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Let me just start by saying: I never EVER thought twins were in my future. The thought was not even a blip on my radar. The thought wasn’t a blip on anyone’s radar – fraternal twins don’t run on either side of the family. But here I am, a genetic mutant, with b/g twins.

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And I must admit, I never wanted twins. It took me many months of an ever growing belly to warm up to the idea. And only now, 9 weeks postpartum, have I accepted and grown to love the idea. But now, it’s not just an idea, it is my reality, and one that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

It isn’t easy though (and I definitely never expected it to be!). Every day I wake up and immediately remind myself that I am only one person. With the twins, I feel so guilty when I am holding one and not the other. Or when one gets more breast milk than the other (I’ve had to supplement more and more), or when both are crying when I have to tend to the toddler. Or when I have to tend to the twins and not the toddler. Or when I put the toddler in front of the TV (Daniel Tiger is my saving grace) just to get a moment of peace. The list goes on and on. But I am not Super Mom, as much as I want or try to be, and the best I can do is know that I am doing my best. So when panic creeps in as I try to prepare and sit my toddler down for lunch as the babies are screaming for their own, I have to take a deep breath and realize that I am not destroying my child’s chance at Life by allowing them to cry a little.



Every day is a feat and at the end of it, I feel like I have conquered the world because I have kept 3 kids and myself alive, and throughout the day we all even managed to smile more than once. The house is never quiet or clean. I am rarely showered or clean. But I always manage to get dressed, put on a little makeup, eat breakfast (lunch is still up in the air), and enjoy a sometimes semi-warm cup of coffee. And on good days (like today) I even manage to get a little work done. It’s hectic and exhausting and beautiful.

I read a blog post recently that really struck a chord with me. In fact, I cried. Because this stage of life IS hard. I mean, really, really hard. And it’s not just a twin thing, it’s a motherhood thing. We all find ourselves in the trenches at some point – many points – throughout this journey. Sometimes it’s hard not to wish away this phase or that phase (I can’t wait until they have better neck control, I can’t wait until they can hold their own bottle, I can’t wait until they start sleeping though the night, I can’t wait until they become more aware of the world, I can’t wait until they are all old enough to play together, etc. etc.). But at the same time, we have to constantly remind ourselves that this is ONLY a phase – when Life becomes so overwhelming with a laundry list of to-do’s and don’t do’s and monotonous routines and constant chaos and a bombardment of questions and demands and screams and cries and screams and cries…it’s hard to remember that this too shall pass. And when it does, you will miss it. Tremendously.

It’s the stage where your kids love you more than they are ever going to love you again, for the whole rest of your life. It’s the stage where they can fit their entire selves into your lap to snuggle…and they want to. It’s the stage where their biggest problems are ear infections and teething and stomach viruses, and you’re not having to deal yet with things like broken hearts or addiction or bullying…

So yeah, right now, in this moment, Life is hard. Like, really, really hard. But it’s also so simple and so beautiful and so right.


So to all you amazing, beautiful, hard-working, and imperfect mothers out there – you have the hardest job in the world, and you’re doing great. But when you’re having a shitty day, a shitty week, or even a shitty month, just remember that this too shall pass, and as hard as it may be to think outside of the moment, one day this moment (vomit, poopy diapers, ear-piercing shrieks, and all) will be missed. So enjoy as best you can, and HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY!!


For me, December is a time not only for good cheer, but also a time to reflect on the year behind you and look forward to the year ahead…

I am incredibly grateful for all the amazing opportunities in my life, for a husband that has allowed me to freely pursue my passions, and for friends and family that have offered shoulders and ears and helping hands. In a single year, I  have learned such a tremendous amount about myself, about business, about sacrifice and heartache, about joy and wonder, about friendship, about failure, and about all the wonderful and terrible things that come with life and living.

I readily admit, however, that this was not an easy year for me. My marriage hit a few bumps in the road, my pregnancy didn’t quite come to fruition, my business venture was failing me, and depression was consistently on the periphery of my vision. I had fallen into a rut and my demons were getting the better of me.

SO VERY TRUE- why do we fight it... Never be afraid to fall apart

I had fallen apart indeed, and now have the labor of picking up the good pieces, tossing out the bad, and rebuilding a better version of myself. And you know what? I’m already feeling happier and healthier and ooh-so hopeful…

That’s one of the of the many wonders of December and the ensuing New Year: the strength it provides and the multitude of possibilities it brings.

Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.

I do feel as though I’m on a better path and while I’m sure there will be more bumps in the road ahead, I am without a doubt that 2013 is going to be a great year!

don't put off your happy

My new philosophy for the New Year: “be present and be happy.” What’s yours?


“There. I said it.” As many of you may have recognized, I completely stole this title from a Miss Mustard Seed post written back in early October, but it struck such a cord with me that I’d like to ruminate on it just a bit more.

I think for so many of us, putting ourselves out there in any form can be an enormously daunting prospect. The possibility of embarrassment, of failure, and the ensuing disappointment and heartache…it’s just too much. So instead, we keep our feet solidly on the ground, silent in our pie-in-the-sky dreams, but secretly hoping – if we dare – that one day, perhaps that pie will drop right out of the sky and fall directly into our very ready laps.

Unfortunately for most of us, that’s simply not how life works. To transform dream into reality takes effort, a tremendous amount of trial and error and, I think most importantly, the ability to fall and land softly. What determines success is what you do after the fall – do you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on with timid grin? Or do you loll about, dejected and spent from something you’ve really only just begun?

For me, starting this blog was a huge step forward. But every. single. day. the thought of putting myself out there makes my heart lurch. I’ve spent sleepless nights wondering what people are thinking about me. Are they laughing? Do they think I’m nothing more than a joke? A failure? Or perhaps they’re not thinking anything at all because no one is even reading this itty bitty blog in this big, bad Blogdom.

I need to consistently remind myself that it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that I have taken that step forward, I have put myself out there, and I have found the courage to dream out loud…

…but with all this said, even I have fallen, and I don’t always land softly. In fact, I’m only just beginning to pick myself back up after a recent hard fall, which is exactly why I felt so inspired to write this post.

there's so much to smile about

I love decorating, I love styling my home and offering inspiration to others; I love antiquing and “picking” and realizing the potential in dilapidated furniture pieces; I love transforming these pieces into something unique and beautiful, and I love having the opportunity to find them a new home.

I have a dream to one day own a studio and showroom space, a little piece of creative heaven, but in the meantime, I have very little storage and work space to build on this endeavor. So while I wait (and wait and wait…) on an appropriately priced opportunity, I find myself losing a little bit of faith. Frankly, my work has stalled and my drive is failing me.

Pinned Image

I need to remember to believe in myself; “pushing through the self-doubt, the fears and anxieties, and the nay-sayers” (per Miss Mustard Seed). And, as she also so wisely advised, I need to put it out there in writing.

So, as much for myself as for all those silent dreamers out there, this is my dream:

I want to find a healthy balance between my love for home styling, furniture refinishing, and events planning, and have a conglomerate of these things within my small business. I want to have my own studio space in which I can showcase my services: provide styling ideas, tablescapes, and vintage and refinished products all available for purchase. I want to be able to articulate my dreams fully, because so often they become lost amidst so many other ideas and aspirations, and I want to create a clear and concise business plan that I can pursue without hesitation

I have no doubt that it will take time, a huge amount of work, and I’m certain that I will fall more than a few times, but I have every intention of getting back up each and every time. All I ask of myself is a little patience and a lot of strength, and all I can ask you, my dear readers, is for an encouraging and supportive community!

Oprah Winfrey quote by Marloes de Vries

There. I said it. And I hope you have the courage to say it too. So tell me, what’s your dream?


Well hello my friends and my apologies for the brief radio silence! I decided rather spontaneously to take some time for myself this week, clear my head, and reflect on all that I am thankful for. So, with only a vague destination in mind, I went for a drive and now find myself on the beach…VA BEACH 3

Actually, I write this from my hotel room – the weather isn’t fully cooperating with my intentions! But I have a perfect view of the ocean from my balcony and there’s something so incredibly soothing about the crashing waves and the infiniteness of the ocean that I can hardly complain.

VA Beach 1

I’ll be here for a few days, giving myself the break that I think we all need from time to time. And while I will be writing, it will be sporadic at best, so I hope you will forgive the lack of routine this week! With that said, and to give me a little bit of time offline, my sweet husband decided to step in and write a piece on happiness from his perspective (written last night). Before I hand you over, however, I must warn you – it is a long read! But worth it. So without further ado, my husband….

