Monday, March 31, 2014

10 Things


10 things that make me really, really happy...

1.  Travel. The ability to travel is something I am SO thankful for. Preston and I have so much fun exploring places near and far together. Above photo is from our trip to Cinque Terre last year, or as I like to call it, heaven on earth.

2. Standing desks. I completely hacked together a standing desk at my office a few weeks ago with cans of soda and a corkboard. It is ghetto fabulous and I love it.

3. This song. On repeat.

4. Morning Coffee. It makes me so excited to come to work each morning!

5. Dogs. More specifically, my sweet pup. His slobber and constant hair shedding pale in comparison to his complete love of Preston and me.

6. Walks. I've mentioned how much I love them and I will say it again - taking walks around my neighborhood with Preston is one of my favorite things in the world.

7. Things that come out of the mouths of kids. HILARIOUS. We had our neighbor littles over not too long ago and I was slicing up an avocado. The twins immediately bee-lined over to the table and started discussing which one could keep the pit BECAUSE AVOCADO PITS ARE THE BEST.

8. Clean sheets. Is there anything better than the first night of sleep in freshly clean sheets? Bless it.

9. A glass of red wine with dinner. Bonus points if it is Malbec or Pinot Noir.

10. Good eyelash days. Love it when that happens. Also good hair days.

This was inspired by this. What are your happy things?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Benefit of the Doubt


I love reading things that have me nodding my head yes in agreement the whole time. The posts and articles that resonate with me so much I wish the words were my own. More than that, I love being inspired by reading those things. When I was growing up, my mom would always tell me "What you put in is what you get out." She meant it in the sense of who we spent our time with, what we watched on TV, what we read - all of those things that we are putting into our mind are exactly what we get out. At the time I was so frustrated. Why can I not be friends with Nicole? Why can I not watch MTV?! Why am I not allowed to buy that CD with the warning label? Seriously mom, come on! I would make arguments, ask why I wasn't trusted. Here is the thing, mom's are always right and this was no exception. The friends she discouraged me from being close with when I was 13 went down drastically different paths, and 10+ years later the truth is so evident: what you put in is what you get out.

Now I realize this more than ever and am making a conscious effort to monitor what I am putting in. When I read inspired things, when I surround myself with positive people, when I view gracious photos on Instagram - my mind is processing it all. Holding onto things that I don't even realize. At least that is what I am hoping. :) So, in the spirit of putting in things in that will be help me more patient, kind and forgiving (which Lord knows I need) here is what have left me inspired lately...

"Let us shock people like Jesus did, inviting ourselves to the home of the tax collector, defending the accused with gentleness while everyone else holds rocks, sharing a cold cup of water at high noon with someone tangled in sin and despair, refusing to disparage though it is the easiest, most popular option.
 
Benefit of the doubt to strangers we perceive as adversaries.
 
Benefit of the doubt to individuals rather than guilt by association.
 
Benefit of the doubt to folks from other ideologies, worldviews, value systems.
 
Benefit of the doubt to our spouses, choosing grace, grace, grace.
 
Benefit of the doubt to our children; shock them with mercy.
 
Benefit of the doubt to our pastors. They are just people.
 
Benefit of the doubt to our friends. Assuming the worst is the worst."


Yes, I'm still over here nodding my head in agreement! You can read the full article here. I'm blessed my a husband, mom, sisters, friends, coworkers and dog who consistently give me the benefit of the doubt. I am really, really going to work on doing the same for them. Feel free to hold me accountable with this. Happy Friday sweet friends - have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Few Favorites







Sometimes, when I am through my photos on my computer looking for a particular photo, I get sucked in for HOURS going thumbing through old pictures and thinking about all of the memories tied to them. It is one of my favorite things. It reminds me that even when I feel silly taking out my camera and snapping a few pictures when I am out and about it TO JUST DO IT because those silly little pictures turn into treasures. Above are a few of my favorite photos from the last five years: growing littles, a wedding, piggy back rides (or attempts), strawberry picking and a handsome man on a beautiful beach. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Smile, Read, Wear, Eat


Smile - Farm fresh eggs from a neighbor. They last longer, taste better and oh my word the colors are SO beautiful!!

Read - I read Heaven is For Real last week and loved it. It is a super quick read but so incredible to hear about what the sweet four-year-old boy experienced.

Wear - I got these to wear in San Francisco this week and am loving them!

Eat - Banana bread. So, so good. I use this recipe but cut the sugar in half and add honey or agave. DELICIOUS!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wine Tasting in Fredericksburg



Last weekend we had the chance to meet some friends in Fredericksburg for wine tasting. It was the most beautiful foggy morning and we had the most relaxing morning on our drive (the town is about 90 minutes outside of Austin). Once there, we explored the sweet little town and stopped in a few tasting rooms before heading to a few wineries. 








We started with Grape Greek and picnicked there while listening to live music. Then we headed to Becker Vineyards where we sampled, did a tour, and then this happened!


