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


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!

/ / Want to leave a reply?

/ / Linking with Meagan.

Tour Through Blogland


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.


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.


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.


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!



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


^ 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!

/ / Want to leave a reply?

/ / Linking with Meagan.

Currently / / November


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?

/ / Want to leave a reply?

/ / Linking with Anne and Jenna.

Weekend Links / / Family Visits


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!

/ / Want to leave a reply?

/ / Linking with Meagan.

Weekend Links / / Throwback



^Anniversary trips to Curtis Orchard in 05′ & ’10, respectivly.

Jordan posted a throwback thursday photo to Instagram yesterday. This led me to look through my iPhoto albums, finding several pictures I had forgotten about! October 14 marked nine years together. I still vividly remember the day where we became “official” (Even my outfit! Leggings, short jean skirt, & my fighting Illini t-shirt). Other moments from these past nine years aren’t as clear. So, I’m thankful for photographs to help jog my memory. Purchasing our DSLR camera three years ago was one of the best purchases we’ve made!

Last Saturday, Jordan and I finally signed up for a library card. I feel like that is official resident status, right? We browsed for a bit to figure out the vibe of this library branch (we are able to go to any of the Nashville libraries). I checked out an audio version of Jane Austen’s Emma from Books On Tape. I love listening to British accents!

Now onto my favorite links from the week!

/ / Amy Poehler’s great interview on Fresh Air.

/ / Natalie Jean’s round-up of 90’s fashion trends that are back. This had me cracking up and while I’m rocking a few of these now, I’m glad the cut/fabrics are better now!

/ / Bed and Breakfasting by Ashley. I found Ashley’s blog before I moved to Nashville and her recommendations around town mean even more to me now that I live here! Ashley and her husband stayed at the cutest little B & B along the Natchez Trace. It looked like the perfect little getaway.

/ / Cassie on her blog, Sage The Blog, started a marriage series. Each week she features a different blogger discussing an aspect of marriage dear to them. My blogging friend turned real-life Nashville friend, Rebecca, shared on fidelity this week.

Meaning to truly show my husband fidelity, I need to support his dreams and give him a safe place to express his desires without feeling like I am judging him.

Despite that fact that he is often an action-oriented person, Jordan is totally a creative and a dreamer. I hope that I’m always able to be his safe place to share his dreams.

What have you been reading this week?

/ / Want to leave a reply?

/ / Linking with Meagan.

Toting with Off Switch


In high school I was really into tote bags. I would decorate blank canvas bags from craft stores by modpodging pictures torn out of magazines. Recently, I found my college messenger bag with a worn off picture of John Mayer glued to the front. Boy, did I love him, I mean it … I loved it, the bag.

Eventually after college, I veered from the canvas tote bag. The thing about purses is unless you pay for quality materials they fall apart easily. About three years ago, I paired down my collection to one Coach leather purse and some clutches for special occasions, plus one small crossbody bag from Kenneth Cole. I loved my crossbody purse, but after years of daily use it began to fall apart. The only downside about that purse was its size. I often brought another bag with me to keep in the car. I had reached bag lady status.

In NYC, over the summer, I bought a Dean & Deluca tote and I wondered, “Why did I veer from my high school ways?” Unlike some other manmade materials, canvas is durable and washable. I realized quickly a regular purse wasn’t necessary for my current lifestyle. I keep makeup and catch all’s such as receipts or gum in small zip containers, but I still have plenty of room for extras: snacks, reading material, a scarf, umbrella, or my camera. I like to be prepared. 🙂

I love my Dean & Deluca tote, but I wanted one that was a bit smaller. Enter the Be Kind tote from Off Switch. It’s the perfect everyday size and I don’t miss having a traditional purse.



/ / What kind of purse/bag do you use daily?

/ / Want to leave a reply?

