Friday, November 30, 2012

Tourist in Your Own Town

Have you every taken a weekend to be a tourist in your town? I did it one weekend when I went to my hometown last year, but that was really me being a tourist. Now that I'm in The Cities the majority of my time, I'm taking this weekend to play traveler. I have a concert, for which my parents will be coming tomorrow. Instead of staying at my apartment, we're giving ourselves a treat and checking into a hotel for the weekend. Can you say 10:30 swim? We'll be shopping for presents, trying new restaurants, and seeing the city with new eyes! 

What are your weekend plans? Are you kicking off December in any fun way? Have you tried being a tourist in your town? I highly recommend it. If you have, what are some tips for me to do?

Image via; anyone know the credits?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Life Color

Does your job, hobby, or major affect your perception of the world? Definitely. But does color have anything to do with it? 

My twin sister, "sees the world in every color," as my mom says. Abby is studying to be an interior designer. She works with color everyday, exploring emotions visually and colorfully. I'm an English major and read texts all day; ink on paper. Mom explained to me that I'm someone who looks at things "in black and white," which isn't bad, it's just another way of seeing things. 

It sounds totally crazy, but I'm starting to think I'm seeing the world the way I see for most of the day. I experience different things vicariously through the events and emotions of literature, black and white, ink on paper. Abby emotes with colorful paints, pens, and paper strips. 

I'm just spitballing here, but I'm intrigued. I'd love to know more about this. Do you think this is just a coincidence, or could there be some validity? Have you ever experienced this?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

{The 2012 Christmas Gift Guide}...For Your Dad Who's More Indie Than You Thought

Do you find it difficult to shop for dads? I do! I can never figure out what he really wants and needs. I stay far away from clothing (he's much too picky), but I definitely don't fret when it comes to little touches. . . What are you getting your dad? Here are some ideas that I like. 

S'mores Caramel Corn: Because his sweet tooth will never go away.
Carhart Cap: Basic necessity is sometimes best when it comes to dads.
Cheeky Sock Monkey Beer Cozy: For those days when he needs to be silly again.
Herschel Travel Duffle: No frills, just navy and leather. Carry ons have never been cooler.
iPod Acoustic Dock: Technology just went old school. 
Burt's Bees: He'll never admit it, but he like to keep scraps, windburns, etc. protected from the cold too.
Tweed Tie: For the "Neat Guy"
Set of 12 Beer Glasses: Because dudes don't like accidentally sipping from each other's glasses. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

{The 2012 Christmas Gift Guide}...For Your Animal Loving, Practical Roommate

One of my roommates is the most practical, level headed person I've ever met. I've known McKenna since sixth grade, and she still surprises me. Drama plays no role in her life, and everything can be explained or perceived logically when it comes to her. Despite her cool, collected self, she melts about animals. Pre-vet, she definitely is in her element. Kittens and Corgis make her heart swoon, and her love of cooking and baking means the apartment always smells mouthwateringly delicious. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

{Weekend Update}...A Tease

Do you ever feel like Thanksgiving break is kind of a tease? It's just long enough that you feel really decadent being away from school more than a weekend, but just short enough that you don't get to do everything you wanted (including backed up work). The weather is cold, but it's not yet winter. You think you're full and then the pie comes out. Although definitely to quick, my Thanksgiving break was wonderful. I so enjoyed spending time with my family, eating too much, sleeping in (a little), and working Black Friday (not sleeping), and unwinding.

I have a lot to be thankful for; I hope you realize that too. I'm trying to get mountains of work done before the end of semester. . . it can't come soon enough! Also, who got snow this weekend? We did and it was beautiful. Christmas season has begun!

Photo via

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Master List

Throughout November, I talked about what I'm thankful for. . . I thought about how I'm lucky to live in the sometimes sleepy Midwest; I looked at early mornings as something refreshing and healthy. Today I'm listing my top thankful things:

1. Family. This is a pretty basic and popular one, but I can honestly say that without the guidance, support, creativity, and love from these guys, I would not be the person I am today. Mom, Dad, Abby, thank you.

2. Good friends. You know I talk about 'em a lot here. Similar to number one. . . but different, because you know that your relationship with your best girlfriends will always be something fantastically unique.

