11 - 17

17 years (and 1 day) ago, I walked into a fraternity party.

I had absolutely no expectations for that night other then drinking some drinks, meeting some new people, and cutting loose for the night. College until that night had been a mixed bag. I had made a few good friends (some of which are still friends to this day), but overall I felt lonely. I missed my crew from back home, and didn't feel like I'd really found my people yet. That night I stumbled across a boy. We ended up playing on the same team for a drinking game, and hanging out for the rest of the night. As I left to head back to my dorm, way later then I intended, he very forwardly kissed me goodnight and told me to "come back tomorrow." I did, and I basically never left.

I found my people in that fraternity house. Friends that grew to be family, people I still love and cherish to this day. Psi Upsilon was my home for my 4 years at Lehigh. The place that I could always find someone to talk to, full of people who understood me and accepted me. That boy was Travis, we were together, a couple from that very next day on. By 6 months in, I was completely head over heels in love and knew that I would marry him.

The following year he pinned me, a tradition that made me an official part of the Psi U family, allowing me to wear the letters and proclaiming that he intended this relationship to be something permanent. After he graduated, 2 years before me, we started a semi-long distance relationship; him working full-time 1.5 hours away. Weeks were spent apart, talking on the phone at night, but up he would come on weekends, squeezing everything we could into those 48 hours. It wasn't always easy, but we made it work.

After I graduated it felt like our life together really started. We moved in to an apartment with a college friend, and 7 months later he proposed! The following year we bought our house, the one we still own, the one we made into a home. We worked real jobs and adjusted to life away from college. It wasn't easy to replace classes and homework with day jobs and bills, but we made that transition together.

11 years ago today, a year after buying our house, at just 24 and 26 years of age (babies!) we got married. It was a perfect autumn day, cool and crispy, but sunny. I woke up that morning, squeezed between my Babs and my Hoser, feeling nervous and excited and like I couldn't believe the day was here. Six years had passed, which felt like a lifetime at the time. We had no idea what was in store for us!

Eleven years. Three pregnancies, one miscarriage, one surrogacy, one amazing child. Thousands of working hours, endless days of trying to find a healthy balance. Countless trips. Fights and makeups, discussions and quiet expressions beyond words. A cross-country move, career changes. So many changes. Love. Love, love, love. And growth.

Marriage is hard, life is confusing, but Travis has been my constant.

The past two years it feels like everything has changed. But what hasn't changed is how much I love my husband, how grateful I am to have him by my side.

I don't know what the future holds, what other changes are in store for us, but I know that I'm grateful you are the one with whom I get to tackle them! Happy Anniversary!


Wordless Wednesday {Twilight Yoga}

Playing around with a new variation of an old favorite... this was hard!

Such beautiful light this night.


Yes I'm A Little Obsessed with Matcha {Review and Giveaway}

Disclaimer just to start things off honest: I was provided with a free bag of matcha in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no other compensation, and trust me when I say I really love this stuff! I approached them, so seriously, they are amazing. They are awesomely providing me with two free bags of matcha to host a giveaway, so read all the way to the end to enter! There are also affiliate links included in this post. The cost to you is exactly the same, it just helps me support my family while doing something I love!

So I might have mentioned once or twice my semi-new found love of matcha (1, 2, 3... just to name a few). The thing is, its just so lovely! The taste, the smell, the routine in the making. I tried a few different brands, there was one I really enjoyed at the store, but it wasn't always in stock, it was a smaller container, plus frankly I'm forgetful and I wanted the ease of an automatic delivery. I tried a few kinds on Amazon (Prime plus Subscribe and Save!), and found a few that were just too bitter for my liking. Then I stumble on Jade Leaf Matcha and fell in love.

I've always been a tea drinker, and matcha has so many health benefits, that it was an easy add to my morning routine. My requirements for my matcha powder weren't anything crazy: it needed to be ceremonial grade* (that's what you need to get that dissolving power for your tea!), from Japan, and preferably organic. My biggest requirement though was the taste! I wanted a nicely smooth flavor! (A lot of that is prep too, see below...)

