Monday, December 31, 2012

Back to Back

It's got to be a double take, right? First we have Christmas festivities and then one short week later we've got a blowout bash to wave goodbye to 2012! Luckily, our family splits up the crazy, so everyone can breath a little in between planning and partying. My mom, Abby and I have been putting our heads together...on Pinterest. With some bubbly, sparkles, smiles, and plenty of pictures, New Year's Eve should be a night to remember!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Home Again, Home Again

After a crazy semester and a week of finals (minus that surprise break!), it feels very nice to be home again. My own bed with flannel sheet, that homey smell you'll never be able to recreate in your apartment, the sound of neighbors shoveling in the morning. No matter how long or short it's been since going home, it's always, always good to be back. And I'm guessing things will stay this way for a very long time. Because that's just the way it is. 

I look forward to fresh coffee in the morning, the quiet residential streets, getting the mail from the slot instead of walking to another building, sitting in the big cushy chair (I'm doing that now), and snacking on cheese, clementines, and summer summersausage until our bellies are full in the evening. And my dear family, of course.

When you think of home, what come to mind?

P.S...I just finished wrapping Christmas gifts!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Alone Time

Do people ever say you have your head stuck in the clouds? Somehow it's a bad thing. And if you're in a meeting, rightly so. Daydreaming isn't typically productive at work. But no matter how busy you get, alone time is important.

I got an email from my dad that had a cute little 2013 Handbook. One of the rules was to spend 10 minutes per day completely alone, staying silent. Our hectic lives make it seem that we're only productive if we're surrounding by busy people, purring emails, wads of Post-It notes, and endless coffee stain rings. 

Try to be quiet and daydreamy for a little bit. Imagine how much happier you'll be! Remember how childhood seemed somehow more colorful, more fantastic? We had our head in the clouds almost all day. What a lovely fantasy. So take a few minutes, even if you're an ambitious extrovert to be alone and dreamy. . .

P.S. . . for all you introverts!

Photo via

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

{Winter Reads}...Salinger

Every year since seventh grade, I try to read The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Some people say it doesn't read as well the second time, but I love to see how it changes as I age. Holden is such a beloved character with his colorful vocabulary and quirky habits. If you haven't read it, change that! It is a classic for a reason.

Franny and Zooey is equally wonderful. Although not as popularized as The Catcher in the Rye, it's a quick, delightful read. Needless to say, Salinger should be on the shelves of every library.

P.S...get a Catcher in the Rey vintage book cover shirt to impress all your literary friends!

Photo via

Monday, December 17, 2012

{Weekend Update}...Surprise!

Over the weekend, one of my best girl friends graduated from college, conveniently happening the same day as a final. So after many pouting sessions, Amanda accepted the fact that I wouldn't be there for her big day. But being sneaky, my family arranged to have Abby and me picked up directly after my exam so we could surprise her at our Christmas party / graduation celebration. Needless to say, the girl who is always talking was speechless. A good surprise, I think. 

Now I know it's true. It's the thought that counts. Saying multiple times, "the best graduation present would be for you to be here on Saturday," I actually agree. I didn't buy Amanda anything fancy, or commemorative of her graduation day. Our families simply surprised her with a loving gesture that probably meant more to all of us than anything we could buy. It's cheesy, but we created a really wonderful memory that will probably be retold for many years. 

This holiday season, what will you do for the special people in your life?

Photo via Flickr fireflythegreat

Friday, December 14, 2012


Happiest of Fridays, everyone! My finals have begun, so our apartment has been a mess of snacks, coffee, computer cords, and frantic quizzing. I am so looking forward to the extended Christmas break, and family traditions that are coming my way! Do you have little rituals you do every year?

For example, my family has always opened the presents under the tree on Christmas Eve after dinner and church. Those present are from family. Christmas morning we sleep in (kind of) and check out our stockings (from Santa) while we lounge in pajamas and drink coffee with cookies. Ever since we were four, Abby and I have also gotten a small shared present from Gusty and Poofer (from this movie) that's hidden in the house.

Although mom make the traditional Christmas ham and smorgasbord, Dad makes his famous chili (how Midwest!) for Christmas Eve dinner.

Abby, my two "God-sisters" Amanda and Becca, and I wear the same dress in different colors for Christmas service. We've done it for a long time, but this is the first year Becca won't be with us, because she's visiting her finance's family, so the dresses are super important this time!