Weekend Links / / Just Shelling Around


Hey all! This week has been full of early mornings, afternoon naps and oatmeal raisin cookies. 🙂 My pantry is almost fully stocked; the latest addition, raisins. Stocking a kitchen is a lot of work and involves several grocery stores (Flour may come from one place, but I don’t like their peanut butter. Now I need to go across town…) I remember trying to do this when we first got married and coming home with random ingredients that didn’t quite fit our needs.

In other news, we finally finished the last season of How I Met Your Mother. I got emotional as we watched the last few episodes. The series is so good that I kind of just want to start from the beginning again. I don’t want spoil the ending for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but I’d love to discuss it with you. Email me? I have a lot of thoughts!

Let’s dive into the links, shall we?

/ / Have you watched any Marcel the Shell with Shoes On videos? Writer/actress Jenny Slate and her husband, Dean Fleischer-Camp have created a wonderful series (and children’s book) following Marcel throughout her day.  Their third Marcel video was released this week and Jordan and I are a little obsessed!

/ / As soon as our moving truck was unloaded, Jordan spent the next several weeks building his new website. I am so proud of him! It was quite the task to undertake on top of his normal work load. I love the color scheme too!

/ / I’m working through back issues of Real Simple and bookmarked this baked egg dish. Shakshuka is traditionally a turkish meal and I loved the simplicity of it. I subbed kale for spinach because I had that on hand and added peppers. We eat a lot of eggs but this feels distinctly dinner (vs. omelette’s) and is a great vegetarian meal.

/ / Learning to Thrive in the Waiting Season. This season of infertility leaves me feeling very in-between. Far too many days are spent fighting self-destructive thoughts such as, “I’m wasting good precious “fertile” years.” Katie reminded me that in all seasons it’s important to live intentionally.

Teresa beautifully shared her thoughts on being in limbo. It’s encouraging to know I’m not the only one that feels frustration during transitional phases. This has exposed my inner desire to want to be in control.

Cheers to your weekend!

/ / Want to leave a reply?

/ / Linking with Meagan.

Weekend Links / / Crowns, Dunhams, and Gilmore Girls


Nashville has been wet and rainy for the last week and a half. And while the clouds have given me a nice excuse to curl up and read a good book (finally finished Julie & Julia, now on to Lena), we’ve been craving exploration. Any time I’m cooped up in a space for too long, I start to feel a little claustrophobic. Finally it looks like the weather is going to clear up in the next few days!

In our apartment, pictures are slowly being hung and drawers organized. Our place has begun to feel more like home.

Cooking has become more regular, thanks to Blue Apron. Also baking, thanks to Pinterest. I made apple bread the other day, but I sort of wish I had just made apple pie.


Onto the links!

/ / Kate reviews Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham.

/ / Niamh’s tutorial for paper honeycomb crowns. These would be great for kids (or adult!) birthday parties or perhaps a Christmas party.

/ / We had been warned about the lack of a pizza scene in Nashville. Coming from Chicago, where good pizza is literally at every corner, I knew that would be hard to get used too. Ashley recently visited a pizza place in town that promises to be in the style of Chicago deep dish. I’ll ditch being dairy-free for a night and let you all know if it lives up.

/ / Tj always has the best braided hair tutorials. My hair is growing out and I can’t wait till my layers are a bit easier to work with to try this style.

/ / Netflix revealing Gilmore Girls would be available for streaming didn’t really phase me as I already owned all seven seasons on DVD. Prior to Twitter and the social media storm, it was hard knowing if your beloved show was in fact beloved. I was that 14 year old girl on fan forum websites discussing favorite “shippings”, looking up Nielsen ratings, and hitting record on the VCR each week. I knew a couple people (besides my family who became hooked) who watched Gilmore Girls since the beginning, but over the years I’ve also loaned my copies to new fans.

My heart, while a little shocked, has been so happy to see the outpouring of love thrown on Gilmore Girls.

A few Gilmore articles to note: the New York Times op-ed discusses GG obsession. Hep Alien had a reunion. Wired breaks down how to watch all seven season. How GG deals with money and love.

/ / What articles and blog posts have you been reading?

/ / Want to leave a reply?

/ / Linking with Meagan.