Friday, December 27, 2013


Yesterday was a running stream of coincidence.
As I drove to lunch I listened to a fascinating interview on NPR with astronaut Chris Hadfield.

Over lunch we started talking about the dubious exploits of Jimmy Page, trying to coax my father in law into believing his hero was maybe less then a sterling example of a man. Then Stairway to Heaven starts playing in the sushi house.

To change the subject, we watch Chris sing "Space Oddity" in a music video he made in the International Space Station. It is basically my favorite thing in the whole world right now.
It's all rounded out when we go to see a showing of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and of course Walter gains strength from Kristin Wiig singing "Ground control to Major Tom..."

Walter Mitty....I liked it! I really did. It was so enjoyable. Go see it.

2013 is almost at an end. We had a wonderful Christmas, and I always love this last week or two of the year when everything seems to slow to a crawl. Work is stagnant, you focus more on how much pie you can eat then how many times you've been to the gym. It's like centrifugal force, everything slowing to almost an end, right before speeding up and shooting downward again into the new year.

Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles, I'm feeling very still.
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Last night we had a white elephant party. I showed up with a pregnancy test and a scratch off lotto ticket. I left with a gigantic picture of a sailboat.

Why is it so hard to have a clean house and food in the fridge and write in a blog and have brass-free hair color? WHY? Seriously, this stage of my life both terrifies and thrills me. There is so much growth and change and excitement and freaking laundry.

When I casually mention the words "coconut oil" "sulfate-free"  "aluminum" or "little boys with baby dolls" and peoples eye fill with panic, fear, mouths gone bone dry while hands become puddles. Fear not-- I have nay come to take your Tupperware or make you eat quinoa, promise. Any normal hippy would scoff at Jared and I's pedestrian ways.

Someone has been driving this little whip to work for the past few weeks. Bravo.

I got a new car. Repeat, I got a new car. With AIR CONDITIONING. More on that later.

Never turning on the heat, always turning on the Christmas tree.

Jared passed the class that has been dogging him for two semesters! So so proud of him!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Florida. Its hot and sticky and swampy and everywhere you turn there's something that bites or creeps or stings, and all too often all three. I have to appreciate all that sticking and wet mucking, critters and all. If anything it screams LIFE. It's teeming and rich with big green life. There is so much beauty here. Few people can look at an oak tree dripping with moss or St Augustine wrapped up in twinkle lights and not immediately fall in love, but there's beauty in the gray haze of the afternoons and the scrubby palmetto bushes, too. 





A few weeks ago we took a trip to Fort Caroline so the dog could become one with nature and also because we like to play Russian Roulette with the possibility of  contracting Lyme Disease. We found banana spiders as big as the palm of your hand and watched a big pod of wild dolphins play off the coast.

We also recently ran down to St Augustine for the Festival of the Lights with some friends. My favorite part of St Augustine is first and foremost Kilwins with a close second being photoshoots in the old fort moat. If you're local, I highly reccommend it as a great 0 dollar date. Well....5 dollar date if you snag a cone from Kilwins. But I assure it will be 5 dollars well spent. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Jared and I have been seriously looking at upgrading my car! I am giddy with anticipation. I would really like a hatchback. Any suggestions?

High Tide Burrito chips and queso. Come to mama. In other food related news, my Sweet Frog punch card is FULL. I feel like cashing in on my free yogurt may result in some kind of worm hole opening up in the universe. This is about as likely as me finishing an entire tube of chapstick without losing it.

Last night I did a complete double take while watching You've Got Mail. Doth my eyes deceive? Nope. That's Dr. Danny Castellano! Dem brows though...

Gilligan ate a pack of red jello powder and several sachets of swiss miss resulting in sugary red beardlocks. Basically it looked like he had been feasting on the blood of the innocent.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Common daydream: Jared and I are a husband and wife family band, just like Tennis.

This is setting itself to be a real ring-ding weekend. Tomorrow we'll go see the Avett Brothers, Saturday morning is a mid-century modern home tour of Jacksonville and Saturday night we take to Lake City for the Hootenanny!

Going on 3 weeks without turning the AC on.

Getting rid of even more crap. Anyone need a toaster oven or a large stove top griddle?

