Thursday, November 20, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide...for Her!

Here's the second of my gift guides, and this time, it's all about the ladies! I included some things on the pricier side I wouldn't normally include in a round up because hey, it's the holidays, right? I feel like this is the time to get that one special thing you have your eye on! ;) To get some ideas that are all under $40, click here to see a few more round ups I've recently posted. Ironically, Hank and I don't exchange gifts, so these are all just things I would love to give to any gal in my life. Enjoy, and happy shopping. xoxo

1. Free People'Hybrid' Strappy Gold Leather Bootie
2. Flannel Cargo Workshirt in Buffalo Check
3. Rifle Paper Co. Notebooks
4. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
5. The Handmaid's Tale
6. Honeycomb Pom-Pom Hat
7. Lotta from Stockholm Swedish Clogs
8. Nike 'Air Pegasus 83' Sneaker
9. Beats Studio Over-Ear Headphones
10. Double Midi Ring
11. Sam Edelman 'Petty' Boots
12. White Time Sawyer- Rose Case
13. Birdling Dark Olive Overnighter
14. Woolrich John Rich & Bros. Buffalo Check Blanket
15. Leader Bag Julien Backpack
16. J. Crew Chateau Parka
17. Golden Crossing Necklace
18. Drybar Big Hair Don't Care Holiday Kit

*affiliate links were used in this post.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

On Not Believing in God.

Untitled

I feel like I have to put a disclaimer on this because inevitably someone will take what I say personally, or the wrong way. Below I share some thoughts about religion (my lack of actually) and nothing I say is meant to question your beliefs or you as a person. These are just my thoughts and my own experiences, and it's important to me that you know that I respect ALL of you, all of your beliefs, and your right to practice, or to not practice any religion you so choose. The beauty of this world is that we are all so different, and I love that this is a safe place for me to share pieces of my life. Thank you.


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There have been times in my life where I so badly wished I could believe in god. Any god, really. Your god, the god my friends believe in. And believe me, I've tried. I grew up going to church and learning all about it, I looked up into those rafters and waited to hear a voice. I went to confessional and told the priest all about the things I did wrong, my 8-year-old imagination running wild, imagining God to be right behind that little door. If I opened it would I see him? If I did all my Hail Marys would he appear? But he didn't. And I understand that faith is about faith- in about believing that there is someone, something there...but for me that belief just never took root.

It's a gray area for me in a way though, because sometimes I think there has to be something, you know? Energies swirling around when we die, finding a new home in the ground, the trees, the blue blue sky. Maybe all of it gets put back into the atmosphere and becomes part of everything we are and do. Maybe. Hank on the other hand, believes that when we die, we die. There is no afterlife, no energy taking root in a new home, that it is just the end. And I can see that being the case, much more than I can see a perfect heaven that is designed from all of our hopes and dreams...but I just don't know.

I'm fascinated with religion though. Many of my friends are Christian and I always find it interesting to hear what they believe and why they do. I think it's amazing that they have that kind of faith and can just believe, be it Christianity or Buddhism or whatever else. I love learning about all of it, but in the same breath my thoughts go to all of the bad in the world and it doesn't make sense to me. It never will. I don't understand why children get sick and die, why horrible accidents happen and why wars and genocide and whatever other bad, terrible things I could name here take place. WHY. And so my mind can't grasp it, I can't believe that some old book written by old men could ever be the blueprint for how I'm supposed to live my life. I can't believe that we should ever tell anyone else who to marry or how to live, or make someone else feel bad for living outside of what we believe to be the "right" way to live.

There have been so many times in my life I wanted so badly to lean on something, to pray to someone. When my Grandma died I wished I knew where she went. But I didn't- I don't. I have no idea. And when all 19 of our firefighters died, and Andrew was just gone, it was shocking to me to hear people say there was a reason for it- it was God's plan. No. Nanny, Andrew, Kendall. I don't know where they are. I don't know if everything they did in their life determined some sort of afterlife. And I have no idea if I'll ever see them again. Honestly, I don't believe I ever will.

