Lessons I’m Learning (at 27)


This photo was taken on Valentines Day with a simple camera that we bought with our wedding money. I was 22 and just figuring out how to be a wife. I wonder what my younger self would think of me now.

If we ran into one another, I would tell her:

  • Sometimes you need to do things more for the other person than yourself.
  • Plans (at times) need to be thrown out the window.¬†
  • Learning to trust in God’s loving plan for your life, while challenging, is an extremely liberating process.
  • Let your husband stock the fridge with whole milk. And always have ice cream for him in the freezer ūüôā
  • Support your friends.
  • Pay more for quality, acquire less.
  • It’s OK to still lack a full set of dining room chairs.
  • “It’s cold outside” is not a greeting: Enough small talk about the weather.
  • Time is more important than money.
  • Travel near and far! Exploring new places and experiencing different cultures allows your worldview to expand.
  • It’s ok to be sad and¬†disappointed, but learn and grow from the challenge before it turns to bitterness.
  • Keep your board games dust-free.
  • Your parents were right about cherry tomatoes. They really are sweet!
  • Actively maintain friendships even when they reach across state lines or over oceans.
  • Pillow talk is fun. Force yourself to go to bed early occasionally and enjoy the conversation with your husband.
  • Embrace your natural hair. Let the hot tools rest. Also, washing your hair everyday isn’t necessary.
  • Being anxious never solves the problem. Highs and lows occur, but God remains constant; rest in that knowledge.
  • Vulnerability isn’t weakness.
  • Purchasing groceries in a non-english speaking country is an empowering experience (bonus points: when they don’t discover your an American).
  • The need to be right is generally not right.
  • Don’t let fear stop you from seeking new opportunities.
  • Lighten up on your body; she’s amazing and strong.
  • Follow the path that is right for your family. It’s ok if your life doesn’t look like anyone else’s.

What lessons are you currently learning?

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Siblings Reunited: A Christmas Story


We’ve been spending more evenings at home than usual this January, juggling between two polar vortex’s and several snow storms, so Jordan and I opted to keep our small Christmas tree up for a little while longer. The cozy ambiance that the tree lights add to our living room has been much enjoyed! So in honor of the Christmas cheer that is still present in our home, here is my very late-to-the-party Christmas post!

Christmas 2013 was highly-anticipated: reflecting on Jesus and the story of his birth, spending time with friends and family, watching our favorite movies and listening to plenty of carols! This year was particularly exciting because it held the long-awaited Short family reunion. A portion of Jordan’s family lived overseas last year and returned at the start of 2014.

In the meantime, we spent Christmas Eve with my parents enjoying my mom’s famous homemade pizza. I will never forget my nieces greeting us that night by proclaiming,”IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME!” Yes, little ones it really is ūüôā¬†Christmas Day we drove to Jordan’s grandparents house and enjoyed Christmas part one with them. I’m still wishing for another piece of grandma’s killer cherry pie! Yum Yum!

A little over a week after his family’s arrival, once the jet-lag lifted and the weather cleared enough, we loaded up our cars to celebrate a belated Christmas.¬†We packed this day full with a second road trip to his grandparents house, yummy food, Dutch Blitz tournaments, naps, scouring for the lost nativity scene (^ the above was the alternate version), and exchanging special gifts to one another. The early morning sunrise slowly melted into a cool evening sunset all unnoticed as we continued sharing stories, laughing and generally catching up on the full year 2013 was for us.

Experiencing the siblings reunited was a very special sight to see and what better time than under the Christmas lights.

Taking Stock


Does anyone else remember the survey craze that swept through the internet during the early days of social media? I’m not sure what started it all, but I would fill them out constantly.¬†I saw this on Sydney’s blog and thought it would be fun to take stock¬†at different stages of the year.¬†

Making : no-knead bread.
Cooking : split pea soup.
Drinking : water. I try to have a glass next to me at all times.
Reading : Sense and Sensibility. It’s a goal of mine to read more classics that should have already been read.
Wanting : warmth.
Looking: at Pinterest for New York City travel tips.
Playing: Kye¬†Kye’s new album.
Wasting: time! (why must you be so addicting, Pinterest!)
Wishing: the adult acne needs to go, seriously.
Enjoying: pillow talk.
Waiting: for our heat to be fixed?! It’s been a long few weeks with a finicky heater (landlord is currently problem-solving).
Liking: my new coconut oil moisturizer. I think it’s actually helping my skin.
Wondering: what this year will hold for our family. so many dreams and aspirations.
Loving: my husband. 
Hoping: for peace.
Marvelling: at how God works in my life even when I’m not looking.
Needing: grace, for myself and others.
Smelling: like my Davines shampoo.
Wearing: sweatpants and a blanket.
Following: the weather. It appears that another Polar Vortex is upon us.
Noticing: blessings. so many blessings.
Knowing: that tomorrow is a new day.
Thinking: about playing tennis again once it warms up!
Feeling: the need to purge and organize my life, pantry, wardrobe, home, etc.
Bookmarking: photography tips.
Opening: mail. Sadly most of it is junk.
Giggling: at how silly Jordan and I look with ski caps and blankets wrapped around our bodies in the office.

