Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 2014!

Well, it’s ten minutes until 2014 officially rolls in and instead of staying up to watch the ball drop, we found we were all too tired and I’m the last one standing (in my pjs, in bed, blogging).I never given a lot of sentiment to New Years, nothing necessarily feels different unless you make it a big deal. Most resolutions go to pot and the strenuous holiday season has left us with great fatigue.

But as I think on last year, looking on to the next, I find myself feeling very blessed & thankful—excited to continue in this adventure that God is leading my husband and I on. So much has changed from then to now, as is always the case with time.On this date last year, I was planning a wedding, moving home from a stay in SC, and preparing to celebrate my Pap’s life at his funeral in a few days. Now I find myself married, visiting PA from our home in WI, and looking on to a year of unknowns.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Our Christmas apartment.

Needless to say, Andrew and I are on a bit of a budget this year, with a big move in the next few months. The goal for Christmas this year was to make the place look Christmasy without getting a ton of things that we can’t take with us or breaking the bank.

I think our results turned out to be pretty decent given the situation.

Sure, the tree is a little scruffy and abnormal…it was free from Momma Nature. But with a little lovin’ it became our first Christmas tree.

We did visit the Dollar Tree, which I will probably utilize in the future even if we were to come into money. I got our little birds and gold, glittery ornaments there.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I got a little carried away with the baking...

I’ve had a little bit of extra time this week while Andrew is away working, so I planned to accomplish a lot of things that were on my “want-to-do-but-not-necessary-to-live” list.

Maybe the time alone made me a little ambitious, but today I woke up determined to bake. After one batch of cookies, I kept feeling like more (I think the smell and new cookie cutters had something to do with it).

Shortbread, spiced shortbread, sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, and two loaves of pumpkin bread were the product of a long afternoon in the kitchen. The kitchen smelled amazing and I got to utilize all of the baking oriented wedding gifts that I’ve been salivating over.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Defining style.

As I organize Pinterest boards and decorate my home, I find myself being drawn to things that I wouldn’t have expected before. I’ve always chalked my design style up to “vintage chic.” However, I’m now finding this inevitably needs mixed into a combination of: simplistic, industrial, and natural elements.

When I envision my dream home, I see:

A Mixture of Neutrals...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The mentality behind decorating.

With another semester now under my belt—having experienced all of the emotions, joys, and stresses that come with being a working, newlywed student, I have discovered some truths (at least for myself personally).

But what I am thinking of right now has nothing to do with school, work, or even cleaning the house…instead, I am honing in on the factor of decorating.

This semester I have been wrestling through controlling myself when it comes to decorating our apartment—when we know that we will only be here until next May. We vowed to not make any large purchases and are saving it for the future when we are in a more permanent residence. This is logical—it makes sense.

Friday, December 13, 2013


Well, here it is—the week of classes. In honor of finality, I feel as though I need to write something extremely compelling or fantastically wonderfully. But at the same time, my poor, frazzled brain feels no such desire. So we shall see where this particular post ends up in a few paragraphs.

There is so much emotion that goes into the last week of classes. For starters, everyone is extremely tired in all aspects (emotionally, mentally, and physically) and just wants a few more hours of sleep. On the other hand, everyone is driven by the dream of going home for Christmas—a dream filled with cookies, home-cooked meals, Christmas music, family traditions, crackling fires, and of course, adequate sleep. We find ourselves so driven by the latter that a hidden inner strength wells up within and allows us to give one last push to the finish line. It hurts, but it always happens. Sure, we all may not look that nice by the end of the week—circles under the eyes, disheveled hair, forgotten make-up and all. We may be a bit more dazed, grumpy, and confused (at least this is how I personally feel). But! The semester always comes to an end, one way or the other.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A week devoted to thankfulness.

Here I am again, sitting on one of my mismatching plaid couches contemplating another post. This time there is a pile of yarn at my feet (waiting to be knit into Christmas scarves), the strong scent of Cinnamon and Spice in the air, Thanksgiving leftovers filling my fridge, and the now “legal” Christmas music playing. This week has been exactly what I’ve needed—peace, quiet, rest, time to cook sentimental food, and most importantly extra time in the Word and with Drew. The last thing that I want to do is two more weeks of school after tasting what break is like—but I am encouraged knowing it will quick and painless. I’ll feel completely better once the poetry reading is over. I’ve never been too confident in my poetry writing skills.  

Friday, November 29, 2013

When the lights go out.