So what do I believe in? I believe in science. And I believe in doing the right thing and being kind. And I believe that there is a reason things happen and that the universe has a plan, at least sometimes. I believe that we get what we put out there, and at times I do think that karma must be real. I'm well aware I contradict myself and sometimes these beliefs don't make sense to me either. And maybe that's all this part of my life will ever be. Constantly questioning, not really knowing. And maybe at the very end of my life I'll find that there is something there, that all along it was right in front of me. Maybe I'll find out I was completely wrong but if you want to know the truth...I'm pretty sure we'll ALL be wrong.

I'll keep on this journey though, reading and thinking and questioning. I'll keep living this life as if it's all I've got, this here and now. I'll make decisions based on what I believe to be true and right, and love as hard as I can. And really, that's enough for me. If this one life is all I have I want to do it right and do it with love. Because at the end of the day that's what I believe in and focus everything on- love and love and love.

Thank you for reading my thoughts. <3




*read more about this topic on this blog here and here.
and more on this topic, not on this blog here and here.
(be sure to click that last link if you have a moment)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Let's Get Weird.

 a photo from our Saturday night

This past weekend I spent a fun night out with two of my favorite people, and I've been thinking so much about the idea of friendship and how it's changed for me over the years. I find it so interesting look back through the past couple of decades and see the kind of friends I gravitated towards (or was), and how that's shifted over time. At different stages there were different things- party friends, easy breezy friends, school friends. At times the kind of friends I didn't always feel comfortable letting down my guard around or allowing them "in." But really, all I want is REAL. I want to be able to be myself- my sometimes neurotic, always chatty, incredibly emotional, occasionally moody, weird self- and I want the people I call my closest friends to be able to feel like they can be exactly who they are too, all of the time. For the most part I've had the same people around for a long, long time, and although I do love meeting new friends, at this stage in my life I'm really enjoying getting to know the people already here in new ways as we get older and navigate our 30s together.

This past weekend we had some good conversations about this and everything else in between- about just wanting to cut the bullshit out of life and get right down to it. And it's not that I ever didn't want real in my relationships, but I think as I've experienced more and more in life, parts of this outer shell I've put up (without even realizing it was there...) has come down. And you know what? As scary as it is to be you, 100% you, it feels good to let people see that person and let them into who you truly are. And in return, you allow your friends to be on that same level, and what you get is a whole bunch of really awesome real-ness. Are you still with me? ;)

I've been sitting here trying to write this post for awhile. I write about things like this often, so I struggled for a bit with how to share what I'm feeling without sounding like I'm repeating myself like I can sometimes do. It's hard to put "let's get weird" in an eloquent way, but here it is: all I want is to be a safe place for the people I love. I want them to know that I will always love them just the way they are, just as I know they love and accept me. Quite simply: be who you are, be that person loudly. I'm weird, you're weird...let's get weird together.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Some days are just a little magical.

Some days are just a little magical. Almost-four year olds nod at every suggestion, 15-month olds don't fuss or cry, and everything goes a little smoother than usual. This morning was one of those mornings- one of those rare, easy-breezy times where we kind of just floated through our day and believe you me, I tucked every bit of it away in a safe place to pull out during a crazy day when I need some serenity.

It's getting colder in our town, with temperatures dipping down into the 30s. Jackets and hats and warm socks are a must, and as we walked through town checking off to-dos and getting our errands done, I had such an overwhelming happy feeling in my heart. It's good to feel like I'm HOME, you know? I've lived here for about nine years and I think I'll always be grateful for this place- for a town that became a new home that felt like an old one, from the very beginning. There's something special about Prescott, from all the old houses to the Back to the Future-esque town square, the "Everyone's Hometown" banners on the streetlamps to the store fronts decorated for the holidays. Now, I know I tend to romanticize things but there really is a feeling that hangs around here, and if you pay close enough attention I'm sure you'll feel it too- it's a mix of friendliness and familiarity and a bit of funny quirkiness. I love it.