To be honest, when my wife asked me to write a guest post for her, I was hoping it was for a DIY Thursday. A handyman post seemed somewhat more fitting for a Carpenter. The topic of happiness might seem wasted on someone my wife describes as an emotional “robot”. But alas, I think my wife loves making me uncomfortable and I simply can’t say no to that smile. Challenge accepted!

I find myself with three things going tonight. The first is the distraction of election night in America. The second is the challenge of a writing assignment. Finally, I have a cold North American Lager in arms reach, but I’ll get to that later. So it’s basically me, a laptop, Wolf Blitzer and a beer. All in all, a sound recipe for the subject at hand. Sadly though, it is missing one vital element, my wife, who’s fittingly in Virginia Beach with her feet in the cold sand, relaxing her mind and exploring happiness on her own.

So, happiness … where do I begin? Luckily for me, I wasn’t given much instruction. I was, however, mandated a word count. So in the spirit of making my wife happy I’ll distill my many random thoughts down to five simple points: 1) take advantage of the now; 2) remember your foundation; 3) find juxtaposition opportunity; 4) balance just the right amount of selfish; and finally 5) know where your heading and look up occasionally. Thankfully for me there are no right or wrong answers in happiness. So let’s begin.

Take advantage of the now. Admittedly, telling someone to enjoy the moment is rather cliché, but in my defense happiness doesn’t require an advanced degree. It’s not easy to sustain, but it’s simple to achieve. Of course, as often is in life, things tend to get in the way. We all have responsibility and probably more work, chores and to-do items than any of us really wants. We can’t escape it. Life, at times, seems to require it. Our society, culture and way of life is built on hard work, deadlines and productivity. We all need to provide for our families and ultimately our way of life. At times, I know it distracts me from what’s important and prevents me from focusing attention where I should. Sadly, we can’t avoid life. We can’t avoid responsibility. The key is deriving happiness from what we have in front of us. Try not to delay happiness for some distant time. Start small. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Seek out opportunities to laugh. Find moments in your day to cherish. As you walk from the car to the office in the morning, remember it might be the only time you see the sun all day so make sure you notice and appreciate it for a moment. Think about how you can enjoy the challenges in front of you. Don’t find yourself muttering to yourself, “I can’t wait until this (day/month/year) is over” because you’re missing opportunities to find happiness in the things you can’t avoid. Make a benign moment of your day less ordinary. Every day the best part of my day is driving up and seeing my wife’s car parked out front as I approach and knowing she’s on the other side of the front door. This was particularly stark because today that car wasn’t there. Tragic, I know. Ultimately, it all boils down to approach. It’s amazing how much a slight change in point of view can make such a significant impact. To this day I haven’t fully gotten used to the idea of a paid holiday. What a concept! But the beauty of this illusion I’ve built is that no matter how my wife and I choose to spend it, “we’re getting paid to do it!”. Never fails to deliver a smile.

Remember your foundation. Sometimes we, as a society, have a tendency to devalue something once we have it. Or perhaps to take it for granted. Obviously, we aren’t all there, but for those fortunate enough to have the means to provide, a roof over their heads, sufficient food on the table and family/friends nearby have a rock solid foundation for happiness. These aren’t the only elements of happiness, of course, but from time to time it’s always good to reflect back on these elements. Remind yourself of what’s important. Don’t lose sight of them amid the noise of life. It’s somewhat tragic that the biggest deterrents to happiness are sometimes the things that matter the least. Often it’s not until catastrophe strikes that we realize it. I sometimes need to remind myself that no matter what I’m doing, as long as I’m doing it with my wife, it’s instantly better. That goes for painting the side of the house, cleaning the kitchen or traveling across the world. I can mix the variables but I only need the one constant. With that said, life is short. Life is hard. As much as my wife sometimes wants it to be, life cannot be 100% happiness. Some things are unavoidable and some things are frankly not enjoyable no matter how much you spin it in your mind. And in these times, just remember to keep it in perspective and know that these moments have a purpose as well. This leads directly to my next point.

