Category Archives: rambles

New Year, New You, New Goals, New EVERYTHING

Just kidding. I’m not an infomercial.

I’ve thought a lot about resolutions these past few days and I’ve realized they’re all a crock. Also, get out of my gym and stop buying all the produce at Sprouts you wanna-be healthy eaters.

Kidding, again. Eat more vegetables and move your butt around, it’s good for you.

So, my outlook for 2014? Uncertain. I’m excited – like the sometimes-its-hard-to-sleep-tomorrow’s-the-first-day-of-school feeling – and quietly unambitious at once. I didn’t put my finger on it until today when I read Jenny Blake’s plan for 2014 in which she quotes Lao Tzu:

Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?

The Master doesn’t seek fulfillment.
Not seeking, not expecting,
she is present, and can welcome all things.

Mind blown. Not seeking, not expecting. Sounds like the ultimate change from my 2013 mindset, activities and goals. I’m in. Don’t get me wrong! There are still actions I’ll take and feelings I’ll seek, including establishing a regular posting schedule for this blog, writing more, exercise, all the usual suspects. But I’m going to cease the striving to there and focus on here. Can I remain unmoving? What a great challenge – to be still, thankful and fine with what is. Sounds good to me.

One new thing this year will be Monday posts. I don’t have a super creative title for this today, but I want to share things I think are interesting with you every week. Here you go:

  • I made this pasta and I loved every moment of every spicy, creamy bite. I added in about two tablespoons of plain greek yogurt for the creamy. Everything Jessica makes eventually also gets made in my kitchen. Go try something on this blog, you will love it.
  • Guess what? Only 46 percent of us will still be working on our New Year’s Resolutions by February. And everyone wants to be skinny.
  • In addition to the supreme cold everywhere (if this is the first time you’ve been told ‘it’s cold’ today, congrats on not reading the news, being on social media or speaking to anyone), today is generally the crabbiest day of the year. Mashable gave us 24 gifs to cheer us up. I love the flirty cat.

What sounds good to you in 2014?




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#31Days: Day Twenty Two (or, the dismissal of social media)

For Lent this year, I gave up the big 3: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. On February 13, I pulled the saved log ins for all three from my work computer, personal laptop, iPad and iPhone – and while I’m startled anyway at the myriad of access points I had, I was more startled to feel so disconnected from people.

For about two days.

The first weekend, I felt very free. I could do whatever I wanted and it did not matter what people (near or far) were posting, saying, filtering and tweeting. I did not have to answer to anyone or any platform. Nobody was able to know where I was, how I felt or what I thought unless they called me. Calling me! How novel.

Now, I had my reasons for disconnecting and they ranged from things or people I didn’t want to bother myself with seeing to just me as a human trying to think about only me. I also know I am not the first and won’t be the last to disconnect from social media. I did not break new ground here on the stress or anxiety caused by seeing everyone else’s ‘fun’ or ‘perfect’ life, FOMO is not something I invented, etc.

What I am here to tell you is I am proud of myself for spending 46 days only answering to people I saw in real life, heard over the phone or to myself. I spent 46 days filling my time with cleaning my apartment, reading books (! real ones), getting adequate amounts of sleep or exercise and face time with people and activities. In those 46 days, I had no desire to check Facebook or Insta to compare, I did not feel guilty for staying in alone on a Saturday and I did not let my mind wander into the dark places of anxiety or loneliness.

I like to challenge myself – to see what I can live with or live without, to test my limits of endurance and willpower. I thought of this Lenten challenge this morning when my instinct was to immediately open Instagram as soon as the clock hit 7 a.m. I was up at 6, working (not the intention of these 31 days, but I digress) and was itching to check social media. For what? Good Q.

As the months pass, I consider giving it all up again – or at least taking a hiatus. Could you? Would you? It’s freeing, I tell ya.

Think about it.



This is the twenty-second post in a series, 31 Days of 6 a.m. To see a list of all posts from the month of October, click here. If you would like to have these posts delivered directly to you, enter your email address in the form located at the top right of the home page.