It was such a fun day with the perfect ending! It is the absolute sweetest thing to witness an engagement. I love love!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hello Spring


Sweet, sweet spring - oh how I love you!! Every time I walk by flowers in bloom it really reminds me how beautiful the world is. How much thought, love God put into every single little detail. It is incredible! Here is my list of things I'd like to do this season...

+ Take more walks. At least 3 a week. Walks around my neighborhood are one of my favorite things in the world.

+ Go camping. We're planning to go here in a few weeks and I am pumped!

+ Join a CSA (DONE!)

+ Plant a garden

+ Paint the front door

+ Write more letters to friends. Snail mail, not e-mail.

+ Go to more local events. Jazz at the park, movies at Whole Foods, Farmers Markets, etc.

+ Go to a yoga class

+ Wine Tasting (Check! And another scheduled!)

Is there anything else I should have on my list? I'd love your ideas!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pick Me Ups



A couple of weeks ago I was in a bit of a funk. The kind I was having a hard time shaking, but couldn't pinpoint exactly what was causing it. I started to try to do a few more of the things I love each day and was surprised how quickly that brightened my mood. So, sweet friends, here are a few of my favorite pick me ups...

Walks outside - if it is sunny, bonus points.

Fresh flowers (preferably peonies, ranunculus or tulips)

Hot water with lemon and a mint leave (this is new, but I'm hooked)

Being around sweet little ones. We've been blessed with 4 kids next door who are always so eager to play and help us with anything. You cannot be around them and have a bad day, it just isn't possible. Also, Facetiming with my niece and nephew - especially when my sweet niece requested to speak with Preston only so she could tell him to make me a 'paper heart with hands on it' for Mother's Day. Melt!

Watching this. Over and over and over.

Reading this great article on making an effort to build a community (Yes, I did immediately sign up for a ton of meet ups and community groups after reading this!)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Eyes Opened: Food

Lately I've been reading and watching some fantastic, terrifying, eye-opening articles and documentaries on foods. The realizations I've had after watching these have cemented some of my current views on food and have changed other habits. I'm convinced that a huge part of the reason that Americans continue with our HORRIBLE eating practices is because a big portion of the population is uniformed. We are uninformed, and don't take time to search out where our food is coming from and how the plants and animals we are eating are being treated. We (naturally) take the words the huge manufacturing and processing companies are telling us at face value, when in fact the 'natural' products they are selling us are anything but. Here are a few things I've learned that have me quickly changing my habits...

+ 1 billion people in the world are obese. Another 1 billion are starving. Think about that disparity. There is a 1-1 ratio in the world of people who are sick because of over abundance and people who are sick because they do not have access to food. It breaks my heart and makes me sick all at the same time.

+ Half of the food in the US is wasted. Thrown away. Tossed into land fills.

+About 70% of processed foods include a genetically modified ingredient.

+ The four biggest meat manufactures in the U.S. produce 80% of the meat consumed by the U.S. As a reference point, in the 1970's the top five beef packers controlled 25% of the market. At that point, independent farmers were actually able to make a living producing meat that was raised humanely. Now they are often bullied into contracts by the top companies making wages that hardly support their families.

+ Cows used in beef products for the large companies spend their days in a living hell. They are fed genetically modified grain, created to make them fat to produce more meat. They do not walk, they do not interact, they stand in the same spot in their (and every other cows) feces until their inhumane death. At which point they are mechanically processed into our beef cuts in an environment that spreads E. coli and other diseases at an alarming rate.

+The USDA, which should be the ones governing E.coli and salmonella outbreaks, has stopped the microbial testing for these companies. Why? Because these huge companies have deep pockets and know the right people - which they used to take the USDA to court and resulted in them losing the power to test slaughterhouses.

+Remember the point about beef farmers being forced to manufacture for large companies and not make a reasonable living? The average chicken farmer invests over $500,000 a year and only makes $18,000 annually.

It is a grim picture. A really sad, gross, true depiction of our food industry. Fortunately, there are some fantastic options out there for buying local, organic, humane food. I just joined my first CSA and am really excited to support a local farm and to get outside of my comfort zone when it comes to food. I've also come to the revelation that if I am cringing at the price tag for organic beef (or anything else for that matter) then I can go without! If I am unwilling to pay a higher price tag for an animal that was treated humanely then I cannot afford to eat meat at all. It is as simple (and hard) as that. Below are some of the resources I've compiled the above information from, and just great things to read/ watch to be more informed.





Friday, March 14, 2014

This week has been a bit of a...


Whirlwind! Case in point. SXSW is here in Austin which means things are busy! This past weekend/ beginning of the week I was at the interactive portion of the event, then took a few days off for the sake of my sanity. Today I'm diving head first into the music part of the show which I am SO. EXCITED. ABOUT. Last week (and even through the weekend) I was in a funk. A weird sort of anxiety, sadness kind of funk I was having a hard time snapping out of. Fortunately, sunshine, photo booths and fun, relaxed vibe of this {totally packed right now} city this week was exactly what I needed. Have an awesome weekend!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Smile, Read, Wear, Eat

Smile

This song. Always. And the fact that SXSW starts TOMORROW. It will be my first time and I am ridiculously excited about it.