Find juxtaposition opportunity. At times there are few things greater than doing nothing at all. But usually it is best after a long period of hard work, stress or exertion. If we spent all our days doing nothing, we would be bored and probably unhappy. A juxtaposition, in this context, are those moments of contrast in our lives. These carefully placed juxtapositions are perfect triggers for happiness. I know after a long, painful month at work there is nothing greater than traveling to somewhere with better weather, nicer scenery and sitting out with a beer, a crossword puzzle and momentarily not a care. In fact, this applies to most times where I just take a moment, breathe deeply and appreciate the world around me. It’s amazing how little it takes for me to just look up and marvel. A cold beer sometimes helps too. Our lives are filled with comparisons. It’s likely an evolutionary adaptation to quickly form (mostly) accurate conclusions based on prior experience. It makes sense because that’s how we’re wired. However, we also have a tendency to form habits, some good and some bad. But we often find a comfort zone and nestle into a routine. These routines quickly become boring, predictable and on a long enough timeline suck the life out of us. Some take a different route home today. Drive down a neighborhood block you haven’t before. Make your own now moments and enjoy them. Happiness is not complicated. It can, however, take on many forms and to be frank has varying degrees. It’s important to remember to appreciate it as it comes, regardless of the manner. Extreme elation loses its meaning if it happens every five minutes. I can tell you one of the happiest moments of my life was the day I got married. I’m sure there will be other similar events down the road, such as a child birth but all days can’t be like that. For most of life you just need to take the good with the bad. Appreciate the good and never lose sight of the fact that the bad is good because it makes the good better.

Balance just the right amount of selfish. I suspect I might get some flak for this one. Remember though, in an emergency, when the oxygen masks deploy … secure your own mask before assisting others. This is not meant to be selfish, but rather, if you are only giving and never taking time for yourself you run the risk of losing sight of your own happiness. Luckily for us humans, happiness tends to be contagious. Chances are if you can find a way to improve your own state-of-mind it will pay dividends to those around you. The bottom line is don’t lose focus of your own sanity.

Look up and find direction. We’ve already established we’re busy. We are continually distracted by our instantaneous, digital world. Instant Tweets are in and email is too slow because typing more than 128 characters and thinking about something for more than 12 and a half seconds is inconvenient. We don’t have time to wait for the microwave, much less worry about our next moment. Too often we get caught up in the things directly in front of our nose. That immediate thing somehow becomes elevated in our minds. It needs immediate attention; often at the detriment of something else, more important. In a sense one might wonder if this goes against the thought in the first bullet. Still strive to enjoy each step along the way, but still know where you’re headed. Make sure you’re on a rewarding and fulfilling path. Don’t wander aimlessly from text message to text message, deadline to deadline or bill to bill. The moments of happiness are great, but ultimately lasting happiness is tied to long-term fulfillment. Be that in a marriage, a job or a lifetime journey. Know where you’re headed. Have a purpose, a destination. Don’t be consumed by it, still enjoy those moments. Depending on your goals, sometimes it’s important to break them up into milestones. Challenging goals can be the most rewarding, but even if you fall short, make sure there are achievements along the way. Remember to enjoy the journey and enjoy each step along the way. We’re all headed to the same destination, so make sure the trip is filled with happiness.

So, the polls are closing and my quota has long been eclipsed. As you’ve probably guessed already, I may not be the best at following instructions. But hey, surprisingly, I’m having fun with the journey. The best part of happiness is that it’s individual. My wife has read hundreds of self-help books on happiness or related topics. She’s probably cringing a little right now as she reads my unreferenced stream of consciousness and possibly shaking her head slightly at my drivel. But the source doesn’t matter and that’s sort of the beauty of it. We’re all similar creatures on some level, and the basics are fundamental. I don’t have to tell you about happiness because when it happens you can feel it. And chances are you already have. Simply rinse and repeat. But don’t stop exploring the world around you, reaching outside your comfort zone and seeking new juxtapositions. Where risks are high, rewards are high. Simply stated, happiness is derived from your perception of the world, so choose your temporary state of mind wisely. It’s a fleeting moment we try to recapture as often as possible. The less than 2,000 words of this blog aren’t going to change your life. But if you’re at all like me, and I think you are, then sometimes you need to be reminded of a few simply things. We all know the drill and we’ve probably spouted similar words of wisdom to others. Every once in a while, stop and remember to take your own advice. So, to you and to my lovely wife: look forward, follow your dreams, remember what’s important, enjoy the moment and occasionally pass out a reminder to the rest of us. Some of us need it. I know I do.


