Weekend Links / / Gluten Make Up

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/ / I did a little gluten-free baking this week: chocolate chip cookies and banana bread. I was pretty proud of myself for how they each turned out. Baking is really all about the recipe you choose to use, so the originators get all of the credit. I still have several more bananas that need to be used, so I think Minimalist Baker’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread is next on my list.

/ / My photography journey has been trial, error and a bit of luck. I have found that using food as my subject allows me to try different angles, settings, and locations without the fear that the item will walk away. Elizabeth shared several great tips that I’m excited to begin working on.

/ / Serial Parody on Funny or Die.

/ / Make up and hair tips for glasses wearers. My favorite look is a top knot with a bold lip.

/ / Five, easy, DIY garlands from A Beautiful Mess. I’ll be visiting after Christmas sales to purchase bauble ornaments to make one of these!

/ / Bek wrote beautifully on Advent.

“This is what Christmas is. It set the stage for how He would save the world. Joy & pain. Faithful & forsaken. Silence & angels. Darkness & light. Loved & hated. Miracles occurring & treks across deserts. Fully man & fully God. Death gives birth to life.” 

Wishing you a beautiful and relaxing weekend.

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/ / Linking with Meagan.

Things On Tables

/ / Variations on a theme

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/ / Sometimes I take pictures of other stuff. Follow me on Instagram!

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Weekend Links / / Eggscussions

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/ / Are you caught up on the Serial podcast? The penultimate episode was released yesterday morning and last night Sarah Koenig appeared on The Colbert Report. She gave insights to why she decided to tell this specific story in a serial format.

/ / My friend, Kate, shared several wintry photos on her blog last week. Chicago during Christmastime is extra magical. I’m not exactly going to miss the harsh weather realities of January and February (and March and April), but I will miss the extra glow illuminating the city streets from the twinkle lights.

/ / I love listening/watching people being interviewed about their craft. During each awards season, The Hollywood Reporter gathers actors, writers, directors, and producers together into groups for roundtable discussions. These conversations are interesting, candid and remind me that no one is living without challenges (even big Hollywood stars). Did you know that the writers for Dallas Buyers Club began working on that screenplay 20 years before the movie was green lit to be filmed?!? I’m pretty sure I would have given up. Assuming that if my script wasn’t selling it must not be good. Talk about perseverance!

/ / After eliminating dairy (except butter) and gluten from my diet, I have become hyperaware of people who live with severe allergies/intolerances. I won’t break out in hives or be admitted into the hospital if I eat bread (I’ll just wake up with a new pimple) but I know people who will. I’ve become all too familiar with vegan recipes and generally flax seeds are the replacement for eggs. When Amy shared her cornstarch version I was really intrigued. Have any of you experimented with flax or cornstarch “eggs”?

Happy Weekend, all!

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/ / Linking with Meagan.

Currently / / December

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Making / / Granola (this & this), chili and my grocery list.

Listening / / Christmas music of course, but also Colony House. I listened to their album four times in a row the other night!

Wrapping / / More like purchasing the presents to be wrapped. I always have intentions to be more organized, but somehow time slips away from me! 🙂

Watching / / Jordan stayed in Illinois longer than I was able to after Thanksgiving, so I rented The Fault in Our Stars while I had a few free evenings. I read TFIOS earlier this year, so I wasn’t expecting to get emotional. Wrong! I was totally that girl crying on the couch alone.

Anticipating / / Cuddling on the couch watching holiday movies with Jordan, decorating our apartment for Christmas, and fresh starts after a busy and challenging year.

What are you currently doing/making/enjoying?

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/ / Linking with Anne and Jenna.

A Short Blonde Christmas

Christmas Playlist

Christmas season is now in full swing and I’m sure many of you are beginning to map out details for your holiday parties. One detail you won’t have to worry about is the music!

Jordan and I love creating playlists and any event is reason enough to listen to a fun musical mix. We create them for holidays, parties, road trips, specific moods, etc.

While there are plenty of Christmas albums, such as Sufjan Stevens, I listen to from start to finish, I enjoy variety in my Christmas music.

A Short Blonde Christmas is a mix of classics and soon-to-be classics. A combination I think you and your guests will enjoy!

