Hey there! I know the blog was down for a bit, but have no fear! In November, I’m going to have a new look and new site pulled together for y’all. Stay tuned…and thanks for checking in!
Yesterday marked the second week of my official unemployment. I’m truly astounded by how quickly the time has passed! I have a few freelance-ish things I’m doing, but for the most part, I am tinkering with things around the house, the chicken coop, and the garden.
After a solid 36 hours of being officially unemployed, I decided that the one major really-big thing I wanted to accomplish was to make our upstairs bearable, which it really hasn’t been since we moved in over a year ago. We have survived with the stairwell, hallway, guest bedroom, and smaller bedroom (our TV room) this way for the last year, but after painting the guest bedroom earlier this spring I decided the time had come to really sink my teeth in and give the whole upstairs a new look.
Here is a quick-and-dirty layout of the upstairs area we’ve been working on:
I should note that, the colors above were to help signify the differences in rooms, not to show the color of those rooms.
The project I undertook, with the help of Sam and my mom, was painting the stairway, hallway, and TV room. This included the ceilings and all the walls, so we definitely had our work cut out for us. Let’s see what this looked like before we got started, shall we?
If my brother and mother are reading this post, no doubt they are terrified that I’m about to give other people advice on fashion. I’m still learning how to dress myself, and my style is something that’s always been wholly unique to me (read: nonsensical to the average human being), even at a young age. I mean, Tweety Bird sweatshirts and purple shorts are always fashionable, right? Right.
Honestly, though, this post stems more from my desire to start focusing less on material goods and making better use of what I already own. There are some seriously awesome clothes out there these days, and while I’d love to have a closet full of all these awesome clothes…I also don’t want that. I have a lot of clothes already, and I’m already working on weeding down the ones I own in an effort to streamline my morning routine and style. I’d much rather have a few clothes that I really, really love than a whole bunch of clothes I don’t wear at all. (If you want to learn more about this, check out capsule wardrobes).
Up north, we have a short season of summer and longer spans of cold in fall, winter, and spring. As such, I’m dedicating this post to breaking a major fashion faux pas: “Don’t wear white after Labor Day.” I don’t really buy into that “rule,” so I’m looking for ways to transition some of my favorite white summer clothes into the cooler fall season. While this post isn’t truly a capsule wardrobe, since I incorporate a lot of different clothes in these outfits, there is a similar goal because I’m stretching what I already own into more season-accessible outfits.
Additionally, because I can’t take pictures of myself without some kind of musical influence, I included a song that embodies the tone I’m aiming for in each outfit. Yes, I was totally rocking out to music when taking these photos. How can people just take pictures of themselves without music?
So, here we go. A few of my favorite white-in-autumn fashion mixes…complete with what song to blast through your speakers when getting dressed.
Yes, I know. This is how far behind I am on life. I am just now sharing our fantastic Labor Day weekend with y’all, and while I could probably get away with not telling you that these photos are from last month, I don’t feel like lying about it. There’s been a lot going on this past month (more emotionally and mentally than a true busy schedule), so there’s no shame in how long it’s taken to get this posted.
Starting Wednesday, I’ll be officially finished with my job and pursuing other options. I’ve got plenty lined up in the next month to keep some funds coming in, but perhaps more importantly, I have a lot of projects lined up at the house and personal things I’ve wanted to pursue. I am really looking forward to discovering where I’ll be at the end of October, and looking forward to the adventure these next few weeks will bring.
But let’s get back to Chicago for a second, because this was one of the best trips I’ve ever had to the Windy City. We were there from laaaate on Thursday night before the long weekend and stayed until the Tuesday after Labor Day. It was wonderful to give ourselves a little cushion around the holiday traffic and really take the time to enjoy the city in all ints glory. I‘ll share some highlights with you, since recounting the whole trip would be exhausting for both you and me.