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September Things

1. Ben Howard’s “These Waters”  –> ever heard a song and immediately realized every single word is reverberating through your heart and tugging on the parts of you where feelings hide? These Waters did this to me the first week of September. I probably listened to it 10x a day.

What we found down these roads that wander as lost as the heart,
Is a chance to breathe again, a chance for a fresh start.
Spaces between the happiness and the hardness.

2. Camping–> I slept in a tent. Like, a real on-the-ground-in-a-sleeping-bag tent. Also? I didn’t hate it. Mainly because I was with really fun friends and we were seeing really amazing concerts. Also, sweating a lot as it was nearly 100 degrees. But that’s a conversation for another day.

3. Babies –> Ya’ll, this tiny child. I finally met Jack Brosnahan and my entire heart and soul withered away at the cutest nose and tiniest, featheriest hair.

Baby Jack

LOOK AT THAT. I can’t.

4. New York City –> Oh, don’t mind me just visiting NYC for the third time this year. AND FINALLY, getting to do the things I wanted to do the first two times around.  Hello Matt, Savannah, & Al!  Hello MoMA! Hello beautiful weather!

5. Today Show –> So I am a complete morning show geek and watch Today every morning. Getting on this show has been on my list of things to do FOREVER and I DID IT! I woke up at 5 a.m. and, bleary-eyed, crafted a poster asking Al about my neck of the woods and snagged a front-row spot on the Plaza. I was featured in the 8 a.m. lead-in teaser, and waved like a crazy person in multiple segments between 8:30 and 8:45. I also took a picture with Savannah Guthrie and chatted with Matt Lauer. Dreams coming true before 9 a.m. eastern is a pretty cool feeling – I suggest it to anyone.

OnTV Sign

6.  Ellen is back –> The Ellen show is such a bright spot on my DVR. My DVR is generally filled with scary crime dramas or scripted family-issue shows, but I always record Ellen. She is so kind and hilarious – and shows me fantastic videos. Like what does the fox say?

7. Still –> I alluded to this in August’s Things. I don’t do well with still, and apparently I took this statement to heart and ran as hard and fast as possible through September. This month was a whirlwind of travel, work, church and gym. I felt busy and also very tired. So, October will be more about balance.

8. October –> SO EXCITED FOR THE RETURN OF MY FAVORITE MONTH. October will include trips to Oklahoma, football, pumpkin parties, making soup and a blog post everyday as I link up (as I did last year) to the 31 days series.  Check back Tuesday to discover what I’m doing for 31 days straight!

9. Friends –> Aside from one of the best binge-watch-of-reruns shows ever, Friends had an amazing lineup of cameos throughout the series. Did you know Alec Baldwin, Charlie Sheen, Dakota Fanning and Reese Witherspoon are on the list? You know now.

10. Food –> I take an extraordinary amount of pictures of food. Mostly food I cook, but also food I buy in delightful bakeries and restaurants. So here are some of the items I ate in September:

donutSpinachDip carbonaraBouchon BakerySteaktacos chixsoup

See you Tuesday for the first day of 31 Days!




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August Things

Well, hi September. Wasn’t sure we’d make it to you this year, what with a rocky first few months but without hesitation here you come with promises of leaves, pumpkins, Monday Night Football and Halloween candy riding on your coattails. I’ll accept.

While we await Fall, let’s talk about August – the weird not summer in name but summer in heat month. Where you try to stick to goals and plans, but it is so hot and you lay on the couch.  Things happened nonetheless! Here’s what went through my brain and life in August:

1. Self revelation in August: I don’t do well with still. Unfortunately, my life is kind of still currently. I’ll let you know how I work this one out.

2. Quarter-life crises are referred to often in stories and tv, often depicting this #dark time with bottles of wine and cats and tears. Want to know where real quarter-life crises happen? On gchat during the work day. These happen to everyone, male or female, and hit randomly on a Thursday at 11 a.m. where you must type all of the feelings to a friend who can give you advice between answering emails. Just me reporting from the field here.