How do you stop and take stock?

Filled Out: 1/22/14

Original idea:¬†Pip’s blog.

Warby Parker

Warby Parker Glasses

Let’s talk about glasses for a minute, shall we?¬†I¬†don’t remember my eyesight transitioning from good to poor, I just remember selecting my first pair of glasses. I was seven and they were strictly for reading. The next year I graduated to full-fledged bifocals (lines included!). Every two years I would get a new pair of glasses once my prescription changed: initially my color choice was pink or purple and then I matured to blue or beige.

Because I began swimming competitively when I was 10, I eventually had to start wearing contacts underneath my goggles (this was realized once I couldn’t read the giant digital clock anymore). In high school I outgrew the need for bifocals which made wearing contacts much easier. Contacts became my main source of vision assistance until problems arose: dry eyes and protein deposits that were the result of an allergy. Prescription eye drops helped, but only if used everyday. I switched to one-a-day contacts, which eliminated the need for the eye drops, but were too expensive to use everyday. About three years ago, I decided to buy a pair of glasses that I really liked to alternate with my contacts. I began to really like wearing glasses again and now only wear contacts occasionally.

As a person who wears glasses primarily, I desired to have more than one pair (a¬†nice¬†pair of glasses and a¬†play¬†pair of glasses)¬†but $250/$350 just wasn’t in my budget. Then I remembered¬†Warby¬†Parker.¬†They provide reasonably priced glasses and also partner with organizations to give a pair to people in need (like the Toms Shoes model). I was a little skeptical that purchasing glasses online would work for me. I was wrong!

Let’s break down the specifics. First you can select up to five pairs of glasses for the free, home try on program. My initial idea was to go with a rounder frame (my current pair was more rectangular). Luckily I scored on the first go-round, but if I hadn’t liked any of them, I could have picked five more until I found a winner. Next you have to acquire a current prescription from your optometrists office. Finally, follow the online instructions for uploading your prescription and you are all set!

The glasses start at $95 which includes frames AND lenses! Because my prescription is above a certain strength they cost an extra $30 dollars, but I still couldn’t believe I got such a beautiful product for under $130. The frames do feel lighter than previous frames, but if a little less plastic means a more economical¬†price I am ok with it. Anytime I get new glasses my eyes take about a day to adjust and it wasn’t any different with these. ¬†One of my main concerns was how I would get them adjusted, but they fit perfectly and I’m assuming my optometrist would do it for me in the future.

Warby Parker Glasses

Warby Parker Glasses

Have any of you used Warby Parker before?

**I’m wearing¬†Edgeworth¬†in Whiskey Tortoise.

A New Day

I really can’t thank you all enough for the words of encouragement expressed to Jordan and I after sharing our baby journey. I’ve felt the community and the burden was lightened because of your honesty last weekend.

Heritage Bicycles

Entering 2013, I anticipated a little more nesting and a little less traveling. Early on in the year, we both agreed to make the most of our extra time together as a twosome. Our vacation to England and France was a blast but we also began exploring closer to home. We grew to love to our weekly excursion days, playing tennis often, and the enjoyment of trying new experiences. We were hoping for an easy transition into winter, but the cold and snow came in quick! And there are only so many seasons of Felicity to marathon before even the best of us acquire cabin fever.

Chicago was hit with a polar vortex last week, but right before the weather took a nosedive, we had one day in the 40s and Jordan and I took full advantage to get outside!

Continue reading “A New Day”

To be Defined

Defined Infertility

“I have said these things to you, that¬†in me you may have peace.¬†In the world you will have¬†tribulation. But¬†take heart; I have overcome the world.”¬†(John 16:33)

I’ve written and deleted a version of this post several times since September. Selfishly, I kept hoping I wouldn’t need to publish this. I hoped it would remain as thoughts written down, but only for me to remember. 2013 was a big year for us: we traveled to Europe, Jordan successfully finished his first full year working for himself, we spent a lot of time visiting with family and friends, but I still apprehensively prepared for 2014.

