Monday, September 3, 2012

You and I.

I wish I could explain these past few months to you. I wish I could just take you through all of the photos on my phone, and stop you to say, there, that was when this happened and I felt wonderful/embarrassed/shocked/etc. I wish I could show you all of these things and say that I thought about blogging a bit, but really just had other priorities.

I wish I would have taken a photo of the man who sold me my first Honeycrisp apple of the season. He was gruff, and tall, and didn't have his right-hand ring finger. He told me "Them apples were picked this mornin'" and I said "Oh man, getting them as fresh as I can!" I wish you could have been at that little, wooden shop with me, trying to choose the most unique type of root beer you could find.

I wish you would know how much time I put into my job and how much energy I get from the students I work with. I wish I had the words to explain how phenomenal one week felt and how difficult and emotional the other felt. I wish I could take you through the emotions I then went through for a month afterward, trying to sort it all out in my head. I wish I was completely over it all.

I wish I could tell you how it feels to go to weddings of almost everyone you hung out with when you were in your most formative years. And that those weddings all come within six months of each another. I wish you were driving with me for those long hours in the car. I wish I hadn't put over 7,000 miles on my car in the last three months. But maybe I don't. I'm happy I got to be there for each of my friends, and am looking forward to being at the ones coming up.

I wish I realized when I was younger that there are people in this world who you don't have to see every day or even every year, but that you will always feel comfortable around. This is the greatest gift. Friends who accept you as you are, even when you've changed. Even when they've changed. Maybe because of those changes. 

I hope you know that this is going to be a great month. Here we go September. You started off with a night with a wonderful person, a blue moon accompanying me on a drive home, a day with my grandparents, a potluck complete with moonshine, four-wheeler rides, and parents grilling me food and sending me back to the city with dessert. I will be spending most of this month in another country. I'm hoping for a lot of adventures.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Photo Trend

A new, whenever I realize I have one, feature for you! I've been taking far more photos of daily life, and have seen a few trends pop up. Here are liquids (or things that could become liquids) that I showcase by holding them in my hand.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Remember you can pivot.

Rather than cancel things, we can pivot and find a new way of doing things so we can continue to serve and live a balanced life at the same time. 

 From Jess LC

Giving back

There are a lot of things that make me a happy person. One of them is volunteering. Last night, nine students volunteered to hand out 10,000 candy bars to fans attending the Minnesota Twins game versus the Chicago White Sox. They were energetic and happy and I was so proud to be able to say that I get to work with them.

Have you volunteered lately? If so, what did you do?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bachelorette Weekend

I've been in a small lake town in Minnesota celebrating this girl who is getting married in less than a month! Be back soon.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Maeve's

Can we all just take a moment to thank the Yelp creators for making us more adventurous?

Thank you, it was nice that we did that.

I was given a few hours off from work one morning, and instead of being lazy and staying in bed, I yelped a new-to-me coffee shop. I settled on Maeve's in Northeast Minneapolis, mostly because it was rumored to have some pretty fantastic places to sit and hang out, along with delicious espresso.

It didn't disappoint. I wanted to journal, eat a pastry and caff up. And that is exactly what I did. I ordered a cafe miel, which was cinnamony and frothy, and that monster of a pastry, which is apparently an apple fritter. I'm pretty sure it was baked, not fried, but it was flaky and had frosting and really, that's all that matters.

I sat in a church pew, and stared at funky art, and wondered how they acquired all of the mirrors on the walls. A few people came in for a casual weekday morning breakfast, which made me jealous and wish I was an entrepreneur and could schedule meetings at fun new coffee shops just because that's what I wanted to do. (My entrepreneurial dreams tend to gloss over that whole entrepreneurs work their butts off thing. Instead I think of the coffee shops they could go to! The pastries they could try!)

Nevertheless, I'd definitely go back and I'm even more excited for the next new coffee shop adventure. There are so many sweet neighborhood cafes in Minneapolis, and I'm determined to hit as many as I can. Any suggestions for my next stop?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thankful for:

*Having been a part of a fantastic group of people in tonight's Do Love Talk titled "How to Manifest your Boldest Dreams Into Reality" with Hey Amber Rae
*A roommate who will make me dinner on a night that I just can't.
*Staying in Minneapolis this past weekend. I needed it.
*People who can admit they don't know what to do next, but that they want to work to figure it out.
*A farmer's market within walking distance.
*A local coffee shop where I know the barista.
*Volunteers
*Students who inspire me
*Students who laugh at my bad jokes
*Being able to reach out to others. In this day and age, actually making a personal connection can be more than following someone on twitter. I really appreciate people who take the extra step to comment, email, etc.
*Trader Joe's trail mix. I'm still obsessed. 
*The fact that one of my best friends is coming back to the cities in just three days!

