It has been way too long since I wrote a blog post. It’s amazing how quickly life gets in the way when you let the habit slip. And there has been so much life over the past six months! It would be impossible to do it justice in a single post. Since my last update I…
Learned the meaning of ‘homeownership’ and a few of the joys and woes that come with it.
Watched my personal Wonder Woman marry the love of her life.
Was swept off my own feet by the shiniest of knights. He’s a keeper!
Returned to my home state where I climbed to new heights with new people.
Congratulated friends and family members as they welcomed new families into the world.
Sent up a prayer to my guardian angel.
And of course, I had to stop and smell the flowers.
There have only been a few times in my memory when my life completely exploded. Once or twice, there were tears involved and a monumental helping of uncertainty. Sometimes there was nothing to do but sit back and enjoy the ride as everything was turned upside down. No matter how terrifying or thrilling it may be, there’s something bittersweet about waving goodbye to the person you used to be. But in each and every one of these cases, my world was forever changed for the better. All those pieces that had been blown sky high came falling back to Earth and landed exactly where they were supposed to. I’m thanking God every day for all the dreams that are coming true. I can’t wait to see what comes next!
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Born as a Roman citizen in Britain, he was brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He escaped back to Britain after six years but the suffering throughout his life led him to a deeper connection with God which inspired him to return to Ireland. He is largely responsible for building and organizing the church in Ireland, instrumental in shaping it into what later became known as the “isle of saints and scholars.”
This short freewrite was the product of a quiet afternoon shortly after relocating to Indiana. It’s a welcome reminder. Whoever you are, don’t ever forget to practice your pirouettes. Happy Friday.
She was so giddy she felt lightheaded. Her toes barely brushed the floor as she bounded from kitchen to living room to bedroom with her arms splayed in what she imagined was a graceful arc above her head, like a professional ballerina. She’d never wanted to be a ballerina but in that moment she was so happy that she could have pirouetted with the best of them. Anything was possible. The sky was the limit and she had such grand plans. The last time she could remember being so intensely full of yellow joy, she’d been eleven and had just discovered the truth about Santa Clause. It had been the best Christmas she’d ever had and she was too happy to care that it had been her parents leaving those gifts under the tree all along. Mom and Dad were Santa but it didn’t matter because they’d just given her the most perfect, most magical Christmas she could think of.
Every year my family and I pool our resources to find the perfect Christmas gifts for each other. During the last few Christmases this has resulted in some truly fantastic variety under the tree; everything from concert tickets to fantasy novels to knives to jewelry made from old bullet casings. However, there is one item on the Christmas list that never changes. Every year, without fail, my dad asks for a box of homemade raspberry thumbprint cookies. This recipe came from an old school friend of mine, a family recipe scribbled onto a scrap piece of paper back in middle school. The paper is now wrinkled and stained, the ink smudged in places. You can always tell which recipes are the good ones by how dirty the years have made them. Here it is, the secret to the best raspberry thumbprint cookies I’ve ever made.
1 cup butter softened
⅔ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 cups flour
Raspberry jam (Homemade is the best. Keep an eye out for friends who enjoy caning delicious jams and jellies and make sure to ask for a couple extra jars around the holidays or whenever you have a hankering for some fabulous baked goods.)
1 cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract (for the icing)
2-3 teaspoons water
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter, sugar, almond extract and flour until smooth (until the dough begins to stick together). Refrigerate dough for one hour. Roll dough into roughly 1-inch diameter balls. Use your finger (or another round utensils) to place a small hole in the center of each cookie and fill it with raspberry jam. Bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until just barely beginning to brown.
Allow cookies to cool completely before icing them. To make the icing, mix powdered sugar, almond extract and water together in a small bowl. Drizzle over cookies and serve with a steaming cup of tea for the full experience.
There’s always a period of time after finishing a really good book during which you can’t bring yourself to open another. To do so feels like a terrible betrayal, a blatant disrespect for its characters who are now dear friends. There will be a time for meeting new friends but right now you’re caught in a silent reverie, hugging this story to your chest after closing the scuffed back cover on its perfect ending. For a while all you want is to hold onto this world and the warm buzzing feeling that fills you up like a swarm of happy bumble bees. Soon you’ll replace this book in its home on the shelf beside its peers, its spine now cracked and its corners frayed from your adventures together. But right now, you just savor its familiar weight in your hands and smile to remember the people you met.
