with amelia

The day I traced my finger along the campus map to figure out where COMM 103 was, I realized it was really the only corner of campus that I hadn't already explored during my first week of college. When I walked up to the building, I definitely wrinkled my nose a little bit at the building that looked like it had been placed there in 1973 & then left to fend for itself against the outdoor elements & indoor college students.

It only got worse when I walked into the classroom, & was greeted by a professor who looked like she had been placed there in 1973 & left to fend for herself, as well.
Then there was the awkward where-do-I-sit dance. There were several sophomores already in their seats that had obviously shared classes with each other before, chatting away & even *gasp* talking to the professor. I felt like SUCH a freshman in that moment. I picked a chair in a row that was uncomfortably far from the door, but I had already walked too far into the classroom to turn back. DOOMED, I thought.

(This next part is where it might start sounding like a love story. #soulmates #noshame)
& THEN SHE WALKED IN. She was pretty & tan & kinda a hippie & totally a freshman. I could just tell. I AM A FRESHMAN! She had really (really) long hair, down to her waist. & white shorts. I HAVE WHITE SHORTS! &... could it be?? Is that an American Eagle logo on her shirt? I. LOVE. AMERICAN EAGLE!

Now, let me be clear. This was 2006 - Approximately 458 freshman girls on campus fit that description . But, in that moment, I felt compelled to be her friend. We freshmen had to stick together. Plus, I really liked her hair.
So, when she sat behind me, you can understand that I was like, brushing my hair behind my ear to show off the American Eagle logo on my polo. (Yes, polo.) Smooooooth.

It took a few more classes for us to start talking. There were a couple "pair up" assignments that we worked on together. We learned first names & plotted to submit photos of our professor to What Not to Wear. One day, we were encouraged to go visit the Communications department's ice-cream social for extra credit. I wasn't going to go, but she convinced me to go with her.
& then, something happened. We were together, outside of the classroom which had previously been the boundaries of our friendship. & we couldn't stop chatting. The ice-cream social was a total bust. (No mint chocolate chip ice-cream? NO THANKS.) So, in typical 2006 fashion, we headed to the poster shop that had been set-up on campus. Best decision ever, in case you're ever trying out a new friendship. In the poster shop, our conversation went something like this:

"Oooo, I love this movie!"
"Omg, me too! Almost as much as I love this band..."
"Really? The first song on the album reminds me of my boyfriend..."

Or something very pathetically close to that.
Turns out, our dating anniversaries (remember those?) were exactly a year & a day apart. Turns out, we had a LOT in common. Turns out, we were supposed to be friends. I had no idea that one of her friends from high school was also my only friend in my English class that lived a floor above me. So, a few days later when I got invited to Grey's Anatomy Night upstairs, I walked in the door & saw a pink butterfly chair, with Amelia sitting in it. & we chatted. & we sort of haven't stopped chatting ever since.
All I can say is this: thank goodness for COMM 103 & the row of chairs that was uncomfortably far from the door. A friendship began in that row of chairs that I would be a very different person without. I could never have known how important those white shorts & Death Cab for Cutie posters were going to be, but God totally did. We've had our ups & downs. Our distant times & our disagreements. But with Amelia, there is never any looking back. I think that's maybe what I like best about her, actually. With Amelia, you just keep looking ahead to really bright & sunshiney tomorrows.

& guys, that's how my life with Amelia began.

Oh, & p.s. then-boyfriends are both now-husbands. In case you were wondering.


pink sunsets

Sometimes you drop everything you're doing to run outside & enjoy a sunset.
Sometimes you have a million pictures to blog from the weekend, but MAN. That sunset!
Because sometimes, it's these little moments that you know you'll want to remember the most.
The little moments that aren't really so little as much as they are short, because suns set fast.
Little, big moments of a burning, pink sunset & Love Eyes from the man you adore the most.


