Painting Our Thumbs Green

I guess you could say that rural Illinois life is rubbing off on us a bit. Or maybe it’s just a case of spring fever.

On Sunday, Taylor and I ventured to the local garden center (er, Walmart) and stocked up on a few supplies. After about 30 minutes of wandering through the seed and plant aisles, we decided to give tomatoes, cilantro, marigolds and dwarf snapdragons a try.

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It wasn’t until after we finished planting that we checked the 10 day forecast. It turns out that winter isn’t quite over yet and that some snow is in the forecast (in April?!). Oops! I guess we’ll be bringing them inside for a night or two.

Here’s to hoping that we can keep these little guys alive long enough for some homegrown salsa ingredients and pretty flowers on our balcony.

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Our First Christmas

Taylor and I have never spent Christmas Day together before, so what better time to start than our first married Christmas! We were able to escape the Chicago cold and spend time with family and friends in Arkansas and Florida. We came home with full hearts and a lot to be thankful for.

Part One: Arkansas

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Thankful for Taylor’s loving family, who travel to Arkansas to spend time with us.

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Thankful for this little pup.

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Thankful for the best sister in the world.

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Thankful for parents who love well.

Part Two: Florida

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Thankful for this really handsome guy.

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Thankful for palm trees…

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…and exploring pretty places.

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Thankful for family and really big trees.

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Thankful for boys being boys.

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Thankful for sea creatures who venture close to shore.

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Thankful for really pretty views and warm weather.

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Thankful for little reminders of Christmas.

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Thankful for creative surprises found on the beach.

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Thankful for vintage bikes that make for fun pictures.

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Thankful for kisses on the cheek and adventures with this guy.

What did this Christmas leave you feeling thankful for?

Music to my Ears: Ben Howard

Ben Howard has quickly become one of my favorite artists. His songs effectively showcase his musical talent and tell stories about self-discovery in a fresh, upbeat way.

In less than a week, he is releasing a new EP called Burgh Island. Check out the song, Esmerelda, for a glimpse of his upcoming album. It has a much darker, more mysterious undertone compared to his first album, but I really like what I hear.

 

Check my my all-time favorite Ben Howard song off his album Every Kingdom, Keep Your Head Up. I can’t promise this song’s melody won’t get stuck in your head. Pay special attention to what happens in the video around 2:10.

 

Not a fan of the song Call Me, Maybe? Me either. But Ben Howard’s BBC live version of the pop hit makes me wish he was the original artist. Sorry Carly Rae.

 

Happy birthday to me- Ben’s Burgh Island EP hits iTunes November 6th.

Oh The Places You’ll Go

I love to travel and explore the world around me and I get anxious when I stay in one place for too long. My wanderlust gets especially bad after any trip, big or small. So in honor of my recent trip to Los Angeles, here are the top 6 places I want to travel:

Whistler Blackcomb, Canada


(Image via whistlerblackcomb.com)

I love fresh powder, I love mountains and I have a weird fascination with Canada. Get me some fat skis and a plane ticket ASAP. I can’t get to Whistler soon enough.

South IslandNew Zealand


(Image via blogspot)

South Island is said to be a place full of life and adventure. You can whale watch, snorkel, snow ski and experience other natural wildlife. It’s like my own issue of National Geographic.

St. Lucia


(Image via Everaftershoneymoonblog)

I’m fascinated by their open air resorts and beautiful island/mountain scenery. Get this girl some SPF 30 and a cozy beach chair and I’m set!

Swiss Alps


(Image via Flickr)

Snow, these beautiful mountains, and some good European fun…sign me up!

South Africa

I had a babysitter in Elementary school from South Africa. She used to bring my siblings and I hand crafted necklaces as gifts from her visits home. Since then, I’ve been fascinated with the culture and stories from this country.

Patagonia


(Image via alwanalkuwait.com)

I’m a big fan of Patagonia clothing, but I’d really love to put my Capilene to the test in the mountains it was named after. Imagine experiencing a bit of Argentinian and Chilean culture as you hike through what Magellan named after “giants.”

What’s your next big adventure? What’s one thing you always take with you on your trips? For Taylor and I, it’d have to be our Chacos.

The Ignorance of #FirstWorldProblems

Today, I watched a video of Haitian villagers reading #firstworldproblem tweets and it broke my heart.

This humbling video (below) was created by DDB NY, an ad agency, in order to eliminate, not promote, a trending Twitter topic. They are making an effort to increase awareness about the need for clean water in third world countries.

The recent Twitter trend, #firstworldproblems, has led many to tweet the “hardships” they face throughout the day. These “hardships” include Starbucks coffees too hot to drink, not being able to get the newest iPhone on demand or favorite shows not airing. In the words of my husband: “WAH!”

Newsflash: The majority of the world (including impoverished Americans) would not consider these problems.

Not having clean water, a roof over your head, a basic education, food on the table or medicine to treat harmful diseases are real problems.

Many people around the world view America as an ignorant county who loves  to wallow in its materialism. #Firstworldproblems only further proves their point. I’m just as guilty of contributing to this problem, too.

Giving of our possessions, even a little, can make a life-changing impact in the lives of others.

Read more here

Neon Hats and Headbands

During my time in college at Baylor University, I had two distinctive looks, both adorned proudly on my head:

Neon Hats & Headbands

The “neon hat phase” came during the first two years of college. I affectionately wore my neon pink hat sideways on my head almost every day (see picture below). In fact, people knew me by my hat. You would think as a 19 year old girl, I would realize the silliness in this. But that hat and I made memories. Memories that included 30 minute drives to Temple at midnight just to get tortillas from Taco Cabana (sorry, mom), drinking Sonic 3 times a day and watching music videos on MTV Jams with my roommates instead of writing our History papers. Those were some really good times.

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Somewhere between my sophomore and junior year at Baylor, I discovered headbands. I finally ditched that pink hat for a more versatile, socially acceptable headwear.

I think when I made that switch, it was a reflection of something inside me changing. Not in a bad, lose myself kind of way. But for the first time, I took a deep breath and slowed down a bit. I no longer felt the need to say yes to everything because I became more content with my identity and my friendships. My Sonic consumption slowed (but will never stop), I did my homework at reasonable hours and I learned to say “no” to things that weren’t necessary. My grades improved, my friendships became richer and I began to plot my life goals. The fun didn’t stop, it just looked different.

I look back now on that faded neon hat and think of all the great experiences I had making friends and figuring out who I was. I’m thankful for those times and who they shaped me into becoming.

Now, I’m a college graduate, happily married to the greatest man in the world and beginning an exciting career as a marketer. While I don’t have a special piece of headwear to mark this stage of my life, I still grow and learn more about myself and the world around me every day.

I still occassionally wear those headbands though, because I think they’re cute.