I was ready to leave the pain that crept into 2013, but not quite ready to start all over again. I wasn’t ready to admit we had set out to expand our family, but it still hadn’t happened.

Continue reading “To be Defined”

Granola | Going Tropical


Below-freezing temperatures have become the norm around here and I relish any opportunity to stay warm: long hot showers, snuggling in blankets, slow-cooked meals and of course baking. On a recent day-off I baked a cake and also tried a new granola recipe.

In typical year-end fashion, I felt the need to purge my pantry of items that have been lingering around too long. We keep a tropical dried fruit mixture from Trader Joe’s to eat with nuts for a quick snack, but I misjudged and bought another package when we had two others (Making a grocery list would have solved that problem!). My mom sometimes adds pineapple to her granola so I thought, “why not go tropical for my next batch?” After searching around a little bit, this is what I ended up making.

Tropical Granola (Modified from teacheatlove)

1/4 c cup maple syrup (or any other sweetener)
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of flaked kosher or sea salt
3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup crushed nuts (I used almonds, original recipe called for macadamia nuts which probably would be divine)
1 – 1/4 cup dried fruit mixture (pineapple, papaya, mango, and coconut comes in my prepackaged mixture)

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.

Combine oats, chopped nuts and toss with a pinch of kosher salt. Chop dried fruit mixture to preferred side, set aside. Melt coconut oil and slowly pour, along with the vanilla, over the dry ingredients. Mix well. Spread evenly onto a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, adding dried fruit and mixing about halfway through.



At the end I added a bit more dried pineapple for kicks. And as a suggestion, eat this with vanilla yogurt!


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/ / Basic granola here


Favorite of 2013: Movies


I hope you all enjoyed my favorite 13 Albums of 2013, it was a fun list to put together and allowed me to reflect on the year!

Compiling my favorite 2013 movies was more challenging: I don’t have the time or money to see every movie in theaters, plus many never make it to theaters near me or they get released on DVD after the year is over. It’s also tricky when certain 2013 movies that might have been contenders won’t receive their wide theatrical release until January 2014 (example: Inside Llewyn Davis).¬†I decided to include any film I saw in 2013: some in theaters, but most Jordan and I rented or borrowed from the library. The movies are listed in alphabetical order.

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

American Hustle |¬†David O’Russell, 2013
Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), a part-time business owner, full-time con-artist, falls in love with the damaged yet strong stunner, Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams). They quickly become lovers as well as business partners. To help entice customers, Sydney takes on the persona of Lady Edith Greensley, a women with British bank connections. They do quite well for themselves, but eventually an undercover FBI agent, Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) catches them in the act. Richie is trying to prove that he can take down the big guys, and by big guys he means politicians. Instead of keeping the two con-artists in prison, he envelopes them in a scheme to take down several politicians in New Jersey.

While the premise of this movie mirrors a crime drama, David O’Russell is more interested in the quad-love-angle between Irving, Sydney, Richie, and Irving’s wife,¬†Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence). Many twists and shenanigans ensue and I couldn’t stop laughing. I had a lot of fun with this movie.¬†The costumes were also incredible; celebrating the disco era in all its gold lam√©¬†glory.

Before Midnight | Richard Linklater, 2013
“You remember that guy who loved you and you had that great romance with? It’s me.”

We first met Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and C√©line¬†(Julie Delpy) almost 20 years ago after they meet on a train and spend one evening together in Vienna. They promised to reconnect in six months, but circumstances prohibit that agreed upon meeting and sadly numbers weren’t exchanged (in 1994, who had a cellphone?). Before Sunset takes place nearly ten years later, Jesse has written a novel inspired by their shared night and is on a book tour in Paris where Celine is living. She¬†attends the signing and they decide to spend the few hours before Jesse’s flight catching up. The connection they had resurfaces, but life is more complicated now.

That is roughly the plot of the first two films in the¬†Before Trilogy.¬†My older brother, Jon, introduced me to these main characters in high school (and my love affair with french women). I’m not going to give the plot away because if you haven’t seen the first two films, it will be more enjoyable to watch free of knowledge. This third installment beautifully¬†captures the reality of long-term relationships; the lovely, the complicated, but oh-so-worth-it moments.¬†

Blue Jasmine | Woody Allen, 2013
Jordan and I are huge Woody Allen fans. I love the fluid walk-and-talk scenes and shark, neurotic¬†wit that is evident in all of his movies. We follow Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) who is forced to move in with her sister after a string of unfortunate events leaves her widowed and penniless. Jasmine lived a life that was measured by her wealth and status; she mocked her sister for living a more “blue-collar” life, but the people she socialized with scatter once Jasmine’s life turns up-side down.¬†Through all of this, Jasmine slowly breaks down… the result is mesmerizing and sometimes hilarious.

