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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Lessons Learned & Progress Made

Whew, you guys. It's been a crazy three months. In a great way.

I've learned a lot. There's a thing where you learn some stuff and another thing where your life actually changes, and mine was the latter. The second I insisted on positive energy was the moment I realized I was manifesting change.

We've made so many friends, and they're wonderful. Our view of the social landscape in our city has transformed, for the better. The way better. We were ready to leave at a moment's notice, but now we love Greenville. It's amazing the difference finding your people can make.

I've been working harder than ever. I've learned a lot about burning the candle at both ends and switching careers. When you leave something you chose at 16, and get to know yourself again as an adult, it takes some time to figure out where you want to land. For me, it took 1.5 years to discover where I want to be, with the help of some serendipitous landmarks and road signs. I've seen rewards, but I'm still working like a madwoman to make it happen. Though I'm not quite there yet, I feel close enough to stop for a second and write this post.

I've learned professional lessons. I understand that as disingenuous as I considered it to be, "networking" is indeed the way to go. And instead of a weird popularity contest, sometimes it's just nice people who want to help each other. Social media makes it easier, but it's time-consuming. I've learned that thinking outside the box and being resourceful - and finding others willing to do the same - is my best bet.

I've realized that being open, asking for help, letting my go-to reaction be "yes," and taking time to stop, smile, say hello makes all the difference. Inviting positive energy into your life, or believing you deserve it, can be half the battle.

Another transformative thing was yoga every day. Okay, almost every day. I used to be a twice a week person. This summer proved that finding physical activity that makes you wildly happy and sticking to it has great rewards. It also provides a sense of community. And I've consumed the coconut water of 500 coconuts.

It's normal for twenty-somethings to be asking questions. John and I have been wondering where we'll end up, what we'll do, how we'll contribute something to this crazy world. And perhaps for the first time ever, I'm enjoying the process instead of demanding an answer.

In the midst of a time filled with change, questions, and excitement, two things remain: John and Herbie. I'm grateful as ever.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What is Marriage: Gin Rosemary Lemonade

Apparently this is the week I abandon all former waltzes with vegetarianism and cook things in bacon fat, because I can, and because it proves my southern heritage in a way that no paprika-roasted chickpea ever will.

I'm okay with it. Things feel a bit more sluggish than when my diet is plant-based, but have you ever tasted potatoes fried in bacon fat and turned into summer hash? It's indulgent, comforting, and delicious. This week has been a respite from an otherwise frantic summer - a husband and wife taking refuge from the professional rat race, and instead, cooking meals, watching thunderstorms beside our dog.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Boston Fourth of July

We spent July 4th in Boston, the most patriotic city there is. A group of our best friends joined us for an exercise in relaxation, laughter, and fresh oysters. We stayed in an apartment with huge windows right on the Charles, so you can imagine our view of the fireworks. Incredible. I particularly loved this photo.

Here's to another happy year and more summer fun.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What a Summer: Relentlessly Being in the Present

What a summer. That's a common phrase. Summer is the stuff dreams are made of. As a child, you spend nine grueling months of the year doing things like homework and studying, but all the while, you're dreaming of summer -- sweet, cheerful, lazy summer. Even as I approach the end of my twenties, I find that sentiment remains.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Dog Moms are People Too

Motherhood teaches you a lot of things, I think. Right now the people who think dog moms aren't real moms are probably rolling their eyes, but I don't mind too much. All I know is that there is a tiny, relatively helpless being who counts on me for his health and happiness, and I feel an intense responsibility to meet those needs tenfold. Motherhood - the desire to nurture, extreme concern for another's well being, a sense of obligation that you welcome. Feeding and holding and staying awake at night if it becomes necessary. Or even if it doesn't.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Weekend in New York

This weekend, spent in New York, was the most inspiring one I've had in a long time. Like, a reminder to get out and explore every corner of the world, as soon as possible. There were three things worth noting.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What is Marriage: One Whole Year

It feels just like yesterday that I woke up with all my closest friends and started the day that would end with a husband. But unbelievably, it's been a whole year.

Monday, April 22, 2013

That Which Determines Our Fate

I love this painting so much. I dream of hanging it in my home, gazing at each person, imagining the stories they would tell if they could.

Soon more people fill my mind. What would my mother be holding, if she were added? What would I be holding? What would the 8-year-old boy from the Boston finish line have in his hands? This year has been a sobering one, I think, for our country. Slowly we realize we can't protect our children.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

There you are.

Hello again. It's been a while.