3. “If you do drive a bug, you have to be pretty easy going because you’re only gonna get to go where the bug wants to go.” -Life advice from Marcel (yes, this is old. don’t care, it makes me giggle)

4. Can we talk about New Girl? Should I admit I hated it when it first aired cause Zooey was just. TOO. MUCH. But apparently around episode 4, everyone figured this out and things got funny and involved and now I’m so sad Netflix only has season 1. Also, I watched it in less than week. Weekend. Semantics. Point is: go watch it. Cringe a little the first few episodes then YOU WILL LOVE IT.  Also, someone give me all of Season 2. Please.

Jess Day

5. Baby sister is in college, now. She moved in a dorm room and went through rush and has new baby friends and goes to lectures and labs. I called my Mom and asked her how she deals with the anxiety of parenting. To which she reminded me I don’t have a kid…..But seriously, I just love this tiny girl and want to teach her all of the things but I can’t so I just listen to all of the things and secretly wish I was in college too. Sis went Kappa at OU this month and I pledged Kappa at OU six years ago. Look at these twins separated by six years:

Bid Day twins

6. Speaking of Kappa, my “big sister” when I was in college ended up being actually like a real big sister and one of my dearest, sweetest friends. This week, she had her first baby! Precious sweet Jack made his entrance into the world on Monday afternoon and I am so thrilled. Also? I haven’t had anyone super close to me give birth before and man, I was anxious. I thought about her every 15 minutes at work the morning she was in labor. I can’t wait to watch tiny Jack grow up with the best parents I could imagine.

7. Pluots. Blueberries. Strawberries. Donut Peaches. Nectarines. I am having a love moment with delightful stone fruits and berries. I can’t stop. I ate 3 pluots in one day.

8. I love to cook and I also love to read recipes/blogs and pretend I can (or will) make all the recipes I have bookmarked across my toolbar in Chrome. The odds of me making these 214 masterpieces are slim, primarily because I try to eat a (MOSTLY) paleo diet, free of things like cake or bread. But on the days I do want to eat glorious foodstuffs no caveman would consume, I go straight to Jessica from How Sweet Eats. So, you know how some people have an imaginary dinner party invite list? I have one of those and I have an imaginary cook-in-the-kitchen-all-day with list. This obviously includes Jessica because she would make a gooey chocolate-y covered in sprinkles dessert, Shauna Neiquest because she would provide hearty bread and chunks of cheese and beautiful insights into God and life and love,  Juli from PaleOMG because we need to keep some sort of balance and she makes heavenly looking meat-based dishes and also Ree Drummond because she makes beautiful pasta salads and would be hilarious and finally, Cindy (Hungry Girl por Vida) because I’m always hungry and the things she makes amaze me. Whew. Is it time to eat?

9. I went through Starbucks Thursday morning and the Pumpkin Spice Latte is already back. What is this sorcery? It’s 102 degrees here today, there is no room in this heat for pumpkin flavors. PS: my dad calls them “Spicy Pumpkins” and it drives my momma bananas. Sis and I find it hilarious.

10.  Kate and I are going to take a best friend trip for New Year’s Eve and our current destination is Nashville. Thoughts? Ideas? Better suggestions? Let me know. Also if you live in Nashville, tell me all of the foods we should stuff ourselves with.

August was good, hot and quick – which sounds like an ad for pizza, not a month in which I lived. September, October and November will be busy in the best ways – between travel, work and a new project on the blog (shh!, more details soon), the last few months of 2013 will likely move quick.

Here’s to going back to “school!”


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outdoor activities, Jesus and how I survived a whole30

I miss writing to you all. This morning, I had the urge to get a giant cup of coffee and sit down with you and let you know how I have been the past few weeks since we’ve spoken.

So hello, let’s chat. I’ll start with my updates then we’ll talk about you, yes?

I have been wonderful. I spent the majority of April focused on me, on food and on feeling great.  I did my best effort to spend time outdoors every day possible, taking long walks around downtown at lunch and discovering new scenery. I went to church and volunteered with our Youth, spent some time doing a lot of dishes at Pine Cove for a weekend with said youth and will be an official member of Munger Place this Sunday. Yay! I also spent a lot of time at Sprouts Farmers Markets and doing my own dishes. Oh, and I did a small challenge – I completed a Whole30. What is a Whole30? Glad you asked.