I've been working long days and feeling a bit stressed this week. This list (and the recent impulse purchase of this lotion) is my way of trying to remind myself that there is a lot to be thankful for and that sometimes, we just need to take a step back and calm down. Good night, everyone.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Just an interesting statistic about FourSquare.

In the summer, each degree the temperature rises correlates with a 2 percent increase in searches for ice cream and iced coffee.

From this NYT article. Fascinating, right?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Be The One Run

Lake Harriet
There are a couple of things I try to live by:
1) Work hard.
2) Be kind.
3) Eat real food.
4) If a friend asks you to do/support something, and you are able to, you really should.

My friend Sarah was a bone marrow donor a few years ago (read her incredible story here) and has been very involved in the Be the Match organization ever since. This May, she asked me to be on her team for the Be the One Run and, without really thinking about the fact that I don't run, I accepted.

You know, if your friends are passionate about something, and you have the capacity to be supportive, then you should do just that. So, for a few weeks, I laced up my tennis shoes, and tried to enjoy running. I was, admittedly, a little worried.

The week before the race I was fighting off a bad cold, so much so that the night before I drank as much orange juice as I could and slept instead of attending a bbq. But then race day came and it was beautiful. We were running along Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, which is serene and outdoorsy enough to make you forget you're in the city.

For the first half mile, I walked with a few friends. Since I had trained alone, I was not used to a big crowd of people surrounding me. Once the masses had cleared a bit, I took off. I ended up running the rest of the race! It was the first time I'd ever run a race that I had "trained" for and it was actually really fun. Another friend of mine was an announcer, so when I crossed the finish line, I even got a little shout out! And that was that, folks, I'd finished my first 5K.
Our team! Nickers, me, Sarah, Aly & her sister.
My second 5K of the year is coming up quickly, and I have to be honest, I haven't been running. I'm going to try to pick it up again in the coming weeks.


Have you been entered any races lately?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Breathing room.

This weekend was filled with good friends and bad TV. It included lounging around for the first time in weeks. There was a yard sale and a farmer's market trip. There was time to listen to words that put things into perspective and time to catch up with people I haven't seen in months. There was live music and an evening walk. It was all so helpful in reminding me why I do what I do. I needed to take a deep breath and refocus. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Improvise.

No waves? Great! I'll use a tarp.
This is such a good reminder to get creative when we need to solve a problem.
Originally seen here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Adult life.

I do love my adult apartment windows.

"I give up on the dream dream. I think it's all a dream. I think it's all wonderful and terrible and I give up in the nicest way." - Fiona Apple regarding a new, concrete feeling of being an adult in this interview on NPR

I haven't quite figured out what makes one an "adult" in the sense that we've been fed; you know, those people on television who have their life together. Or those people on the sidewalk who have their name brand, expensive purses and heels and can click clack by you with their shiny hair and you just feel it. They have it together.  They probably don't need a planner. They use their phone. But it's not just their phone, because they have it synced with their computer and alarm clock and notepad and significant other's electronics too, probably. And it works for them. Fascinating.

I have grocery lists and errands scribbled on small pieces of torn, white paper floating around in the abyss of my bag. During the summer, when I bring documents home to proof, I do so with a thin, red, cherry-scented marker. I drink chocolate milk and eat dry cereal as a snack and still haven't put the laundry away that I did at my parent's house this weekend. How silly is it that I choose to drag bags upon bags of laundry five hours away to be able to do it in peace rather than down three flights of stairs & through another building only five steps away? But I digress.

I work a full-time job where I get to quote Justin Bieber if I feel like it and end a few sentences a day with "yo." I have benefits and student loans and car insurance. I pretend to run sometimes. I took a personal finance class. If someone asked me to go out for ice cream right now, I'd jump at the chance. I have a handwritten list of things I want to do taped up on my wall. I get haircuts probably about every six months. I forget to floss. I feel better when there is a map in my peripheral vision. I like cooking and sometimes eat a salad.

Does this make me an adult?

What about you makes you feel like you've hit that milestone? I know we all are technically adults at 18, but when do you feel it? Have you yet?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Tanya!

I just want to say a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my coffee-drinking, Diet Coke chugging, world traveling roommate. The Shapehouse wouldn't be the same without you.

Here's to a day full of treats and smiles. Here's to more futon stretching and giggles. Here's to learning to love coconut oil and power bars. Here's to going on adventures! Here's to sarcasm and sass. Here's to the best year yet! OPA!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sundays

Sunday's in my corner of the world seem to be some of the best days. The most serene. The most focused on delicious food. It's the day when I take a little extra time to bake or to plan out what the next week's meals might look like. It's the day I try to stay present and to relax. It's also the day I tend to be driving home from somewhere. A farm. A lake. A small town. That's what the past three have had in store for me. I can't wait for the next.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Open road.