I can't really say where I've been, except that my free time has been spent writing for Prosper clients and doing hot yoga. I miss you, Flee to the Cleve. But, I am thrilled to be working for an agency whose mission I can support wholeheartedly. Their energy is palpable, and I'm honored to be part of it.

I was featured last week on the Prosper blog talking about my transition from opera to impact. Take a look here if you like. They are such a pleasure.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

We're women now.

Last weekend I turned 28. It was really lovely, and John planned a whole weekend full of surprises, and I felt insanely lucky and loved and more and more like adulthood is yes, full of bills and obligations, but happier than childhood still.

27 was the first birthday I didn't get overly excited about. It didn't feel old, but it felt like that door had been opened. It was the first time that 30 felt close. I assumed 28 would feel the same, but a little worse. I'd be even older, and even further from that fresh-faced, idealistic youth I thought I should hold close. 30 brings a lot of questions - how long can you still go dancing? And what about short shorts? Is it time for fancy eye cream? Have you reached enough goals, is your career unfolding appropriately, do you know what's next?

28 doesn't feel as lackluster as 27 did. It feels a little smarter, a little more grounded. 28 has a few more fine lines, but those lines are experience. At some point this year, I stopped wanting to barter my experience for my youth. That's the difference in 28. The things I've learned are like little badges of honor on my face. I see their value, and though many questions remain unanswered, I try to stay present. Once this past year when I complained about looking older to my best friend, she said simply, "We're women now."

This year, I have a growing sense of gratitude for this opportunity to be an adult, create a legacy, make my own family. I see opportunities around me, all the time, to create light. I often fail miserably, but that's okay, because there will be many more chances. One third of my life may be over, but from it I take my partner, my dog, and my purpose, and I look ahead.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Recently I posted about an attempt to find opportunity in disappointment. Rather than dwell in the negative, for once I made a conscious effort to move forward. Somehow, it worked and brought good things faster than I thought possible.

Monday, March 4, 2013


Every year I write about how much I love March, and this one should be no different. Two years ago I was sitting in Cleveland snow, about to get engaged, and last year I was overwhelmed with gratitude at the amount of support I felt from friends and family as we approached our marriage.

This year, nothing quite so exciting is on the horizon, but that's okay. We still have sun, tulips, the promise of spring.

January and February are awful. I feel less productive and less happy, there's no color, and the tunnel seems to have no end. But then there's March.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What is Marriage: Take Care of Each Other

Yesterday I was driving to Florence for a business trip, and I was thinking about my husband.  He had made a special early morning trip for orange juice in a vitamin-laced response to my new cough. He was worried that I had to drive three hours in the rain. He made breakfast. He was taking care of me.

I realized that the word "husband" still gives me a giddy little rush. When does this end? I hope it doesn't. I'll try to extend it as long as I can, maybe forever.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Will you watch this tonight?
"There are women who fight for something bigger than themselves."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Opportunity in Disappointment

Recently I mentioned that my life has been a bit of a whirlwind, seeking direction and making difficult decisions. I felt like one door slammed shut two weeks ago, and it was disappointing. To put trust in a group of people is a big step in the first place, and to have it compromised can feel horrible. I tend to make situations out of my control very personal and look for ways to deem them "failure." When this happened to me this month, I was reminded of several things: 

One of John's great strengths is his constancy. I'm more likely to be thrown about, distracted by daily ups and downs, but his personality, and therefore his support, are unwavering. I learn from him in this regard, and I love it.

Secondly, inspiration comes from the most unexpected places. Strangely enough, one of the most supportive voices during this particular turn of events was someone from within the very group who let me down. It was a lovely reminder that sometimes, and maybe more often than we admit, kindness and grace do prevail.

And thirdly, the moment that I put my disappointment aside and opened my eyes to the path before me, I saw glaring signs that this shut door paved the way, very quickly, to that thing that becomes far more valuable: opportunity.

Somehow, a bad situation became a good one, more quickly than usual. Here's to finding that positivity more often than not.

photo via

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Week in Women: Human Rights

If you're like me, you're constantly watching women's issues with the frustration and hope that pervades all of us in 2013. We're so close. Yet, not at all.

You watch Michelle and Hillary intently, and you groan when Sheryl Sandberg's comments are so good and so bad at the same time. You saw that good piece in the NY Times Saturday about the need to redefine women's rights in the workplace to human rights in the workplace, and you've been following the conversation about the benefits of universal preschool.