Read 
I've been obsessed with Nora Ephron for, well, ever. But somehow in my love for her I was completely oblivious to the talent of her sisters. Her sister Delia wrote this book after Nora's passing and I think my favorite thing about it was her honesty about everything, but particularly sibling relationships and women in power. So much rang true - things that I hadn't thought about before but immediately recognized. 
{When describing her relationship with Nora} "The intimacy that wasn't of I'll tell you what I'm really feeling, but was the intimacy of I'll open your refrigerator and take whatever I want."

Wear 

Wearing a huge pink wig for Marti Gras last weekend! We went to a charity event in a cute little town called Wimberley and had an awesome time. It was so completely unplanned until we got to a friends house - who luckily had a costume box that I could pull from to put together this little ensemble! 

Eat
Eating the most delicious burger from Elevation Burger. Don't worry, one of those was Preston's. Ya'll, Austin does burgers SO well. And the best part is most of them (the good ones at least) are made with grass-fed beef, real cheese and none of the weird additives and chemicals. Want to get a great one in Austin? Go to Hopdoddy's, P. Terry's, or Elevation Burger. You can thank me later. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Let's Talk Career


My older sister is a career counselor at a well known university in Seattle. She recently sent a student my way for some advice as she was interested in the field I work in. I, naturally got really excited, because, well it is awesome when you find people who love the same things you do (especially in a lesser known industry)! Also, I love resumes (really, I do). And cover letters. And helping friends and family with their career searches. I graduated college in 2010, so I am not too far removed from the post college job search - and all of the panic that comes along with it. The last few years I have found a few resources, tricks and best practices that have been so helpful to me when job searching. I want to share these in the hope it can help at least a few of you out there!

Resume and Portfolio
Go outside the box! Here's the thing, recruiters and HR personnel are getting blown up with resumes. They get hundreds of resumes to their inbox everyday, and I'm convinced you have to go beyond a plain word doc to even get a call back. Here are some of my favorite tools for visual resumes...

Visualize.me - This is the easiest possible tool. It integrates with LinkedIn so it will pull in your work history, connection, skills - which means you do very little. I won't dive into LinkedIn, because I am assuming if you are job hunting that you already have your account set up and up to date. Here is a great resource to help you if you are setting yours up for the first time.

Personal Website - You need to have a portfolio that you can direct potential employers too. This does not have to be a complex website that is updated daily, it simply needs to be an easily accessible portfolio that you can link to in your initial email and reference in your resume or cover letter. This should be a sampling of your best work that is relevant to the positions you are applying to. About.me is an easy site to use to set your personal site up. The idea with a portfolio is to get an employer to look at your best work that showcases your personality and displays how hard you will work for them at their company.

Informational Interviews and Job Shadowing
This is probably my best piece of advice. Whether you are in college or not, if you are able to meet with somebody who works at a company you are interested in a casual setting you are set. Grabbing a cup of coffee or job shadowing someone on a normal day gives you the chance to find out their background, learn about their experiences and to really see how they behave. It also gives you the chance to give them the real version of yourself. In a formal interview where you are pining for a position, you naturally highlight your professional accomplishments. I think this is certainly important, but I would argue that showcasing who you are as a person, rather than just an employee, is even more important. In a casual informational interview over coffee you can tell them about your last big trip, the amazing brewery you toured last week, the cool Meet up group you joined. Showcasing your personality is so important, and can be the perfect stepping stone into an interview with this potential employer later down the line. 

I am going to make this a monthly post, and next time will share some personal examples and get into a little bit more detail about how to first approach potential companies. In regards to the advice, I am by no means an expert. These tips are certainly geared towards the tech, marketing, start-up scene and are completely my own opinion based on my experiences. Do your own research for your field to make sure these are applicable for your job hunt. And good luck! :)  


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Birthdays and Blessings


My big sister is my absolute favorite, I adore her. Today is her birthday and there is truly nobody else I can think of that deserves a fun, relaxing day more than her. I doubt she will get that, because, well two beautiful, bubbly children and a busy full time job and a booming side business don't exactly lend themselves to a relaxing day. 

The last few years for my sister have not exactly been easy, she will be the first one to tell you that. But she is such a testament to how hardships build your character and build your faith.  She recognizes that these times, where she is tired and worn out and working every waking hour of the day and stressed, these times where she is being pushed to her limit are shaping who she is. It is hard to watch somebody you love so much be stretched thin and hurting, but it is equally such a blessing to watch somebody you so love rise above all circumstances and be the most inspiring, kind, loving person.

I love you so much, sweet sister. Thanks for letting me ruin all of your surprise parties, and open all of your birthday presents and do all of the bratty younger sister things and loving me anyways. Thank you for teaching me about life. Thank you for being you. I love you more than I can ever tell you!!