Monday, April 29, 2013

Things I Learned...

... This weekend. 
  1. I am never underwhelmed by the city of Chicago. Every spring the organization I work for treats us to a weekend downtown filled with delicious food, community, and surprises. It's always wonderful and this year was no exception. I love that I've grown up in the Chicagoland and no matter it always feels new. It's fun when home still feels like an adventure.
  2. Babies make everything better. My friend Ben and his wife Abby just had a sweet little baby boy 5 weeks ago. He's just the best. It really is unbelievable how holding a baby can put you in a better mood. Well it does for me at least.  
  3. I enjoy coffee in the afternoon just as much as the morning. After I got home from the weekend away I had a couple hours before the next thing on my schedule. I cuddled up in my bed, opened up my window, sipped on some hazelnut coffee and opened my the new book I started Carry On, Warrior (Thoughts on Life Unarmed) by Glennon Doyle Melton. Friends, I call that a perfect Sunday afternoon. 
  4. Debit card fraud is really just rude. This happened during my week but I was without my debit card until today. Last week, someone decided to use my debit card to by film equipment from New York. I'm grateful that my bank was gracious about the situation but it definitely was a frustrating. I was also surprised by how violated it made me feel. 
  5. Musical theater is awesome. During our weekend downtown one of our surprises was going to see "Big Fish" at the Oriental Theater. loved the movie when it came out a while back and I was really excited to see the show. It was neat to see the way they made the fantastical story come to life on stage. And let's be honest, I'm always a sucker for a good musical.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Authentic Me

So I'm sure by now you're sick of hearing about me reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. I promise, this is the last post about it (at least for now...)

One of the things she talks about towards the end of the book is the way that dancing, music, and laughter are foundational to living a "wholehearted" life. I could not agree more. One thing she made for herself is a playlist called "authentic me." It is a collection of songs that make her feel like herself. She didn't explain much why she chose songs but left it at that. 

I decided to make my own "authentic me" playlist. 
The list below are either songs I never get sick of listening to, have impacted me in different ways, make me want to get up and dance, or songs I just simply love. 

  1. The Seed & the Ground - JJ Alberhasky
  2. By the Mark - Gillian Welch
  3. Countdown - Beyonce
  4. Carry On - Fun.
  5. Gathering Stories - Jonsi
  6. Lost and Found - Katie Herzig
  7. The Trapeze  Swinger - Iron & Wine
  8. 23 - Jimmy Eat World
  9. Rain - Patty Griffin
  10. Shine - David Gray
  11. Portions for Foxes - Rilo Kiley
  12. Years and Years - Sidehill Winders
  13. Land of the Living - Matthew Perryman Jones
  14. How the Day Sounds - Greg Laswell
  15. Raconte-Moi Une Histoire - M83
  16. After the Storm - Mumford & Sons
  17. My Love - Justin Timberlake feat. T.I.
  18. Window in the Skies - U2
  19. The District Sleeps Alone - The Postal Service
  20. Chicago - Sufjan Stevens
  21. On Your Porch - The Format
  22. Arms - Christina Perri
  23. Blood Bank - Bon Iver
  24. Blood - The Middle East
  25. I Thought - The Kevin Reid Project
  26. Need & Thread - Sleeping at Last
  27. Kids - MGMT
  28. Shake it Out - Florence + The Machine
  29. Dog Problems - The Format
  30. Land of Hope and Dreams - Bruce Springsteen
I've got this on repeat.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April Showers

Dress: Anthropologie. Jacket: Michael Kors (via Nordstrom Rack.) Aviators: Urban Outfitters.
Shoes: Cole Hann (via TJ Maxx.) Hair Piece: F21. Bracelet: Renegade Art Fair.
My gosh has there been April Showers here in the Chicagoland. Here's to a past weekend full of sunshine and hopefully tons of May Flowers. 

And speaking of showers, this is what I wore to my future sister-in-law's first bridal shower. I will admit at about 2 PM when it was a breezy 43 degrees, I was second guessing not wearing tights. But I refuse to wear tights anymore, tights are for October, not April. 

Here are some more bridal shower pictures. 

My brother Andrew and me.

Perfect flowers for a perfect Bridal Tea.

Bride and her bridesmaids! (Becca is in white.)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Things I Learned...

... This weekend.

  1. I've got the best big brother. I know that it's not something I just learned and I'm totally biased but I've got to say it. My brother is getting married this summer to Becca whom I absolutely adore. This weekend we had the first bridal shower for Becca. Andrew made an appearance and brought the beautiful flowers pictured above. It's been such a cool shift for me to see Andrew as not just a big brother and a son in my family but to a husband. It makes my heart full just thinking about how wonderful of a husband he will be. 
  2. There are such things as rain days and for that matter multiple ones. This past weekend (well Thursday & Friday) my little city was underwater. The schools shut down, I couldn't get out of my neighborhood, life seemed to just halt. Who knew that "rain days" or "flood days" could shut down whole cities. 
  3. Sometimes life feels like a movie. My roommates and I (on said rain day) watched Zero Dark Thirty. I had seen it already but loved it just as much the second time. It felt surreal sitting in front of my computer Friday night watching the FBI, Boston police department, and other law enforcement literally hunt the second suspect from the Boston marathon bombings. I had such mixed emotions Friday evening. I was grateful that the suspect was in custody but it didn't even begin to subside the heartache I felt for the community of Boston and their families. It didn't feel like the end, but just the beginning... hopefully the beginning of lots and lots of healing.
  4. It's just okay to be in bed at 9 PM. Who cares if that happens to be on a Friday night... right?
  5. You know you really love a book when you look down at any page and all you see is your green sharpie pen covering the page. As I mentioned here. I'm currently reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown and I am fascinated (and underlining a ton.) My favorite thing I read today was, "We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart."  Are you reading any good books? Any recommendations? 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Everything is Underwater

Growing up in the Chicagoland, I've had my fair share of canceled school and work because of snow days... but a RAIN day? WHAT!