To draw upon my previous post a bit, I must admit, I love most of my “things.” I like having them, I like displaying them, and I like how they make me feel. Yes, I confess, they make me feel happy! Sometimes my mom jokingly calls me Maureen O’Hara from The Quiet Man; “but I need my things about me!” And admittedly, it’s so true.


Perhaps my upbringing forged in me a deep want to belong, to settle, and to fill my surroundings with familiar things when year after year I was uprooted, on the move to a new city, a new state, or even a new country. In this constant state of upheaval, my possessions became my home.

Don’t get me wrong – I loved my childhood. For the first 16 years of my life, I travelled more than many do in an entire lifetime. And I’m blessed to have had that experience. It instilled in me a sense of culture and love for travel…but perhaps created a bit of a paradox in the process: I’ve become a bit of a restless nester.

But I digress! Now, that I am grown and have a home of my own, my things still hold a special place in my heart. I am not materialistic by any means, but in some way, shape, or form, most of my pieces impart memories and have an inanimate life of their own. I can honestly tell you where I was and how I felt when procuring nearly every item in my home. And I love it.

Do I have too many “things?” I don’t think so….other than my current horde of vintage and refinished pieces that I hope to sell very soon! No, I definitely don’t have too many things, I have precisely the right amount and will deliberately make room for more when I find something that speaks to me.

But there is such a thing as too much, and sometimes it’s a very fine line. Per Gretchen Rubin in Happier at Home, “some research suggests that spending money on an experience brings more happiness than buying a possession, but the line between possessions and experience isn’t always simple to draw.”

Some of my things are very much derived through experience, and vice versa. In fact, some of my favorite pieces were found via flea markets – spending time with family and friends, meeting vendors, snagging business cards, feeling the incredible thrill of the hunt…those are experiences that I would never take back. Not to mention, I also gain experience from the items I procure. I am constantly learning, tweaking, and growing as I refinish and repaint, style and restyle.

Vintage Flea MarketFlea market fun!

Flea market Fun  More flea market fun.

MMS at LuckettsThe aftermath of Miss Mustard Seed’s Vendor space at the Luckett’s Flea Market.

Would I purchase a gorgeous chandelier or beautifully upholstered wing-back chairs over a trip to Fiji, or Paris, or even Iceland? Not a chance. But I would definitely reminisce over the lost opportunity, despite the kick-ass vacation!

In the end, my things create a comfortable home and a soothing lifestyle. Call me what you will, but I need my things about me!

They make me very happy indeed…Smile


Well, I’ve been avoiding it for the last week, but I think now is the time to give you an update on my 30 Things to do Before I Turn 31 post:

  • Take an introductory photography class.well, I haven’t yet taken it, but I’ve signed up for one, does that count…??
  • Take a basic Photoshop class.just finishing up!

Shoot Fly Shoot

  • Recruit 15 more followers to my blog…I love you, I love you, I love you!
  • Transform my hideous entertainment unit into something I can stand a little more! – The knobs have been ordered at least! Hope to start next week after husband disconnects and moves the TV for me (hint, hint honey…).
  • (Finally) Make a stagecoach curtain for the guest room window (which I will definitely blog about later). – yeah, epic fail. For some reason, I’m scared to death of sewing! But I’ll get there….one day.
  • Start a daily journal.Woo hoo!
  • Establish a consistent gym routine – and stick to it! – another epic fail, no excuses.
  • Regularly wake up earlier in order to make and enjoy a healthy breakfast with my husband. – well, it doesn’t help that the husband seems to have stopped eating breakfast (tsk, tsk Man!).
  • Sell 2 more furniture pieces. – now that my shop is up and running…SOON (I hope – any takers?)!.

