May Heart to Heart

So we are already 5 days into June. Which means we are almost at the half way point of 2017. Is your mind blown? Mine sure is.

Anyway, new month new meet up. I am detoxing coffee (yes, it is as crazy and awful as it sounds, but it is also really good for my brain, sleep, and reducing caffeine tolerance later. Three straight days of detox headaches were no bueno, but I am just about hitting the sweet spot) so I’ll grab some tea. Lets reminisce about May.

The Highs

Wedding season is upon us

Hubby and I got to celebrate two of our dearest friends tying the knot a couple weeks ago. They had the wedding at a Christmas tree farm in Warwick NY and it was STUNN.ING. They both looked so happy, and the day was truly beautiful. Also, there aren’t many things I enjoy more than busting a move on a wedding dance floor.

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First Beach Day

Did you know the beach is my favorite place in the world? Like its my peaceful, take in the greatness of God place. I was so thankful to get in a perfect day with my family, even my sister in law who was in town for the wedding!

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Memorial weekend

To kick off the summer season hubby and I headed to Buffalo to visit my family and so he could finally meet Miss Kinsley. Oh my gosh, she LOVES her Uncle. It was the absolute sweetest thing.

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& as if that weren’t good enough, Amanda was able to come all the way from Nashville, so almost the whole family was together (we missed Elias though☹️)

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IMG_4255The Lows

Funky funk town

As I look back over May, if I am honest, I just have a general feeling of ‘meh’. To be even more honest, I was just in a funk most of the time. I couldn’t quite get a hold of my mental space and kind of wallowed in it a little bit more than I wish I had. Like I just let a things get me down and keep me dow you know?

Hence the coffee detox mixed with a new supplement regimen, and morning routine I am trying in an attempt to get my head right. Do you have any tips for me?

 

What I Read

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero : Okay, so you always have to take the self help stuff with a grain of salt. But there were a lot of real helpful little nuggets I pulled from this one. Jen is funny and engaging and much less hippy dippy then some others in her genre. Definitely would suggest getting your hands on a copy.

The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning : The forward to this one puts it perfectly “To say that Brennan Manning has blazed new trails with this book would not be true. He has not. But to say Brennan Manning is attempting once more to plow up the hardened ground of our hearts, now that would be a true statement.”If your a lover of Brennan Manning as I am, you wont find anything new here, just the same sweet reminder that you are recklessly and senselessly loved by the God of the Universe. & if you as me, those are words worth reading again and again and again. This book has actually been part of my new morning journaling routine since the chapters are short and end with a couple questions to ponder.

What I watched

Parks and Recreation  Yes yes we are so late to the party, but Hubby and I just finished Parks and Rec and I am going to say it, it is definitely in my top 5 favorite tv shows of all time. I mean, you know me, so the pro feminism just makes me straight up giddy. But for real, Leslie and Ron’s relationship is my literal favorite. If you haven’t watched it yet, what are you waiting for? and if you have, it may just be time to watch again.

What I listened to

Chance the Rapper :So much Chance the Rapper. In case you missed it from Fridays post, I am just going to leave this here (I may or may not be personally responsible for about 500 views on this video)

Red Couch Podcast : It launched, and I love it. Propaganda and Alma are so funny and relatable and really make you feel like your chilling with them in their living room.

Something I loved

Now Foods Multi Vitamin so this is part of operation-get-my-head-right. I did some research and read some reviews and Now foods is a trusted brand to many a blogger and this multi has glowing reviews. The capsules are a bit big, and taking 3 at a clip feels like a lot, but so far it seems worthwhile. I have noticed my nails growing fast and stronger, skin clearing up and even without coffee I feel like I have increased energy.

What I am looking forward to

PARTAYY

One of my best friends freaking graduated NYU film school. He and his wife sacrificed so much and worked so hard for this, I cant wait to celebrate him with a big old fashioned party!

Schools out for the summer!