I really want to thank Wes Anderson for releasing a new movie to coincide with my 25th (gulp) birthday next year. I have fully drank the kool-aid so I really do not care to hear any of your opinions about Wes, that beautiful dreamer.

My boss kept asking me if I was feeling okay this morning. It was then I realized he was basically telling me I looked like an old bag lady wearing my giant coat and scarf around the office.

All I want is sugar lately. There is not one treat in my house and I am waiting for the day that Jared comes home and find's me greasy faced in the corner eating spoonfuls of brown sugar.

This morning I was alerted to not one, not two but THREE Christmas tree's in my friends living rooms.

Throwback Thursday anyone? EPCOT 2008

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I truly never understood the saying "there just aren't enough hours in the day"  until this year. I was never an over industrious person as a teenager and into my college years, but as days go by and I ripen up a bit, I can feel my A-type engine revving.

 I see in myself more and more the need to go and go and go. To make, help, carry, clean, decorate, cook, whatever there is to be done. Whether this is the product of Mormonism, the waning of adolescent depression, being a Manning or just a sign of -gulp/guffaw- "maturity", I could not tell you. I've always loved being in the thick of it, but lately I've been filled with enough initiative to make me think that maybe, just maybe, one day I'll be half the lady my grandmother is. Seriously, there is never a room she can not make cleaner or a yard that doesn't stand a good overhaul when Bonnie is around, and I mean that in the most sincere compliment.

 The way I am writing this makes me sound like superwoman, flying around and sweeping the floor clean with a golden broom, which could not be further from the truth. Its just remarkable when you can see the evolution of yourself. It's like looking forward and seeing the curvature of the Earth. It is rare to realize the change within yourself while it is happening. Hindsight usually reveals all of this in sparkling clean lines, but current change moves too fast to make out. I really do feel different though. Different from a year ago, yes, but different than 3 years ago-drastically. 

On my lunch break, I let Gilligan out for his afternoon T time, and then went to change my shoes so I could play with him in the back yard. I thought I should stay out there with him, but 5 minutes couldn't hurt, right?

I came out and he was no where to be found. The gate was wide open and my neighbors car was gone, so I knew just what had happened. I went out into the neighborhood and started calling the dog but he was gone. I didn't panic though. I felt very calm for a woman who is so frantically obsessed with a small helpless creature such as Gill. I said a prayer and I knew I would find him. I walked up and down the street calling him, finally getting a little choked up after 10 minutes of nothing. I tried calling Jared for ideas but then then the mailman stopped me and said "Oh a little dog? Yes, I saw him waiting at your front door so I let him into your building." I walked home and there was Gillian, shivering and wagging his tail in the foyer in front of our door. 

I give this long winded account of a dog gone missing because it has stuck in my brain for the rest of the afternoon. I am blown away by the ability we all have to listen to our gut instincts. I recognize that gut reaction as a prompting, the Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit, our conscience whatever you want to call it, told me not to leave that dog out there alone and I did anyway. It was a small and almost insignificant feeling but hey--isn't that almost always the case? That same feeling assured me everything would be alright when I saw him missing. 

I hope that busyness doesn't get in my way of listening to those little things. I hope that as I feel these rapid changes within myself, they are for the better. 

I also hope I can stop thinking of really vindictive, clever and evil ways to get back at my neighbors for always, without fail, leaving the gate open. But some things never change. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


My Aunt Shelly passed away yesterday morning. This was her second time with breast cancer.

Shelly always made me feel important. She had a way of enveloping you when she spoke. She was genuine and engaged and you could always tell she really wanted to know how you were doing, she wanted to know how school was going or about your new job. She didn't phone it in or put on a face of friendliness- that's just who she was. She liked to do things herself, she loved making and fixing and independence. I don't think I ever saw her when she didn't tell me I looked beautiful or asked how I was doing. She was so beautiful, the bluest eyes and the best cheek bones.

My favorite memories of Shelly:

Swimming in the summertime while she made Ryan, Josh and I pb&j's with strawberry jelly and cheese puffs.

Ryan's birthday- Her standing on the back porch laughing at us as we took turns digging a penny out of a pile of flour with our mouths.