  • Reopen my Etsy shop.can I get a woo woo?!! I still have dozens of items to add though. Coming soon!
  • Find and purchase a new rug for my office!Done! But not the one I originally had in mind. Instead, I purchased this one from West Elm. My office is currently a horrific mess, but once I have things cleaned up and organized, pictures will ensue!
  • Find an unwavering confidence in myself… hmm, perhaps a resolution for the New Year?
  • Refinished the recent flea market bread boards I recently purchased. – such a simple thing to do and I haven’t finished! I have sanded them down, I just have to stain them appropriately. Coming soon!
  • Host an end of summer soiree. – how about a Welcome to Fall soiree? I managed to book myself every single weekend in September, but October will be the month!
  • Go golfing with my new golf clubs!I can’t say I golfed well, but I did it!
  • Finish the wall galleries in my living and dining rooms. – 3 more frames to fill…(and I know, I also need to straighten all the frames!)

Living Room Wall Gallery 2

  • Clean out my closet.perhaps my soiree should also consist of a clothing swap??
  • Host a book club.I haven’t hosted yet, but it’s booked for October 16th! We are reading The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton:

The Forgotten Garden

  • Read at least one of the dozen books I have on raising chickens (next Spring, fingers crossed!).yep, and I still want them. Four of them. Badly.
  • Tell my husband that I love him at least once a day.ok, he may disagree, and perhaps I forgot a day or two, but it’s the thought that counts! I managed pretty darn well, thankyouverymuch.
  • Begin drafting a business plan for my non-profit idea… epic fail. I very badly want to start a non-profit, and I think I have a pretty darn good idea, but I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew with this one. Frankly, I need to get the rest of my shit straight before delving into extracurricular activities!
  • Register for a race (running).as of today, actually. Running a 5k. Not a long or hard run, but for an excellent cause: Shelter for Help in Emergency ( And honey, if you’re reading this…I registered you as well Smile


  • Get a haircut – and learn how to wear my hair more naturally. – ummm, epic fail. For both. Last time I got my haircut at a well-loved Charlottesville salon, my poor hair was mutilated. I’m scared.
  • Clean my car. – yep. still dirty.
  • Recruit 1 guest blogger for blog…it will be posted soon, my friends, soon!
  • (With help of husband) Build a console table for behind sofa. – we’re actually not quite sure how we want to build it just yet…it’s all about compromise, right?
  • Call dentist to schedule removal of wisdom teeth. – Definitely a fail. I mean, all I have to do is pick up the phone! But the thought is terrifying. I’m fine getting my teeth cleaned, but when they are removed…hell to the no!
  • Learn how to cook 2 more go-to, quick and delicious meals.All I can say is….YUM!
  • Find and paint 3 sample paint colors in kitchen (orange!).samples have been painted, but not a single one is orange (all samples are Benjamin Moore: Silver Sage, Soft Fern, and Nimbus). Which one do you like? It’s really quite amazing how different each one looks depending on the lighting and time of day.


  • Take pictures of my home (after my photography & Photoshop classes…) and (finally…) upload them onto “My Home” blog page. – to procrastinate just a little more….I do need to finish my photography class first!

Of course, I’m well aware and quite self-conscience of the fact that I did not complete my list, but it did offer me the motivation to DO and to move closer toward a creativity that I feel swimming just beneath my skin…and sometimes, that’s all you really need. I am still determined to complete every single item on this list, of course. What’s leftover is all the simple stuff anyhow (other than that darn stagecoach curtain. Argh!) – update #2 coming soon!


Let me start by saying, I love my husband completely, I really do, and I couldn’t imagine my life without him in it. We have an amazing story, one that I will happily tell our children all about one day, but it’s also a story that is developing and changing and growing each and every day.

We met in the summer of 2004, he became one of my dearest friends, and we finally took that flying leap out of the Friend Zone in the fall of 2009. We married in the spring of 2011 (where Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds recently married, I must add!) and I haven’t regretted a single moment since (although I’m sure my husband often thinks otherwise!):

Ceremony 121

Ceremony 138

Formals 180

Formals 191

Happily Ever After 2Reception 193

Reception 197

My husband is my greatest love, my biggest supporter, and my best friend. But, with all this said, marriage still isn’t easy. In fact, sometimes it’s downright HARD.

When you’re faced with the daily grind, when life feels monotonous and miniscule, when little facets of your relationship become overwhelmed with bickering….sometimes it’s hard to remember why you fell in love in the first place.