minus & plus - exercise vs. Grey's Anatomy

There are spring clothes & swimsuits popping up all over the place. First of all, it's FEBRUARY. Secondly, it's FEEEBRUAAARYYYY.
It's big, giant motivation to break in my new running shoes & get in shape for the warmer months.
I don't really run.
But we have this beautiful neighborhood now! With a jaw dropping view of the sunset! A reason to start running if I ever had one.
Jared brought home AppleTV last week, & I'm not sure how to choose exercise over Season 8 of Grey's Anatomy that is so wonderfully accessible now.
I think I only have like 6 episodes left in the season, so I can go to the gym & pretend that my tears are sweat.
Because I may have read the episode descriptions for the rest of the season already & OMG. WHAT THE WORLD.
The frustration will be good for me though, because who knows when Season 9 will be added to Netflix & THUS! More time to exercise in the evenings!
There are also an unfortunately large amount of documentaries that are also calling my name, so this will be a test of willpower.
I have two bridesmaid dresses hanging up in our room that are added motivation. They call me names & stuff. BUT I'LL SHOW THEM. I will. Mark myyyy words.

Minus & Plus posts were born in my attempts to find the silver lining to weird little negative things that follow us around. (Read more here!) Please feel free to jump on board the silver lining/rays of sunshine train with your own plus & minus posts, then share your link in the comments!


being an older sister

I have random memories from the early years of being an older sister. 

Meredith was born when I was 5 years old. I vividly remember "helping" my dad plant purple flowers in the front yard flower beds, discussing what it would mean to be a big sister. I remember picking out her name on mom & dad's bed after we finished reading books before bedtime. I remember getting to stay up until after 9 p.m. waiting for my grandma to get the phone call that Meredith had finally arrived. Aaaaand then I remember making up a song & singing it softly to myself, hoping someone would hear my lament about feeling left out because of the baby. Probably because of this scene from Hook, actually. I was just a little bit dramatic.

I was 8 when Lissy arrived, & she was my baby. I should have clearer memories of her since I was older, but it's mostly just memories of constantly holding her. & combing her hair when she got out of the bath because you better believe we thought those curls were pure gold. I remember dressing her up in teeny little leotards & tights to "teach" her ballet. She was totally sassy.

Being an older sister to these girls hasn't always been easy. There have been months - years? - that we've had to relearn how to talk to each other. There have been hard times & distance. & we call those the they-were-pre-teens-&-I-was-an-angry-teenager years. I haven't always been a role model, & they definitely tried to drown at least two boyfriends in the family pool.

But being an older sister to these girls has always been simple. Simple because there has always been Love. Love with a capitol L because sister love is different than most other kinds of love. I know in my heart of hearts that they are some of the best human beings I've ever encountered. I can talk to them for hours - & I do. They are best friends, & I so admire their love & loyalty to each other. They make our family complete, & I can honestly say that I no longer write songs about feeling left out. *high five*

FYI, the next part is smooshy, gooey lovey.


Meredith, you are 19 & glowing. You exercise your middle name most perfectly every day in the grace that overflows into your very wise & very forgiving decisions. I'm actually really happy that your 18th year involved red hair & piercings, because you're exploring YOU & that's really exciting. You're beautiful, lady.

Lissy, I almost refuse to believe that you are 16. But you have 16 years of feisty going for you, & your passion shows through your dedication to the people & things you have around you. You are a curly ray of pretty sunshine, & your ability to quote How I Met Your Mother on demand is actually shocking. I'm proud of you for constantly being LISSY, no matter who or what.

& so, another February birthday week has passed, & I didn't cry. Well, actually, I teared up for like 4 seconds. I guess I'm getting to that age. Happy birthdays, ladies. I love love love you.


valentine's eve

Little bits & pieces of the rest of Valentine's Day around our abode on this Valentine's Eve. Including, but not limited to: Leftover felt hearts from my front door project, Anna Rifle Bond goodies from Amelia & a wrapping paper heart to let the neighbors know that there is love in this apartment. I won't insult you with a DIY on that last one.

We're celebrating my two younger sisters' birthdays this week, so our Valentine's Day date is happening on Sunday. Guess what - The heart in the window ain't comin' down until then. Sorry/not sorry. 

I told myself I'd be in bed by 11:00 tonight & I'm already two minutes past that. DRAT. It's just so much cozier on this couch with my Jared. *happy sigh*

Have a happy day tomorrow, friends.


DIY - valentine's heart wreath

I love Valentine's Day. Even as a single high school girl, I loved the idea of the world pausing for a moment to appreciate LOVE. & naturally, now that I know the love of a dreamy husband, it's an even sweeter day.