Family traditions can be so quirky and unique. What are some of yours? Do you have tried and true standbys like and advent wreath, decorating together, watching a holiday movie?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

{The 2012 Christmas Gift Guide}...For Your Mom Who's Like Your Sister

Triangular Necklace that is chic and goes with everything.
Michael Kors Wristlet to hold all her odds and ends when migrating from purse to purse.
Bodum French Coffee Press for the days she feels decadent and demands french pressed cafe.
Nail Polish: a neutral for feeling refined, a shimmery crimson for parties.
Fossil Metallic Leather Travler Satchel that will fabulously carry all her belongings whether for work, day trips, or mega shopping sprees.
iPhone back up battery so she can text you, call you, and Facetime you for days. :)
Wake Me at Noon Eyemask letting everyone know she seriously deserves her sleeping in weekends.
The New York Times 36 Hours: 125 Weekends in Europe for her to read about fantastic travels on a relaxing weekend. 
NARS Lipstick Fire Down Below because you just know she'd look amazing with it, but she'll never buy it for herself.
Dyptique Gardenia Candle making the house smell like fresh flowers even in the dead of Midwest winter.
Three Little Pigs: her favorite animal; your favorite childhood rhyme. 
Made With Love Cheese Board because those midnight snacks she serves you are really made with love.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blogger's Lament: In Your Best Pinterest?

Pinterest was cool once, right? It was inspiring, it peaked your interest, obviously. Originally, it was ideally an online platform to share and express individuality. Inspiration is a declaration of self, an exploration of creativity.  Basically, most people aren’t consulting their muse in the midst of negativity and self doubt. But because of Pinterest, users are being bombarded by mixed messages causing pinners left wondering, “Am I good enough?”.

As a website and sharing platform intended to encourage creativity and inspiration, Pinterest is predominantly female populated. While there are men contributing to the cyber idea board, moms, teachers, lifestyle bloggers and a slew of other women-dominant circles are really in control here. And what they’re telling you, you’re probably buying. This is unfortunate for several reasons. 

Although the creative’s social media platform, Pinterest, was created with the best intentions, (aren’t they all?) it’s evolved into a hybrid brag board. Stay at home moms who have perfected edible play dough, teachers displaying their ridiculously tedious games and room designs, fitness gurus telling you how to get in shape are taking over! It makes you feel like a loser. Because you’re not woman enough. 

As if the photos of body builder chicks, and healthy snack alternatives aren’t bad enough, the overzealous catalogue of celebrities is terrifying. What are we saying as women, as people, that our inspiration comes from a select pool of sun bathing, celery eating film stars? We’re already surrounded by them at the market in magazines, on television, Twitter, billboards; the list goes on and on. A place of inspiration, somewhere to be yourself and feel enlightened, is being inflitrated by people that aren’t even part of our reality. 

In case you’ve lost touch with reality, know that Pinterest can cure it. Amidst the crafts that make you feel like a bad parent and weightloss programs that make you feel like a whale are reminders that seriously clash with the aforementioned messages. Aesthetically pleasing, feel good mottos like, “Be Brave,” and “The Best is Yet to Come,” might make you think there is still hope in this world. But mixed in with the other content, it just feels disingenuous. So what’s up? Half are telling you that you’re failing as a creative woman; the other half is desperately clinging to therapeutic qlichés. 

 Let’s reminisce for a bit . . . I can remember just a few months back to when my Pinterest homepage was a glorious collage of beautiful interiors, rad graphic designs, international editorial fashion spreads, and the occassional celebrity or exotic travel photograph. It was still a creative phenomenom where original individuals posted their unique content. They shared ideas, as oppossed to forcing ideas of what a true woman is. Now all I see is what I’m not and what I can’t do. 

This is wrong. Pinterest has become it’s own antithesis. 

This makes me frustrated and it should make you frustrated. It’s absolute madness that a site for sparking artistry and imagination makes you feel bad. We’re not even talking about that moment of, “Why didn’t I think of that?” We’re talking about that feeling of inadequacy. 

Being told you need to do jumping jacks during every commercial break, should make dinner every night, and fill your home with insanse DIY projects is disheartening. Next time you login in for an evening of pin bingeing, take a look and think. Is Pinterest really in your best interest? 


What are your thoughts with the increased popularity of Pinterest? Like it ? Love it?

Monday, December 10, 2012

{Weekend Update}...Stranded

Hello, everybody! How was your weekend? We had our first official snow fall in The Cities, and it proved to be surprising. Although I had planned on staying at my friends' house for two nights, I'm stranded because of the roads! Welcome, Midwest Winter, right? But isn't it fun to have a surprise like that? I have a real reason to stay curled up all day in cozy clothes with my closets friends. I even got to out and shovel! It doesn't sound that fun, but it really can be a blast! I hope you had a rosy cheeked, frost nose weekend. And if not, I'm hoping it was gorgeous!