So want to give it a try? Here's two easy ways to start! First lets talk about a Matcha Tea Latte, my most frequent way of drinking matcha. This is just as good as the ones you find at the coffee shops, but without all the crazy amounts of sugars!

Matcha Tea Latte

1. Boil your water (I go just slightly under the amount called for on the powder directions), then - super important! - let it cool for about 5 minutes. Water too hot will turn your matcha bitter!

2. While your water cools, add your matcha powder to the blender.
You can also heat up your almond milk - about the same amount as water - until warm (I just microwave it!).

3. Add water to the blender, then a gentle squeeze of honey, and a spoonful of coconut oil (if you want it to be a little bit more filling). Add almond milk, and then blend until completely combined.

4. Sip and enjoy!!

Some mornings I only have time to drink my breakfast down, so I started playing with Matcha Smoothies! A one shot way to get my matcha fix, and my breakfast, all at the same time. Here's a super quick and easy smoothie, nutritious and satisfying.

Easy, Green Matcha Smoothie

1/2 - 3/4 of a banana, depending on size (even better if frozen!)
1 cup kale, tightly packed
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 (slightly heaped) teaspoon matcha powder
1 - 2 sprigs mint
2 cups almond milk (possibly more depending on how thickening your protein powder is)

Add all ingredients to blender, and pulse until smooth.

Now for the best part. Enter below to win your own bag of Jade Leaf Matcha and give them a try for yourself!

If you don't want to wait to see if you won, feel free to head over and grab some of their amazing Matcha now: Jade Leaf Matcha, otherwise enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* The giveaway is for culinary grade, which is perfect for both of the recipes provided here. If you want traditional tea, prepared with only a bamboo whisk and hot water, go for the ceremonial grade. That's what I buy anyway, so I'm set no matter what.


2017 Wedding #4 - The Other Side of the Family!

Back when my cousin Jess and Brett got engaged I didn't think I would be able to swing the wedding. After not attending a wedding since my brother's before we moved, this year brought 4! It was just so much. But an expiring travel voucher, and an understanding husband, found me booking my tickets for a 4th trip to Pennsylvania this year!

I headed out Wednesday evening, a time that allowed Trav and Gwen to drop me at the airport. The flight itself was easy, and I actually arrived an hour ahead of schedule, which was great since it was already after 11 at that point. My first night I crashed at my friend Nick's place, a real treat since I hadn't gotten a chance to see Nick since I moved! We stayed up late, talking and watching music videos, having some beers.

The next day was gorgeous. We'd been having wet, rainy weather in the 50s in Colorado, and Pennsylvania had been in the 90s! So I was thrilled that during my visit, those temps settled into the 70s. Perfect Autumn weather. Especially perfect since Thursday was my day to enjoy Philly, I walked almost everywhere I went. First, I headed out to hit up lunch with my favorite, Tally-le!

We not only had lunch, but later ended up getting drinks together at a new Beer Garden in Independence Mall. Lots of catching up to do! After seeing her adorable boys, I headed to meet Ro for dinner. At the end of our dinner we were joined by Apoc, which was perfect since I rode back with him, as I was crashing at his place that night.

Friday was wedding day, so after a slightly lazy morning, I grabbed a Lyft up to Center City; after tromping around there a little bit, surprising a friend with a quick Hi at work, I hopped on the train out to the burbs.

My parents picked me up from the train station and we went to check into the hotel. My brother and his wife joined us there in a bit. They had a bus running over to the wedding site, and we enjoyed an absolutely gorgeous evening wedding!

Everyone looked amazing, and it was so wonderful to see that whole side of my family (my Dad's side). Not only do I love those people, but I truly like them too! We have so much fun together. We ate amazing food, and danced our asses off all night! I actually semi lost my voice this week from all the yell-talking we were doing over the music.