My mom takes Valentine's Day decor as seriously as she takes Christmas decor, & even with a sister whose birthday is on the 14th, we all get & give presents in honor of St. Cupid. Or whoever it is. (That's a joke, & read this if you really want to know more about what Valentine's Day is really about.) The point is, my family loves Valentine's Day, & I am no exception.

So, here's a very simple, very cheap wreath that I made to honor the tradition that my sweet mama started. The only thing I bought was felt, which was $0.94 a sheet, so I'm marking this as a SUCCESS.  There's step by step instructions at the bottom, if you're not a visual learner like me ;)

wire hanger (or craft wire)
felt (2 sheets)
hot glue gun
starch or hairspray

1. Bend hanger (or wire) into heart shape. The beauty of wire is that you can make your heart skinny, fat - Whatever you desire!

1 1/2. I didn't add anything to hang my heart from because our apartment door came with a convenient (& slightly off center) hook, but this is the part where you can use ribbon, twine or some of your leftover wire to make a loop. I'd do this now so your hearts cover up any part of the hook that is left visible on the front.

2. Cut felt into four strips, then quarter those strips. You'll need approximately 25 hearts if you're using a wire hanger.

3. Halve your felt squares to cut the heart shape. Trace half a heart onto your square if you don't feel comfortable free-handing. I free-handed my hearts & kinda liked that the hearts were all unique.

4. Fold the hearts in half & iron... briefly. The felt doesn't need a ton of heat, so this can be as quick as 3 seconds plus a quick burst of steam.

5. Spray hairspray or starch to help the heart retain its fold. I used hairspray because I'm a terrible housewife that doesn't have starch, but starch would definitely be ideal.

6. Follow the crease with the hot glue gun & place your felt heart on your wire heart. Press into place.

7. Continue this process until your wire is covered. I kept my hearts going in the same direction, but it would be cute to have them go in opposite directions from the center & meet at the bottom, too.

8. Step back & admire! Then have a photoshoot with leftover hearts!

You guys, this is too easy. I'm already scheming up a spring version, so stay tuned. If you make one, share it! I'd love to see them, so link up in the comments!

(I will disclaimer this to say that I have not searched the internet from top to bottom to make sure that someone else hasn't already made this. If you, your neighbor or your favorite blogger has done something similar, well, let's get coffee because great minds think alike!)


sunday best with emma

dress - f21 + chelsea's closet // tights - target // wedges + sunnies - h&m // lips - revlon super lucious "siren"

It's pretty hard to eliminate pictures when there's a cute pooch making all sorts of ridiculous faces throughout the batch. Emma is my parents' golden retriever & today, got to play the role of Jared's stand-in. She's more red than golden. & she's pretty much a tank. But she's probably the sweetest thang there is. Even if she's not really into modeling.

These are sort of celebratory pictures, as this is the first time since last Saturday that I've put any effort into my appearance. I'm positive that my coworkers have forgotten that I have a figure/facial features. But I'm more than positive that our couch thinks I'm beautiful in greeeey sweatpaaaaants & no maaaaake-uuuuup... (Take it away, John.)

But I'm BETTER! & nothing says better like electric blue tights.


les miserdoodle

You may already know (from my instagram profile & various mentions on the blog) that Jared sings. I know a lot of people sing, but Jared SINGS. Homeboy is a classically trained singer, to the extent that the first time my mom heard him singing from our piano room, she told me to turn down the Josh Groban c.d.

Right after I saw Les Mis in theaters back in January, I caught that bug that so many of us had. The can't-stop-humming-or-singing-the songs-from-Les-Mis bug. It lasted probably a week, thank goodness, because I don't know it THAT well & was making up a lot of the words...Which wasn't okay, because Les Miserables is Jared's jam. The musical of all musicals for his musical-theater soul. He respects it. He loves it. & the words "dream role" are frequently found in conjunction with the word "Javert" in our household.