Firstly, while I don’t have any pictures, we spent Friday at the Museum of Science and Industry (my favorite place in the world, truly) and Friday evening at the One Direction concert. The concert was…a sight to behold. I’ve never been in the presence of 55,000 screaming teenage girls before, and that was totally overwhelming. We could barely see the guys, but it was Liam’s birthday so they did a lot of chattering between songs which was really great. Oh, and 5 Seconds of Summer was the opening band, which Sam and I loved only because we love scream-singing “Amnesia” at the top of our lungs in the car because it’s one of those songs we love to hate that we actually kinda love. All in all, we were glad we did the whole thing and glad we’ll never have to do it again. Though it was sweet to see these paparazzi-stalked boys in real life, to see that they actually exist. Ok, moving on.
Sam, Josh (Sam’s best man and BFF), Tricia (Josh’s girlfriend), my brother and I went to the Tigers-White Sox game Saturday morning. It was the perfect day for a game, and the first Tigers game I’ve attended all year. There is something relaxing about going to a baseball game, and every time I see one live I’m reminded why Sam loves this sport so much. That, and delicious, greasy stadium food. Too bad the Tigers got slaughtered.
We spent Saturday night roaming around Josh’s (Sam’s best man and college BFF) neighborhood. We revisted Emporium, the greatest bar ever that also happens to be the best arcade ever. I continued my reign in Q*Bert and Sam made it further on his Tron game than last time. This place is just so much fun, and I love going there. Continue reading
Sometimes, there are decisions in life I have to make all on my own. No one is there to give me the answer. I can spend days gathering information and asking opinions and seeking advice, but at the end of the day, my heart is the one that must act. The choice is mine.
Choice is a gift. Sometimes too many choices are scary, though. It’s hard to listen to myself in the midst of static noise and passionate people influencing me with their own passions. What is my passion? What makes my heart beat? How to I separate my wants with the wants of others?
I’ve some hard choices to make in these next few weeks (days?), and while they are all exciting, sometimes it’s hard to think about what I really, really want out of life. I never knew it could be this hard.
A year ago from this past Sunday, Sam and I exchanged vows in the middle of a field surrounded by our closest family and friends. For the first time, we were a married couple. It seems surreal that a full year has passed, but when Labor Day weekend hit we realized our one-year anniversary was only a week away. My, how time flies.
Maybe it’s because we’re still newlyweds (when do people stop using that phrase?) or maybe it’s because our wedding was an effing riot and the greatest day of my life, but I still think about our wedding on almost a daily basis. From the start, Sam and I wanted to throw a huge party with our closest family and friends and dance the night away. Dancing is, after all, one of our favorite pastimes (no, we are not even close to being professionals, but we are the last ones to leave the floor wherever we go).
We planned and over-planned and orchestrated everything to host 260-ish of our closest friends and family for this big party. Oh, yeah, and there was a ceremony, too…but that was sort of second in our minds to the fact that it was going to be the biggest dance party ever.
But then…well, the ceremony actually happened. And it was beyond anything either of us could’ve possibly expected. Even now, a year later, when I reflect on my favorite memories of the whole day, so many of them are rooted in those moments right before the ceremony and during the ceremony.
As Sam, myself, and our I Do Crews were walking into the woods we’d exit to walk up to the ceremony site, we heard our good friends playing “Animal” by Miike Snow. Sam and I looked at each other, and suddenly everything was real. The moment was palpable. In just a matter of minutes, we were going to be married. The gravity of the moment hit us. I’d never felt so certain about and excited for anything in my entire life.
I wasn’t raised in a world of girls.
I’m not upset about that. It’s just that when I think about the people in my life (outside of my immediate family) who most influenced me, they were essentially all guys. I never really connected with girls growing up. I had four best girl friends in elementary school, but as we reached middle school and high school I had less in common with them than I did my male friends.
I gravitated towards my younger brother and his friends (playing roller hockey and building skyscrapers out of Legos was infinitely more entertaining than Barbie dolls) or I entertained myself with long wanderings in the woods on our property, scavenging for bugs and building teepees out of sticks. A peek in my closet–both growing up and now–you won’t find high heels or skirts, but you’ll find plenty of flannel and can pick out my favorite sports teams. I didn’t like the girls’ locker room in high school and I’ve never known how to talk to girls. I know that makes me sound like a thirteen-year-old boy, but the reality is I’ve always felt more comfortable communicating with guys.
