

You need:
cardstock a little larger than the photos you will use (I purchased some at a paper store)
photographs (you took yourself - for this it is better to use scenery type photos)

Just glue the photographs onto the cardstock, write the location  you took the photograph in the lower right hand corner and sign the lower left hand corner.  The back can be used for writing your note!

May 12, 2014


I mentioned earlier that I'm leaving the mountains (that I have so fallen in love with) and am headed east.  I was first introduced to New York City when my brother Charlie picked up and moved to the Upper West Side of Manhattan in order to earn his postbac degree from Columbia University.  I was so proud of him for attending such an amazing school in such a beautiful place.  I was enamored by the city - yes, the twinkling lights and unique culture - but I was especially taken with the people - the constant energy provided by over a million and a half people living on such a tiny island.

While applying to masters programs, I thought it would be fun to apply to CU since I was so enchanted during my visits.  A few months later I was shocked and thrilled to be accepted into their social work program (you can't get in if you don't apply, right?).  So after much contemplation, I made the big decision to move across the country (twice in one year now, am I crazy?) and make that big city my home.  I am so honored and excited to be working with the population and social issues in New York City.  I know the city will knock me down in more ways than I can imagine but I trust it to provide the inspiration and motivation I need to be picked back up and drive myself to make a difference in this world of ours.


I was lucky enough to spend mother's day with my mom this year.  It was a beautiful day filled with flowers, mimosas, brunch, and good friends.  Even though every day is a celebration of my mom, yesterday's celebration was one to remember.  Happy mother's day to all mothers out there!

May 6, 2014


Have you seen this hilariously adorable series?  I just loved every one of the photographs and will definitely keep it on hand for an easy laugh on a bad day.

*Photo by Sophie Gamand

May 5, 2014


I've been studying Spanish lately.  The app (and website) Duolingo has been teaching me the basics (think: 'Our horse eats an apple') and I've used it everyday for the last two months!  It made me deserving of a homemade margarita in celebration of cinco de mayo.  I juiced half a watermelon, some strawberries, and limes.  Added a little tequila and club soda and it was a celebration!

May 4, 2014


K had some work in Phoenix last week so we spent a few days in Scottsdale.  Don't get me wrong - I'm thrilled to be moving to the big city on the east coast, it's going to be wonderful and irreplaceable - but I hope we end up out here soon after.  Everything about it was perfect.

April 30, 2014


A little taste of what I was reading last month (okay, two months ago now)....

AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED (Khalid Hosseini) "I have been absent.  Absent for all the meals Thalia and Mama have shared at this table, the laughs, the quarrels, the stretches of bordem, the illnesses, the long string of simple rituals that make up a lifetime.  Entering my childhood home is a little disorienting, like reading the end of a novel I'd started, then abandoned, long ago."

WONDER (R. J. Palacio) "Mom says the farting nurse turned out to be a nice woman... Mom remembers exactly what the nurse whispered in her ear when the doctor told her I probably wouldn't live through the night: 'Everyone born of God overcometh the world.'  And the next day, after I had lived through the night, it was that nurse who help mom's hand when they brought her to meet me for the first time...She had been preparing herself for the seeing of me.  But she said that when she looked down into my tiny mushed up face for the first time, all she could see was how pretty my eyes were."

ALLEGIANT (Veronica Roth) "He picks up one of the bigger maps.  It shows the entire globe, pressed flat like kneaded dough.  I stare at it long enough to make sense of the shapes on it, the blue stretches of water and the multicolored pieces of land.  On one of the pieces is a red dot.  He points at it, 'That dot covers all the places we've ever been.  You could cut that piece of land out of the ground and sink it into this ocean and no one would ever notice... So everything I've ever worried about or said or done, how can it possibly doesn't.'  'Of course it does,' I say.  'All that land is filled with people, everyone of them different, and the things they do to each other matter.' "

INSURGENT (Veronica Roth) " 'Insurgent,' he says.  'Noun / A person who acts in opposition to the established authority, who is not necessarily regarded as belligerent.' I look at Fernando.  The last time I broke into a factions headquarters, I did it with a gun in my hand and I left bodies behind me.  I want this time to be different.  I need this time to be different. 'I like it' I say. 'Insurgent.  It's perfect.' "

April 29, 2014


^^ a hard earned view from the top at mt zion ^^

My mom and I roadtripped up to Utah last week.  It was perfect (minus a brief encounter with altitude sickness).  This country of ours is really beautiful.  I want to go back already!

 ^^ arizona has the most beautiful rest stops you'll ever see ^^

^^ we made it! ^^

^^hoodoos - bryce canyon ^^

April 14, 2014


^view at the top after a long, hard bike ride^

I'm here, I'm here!  I've been working my ass off to prepare for my big move to the east coast.  Traveling a little, reading a lot.  I promise I'll be back to explain soon.  But first, I'm off to Utah for some exploring......  here is a glimpse of some things that have been going on in my life lately, if you're interested.