You forget that his solidity and modesty are what drew you to him.

You forget that his smile lights up his face and ignites a fire inside your heart.

You forget that his hand, no matter what – in the best of times, in the worst of times – is always reaching out for yours.

You forget that he’s wicked smart.

You forget that he’s been there for you for the better part of your life, and will remain – loyal and honest and loving – there until the end.

You forget that he completes you in the best of ways.

Yes, when the going gets rough, when you feel misunderstood or unheard, when you’re filled with anger and misgivings, you simply forget that your husband isn’t perfect, but he’s amazing just as he is.

I must admit, the first year of marriage hasn’t been an easy one. There’s been some God-awful arguments, tears, a multitude of doubts and insecurities, frustrations, and, of course, the ensuing nagging. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! We are learning how to fit together – in the best of ways and in the worst of ways. We are learning how to fight for ourselves while fighting for this marriage. We are learning how to pick our battles. We are learning that no matter how bumpy Life gets, we can’t, we won’t, let our relationship fall between the cracks.

I think that’s the hardest part of it all – accepting that this person you love so dearly isn’t going to judge or mislead you; that you needn’t keep your guard up or your pride down. That this person by your side is going to continue to stand by it, even when you’re tired and grumpy, or over-dramatic, or over-zealous, or entirely lazy, and utterly frumpy. Yep, that person is going to look you in the face and still love you.

This is something I need to remember, and remember often: there’s always going to be bad times, but there will be many, many, MANY more good times, and I need to learn to appreciate them all.

Like this…(in Croatia)

Tom & KK

And this…(in Belize)

Tom & KK Drinking

And definitely this…(in Mexico)

KK & Tom 8

As long as it’s just the two of us…


….I’ll be happy (even when I don’t act like it sometimes). I love you Tom.

In the end, that’s all that marriage is really about – pure and uninhibited love.


I  must say, yesterday was nothing short of divine. The sun was bright and shining, minute puffs of clouds were rolling lazily across the sky, and the breeze carried with it the crisp, clean scent of the coming Fall. Divine, I say. And life felt good – good in the kind of way that makes you want to do nothing but bask in the glory of it, roll in it, and stretch out on it like a good, comfy bed with a plush, down comforter. Yeah, that good.

So I decided to go on a walk, or rather, a long and deliberate stroll, to enjoy this perfect day…

Rivanna Bridge

Mattie-Lu Poo 2

That is a face of happiness!

It’s actually quite amazing how something as simple as a walk can change your whole perspective of the world; anger subsides, stresses melt away, and sadness somehow becomes less prevalent. It’s calming, meditative, and it fortifies the body and soul – like yoga without the awkward angles.

As I was strolling alongside the river, I was contemplating everything and nothing at once, as though my mind encompassed the whole of my thoughts and rather than thinking or feeling each one, it all simply was. I felt at peace and happy for no reason at all – I think that’s the best kind of happiness.

Rivanna River

At this point, I was feeling pretty darn exceptional and was certain that life couldn’t possibly get any better, but as luck would have it, it did…with the quack of a duck.

As my eyes sought out the noise maker, they instead fell upon these little creatures basking in their own happiness:

Turtles 2

Truly, how can that not make you smile from ear to ear? I was now floating on cloud nine.

With the help of a few blissful turtles and a final, brisk walk, I came to realize that it really is the simple things in life that make it all so worthwhile. As Donald Miller said,

It is always the simple things that change our lives. And these things never happen when you are looking for them to happen. Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is on a stroll…

Indeed. I feel refreshed, invigorated, and while there have been no immaculate answers, there has been an epiphany – to not take life so seriously, to take notice of what is right in front of me, and to appreciate the simple things.

Like walks. And turtles. Smile


Well hello my friends! I hope everyone enjoyed their extended weekend…my husband and I actually extended ours an extra day and had a nice “staycation” full of laziness, beer, and brownies (and probably a few extra pounds…).

Speaking of brownies, I delayed writing a post today thinking that I would be the bearer of most excellent news this afternoon – a new (furry) addition to the family in the name of – yep, you guessed it – Brownie! Unfortunately, upon an early afternoon arrival to the ASPCA with Ms. Mattie-Lu in tow to meet this new little creature that would potentially become her brother, we discovered that our Brownie was adopted just hours before. I’m not quite sure how to feel at this point – sad that our little man wasn’t adopted by us, or thrilled that this adorable little pup found a home! I think Mattie-Lu’s expression sums it up quite nicely…

Mattie-Lu Poo

(where’s my brother?)