That being said, this month is going to be tough, BUSY with all the capitals for the Hubby, but the end is in sight!

 

How was your May? What are you looking forward to in June?

April Heart to Heart

Any one else want to be like

but oh wait, you can’t. Because it IS MAY!

It feels like a big prank, but it really is May already. Like two-more-months-of-the-school-year-left May, like college-kids-are-just-about-done May, like where-the-heck-did-April-go May. Somehow we are here, and I am itching to catch up with you over a nice cold cup of joe!

The Highs

Welcome to Michigan

This year Hubby and I scooped up his youngest sister and hightailed it to Michigan for spring break. My brother and sister-in-law live out there so we had such a sweet time catching up with them and exploring the Mitten.

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Explore we did! We spent a day on the west end of the state in Holland and Grand Rapids. Friends, Holland is adorable. We had to grab some Dutch grub for breakfast, so we hit up a little spot called DeBoer’s. yum.

Then we just took it slow through all the adorable little shops, grabbed some coffee and enjoyed each others company.

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You know me, so you know we went to the beach. Lake Michigan is unbelievable. Breathtaking beauty. IMG_5958

You know we went to New Holland Brewery before we left. Dragons Milk is the business! IMG_5973

We hopped over to Grand Rapids

because you simply can not be a beer lover in Western Michigan and not go to Founders.

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Later in the week the Michiganders had to work, so the New Jersians (Jersey-ers ?) took an adventure through Ann Arbor. Oh my. We fell in love.

For the sake of the Hubby and his sandwich loving sister the first stop upon arrival was Zingermans Deli. It lived up to all the hype. In fact, I am drooling now just thinking about the cuban sandwich (that my gluten sensitive self got on a salad, because they had that as an option!)

We had great weather while in Ann Arbor, so we spent the day walking the streets in search of art, and we found plenty.

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I fell in love with the social conscious of this place. Every book store and coffee shop we went into featured art, literature etc. of a wide range of people. Just look at all these childrens books with diverse lead characters. Also I want to only ever drink this coffee, both for the name and the taste.

     

We live such blessed lives to be able to explore the way we do. It was an incredible trip, with much need rest, reconnecting and fun.

Folsom Records Show

Hubby and I have been calling this “The Year of Concerts.” I almost died when I saw the Twin Forks was touring, and stopping in NYC! You know we jumped on that. I will love Chris Carrabba forever and ever. Dan Layus and The Social Animals totally won me over. The show was so good, it was worth the SPRINT through Times Square afterwards to catch the last bus back to New Jersey (we were those people, we caught it with 2 minutes to spare, TWO).

Classic #latergram #twinforks

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BABY

You already know the highest high of April was becoming an AUNT! 18198580_10209134815032290_4664585627110257538_n(all the sass though)

The Lows

Honestly, April went by so fast that no lows stand out to me. But, this past Friday was one of those days where so. many. things. went wrong you have to laugh about it. Let me tell you in list form:

