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Winter is my guilty pleasure

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True story. When we set our clocks back in November, I’m always a little thrown off. It’s been happening all my life. I remember being a kid and going to piano lessons at 5:30pm one day when it’s light out and the next week it was pitch black. It didn’t really blow my mind as much as it does now as an adult. It’s funny how much you don’t notice as a kid.

Now it seems like the sun starts to set around 3:30pm. When I’m at our studio, I was switch on the light next to my desk and wrap a scarf around my neck (like that fends off the dark). Sure, I’ll participate in the small talk. “Oh my gosh! It’s like the sun starts setting at 3:30! I feel like it’s time for bed at 7pm!”

But let’s get real. I love it.

Maybe it’s an introvert thing. People get a little less social. Everyone stop working a little earlier. Robes/slippers/blankets are staples. Waking up early to spend time by myself isn’t so depressingly dark. Restaurants are a bit more quiet at 8pm. Football season means grocery shopping on the weekends is pleasant. Yes, I sound like a grumpy old lady. But it’s true. And actually…I don’t feel guilty about it. Plus, Christmas is everything.

Which season is your guilty pleasure?

 

Roll Call!

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Ohhhhh right! I have a blog! Damn. I forgot. But I’m back because I remembered and then I realized I miss you all! I usually call these “Let’s Get Coffee” but I’ve already had three cups. You know the drill. I’m asking 5 questions. Answer them in the comments so I can “meet” you and see who’s still here. I’m secretly asking five things that I just want to share.

  1. What’s one album that you can’t stop listening to? 
  2. What’s one thing you’re doing lately to make yourself better?
  3. Where does your best friend live? And how did you meet him/her?
  4. What have you been wanting to do but just…haven’t?
  5. Do you think I should host another Christmas City Swap (it would be the 3rd annual!)?

My answers:

  1. Taylor Swift’s 1989. No shame.
  2. I’m currently doing Whole 30. I’m on day 8! Feeling GREAT! Yes, that rhymes.
  3. Huntsville, Alabama. I met her on the internet. I have a few other soulmates but we don’t talk as often.
  4. Take a whole week off working. I’m honestly thinking about taking a whole Christmas break off work. !!!!
  5. I’m on the fence…should I do it??

LET’S HEAR IT!

 

Typical Autumn

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I live in Ohio and we (generally) have four solid seasons throughout the year. I grew up in Illinois and so the landscape tends to be quite the same but just a bit more flat. For the last 27 years of my life, I’ve been romanced by each season and it never gets old. Isn’t that funny? I never tire of the humid summers, the spring rain, the crisp autumn air or the dark, bleak winter. Never.

Things like sweater weather, pumpkin spiced lattes, boots and bonfires become “typical” and worthy of an eye roll.

But guess what? We should all do what makes us smile. A little siesta during the day to get a flavored coffee doesn’t make you typical. You know what makes us typical? Needing a little siesta at a Starbucks because we’re working 24/7 or denying ourselves self-care.

So figure out what makes you smile during the day and DO THAT. It will become a habit. And those habits are the best.

 

I wrote an eBook and I’m going to Vegas

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I’m off to Vegas (first time I won’t work during a vacation since 2012!) but I wanted to share two things:

  1. It’s my husband Adam’s birthday. To celebrate, you can donate.
  2. And if you’re still in the giving mood, I just launched my eBook today! I co-authored the book with Claire and we are so excited to share it! It’s called Charge Up and it’s all about being an introvert, building a business and managing your energy. I can’t wait to hear what you think! Comment below and let me know! You can read more about it + purchase it here.

*Photo was a double exposure in my Canon 5D Mark III that Adam took. SO FUN!

 

Why I Blog

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I help bloggers on a weekly basis via The Wonder Jam. Sometimes I’m redesigning their blogs (like this one, or this one, or most recently this one!), sometimes I’m consulting and other times I’m teaching them how to take photos! I’m constantly helping bloggers grow their audience, increase revenue + improve their content.

Sometimes it feels weird because I don’t usually have the same goals. I don’t blog to make money, I don’t display ads and heck…I don’t even post that often! So why do I blog? To be terribly real. 

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I love this quote from The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. With the recent news of Robin Williams (and so many other hurting individuals), I remember how much I hate to think of people feeling lonely. Since I was a kid, I would reach out to the kids who had no friends. I would have the girl over who had pet snakes (but everyone teased) or the kid who lived with his grandma (that everyone ignored). It never really made me popular either but I couldn’t bear to think of someone sitting alone or feeling rejected. As an adult, I experience anxiety and know that certain times can feel really dark. I can’t imagine what it’s like for those struggling with depression.

My goals for blogging have changed over the last 5 years but I now know why I continue to post: I love connecting with you all without bias. I come to this place with the desire to hear what you think, how you feel and who you really are (without all the superficial shit like how much money you make, what you look like or if you were homecoming queen 15 years ago). I hope that’s why you continue to visit and please know that if you ever need to talk or find yourself in pain, you can reach out to me.

I’ve met so many wonderful people ALL OVER THE WORLD because of this blog and that makes me smile. I promise to continue to bring honesty, authenticity and my true self to this space for however long it lasts.

*Photo of me bent over laughing…by Meghan Newsom

Stuff That Makes Me Smile

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In no particular order:

  1. Olaf from Frozen. I watched the movie three times in three days
  2. Wireless bras from Journelle. More comfort and I don’t need them any perkier.
  3. Working out. Especially yoga via YogaGlo.
  4. Chrissy Teigan, in general.
  5. Sam Smith’s new album, In the Lonely Hour
  6. No plans to travel much in the near future. I’ve enjoyed being home.
  7. The book I’m co-writing. More on that next week!
  8. Nude nail polish.

What’s been making you smile lately?