Last night it started pouring rain at 4 in the afternoon and continued raining until about 10 this morning. The result? Chicagoland completely underwater. I had really high hopes for being productive today, I had a long list of errands and things to get done. Turns out, the road getting out of my neighborhood is flooded in both directions and my little hatch back can't make it out. 

So instead of productivity, my day has consisted of a little reading, watching an episode of Law & Order: SVU, Zero Dark Thirty with my roommates, going for a quick stroll with my roommate Kate to grab Chinese food and an afternoon nap. 

Maybe this is just the day I actually needed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

To Suffer With

It's been hard not to have a heavy heart since 2 pm on Monday afternoon. I don't know what it is, I've gotten older and "understand more" or tragedies like the Boston Marathon Bombings occur more regularly these days. Either way, when tragedy strikes it stirs up all different emotions.

I've been on a Brene Brown kick lately. If you haven't read/watched/listened to any of her stuff, it really is worth checking out. (Her website is right here.) I'm currently reading The Gifts of Imperfection. She explains the three foundational pieces of embracing a whole hearted living, one being compassion. As I sat in Starbucks yesterday afternoon, watching the rain pour down (again,) in the midst of checking my twitter feed to get the most recent updates about the bombings more often than I'd like to admit, I was struck by her words.

Brene Brown writes, 

"Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. 
It's a relationship between equals... 
Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity." 

My prayer is that we may be a people of compassion, understanding that in moments of deep tragedy, and also in the mundane moments of everyday life, we're just like our neighbor.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Things I Learned...

... This weekend.

  1. Blue skies make an already wonderful day even better. It has been the worst weather here in Chicago the last couple weeks. It's been cold and really rainy. But finally, on Sunday blue skies appeared. I was lucky enough to get to spend that lovely day in the city at Dose Market with my future sister in law. If you're in the Chicago area, it is a must! 
  2. I tried on a handful of things yesterday at Anthropologie. Apparently I only like two things right now, stripes and a melon color palate. 
  3. I feel like over the last couple months I've been learning a lot about expectations. When are they good? Do we ever communicate them to other people? How have they hurt me? What are my expectations of others, myself, of God? I finally have been able to put into words how I feel about them... I really believe expectations rob joy in our lives. 
  4. I love Chicago sporting events. In 24hrs I went to the Chicago Bulls game with my mom (when they beat the NY Knicks in over time!) and the Chicago Cubs game with some coworkers (when they beat the SF Giants!) Even if you're not a huge fan of those teams, it's hard not to be when you're at the United Center or Wrigley Field. It's contagious. 
  5. I'm grateful my job allows me to see friends from all over the country. This weekend there was a conference in the Chicago area which brought friends of mine from Michigan, Colorado, Kansas, and Indiana all to one place. Fun to see folks that you don't always get to see. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

March Twenty Thirteen

March Madness. 
Spring Break in Naples, FL.
Two weddings. 
New Justin Timberlake album. 
March was a good month.

  1. Land of Hope and Dreams - Bruce Springsteen
  2. Just Give Me a reason - Pink feat. Nate Ruess
  3. Mirrors - Justin Timberlake
  4. I Have Made Mistakes - The Oh Hellos
  5. Hoping For Home - Trent Dabbs
  6. Gone, Gone, Gone - Phillip Phillips
  7. Dance in the Graveyards - Delta Rae
  8. Capsized - Matthew Perryman Jones
  9. Fragile Bird - City and Colour
  10. Joy to You Baby - Josh Ritter
  11. The Valley - The Oh Hellos
  12. Carry On (acoustic) - Fun. 
Any good tunes for me to listen to??

Monday, April 8, 2013

Things I Learned...

... the last couple months.

First off, I want to apologize for my absence the last couple months. To be totally honest, life got the best of me and my energy needed to be poured into the things that were in front of me, not on the internet. But alas, I am back and excited for what's in store for my life and echo grace as spring is finally here and the many things I have to look forward to the rest of 2013. 

  1. It is never a bad idea to re-read one of your favorite books. One of my favorite authors is C.S. Lewis (it's who my cat Clive is named after!) When I was a senior in high school and then a sophomore in college I read Mere Christianity. I picked it up again two weeks ago and it's been just as refreshing as I remember. Grateful how words that I've read many times can still speak boldly into my life.
  2. The best place to spend a Saturday night is Ikea and Chilis. It was Saturday evening at about 7 PM and my roommates and I didn't have a ton to do so we hopped in my car and headed to Ikea. I seriously could spend hours there. I dare anyone to walk into that place and walk out with nothing, it is impossible. And hard not to be there and think of this movie.
  3. After watching countless youtube videos, I finally learned how to do a sock bun. It has changed my life. Okay, that's dramatic. 
  4. Technology is a wonderful thing. In the last week I've been able to video chat with two of my good friends who live in Lawrence, KS and Princeton, NJ. Don't get me a wrong, I'm a huge fan of snail mail and writing letters but there is something so refreshing about being able to see the faces of my friends.
  5. I still love Mad Men. Two years ago Chicago was bombarded by a massive snow storm known as the snowpocolypse. AKA I was locked in my house for two days and I decided to start watching Mad Men (and watched two seasons in two days.) Over "spring break" this year I got myself all caught up and ready for the premier of season 6. My thoughts without giving things away? Peggy Olsen is a babe. Joan is still my favorite. Don is always doing wrong but somehow it works. And Pete is the worst, absolutely the worst.