Of course, my cat Simon had to put in his two cents as well…

Simon Face

(dreaming of a dog-free home…)

I must say, if you don’t own a pet, it is something that I would highly recommend. Not only are they a constant amusement, they give life that additional dimension, that extra vigor, and bestow such an abundance of love on body and soul that life can’t help but feel blissful, even in the worst of times.

Sure, the little critters can also be a bit troublesome and overly boisterous – I can’t tell you how many pairs of shoes were destroyed, lipsticks eaten, shirts shredded, and hairballs discovered – but it’s been worth it, truly, it has…

In the end, no matter the chaos they may cause or things they may destroy, I can’t imagine life without my furballs. Simply said, they make me smile and frankly, isn’t that what life is all about?

Simon in Basket

(can’t resist a comfy basket!)

Mattie on Couch

(you talkin’ to meee?)

The above picture of Mattie looking guilty on couch actually reminds me of a fun series on Desire to Inspire called “Pets on Furniture.” And, well, there’s not much more to it – animals on furniture, but with just a little more panache….

Oh my goodness! It was so hard to stop at just a few! Adorable animals + exquisite interiors = pure purrfection.

Do you own any animals? If so, do share! Email me your own pictures of “Pets on Furniture” and I will feature my favorites next Wednesday, 9/12. Original content only, please. The winner will receive a little care package put together by yours truly, with a little help of Mattie and Simon, of course.


I was wracking my brain with what to write about this morning when I came across the blog of Kelley Moore. Her post struck me quite like a bolt of lightning because this is something I struggle with on a daily basis: being myself vs. what I think others want me to be. And oftentimes, I lose. More than I’d like to admit, I’ve lived my life based off of the judgments of others and this induces such a fear inside of me that I simply continue to bury myself within myself.

A vicious cycle.

Pinned Image

(via Pinterest)

I once surrounded myself with fake niceties and cosmopolitans, short dresses and high heels and somehow, lots and lots of money, just to get one leg further up the totem pole. I wasn’t successful by any means, but I wanted to seem successful, because that’s what really matters, right…? I mean, I rubbed shoulders with Jennifer Lopez, I laughed with Patch Adams, I shook the hand of Jane Goodall, and I have Ben Stein’s number in my phone. Isn’t that what counts…?

(Yup, that’s me)

When I moved from the city, away from the movers and shakers, and into a domesticated, country lifestyle, I felt….lost. Who do I perform for now? But I also felt a sense of ease that I hadn’t felt for a long, long time. Finally, I could breathe. Finally I could be myself.

But who was I?

This is a question that I continue to juggle. A part of me still longs for the excitement and glamour of the rock star life, but the bigger part of me wants simplicity. I suppose I am simply trying to find myself between the mediocre and melodramatic, who I want to be and who I think I should be.

As Kelley so aptly stated (original source unknown)…


I will be 31 in less that a month, and at this point I’m not where I thought I’d be. And frankly, this scares the shit out of me. I thought I’d be more successful, I thought I’d be better traveled, I thought I’d be throwing interesting dinner parties for interesting people, and I thought I’d be a mother that could do it all. In my head, it’s all worked out: I should be flourishing, I should be an affluent business owner, and people should notice my success. In reality, my shoulda, woulda, couldas are only bringing me down, down, down.

What I am very, very slowly coming to realize is that life is so much more enjoyable when living it for yourself. Not for who you were, or for what others think you should be, or even for who you think you should be, but for who you are at this very moment. Learn from the past and look forward to the future, but live in the present, be true to yourself, and love yourself for it. Yes, love your authentic self, even if that authentic self is currently a floundering and lost soul!

I think Anne Lamott said it best in her 2003 Berkley graduation commencement address:

…here I am sort of bragging about being a dropout, and unemployable, and secretly making a pitch for you to follow your creative dreams, when what they [your parents] want is for you to do well in your field, make them look good, and maybe also make a tiny fortune.

But that is not your problem. Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.

So go out and seek my dear readers!