Having me try on all her wigs, showing the little cousins her bald head with a grin.

Attempting to slip me cash over and over for house sitting.

I know I will see Shelly again. She knew where she was going, and I'm grateful I could hear her share her testimony not too long ago. I'm grateful she was part of my life.

Monday, November 4, 2013


I had never been to Washington DC before. I hopped up on business for a three day trip last week. I was busy running around a conference in extremely insensible shoes for the most part, but in my free time I learned 4 things:

- True autumnal weather is a beautiful thing, and feel's a lot like Florida's winter, so maybe I should quit my belly aching after all.

- I will never get tired of visiting museums and eating at new restaurants.

- I love city living.

- DC's metro is run almost exclusively by horrible trolls.

Luckily, I was able to keep the trolls at bay by reuniting my high school posse. Lauren and Krystle came down to visit and we had a magical time looking at gems and geodes and eating pizza and burgers and milkshakes all in the same meal. The milkshakes though, I mean really. If you are in DC, go to Good Stuff Eatery. Don't even look at the capitol building until you have a toasted marshmallow shake in your hand.
Other highlights were We The Pizza and Mission Taco. Good food in that town for sure. And seriously good hair weather as well. Oh, and I saw Obama and Biden pass in a motorcade! What thrills!

I was also able to visit the Holocaust Museum which was truly humbling and I would insist that everyone take a visit when in town.

Til we meet again, DC.






Thursday, October 31, 2013


This year Jared got to pick the costumes. I couldn't begrudge him-- it's been my choice for years. We had been talking about being Marty McFly and Doc Brown for many a year, and this seemed the perfect time to do it.

Last year I showed up to work as Mary Poppins....This year I showed up at 6 am with my working cap on, but I will eat a Mellowcreme pumpkin and it will still be Halloween in my heart.

Some of our greatest hits through the years.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. Over the year, evangelists for other holidays have tried to out do me, tried to prove to me why I was wrong. "I mean, Christmas...just CHRISTMAS!" They will holler. But Halloween is not just a day where anyone can be anything, its a day where everyone comes out equal. Whether you've got a trust fund waiting for you, or you know the awkwardness of standing in line at school to receive your free lunch, Halloween is for you.

For me, holidays like Christmas and my birthday carry such weight. That weight inevitably turns into pressure and anxiety for me. The pressure of giving and receiving resulted in some intense sadness and anxiety throughout my childhood, of wishing for more. More to give others who always had something to hand to me, we would often give home made treats or even once our own movies taken from the home, and more to receive. Sick guilt would wash over me, and pours over me now, thinking of feeling that way in the first place. It isn't about that! Oh, but somehow it still is. It's a lot for a poor sap like me.

But Halloween. Halloween I can do. I can even excel at Halloween. A pumpkin costs 5 bucks. A thrift store costume is inevitably always cooler and more clever than store bought, especially when you have been raised by a mother who could pull a costume together in 10 minutes flat. Candy, by the huge pillow case sack full, is always just a trick-r-treat away.

So I will continue to carve jack-o-lanterns, and dream up costumes, and revel in handing over treats to the greedy little paws that visit us on the 31st. All of you Christmas and birthday loyalists can stop trying to convert me. I'm fine right here, with my labradoodle pumpkin and some incredibly hilarious family portraits.


Thursday, October 17, 2013


Grateful for my ability to always be myself.
Grateful for my strong relationship with my Heavenly Father.
Grateful for the four walls around me, even when they seem paltry or less than perfect. 
Grateful for the cool weather that has me thinking I can keep my car for another few months after all.  
Grateful for the laundry detergent that leaked all across the kitchen floor. Has it ever been cleaner?
Grateful for best friends who live literally a few steps or a 5 minute drive away. 
Grateful for thrift store gems when none of your clothes fit anymore. 
Grateful that none of my clothes fit anymore!
Grateful for wonderful friends who go out of their way to share love, time and resources. It's nice to know you always have someone to watch your dog. It's nice to know you can get crazy awesome Disney discounts with no catch at all. It's nice to know that people miss your company.
Grateful for a husband who washes the dog, the laundry and my dirty dishes.