When I sat down to map out my summer plans, I realized that 11 of the next 13 weekends were going to include long drives out of town. This weekend I went back to where I started, my hometown of 400 in South Dakota.

The other thing of note is that almost every one of these weekends has me partaking in something wedding-related. I have nine weddings this year; yes, nine. It's insane and fantastic and emotional and financially draining all at the same time. Everyone I talk to who is older than me keeps telling me that this is my year. The year that all of my friends who have been in long-term relationships are tying the knot and ready to take on life as a two-some. I keep trying to tell them that these are only my high school friends! I have a feeling I'll have a couple of busy wedding seasons ahead of me.
The friend who got married yesterday is from my early high school days, when I didn't understand boys, when I thought I would be cool if I dressed punk, when I only wanted to hang out with boys if they were not from my hometown, but rather a town or two over. (People who grew up in small towns will understand that.)

She was the first person I ever tried tequila with; I was slouched in the passenger seat of her car, which was parked in a vacant lot alongside a few others. We had the works: salt, tequila, lime. We licked our hands, took the salt from the middle console and shook a little on the wet spot, poured a shot of the golden liquid and then snatched the lime from our laps. I almost threw up from the burn. We tried to take shots over and over again, willing ourselves to like it. She ended up getting the hang of it. To this day, I refuse to drink tequila.

One of the most selfish reasons I wanted to attend this wedding was because of her family. Without ever knowing it, they helped me through the most tumultuous years of high school. I went to prom with one of her brothers (and asked her other brother to go to prom with my best friend.) I stayed overnight often, hanging out in the hot tub until the wee hours of the morning, exchanging kisses with boys who shall not be named. I felt scandalous and safe all at the same time. They taught me not to take life so seriously and to let loose, something I still need to be reminded of.

I couldn't be happier for this couple and their family. They deserved a happy day, full of attention. I'm very fortunate to have been able to be a part of it!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hello, hello

Hello everyone! First of all, I want to take a moment to say a really big THANK YOU to Kara Haupt of I Just Might Explode for my new blog design! She is an excellent person to work with. She stayed patient with me even though I asked a lot of questions, continuously kept me updated on the process, and made sure everything was exactly how I wanted it. If you are looking for someone to do a blog design, I would highly recommend her.

Second, my office has a new addition! I actually purchased the poster in the photo above about three months ago from Jill McDonald's etsy shop, but it just made it to my office wall this week. Summer is my busy season (that's what you get for planning a summer camp!) so having this pretty reminder in my eyesight puts all of the hard work and late nights into perspective. You can snag your own here.

Third, hello to everyone stopping over from Kara's blog! I'm really excited you've taken the time to click through. I'd love to check out your blogs, so leave me a comment so I can swing by!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Watch this.


It's rare for me to post a video on here (excluding music videos), but this is definitely worth watching.

A few key themes:
-You never forget the names of the people who teach you confidence.
-Little acts of kindness can go a long way.
-Do something. Donating to a cause and helping people financially is great, but you will feel far more fulfilled if you actually give your time and talents.

This is why STLF is so great. This is why physically being at my camp is the best part of my job. This is what I want to say in a much more eloquent fashion. This is fantastic.

Originally seen in this post on Hey Amber Rae.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Check yourself.

I just arrived home from work; actually, I just got home from the chiropractor, where I learned my fifth lumbar vertebra was off and where my doctor thought it appropriate to tell me "sit up, this might just be your lucky day." But that's a story for another time.

So I arrive home, park my car, the whole bit. I'm sauntering up to a man who graciously opens the first of multiple locked doors. We continue up the short path.

Man: "So, how was the day at the office?"
Me: "Oh, it was a day at the office, I guess."
Man: "Yeah, another stupid, worthless, crappy day at the office."

Wait, what?

We ended up immediately diverging into our two separate ways, but his words lingered. I was throwing myself my own little pity party, to be sure, but this man who I have never seen before was obviously disgruntled.

It made me stop and think. How had I been acting that day? Wasn't I the one who decided to close my door so coworkers couldn't "bother" me? Didn't I complain to my boss that as much as I worked this morning, I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere? And then I asked for time off on Friday?

It's amazing what a quick "Check Yourself" reflection can do. This man's words affected me. They made me think about my day and how it really wasn't nearly as bad as I was making it. My own mind was affecting my day. My thoughts. My actions. Me shutting people out.

Sure, maybe this man is unhappy in his job. But he has a job. And in this economy, that's saying something. (I have a strong belief that if you are that unhappy in anything, you have the power to change it.)

