A Weekend in The Windy City

Hello Joyflakes!

A couple of weekends ago I went with my girlfriend to visit her family in Chicago. We will be heading to see them again very soon (as in on Wednesday) but due to a bout of Black Friday Crazy, we go them a GIANT tv for christmas that need to be delivered without also trying to pack in all of our other gifts and bags. So we loaded up the Blueberry, my beloved Yaris, and hit the road to the big city.

We left later than expected and arrived at Misha's parents house around 9 o'clock, just in time for a very late (or on time if your Persian) dinner of delicious homemade Persian food. Although by the time we were finished with dinner it was already nearing eleven, we decided to set up their new tv. While this generally means unplugging and moving one tv out of the way and then putting the new tv in its place and plugging it back in, the new tv was about double the size so we also had a LOT of furniture moving to do. By the time everything was said and done, it was midnight and we were exhausted.

The next morning we had a delicious french toast bake and headed to target for a quick emergency shoe fix. I had managed to only bring one pair of shoes, my favorite black ballet flats, which would be no good in the cold or the wet that we were expecting to get over the weekend. After finding an AMAZING pair of black heeled booties and a new pair of black pointed toe pumps that fit like a dream, we got on the road and headed out of the suburbs and in to Misha's sister Sara's house in the city.

I have to say, Chicago is one of the strangest big cities I've ever been in. Sure, there's a downtown, and there are little neighborhoods that each have their own charms, and there are multiple options for public transportation, but everything is so spread out! Maybe i'm just biased and think that every big city should look and feel like New York, but I'm literally surprised and weirded out by it every time we visit. Plus, the trains run above ground more than underground which I find very disconcerting for some reason.

Anyway, we got to her sisters house and had a delicious homemade columbian soup made by Sara's boyfriend Drew and planned our afternoon in the city.

We started off with a trip to the Christkindlmarkt for a pretzel and to wander between the booths. Unlike our first trip there this season, it was PACKED. There were ten million people and wandering between booths you were more likely to get lost than find anything you were looking for. So we snagged a pretzel (pizza, grilled cheese, and original bavarian -- YUM!) and made our way out of the market.

Next was a trip to Misha's sisters office building for a christmas photo op with the giant tree in the lobby.

After multiple tries for a good picture, we headed back out into night to check out Macy's shop windows on our way to the outdoor tree in millennium park. Oh Chicago, you sure do know how to make things look christmassy!

Thoroughly done with the christmas crowds, we headed off to find a beverage before meeting up with Misha's sisters friends for a birthday party. Our plan, was to find someplace between our train stop and the pizza place we were headed to, but we didn't find someplace we liked until we were literally next-door. 

The Drinkingbird is a perfect spot to grab a drink and catch up with friends. It isn't too loud or too dark which makes it an ideal spot in my opinion. The entire vibe of the place was what I would call "classy dive" and it was right up our alley. We relaxed, had a couple of delicious drinks, and snacked on fantastic fondue while we chatted about our lives, our plans for the holidays, and everything in between. 

After drinks, we popped next-door for pizza and pitchers of cheap beer in celebration of Sara's friends birthday and then it was off to meet up with even more old friends and drinks in Boys Town. 

When we head to Chicago, we generally don't spend much time in the city. We tend to stay in the burbs enjoying family time so it was great to just be tourists for the day and let the city take us where it wanted. I love unplanned tourists days. How about you? What do you like to do when you're in the windy city?


My First Adult Christmas

Hello Joylfakes!

Recently it feels like every time I sit down to write, my mind wonders off to something else. Lately, it is been sneaking off to think about the holidays.

My favorite time of year since forever is the holidays. Christmas lights, ornaments, cookies, egg nog, champagne, its the best. Iowa is covered in a beautiful blanket of snow and the world looks like something out of an ABC Family Christmas movie. Its the absolute best.

But this year, I'm having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit. It could have to do with multiple factors but I've narrowed it down to 3 possible things. I've been out of school for almost 3 Christmases, I'm (finally) not working in retail, and for the first time ever, I'm an adult and not having Christmas with my family.

The first is a minor thing, mostly just the realization that I've been away from Ames for that long is making me feel old. Facebook likes to remind me how many years it's been since my last AOII Christmas so that doesn't help.

The second, not working in retail at the holidays should be a blessing. I'm done with work by 5 and I have Saturdays and Sundays to actually do fun christmassy things like cutting down the worlds fattest christmas tree, and decorating my house, and going to Chicago for the Cristkindlemarkt (I'm going again this weekend and I literally can't wait for a boot of gluhwein and some roasted almonds). But I'm also missing out on all of the little things that have marked the holidays for me since I was 18. No decorating the store windows, no unpacking ornaments and christmas themed candy plates, no stressed out shoppers...it just feels weird!

Chrsitkindlemarkt with Sara
The third is what I feel is the biggest struggle I'm having. Last year my girlfriend and I spent Christmas with our respective families, but this year, we decided that we wanted to spend the holiday together. So while my family is split between Denver, Minneapolis, and Louisville, I'll be joining them via face time. Instead of heading to my grandparents house in Davenport, I will be heading to northwest Wisconsin to have christmas with my girlfriends family. There are multiple reasons for this, including the fact that my grandparents no longer live in Davenport and if I showed up at their old house no one would know who I am.

I'm especially attached to the traditions of Christmas so the thought of not eating all the same things we eat every year and playing scategories while drinking eggnog by the christmas tree is somewhat unsettling. I knew that this day would come...but every time the thought crossed my mind, I just shoved it way and tried not to think about it.

The good thing is that I won't have to miss out on all of my favorite things. Misha has promised to help me make twice baked potatoes and schnitzel beans so I'll get a little taste of my family favorites which is incredibly sweet. To be honest, I'm pretty excited to partake in their ugly sweater contest (yes I already have one chosen and it has bells on it) and white elephant exchange. It sounds like a lot of fun even if it's going to be very different.

The other thing that is helping me to cope with missing out on my family traditions is that we've started to create our own traditions and no matter where we go to celebrate, we get to do those. So far we've cut down our own tree, been to the Christkindlemarkt once, put up our stockings (including a new one for Izzy!), decorated the rest of the house, and tonight we're going to start on baking all of may family favorite christmas cookies. We will be celebrating just the two of us (stockings and most of our gifts) after we get back from visiting her family just like we did last year and I'm taking comfort in the little traditions we've started for our mini family.

I suppose that I could be reading too much into all of this thought...maybe I'm just having trouble getting in the holiday spirit because this is what Iowa currently looks like....

Whatever it is that's got me struggling to get out of my holiday slump, I hope you're having better luck! What are some of your favorite family traditions?


Going Back to High School

Happy Hump Day Joyflakes!

I know that I've been gone for a bit but I promise I'll never leave you for good. 

This morning I had a pretty interesting experience. Since I work for a college planning website, it is not uncommon for me to be talking to high school students, their parents, and their guidance counselors but generally I do it over email, wordpress comments, or at college fairs. 

Today, we needed to deliver some fliers and stickers to my old high school so I volunteered to do it since I know my way around the building. From the moment I turned onto the street where my school is located, I felt like I was in some kind of alternate reality time warp and it was weird. There are certain things that were EXACTLY the same and others things that were totally different. Here are the things that go through your mind when you return to your high school almost a decade later.

"WTF, why are all of the visitor spots taken?!

I know I'm not the only one who regularly pulled into the parking lot with one minute left to get inside, put my stuff away, and get to class. Clearly the best option was to pull into one of the visitor spots located right next to the handicap parking and the principals spot and risk the ticket rather than risking being late. Now? I can't believe how inconsiderate those students are, can't they see I've got better things to do than drive around a high school parking lot looking for a spot?!

"Wait...wasn't this a parking lot?? When did that part of the building get there??"

Clearly parking took longer than expected...but in all seriousness, they've added like three new sections to the building since I graduated. 

"Do I really have to sign in as a visitor? I haven't been gone long enough to be considered a visitor right?"

Honest truth? You've been gone for almost a decade...no one will recognize you and that means they'll think you're some creep. Better to just sign in and avoid the awkwardness. Bonus? They can't be mad at you for parking in the faculty lot if you're clearly signed in as just visiting.

"Have those signs always been there?"

Since when do they need to have signs to tell me that the main office is the one right inside the door? I'm sure that one was always there, but there were also signs telling you which direction to go to with room numbers and other common sense things. I guess all of the additions makes it easy to get lost!

"God these kids look young!"

When you manage to get stuck in the hallway between passing time the age difference between you and the students becomes REALLY apparent. There is no way that I looked that young when I was a student there.

"They got new lockers?!"

It sounds crazy but I was actually a little jealous of the fact that the lockers are brand new. My school was built during the depression as a workforce development project so it's OLD and I feel like some the lockers we used had been there since the place was built.

"Why is everyone carrying their backpacks?"

We weren't allowed...no hats either. 

"Chip is still here?!"

Chip was the hall monitor at my school. He was beloved enough to be voted by our class to speak at graduation. But I swear he was like two years from retirement then...how is he not retired yet?!

"I can't wait to get out of here"

I loved high school. It was easy, I had a great group of friends, and I didn't have to be an adult yet. But being there today was just too weird. Not to mention, the conversations I overheard during passing time made me realize how old I am. It was like they were speaking a different language.

I still have a couple of years until we will have a class reunion and I'm sure that I'll attend when we do just to see what happened to people I've lost touch with. The thing is? I'm glad I don't have to go back and relive high school quite yet.

Have you been back to visit your school since graduating?


"I'm a real girl"

Hello Joyflakes!

A few weeks ago I told my sister that I would go glasses shopping with her. Any of you who wear glasses know that taking someone along with you when you shop is an absolute MUST. What you think looks good can too easily be swayed by what styles you've always loved even if they don't actually fit your face. After finding a pair of specs that we both agreed were just the right size and shape, we ordered them and then had an hour to kill as they got her lenses ready so we headed over to Sephora.

There's something about the relationship between sisters that just makes saying "what's wrong with your face" not only rude, but acceptable. In the case of that day, it was my foundation. I've gone back and forth about make up forever. I go from barely wearing any (case in point: today), to contouring more often than a Kardashian at least twice a year and there are multiple stages in between.

On this particular day, I was on my way back to wearing a full face of makeup and hadn't purchased foundation in long enough that putting it on would have made me look sun kissed everywhere above my neck and pale as casper below.

Needless to say, I needed some help. And as always when I need makeup advice, I turned to my sister. She is like my own personal beauty guru. She bought me my first real makeup (bare minerals about 10 years after everyone else had started using it) and was just the person to force me into finally getting officially matched.

For those of you who are not familiar with the process, here's a quick and dirty rundown. You walk in to the shop filled with shiny tubes of things you can't really afford, admit your ignorance and inability to make your face look like a celebrity, they sit you down, take a couple of pictures and voila. You've got a perfect shade of foundation to match your face. The technology is actually pretty fantastic. And the people who work there and match you are knowledgeable enough to know when the technology is just a little off and find you literally the perfect shade.

I don't know that they've officially turned me into a Sephora addict like my sister (just admit it sister, you know you are) but they have introduced me to some fantastic new products.

I'll be doing an "empties post" soon so I'll let you know just how my Sephora spree worked out.


A Poetic Night Out #ThanksMonth Vol. 2

Last night was date night. After a delicious dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in town, we headed over to the Englert Theater. The theater has been beautifully restored and always makes me feel like I've stepped back in time when I walk in so date nights there are always extra special. We were going to see a spoken word poet that Misha loves named Andrea Gibson. She had seen her perform before and I was really excited to get my first taste of listening to her and seeing her live.

Getting a drink at Deadwood before the show

I was too busy getting march and autographs to get the bill lit up...

In preparation for the night I had been listening to youtube videos of her performances all day so I knew that I was in for something special but I didn't realize just how amazing it would be. Sitting there in the audience, a room of LGBTQA people, I found myself glued to my seat, unable to look away from the tiny person standing at the mic. The emotion pouring out of their soul made me laugh and cry as the night went on I began to feel more inspired than I had in a long long time.

When I was younger I loved poetry but as I grew up, life got in the way and I kind of forgot about it.
Sure, I kept writing, but I didn't write any poetry. So today, I sat down and wrote my first poem in over 7 years. I don't know how good it is, or if anyone will ever see it, but it felt so good just to do it.

If I ever get brave enough, maybe I'll start to post my poetry on here...


#ThanksMonth Vol. 1

November is a month of giving thanks and today I'm kicking off #ThanksMonth. I know that I'm a little late to the game since it's already the 18th but as far as I'm concerned it's the thought that counts so here goes.

Today, I'm giving thanks for one of my best friends. We've been best friends since sophomore year of high school when we bonded over our failures to understand math and until college we were pretty inseparable. We went to different colleges but no matter how much time passed between seeing each other or even talking on the phone, things don't change with us.

Last summer she moved to Colorado with her fiancé for his shiny new post-grad job and we started up our long distance best friendship again. We're back to playing phone tag for weeks on end but no matter what, we eventually manage to make contact. And when I'm having a bad day, or I'm struggling with the fact that I'm 25 and I don't have anything figured out, she is there. Ready to hear me out, give me a reality check, make me laugh, and remind me that no matter how old or stressed out I get I did that thing senior homecoming that she'll never let me live down.

Friends like her are incredibly rare and I am lucky enough to have a few friends like that so today I'm saying thanks for her but also for all of my amazing friends. I'm blessed to know all of you.

Happy #ThanksMonth!


P.S. Hashtags mean that you can join in on #ThanksMonth with me. I'd love to know what you're thankful for! I'll be checking the hashtag and can't wait to see what you come up with :)

How to move from Wordpress to Blogger

Hello Joyflakes!

I have rarely, if ever, done a tutorial but after all of the struggles I had getting my blog back to blogger from Wordpress, I thought I'd give it a shot. There are all sorts of post and suggestions for moving your blog from the lovely orange and white space that is blogger, to the blue land of Wordpress. There is even a specific section of the Wordpress help section titled "coming from blogger?"

But what if you want to go back to blogger? or you're on Wordpress and realize that you don't need everything that the platform has to offer and you don't feel like paying for it? Then, switching from Wordpress to blogger is the way to do it. As I said in my last post, I love blogger so here are the 4 (yes only FOUR) steps to making the switch from Wordpress to Blogger.

1. You'll need to export your blog from Wordpress

This simply means that you are going to download your blog as an .xml file to your computer from the internet. To do so, log into Wordpress, look under settings/tools and click export. It really is that simple.

2. Convert your .xml file into a blogger export file

I will be the first to admit that I am not an internet wizard like some of my fellow bloggers *cough Dana cough* so I won't get into the nitty gritty details because I'd probably mess them up. What I do know, is that there was at one point an app which let you convert your blog into blogger formatting from Wordpress but that app is no more. The good news, is that the app is still out there as a website called Wordpress2Blogger. If the link I've just put doesn't work, as it did most times i tried it from other peoples blogs, simply google "Wordpress 2 Blogger" and you should be able to access the site.

3. Create your blogger or log into your existing blogger

If you are a gmail user, this is incredibly simple and all you have to do is log in with your gmail. If you do not want to use your personal email (completely understandable...I have a different email for each endeavor I take on) then create a google account for your blog.

4. Import your converted blog file to your new blog

This may sound complicated as the word Import can often lead to confusing places but it really is quite simple.

Click on your blog, go to settings, other, click import, look for the file on your computer and voila! You should have all of your posts right at home on blogger.

One important note...If you, like me, are moving everything BACK to blogger, importing will give you duplicate posts. Just make sure that you choose the option that doesn't publish immediately after importing. Then, you can delete the duplicates without anyone knowing the difference.

The only thing that this doesn't do, is import you pictures properly. Because of the way that Wordpress handles images, they won't transfer over the way they were before. If you, like me, don't have a huge amount of pictures this wont be an issue but if you're a photographer or fashion blogger you're going to have some work ahead you. The good news is that there is a TON of information out there for you to help you get them back.

I hope you've enjoyed this quick and easy how to and I hope you find your blogging home.


Welp...that was short lived

Hello Joyflakes!

You may currently be noticing that there is a lack of pink, and the sleek design that was up just a couple of hours ago is nowhere to be seen. That is because after being so excited to move up in the blogging world to Wordpress, where the "serious" bloggers are, I have returned home to blogger.

I made the change to Wordpress in a fit of annoyance that my blog has fairly low readership. I had been reading blog after blog after blog saying that blogger is "dead" and so I said to myself, "You know what self?! It's time to move on to bigger and better things!"

But the moment that I had exported and imported and made everything work out (seamlessly and smoothly, thanks GoDaddy!) I started to have this nagging feeling that something wasn't right. I had found a theme I liked and I knew how to post and add images and all of the lovely things a blog needs from the blog I write for as my big kid job but the thing is, I didn't feel like I had the control to make things look and feel the way I wanted them to. It was easy, but I felt like I had lost a part of what makes me love blogging, learning how to make my site look and feel the way I want it to.

So after just over a month, I'm back on blogger. And it's like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. The transition wasn't easy. Every single time that you google "wordpress to blogger" it switches the words around and you get results for "blogger to wordpress" but I finally figured out converter and it ended up being INCREDIBLY easy. I may not have the sleek, beautiful theme anymore, but I have the opportunity to make my little corner of the internet world my own again.


Low Expectations

A few summers ago I was given the most unexpected advice of my life. We were celebrating my aunt's and uncle's wedding anniversaries (I have two sets and we were celebrating both sets) and asked them what advice they had for everyone on having a long and happy marriage. Among things like "say I love you" and "remember to say please and thank you" my aunt came up with something incredible that I have tried to remember in all aspects of my life. It sounds crazy, but once explained it makes a lot of sense.

"Low expectations."

She said it almost immediately and we all burst out with nervous laughter not quite sure how to respond. But she just smiled, and explained to us that if she didn't expect my uncle to be home at 5 o'clock ready to have dinner and spend time together, she wasn't disappointed when he had to work late, or things didn't go according to plan.

I've given the same advice to my friends who have gotten married and regularly try to remind myself that the only reason why I'm upset or feeling disappointed may be that my expectations were too high. I don't want you to think that what I'm saying is that you should settle. That is not at all what I think of when I think "low expectations".

I like to think of it more as communication advise and ultimately a communication goal. If I never express my expectations for a day or an event, how can I legitimately expect other people to have the same expectations?

Since leaving my job at the jewelry store, I've managed to be working three different jobs. So when I'm not working, I want to spend my time enjoying my life and the people in it. This past week I only had one day off of work so I had been looking forward to it all week. The problems arose when I didn't express my excitement or expectations that my day off would include a dinner date and hike or some other type of fun activity with my PIC.

From the moment the day started, things didn't go as planned and I ended up feeling grumpy and let down all day. Had I lowered my expectations that things would go perfectly (because lesbihonest, they never do) and communicated what my expectations were more clearly, I probably would have had a much better day.

It's hard to take your own advise sometimes and even harder to admit that you might be the one that caused your bad day. But the amazing thing is that it's actually easier than letting it ruin the rest of your day, or night, or starting a fight over the fact that someone didn't do something they didn't know you wanted them to do.

So next time you're having a bad day and everything seems like its going wrong, ask yourself about your expectations for the day. Were they realistic? Does anyone but you know that they're your expectations?

Food for thought...


I'm turning into my mother

I recently read a post by my favorite blogger, Taylor who writes The Daily Tay, about the ways she is turning into her mother. Taylor’s post was written in honor of her mom’s birthday but I found it interesting because they say by 25 women start to really turn into their moms...and I’ve increasingly found myself doing things that my mom does. So thank you Taylor, for the idea of just how to put what I’ve been feeling myself do into words. Here are the 16 ways that I am turning into my mom.

  1. I listen to NPR so loudly that with the windows rolled up you can hear it perfectly outside of the car.

  2. I may not immediately agree with you, but I’ll hear you out with an open mind. We don’t have to have the same thoughts or feelings and I’m glad we don’t, it adds spice to life.

  3. My makeup routine often consists of some concealer and mascara only. That is if I bother to put on makeup at all.

  4. Thankfully, I’ve inherited her amazing cheerleading skills. If there is someone or something I believe in, I will be the most dedicated and loudest cheerleader for them/it.

  5. I eat popcorn before bed almost every night and it may or may not be my favorite food.

  6. When I get mad, I clean. And if I'm really mad...you're going to be cleaning too.

  7. Although my nails may not always be painted (mine are more often than hers), they will always be perfectly kept, clean, and short.

  8. My thermostat in the winter will always be set around 61 degrees (65 degrees max). If you're cold, you probably need to put on more clothes or invest in some slippers.

  9. My earring collection is slowly growing larger and larger but I usually just have my diamond studs in my second holes and nothing in my first. If I do have something in my first hole…it’s probably dangly and looks like it came from New Mexico.

  10. I firmly believe that there is no better feeling than “getting easy” and putting on my jammies at the end of the day.

  11. My independent (and stubborn) streak comes directly from my mother. I’ve never met a more independent, strong, and stubborn woman in my life and I like to think that all of those traits are a good thing. In myself and in her!

  12. I wear slippers around the house at all times. I’m especially partial to the fleecy ones.

  13. I always take a “light wrap” with me when I leave the house. You never know when you’re going to need it so it’s better to have one than complain about being cold.

  14. I’m hypersensitive. But I don’t see that as a bad thing…I just feel things very readily. Sometimes that means I get hurt more easily but it usually just means I’m very aware of other peoples feelings, both good and bad.

  15. Sweaters, vests, corduroys, and scarves are my jam.

  16. I look exactly like her. I always have, and I hope I always will. It would mean that I’ll age gracefully and have just the right amount of smile lines to show how blessed I’ve been in my life.
Yes, it's blurry, and yes, I'm crying...but my mom had just shown up on my birthday!

There you have it. 16 ways that I am turning into my mom. I know that there are more and I know that there will be more as time goes by. Thanks again to Taylor for the inspiration for this post and thanks to my mom, you’re one heck of a role model and I’m incredibly proud to be turning into you.


The Evolution of Halloween Costumes

Happy Halloween Joyflakes!

It's that time of year again. Girls of all ages will be dressing up in costumes that are in no way weather appropriate and there will be at least 3 sets of Mario Brothers at each party/bar you enter. What's crazy to me, is the difference in costumes over my 25 years of life.

When I was younger, Halloween was a day to wear an appropriate costume to school and then go trick-or-treating around your neighborhood in what may have been a different, less appropriate costume. Princesses, crazy Hawkeye fans, cheerleaders, grim reapers, pirates, indians, peter pan, there were all kinds of options for costumes. The one I saw most often though, was the child dressed in a giant winter coat with 10 pounds of makeup or face paint. You know the one I'm talking about right? It was insanely popular here in the midwest. The kids with the really glitzy big coat costume might even have had a hat to go along with it.

As I grew up and entered high school, trick-or-treating either became something you may have had to do with the kids you babysat for, or something you wouldn't do because you knew a pumpkin full of candy was nowhere near worth the effort of finding the perfect giant coat costume. Instead, we shed our giant coats to hang out in basements wearing costumes that rarely required real pants. Growing up in a college town meant that the basement you hung out in may have been your friends...or it may have been the sketchy house party someone you knew, knew someone at. Either way...it was much warmer, much smellier, and completely free of giant coats.

In college, costumes tended to come from one of two camps. Option one, the "sexy            ." This costume could be pretty much anything. Sexy nurse, sexy girl scout (keeping that old sash DID prove to be a good idea!), sexy librarian, sexy zombie, the options are endless. Option two, was the "I'm hilarious" costume. This option generally required more cloth to DIY and often required more explanation but you may have been more comfortable.

Post college, my Halloween game has gotten stronger. Last year I was Paula Deen and Misha was a stick of butter and we clearly won the holiday. This year? I'll be working and as such will be a very work appropriate Rosie the Riveter. My hope is that by next year I will be able to dress up for the holiday as a woman on the couch with a glass of wine, bowl of popcorn, and Netflix.

What are your Halloween plans?


Getting Rid of a Sad Day

I'm having a sad day. It happens every once and a while when something right off the bat goes wrong. Today it was the fact that something we had planned kind of spontaneously wasn't going to work out after all. I hadn't realized quite how excited I was before the plans got stomped into nothingness and that made me particularly sad about the whole situation. In order to get rid of this sad day, I listed off every possible happy thing I could think of. The result wasn't an all out win, the situation still makes me sad, but at least it's not infecting the rest of my day any more!

Just in case you're having a sad day today too, here is my list of things that make me happy:

  • Puppies

  • The Favorite Coffee House playlist on Spotify

  • My FREE burrito from Pancheros that I will be devouring at lunch

  • My PIC sending pictures of our adorable puppy to cheer me up

  • Looking up right at 11:11 and making a wish

  • All of the exciting things that we get to do in the upcoming months


  • 45 Days until we get to go to Kristkindle market in Chicago

  • My parents coming to visit from Kentucky for Thanksgiving

  • Date Nights at the Englert theater

  • Snuggly sweaters

  • Getting to wear jeans to work

  • Watching other people's lives on YouTube

  • Listening to my Saturday Sounds playlist on spotify at least once a day

  • Hot cups of delicious tea

  • Having a little corner of the internet universe where I can put light into the universe

  • Knowing that no matter what, at the end of my long day, I get to take my bra off, put on sweatpants, and enjoy a couch snuggle with my puppy

  • Buying Christmas presents for friends and family

  • The perfect crisp fall weather that Iowa is experiencing

  • Brunch with good friends

  • Grits

  • Reading blog posts about places I've never been

  • Hitting unsubscribe on spam emails

  • Macaroni and Cheese

  • Flaming Hot Cheetoes

  • Bubble baths

  • Hot apple gillette's with fresh whipped cream

  • Pizza

  • My buddha tea bag holder

  • Fairy lights

  • Painting my nails

  • Writing

  • Talking to friends who've moved away

  • Scented candles that make rooms extra cozy

  • Local shops

  • Scarves

  • Cozy socks

Feel free to share your list too, I'd love some more happy thoughts today! Just tag me at @KNdoubelU on instagram or twitter with your happy thoughts. I'll be sure to send a little happiness back at you.


I'm an expert

I love story time. It was one of my favorite things growing up and with grandparents like mine, it still is. But instead of listening to a wonderful story told by an amazing storyteller, I'm going to subject you to my storytelling skillz.

Once upon a time, I was called to be an expert witness in an incredibly important court case. My expertise could very possibly be the turning point of a case involving someones terrible accidental death. SO IMPORTANT. To say that I was nervous when I entered that court room is an understatement. There was so much riding on my being the perfect expert witness! I had to be professional, unbiased, and persuasive, all while seeming like I was cool as a cucumber even though on the inside I was picturing myself in an upcoming episode of Law and Order.  Thankfully, I killed it. I walked up to that witness stand and owned the room better than a drag queen on RuPaul's Drag Race. I even used my extensive knowledge of materials to wow the judge and jury with my massive brain. Lets just say, if I'd had a mic, I'd have dropped it like it was hot. I won't know what happened with the case for a bit, but I'm 100% sure that my crazy good witness skillz will be the tipping point.

Okay, in all honesty, I was helping out a friend for her trial advocacy class. My "witness skillz" were scripted and thankfully, I just had to read my script. I did get to use my jewelry knowledge though which was fun (thanks for teaching me all about crazing Linda!). As the PIC of a law student, I spend a lot of time doing "law school" things. I often find myself introducing myself as "Kaeli, I'm not in law school" and am regularly lost in conversation, but it's pretty cool to see inside the world of law students that most people don't see.

I'm not sure that I would ever volunteer to be a witness again...think of me as a last resort law students...but at least now I'm ready just in case I'm ever called in for a case!


Coming Out & Going Back In Again

In honor of National Coming Out Day, I've decided to share my own coming out story.  If you don't care, don't want to know, or don't approve of my lifestyle, that's your own choice and you're welcome to your opinion.  I just don't care, want to know, or need your approval :)

I came out for the first time in about 5th grade. I was walking across the playground with my friend Leslie and I just kind of blurted it out. “I’m pretty sure I might be gay” is exactly what I said and then I explained that I liked girls but that I also liked boys and that I didn’t really know if that made me gay but I thought it did. It was the first time that I had ever said it out loud. I don’t think I would have done it if I hadn’t just watched an episode of the Real World in which the incredibly loud and out lesbian housemate Aneesa Ferreira went on a rampage about the importance of her rainbow necklace (which was strikingly similar to one I owned and then proceeded to wear constantly).

Fast forward 7 years and I was well on my way to being named “class flirt” with a list of boyfriends that I couldn’t fit on two hands and absolutely zero ability to even consider flirting with a girl in any space but my own imagination. What happened in those 7 years to shove me back into the closet so far that I wouldn’t be able to climb out until I turned twenty-four?

There are a million answers to that question and most of them probably require therapy but I think that there are two truly honest answers. One is that it was easier to be a straight girl who always had a boyfriend, than a lesbian in junior high, high school, and college. And the second is that the title “lesbian” never felt right. I liked boys, and girls, but also didn’t feel like “bisexual” really fit either. I simply loved who I loved…no matter what they identified as or who they were. It’s hard to come out when you don’t know what to call yourself or how to explain it. So until I was 24 and learned what “pansexual” was, I just kept my little secret to myself.

I should point out, that I grew up in a very accepting home where being gay was something that not only would have been no big deal, it would have been celebrated. The problem is that although my family and friends would have been amazing and supportive and wonderful, I didn’t (and still don't) see my sexuality as anything all that special. It’s a part of me that has always been there and I didn’t want anyone to make a big deal about it.

The second (much more public) time that I came out went a little differently. I made the choice to finally tell people because I had met a wonderful and amazing person that I couldn’t help but want everyone to meet and know was my girlfriend. I started by telling her (which was pretty important), and then my closest friends, and then my family. It is amazing how many people were shocked at first and then told me literally moments later that it “actually made a lot of sense,” or "I've been waiting 15 years for this" (thanks mom!). The thing that people couldn’t really grasp was the word that I had chosen to claim as my “identity.”

Pansexual is not something that most people have ever heard. They think that it means I’m attracted to little kids or animals or pans…all of which is completely untrue. Pansexual is defined in the dictionary as “not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity;” what I define pansexual as is much more simple than that. I am attracted to a person first by their personality and the emotional connection we have and then by their physical appearance.

The person who put it best is another Leslie (apparently it’s a particularly important name for my life) who became one of my very best friends in college. The way she put it? “You’re a lover.” It is the most simplistic possible way to say something that I had struggled for years to express and the moment that I could finally express myself it was like a dam breaking. The anxiety and depression that had become an increasingly paralyzing part of my daily life started to get better. My tolerance for telling and receiving lies as a part of normal life pretty much evaporated and most importantly, for the first time in years, I felt like I was meant to be in my own skin.

Since coming out I know that I still have a lot of work ahead of me. Therapy and making choices based on keeping myself happy and healthy rather than making sure other people are happy and healthy first are two of the things that I’ve been working the hardest on but it’s helping me figure out just who I am. Plus, if I had everything figured out at age 25 what fun would there be left for me to have?

Happy Coming Out Day Joyflakes! And a special thank you to all of my amazing friends and family for being the supportive wonderful people you are.



Saturday Sounds

This is an area of my blog that I realized recently is tough to keep up to date. Im constantly listening to music at work but when I sit down to write this, I regularly find myself trying to post the same things that I already have. I know that this means I need to expand my music listening library and in order to do so, I've been listening to a lot of different playlists on Spotify.

What I've decided to do, is to start a playlist of everything I really love and just add to it as I find new songs, artists, etc. The playlist is called Saturday Sounds (original, I know) and can be found on Spotify.

I sincerely hope that you enjoy it! If you have any suggestions of songs, artists, playlists, whatever else there may be music-wise, let me know! You can contact me or simply post it to the comments. I would love to know what you're listening to!


A Letter to Myself as I Applied for College

Working where I do, and being someone as introverted and prone to day dreaming as I am, it is hard sometimes not to think of what could have been when it comes to my college career. As you know from this post I am one of those people who believes strongly that college is not for everyone. I don't mean that there are some people who can't do college, I simply mean that for some people college isn't the best option and it definitely isn't the ONLY option.

That being said, here is a letter to myself when I was looking at, applying to and choosing a college.

Hello You,

Can you believe that your a senior? This is going to be a crazy year for you. It will be full of laughs, big changes, and tough decisions. I know that you are unbelievable excited to have been accepted at the University of Alabama and that you're already dreaming of Bid Day and your first Bama Football game, but would you do me a favor? Stop and think about the type of schools you've applied to. Every singe one is HUGE with a great HUGE Greek community and a fantastic  HUGE football team. Have you even stopped to think about the fact that you're about to go to a school that will shape your future and challenge you academically? Where in your college search have you looked at the student/faculty ratio? Have you just once considered the fact that you're going to be one of at least 10,000 undergraduate students?

If you thought City was just big enough for you to not be completely noticeable but still make a splash you're in for a BIG smack in the face. You're going to walk into classrooms that seat hundreds of students and feel tiny and intimidated. You're also going to realize pretty darn quick that if you don't go to class, no one cares. Thats great until you get your midterms and feel sick to your stomach about lying to mom.

Why don't you try looking at (AND VISITING!! This only going on two visits thing is a DUMB plan) a couple of smaller schools? I know you think you won't get in, but I'll give you a hint, you won't get in to a couple of the big state schools you're obsessed with either. Cornell is close, but just far enough that you never have to come home if you don't want to and they take one class at a time, talk about focus! Or, if you're really set on going somewhere far away, how about looking at a smaller liberal arts school in Colorado? Or actually sending in your application to PLU? I know you have it almost all the way done already.

Basically what I am trying to say is keep an open mind. You're about to go through some pretty serious stuff that will leave you a different person at the end of it and a large school won't be the best place to come of out it. Try thinking of school as a place to become the you that you see yourself as, not the one you think everyone else wants to see. You may just like yourself better.

You at 25...older and wiser.

P.S. Two more things, you're in amazing shape right now. Even though you don't think so, you'll never look like this again so try to keep yourself in this shape okay? And that boy you're "falling in love" with? He's not forever...and neither are the other boys you're about to date. Maybe you should try dating someone that's not a boy ;)

I know that I never would have listened to any of that advice at that age, I was dead set in my ways. But I do wish that someone (other than my mom) had been there to make some suggestions and help me see that college is whatever you make it as long as you let yourself. And the PS? Well that would have just scared the crap out of me.

If you could go back and tell yourself what to do at that age what would you say? I'd love to hear from you.



My sophomore year in college I moved in to the AOII house and lived with my big, Lauren.  There were a few things that I will never forget about living with Lauren that semester, like eating obscene amounts of cheese balls or pretty much never wearing real pants, but the thing that has stuck with me most is my need to have a movie or tv show playing in the background constantly when I'm alone. I currently have The Holiday playing on repeat behind me.

That year I "watched" Cars more times than I can count and learned that The Blind Side has the best title page music to sleep to. But through that semester there was one show that Lauren and I binge watched like crazy. For a 5 solid seasons, we sat in our beds with the door shut, chose not to go out on weekends, ate crap and watched Bones.

Season 10 just went live on Netflix and as I've been sitting with Mish watching ep after ep, I can't help but think about my big and those wonderful days in the toaster watching Bones. Isn't it crazy how something as little as watching a show can become one of your favorite memories with someone?


Happy Oktober!

Happy Sunday evening Joyflakes!

Today I was snuggled in under a blanket enjoying a lazy day of blogging, reading, and a little work while Misha finished up her homework. It was a sweatpants and fuzzy socks kinda day.

Yesterday we went to Iowa City's annual Northside Oktoberfest and had an absolute blast. For those of you who don't know, Oktoberfest is a wonderful german tradition involving beer, pretzel necklaces, and brats. Misha and I paid for the "Brew Master" tickets so we got to go in an hour early and vote on some of the wonderful craft beers that Iowa has to offer

After an hour of tasting everything from the delicious, to the ones that tasted more like marinade, we joined the rest of the of the Oktoberfester's. We enjoyed more beers than I could count and ended up with some pretty awesome swag (I never knew I needed so many bottle openers). And it wouldn't have been Oktoberfest with out some delicious food so brats (YUM) and pretzels were wonderful addition to the afternoon.

[caption id="attachment_171" align="aligncenter" width="225"]IMG_0573 Oh Oktoberfest, the perfect time to break out the white girl fall gear![/caption]


[caption id="attachment_173" align="aligncenter" width="300"]IMG_0580 Delicious AND unflattering to eat. My favorite![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_176" align="aligncenter" width="225"]IMG_0585 The Nieves(-)Whitmore sisters love Oktoberfest! and a Hawkeye win wasn't too shabby either :)[/caption]

There is something wonderful about getting together with a friends and family in the fall that just makes me incredibly happy.

[caption id="attachment_175" align="aligncenter" width="169"]IMG_0600 Prost![/caption]


Exactly why I love blogging

I read a lot of blogs.  Their subject matter ranges from beauty to social justice to humor and covers everything in between.  What I absolutely love about blogs is that there is so much out there.  No matter what you are interested in, you can find it...and if you can't find exactly what you want, you can write it!

I was reading a post on HelloGiggles about a girl who had spent a year doing "nothing" and what she had learned during that time.  She had, like most 20-somethings, found out that getting her dream job was not as easy as expected.  The old idea that "if you go to college, you'll get a good job" has lost a lot of its truth as thousands on thousands of bright and driven college grads have flooded the job market with exactly the same qualifications. Fed up with going to interview after interview competing with carbon copies of herself for underwhelming jobs, she decided to do the thing we millennials have been taught not to do.  She gave up. Instead of trying to land the highly sought after "dream job" she waited tables, and traveled, and took a yoga class.  What she found after her year, is that her priorities had changed.  Yes, the dream job was still out there, and yes she still needed a job, but the way to get there might not be to be a carbon copy of every other 20-something college grad.

After reading a story like that, I felt empowered and ready to take on whatever came my way. The internet can be such a scary place but the blogosphere is a place that I've found like minded people who accept me for me. These amazing people share little bits of themselves and their stories and are an absolute inspiration. I've never met most of the bloggers I follow religiously but I wish that I could thank them for what they've given me. Because as you can tell from my last post, it means a lot to have a "group" even if we've never met.




I realized something yesterday that I think a lot of 25 year olds are also realizing. As we grew up we were constantly put into groups. Whether it was a beginning dance class or a t-ball team, we were given a group of people like ourselves to become friends with. As we grew up that group of people may have changed slightly as our interests changed but probably not by much. When we got to college we were put on a dorm floor, possibly even in a learning community of people with the same major, and most likely became friends with them. Another group put there to make it easy for us to make friends and feel comfortable.

Then we left college and moved into the real world and away from most of our friends. Depending on your job, you may have still found another group of people that you could become friends with. But what if you work in a small business with people who aren’t your age? Or you just don’t like the people that work with you? How are you supposed to make friends then?

What I realized last night is that I just don’t know how to make friends without the help of a pre-set group. As someone who always considered themselves to be a very social person, that is the weirdest thing to admit. So how do I do it? How do I find a group of people who, like me, want to sit at home on a Friday night with a good meal and a glass of wine and talk? Or maybe a group to go hiking with? How am I supposed to make friends?

Here’s my plan. Since there isn’t exactly a book club at my office, I’m going to go out and find one. I’m also going to go find a yoga or exercise class, possibly an art class, maybe even a hiking club, and I’m going to make myself be the one to say “Hi.” I’m also going to say “yes” a lot. It’s pretty easy for me to get wrapped up in my cozy blanket of homebodyness but if I do that, I also get lonely and lazy and grumpy after a bit so by saying “yes,” even to things I might not want to do right then, I’ll fight those feelings. Hopefully I’ll manage to get out of my shell a little bit, have a couple of adventures, and make some new friends.

Saying yes is also going to extend to you guys, if there are any of you. If you have any suggestions of places I should go, or things I should try, let me know! I’ll do my best to say yes, and I’ll be keeping track of all of my adventures right here on my blog so you’ll be able to enjoy my wins, losses, and in-betweens. If you’re feeling the same way, I’m also inviting you to join me in this endeavor. Let me know by tweeting me at @KNdoubleU with the hashtag #YesTo25 and I’ll follow along with you as well. Who knows, maybe we’ll create our own little friend finding support group and end up friends as well.


Choose to See The Good Stuff

Have you ever had one of those days when everything is going just right? The weather is perfect, you've gotten more done than you planned but also had time to squeak in a nap and you're laying there in bed feeling like you're ready for anything the next day throws at you because today you were a productivity machine. But then your phone rings. You know that you don't have to answer since its after 10 an you really should be drifting off to sleep but you answer anyway because hey, it could be an emergency or something so you answer anyway and BOOM. The person on the other end takes your good mood and craps all over it with their bad mood. That's exactly what happened to me last night.  I felt amazing after a weekend of knocking things off of the to do list and was ready to start my week full of good vibes. I'd managed to balance a little "me time" with actual work and that for me is a definite accomplishment.

I got off of the phone feeling like no matter how well I'm doing, there will always be some one to poke holes in that good feeling and proceeded to spend the next 4 hours (yup I was up until after two even though I got in bed ready to sleep at 10) surfing the internet looking at lifestyle and fashion blogs, choosing a new theme (what do you think?!), and trying to forget the conversation I had just had.  It wasn't until this morning over my Irish breakfast tea that I realized someone else's bad mood had been the only reason I stayed up WAY past my bed time and felt grumpier than Oscar The Grouch.

Instead of continuing to let it ruin my day, I decided to try and access that good feeling I'd had not so long ago and keep that energy going into my day.  I put on some J-Biebs and One Direction, jumped in the car to head to work, and listed off all of the good things I had done the day before.  By the time I was pulling into my parking spot, I felt immensely better. The simple decision to accept that I'm never going to be able to make EVERYONE happy but I can make ME happy was all it took to kick the week off on the right foot. So I'm going to challenge all of you to take a few minutes and think about all of the good things you have going on today and use that energy to get you through the week.  After all, focusing on the bad stuff is the only way to guarantee you'll have a bad day.



A Productive Weekend

Hello Joyflakes :)

It is late Sunday evening and I'm snuggled into bed under our new twinkle lights feeling very cozy.  This weekend Misha and I tackled the final few boxes in our rooms AND did all of our laundry.  To say that I'm feeling accomplished doesn't even cut it.  We now have a fully functional "front room" where we can get away from everything and then our bed room which I have fully decked out in a new tapestry and copper wire twinkle lights.  I am more than a little obsessed with these twinkle lights.  They're just so dainty and cute!

A photo posted by Kae N-W (@kndoubleu) on

After a long Saturday of unpacking and organizing and going through all of my clothes to see what I could get rid of, I used today to have a little me time.  It started with an impromptu brunch at the Bluebird Diner which is always a great option if you're within 20 miles and need some perfectly poached Eggs Benedict.  Post brunch where I clearly ate too much, we headed to Costco and wandered about picking up everything our odd little family of 5 roommates could ever want. By the time we got home all that I wanted to do was curl up on the futon and read.  Which I did for all of about 10 minutes before I zonked out and napped the morning away.  Finally fully rested, I spent the afternoon watching movies and snuggling Izzy.  To say it was a lazy day is an understatement...but I did manage to get a tiny bit of work done before enjoying a face mask, glass of red wine, and more Izzy snuggles.  Now cleansed and moisturized I'm ready to get to bed and grab a full 40 winks before starting out on a new week.  I think that having two days off in a row agrees with me!  Keep your eyes pealed for more updates throughout the week! I promise they'll be more exciting than this was and contain less naps.


#confessions Vol. 1

Happy Thursday Joyflakes!

I'm kicking off a new series today that's all about making confessions.  I'm laying out all of my guilty pleasures from large to small for all of you to enjoy and I can't think of a better way to introduce you to the series than with this video...

Yup.  That's my boy J-Biebs singing his heart out to the lovely sounds of an acoustic guitar.  This particular guilty pleasure started out on the 3rd floor of Parks Library at Iowa State when I stumbled onto his early youtube videos.  I couldn't stop watching this little kid absolutely kill every song he sang.  Over the years I've hidden my love of J-Biebs and when he does something dumb, I'm glad I did but I simply can't hide it anymore...especially when he puts out acoustic jamz!  How can you not love that voice?!

Until Vol. 2



Hello Joyflakes!

In case you've missed it, or you don't follow me on social media (feel free to change that!), I've been tweeting a LOT.  During my first few years of college I started tweeting and I was mildly obsessed. Every move I made, twitter knew about it. But somewhere along the way, I lost my ability to shamelessly self promote my dinner plans and my twitter feed went silent.  Sure I still checked in every once and a while and once I started this blog I started tweeting when I posted a new blog entry, but I didn't feel like I really had anything to say.  That sounds crazy, especially coming from a blogger, but it's the truth.

You see, if you'd asked me about four months ago where I would be today, I would have said something like "I don't know, working the same job and dreading going to work in the morning?" My outlook on my foreseeable future was pretty bleak.  I was incredibly unhappy and letting myself wallow in it.  Not to mention I was dragging everyone else around me into my pit of grumpiness.

All of that changed when I decided to put an end date on my job.  I decided that come hell or high water I was going to find another job.  ANY job that wasn't the one I had in order to start pulling myself up by my bootstraps. The kicker was that I gave myself until my cousins wedding (like...two and a half months?) to find another job or I would quit without one.  I couldn't take it anymore.  Thankfully, one week before the deadline I was offered a position working at one of the hospitals in town and I jumped on it.  Sure it wasn't a glamorous job but it was something to start me moving in a direction again.

The Thursday before we left for the wedding I was walking out of a final exam when my professor offered me a note asking me to get in touch with him if I was interested in a paid internship at his company.  It was right then and there that my entire outlook changed.  The job would be to blog about college in a multitude of different ways, both silly buzzfeed-y posts and ones backed by science.  It would be 9-5 and pay just what I need to get by so the issue was that I had already accepted a position and I couldn't work at the hospital and at his company.  After a week of talking it over with my family and friends, I jumped in head first and accepted the position at my professors company and gave the hospital my 1 day notice.

For the first time in a very long time, work is something that I enjoy getting up and doing.  I feel like I actually know what I'm doing and that my work is appreciated.  I get to 5 o'clock and feel like the day has flown by.  I know that it has only been two weeks in my new position and things aren't always going to been this bright and shiny but for right now, I'm going to keep riding this high. And I'm definitely going to keep tweeting my happiness to the world, because you can never have too much positivity.


P.S. Pretty fitting that this is coming out on 9/9 since my favorite number is 9!

When Life Gets in The Way

Good morning Joyflakes!

It has been about 3 months since I last updated this blog and I feel that you deserve an explanation...I wish that I had better one though!  For the last few months something has happened to me that I think happens to everyone every once and a while.  When we want to be focusing on the things we really enjoy doing (writing, gardening, and hanging out in my hammock for example) we get caught up in the things that we may not want to do but have to do.  Since may, I've quit my job at Hands, moved into a new house with Misha, my brother Ben, and our friends Lucket and Brian, been to two of four weddings that we were invited to and taken four trips.  The only explanation is that life has simply gotten in the way.

So here is the short version of my summer...Enjoy!

May 8-10 U of L Graduation:
Misha and I visited my parents in Kentucky to celebrate my Step Father Tomala's graduation from college.  I don't think that I have ever been prouder of anyone for anything in my entire life.  It was a weekend full of laughter, love, and making Tomala the center of attention all rounded out with an amazing trip to the Woodford Reserve distillery.

Walking Tomala into his graduation ceremony

Enjoying our share of the Angel's share :)
May 31 Austin and Lauren's wedding:
I've been friends with Austin since junior high and I felt so lucky that Misha and I were able to celebrate with he and Lauren at their wedding. They are one of the most caring couples that I know and their wedding was absolutely perfect.

Misha and I enjoying our champagne at Austin & Lauren's wedding

Packing and moving...I won't elaborate because those are two of my least favorite activities....but I will post photos of our wonderful new house soon!

July 4 Americas birthday! and camping:
Misha and I packed up our Camry and headed off to Backbone State Park which is about two hours north of us for a weekend of relaxation in nature.  We spent our weekend hiking with Izzy (she loved it!) and making all of our meals over an open fire.  It was exactly what we needed after our moving frenzy and we met some really awesome people at the campsite next to us which was a major bonus! If you ever come through Iowa, I seriously suggest a trip to Backbone

Izzy and I on Backbone trail
Sleeping in are we?
There may be nothing cuter than a puppy in a sleeping bag.
Misha made sunny-side up eggs for breakfast over a fire...I'm gonna say she's a keeper! 
Our picture perfect camp fire on our last night at Backbone.
The rest of July was spent driving between Iowa City and Davenport to my Grandparents house and was capped of by a visit from Misha's sister Sara and her boyfriend and a bachelorette party for my best friend from college Leslie. The bachelorette party was a blast and it was great to connect with old friends for the night...the rest of what happened I don't think we really need to talk about ;)

August 7 & 8th:
My cousin Grace married an amazing man in Minneapolis and Misha and I were lucky enough to be a part of the celebration.  The entire wedding was the epitome of perfect.  Everything was with in 5-10 minutes of each other and there wasn't a moment of boredom or hunger (a common issue at weddings) which meant that all we had to do was sit in awe of how gorgeous Grace looked and enjoy the party.  And party we did!

The Whitmore family with the bride and groom

Lighting their unity candle
First kiss as husband and wife!
Blurry...but thats alright.  Mom and I dancing the night away!

August 9-12 The Cabin:
Every year since before I can remember my family has been going to our cabin in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. I can say with confidence that it is my favorite place on the planet.  Built over 100 years ago, it's gone through some renovations and additions but it is still very much unchanged.  Even thinking about the way it smells there puts me in a good mood!  We spent our time laying on the dock, swimming in the lake, going for boat rides, and taking walks with my grandparents.  It is a place where we can gather as a family and just enjoy being together and I feel very blessed to have a place like that.
Izzy and I enjoying the comforts of the Leinie Lounger in Danbury, WI on our way to the cabin
Beautiful sunset over the lake our first night 
Enjoying the beginnings of sunset from the hammock
Izzy's first hammock laze
This may only be funny to the Whitmores...but I BEAT GRANDPA AT UNO!!!
August 13-Now:
On our way home, we took the long way and stopped through Chicago to visit Misha's family. Her parents made Persian food and we had dessert with their old family friends before falling into bed exhausted.

Finally being home, I've been finishing up at work and preparing to start the next chapter of my life.  I'm scared to be leaving the place that I have worked for the last 6 years but I know that it's time to grow by trying something new.  My short version turned out to be a lot longer than I thought so I'll leave you here but I would love to hear about your summers! Leave a comment and let me know what you've been up to :)


Saturday Sounds

It's been a while since I've posted a Saturday Sounds so here is what I'm currently listening to on repeat...

Geronimo, by Sheppard.  I took a chance on them and just bought the full album and I am so glad I did! It's the perfect soundtrack to get ready for summer.

Budapest, by George Ezra.  Sometimes you just need to feel happy and bop along with the sunroof open...this is PERFECT for that.

What are your current favorite spring/summer jams?


We don't keep secrets.

Hello Joyflakes,

The other day I was talking to one of my friends about our parents and I was reminded of something pretty interesting.  When I was growing up there weren't a lot of rules. Beyond things meant to keep us safe (no doing backflips off the top of the couch...which only became a real rule after a broken wrist that caused me to be terrified to do one again forever anyway) my mom's parenting style was pretty lax in comparison to my friends parents. We didn't have a real curfew, just a time that was completely reasonable and agreed upon by us and our mom depending on the event.  We had to do chores, but they were on a rotation and other than having to put up with nagging if you didn't do them, there were no consequences for not having them done by a particular time.  We were never grounded, not for bad grades or even for sneaking out of the house to go TP-ing (ask my brother about that one).  

I've never really asked my mom why but I would assume there were two reasons for this.  One, was that she knew groundings and super strict rules just make you want to rebel and do worse things than you probably would have in the first place. And two, was that she was a single parent who worked incredibly hard and simply didn't have the energy to be that strict. Not to mention the fact that knowing you had disappointed her but still weren't in trouble was a pretty good way of making sure that we didn't make the same mistakes twice.

The best mom in the whole wide world

The one and only rule we had was that we wouldn't keep secrets from each other.  Other than birthdays, christmas, or other times when presents and surprises were involved, secrets were not allowed.  It may sound like an unusual rule, but in many ways it is the best rule anyone has ever taught me. 


By not keeping secrets, my mom taught us some pretty important life lessons:  

1. Taking responsibility for your mistakes (a hard lesson that I am still trying to learn) helps you gain respect.  Both from yourself, and from others.  

2. Lying is hard. The fewer lies you tell, the fewer you have to remember to keep up.  Make that number zero and you'll have WAY less stress.

3. Honesty really is the best quality.  It is now the number one thing I ask from my friends and people I choose to have relationships with.

4. Although it's not always painless, being honest is the quickest way to move forward.

With mothers day coming up so soon, I want to say thanks to my mom for instilling such and important value in my everyday life.  It's not something that I ever really thought about growing up, but it has very much become my golden rule.