Couldn't resist the picture, it makes me laugh every time. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013



Last Friday we rocked the heck out of Austin Karaoke. In matching outfits. What's your favorite karaoke song? Mine is a tie between Oh Darling by The Beatles and Total Eclipse of the Heart.

Fall has come to the south, meaning we've been cruising in the low 80's, high 70's. For three days we turned the AC off and opened the windows. Magic.

My friend Kevin Newton was fantastic enough to remind me that it's PUMPKIN BLIZZARD SEASON Y'ALL. Seriously, who the heck cares about the PSL, I am all about the PSB. Speaking of treats, Sonic allows you to get a dirty Dr Pepper in slush form. Ah sweet lovin.

We were given a king size bed this week! It is comically huge, especially since we don't have a frame for it yet.

I finally climbed the 5.8 wall which has been mocking me! I'm not confident enough to try a 5.9 yet but I'm getting there.

We are officially a cable free household! Amazon Prime 4 eva.

Best Coast continues to be the Best. 


Tried a new Zumba class yesterday, which I loved. I flailed around for an hour and worked up a good ol fashioned sweat. Back in the locker room I discovered my pants had been on backwards the entire time.

STUFF. I feel another huge purge coming on. When we moved the new bed in and moved our old one to the spare room, displacing all of the nicely stacked boxes that had slowly been creeping back in. As much as Jared claims he needs 12 copies of the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers...I think we will be taking a few more trips to the thrift store.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I have felt like a very drab ol' bag for quite a while now. My addiction to extreme change in the hair department has slowly faded over the years. Faded just like my actual hair, which has been leaching color for months and months. My natural hair color has not been seen on this Earth in nigh unto 8 years at least. In pictures my hair looks sort of a whatever brown, but in person it was brassy and gross. So I decided to brighten it up with some ombre while I maybe grow out the natural color.

Let me make this clear, I like to make sure I am several years behind on most beauty trends. And I stand unashamed! Now, embrace the selfies, and I'll embrace the fact that I should have done this months ago.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Dogs. Dogs, man. I have always been a complete Elvira type. I love love, so naturally I love animals, who love to give me love. Because I give them food. No! Because they love me, silly. Anyway, Jared and I are so happy to have this fuzzy little dinosaur in our lives! Happy birthday Gilligan, you are the best. You snuggle like a champ, don't bark very often, are extremely docile and you never give me allergies. You don't even shed you delightful little hound!. Lets just work on that addiction to eating beauty products and try to work on being less of a freak when I try to cut your stilletto nails, shall we?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Do you ever skip a few days at the gym and freak out and think you're going to gain back every ounce you just lost, even while pulling a piping hot pan of s'mores out from under the broiler? So many feelings these past few days. This morning I realized its undoubtedly hormone induced and it had me breathing a huge heavy sigh of relief. I was cruising blogs this morning and saw this snippet from a parenting book on how to speak to your emotionally distraught child. 

"The authors suggest four ways to help children deal with their feelings:
1. Listen quietly and attentively.
2. Acknowledge their feelings with words like, "Oh . . . . Mmmm . . . I see . . ."
3. Give the feelings a name ("Wow! That sounds frustrating/challenging/intense/disappointing!")
4. Give the child his wishes in fantasy (I wish I could give you the biggest bowl ice cream with 10 cherries on top right now!")"

UM WHAT. That should ready "four ways to help your Kipin deal with their feelings."
Even the ice cream part. Especially the ice cream part. I may laminate this on a little card and give it to friends/husbands/family/work associates.

Also yes, I regularly read mommy blogs though I have no children? And no plans for a child for a few years to come? One of the mysteries of life my friends is the siren call of the mommy blog.

It's actually not all that bad. It's NOT bad is what it is. It's good for pete's sake! Sometimes it astonishes me, how easy I get those negative blinders on and eschew every opportunity to count a tender mercy, SO here I go.

Austenland, laughed my head off. Jennifer Coolidge, I adore you
Aforementioned broiled s'more, I love you.
Rock climbing. It makes me feel strong. Even though I can only climb a 5.7.
The Avett Brother concert tickets have been bought.
I can ride in my contour and not get sweaty on the drive to work.
Jared Alexander, I love you.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


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Oh Savannah. Look how happy I am to be there! A quick disclaimer: Josh and Sarah you were in Jacksonville when I went up, but you have to let me and Jared come and stay with you soon!