^water break on the way up.  breathtaking (literally).^

 ^good (cheap) wine with good friends, always.^

^an amazing visit to chicago to spend time with him^

^the sunsets here, man. i'm going to miss them.^

March 3, 2014


My mom and I were discussing an inspirational blogger Mark Sisson and how he revealed the best exercise there is.
His advice?  "The single best exercise there is, hands down, is the one you’ll do."

It is so true.  I don't like running and neither does my body.  Sure, every once and a while I'll have a great run and collapse in euphoria when I get home but for the most part I count down the seconds until it's over and it creates aches everywhere (my ankle, the arch of my foot, my knee....).  However, when I prepare for a bike ride or drive into the mountains for a hike, I am ecstatic - I can barely wait to get on the road or out of the car.  
Explore different exercises and find the one (or two or three...) that you look forward to doing - and do them.  Try that kickboxing class even if you think you'll hate it (I loved the one I attempted), go to a yoga class even if you can't touch your toes, venture to the Bar Method class or Zumba or may love it.  Exercise not only makes you feel amazing but it is so important for leading a healthy life.  Find a way to motivate yourself and do it.

February 28, 2014


'day one: beautiful (fake) flower seven year old mason "picked" for me on his way home from school'

I started one of those silly online challenges that sees if you can be happy for 100 days in a row.  I'm a pretty happy person so of course I can be happy for 100 days in a row but I thought it would be nice to take time out of each day in order to capture a moment of that happiness.  Here are a few of my first happy moments for the happy day challenge.  Have a wonderful (and very happy) weekend!

'day two: this view with my coffee every morning (and my amazing 50 cent mug that i bought nine of)'

'day six: a little early afternoon golf with my parents. so much fun! (even though im not very good)'

'day eight: my first purchase for my apartment i don't yet have!'

'day ten: my first seedlings are planted in my new pot. grow, lavender, grow!'

February 27, 2014


As you may have already guessed, I'm big into healthy living.  My passion lies with the food I make and eat but I also exercise multiple times a week.  I draw inspiration from everywhere - a conversation with my mom, my latest blood work, hopes of turning out like an adorable old couple I see taking a walk, or even just the way I feel after a day of eating well or a long bike ride.

My mom introduced me to this awesome (potentially motivating!) website that tells what age your heart is.  All you need to do is put in some information about your cholesterol levels (if you don't know them - go find out!), your blood pressure, the size of your waist, a little family history.... Heart disease is one of the top causes of death in the US (want proof?  see here and here and I'm sure you can find more).  And it doesn't need to be!  Educate yourself.  Start with finding out your heart's age!  Eat right, exercise.  You'll feel better, look better, and live better.

February 26, 2014


I was so honored to be nominated for the sunshine award by the beautiful ladies from The Attic.  I began writing (and continue to write) this blog solely as a creative and fun outlet for myself so it's pretty cool when I find out that other people actually read it.  And even more humbling to hear they enjoy what they read!  So a big thank you to Lynn-Holly, for making my day!  Her blog is so uplifting, be sure to check it out!

So what is the sunshine award?  I understand it as a way that bloggers can show appreciation and support for their blog crushes.  Blogs that they feel deserve to be commended for their hard work, positivity, and inspiration.  So thank you, Lynn-Holly, it is truly an honor to be noticed (especially when I thought my mom and brother were the only ones who read my posts!)

The rules of the sunshine award...
  1. Display the award on your blog. 
  2. Announce your win with a post and thank the blog who nominated you.
  3. Post 10 interesting things about yourself. 
  4. Nominate some other deserving bloggers. 
  5. Link your nominees in a post and let them know with a comment.

 I don't think that I'm really that interesting, but here goes...

1. I am all about balance.  For me, the ultimate importance is to create a balance between work (or school), family, friends, significant other, self, spirituality, health and all the other factions of life.  I truly believe that this is the main factor that creates ultimate happiness in this life.

2.  I thrive off of change.  Moving to college hours from the life I knew to a place where I didn't know a soul barely phased me.  Spending four months on a ship where I knew no one and traveled to countries I had never dreamed of (or heard of, in some cases) was the most amazing experience of my life.  Moving across the country (WI to AZ) in the midst of a huge post grad transition has been inspiring.  I crave change.  Scaring the hell out of myself and being in uncomfortable situations are what inspire, motivate, and push me to grow.  I can only attribute this to my solid foundation of family and friends, some experiences in my youth (mostly: my summer home from ages 9 to 20), and a thirst for new experiences.