Stephanie Coontz is right - gender equality hasn't just stalled. We've hit a wall. Sometimes it's hard to know what to do next. Education and conversations about these things are a step in the right direction. Here's one of the best lists I've seen of gender equality principles. It helped me to see everything in one place, and I thought you might like it, too. The organization who created it suggests encouraging your company to complete their workplace assessment, which seems well-intentioned but a bit far-fetched. The Work-Life balance section feels especially pressing to me on a personal level, at age 27 - in a time when working more hours means more success, how do I make my career and family ambitions complement one another?

photo via

Monday, February 18, 2013

Missed you

Friends! I've missed you.

At some point about three weeks ago, I got extremely busy and something had to give. I've been working every weekend to help with the Governor's School audition season, traveling every week, and at the same time found myself faced with some big shifts relating to career.

Although I'm still working weekends and traveling, the big things have all settled. I left my part time job to pursue more meaningful work. I got a wonderful professional opportunity that forced me to make some hard decisions about career direction. While coming to a conclusion was a bit stressful, I feel confident now that I'm on the right path. It's a good feeling, even if it doesn't always last long.

I hope you've been well, too. xo!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Week in Women: Gender at Work and Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg is both right and wrong. Her recent comments about employers asking women about getting pregnant before hiring have understandably elicited quite a backlash. Perhaps they were well-intentioned, because of course we do need a more open dialogue about gender in the workplace.

She says we need to lean in, be more ambitious, be more assertive. She fails to address the gaping fact that those who are leaning in aren't getting anywhere. Only 17% of Fortune 500 board seats are held by women, only 3% of board presidents are women, but if you're reading this, you probably know that. As we've discussed, the Ambition Gap is a myth.

Here are some good links:

Background on Sandberg and some interesting numbers on gender in the workplace.

The best response to her pregnancy comments I've seen, in which Kristof calls for structural, accommodating changes in the workplace paired with ambitious women.

Horrible suggestions from Aol about negotiating raises and fair pay. Basically, do your best to perpetuate stereotypes, and you might get a higher salary.

Pair this article with the number of dishes John washes, and we are going to have one crazy ambitious daughter. Wahoo!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Do it. For Chicago. (Sex sells)

A Chicago public radio station is taking a cheeky approach to advertising. If you're cool, have sex with another cool person, thereby providing the world with a future public radio listener. This is adorable, and as everyone knows, sex sells. I know I'd probably respond a little bit more positively to NPR's dreaded phonathons if I'd seen a few irreverent ads around town. 

Also, I feel certain they created these especially for 27 year old women. ;)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Weekend Projects

This weekend, there wasn't much time for rest, but our tea bags did provide us with some lofty goals. The heart shaped breakfast was Smitten Kitchen's Oat and Maple Scones, which I adapted with white whole wheat flour and almond milk. I got a little carried away selecting paint colors online and left them in the oven a minute too long, but I'd still recommend the recipe.

John painted our spare bedroom Celadon Green, part of my master color plan that is captured by this Design Sponge post. When I found it, I already had the bright blue, whites, greys, yellow and peach in my head, but this visual layout helped a lot. I've revisited it many times since this slow home design project started last summer. Our downstairs is finished, except for dining chairs and new flooring! The pops of coral amidst the white, bright blue, and grey are everything. That's the back room, and the front room is grey, white, and gold. Pretty. One of these days I hope to show you.

The spare bedroom (and one day office) is this relaxing yet invigorating green, connected by grey to our bedroom, which will be the lightest peach you've ever seen, with a darker peach bathroom. Pink and peach are supposed to foster warmth, support, and love. Apparently aggressive criminals are immediately soothed when placed into bubble gum pink rooms. Noted.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Find Momo

Women This Week: Hillary's Benghazi Testimony and Michelle's Inauguration

It was a good week for women in media - it was a bad week for women in media.

Michelle was exalted in the public eye. John and I often wonder how anyone, regardless of political persuasion, could harbor bad feelings towards Michelle Obama. She is genuine, she is gracious, fun, smart, and she is trying to make our nation healthier (crucial). She was applauded for her feminine characteristics, yes, and that's a good thing. The media doesn't just discuss her fashion choices; they discuss the symbolic nature behind them. It was lovely to see our nation's love and respect for her this week.

Hillary, on the other hand, was torn apart - not for the content of her testimony at the Benghazi hearings, but for the emotion she showed as she discussed it. Her popularity is higher than ever, yet the anger and sadness she feels about those American deaths is presented by the media as a huge weakness. Just a month ago, Barack Obama's tears about Sandy Hook were portrayed as a vulnerable strength. His anger was simply justified, and his emotions were accepted without a blink. The double standard is crippling - when will women be permitted to show human emotion? Now, they are told to suppress every thread of vulnerability to be viewed as successful. Bravo to Hillary for showing emotion when appropriate, refusing to conform.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What is Marriage: Pizza Delivery (Taking Risks)

Marriage in January hasn't changed much since last week. This week is about big decisions for us, though, which is sort of nerve-racking. What's so interesting is how much has changed in two years - when I was willing to risk everything and move across the country to take a shady job in Vermont. Now that I'm in a better position and have some of the stability I craved, risk taking is way less appealing.