When one of my good friends, Rachelle, asked me to be in her bridal party, I was THRILLED. I seriously never thought I’d ever be in a bridesmaid. It’s hard to be a bridesmaid when I don’t have many girlfriends, after all. I was also a bit apprehensive. I’ve never felt very comfortable around women, and now I was asked to make friends with some girls I don’t know and participate in a wedding day of woman-ish things.
Sweet breads are at the top of list for “favorite desserts.” I feel like I can justify eating sweet breads for essentially every meal, and they have a limitless variety of flavors and variations. So when one of my favorite food bloggers posted a recipe for banana bread with zucchini (with an awesome frosting that I don’t have patience to make), my mind couldn’t handle the awesomeness. It’s banana bread with zucchini. It’s zucchini bread with bananas. It’s NANACHINI BREAD.
I took Averie’s recipe and adopted it slightly, as I had a honkin’ huge zucchini and more over-ripe bananas than I could handle. I also like making double loaves so we can eat bread for days, so the recipe below makes two almost-full-sized loaves (portion control, right? Right. Not.) I’m sure I’ll come back and tweak the recipe a bit to add some more moisture, like using yogurt or some extra zucchini. Feel free to play with some of those things!
Another thing I tweaked was adding more “stuff” to the dough. More specifically, I added walnuts, freshly toasted coconut, and white chocolate chips. First, a word about toasted coconut.
If you’ve never toasted your own coconut, you should go do this right now. I was flabbergasted by how easy it was to toast my own coconut flakes–yes, it truly justifies using the word “flabbergasted.” I thought I was a magician when I first did it, and I’ve kinda become addicted since then.
Toasting coconut flakes goes like this:
- Buy some sweetened coconut flakes
- Heat up a non-stick frying pan (DO NOT GREASE OR OIL) on your stove top at medium heat. Add flakes.
- Stir flakes, not constantly, in the frying pan until they are lightly toasted.
Trust me, you’ll be addicted. If only making other delicious and wonderful things was this easy.
If you’re as into sweet breads as I am and are looking to use up all those zucchinis that are overflowing from gardens and farmers markets right now, try this recipe out. Or, better yet, use the base for the bread and add in your own flavors to make it something totally your own. Enjoy!
(Click “Continue reading” for recipe!)
Sometimes I’m happy things never change. I mean, things do change, but rarely does the core of something change.
I’m always happily surprised to find comfort in the same friends I’ve had for years, even if we’ve not spoken to each other in months. We touch on the same topics but bring new perspectives. The same arguments and relationship dynamics play out but there is a warmth of friendships that have lasted over a decade. It is old yet new, and every time it feels like coming home to a place in my heart I forget still exists.
Often times, I forget how badly I need people in my life who have grown with me during pivotal and transformative parts of my life. I’m always relieved to still find them close, waiting with open ears and hearts, welcoming me into their lives like they’ve done for so long. Often times I feel that I don’t have someone living nearby who understands me or knows enough about my past to recognize the person I am today, but it’s totally a figment of my imagination: there are people so close to me, I just never chose to see them as often as I should.
If you have these people in your life, hold them close. Hold them closer than I’ve managed to do in the last few years. They won’t ever leave you, but it’s good to make it clear you want them to stay.
While I could use the above photo as a total cop-out and claim that Harry, Zayn, Liam, Louis, and Niall (in that order, thankyouverymuch) are the five reasons to still love summer, I’m not going to be that pathetic. There are plenty of reasons to still love summer, even though–NEWS FLASH–July ends today. Summer has been mild up here, with a few days in the low-60s and others creepin’ up towards 90 degrees.
I’m so happy with this summer, though I do wish I had more days lounging on the beach. Maybe I’ll get some more beach time in August! Even so, this summer rocks. I’ve been active, spent a lot of time outside, worked on the garden and raised chickens, seen good friends and explored with my man, and all-in-all really learned to enjoy down-time and not being stressed out.
We still have a solid month of summer left (I’d argue, now that I’m not in school, September feels so much like a fourth summer month that I treat it that way). I’ve got some things to still look forward to this summer, and I want to share five of them with you today. Hopefully it encourages you to make the most of the next few weeks of sunshine and long days!