3. I circumnavigated the world on a ship when I was 20 years old.  I spent time in thirteen countries in a span of four months with some amazing people.  It was unbelievable (sometimes, I think it was just a dream) and if I'm lucky there will only be a few other moments in my life that will be able to live up to the epicness of those four months.  I rarely discuss it because very few people understand and I miss it every day.  Luckily, I made some amazing friends that I know I will have forever.

4.  I am a traveler (for life).  My parents got me hooked when they strapped my three month old self in the car and drove from Wisconsin to Utah for my very first road trip.  Countless states and over twenty countries later, I haven't stopped... and I don't plan to.

5.  My family is pretty awesome.  I grew up with the best parents who valued respecting and supporting one another, family dinners, sports we would do together (mostly sailing and skiing), traveling together.... the list could go on.  They had (and still have) the parenting thing down and I only hope I can be as good to my kids as they have been to us.  Us includes me and my two older brothers who are the most brilliant, creative, and hardworking people I know (each in their own very different ways).  I like to think that, because I grew up with them as role models, I am made up of little pieces of each of them.

6.  I really love to cook.  I love to experiment with new flavors and use the freshest, 'realest' foods that are available to me.  I aspire to have my own garden one day (I'm starting tomorrow with lavender).

7.  I have some great people in my life (aside from my aforementioned awesome family).  I made amazing friends while at camp, semester at sea, high school, and college who I know will be there for a very long time.  I don't make my friendships easy with my constant moving and changes.  It's not easy staying close friends with someone when you go over a year without seeing one another but that's how I know these people are here for the long run.  (special shoutout to k here!)

8.  I grew up in an amazing state.  Wisconsin is home to the nicest and most humble people, beautiful landscapes, and amazing seasons.  But I have fallen in love with the west.... the mountains, the weather, the open sky.  I am so greatful I grew up in the Midwest but I love it here and I never want to leave.

9.  I majored in Sociology in college because I loved my classes and my professors.  The content of my classes was so meaningful and inspiring.  I would read my textbooks for fun, voluntarily spent a year and a half writing an honors thesis solely because I enjoyed it, and still keep in touch with my professors (I still had a social life, I swear).  I am hoping to achieve a masters in social work in the next two years and still have no idea what exactly I want to do but I know that my knowledge gained in college will be a foundation of that and will travel with me through life.

10.  Speaking of college, I went to a great one.  UD was the best combination of intimate classes, amazing people, and a supportive and thriving community.  UD students have mastered the art of work hard, play hard (again, going back to balance).

And finally, I don't follow many blogs (my everyday reads are at the bottom of my page) but a couple that I know to be inspirational and deserving....

February 24, 2014


My cookies finally arrived in Chicago, so I can share them without ruining Kurt's (late) valentine's surprise.  K loves Trader Joe's Joe-Joe's cookies (vanilla because they're dairy free) but this post inspired me to make a homemade version for him.  I kept a few for myself (they wouldn't all fit in the little box the post office provides.....) and although they should definitely be made only for special occasions they were so good and addicting.

February 23, 2014


^^fresh farmers market flowers from last summer^^

I always knew Sundays had potential.  The smell of coffee floating from room to room, soon filling the entire house.  The scent of coffee meant fresh, doughy cinnamon rolls or an egg casserole filled with vegetables warm out of the oven were soon to follow.  My family scattered throughout the house, curled on every couch reading or napping.  In college, it meant all of the girls cuddled in front of the tv for a marathon complimented by Panera's fresh bagels (and my embarrassing Sunday favorite - caesar salad).  
But Sundays always came with a quiet burden.  Whether it was Sunday school robbing my youthful body of sleep or, later, struggling to read seemingly hundreds of pages in political science and sociology textbooks for Monday's classes - there was always a Sunday weight to be beared.
After graduating college, I slowly began to realize that Sunday burdens were to cease.  A weight lifted on that second day of the weekend, my favorite day of the week.  Instead, sleeping in, creating a masterpiece brunch, baking bread, visiting the farmers market for fresh fruits and flowers, reading all day....the comforting, delightful options are endless.  Sunday, I love you.

February 22, 2014


Although different in every way imaginable, I'd recommend every one of these books.  Thought provoking and entertaining, each in it's own unique way.  I can truly say the last few months of reading have been enjoyable and inspiring.

WHERE'D YOU GO BERNADETTE (Maria Semple) "Mom disappears into thin air two days before Christmas without telling me? Of course it’s complicated. Just because it’s complicated, just because you think you can’t ever know everything about another person, it doesn't mean you can't try."

DEFENDING JACOB (William Landay) "Gradually the beach would get quieter as the other guests left to get ready for dinner.  The lifeguards would drag the empty beach chairs across the sand and stack them for the night, making a clatter, and finally the lifeguards themselves would leave, and only a few sunset gazers would linger on the beach.  We would look out into the distance, where two arms of land reached out to encircle the little bay, and the horizon would burn yellow then red then indigo.  Looking back on it now, I picture my happy family of three sitting on that beach at sunset and I want to freeze the story there.  We must have looked so normal..."