3. City / college life. I have been exposed to so many new things in a metropolitan area. I never realized the world could be so large, and yet quite small at the same time. I'm also extremely lucky to live in an area that is actually two cities. The Twin Cities has a great diversity of culture and atmosphere. St. Paul offers the more quite residential life, while Minneapolis provides a highly metropolitan experience.

4. Reader. Thank you, readers and followers for stopping by and providing great support and encouragement. I feel overwhelmingly blessed to have a platform over which I can communicate to such a large population everyday. It's quite humbling when you think about it. Thank you.

Now, go eat too much and enjoy a day with your family! Take a Tryptophan & wine nap in preparation for Black Friday!

Beautiful photo via

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Signing Off

At noon today my vacation begins, and I couldn't be more ready for it! It's been a crazy few weeks, but extremely rewarding. I've been so lucky to see wonderful friends, try new things, and see my efforts pay off. But now I'm heading home to spend a relaxing few days with my family. I have to work for Black Friday (yikes!), but that just gives me a reason to drink obscene amount of coffee. What am I looking forward to? Spending the whole day eating sweets, drinking coffee and reading (preferably in a room like this)! I'm picking up some books today, possibly from this list. . . any suggestions? 

Have a cozy holiday with your family and friends! 

P.S Maybe I'll journal over break. 

Photo via

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dealing with Difficult Group Members

Did you ever have group projects in school and hate it? From what I can tell, most people possess a severe dislike for working in groups. After constant questioning, most professors explain that group work is representative of real life, that after college most of us will have to work in an environment with other people; some with whom we will not agree.

But let's face it. At the end of the day, group work is a major drag, and dealing with members can be tricky. No matter what, you still have to work with them, so airing grievances seems wrong. After all, you don't want the group to get even harder.

My friend recently told me about an issue with her group for a class. One of the members had said something to her that was really offensive. Feeling defeated, she didn't want to pick a fight. So she did something that surprised me. . .

She went to her professor! It's something I never would have thought to do. I go to office hours, and even talk with them casually outside of class, but I've always felt it would be immature to talk to them about issues like this. She told me it was the best thing she ever did.

Although she was really embarrassed by it, she said she was so overwhelmed by the comments that she cried in her professor's office, who let her finish crying, and then proceeded to give her advice. It was relaxed and comforting. She even told my friend that even though she'd be traveling the next few days, to email her and let her know how everything with the group member went.

Pretty interesting, right? Would you go to your professor with group project problems? Your boss? Would you cry, and if so, how would you handle it?

Photo via

Monday, November 19, 2012

{Weekend Update}...One of the Girls

When you have a girls' weekend, do you have a 'No Boys Allowed' rule? This weekend, I stayed at one of my good friend, Becca's, house for a girls' weekend. Friends came to Minneapolis from out of town; we watched movies, did facials, laughed & danced in the kitchen while cooking, and did tons of shopping. One of the new-to-me movies this weekend was Now and Then. The girls are so independent and have a strictly no boys rule during one momentous childhood summer. It got me thinking about our weekend...At first it was going to be just the girls in the house, but Vince, Becca's fiancĂ© ended up staying home, too. 

And it wasn't awkward; it was fun.

He was such a good sport, and really wanted to be participate, so instead of just being around the whole time acting all dude-like, he was part of the group! Just one of the girls. He even did facials with us! And (how sweet is this?) he baked us cookies for the road before we left. We've all decided Becca found a keeper.

 He had the best movie suggestions, encouraged the endless snacking (so we girls never felt like little pigs), and was a built in photographer. You know when you have all the girls together and you want a group picture, so you set up the timed camera and run across the room to get in the frame? Well instead Vince just walked around the house taking all those great candids you'll love forever. Also the impromptu human pyramid contest wouldn't have been possible without him. So in our photo shoot of pyramid pictures, there's Vince among all of us; just one of the girls.

As it turns out, having a guy around for girl's weekend is a nice set up. 

So what are your thoughts? Should a girls' weekend be strictly girls? Are boys allowed or is it annoying to you when they hang out with you? 

Photo via here

Friday, November 16, 2012

Maintain a Journal

Remember when you were a pre-teen and journaling was the most important activity next to breathing? I filled countless notebooks with doodles, long accounts of my day, quick ideas, etc. And they're fascinating! I'm not extremely nostalgic, but every once in a while I page through my old journals and smile. It's fun to see how your life changes.