  1.  Woke up with just enough time to make myself some coffee and bring it to work. While making with a pour over, I knocked the edge of the little contraption, sending burning hot liquid and wet coffee grounds in a downward explosion all over everything (me, the ground, the boxes of books nearby, all the mugs on our coffee cart). Have you ever had to clean up wet coffee grounds from the floor?  Needless to say, I did not make it out of the door with coffee.
  2. Had to run to Target for a few things. The little guy I nanny was a champion, but I wanted to get him home, Target is no fun for a little man. Decided to grab some Starbucks on the way out, since by now its about 1030 and I still haven’t had coffee. have to put down my bags to find my sunglasses. Walk all the way to the car (which is parked far away to get in the steps on fitbit of course), get a screaming kid into his carseat (because he hates that part) and realize WHERE IS MY FITBIT. Unbuckle said screaming little one and run back into Target praying its at Starbucks so I do not have to back peddle through this whole friggin store. Praise the Lord it was, but a moment of silence for those active minutes lost to my fitbit account. . .
  3. Go to pull out of Target, coffee just chilling in the cup holder, a bit too hot to drink after running through a parking lot and all. Begin to pull out slowly and an old man decided he has got to GO even if my car is in his way. Yup, backed right into the side of my car. Amazing. (It was not that bad, in fact it was such a gentle run in that i had to honk before he realized what was happening).
  4. Too shaken up to drink said coffee, still it sits. We make it back to little mans house, I go to grab the coffee, and the cup has just about disintegrated. Half the contents just chilling in my cup holder. So I have to run into the house, kid in one arm, coffee dripping down the other.
  5. After a pretty chaotic day, I get home around 3 and finally eat some lunch. I have to quickly get ready to hit the road with hubby for a weekend conference, grab my make up bag to find my Micellar Water has leaked on all the things.
  6. Clean up make up bag mess and go to get dressed, discover my favorite jeans have some mysterious green stain on the knee. It looks like a grass stain, but I have no recollection of rolling around in grass, yet here we are.
  7. Hit the road to New Hampshire and inevitably endure 1.5 hours of traffic through the entire state of Connecticut. But as the miles ticked up the day seemed to wash away. That is until my darling hubby thought it funny to say “wouldn’t it be fitting for you to finish this day with a sweet ticket.” No hubby, no it would not. I am happy to report, I did not get a ticket, and the day ended with everyone breathing, so all in all it could have been worse.

What I Read

The Keto Diet by Leanne Vogel : One of the major reasons I was drawn to whole30 was to try a natural approach to correct some hormone imbalances I have been dealing with for some time. The internet rabbit trail of whole30 and hormonal issues brought my attention to Keto, specifically to Leanne. I have been following her for a little bit and when her book came out earlier this month I jumped on it. I have learned a whole lot, as I keep experimenting with this approach I will keep you guys posted. I will say, so far so good!

So maybe my reading was slacking a bit this month . . . 😳 🤷🏻‍♀️

What I Watched

Big Little Lies : I read the book last year and loved it. The series was very well done, but I cant remember the book well enough to tell you how accurate it is to detail. Definitely worth a read &  watch (though I should caution, there are some racy bits).

What I listened to

Dan Layus : remember Augustana anyone? The lead singer has been doing some solo stuff with a country twang that I can get behind.

S- Town : I do not even want to waste my time telling you about this (which is why I wont link to it, take THAT) except to say I hated it. We invested so much time for nothing. Do not believe the hype friends.

A little gadget I loved

My sister in law got my interested in this little thing called a PopSocket. I do not want to encourage anyones (read: my own) phone addiction, but this little guy makes holding the phone so much more comfortable.

What I’m looking forward to:

I have a week off in May, hoping for good weather and maybe a beach trip (or two).

Our first wedding of the season will be later this month as we celebrate some dear friends!

Memorial Weekend! Hubby and I are still trying to finalize plans, but you know we will be headed somewhere.

How are you? Were you just as surprised by May as I was? Tell me all the great things that happened to you this month! What are you looking forward to?

March Heart to Heart

Woah. April has arrived and it just barely feels like spring here. I am going to let the little hint of warm in the air today sway me to grab some iced coffee while we chat. Come join me!

March has been a rollercoaster.

The Highs

Birthday Celebrations
My birthday is the beginning of the month and that was without a doubt the highlight of March. Maybe you experience the same thing, but I find that all the kind words and encouragement I receive on my birthday just about fuels me for the rest of the year. I hope I have already said so, but thank you friend, for making it so special.

Hubby is an incredible gift giver, every year he manages to figure out exactly what I need and always delivers and then some. This year, we went on a little weekend away to rest, dream, pray, and enjoy sweet time with one of my dearest friends. It was a dream.