Continue reading “A Short Blonde Christmas”

Weekend Links / / Serial Obsessions

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This was a crazy full week. It began by filming my first video blog (eek!). I watch a lot of vloggers on YouTube and after this week they get all my kudos. Filming yourself (or in my case, making my husband film me) and staying on task is not as easy as it seems! Our unique ticks and quirks become extremely apparent after watching back the footage. My voice and the way I say certain phrases has always been a topic of teasing, particularly because Jordan doesn’t have a Chicago accent. It really sticks out in Nashville though, especially when I’m calling out beverages loudly at work. Haha. I coined my accent the “Chicago Valley Girl.” Watch at your own risk! 😉

I got a bit behind on my blog reading this week, but I still managed to find a few gems!

/ / Are you listening to the Serial podcast? No? Well, you might want to consider starting. It’s truly remarkable.

“Serial is a podcast where we unfold one nonfiction story, week by week, over the course of a season. We’ll stay with each story for as long as it takes to get to the bottom of it.”

Serial has received praise from The New Yorker to The Telegraph and criticism from certain corners of the internet. News outlets such as the New York Observer have responded in defense.

Jordan and I’ve been listening each week and fervently discussing it. As Anna Silman reminds us on Salon.com, “…it’s a real family’s ongoing tragedy. We shouldn’t forget that.”

/ / I also started reading Bad Feminist. This quote from Roxane Gay’s introduction pretty much exemplifies her theory.

“I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I’m not trying to be an example. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers. I am not trying to say I’m right. I’m just trying — trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself: a woman who loves pink and likes to get freaky and sometimes dances her ass off to music she knows, she KNOWS is terrible for women and who sometimes plays dumb with repairmen because it’s just easier to let them feel macho than it is to stand on the moral high ground.”

It’s like she knows me.

/ / Ashley shared her day in (hilarious) gifs. I was taking a break from work and couldn’t stop laughing at her selections. Gifs make me all giddy.

/ / Chelsea has gathered some unique and affordable Christmas gift lists. Here are some under $20 and under $10.

/ / These Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Rice Krispie Bars from Joy the Baker. Did I mention that I’ve been gluten-free for almost two weeks? I’m still on the journey to completely solve my acne dilemma. Dairy doesn’t seem to make a difference either way though I’m still trying to avoid it. So far the gluten removal has brought a noticeable change. Gluten is everywhere, especially in sweets, but I love dessert so I’m on the hunt to find great-tasting solutions. Rice Krispie’s for the win!

Happy Weekend, all!

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/ / Linking with Meagan.

Tour Through Blogland

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A fun prompt has been passed between bloggers. I’m honored to be next on this Tour Through Blogland train! My lovely friend, Emily, passed the torch to me and I’m excited to share with you a little bit about my blog process.

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What am I working on now?

I’m generally working on several things at once. Currently, I’m editing photos from our adventures this past weekend and preparing a recipe post.

How does my work differ from others in its genre? 

This question stumped me when I first read it over. I feel that because blogs (generally) come from one singular voice, they are all just a little bit different. My voice is distinct. It’s me. It is a culmination of my experiences and the people who have helped shape me into who I am becoming.

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Why do I write/create what I do?

I have this blog to record memories, challenge myself creatively, and (surprisingly) help me work through challenging times. I have found encouragement through reading other blogs and I think it’s so amazing that I am able to do that as well.

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How does my writing/creating process work?

Oh boy, I could be much better with blog organization! I don’t work with an editorial calendar, but I’m realizing I probably should! I think through each month for events/trips or visitors and remind myself to bring our camera! Generally, if it’s an excursion-related post, I’ll curate and edit the photos in Photoshop then create the post based off of the edited images. The photos kind of dictate what I write about.

Recipe posts are a bit more planned because it takes time to document while cooking.

I will begin drafts and save them. Sometimes they become posts, but sometimes they just stay scattered thoughts (that could be used in the future).

My process is a bit messy and I don’t create quickly. I’m always in awe of people who blog everyday! (Maybe it’s that editorial calendar…hehe) It takes me a couple of days to take photos, edit and write. My husband is my proofreader and Photoshop tutor extraordinaire. He helps me a lot with the final details.

 / / Next on the tour – Rebecca Chapman!