This is just my reminder to take a step back and remember that our words and actions have influence on others. Don't let one bad day, one stressed-out phone call, one bum knee let you lash out on others. Check yourself.

I leave you with my last words to this man, echoing through the hallway: "Hopefully you'll have a better night!"

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday's

Among many other things, the iPhone has helped me document the little things. I've started taking more photos and really enjoy Instagram and VSCo, the two photo apps I have downloaded so far. (I'm very open to other suggestions!)

I've also been snapping at least one photo on Sundays, and am now going to share them here. I think this is going to be a fun weekly feature, especially during this summer as I'll be in so many new places each week! Here are what my past few weeks have looked like, in Sunday photos:

Friday, May 25, 2012

On the job.

Nonprofits are like the summer. You have so many things planned, so many big ideas, and when it all comes down to it, it's a big, sticky, fantastic, frustrating, outrageous, people-filled time. Every day I end up learning something new. It might come from my coworkers. It might come from my students. Or, it might come from an assignment.
This past week, my nonprofit had our Annual Luncheon. This brings together hundreds of volunteers, donors, teachers and students to thank and honor one another for providing successful experiential curriculum that enhances student's business, career and financial literacy skills.
I was tasked with the job of ordering flowers for 60 centerpieces. The kicker? Each centerpiece had to come in at under $3.00. (Nonprofits are also constantly budgeting.) I ended up finding a wholesaler who could get me daisy poms for a pretty reasonable price. Throw in some bear grass, floral shears and a flair for design, and voila! We had centerpieces, for $2.28 a piece. I love a good bargain.
You can almost see the pops of yellow at a few of the back tables in this bottom photo. I'm not going to lie, I've never completely arranged flowers like this before! It was fun, but it's definitely not going to be a lifestyle change. It has, however, made me want to do my own flowers for my (someday, maybe) wedding!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Three things.

This past Sunday was filled with fresh fruit, strong coffee, and life mapping. I grabbed a new set of Sharpie's and some tag board and decided that I needed to outline some things in a big way. It was really helpful to lay out what my expectations prior to starting college were, what my reality post-college is and what my dreams of what could be consist of. I'd highly recommend this to anyone who is working on figuring out their next step! Setting a bit of time aside to figure out how you got to where you are, and how you're going to get to where you want to be, is enlightening. Make a little conscious time for reflection soon. It might bring something to the surface that you forgot about. It might make you realize that you were completely wrong about your path. Or, it just might set you off in a better direction.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Rhubarb Adventures

My mom came up this past weekend, and brought with her rhubarb that grows in her backyard. Once she left, I decided to use it and that's when I realized: I've never made anything with rhubarb without my parents by my side. I still forged through, wanting my first creation to be a simple rhubarb crisp. It turned out pretty good. I think what was lacking was my knowledge of exactly how long to let it bake. I have a gas oven, so I'm still trying to figure out what that means with regular oven times (it's always less for this particular, old gas oven.) Either way, good friends ate it!
My second attempt at using rhubarb was in rhubarb bread. I was feeling sick, so I came home from work and laid in bed for a few hours. Finally, I realized I had wasted most of my night and hadn't accomplished a thing. This is what I love about baking: you can decide to create something, and within a couple of hours at most, it's there. I've never made or eaten rhubarb bread before, but this turned out pretty good. I think I would add a bit of flower to the topping and maybe double it in the future, but the bread was very moist due to the Greek yogurt!

If you do use the recipe I've linked to, here are the changes I made: 
I added another 1/2 cup of rhubarb (because, well I had cut up too much)
I used Greek yogurt instead of milk (because, well I didn't have milk)
I put cinnamon in the batter, as well as in the topping (that's just because I'm all about cinnamon these days)
and I didn't put the topping on until the bread had been in the oven for 10 minutes.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Three Things Thursday

I've been addicted to these Trader Joe's cinnamon almonds. They may be too big of a hit. I already need a new bag!
Some days, you just need 10pm fancy grilled cheese. Embrace it, people.
A little reminder for us all this week. I write out a post-it with a positive quote or some form of advice on it and hang it on the right side of my computer screen. I've started changing what it says every week. This has been a really positive thing for me, as I've been entering my busiest season and need to remember to embrace the stress. When the reason you are stressed is so you can create a unique experience for other people, it's actually a positive.

Do you do anything like this at work? If not, how do you try to ward off stress when things get hectic?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Go.

Every once in a while I am lucky and get offered free Twins tickets. These are the days I love living within walking distance to the beautiful Target Field. Tonight was my first game of the season and boy, it felt good to be outside all night, surrounded by good friends, and smelling all sorts of delicious food. Spring is in full gear friends. Go outside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air!