We took a 3 hour drive to Lancaster Pennsylvania and stayed at the stunning Arts Hotel.  IMG_5426IMG_5366

The room was stunning, exposed brick, wood beams, a hipsters dream (& I am not ashamed to say I LOVED it). The building was once a tobacco warehouse, then a paper and twine warehouse. The place has now found good use as a part hotel, part art gallery. The halls are lined with stunning art pieces and the rooms are filled with more.  The guestbook in each room was a drawing pad to leave behind your own artwork, and the lobby had an album of collections from those books. I loved all the carefully considered artistic details.

If I had to give one bit of #realtalk here, I was a bit heartbroken over the hotel breakfast. I know, I know, you should never have high hopes for a hotel breakfast, but Lancaster is a coffee /  food lovers DREAM, and it is a city beautifully full of local pride. I guess I had anticipated a place with such well curated Lancaster artistic flair to have some local love in the breakfast, you know? Like give me all the Passenger coffee, or Square One, give me all. of. it. Listen though, it is ABSOLUTELY worth it to stay when you visit, but definitely go out for breakfast (maybe I’ll do a future post on our favorite spots in Lancaster 🤔).

We spent so much time just soaking in the city! Did I mention the Arts Hotel is perfectly located within walking distance of downtown Lancaster City? Right next door we grabbed lunch and beers at The Fridge. Friends, the pizza was so good we ate it before I remembered to take a picture. They also feature an impressive display of beers from all over. I enjoyed myself, but the Hubby was in heaven.

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We roamed around, drank so much coffee, and enjoyed some chess in the park.

Then my sweet friend SPOILED us with an incredible dinner. The place was called Ma(i)son, and I cant recommend it highly enough. Its a cozy farm-to-table BYO french restaurant. I have dreamed about the food friend, it was that good. IMG_5375IMG_5376IMG_5380

Lets be honest though, any meal shared in such sweet company is a dream.
I came home feeling so loved, so rested and full of hope for 26!

90’s night
Another dear friend celebrates her birthday at the end of the month. It turns out Just Jakes, a bar in our town, was hosting a 90’s cover band on her actual birthday night! So she got a whole bunch of friends together, we ordered take out to my place (in lieu of waiting THREE HOURS for a table at Cuban Pete’s, thank goodness they do take out) before and then hit the bar! I will readily admit I am a bit of a noob as far as the bar thing goes, and crowds aren’t totally my jam, but I had an incredible time, like 90’s music people, reliving childhood as an adult with a splash of alcohol, whats not to love?

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Blood:Water
We raised close to $300 for Blood:Water and upped our hydration this month!

New Camera
My hubby is insane / wonderful / thoughtful / generous / supportive and got me a new camera for the blog!! Watch out for some much improved quality around these parts.

The lows

Christ Central 
Some of you know hubby and I have been a part of a wonderful church in Brooklyn for the last few years. When we had originally started, we had the intention of moving there, but God made it clear to us that was not His plan. After plugging in from afar these past few years, we finally had to make the hard decision to listen to the Lord and move on to something closer to home. The people in that church are family to us, and making that call was painful, but we feel so much leading from God and so much peace, hope, and anticipation for the future.

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all. the. snow.

Like, it was march. Come on.

this is actual footage of an actual storm in mid march.

What I read:

Jesus Feminist – Sarah Bessey I can not recommend this book enough. Sarah is such a gracious writer and deals with what is often a difficult and divisive topic with so much tenderness and kindness, but without holding back. Get yourself a copy, give one to a friend. Seriously.

God is Good: He’s Better Than You Think Bill Johnson always challenges me to think outside the boxes I have fashioned for God. This book was a great wake up call for me to recognize all the places I have tames God’s goodness because of my experience. Let me tell you, I have been missing out on so much of the blessings that surround me because of my broken understanding of God, and I feel like my path has been rerouted in the best way.

In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware I always try to have one fiction book in the rotation for the month. This psychological thriller was a page turner, as all the best ones are. I will say it was very typical of the genre, but for the sake of some light entertainment, it did the trick.