The Deep Blue Sea | Terence Davies, 2011
This British movie, starring Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston, circulated the festival scene in 2011, was released in the states in 2012, and finally in 2013 was available to rent! I had it bookmarked for almost a year. ¬†I have an affinity towards european dramas with their dreamy and controlled stories. Amidst the 18th and 19th century love stories, Wuthering Heights, Sense and Sensibility, Anna Karenina, etc., you will often find me. The Deep Blue Sea is an adaptation of the Terence Rattigan¬†play. Hester (Weisz) is married to a much older man and while it is a loving marriage, it is somewhat passionless. She meets and begins an affair with Freddie (Hiddleston) and while it is full of passion, the choice between the two men begins a complicated journey. While researching this movie, I found out that this title was a reference the phrase, “between the devil and the deep blue sea”; sometimes neither choice leads us to a good place.

Dial M for Murder |  Alfred Hitchcock, 1954
This year I attempted to catch up on few classic movies that I hadn’t seen yet. But I didn’t get to as many as I would have liked. Rear Window is one of our favorite movies, so we figured we should watch the other two Alfred Hitchcock/Grace Kelly collaborations.¬†While watching older suspense/mystery movies, it’s fun to think how the stories would be different if set in modern times with cellphones and CCTV: Would¬†Dial M for Murder¬†have been plausible?

Tony Wendice (Ray Milland), a retired tennis player, is married to Margot (Kelly) who is having an affair. Tony is fed up and begins to plot a plan that involves hiring a hit man, blackmail, and an infamous latch-key that is almost a character. The one-room setting adds to the claustrophobic tension that keeps you riveted for the entire movie!

First Comes Love | Nina Davenport, 2013
I struggled to decide which documentary to include in this list because I watched quite a few really great ones (FYI: Netflix’s and On Demand¬†are great resources for documentaries). Ultimately, I chose Nina¬†Davenport’s¬†personal account of her decision to get pregnant through a sperm donor¬†(who she knew) and subsequently become a single parent. This film, while not a sequel to her earlier work,¬†Always a Bridesmaid¬†(can you guess what this one is about?), could function as a companion piece.

Nina’s journey is fascinating on its own, but what really sold me was her relationship to her parents. Nina comes from a somewhat affluent family in Michigan. Her father would have liked her to become a lawyer or at least marry one, but instead she became a wedding videographer/documentarian. She weaves in beautiful personal video footage that her father took of her mother (who passed away between the two documentaries) on their honeymoon and of the children’s birthdays and early life. Despite all of that, he still can’t grapple with her decision to document life as a career path. This film had me cringing, laughing, and crying along with Nina and her family.

Her | Spike Jonze, 2013
As Dana Stevens explained, Her is a contemporary sci-fi film that asks the question, “How are human beings changing as a result of, and in concert with, technology?” This is a beautiful, challenging, and utterly moving film. It takes place in the not-so-distant-future, with a hybrid mix of 1940s/contemporary fashion, sleek, minimal, and colorful sets; we can see a slightly familiar setting, but the surroundings are also different.

We begin the movie meeting Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), who recently separated from his wife. He purchases a new operating system that recently launched where a personal interface, with a soothing voice, interacts with its customer to keep them organized. What happens when that voice seems to know you better than your neighbor, friend, spouse? What if you got along with it better than the humans around you? What is real love?

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire | Francis Lawrence, 2013
I read all three of Suzanne Collins’ novels before seeing The Hunger Games. For this film, I went into the theater already a fan. The protagonist, Katniss, is a female character I find interesting to watch(read); strong, fiercely loyal to her family and friends, but still vulnerable. Catching Fire built upon the world we were introduced to in the first film and also nicely¬†incorporated new characters and obstacles. We find Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) dealing with PTSD after returning from the Games. After some unfortunate events transpire, they must return as tributes to the Hunger Games and begin to learn the true meaning of love and trust.