These days, I spend most of my time wishing that I had places to be and people to see but sometimes you just need a totally guilt free night in. If you’re like me, you might have trouble fitting these into your ever evolving schedule but there’s something immensely satisfying about marking a weekend evening on your calendar to do nothing but enjoy your own company. Do something that is 100 percent for you. No compromises. It’s your night.
In my case, ever since I received a set of the Lord of the Rings extended editions for Christmas I’ve been itching for an opportunity to crack them open. I always ended up finding something more pressing that needed doing so rather than allow myself to be sidetracked yet again, I blocked off my Friday night for a solo, dine-in, LOTR extravaganza. I stopped by the Burgerhaus to pick up dinner for one, a masterpiece of lettuce, avocado, tomato, chipotle Monterey cheese, chipotle mayo all complete with fried jalapenos and served on a pretzel bun.
Once back home I settled in for the only thing on my To Do list; watching my all time favorite movie while devouring my new favorite burger. Best Friday ever! It was incredibly revitalizing to set aside a chunk of time to dedicate entirely to myself. The seemingly endless stream of worries, decisions, compromises and time management that haunt the day-to-day was finally silenced for a few hours on a Friday night, alone in my apartment.
When you choose to do a little emotional and mental maintenance and actually schedule it into your week, it becomes a worthwhile pursuit and you stop seeing as time that you could be doing something more productive. In a busy world it’s easy to feel like there’s always something more important you should be doing. Cut yourself a break. The chores and paperwork will still be there tomorrow. Grab a beer and your favorite takeout and cozy up for some refreshing ‘me time.’
Happy Friday everyone! Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, always remember to smile. You’re not denying all the past difficulties or the rough patches still to come. You’re just making today a little brighter for yourself and the people you meet. Often, things don’t look so gloomy after my cheeks have had a nice stretch. What made you smile today?
Everyone has a preferred local watering hole that they like to frequent on Friday nights with old college roommates or family members visiting for the weekend. From cozy meaderies to polished cocktail lounges, everybody has their own taste. In my case it is in the form of unique craft beers that come from the Goldspot Brewing Company in Arvada, Colorado. This inviting neighborhood brewery is owned and run by a true beer enthusiast and artist. It’s a place where everyone knows you and is happy to lend a hand in helping you choose the perfect beer. You’re bound to find something you’ll love with flavors like Kodiak Brown, Sea of Pears and Radiator American Lager.
An unofficial poll identified some of the top Goldspot beers although the list could go on for days.
Strawberry Imperial Brett Saison
Sudachi Lime Mexican Lager
Rum Red Hefferveisen
Every time I fly into Colorado to visit my family we always have to stop for a beer at the Goldspot. This particular pit stop is non-negotiable. I love my Colorado beer so much that we’ve even resorted to shipping it out to Indiana a few times to be enjoyed on the most special Midwestern occasions. However, I’m hunting for suitable substitutes here in Indiana and I welcome recommendations. What’s your favorite Indiana brewery? Share in the comments.
In contrast with yesterday’s frozen moment, here is one of the bits of sunshine that I’m looking forward to when warm weather does come. On soft summer nights like this one, cheery yellows light up the evening even when the Sun has gone to bed. No matter what happens in life, always remember to stop and smell the flowers.
Forget casual Friday. I’ve often written of the abundant trials of working from home but today I’d like to shed light on one of the small joys that comes with the experience. You can wear whatever you want!
I’m not talking about the ripped t-shirt and baggy sweats you threw on when you rolled out of bed. True, when there’s no one around to impress, fashion prowess can occasionally go by the wayside. But it goes the other way too. You can sashay around in your fanciest dress and a pair of heels without fear of scandalized looks from your coworkers at being immensely overdressed.
This is exactly how I spent my Tuesday. My bridesmaid dress for my sister’s wedding arrived in the mail and I couldn’t resist trying it on during a quick lunch break. I’m thrilled to report that this flowing, chiffon, floor length, hunter green gown was the perfect fit. It hugged all the right places with room to move and had an athenian goddess quality that had me strutting around my apartment with a whole new attitude.
I ended up wearing it for the rest of the day, completely overdressed for another day at the office and feeling like a million bucks. I justified this decision with my need to practice walking in the dress. Can’t have the maid of honor tripping over her hem on the day. I will definitely be practicing more over the coming months.