 

What I watched:

Parks and Recreation : I know, seriously. It took hubby and I this long to finally watch, and we are loving it.
A United Kingdom There is an awesome movie theater just a ten minute walk from our apartment. We try to catch a movie at least once a month, and for March I chose A United Kingdom. It tells the story of an African king who married an English woman. I was excited to see an interracial relationship story from such a unique perspective. The film was well done, though I would have loved to be let in on more of the inner thoughts and workings of the couple.

What I listened to:

Ed Sheeran that new album though. Its just so catchy and so. good.
Twin Forks middle school favorite turned new adult favorite. Chris Carrabba I’ll shamelessly love you forever.

What I am looking forward to:

SPRING BREAK BABY! The second week of April is our spring break. We have plans to visit Hubby’s brother and Sister-in-law in Michigan. WOOT WOOT!

BABY BABY BABY!! Guys, my sister is ready to pop!

Retreat weekend : the end of this month we will be going to a prophetic retreat weekend in New Hampshire. Need I say more?

 

How was your March? Are you so ready for some more spring? What are you looking forward to this month?

Photo Credit

February Heart to Heart

Here we are, another February come and gone! I know its the shortest month, but EVERY YEAR I am all “what the heck it’s March already?”

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Care to join me for a coffee?

With all this warm weather we have been having I have been guzzling iced coffee like its my job, as soon as its warm out I remember how much more I like the icy than the hot. Alas today it is raining, and though my heart says “go for the cold” my mind and body say “get those hands around a nice warm mug.”

 

February kicked off with a bang. For Christmas Hubby and I decided to make a tradition of investing in experiences rather than gifts, so this year we grabbed tickets to see the Lumineers at Madison Square Garden.

It. Was. Incredible.

Lumineers look

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…Don't go to war

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We were a bit nervous about what it would be like to see them at a venue as massive as MSG, but they played a good half of their set from this perfect little set up smack in the middle, which seemed to really shrink the place. They shared stories between songs, which made it feel so intimate. I love feeling like I know a band more personally after seeing them play. If you ever get a chance to see The Lumineers, go, its worth every penny.

Then, just two days later, we were fortunate enough to see Joe Purdy in our own town! When I saw that he was playing a mere ten minute WALK from our house, I could barely believe it. I have wanted to see him for years. While Joe was incredible, the absolute best part was that a whole bunch of friends came with us. My best friend from Pennsylvania, my brother and sister in law from Michigan, and two of Hubby’s sisters. It was a dream come true in so many ways. Wish you could have been there too.

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His more recent music is much more politically charged and challenging in the best way. This song and “Cairo Walls” have been on repeat this month.

Over Presidents Day weekend we celebrated my sister and little baby Kinsley! I was able to play co-conspirator on a plan to surprise my mom and older sister (Marissa) with my younger sister Amanda. Amanda was the other conspirator, AND the surprise. She is in grad school in Nashville, so it looked like she wouldn’t be able to get to Buffalo for the big celebration. But, God is so good and she was able to catch a flight to New Jersey and then ride with us to Buffalo! She came on Thursday, so we even had Friday to go around Montclair. There is just something really special and good for the soul when the people you love who are far away get to see the place you call home, you know?

The shower was a blast! It was truly heartwarming to see so many people shower Marissa and my future niece with so much love and support. I had so much fun decorating and planning with my mom and Amanda. I am hoping to do a whole post about the party decorations, so more to come on that. (How amazing is this diaper cake my cousin made?)

In January I had told you I was diving into the blog as a dream to pursue for February. I have to say, so far so good. I have found it really good for my mind and my heart to be going after something, and all the feedback has been so encouraging (thank you!). I will also say, it has been vulnerable and scary at times. But at this moment, I am okay with that. I know that overcoming fears is important, and that being vulnerable brings freedom to others. So my goal for March is to keep going, with the hopes of incorporating some more fitness posts next month. Is there anything you want to see more of?