The next morning we all met up for breakfast in the hotel, and I finally got to meet my cousin's new baby!! He's so beautiful.

One expensive Lyft ride later and I found myself back at the airport already (Saturday morning). It was odd this time around. For the first time this year, I was flying out of Pennsylvania with no set plans for when I'd be back. While I'm sure I'll be there next summer, this is the first time this year that no tickets are bought, no driving plans are set.

It was good to get home, to be with my family and return to our schedule. But I miss Pennsylvania and my amazing people there already.

Congratulations Jess and Brett!
Until next time, East Coast!


Wordless Wednesday {Stills from Dinner With a Friend}

Beautiful flowers to warm the table...

This lasagna turned out amazing! I was pretty proud. 
There's broccoli riced up and mixed in with the sauce. Filling, hearty, and pretty healthy!


A Place We Want to Come Home To

Almost a month ago now, I had a date for my hairstylist to come over to dye my hair. I looked around a few days before and realize what a mess our place had become. Too much stuff, combined with the craziness of our summer and travels, had gotten things to a point where we were working super hard just to maintain or barely bring down the mess each day, forget cleaning it all up. We took a weekend and we went nuts... an early Mabon cleaning streak! For the first time in months a lifetime(!) our living room was clear, the floors cleaned of toys and other random articles, and everything felt just a little more in control. Now, it is easy to clean and maintain the clean on a daily basis. We still need to par down the amount of stuff in her room, but I'm much less concerned with that.

[Its worth noting: we were NOT living in squalor! We cleaned and vacuumed regularly, but that normally involved shifting huge piles of toys around, and was generally overwhelming. The controlled chaos was, well, not so controlled.]

Our place is now somewhere I'm happy to invite people into, somewhere that I feel good being in.

I always find myself soul searching and evaluating when the anniversary of our move comes at the end of summer. I think the root of it all - the cleaning and sorting, the replacing with fresher items - it all boils down to the desire to make this apartment a place we want to come home to. For years now I've wrestled with this idea of what home is supposed to be, what I WANT my home to be. What I've settled on is its more a feel then a look.

It feels like being wrapped in a warm throw on a pleasantly chilly morning. It feels like that jump in your heart seeing a perfect haul of dahlias. It feels like baking the perfect spice cake, and heating a mug of hot tea on the stove. It feels like wake up naturally, then being able to lounge in bed, warm and content, for those extra minutes.

For some, luxury is feeding the chickens in the morning or brewing a cup of tea or going to the local coffee shop for the perfect cortado. For others, it’s a Birkin Bag and a private yacht. For me, luxury is sleeping late, long slow mornings, having big blocks of time to concentrate on work, being able to travel & support the work of chefs around the world, being able to support and buy the goods of artisans that make clothing & home goods sustainably, and being able to cook most meals at home when I’m home. To each their own. You have to define that for yourself. The same goes for security. You have to define that for yourself. Whatever your definition is, I believe that you can realize your dreams, enjoy both luxury and security, and be rich in time to devote to what really matters to you. So yes, food is the heart of this blog. But the idea of abundance, of finding sustenance of every kind is the soul of this blog as it exists today.

Local Milk

For me, luxury and security are intertwined in the combination of the ability to travel far and wide, then having a place to come home to. A place that FEELS the way I want it to feel. Eclectic, but not overwhelming, lived-in and cozy. Full of light, life, color, and family personality.

I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to get it just right in an apartment. We live here year by year, never really willing to promise more then that, but yet knowing that there is not a reason we can think of to move out. The walls, so colorful in our Pennsylvania house, are so white here. But the idea of painting them, with the time and monetary cost involved, to have to just paint them back again (next year? the following?), is exhausting to consider. I try to reconcile my desire to have less stuff, while seeking out the one thing that will help make a certain space feel more complete comfortable us.

This post has taken a turn and I'm not sure how to wrap it up. Maybe I ask, how did you make your home into a place that you long to come home to? What does luxury and security mean to you?