Anyway, Savannah. Signed, sealed delivered I am yours. So charming, so walkable, so delicious.

My pal Lauren and I spent Labor Day in Savannah. Of course, half of everything is closed there on Mondays, and the other quarter is closed on Holidays, but that didn't get us down. Our plan? Look at expensive home furnishings, antiques and other wares we can't afford and eat a lot of food. I mean like, a lot a lot of food. It should be noted that we did very little research for this trip beyond the top Urbanspoon listings. Priorities, we have them.

First stop was Paris Market which is basically the beautiful lovechild of Anthropology and Restoration Hardware with a dash of cinematic old antique store. Loved it. LOVED IT. We sniffed probably 20 candles in this place, thumbed through many an old book, sighed over some gorgeous letterpress and posed with this charming deer.
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Thursday, August 29, 2013


Gilligan in a cloth diaper. Need I say more?

Dirty Diet Dr Pepper. I still draw a hard line with soda drinking but UGH....I have been making more Sonic trips then I would like to admit lately, even if I do only get a child's size.

Giving away old favorites because they are literally hanging off of me.
I have never been more happy to get rid of a favorite dress. I have officially lost 19 lbs. I gained 3 when we went to California (ugh I know, but the In N' Out y'all), and lost that and another 2. My Lose It App informs me that I have worked out at least 4 times a week for the past 3 months! I feel stronger, healthier and more determined then ever. I went rock climbing with Jared for the first time in almost a year. I could climb 4 walls I wouldn't have been able to think about last time.

Hanging with one of my best girlfrands this pas weekend. I miss you Lauren! It actually makes my heart ache thinking about it.

My grandparents are so good to me. My Grandmother hemmed a dress for me, by hand, the other week with out a moments complaint. After being life long "outside with the animal" people, they have never told me to leave Gilligan at home when I come over. Papa even snuggled him! I am so grateful to have two of the best most supportive grandparents ever.

Three day weekend praise be!

Friday, August 23, 2013


A few weekends ago we made our way to California for a wedding. If you haven't seen the video of the trip youcan watch it here.

I love flying out to California because you travel through time and reap the benefit of 3 extra hours. After grabbing our rental car (free upgrade haaay, under 25 surcharge boo), we made our way to the hotel. Jared went in to check us in and – major gaff – I had booked the wrong days!! I had unknowingly booked the hotel for July instead of August and we were homeless in California! I downloaded the HotelTonight app and found a hotel less then 2 miles away for a great price. Avatar Hotel was a modern video game themed place. It was such a relief, especially when we realized that right next door was…..

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The mothership. OK so we say we went to California to see Kevin Newton get married, but really we went because we are drawn to In N Out Burger like a moth to a flame. Always coordinate your lipstick and your condiments. After ingesting a burger brunch that took up ¾ of my daily calorie allotment in LoseIt app, we set out on a 3 hour ride through central CA to Fresno. We listened to a great episode of This American Life, the new Civil Wars Album and took in the Grapes of Wrath scenery. It was a great little drive. Living flat on the ground my whole life, I get a huge kick out of meandering up and down hills and watching cows gracefully graze on what looks to me as a mountain edge. 

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When we got to Hanford, where the Buckleys live, we got to work folding paper flowers and counseling Kevin Newton on married life. The next two days were so much fun. Kevin and Jessica are so in love and their reception was the best. They had a fresh churro stand!! A CHURRO STAND!! These were like Disney level churro's a kid you not. And Jessica smashed a piniata. What a babe that Jessica btw, Kevin Newton you officially have a trophy wife ;). 

I also made the most darling new friend. Kevin Newton’s nephew was apparently quite smitten with me, and I spent the majority of the reception cutting a rug on the dance floor with him and playing thumb war. We made some really good memories on this trip. I'm so grateful we were able to fly out there. 

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Babe alert! BABE ALEERRRTTT!!!
Hold the phone....I interrupt this stream of pictures to bring you this blue eyed angel. I am a lucky woman. Sorry y'all, go back to your business.

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