My birthday is the first week of March! So Bobby has a trip to Lancaster, PA planned and I can’t WAIT! Otherwise, as of right now, March will be pretty mellow (though the calendar never seems to stay as empty as it is now). I have all my fingers and toes crossed that the weather will stay on the warmer side. I just love being out of the house.

How was your February?

What are you looking forward to in March?

January Heart to Heart

 

Do you mind if I set the stage for these monthly meet ups?

I think we will call them heart to hearts (unless you can help me think of something better? It’s not the most original is it?)

So this is your invitation to a standing date, once a month, just to catch up. What’s been happening in our worlds? Where are our hearts at? How are we processing the month that has passed and what are our dreams for the one coming?

Could you do me a favor, and pretend with me for a little bit. Since its been so darn cold these last few days, we will meet up at my place this month. Lets wrap our hands around a nice warm cup of our favorite hot drinks (I am in the mood for coconut milk latte), and we will cozy up under blankets on my comfy green couches.

Oh friend. It’s so great to see you again. Thanks for taking some time out to spend with me. It really means the world to me that you came by.

How are you? What has been going on in your world?

January was a little nutty for us, but like honey roasted cashews kind of nutty (as in nutty in the best way). We were so busy but life-giving exciting busy, you know?

After the holidays we joined a whole bunch of friends in taking on Whole30. This was actually our second time doing it. Have you ever done Whole30? It’s a dietary reset program aimed at healing your body and revealing food sensitivities you may not even have known you have (you should check out their website).  I feel so good, I am seriously considering sticking it out through February, in which case you will be hearing much more about it in posts to come.

Bobby always raves about how good he feels on it, but pizza is his kryptonite. He caved on day 20 at a school event where he had to eat said pizza without any hands, after spinning around a bat (in his defense it was for a good cause, and under those circumstances I am sure he didn’t enjoy it).

I can’t even process all that’s going on in our world right now. I feel like this month, to spite all of the wonderful experiences we have had, the state of our country is just this lingering fear, sadness, confusion, heart ache, darkness. I am not sure how political I want to be on here, but it’s been so heavy, and its so serious, I can’t say nothing. My heart hurts for so many people, people that I know personally and I don’t, that live in real fear now. I’m sure this won’t be the last thing I say, but for now this is as much as I feel safe sharing so publicly while we are still getting to know each other… maybe this is cowardly… could you spare me some grace?

Half way through the month one of my closest friends (who happens to be my sister-in-law) shipped California to begin her adventure at YWAM. Bobby and I were able to have a dinner-prophecy-prayer party before she left, and it was amazing. Maybe I will write a separate post with some details for that in case you ever wanted to do something similar. God really blessed us and her in that sweet space we made for him. We all asked God for a word that we felt He had for her regarding this time in California so we could share and pray it over her. We made this for her to take with her and remember. img_4742

Bobbys birthday was this month and we celebrated for just about a full week. I wrote about his party here if you want to check it out.

February is shaping up to be amazing. We are going to a couple of concerts and I am SO EXCITED, but I am going to leave you guessing who until we meet next month (or until you see it somewhere else on the internets).

I have a week off, so I am hoping to spend a few days in silence and solitude, maybe on the beach. God and I need some good exclusive time, but if I am honest it scares me a bit. I don’t always like myself that much (I am working on it) and I am afraid God wont show (silly fear maybe, but it’s there nonetheless). Would you pray for me? Do any of you have some tips on how to do this well? Have you done a personal retreat before?

My big sisters baby shower is this month, and I get to decorate! I can’t wait to celebrate her and my future niece!!

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I’m digging into this blogging thing for February. Taking a swing to see if maybe there is a little seed of passion there, let’s see if it grows?!

How was your January?

What are you looking forward to for February?

Are you reaching for any dreams or goals this month?

(header photo courtesy of my incredible sister-in-law)