SONGS OF THE HUMPBACK WHALE (Jodi Picoult) "Oliver said once that at certain places south of San Diego you can see whales from the coast, without binoculars.  When I asked him where they were going, he laughed.  Where would you go? he said, but I was afraid to tell him.  In time, I learned.  I discovered that Alaska to Hawaii and Nova Scotia to Bermuda were the parallel paths of two humpback whale stocks.  I learned that the West Coast whales and the East Coast whales did not cross paths.  Where would you go?"

THE GREAT GATSBY (F. Scott Fitzgerald) "He smiled understandingly -- much more than understandingly.  It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in faced...the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor.  It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey."

MEDICINE WOMAN (Lynn Andrews) "You don't know what you are...There is no explaining why you are born, or why you are the animated part of the Earth you are."

THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY (Luis Alberto Urrea) "Five men stumbled out of the mountain pass so sunstruck they didn't know their own names, couldn't remember where they'd come from, had forgotten how long they'd been lost.  One of them wandered back up a peak.  One of them was barefoot. They were burned nearly black, their lips huge and cracking, what paltry drool still available to them spuming from their mouths in a salty foam as they walked.  Their eyes were cloudy with dust, almost too dry to blink up a tear.  Their hair was hard and stiffened by old sweat...old sweat because their bodies were no longer sweating.  They were drunk from having their brains baked in the pan, they were seeing God and devils, and they were dizzy from drinking their own urine, the poisons clogging their systems."

DIVERGENT (Veronica Roth) "I lift my head.  My neck aches.  I have been curled up with my back against the wall for at least a half hour, listening to the roaring wind and watching the city smear past us.  I sit forward.  The train has slowed down in the past few minutes, and I see that...The Dauntless in the cars ahead of us are jumping out as the train passes a rooftop.  The tracks are seven stories up...On three we launch off the train car.  A weightless moment, and then my feet slam into solid ground and pain prickles through my shins.  The jarring landing sends me sprawling on the rooftop, gravel under my cheek.  I release Christina's hand.  She's laughing.  "That was fun," she says."

LET'S EXPLORE DIABETES WITH OWLS (David Sedaris) "I've gone from avoiding dentists and periodontists to practically stalking them, not in some quest for a Hollywood smile but because I enjoy their company.  I'm happy in their waiting rooms, the coffee tables heaped with Gala and Madame Figaro.  I like their mumbled French, spoken from behind Tyvek masks....That's me...traipsing down the stairs in a fresh set of clothes, my smile bittersweet and drearied with blood, counting the days until I can come back and return myself to this to this curious, socialized care."

February 19, 2014


My brother charlie and I picked up this adorable, tiny cutting board for my dad when we were wandering around Brooklyn last spring.  It's made just for limes but I use it all the time for mini food prep work in the kitchen.  Avocados*, cherry tomatoes, lemons, berries, etc etc.  So convenient, so cute....I just love having it around!

*I don't normally cut my avocados like this, I swear.

February 16, 2014


Today was perfect (in all it's imperfection, much like the shape of my loaf of bread).  I was so excited to make bread on my own for the first time.  I love the excitement of waiting for the dough to rise and find myself doing relaxing things while I wait - enjoying my new book, going for a run, indulging in a cup of tea.  I made my first loaf of bread (ever) last weekend when my grandparents were still in town and it was such a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  My grandad loves making bread and the smell wafting through the house always brings back childhood memories of visiting them in Arizona.  Every loaf he makes has the perfect amount of crispiness surrounding a soft, warm, doughy inside.  He is a true baker (when he's not busy being a lawyer) and I was thrilled when he agreed to teach me his ways.  I only hoped I could inherit his patience and perfection when working with the dough.  So today was my test.  There were moments I didn't think I would pull through but I ended up impressed and satisfied.  Using whole wheat flour (instead of enriched white) was a little different but I'm pleased and I sprinkled some rosemary in the dough before leaving it to rise, the perfect finishing touch.

February 4, 2014


^^DeGrazia's home^^

Earlier this week I visited DeGrazia's Gallery in the Sun, nestled comfortably in the Catalina Foothills of Tucson.  DeGrazia is a well loved local artist who turned his beautiful home studio into a gallery so his work could be shared long after his passing.  The moment you step foot in the space, you can feel the calming presence of DeGrazia and his breathtaking work.  My grandmother loves his art so I have always known of his sweet paintings of children and visiting his gallery was more inspirational than I could have imagined.  I left feeling relaxed and enlightened with hopes of rekindling my love for creating art.

^^a few of my favorite pieces. the movement is stunning, i could stare all day.^^