7 Things Sunday

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’ll be spending my Valentine’s Day at The Des Moines Catholic Worker House feeding lots of friends with lots of friends. They say the way to people’s hearts is through their bellies soooo, it’s perfect. And last night I spent Galentine’s Day eating sushi and listening to some killer comediennes at Des Moines Social Club’s Second Annual Galentine’s Day All-Lady Lineup with some gal pals.

I hope that today you’re all feeling the love.

It’s been ungodly cold lately. Seriously. And blustery. I yearn for green grass, porching, freckles, and mojito season so very much. It’s important to have an arsenal of weapons for banishing winter blues when you live in Iowa. Here’s a list of my personal favorites…

One. Flower power. Because when everything around me is cold and dead, I need something happy and living. IMG_6782

Two. Sweat. I started taking hot yoga classes and I think this may be the thing of all things that has helped me survive the wretched winter. There is something about being in a 90 degree room for an hour and coming out drenched in sweat that detoxes the mind and body. But feel the burn however you prefer. IMG_6820

Three. Books on books on books. When going outside is terrible, stay inside and read. IMG_6802

Four. Tea Time. If there was anything I learned from spending last year in the UK, it is that there is a strongly held belief that a cup of tea solves every problem. So, I’ve stocked myself silly. If you’ve never been, you should pay Gong Fu in the East Village a visit! My latest favorite Gong Fu tea is Scartlet Ginger. I’m not a fruity tea fan, but the ginger offsets it and I’m hooked. Pictured below is Fredrich’s ‘Wellness’ tea, which is particularly excellent if you’re suffering from a cold. Or suffering from the cold. IMG_6796

Five. Start a project. I don’t know about you, but winter always feels like an inappropriately long waiting period. As in, I’m just waiting for it to be over. Starting something new keeps me busy and distracted from point A to B. I’ve always wanted to experiment with gold leaf and so I began incorporating it into a new painting. Hurray.IMG_6837

Six. Socks that rock. Good socks are crucial to keep those toes warm and comfy. I’m a fan of Smartwool. Personally, I think they’re totally worth the expense, but I ask for them at Christmas. You can wear them days on days without a wash and they don’t get stinky. I don’t know how it works, but it does.IMG_6799

Seven. Snuggle. Get the oxytocin flowing. I’ve been snuggling up with the Burbanks on Sunday evenings to watch all the Oscar Best Picture nominees.  Complete with Kesslers + Coke, popcorn, and twinkle lights. I know The Revenant is incredible, but Room won me over. Go see it! Or read it. MV5BMjE4NzgzNzEwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTMzMDE0NjE@._V1_UY1200_CR90,0,630,1200_AL_



7 Things Sunday

Goodness. I haven’t done one of these since June.  Oh summer, how you tend to fill up fast and fly by far too quickly.

One. I celebrated my birthday on July 4th! I had breakfast at La Mie with some of my favorite ladies and spent the weekend in Minnesota preparing for the nuptials of my friends Sarah and Shaun. I could not get over what a drop dead gorgeous bride Sarah was. And she threw one heck of a dreamy wedding. I was incredibly honored to be a part of it and feel that I did my due diligence on the dance floor (surprise, surprise). At one point it was only a four year old and I out there literally running in circles to Katy Perry. Oh, and a shout out to Ashley, who cut my bridesmaid dress shorter at the reception so that I could run in those circles.

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Little Vivian painted this for me. Isn’t it the cutest, ever?

Two. My job has kept me very busy. Sometimes I want to hyperventilate. John Mark and I stress-eat way too many fruit snacks. But look! So much to love. And I’m thrilled to say that we met our enrollment goal, which I thought would be impossible. Yeah! Teamwork! My last few weeks working will be filled with video production, street art, a back-to-school Literacy Launch, and our end of summer open house/ice cream social (mark your calendars: August 18 from 4-7)!