John and I had a conversation about this over the weekend - how it's important to not be scared to take risks, to move far away, to find new opportunities, to see new things. But at the same time, responsibilities and stability make it hard to take those leaps. We want to experience more places and more parts of the world, eventually, but we realize how hard it is to maintain that adventurous spark as we move further into adulthood and family life. How do you balance spontaneity with obligation, and new experience with stability?

I've been sort of needlessly stressed out, which makes poor John stressed out, and finally last night, I realized the best thing to do was order late night pizza, eat it straight of the box, and go to bed. :)

image via 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Red Balloons and Michelle Obama's Style

Going back to work after a holiday weekend makes me daydream about being this guy, what about you?

In other news, I'm struck by our graceful and beautiful first lady. Yesterday's symbolic choices in attire were sophisticated and reflected the mood of this entry into Obama's second term, demonstrating that style has a depth that is ignored by many. Behind the scenes, she took iPhone photos with her daughters and supported her husband and her country, as lovely and genuine as always.

And if you haven't heard the President's introduction of her at the Commander-in-Chief's Ball, you should listen. So sweet.

Still from the Red Balloon (1956, Albert Lamorisse)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Three Day Weekend

Three day weekends are, truly, a gift. You have one point five days to do errands and exercising and one point five days to do absolutely nothing. What a dream!

I've continued on my Smitten Kitchen binge and this weekend and made the Maple Walnut Granola, Spiced Turkey Meatballs over Smashed Chickpea Salad, and Potato Latkes (all in the book). It's amazing what one great new find can do for kitchen inspiration. Though I usually enjoy it, I had gotten sort of bored with cooking in the fall - but now I'm a machine.

We're going to the movies today and (maybe) to yoga. I hope you all enjoy your holiday!


photo via

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What is Marriage: Cold Winter Blues

Marriage in January is weird. For the first time in three years, John got sick. And it lasted forever. Then I got a different virus that was going around. Also lasted forever. Somehow, between work, friends, and orchestra gigs, we never got the time to watch movies and recover that we needed. We're doing that this weekend.

So, I learned a few things. Marriage is sleeping further away when John has a cough. Much to Herbie's delight, this leaves a big down-filled crater that's the perfect size for his little body, and being between us is what he lives for. Marriage is sending John upstairs the second he walks in after a long day of work and even longer night of rehearsal to check the spare bedroom for intruders. For John, it's checking for the bad guy without even telling me to stop reading scary books. Marriage is sharing prescription cough medicine. Marriage is walking the dog in the rain so the other doesn't have to, and sometimes, marriage is forcing your partner to drink large amounts of orange juice against his will.

Somehow, despite our lack of energy, John still manages to be my cheerleader. I've been considering some big decisions, and he's been my voice of reason, as usual. I'm thankful for that.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Minimalist Jewelry

Paired with my love for minimalism in fashion is my love for minimalist jewelry. Tiny, subtle pieces with clean lines that never come off are my favorite. John recently fed this addiction with these Kathleen Whitaker tiny staple earrings, a Christmas gift, and this tiny L necklace. It's a sweet story - I've been a fan of Maya Brenner for a long time, but we saw the L in person on our honeymoon and loved it. Eight months later, and the week of our 3-year anniversary, John pulled the tiny box out of his pocket after I got some good news at work. 

Both of these artists are based in LA. If you're particularly proud of your home state, Maya gives you a chance to wear it around your neck, and she also recently did a Stella and Dot collaboration that fans of that brand might notice. Enjoy!

Photos via | viavia 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


In December, as I felt myself mentally slowing down in anticipation of the holidays, I imagined a very productive and energetic January. I had plans to buy and learn Elements, and I envisioned endless yoga classes and a lot of reading. As it turns out, this month is just the opposite of what I planned. The only things on that list I've touched are a couple of books.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Minimalist Fashion and Everlane

Minimalist fashion has become so appealing to me as of late. Androgynous styles for women are so sexy, and the clean lines leave me feeling put together and professional. I love the way minimalism highlights the face and simply lets it be the focus. I find myself wearing the same pieces constantly, and Everlane has played a big role in this, both in inspiration and execution.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy Weekend! And links for you.