Whilst in the thick of my contracted Les Mis Bug, we had dinner at my parents' house. My finger still had it's giant bandage on (I'm trying to see how many posts I can work the finger into), so I begged & pleaded with Super Musical Little Sister to sight-read some of the songs on the piano. I wailed my little heart out to a few of the songs before Jared entered the room & started to sing "Stars," his musical anthem. Other Little Sister secretly took video of him singing, which I didn't find out till last night.

ALL OF THIS BACK STORY JUST TO INTRODUCE THE VIDEO BELOW. SHEESH. Last night, I was back at my parents, cuddling with their golden doodle (obvi) & Lissy came over to show me the video she'd secretly captured. Ellie (the doodle) is completely infatuated with Jared, so as soon as he started singing in the video, she flopped her head over & watched the. whole. thing. With her little eyebrows raising when he'd hit a high note. I died a little from the cuteness.

So here. An iphone video of a golden doodle watching an iphone video. MY GIFT TO YOU.

[I *technically* should run this by Jared before clicking post due to the whole singing on the internet thing, 
but I'm the wife & I say his voice is amazing.]


sunday best

 shirt - j. crew // cardigan - h&m // bowtie - the tie bar // watch - timex (vintage), j.crew band

peplum top - f21 // skirt - f21 // tights - target // heels - h&m // fantail necklace & locket - antique

It's not Sunday.

& to make matters worse, these weren't taken on a Sunday. It was a Monday. (I would never take my J.Lo booty to church in that skirt, for the record.) But I've been trying to figure out where this style post thing fits in to our blog because we both really enjoy it, to be honest... & it turns out that Sunday Best fits us better than any other cheesy series name. The new plan is to share style posts just on Sundays, regardless of what day we actually managed to get out of work clothes & into our faaaaancy clothes. Or not so fancy. Whatever.

It's not Sunday. I know. But a month after I got really sick for the first time in nearly two years, & two weeks after I sliced my finger open in three places, & a week after Jared had the stomach flu... I managed to get myself sick again. So, you get Sunday Best pictures. On a Tuesday. Because I think I threw out my creativity with the last mound of tissues.

& that's okay, because the same man that willingly traipses around the woods for blog pictures only to be paid in kisses also enjoys taking really good care of me when I'm sick, only to be paid in kisses blown from the nest I've made on the couch. He's a saint. A saint who knows just how I like my tea, & that forehead kisses have healing powers. It doesn't get much better than that.

big thanks to chelsea for taking these pictures for us!


some other things about january

IN JANUARY, I learned about fainting & how not to do it. When you awake in the middle of the night to your husband running to the bathroom because that dern flu has finally caught up with him, you may be tempted to jump out of bed to get him some water & offer wifely support in his moment of weakness. But lo! Never. jump. out. of. bed. Apparently going from laying down to standing up too quickly can mess up your blood pressure (makes sense), which results in some really awful symptoms like tunnel vision, cold sweats, nausea, loss of hearing, & ends in blackout. With you on the floor. Next to your sick husband who is thoroughly freaked out. Just don't jump out of bed.

IN JANUARY, my little finger continued to heal wonderfully & I can ALMOST bend it again. It's a lot less franken-finger now, & that's all I can really ask for. I'm also really pleased to announce that I'm now an ambidextrous shaver. So, that's useful.

IN JANUARY, I realized just how blessed I am to have a next door neighbor friend when our 478 yr. old toilet clogged & we didn't have a plunger. A true friend opens the door for you to run in when you send a 911 text about having to "peeeee reaaaaal baaaaaad" & "would you please come with me to buy a plunger?" Love you, Chels.

IN JANUARY, the quest to watch all the Best Picture nominees continued as we knocked Argo & Silver Linings Playbook off the list. I would highly recommend both. & I can tell you, I'm not watching Life of Pi. I know they say it's amazing, but I avoid animal movies at all costs because HOLLYWOOD ALWAYS KILLS THE ANIMALS. So. Yeah.

IN JANUARY,  Jared & I had real good conversations about this coming year. & I became a little more amazed at the places God has brought us & how we move each other forward. That Jared... He's just the wind in my sails, & the air in my lungs. January was lovey.

So now, it's February. & I'm just so excited for what it has to offer. Hopefully some silliness. Hopefully no ER visits. Hopefully a lot of the same forward motions that January offered. 2013 & I are getting along juuuust fiiiiiiine.