This Friday that's the challenge. Start journaling again and see what happens. Sometimes journaling leads us to feel more thankful. Other times it helps us work through problems. If a detailed nightly journal seems like a lot of up keep (I get it; we're busy people!), you might try:

A dream journal
Music journal; what have you been listening to?
Food journal - not necessarily for dietary reasons - what you are eating, what new recipes you want to try, etc.
A quotes journal for the inspiring, the funny, the heartfelt, or even new words you hear.
Daily doodles (like Lizzy Stewart!)

The list goes on and on. Do you have any ideas for different journaling? There is really so much to think about in a day, you could pick anything! Good luck! 

P.S . . . I like these notebook.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday...Early Mornings

I get up every single day at 6:00 am. I know, it sounds terrible. I complained for a really long time about my early mornings, and then I realized that there were some great benefits to being an early riser (albeit forced) . . .

I see the sunrise almost everyday. Although it seems insignificant, there's something very beautiful and centering about physically seeing a new day begin. It's wonderfully refreshing.

I also have some precious quiet me time. Since I live with three other girls, the apartment is rarely silent. So in the morning I grab a cup of coffee, sit on my bed and read for fun while the sun rises. It's glorious.

So believe it or not, I'm thankful for my crazy early mornings!

What are you thankful for? Is there something you originally thought was bad, but now it's been a blessing in disguise?

Photo via Instagram

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stress: A Story of Frenemies

I was at a meeting the other night that discussed stress and its role in our lives. I heard some interesting things . . . People were saying, "Stress is just part of college,"; "it motivates me when I feel anxious,"; "if you're not stressed, you're doing something wrong."


My Story: When I was a Freshman (not all that long ago!) I was a homework machine. Nothing could stop me from getting everything done. Yeah, I was that efficient. But a large part of my productivity stemmed from stress. 

At first, this relationship with stress was lighthearted, no strings attached. It helped me get motivated; it made the stakes a little higher when there was that "slightly off" feeling pushing me to get things done. Being anxious made me faster, adding an element of discomfort dying to be balanced. Generally, stress and I got along just fine. 

And then after several months together the relationship went sour.

My twin sister started urging me to "just take a break"and relax. My friends reminded me that taking a brain hiatus was important; Mom and Dad called asking if I was okay; I had seemed frazzled last time I was home. 

The truth? I was.

Before I knew it, stress had turned on me. Ignoring my issue, I kept adding more to my plate, never resting, and soon I was overwhelmed. I was drowning. I was a completely different person. Suddenly, I didn't love school anymore; I was obsessed. I wan't happy; I was anxious. Ultimately, I worked myself into a state of bewilderment, and it took its toll. By the end of the year, I was totally exhausted, feeling defeated despite an academically good year. 

The strange part? It took months of crying with Mom, hours of complaining to my sister for me to even realize that stress had started hurting me. And then I finally changed. I started telling myself it was okay to take a break; prioritizing makes life easier. Making decisions (hard for someone like me) became essential and I started having balance again. 

So I'm wondering . . . what role does stress play in your life? I'd love to hear your story! How do you deal? What gets you motivated? 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Did You Make?

How did you do with this weekend's challenge? I actually did make Pasties! And they were delicious! It was the perfect fall day and the aroma of butter, roasting veggies, browning beef made the apartment heavenly! I even made my own pie crust with this simple recipe. Ambitious, right? I sent my mom this picture as a surprise, and boy she we proud. Although they were delectable, nothing beats mom's cooking, right? But they did bring bake some lovely kitchen childhood memories. :)
What did you make this weekend? Did you call mom for help on the instructions?

Monday, November 12, 2012

{Weekend Update}...An Update!

Happy Monday, all! You may have noticed a few changes. Some big ones, actually! After a lot of consideration, I changed the blog. My life has been changing like crazy over the past few months, and it was about time my blog reflected those changes. At a point, I had to pick up and move on. In a large part, that meant making the blog something new.

Today we're starting a fresh. And let me tell ya, it feels good. The content will be pretty much the same. You may have noticed posts being few and far between, which was a result of much contemplating over what to do with the blog. Now that everything is settled, posts should be pretty frequent again. Thanks for your support and readership through all the changes!

 Remember! You can still find me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram!