a list of reminders

Happily Every After button from our anniversary date at the happiest place on Earth

Yesterday marked ten years with my love, and even though we have a new anniversary to celebrate, I feel like we’ve hit a huge milestone. We’ve now spent a decade as each other’s partner and confidante, growing up and growing older together for more than a third of our lives. Whoa.

As cliche as it sounds, it hasn’t always been easy but being together has always felt right and I’m reminded of this every day. Here’s a list of times when I know for sure.

  • When he brings home [mochi ice cream, Koala Yummies, White Castle Burgers, insert whatever food I’m currently craving here] without me asking
  • When he writes an apology post-it note for a stupid fight we had
  • When he steps back to let me go ahead of him in line for communion at church (it’s something my dad always does for my mom and when I realized early in our relationship that Tom did it too, it was one of those moments where I could see myself marrying him)
  • When he fills my car with gas because he knows I hate doing it myself
  • When I see him playing with our nieces even though he claims he doesn’t like kids
  • When I randomly start singing “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and he jumps in with the drum noises
  • When he saves me the end of the ice cream cone because he knows it’s my favorite part
  • When we see something funny or weird, look at each other, and both burst out laughing because we know we’re both saying the same thing
  • When I have a bad day and he pets my head the same way he used to pet his dogs’ heads
  • Every single time he makes me laugh
  • When he remembers something obscure I said or did a long time ago that I barely even remember

I’m forever grateful for this type love. (oldie, but always a goodie)


things you’ll find on this blog

Hitting reset for the ump-teenth time.

Here’s what you’ll find on my little corner of the internet:

  • lists. Because they’re short, sweet, easy to read, and I’ve spent my whole life writing them. Why change what I know best.
  • things that work for me that might work for you. Blogs that tell you what to do are one of my biggest pet peeves (you know, all those “10 things you should try…” or “Stop doing this one thing” articles…blech). I want to share what works for me and you can decide for yourself whether to try it or not.
  • (very) amateur photography. I’m a work in progress, but I’m always learning.
  • budget friendly travel posts. Thanks to my frugal husband, we’ve become masters at affordable vacations.
  • words of wisdom. Because they really do help.
  • me trying new things…and probably failing a lot.
  • my many loves: beautiful spaces and my attempts to create them. banners and other crafts that i pore over. books that make me think. music that moves me. sporting events i get way too into. hikes and travel and clothes and everything.

And go.

the why

I thought about deleting all of my old posts (or at least making them private) and starting fresh again, but I couldn’t get myself to do it. Every single post was at some point in my life something I was feeling or needed to share, and deleting any part of that just didn’t feel right to me. So this will have to be my “fresh start”, years into this blog.

Here’s why I’m blogging — the “why” behind “with a why”, if you will:

  • Because I like to write. This is as simple as it sounds. This is my millionth attempt at blogging and definitely not my last. I enjoy writing and I’m trying to do more of what I enjoy.
  • For my sanity. I’ve noticed that a lot of times I start writing again, it’s because I don’t know what else to do. This time is no exception.
  • To remember thingsThere are so many moments I’ve wanted to capture and so many ways I’ve tried to capture them. I’m adding this to the list of ways because there can never be enough.
  • Because sharing is caring. I’d by lying if I said this blog wasn’t first and foremost for myself, but if someone somewhere gets something positive out of it then it is definitely worth it.
  • To create something real. In a world of posing for Instagram likes and styling pictures of breakfast foods, I needed to create something that was messy and honest and imperfect. Here it is.

This should be fun.

deep breaths

And the highlight reels just keep on coming.

When you’re in a rut, it’s hard impossible not to compare your life to everyone else’s, and unfortunately at those times, the internet make it so very easy to. Social media is tricky like that, isn’t it? When I’m happy, I love to read about all of my long lost friends’ promotions/ engagements/ baby announcements/ [insert other exciting life milestone here]. When I’m feeling not-so-great about my life though, well, that’s a different story. I’m still happy for them, but the joy quickly becomes overshadowed by questions in the tune of “what have I done with my life lately?”

And so, here’s a list of things I am grateful for. Because this is what matters and will always matter.

  1. My husband, who is endlessly supportive and eternally optimistic.
  2. My family, who will never change and is always there, no matter how far away I am.

This is a short list because those are really the only reminders I need of how wonderful my life is. Just those and my faith.

I may be in a rut right now, but I am thankful.

An Instagram a Day

I was mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed one day, reminiscing on all of the cool and interesting things I’ve done and seen. And it’s true; I’ve done and seen some pretty cool things. But my life is not all trips and adventures and scenic views. Those are just a small portion of who I am and what I do. I couldn’t find my whole self in my feed and that bothered me.
To be honest, it made me a little sad that the only things I found worth sharing were these amazing and rare things. I want to be the type of person who finds wonderful, beautiful things no matter where I am or what I’m doing. And on days when they’re a little harder to find, I’ll try searching harder or create them myself.

I tried, for a short time, to post a picture every day to remind myself of that, but it just wasn’t sustainable. So I wrote this post as my reminder: always love the ordinary days just as much as the special ones.

Happy Earth Day


Yosemite National Park

I remember the day I fell in love with the Earth.

I’m embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t that long ago. Even after years of childhood summers spent climbing trees, skipping rocks, and picking dandelions, I don’t think I fully appreciated nature until my early 20’s, when on a sibling trip to visit my sister in Seattle, we went hiking. The moment I stepped on that trail, I was changed forever.

I don’t remember exactly where we were, but I remember how I felt and that was everything. I was energized and alive. I felt every breath and every breath felt more real than it ever had before. And while my heart was racing, my mind was calm. That’s what struck me the most. Calmness is a rarity for my overthinking, over-anxious mind.

I’m always on the lookout for things that stop me in my tracks — things that calm my mind and soothe my soul. Nothing does this more for me than the beauty of this planet. I am happiest when I am outside, taking it all in. Please keep her beautiful forever.

Simplifying My Life


I’m currently on a huge closet overhaul/attempt to become a minimalist due to the following factors:

  1. Reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo last year. It’s been all over every blog/Instagram post, but the gist of what I learned? Keep only what you love. And yes, it really is life-changing.
  2. Discovering capsule wardrobes via The EveryGirl. Another blog hit of 2015, capsule wardrobes involve paring down your wardrobe to a set number of mix and match items every few months or so. I was drawn to the concept since I suffer deeply from decision overload.
  3. Necessity. Moving across the country with only the things I could fit in my Jetta has forced me to purge just a wee bit.
  4. Giving up shopping for clothes. After a wedding/honeymoon and busy traveling schedule all last year and a big move to kick off 2016 (all which were 110% worth it), money has been tight. I’m opting to not buy any new clothes for 2016 and so far, it has been pretty effortless. As an incentive (if I make it through this) I’ll buy myself a shiny new laptop for Christmas. Challenge accepted.

I’ll admit, it has been a long and pretty painful process so far. After a trip to Plato’s Closet and countless bags of donations, my closet could still use some work (as seen above). I’ll get there. More to come on this journey and my second attempt at a capsule wardrobe.

Favorite Finds

Soo, I realize it’s Monday and the weekend is over, but I still wanted to share some things I found last week. We’ve had a crazy past few days apartment hunting and spending time with family. We’re back to Chicago today and ready for more moving madness.



Originally written on January 29, 2016.

There are very few moments in my life where I really stopped to think about the meaning of a word. Today is one of them. Bittersweet — a word I love and hate at the same time, just like it’s meant to be.

Today was my last day with a company I’ve grown with and grown to love. It will always be my first, my home, and my beginning. I picture myself looking back at these times fondly in the future, thinking “this is where it all began…” (I often think of myself as an old lady looking back…it puts things into perspective).

In the near future though, I see myself as an adventurer. In the next couple of weeks, we will be making our way across the country for me to pursue a new job. With a new company. In a new state. Whoa.

I also legally changed my name earlier this week so I am in massive life change overload. I don’t know what having an identity crisis is like, but I think I might be close.

So that’s what’s coming up. BIG THINGS. And I’ll be sharing it all on here.

Life is exciting.