Mud | Jeff Nichols, 2013
Mud begins as two young teenaged boys, Neckbone and Ellis, travel along the Mississippi river to find an abandoned boat that they want to make their own. During their trip, they realize a mysterious (and dangerous?) man is actually living in their boat. The boys are intrigued by this man  (played by Matthew McConaughey) and his plight to reunite with his lost love, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). Meanwhile, the young boy, Ellis, is grappling with his own feelings towards a girl in town and the fact that his parents marriage is on the rocks, which might force him to move from their houseboat into town. Mud beautifully captures this small town in Arkansas, adolescence, friendship, and most importantly the role that true-love plays in our lives.

Pitch Perfect | Jason Moore, 2012
Comedies, in my opinion, are more difficult to get right. Usually they start out promising, but about 2/3 of the way jokes start to become more important than the plot.¬†Pitch Perfect¬†is a musical comedy about the world of a cappella¬†collegiate¬†singing. This movie isn’t without its formulaic qualities, but because the performances are believable, I loved being taken along for the ride. We learn that with a little teamwork, vulnerability, and a lot of harmony anything can be accomplished.

Ruby Sparks | Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris, 2012
The directors of Little Miss Sunshine collaborated with Paul Dano and his real life girlfriend, Zoe Kazan, to create a smart, funny, and poignant romantic comedy. Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) is a writer, who as a young man hit the big time on his first novel. Unfortunately, he has been experiencing writers block ever since. He begins to fantasize and then write about the perfect girl of his dreams. One day, to his great astonishment, he finds her in his apartment! Ruby Sparks touches on why we need our partners to challenge us; the fantasy of being able to write the script to our life is more appealing than the reality it brings.

A Separation | Asghar Farhadi, 2011
This film swept the foreign language awards in 2012, winning an Academy Award and Golden Globe (internationally it fared even better winning acting awards). The main characters, Nader and¬†Simin, have been married for 14 years and have an 11-year-old daughter.¬†Simin¬†is becoming frustrated with her life in Iran and desires to move out of the country, but Nader refuses to leave his aging father with¬†Alzheimers.¬†Simin¬†requests a divorce, but the court determines there isn’t adequate ruling to approve the divorce. so¬†Simin¬†moves in with her parents. This change forces Nader to hire a women,¬†Razieh,¬†to watch his father while he is at work.¬†Nadar¬†is a little delusional on how well his father can function independently and due to religious restrictions, taking care of a male, non-family member, causes problems for¬†Razieh. There is a scene where she has to call a religious hotline to seek permission to clean him after an accident. I viewed this film as someone unfamiliar with¬†Iranian¬†customs, but it is a beautiful film about the messy aspects of life are relatable to us all.

Three Colours Trilogy: Blue, White, Red | Krzysztof KieŇõlowski,¬†1993, 1994, 1994
I am cheating a little by including Blue, White, and Red as a single unit on this list, but it is hard to separate them. Renowned¬†Polish director and screenwriter, Krzysztof KieŇõlowski uses the colors and motto of the French flag to weave together these three movies, while neither of them share a storyline.

Blue reflects on emotional liberty as we watch Julie (Juliette Binoche) wrestle with her new identity, free of family ties after personal tragedy strikes. It is hauntingly beautiful.

White hints on the idea of equality by following the journey of Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski), a Polish immigrant living and working as a hair dresser in France. His marriage falls apart and, because of some spiteful actions from his wife (played by Julie Delpy), Karol finds himself with no money. He quickly hatches a plan to return to Poland, rebuild his reputation, and take revenge on his wife.

Of the three films, Red was my favorite. We meet, Valentine (Irène Jacob), a college student/part-time model who, while out driving late one night, hits a dog. She tries to return the dog, but the owner seems weirdly uninterested so she has no choice but to nurse the dog back to health. Throughout the film we see these characters connecting through unlikely circumstances.

What were some of your favorites, old or new, that you saw this year?

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Merry Christmas


Wishing you all a beautiful and warm Christmas from my family to yours! We’ve been very blessed this year and we are looking forward to 2014.

In the meantime, I have a little treat for you. Below is a cover of WHAM!’s “Last Christmas” that my husband’s band, Hallows, recorded. Enjoy!


Molasses Spice Cookies

Molasses Spice Cookies

My mom has several friends that give my parents baked goods for Christmas and since Jordan and I live close we get to share in on their gift ūüôā I’ve come to look forward to the variety of desserts to eat and new recipes to try in the future. I’m sharing with you a cookie recipe that has become a favorite in our home —¬†Molasses Spice Cookies!

As I have mentioned before, Jordan leans toward simple cookies and this one fits the bill for both of us! The molasses spice cookie is the feisty cousin to the always reliable sugar cookie; basic and simple to make, but fun and festive for the holidays.

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