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Several people reached out to us prior to moving to Nashville; offering to go to lunch/coffee, Rebecca being one of them! The people here are so generous. Rebecca is honest, funny and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her and I know you all will too! (How beautiful does she look in her wedding dress?!) 🙂

 

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Weekend Links / / Stretchy Vines

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^ A typical breakfast, always with lots of coffee.

This week took it out of me. Working retail during holiday season is fun, but so busy! It’s after I got home from work each day that I realized my body just couldn’t do anything else. Thankfully, I have tomorrow off. 🙂 I’m looking forward to sleeping past 5 am and spending the day exploring Nashville with Jordan.

Onto the links! (If you want to see more of what I read this week, follow me on Bloglovin’. I always click “like” on my favorites.)

/ / When I saw A Cup of Jo post six stretches for people who sit at desks I immediately saved it to show my husband. I don’t sit at a desk all day, but Jordan does and he suffers from back pain from time to time. Taking a break to do light stretches is attainable, it just has to become habit.

/ / Speaking of Jordan, earlier this week he shared a series of videos with me. Buzzfeed complied several vines Katie Ryan filmed of her daughter, Ava. Ava is hilarious and clearly attuned to what is said around her. My favorite clip is Halloween themed.

/ / I read posts and laugh, but sometimes I read posts and cry. Tj reminded me that I need to be kind to myself. This season of life has brought some really hard moments, but at the end of the day I’m still beautiful, kind and smart.

/ / I recently discovered Erin’s blog and I’m obsessed with her 21 Day Experiment concept. The experiment for November is a fashion remix: 21 outfits created by 21 items. I’ve toyed with the idea of creating a capsule wardrobe, but honestly our weather is really unpredictable and I’m not ready to commit to anything for three months. This capsule light version still encourages creativity, which is ultimately the goal, but is only three weeks long.

Happy Weekend!

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/ / Linking with Meagan.

Currently / / November

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Reading / / Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham. This hasn’t been the quick, witty read I thought it would be initially. I only have one chapter left, so I should probably make that happen. Next, I want to read Yes, Please by Amy Poehler.

Wishlisting / / These shoes. Hopefully, I can keep them clean!

Loving / / Apple chai tea lattes, autumnal scented candles burning and The Body Shop’s honey & oat face mask. My skin feels so smooth after using it.

Appreciating / / Slow mornings, in-unit laundry (waited six years for this day to happen) and texts/letters from far away friends.

Creating / / Our Christmas gift shopping list. It’s that time of year!

What have you currently been enjoying/doing?

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/ / Linking with Anne and Jenna.

Weekend Links / / Family Visits

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I’m going to be brief here as we have family staying with us for the next couple of days! Jordan’s dad had a business trip planned to Nashville and we asked if Jordan’s youngest sister could tag along! Thankfully, they don’t mind cramming into our small apartment.

They arrived just in time for dinner yesterday, so we took them out for some good ol’ southern BBQ. We live near several good ones, but my favorite so far is Martin’s Bar-B- Que Joint.

And now for the links!

/ / While reading, A Cup of Jo, I was reminded about the newest season of City.Ballet. Did you watch the first season? Each mini episode follows a different dancer or choreographer from the New York City Ballet. I’ve always been a little obsessed with dance. If a movie or television show (Bunheads, anyone?) centers around dance I am most certainly watching it. In high school, one of my favorite movies was Center Stage (and maybe still!). Dance is a beautiful form of expression.

/ / Caroline, the master of capsule wardrobes, shared her tips on wearing socks with ankle boots.

/ / I’m a total sugar girl; a girl after my father’s heart. 🙂 I do try to be wise with my sugar choices, but I’ve only recently discovered “sugar” can be replaced with things such as dates! Niamh’s Refined Sugar Free Cookies would be a great alternative to satisfy any sweet tooth.

/ / I’m a recent convert to black tea and Daisy’s Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies would be the perfect pairing to an evening cup of tea.

/ / During the month of October one of my friends, Emily, took a step back from blogging. Breaktober she deemed this creative break. She recently shared a few lessons she learned and it was a good reminder for me as well. It’s so important to listen to yourself and take a couple steps back when life becomes unbalanced. In this age of social media, it can feel like the world will quickly forget about you if you don’t post that photo to Instagram. I know I’ve felt that pressure.

Happy Weekend, y’all!

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/ / Linking with Meagan.