Some of the most exhilarating times growing up were spent when a particular storm hit, the electric took a break, and the lights went out. It added an element of excitement to the mundane routine of life—a random surprise thrown in the mix. There could be an underlying sense of fear—dark hallways with lurking monsters and burglers, but my parents took on the burden of making the event happy instead. Instead of being defeated by the dark, my Mom would take out all the candles that were stored away, scattering them all over the house making it smell like a Yankee Candle shop. My Dad would light up the generator—making our kitchen nice and toasty. We’d whip out the old Monopoly board and strike up a game over hot cocoa. The feeling of living like a “Pioneer family” like we had been learning about in school. Needless to say, I looked forward to these times—memories with family, the quiet of the night interuppted by rips of laughter over a bloodbath at Monopoly. 

Just the other night I was taken back with this nostalgia, when our apartments lights flickered, sputtered, and went out. I was immediately filled with warm, fuzzy feelings from the past. Remniscient of my family—knowing what we would be doing right then (if I were still home with them and 10 years younger). So Drew and I whipped out every candle that we owned—making the house smell like a great big pumpkin pie. We didn’t have a generator, so we pulled out every blanket that we own—bundling up, and making ourselves nice and toasty. Instead of Monopoly, we had to act like adults and finish our homework in the light of our laptops. But it was a similar idea. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

My favorite things.

This week I have been especially reminded of how blessed I am to have Andrew in my life. I don’t mean in the sappy, cliche, lovey duvy way—but in the best friend, laughing with each other, and making the most of life together way. There is no denying that I am predominantly the type of person who thrives on organization, sticks to the schedule, and cleans the house with an OCD like manner. And there is no denying that Andrew is predominately the type who thrives on spontanaiety, lives hap-hazardly, and leaves a trail in his wake. There are a few exceptions where the lines are blurred or we share similarities in personality, but between the two of us—we make a pretty good balance of a person.

I love the fact that we can wake up laughing, understand what each other is saying when they can’t even explain it themselves, and do all the weird, quirky things together that make us…us. Outside of the home (and sometimes in), we can control ourselves and be the adults that we should be. But at the end of the day, I love that we can be exactly, bottom-line, who we are with each other, letting loose and having fun. On the flip side, he’s the person that I can talk to about anything. He is that type of person that you just click with—they’re on the same wavelength, they talk your language. That is Andrew with me. There is no concern, no issue, and no topic that I can think of that would be outside of his jurisdiction. There is nothing that I cannot talk to Andrew about, there are no secrets to keep—and even if I tried, Andrew would be able to tell. He knows me better than I know myself. He helps me to be a better person, he makes me want to be a better person—and often through all the little things that he does without realizing it’s impact on me. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Early mornings.

At the beginning of the semester, we’ve were both surprised (and grateful) to each have just the right job fall in our laps. We couldn’t have asked for a better situation—Andrew gets to work off-campus doing what he loves, and I get to work on-campus doing what I love. Since then, every Tuesday and Thursday we would peel our eyes open at 6am—throw some clothes on, Andrew would drop me off at my office and he would start the two-hour trek to his tree-climbing, arborist sort of job. This was reasonable—though since Daylight savings we are now rising at the ungodly hour of 5am—(it’s still dark, mind you!) and I now sip on my coffee with bloodshot eyes as I sort my e-mails. I write all of this because as much as I have appreciated the thought of early morning—a good start to the day—I have never been a morning person. There have been times in my life in which I was required to be one, but not necessarily out of choice. For the last 6 years I’ve been in the restaurant business, mostly as a server—requiring late hours and therefore late mornings. It has become my lifestyle habit. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

In the spirit of thankfulness.

This week has proven to be a bit more of a struggle than the previous ones. There was quite a bit of homework due, and the house seemed to need extra attention with cleaning, but these things are ongoing and I’m used to them by now. What made this week particularly difficult relates to my health. 

When I was 15, after working a summer camp I came home drained, and as usual, got sick. Nothing new. However, after my fever had passed and my obvious symptoms started to go away—there were feelings of illness that did not. Fast forward months and months of Dr’s visits, blood tests, researching, tears, attempted medications, and frustration—the Dr diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia—of course, this couldn’t be proven beyond my continual symptoms and ruling out everything else. Since then, we’ve been treating it as such and life has gone on. I do what I can to relieve the pain and help my body with its poor immune system and such, but in the end, it will always be there. In a way, I’ve become extremely used to it—I rarely even feel the muscle pain anymore unless it’s a really bad day. I’m used to feeling excessively tired and not getting the best sleep all the time. And I antipate the migraines by having Liquid Advil on hand at all times. It’s become part of my lifestyle and I rarely view it as a separate condition or a handicap. In my opinion, everyone gets aches and pains every once in a while—mine are just a bit more consistent and harsh.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The love of old things.