For 30 days, I abstained from eating any sugar, all alcohol, all grains and all dairy. This is a very strict 30-day protocol created by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig and introduced to me by one of my friend-workers Kylie. Whole30  is based off the Hartwigs’ Whole9 lifestyle, in which good, clean, quality food is the #1 priority. I experimented with new vegetables (hello, cabbage. nice to meet you, beets) and substantially increased my meat consumption. I ordered very specific menu items at work lunches and watched with envy as coworkers sipped delicious, sweet red wine. I instagrammed a lot of photos of food and felt very proud of myself for making them in my own kitchen.

I could write for days about this program, refute your arguments and answer your questions. To make it as simple as possible I’ll break it down into this:

What I Think Is Awesome About Me After Doing A Whole30

  1. My internal monologue is much more positive with myself. I find my mood and energy to be fairly even-keeled. What do I mean? Well, I don’t want to rip anyone’s head off and I don’t want to take a nap at my desk. I could run a few blocks easily and I don’t get super tired when I’m at Zumba or Kickboxing.
  2. I am not scared of calories or fat and I am not logging a single bite of food ever again. Mentally or literally. Here is where I confess: since I was 12, I have (in one way or another) logged my food intake. Did I think that was crazy? Well, if you asked me two months ago I would have told you no. If you ask me right now, I say HOLY HELL YES THAT IS INSANE. Logging every morsel of food or drink is a quick jog into crazy person territory.
  3. I am proud of my discipline – not just with food and cooking, but this way of intentional eating has opened my mind to realize that I am a big fan of what I like to call intentional living. I made a list of things titled “I want to do the things I say I want to do” that includes simple things like brush my teeth for 2 minutes and stretch every morning. I realized that taking the 2 to 15-minutes to do said things makes my life so much easier than not doing them. Same for cooking good, quality food.
  4. I did not cheat or slip or accidentally eat a bowl of ice cream once. Not once.
  5. Can I boast for a second? 30 days of saying “no I’m fine”, “no club soda is good”, “it’s really not that hard”, “thanks but it’s not that big of a deal” led me to today, day 31 where I can say: I feel fantastic and I kicked ass. I spent thirty days – 720 hours – doing something I said I was going to do. Clarification: ENJOYING myself because I was doing something I said I was going to do.
  6. I lost 5 pounds, 2.5 inches from my waist and 1 inch from my legs. This, while awesome, was not the goal – and is last on the list for a reason. If I had lost nothing at all, I’d still  be as proud of me as I am. Though in the spirit of transparency  I danced a happy dance around my house this morning after measuring.

What I Heard The Most From My People:

  1. “I could never do that. I love cheese/bread/wine/not worrying about food and it’s too much work/too hard to quit. How do you have time?”
  2. “I can’t believe you’re not drinking for a month, that is so boring.”
  3. “Wait, you weren’t drinking last night? I thought you were! You were so fun!”
  4. “I hate coconut. I don’t like green vegetables. I don’t eat meat. Etc.”
  5. “I don’t want to be obsessed with food. Aren’t you getting obsessed?”
  6. “Are you going to quit eating like this?”

What I Responded to Said People:

  1. Can’t never could. This is not hard – there is a blog post on the Whole9 site about how beating cancer is hard or rehab from a serious injury is hard, but choosing to eat better foods than you usually eat is not hard. Is it time consuming? A little, at first. By week 2, I was already familiar enough to wing it at the grocery store. Meal planning becomes a quick thing when you know specifically the foods you can eat (and see my links below for where I figured out the best recipes). As for the I love [insert food here] – well, yes so do I but 30 days in the span of a lifetime is a blip on the radar. As for the “too much work” – in my words: grow up, Peter Pan. In a more eloquent statement: nothing great ever came out of a half-assed life.
  2. If you require alcohol to be a social person and/or to be your friend, you should reconsider your own relationship with alcohol. Don’t get me wrong – I am a big fan of red wine, prosecco and craft beer but if one of these items is the basis of your social life, you should probably take a big internal look. OK, off soapbox.
  3. See above. Also, duh I am hilarious and fun to be around. I don’t need a beer to suddenly morph into a fun person.
  4. To these people I say, how many different ways have you tried that item? Did you try it sauteed? What about raw? Did you try it in a salad or with another item? I don’t love cabbage, but I do love sauerkraut. I don’t love cooked mushrooms (mostly) but give me a handful raw and I’ll eat them all day. Part of this 30 days is about learning to adapt. Try something new!
  5. No, I am not obsessed and you shouldn’t be either. Yes, I had to pay much more attention to what went in my mouth for 30 days; however, obsessed wouldn’t be the word. In fact, about 10 days in I realized it was all second nature and I was less focused on food, calories or weight than I had been in years. Food is more than just things we eat and I don’t think eating should  be a passive activity. I love food. I love to cook, watch cooking shows and I love to eat. I realize not everyone feels this way about food but I do think everyone should think about what they’re putting into their system before they put it in there. You don’t just throw oil at your car’s hood and hope it gets in the right places, right? You wouldn’t expect your car to work if you didn’t put the right kind of gasoline in the correct place. Same principle.
  6. Am I going to quit eating fulfilling, whole foods? No. Am I going to add back in some things like Pad Thai or Prosecco? Yes. I am going to shoot for an 80 percent Paleo diet, meaning the food I cook for myself (which is approximately 4-5 nights a week, with leftovers for lunch) will remain primarily meat, vegetable and healthy fats. If I am out to dinner with friends, at a family cookout or just feel like some cake I will have it. I do plan on following the reintroduction protocol to gauge my body’s reactions to dairy, grains and sugar separately.

Look, here’s the thing. I don’t think this is for everyone and I have no intention of pushing my choices off on family and friends. I think you should always decide for yourself the best way you can live and stick with that. Would I recommend looking into something like clean eating, Paleo or Whole30? Yes, yes and yes. The changes in energy, mood, skin, hair and general well-being are enough but if you also are looking into losing some weight you’ll be satisfied all the way around. Plus, it’s always good to pay attention to yourself for a little bit. These 30 days have shown me things (unrelated to food) about myself including willpower, desire and more.

What we eat shouldn’t always be the focus, but how we eat, with who we eat and when we choose to eat are relevant. Eating is more than food, it’s part of our social and cultural makeup. Food shows love and thought –  sharing a meal is intimate, baking a cake for a neighbor is kind. Take some time to digest (yes) how you’re going about an activity you do 3-5 times a day, everyday.

This is much longer than anticipated but I had a lot to say. I told you I’d go first then listen to you all – so talk to me. How are you? How was your month of April? I’d love to know what you learned.

Talk soon.



Some helpful links if you’d like to know more about Whole30, Whole9 and changing habits:

  • Start here for more information on the philosophy from the Hartwigs
  • Find the book here on Amazon
  • I found recipes and inspirations for my own recipes here, here, here and here.
  • I found overall encouragement and hilarity with this blog.
  • Prefer hard science? I do, too. Here is an article on your gut as your ‘second brain
  • I distracted myself when the cravings were annoying by reading non-food related material. Seth Godin’s insight rules and my friend Kathleen inspires me to be a little more feminine/to paint my nails every time I read her posts.


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shot in the dark

I had a moment today, accidentally.

We all want moments – those freeze framed seconds of life you hang onto, revisit in a bad time. We try to orchestrate them sometimes, with our birthday parties or our Thanksgiving tables. We will find the right dress, say the right words to set ourselves to remember this forever.

Moments are organic, though and we often fall short when we try to set up life. Frankly, because we aren’t in charge, we often sell it short. Our vision for our lives aren’t nearly as big as life’s vision for our lives.

Today, I got off the couch to take my dog outside because he was driving me bananas with his whining. What we ran into was an outdoor market in my neighborhood, where a band had set up shop outside their studio with one guitar and one drum, four food trucks, local artists and people who were smiling. It was 60 degrees and sunny, and every so often a breeze would blow through and acorns would scatter around us. My dog sniffed other dogs but did not bark and everyone was focused on this impromptu music.