 

A Favor. Because I Love Columbus and Good Food.

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Five years ago (June 5th is my anniversary), I moved to Columbus after getting married and slowly began to explore this city. I wasn’t gluten-free back in 2009 and we lived in the ‘burbs. That meant a lot of Olive Garden, Applebees, Little Caesar’s and Chipotle. Ehhhh. As we made our way south, towards downtown, we realized what a good-food-loving-city Columbus really is.

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Instagram allowed me to document this journey while I fell in love with Columbus’ taste in good food. Food trucks, small diners, farm to table, reallllly good alcohol. All local. It totally blew me away. Even as I became gluten-free and began to refine my diet, the Columbus restaurant scene still delivered.

So here’s my favor. For what you would spend on a really sugary drink at Starbucks, you could help me and my city. We are getting an amazing gift called The Commissary. It’s going to be a flexible space for pop-ups, meetings, and classes where food makers and farmers can experiment, create, collaborate, and share. I’m excited to be on the board for their non-profit section and am going to be able to teach food makers how to take better photos for their websites.

Okay I got distracted…so for $6, you can help back it and help them meet their goal. You’ll get a sticker. You’ll make me smile. And if you ever come to Columbus, we’ll hang out and eat all this amazing food.

If you find it in your heart to support this awesome thing that I’m involved in, comment below and I’ll send you a little thank you in the mail! Plus, who doesn’t love pen pals?

 

Real Is Better Than Perfect

But it doesn’t get as many Instagram likes.

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There’s lots of talk lately about Instagram and what it encourages: perfectly styled photos, standing on chairs to take a photo of your food and selfies for days. I would say it bothers me 10% of the time.

I jump on Instagram or Bloglovin’ and many of my peers are renovating homes, re-designing every room in the house and somehow all of them have the most amazing natural light. Then I look up from my phone and at our home, the duct tape keeping our AC window units working, the fact that I never have steamed out the creases in our Target curtains or the fact that our kitchen floor always looks dirty and think, “Oh my gosh. When are we going to be able to upgrade this shit!?”

Or there are the days where we eat Chipotle every night for dinner and I see all these beautifully styled (okay…too styled) plates of fresh, CSA meals being prepared by fellow bloggers across the country.

That’s 10% of the time. The rest of the time I’m just submerged deep into The Wonder Jam, side projects, collaborating with my friend across the country, photographing the beautiful people in my life or sleeping. I love how cheap our rent is. I’m proud of how long I can go without doing my hair. I love other people who are down-to-earth + real. I admire those who aren’t using social media.

But I’m all about Instagram as my happy/visual place. I love the perfectly styled photos and the selfies where you feel beautiful. Plus, people can do whatever they want. Less judging! Just know that my feed (or this blog) isn’t my whole life. It’s a small snippet and it’s a space where I see beauty in the life that I’m creating. But damn, my life is usually a mess. And I’m cool with that.

 

A $20 Treat

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As you may have noticed…our May was quite eventful. AND EXPENSIVE. It left us quite high and dry and we’re treating June as a “re-save all the monies” type of month. Some expenses included:

  • Trip to Nashville (while it was a Death to the Stock Photo trip, we spent money of our own) $
  • My birthday $$
  • Trip to NYC (same as Nashville x 100) $$$
  • Put down our deposit on our studio (we’re currently subleasing but had to sign the lease for when we take over September 1 and put down a month’s worth of rent as a deposit) $$$$
  • A pipe exploded under our bathroom sink $
  • We hosted our 1 year birthday party for The Wonder Jam $$$

Oof. So last weekend, I decided to treat myself with a twenty dollar bill that Adam’s grandma sent to me in the mail for my birthday. While it was belated, it came at the perfect time. I bought myself an iced cinnamon honey latte (with almond milk) down the street for $3.75 and skipped over to Walgreens for some drugstore makeup.

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I’m sort of a walking dichotomy because I equally hate AND love getting “ready.” I probably only wash my hair once a week and the idea of getting ready usually sets my eyes rolling. BUT I also love makeup. It’s an obsession and when I do wear it – I really, really love it. I watch all the makeup artists who are huge on YouTube, I buy really high end makeup but I also love drugstore makeup. (Side note: when did drugstore makeup start getting so expensive though??)

All that to say…I sat in our empty guest room (we call it the ZEN ROOM) in front of a mirror and did my makeup 100 different ways and experimented with braiding my hair. Oh and my brother sat in there with me while he worked. What a pal…

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So there you have it. My $20 treat day. Since Adam and I are going on a beach vacation with his family next weekend, I sold a few clothes over on Instagram and intend on buying some beachwear soon. There’s something strangely challenging (in the best way) about being on a budget.

 

NYC, The First Day

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Long time, no talk! We had been in NYC since last Thursday and arrived back in Columbus late Monday. Yesterday I spent the day catching up on email + client work but I thought I would break up each day in NYC and give them each their own post. I took enough pictures to share!

After a flight delay, we got into NYC around 4pm and headed straight to our Airbnb in Red Hook. I wasn’t familiar with this part of Brooklyn but I always love getting to know new neighborhoods when we travel. Photos to come later! After dropping off our bags, we snagged an Uber taxi and headed to East Village to meet Dabito for ice cream at Van Leeuwen. Pistachio ice cream is my jam (FYI).

We later found tacos (I ate way too much corn on this trip which left me feeling slightly like a blimp) and wandered the streets. While I wasn’t hungry at all, we had to stop by Tu-Lu’s Gluten Free Bakery because…red velvet cupcakes. If only their employees were as friendly and warm as our very own Cherbourg Bakery!

Exhausted from a day of travels, Adam and I headed back to our apartment while David scampered off to a electronic swing dance party. If only I was that cool.

Stay tuned for day 2 and how NYC gave me its own version of a blowout…