Growing up, I found it necessary to veer away from the things that my Mom loved lest I grow up to become identical in personality. Not that I disapproved of my Mom’s person, but I desired to be my own individual—classic firstborn independence. Naturally then, I loathed the various historical field trips, long ventures to Goodwill, and neutral colored sweaters. Ironically enough, I found myself taking my Mom to a historical site for her birthday, telling my husband that I wanted to invest in more neutral sweaters, and becoming giddy as I anticipate my next trip to Goodwill. Turns out, I’m a lot more like my Mom than I originally planned on—and for that, I’m extremely grateful. She taught me to appreciate certain things in life, specifically the art of thrifting, and as a result Goodwill is a huge benefactor to my current inspiration and provider of materials for future projects.

A word on thrifting—it is great.

Where I’m from, people thrive on thrifted goods. Not necessarily for financial reasons, but also for the beauty of unique and reusable objects. Granted, the area is lot more “hipster”—so thrifting is essential for random, artsy finds. I define my likes as towing the line between that and classy—or attempting to be—so I suppose you could say that thrifting is “necessary” (my husband might beg to differ). 

Friday, October 25, 2013

When I said "yes!"

Exactly one year ago, today, Andrew asked me to marry him on a random road, on a North Carolina mountain overlooking a ravine splashed with the colors of fall.

It’s amazing to look back and think on what has happened since then—well, now we’re actually married and life has never been better. I knew then that I was saying yes to adventuring through life with my best friend, and a few months of marriage has only proved that to be more than true.

Friday, October 18, 2013

A word on legal, addictive stimulants.

A cozy arm-chair, window seat, rain or shine, low murmurs from ongoing conversations, “artsy” music playing in the background, the sound of beans grinding and the smell of fresh brews, laptop open but ignored, industrial furniture, green walls against brick, local photography, “Number 31!”—Life frozen for a few peaceful moments as I stare out the window at those whose life continues on.

This is what I think of when I hear the word, “coffee.”

I automatically envision myself sitting at one of my favorite cafés, Prince St. or Folklore, with a specially designed mocha in hand. These memories do not contain life-altering events that plague my memory, rather they are remembered fondly—full of solitude in the city, good music, inspiration, and a fresh cup o’ Joe.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Our other, other home.

I find myself completely uninspired this week in regards to journaling or anything else really. My brain has been singed by the overworking of designing boring things like business cards and logos, vain attempts to understand the Metaphysical realm in Philosophy class, and trying to keep the sink from overflowing with dirty dishes. All scenarios resulting in a withered mind lacking inspiration to exert anything other than what is absolutely required. Someone had a brilliant moment in placing the Northland Day of Rest at this precise point in the semester—it’s extremely needed. My man and I are celebrating by spending a long weekend with good friends from church, with some time to relax and do a bit horseback riding (and of course, I forgot my camera). 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Wedding film.

Folks, not to be proud, but this is a wedding film must-see! Our videographers, Kent and Ashleigh (soon to say “I do” as well) did nothing other than a fantastic job in capturing moments from our wedding day. Kent is also the man behind our engagement pictures (one of which is shown above), you can find our favorites in this post.

Our wedding video can be found here at Kent Mast Exposed, while it is featured on his website.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Undeserved provision.

This past Sunday while visiting at our Pastor’s house, amidst the laughs and stories, we had the precious opportunity to reflect on the blessings that God has given us through time. After that discussion, I walked away marveling at God’s grace towards us, how He continually provides even when He seems like he won’t, and feeling overwhelmed by His love and concern for me, a very sinful person. I prefer to say, “God’s undeserved provision” for varying needs, because that is in the most general, but truest sense, what a blessing is.

Our Works of God journal has stacked up with the countless ways that He has provided for us through the years. Varying from seemingly small things like a gift of 40 ears of corn to freeze for winter to filling up the car with a tank of gas when we had no money to do so ourselves to witnessing my Grandma accept Christ as her Savior after countless years of praying. Whatever the scenario, God has always utilized people and circumstances, most times the most unlikely people and circumstances, to show His love towards us, and ultimately His glory. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

The classic love of fall.