This moment was accidental, coincidental and I felt so much gratitude for very simple things, such as seeing yellowish leaves and feeling that I loved this moment even though and because I was alone. I was enjoying who I was and where I was without feeling something missing.

A full heart is almost unbreakable. Fullness comes from gratefulness.

Life is good.




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the letter to 17 year old Chelsie


Hey Chels,

I’m writing to you from not too far ahead, but far enough to know a few things. Far enough to know better but somehow still know a little less.

I wish I could tell you to take a breath. I’m constantly telling myself that now but I don’t think I learned that lesson until approximately three years after I needed to. You do not actually have to do all the activities, events, lessons, extra credits, clubs or offices that are available. People will like you anyway. You won’t learn this until close to the year 2012, but hold on, I promise you do get there.

You are going to love more boys than the boy you love right now. (Here, this is a good time to practice that deep breath we discussed.) I know you’re panicking. I know you think that love is not real if it goes away. I know you think that you must be everything or nothing. The world is not black and white, Chelsie, and love lost was still love. You will doubt, in the coming years, what it means to be truly loved back but the glorious thing of it is that you will always know how to love. You are a giver. I know you think this a curse (and I may still some days as well), but know that you will one day get it all back tenfold.

You will find someone who says I love you and honestly, truly, long conversations, bad jokes, constant questions, across 300 miles loves you. I won’t tell you when or who because I can’t ruin every surprise.

You do win the arguments with your dad, eventually. You do move out of state to college, you do make a 4.0 your second semester and you also begin to find yourself along the way. You will fight when you come home, your whole family will. You will think there is something wrong with you, that you think you know too much and you are too bossy. You are wrong. You are very, very wrong and right now I wish I could hug you and tell you that you are made this way for a fierce, beautiful and amazing reason.

More than fighting your dad, you are going to fight big battles. Battles far bigger than your small self can handle alone. Start praying more, now. Please start talking to Jesus and telling him what you love in addition to what you hate. Start saying thanks, not just help. You’ll figure this out in 2011, with a year long gratitude journal, but grace comes from thankfulness.

And there’s that word. Grace. Your #1 goal, your aspiration, your frenemy. Funny enough, I know that you currently think you are very far away from Grace, and in the coming years you will definitely feel yourself slipping further and further from being filled with Grace as you desire — but I (older and wiser, as usual) see this a little differently. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess, but the truth is you are much more graceful than you give yourself credit.

Please give yourself more credit. Please calm down. Your life is so good, Chelsie. You make good friends, you make amazing choices and you make bad choices. You also make some bad friends. But you will live. Oh! I know you’re worried because Audrey has decided not to go away to college, too. Don’t sweat it. She never leaves you and you never leave her. You won’t live in the same city again for many years, but you won’t ever feel like that. You will also have to give a speech at her wedding (in two weeks) – start practicing now because I’m currently panicked.

Be nice to your family. Don’t go to that party in April 2007. Or go, but make sure you email your grandmother back first. She’ll be gone after that night and you’ll email her with no return for awhile. Don’t be mean to Natalie. She’s just a little baby tween right now, and soon she will be 17 (and you will cry at every dance recital) and she won’t think about you the way she does now. Let her be her age. You always try to make her grow up.

Keep writing, keep reading. Embrace who you are. Like I said before (worth repeating) people will like you. And they do.

You do a good job, kid. You’re going to have fun.



PS: your sophomore year of college, you will want to get bangs like Reese Witherspoon. DO NOT DO THAT.

PPS: you do turn into your mother. you’ll thank her for it. you will also think your dad is actually funny. (I know, I know but you will.)






The inspiration from this letter came from Emily at Chatting at the Sky. Emily’s new book Graceful came out this month and she’s asked her readers to write a letter to their high school selves in tribute. I bought this book for sister’s senior year of school present and I highly recommend it for any young girl (or you, if you’re a girl).


What would you tell yourself? Leave a comment and let me know.

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