Friday, December 7, 2012

{The 2012 Christmas Gift Guide}...For Your Designer Twin Sister

Now not all of you have an identical twin sister, but I'm pretty sure these gifts are universally pleasing to that special spunky sister in your life!

Metallic Tassel Key Ring: because even her keys need to be fabulous!
Red Tape Dispenser: for the desk that explodes with color.
Yellow Watch: to stay cheerfully happy even in hours of studios!
Nail Polish Trio: that will keep her busy hands gorgeous!
The Journal of Awesome: because she's totally awesome!
Hello iPhone Case: to greet everyone she's not texting.
Dot Socks: to keep the crazy hidden.
Yellow Washi Tape: to add sunshine to her apartments white walls in winter.
Dainty Necklace: because she's always a lady.
Pink/Orange Clutch: for the girl that will always love orange!
Little Giraffe Bookends: because it's not practical to build a huge giraffe barn/habitat in MN.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Letters of Knowledge

As the semester is wrapping up, I wanted to share a little something with you readers. . . My English professor read this to us and I thought it was delightful. Kurt Vonnegut wrote his assignments to students as letters, for them to be both person, instructive, etc. Below is the final assignment for his class "Form of Fiction". The second paragraph and the second-to-last paragraph are wonderful; notice, also, that he calls his students beloved. I find that endearing, quirky, and a tribute to his teaching. Enjoy!


November 30, 1965
This course began as Form and Theory of Fiction, became Form of Fiction, then Form and Texture of Fiction, then Surface Criticism, or How to Talk out of the Corner of Your Mouth Like a Real Tough Pro. It will probably be Animal Husbandry 108 by the time Black February rolls around. As was said to me years ago by a dear, dear friend, “Keep your hat on. We may end up miles from here.”
As for your term papers, I should like them to be both cynical and religious. I want you to adore the Universe, to be easily delighted, but to be prompt as well with impatience with those artists who offend your own deep notions of what the Universe is or should be. “This above all ...”
I invite you to read the fifteen tales in Masters of the Modern Short Story (W. Havighurst, editor, 1955, Harcourt, Brace, $14.95 in paperback). Read them for pleasure and satisfaction, beginning each as though, only seven minutes before, you had swallowed two ounces of very good booze. “Except ye be as little children ...”
Then reproduce on a single sheet of clean, white paper the table of contents of the book, omitting the page numbers, and substituting for each number a grade from A to F. The grades should be childishly selfish and impudent measures of your own joy or lack of it. I don’t care what grades you give. I do insist that you like some stories better than others.
Proceed next to the hallucination that you are a minor but useful editor on a good literary magazine not connected with a university. Take three stories that please you most and three that please you least, six in all, and pretend that they have been offered for publication. Write a report on each to be submitted to a wise, respected, witty and world-weary superior.
Do not do so as an academic critic, nor as a person drunk on art, nor as a barbarian in the literary market place. Do so as a sensitive person who has a few practical hunches about how stories can succeed or fail. Praise or damn as you please, but do so rather flatly, pragmatically, with cunning attention to annoying or gratifying details. Be yourself. Be unique. Be a good editor. The Universe needs more good editors, God knows.
Since there are eighty of you, and since I do not wish to go blind or kill somebody, about twenty pages from each of you should do neatly. Do not bubble. Do not spin your wheels. Use words I know.
Kurt Vonnegut: Letters, edited by Dan Wakefield. Delacorte Press.
Letter text via
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Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Is liking "mainstream" such a bad thing? I was talking with some people the other day, and I heard a lot of different answers.

As an English major, there's this constant pressure to know - and enjoy - a lot of obscure or just old material. In college, it just seems to be the thing. Sure, indie films are the greatest. They're always different, thought-provoking, or down right quirky; I can see the draw. I like them, too. But, how can it be so bad to occasionally enjoy the most popular (and stupid) movie out in theaters?

There is definitely a bit of elitism happening here. People that refuse to see mainstream films, listen to popular music, etc. before even experiencing them are simply cheapening it for everyone else. They are approaching the material with a negative connotation before really investigating.

It doesn't necessarily help that the movie industry has applied gimmicky labels like Chick Flick and Rom-Com. They are also perpetuating the notion that major, popular, highly advertised films are fluff. It's true, most of them are.

But I'm quite convinced that if you actually listen to the dialogue, get past the labels, the pre-constructed ideas, you'll hear some remarkable things. Popular films (seeing as they reach a huge audience) have the opportunity to say something extraordinary with the hopes that someone hears it. So let's not hate on them too early this winter film season. 

P.S Would you go to the movies alone?
And my Friday challenge that's lots of fun.

Photo via