This week I received two packages from both my Mom and best friend. One contained Apple Cider K-cups and a deliciously scented, Pumpkin Spice candle, while the other contained Cinnamon Spice coffee and a Yankee candle smelling of autumn wreath.

From this one can draw two assumptions: one, my loved ones know me very well, and two, fall is an incredible season to be celebrated. I used to disregard fall altogether, deeming snowy winters and swimming filled summers more exciting than leaves falling—I found it depressing and it seemed that only “old people” appreciated it. Well, I must have gotten old this year because I found myself craving the crispy chill of fall.

There is something inspiring about this season, it thrills me to enjoy the unique characteristics that fall brings and the fact that it leads to Thanksgiving and Christmas (my two favorite holidays).  In fact, the surprise gifts inspired me to take a break from the books and spend some moments enjoying this season of life; after all, this is the only fall that I will spend as a newlywed, at Northland, and probably in WI. Beyond the candles and fall drinks, I have been appreciating certain aspects of this particular fall in our little apartment. So I have decided to journal a paragraph in summary of my fall thus far: 

Friday, September 20, 2013

A note on Chex Mix.

As I write this, I am contentedly sitting with my new, thrifted find of a cozy, white blanket, a cup of apple cider, and before you think, “aw, what a dreamy situation” I will add that I am also nursing my abused lip back to health. You may ask how my lip came to be abused—was I in a fight? Or perhaps mishandled the curling iron this morning? That would be a no to both statements. I doubt that you will believe the truth, but here it is: my lip suffers from Chex Mix brush burns. I did not know that this was at all possible until today, and as a result, I highly warn against taking late lunches.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Renewed creativity.

I am happy to say that this week has been looking up. For reality sake, as I write this, I have been at work for two hours and wishing that they could have been spent with my pillow instead. However, my exhaustion cannot snuff the spurt of creativity that I have been on. 

What a happy day when I discovered my work to be enjoyable rather than stressful. It was another early morning, just like this, but my mind was craving a moment to create and lo, and behold, a bit of inspiration hit me over the head. One hour later a brand new design of my very own, stared back at me from my computer. That was the tip of the iceberg. The rest of the 9 hours seemed to fly by as I concocted and tweaked design after design. Not only did I finish my project, I continued to check others off my list, and had some personal fun with Photoshop. Needless to say, it was a great feeling.
Upon arriving home later in the day, my husband and I went through our usual routine of dinner, cleaning up, and homework. But instead of the gross, “I feel like doing absolutely nothing” mood that usually occurs after long days, my creative juices were flowing with no intention of stopping any time soon. I couldn’t sit still, I HAD to do something. By the time we were saying, “goodnight”—I had re-arranged all of the home décor, doodled some ideas for designing the next day, researched how to seal DIY wood coasters, and began a fall wreath for our door. The living room floor remains littered with my hot glue gun, fabric cutter, and little scraps of paper that I struggle to put away because then I have to wait to continue things later. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Parched creativity.

Today is Friday, the end of another “first week of classes”, and I have found myself saying, “Finally!” After a year of anticipating my return to Northland, I thought I would be saying, “Finally—I am learning again!” or “Finally—it’s so good to be back!” And though both of these statements are very true, I find myself saying, after only one week, “Finally—the week is over!” I thought I would make it to at least week six. Looking at this week in retrospect, I think of two words that describe the week that have led me to this point: humbling and overwhelming.
It’s funny, when one thinks of being humbled, they automatically think of a prideful person with a bursting ego that needs brought down, at least, one notch. Though I have gone through my share of ego-busting humility cases, this scenario is different. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Highlights from August 3rd.

Where to begin? How do you start to sum up all of the happy tears, giddiness, overwhelming peace, wonderful nervousness, and overflowing joy that comprises the day that you have the honor of saying, “I do” to your best friend, for the rest of your life?

Well, in my opinion, words can’t do it justice. And since pictures are worth a thousand words I’m going to post some of the pictures in sequence and we’ll leave it at that. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

After wedding life.

Well, we are back from a wonderfully relaxing time on our honeymoon. From here, life is non-stop for a while as it typically tends to be. But I am so thankful that this time, I don’t have to tearfully say goodbye to my man, instead we get to be together through everything for the rest of our lives—and I’ve got the certificate to prove it!

I have a lot of thoughts in regards to weddings and I will be sharing the highlights in a future post. But for now I want to end this short post with a smattering of thankfulness.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Setting up residence.

 …this is me kissing my best friend, the one that I’m about to marry in 8 days.

I couldn’t be any happier or more at peace.