Since we were with family last weekend, John and I are celebrating our January 4th anniversary tonight. Last year we had a great time at American Grocery, so we're going back - can't wait. We are also excited to do yoga, see friends, and relax this weekend after a crazy few weeks of travel.

Links for the weekend:

Sarah Tolzmann's brand new Note to Self print shop got me extra excited about my trips to Charleston in February! Always a good idea.

What ever happened to downtime and sacred space? An important read for all of us, especially if you're obsessed with working like I am.

Just ordered this and can't wait to start it this weekend. Caitlin Moran always says that feminism is too important of an issue to only be discussed by academics. Couldn't have said it better.

Have a good one!


photo via our bach party in Charleston last year :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What is Marriage: When the first year is over

When John and I called his aunt and uncle for Christmas (Uncle Mason, sweetest man alive), his aunt said something that made my heart melt. They've been married 52 years, and as she marveled that we are well on our way to our first anniversary, she said "wow, that first year is such a wonderful one." I felt a fleeting sadness at the thought that this blissful time could end, until I heard her say, "but the next 49, they were even better."

That was reassuring, because there's sadness in the passage of time, especially when it's joyful.  I was happy to hear, from one who knows, that the best is yet to come.

Maybe marriage is about extending the honeymoon, as long as possible.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Baby Fever is Real

There's truth behind baby fever. I never really believed it until this past year, but the biological clock is no joke. I always knew I would have a child someday, but I never actively wanted one. At some point after turning 27, the way I viewed babies changed. Suddenly, they were much cuter and so irresistible. I found myself thinking about them and how wonderful it will be to have our own. (Not anytime soon :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Gift from John: Smitten Kitchen

This year for Christmas, John gave me the sweetest, most personal collection of gifts I've ever received. One of them was the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, with a sweet note inside about our first married Christmas. To say I'm hooked would be an understatement. It's the first cookbook I've ever been unable to put down, and the only one I've actually wanted to read front to back. Deb's description of her endless attempts to formulate perfect recipes are fascinating. We made the Apple Cider Caramels, above, to give as holiday gifts, and I made her Baked Potato Soup, below, last night - the perfect January cure. (PS, you don't have to bake the potatoes!) 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Boobs 101

Guys, you know that thing Oprah says about 80% of women wearing the wrong bra size? I've heard about it for years - up a cup size, down a band size, dimpling, overflowing, whatever. I thought I was above reproach in the department of self undergarment fitting, rolling my eyes at these silly women who apparently can't figure out the right size. One day in 2012, this changed. I found out I was indeed part of the 80%. I asked a lady at Nordstrom if they had this Josie bra in my size in the back, and looking appalled, she gave me a new size just by looking at me. She said she spends her breaks sitting in the mall guessing sizes of women who walk by and lamenting their poor choices. A true professional. I let her lead me into the dressing room where I got measured and put into my new brassiere. Next, she asked very politely with her hands outstretched if she could feel me up. I said sure, no problem, and she liked the new size. This was life-changing. No more squirming around all day to adjust. No more discomfort. Thank you, Nordstrom (and you, Oprah).

You all should try it!

(The bra above is from Eberjey, and while I don't own it, I do wear their chemises, which I love. They're the softest, prettiest, and most flattering I've ever had.)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wedding Photobooks from Pinhole Press

After a wedding, it's hard to know what to do with all your beautiful photos without having an obnoxious overload in your home. This year for Christmas, John and I wanted to give my parents a photobook with our wedding's important family moments, both to help them remember and to say thank you for giving us such an amazing day.

We used Pinhole Press, and I couldn't be more pleased. The finished product was sophisticated and beautiful, and I think Mom and Dad loved it. We created a calendar for John's mom, too, which also turned out very well. I've always loved their design, so it was great to find out that the final product and customer service are excellent.

John and I plan to create our own wedding album with Pinhole Press sometime this year, and if you need personalized gifts or stationery, I couldn't recommend them more.

Magnificent, that "surely"

My grandfather passed away this week. While it wasn't entirely unexpected, there's a certain depth to the sadness that surrounds a family member's death. Despite his strong 84 years with us, it's still shaking in a fundamental way to lose a lifelong fixture. He felt like a pillar, always there, and always the same.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Goodbye 2012 and Happy New Year

Everyone, Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe that two years have passed since I wrote this 2011 New Year's post. A lot has changed since then. Things have settled. John and I left the transitional period and have been in Greenville longer than anywhere else. For now, we're here to stay.

Each time I've thought about what one word might describe 2012, joy has jumped into my head with relentless certainty. 2012 was joyful. Marriage is a joy, John is a joy, the little pieces of our everyday life are a joy.

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