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Three. My UK visa was approved and processed! So, I am OFFICIALLY going to Scotland for graduate school. I leave the first week of September and I will graduate next year in June. Let’s hang out and do fun summer adventure things before I fly away, okay?

Four. I’m obsessed with this quote because I have never read anything that describes so perfectly how I feel nearly all the time:

“My heart wants roots. My mind wants wings. I cannot bear their bickerings.” – E.Y. Harburg

Five. My sister passed flight attendant training school this weekend. She’s going to be the sweetest little stewardess the skies ever did see. So proud of you, Madison! Here’s to your great new adventures.


Six. I was so thankful to be able to enjoy a weekend in the Ozarks at my family’s “Playhouse” with wonderful people. Highlights included: Games of Quelf, King’s Cup, and Powerhour, jumping off the dock, s’mores dip, late night swims to take in the starry night sky, karaoke, a giant bowl of the best guacamole ever, hours of good conversation in the relaxation stations, a group twerk-off (don’t ask), afternoon naps, and celebrating Sterling’s 1st birthday!

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Seven. Movies I saw recently and more or less loved:


Guardians of the Galaxy

Wish I Was Here

Begin Again



7 Things Sunday

I was standing in line at the Fleur waiting to see Her (which I have a total love/hate thing with. I could talk about it for hours. Ugh. It ruined me. Haha.) and I was thinking to myself how it has been an amazing year for film and I’m unusually excited for Oscar season. Every movie showing at the Fleur that night was excellent. Yes, I had seen all of them. Don’t judge me. I just can’t help it. I get way too emotionally invested in stories. I want to see them all. I partly blame how I was raised. For instance, it is virtually impossible to beat any team my dad is on at Scene It and growing up my mom would keep our movie ticket stubs from each year and put them all in a scrapbook. They would, and still do, frequently speak in movie quotes. Instead of renting some popular kid movie (which obviously did happen sometimes) my parents would have Madison and I watch Casablanca or Monty Python or something that was split between two VHS tapes. 

I’m the person who can’t just leave a movie and not think about it all day or for a few days or sometimes all week. There are exceptions. Like, I’ve never seen a Seth Rogen movie that left me with existential questions or conflicted feelings. Wait…nope, I’m wrong. 50/50 got me good. But, you get what I’m saying. I love when a movie makes me notice, makes me engage, makes me feel, makes me think. Here are the last seven films I’ve seen and my brief opinion:

One. Her

-It is hard for me to summarize all my thoughts into a few sentences for this one. I appreciated that it was beautifully shot, brilliantly acted and extremely thought-provoking. I believe I initially confused not liking the movie for not liking the way the movie made me feel. But it did exactly what it was probably supposed to do–make me question what is real and what is okay. I could go on forever. Just go see it.

Two. Blackfish

– Really sad, especially if you grew up watching Free Willy like it was your job. Everyone should see it to be informed. Oh, and Orca penises are the craziest thing ever.

Three. Nebraska

– I think there is another level of appreciation you can have for this movie if you’re from the Midwest. It’s refreshing to see something you’re so familiar with on screen; the unsentimental small-town life that is rarely portrayed. It’s timeless, melancholy, and at times very funny.

Four. American Hustle

I’m not entirely sure it lived up to its hype. I mostly loved it for the performances, but it was a fun movie; clever and charming with a little bit of everything. It felt too long, but I wasn’t ever bored either.

Five. Anchorman II

Definitely too long, but I thought it was hilarious. I mean, it’s just more of the same…which is exactly what the people who see it will want.

Six. Philomena

Obsessed. When is Judy Dench not the best ever?! This movie will make you feel everything. It’s a humbling and well-crafted look at the thirst for righteous justice and the tenacity of faith and underserved mercy. It’s beautiful.

Seven. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

I get that people are sticklers about it being so different from the book. I’m a huge fan of the book. But I went in knowing I should just enjoy it for cinematic entertainment’s worth…and I did. Sure, I wish some things were different but it definitely kept me engaged more than the first movie and I’ll probably watch it again.