So we walked, we jumped in leaves, we ate cookies out of the brown paper bakery bags, all to the soundtrack of baby laughter and crunching leaves. We enjoyed this cold-but-not-too-cold day that left our noses a little more red and our cheeks hurting from smiling so much, and now as I sit here writing this I am feeling lucky for all of it, way down deep in my toes. I'm certain this good day will carry over right into the not-so-good ones that will inevitably come, and for that I am thankful.


Details:
Me: top // flannel // bag (c/o)
Henry: jacket (c/o) // jeans // shoes

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

14 years.


Here's what I'm thankful for today:

None of us are perfect. In fact, over the course of the past 14 years, ages 18-32, I think I've probably been the farthest thing from perfect as I've grown and changed and learned and adapted. Change in any form comes with quite a few stumbles, but especially the kind of change that happens during your 20s. And in those years, chock full of all the milestones in a young adult's life, was a particular group of friends who have been there with me through it all. We've experienced college together as roommates and sisters and friends. We've waited up for each other after first dates, walked home arm in arm at 2am after late nights, woke each other up at 6:30am to go and wait tables. We graduated together, lived together after college, said things like "I think he's the one," as we met our future husbands, were the first ones in the hospital room after those first babies, the list goes on.

So as we ran around our old stomping grounds the other weekend, dancing all night and talking until the wee hours of the morning, I kept thinking about that feeling you get when you're with family. You can say anything, be anything, do anything, and you are safe and loved. You can be you. That's what these friendships are for me- a circle of unconditional love that is a constant. There's something special that happens when a friend has seen it all- there's a vulnerability there, a trust that's built, and over time it simply gets woven into the fabric of the years. And how lucky I feel to have these women in my life. I shout it to the rooftops often, I know. But to me, life is way too short to not recognize and celebrate every bit of good.

Together we've been through peaks and the valleys of life, and more so, the natural ebb and flow of our friendships. And now at 32 I look around at these girls and we are all so, so different. But in many ways, we are still the same girls we once were. Bits and pieces of us have changed, but just like old married couples that still see their partner as the young person they fell in love with, I'm sure in my mind these five women will always remain 21 years old and smiling on the dance floor, twirling and laughing...and laughing some more.
 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Weekend Links


First off, I wanted to gush for a second about my favorite Weekender bag, EVER. Have you seen Birdling Bags yet? They're American-made, by two Moms who also happen to be lifelong best friends, and their story is awesome. After I read it it made me even happier to help promote their awesome products. When I received the bag I was blown away with the craftsmanship. My sister and I couldn't get over how strong the straps felts and how sturdy the canvas was. It's neat because the bags are so pretty, but they're also insanely heavy duty- the best of both worlds. I would even venture to say that this would be the only weekender you will ever need. It fits EVERYTHING and because of how well it's made, you're set for life. Go check them out, and if you treat yourself to one, let me know what you think. I bet you'll love it.

And now, some links! Enjoy. xoxo

Are you ready, East-coasters?

5 things to know about attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch.

"Things Are Improving For LGBT Students, But They're Still Really Bad..."

Did you love 'Clarissa Explains It All?' Read this!

I really enjoyed watching this skate video.

RIP, Delia's.

4 rules for digital downtime everyday.

Wishlist: this tunic, this necklace, and these (very afforable) ankle boots.

Did you know...Americans now use less water then they did in 1970.

I couldn't love this more!

Like coffee? Then you'll probably enjoy Hank's coffee blog, if you haven't already checked it out. 

Disney attractions that didn't work out.

 Are You a J. Crew Democrat or a Pizza Hut Republican?

Non-fiction books everyone should read.

And finally, read this: On Kindness.

 
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