We’re Going to Europe!

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetJames & I have been busily curating our packing lists and checking them twice because in just a few short weeks, we’re heading to Europe! We’ll be gone for 14 luscious days and we’ll be exploring Iceland, Paris, Florence, and Rome. We have so many fun plans in store (like massages at the Blue Lagoon, a Northern Lights tour, a photo shoot in Paris, and noshing on pizza here), which we’ll balance out with plenty of days filled with absolutely no plans, armed only with the intention to wander around, pop into any store/café/watering hole that delights us, and enjoy our time together in Europe. I absolutely cannot wait!

Passport via Gigi New York

Should You Quit?

deskLast month I was assigned a really interesting topic for my most recent post on Darling Magazine’s blog. My editor asked me to write a piece that explored the reasons why we should stay in a tough job when the going gets rough and compare them to the reasons that justify a transition into pursuing something new. This post took me a while to write; I was surprised by how much this topic consumed my time and energy. As the writing started to flow, I realized I had been caught up in the premise because there’s such a strong tension that exists between today’s world of living-for-the-moment, the same attitude that pushes us to chase our dreams no matter the cost (causing us to want to quit any job that doesn’t seem perfect), and the character development that’s built from sticking it out in a job that may not be our passion but gives us the space to explore who we are and who we want to become (which, though this cultivates personal achievement, could hold us back from professional gain). I began to wonder which option was best, and if there was a healthy middle ground between the two choices that could provide a sense of balance and stability.

I came up with three reasons why we should consider quitting our jobs (when there’s no more room for growth, when we’re opening our own businesses, when the office culture is abusive or derogatory) and three reasons that build the argument that we should stay (when the positives outweigh the negatives, when the going gets tough, when relationships can become resources). I found so much personal value in writing this piece, as it challenged me to explore an area that I had previously not given much thought. Hop on over to Darling’s blog to read the whole piece, and let me know what you think!

Image via The Everygirl

Un-Boring Salads

thefreshexchange-camillestyles-156Yesterday I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Things Cooks Know, and the topic was “Un-Boring Salads.” I was so excited to dive into the episode – I eat salad for lunch several times per week because it’s easy, cheap and healthy to throw something together and store it in our office fridge, but if I don’t mix things up a bit, eating salad can get old really fast. Over the summer, I found three heavenly recipes for salad that you just must try. They have been in heavy rotation since I discovered them, and they’ve awakened a creativity in the cooking compartment of my brain, encouraging me to try out equally yummy and interesting veg + fruit combinations. Check out the recipe links below, and let me know if you have any delicious salad recipes that I need to try!

Raw Broccoli Chopped Salad via Camille Styles


Strawberry, Quinoa, Spinach & Cashew Salad via Julia’s Album


Tomato, Nectarine & Mozzarella Salad via Camille Styles


P.S. Need something sweet for dessert after eating a healthy salad? On a whim I made these four-ingredient Nutella brownies last night and they are insanely delicious. They are my new favorite fast & satisfying treat!

Photo at top via Camille Styles, showcasing another salad I need to try: Kale & Sweet Potato Salad with Ginger Dressing

Home Team

midommar2_kristin-lagerqvist-You all know by now that I identify completely with everything that Shauna Niequist writes, especially the content that pertains to relationships and community. This passage from Bittersweet about the concept of the home team is one I revisit frequently, as it’s always a reminder of how blessed James & I are to be surrounded by the most amazing family and friends:

“Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.”

When life is sailing along smoothly, it’s easy to take my home team for granted. I thrive on catch-up phone calls and margaritas on porches and flurries of text messages but I admit that I don’t always practice gratitude as frequently as I should, assuming that these happy occurrences are just a given. But when hardship occurs, as bleak as the dark days may seem, there is always a glimmer of light and brightness and hope, largely in part because of my home team. They bring over soup and wine and books and movies; they send texts and cards and leave voicemails, requiring no response in return. Some days they come over to laugh and talk about anything besides that one hard thing, and other days they come over to cry and talk about only the bad things – and they have the wherewithal and the savvy to know what’s needed most each day. Our family and friends have blessed us more than we can ever say, modeling what a home team looks like and inspiring us to show up for others the way they always show up for us.

Image via Lovely Life

Week & End

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetHappy Friday! These past couple of weeks have absolutely flown by; life has been moving at such a fast pace, per usual. I had to share this inspiring photo of our Callie girl running around our backyard – isn’t she the most darling tripod you’ve ever seen?! We are so grateful for her good health and for the way she’s adjusted to life without her fourth limb, and we are equally encouraged by her bravery and resilience. God really knew what He was doing when He gave us dogs, didn’t He?

The past few weeks have been full of lots of goodness. We’ve been meeting friends for dinner (at new-to-us spots, like Pints & Quarts and Wild About Harry’s, plus some favorites like El Bolero and Taqueria La Ventana) and delivering meals to friends with new babies. We attended a gorgeous wedding at The Brooks at Weatherford, and I’m heading home to Chicago tonight to attend my cousin’s wedding tomorrow (I’m wearing this dress and I’m really excited about it). We’re planning parties and adventures and schedules and trips (more on the latter to come!) and enjoying the hustle and bustle of it all.

Have a great weekend, and enjoy some fun links!

I’m not 30 yet but I totally identified with this list created by the Huffington Post, 30 Things We Do In Our 30s That We Didn’t Do in Our 20s. I really resonated with #2, #14, and #18.

This article – Why The Overhead Myth Stunts Nonprofit Growth – was so encouraging to read. Non-profit employees and donors alike should definitely check this out and join the conversation.

Speaking of reading, what titles have you been digging into lately? I’m currently flying through The Hypnotist’s Love Story and I recently finished In the Unlikely Event and The Status of All Things, both of which were really enjoyable. I’ve got The Royal We, Modern Romance, and Circling the Sun on the docket. What else should I add to my list?

I know it’s still blazing hot in Dallas but I’ve already busted out the dutch oven to make white bean soup and it’s just as magical as always, even if it’s not yet soup weather. It’s so easy to make and leftovers freeze really well.

Artifact Uprising is giving you 25 free prints – this is a MAJOR score, peoples. Sign up, sign up!

Read Between the Lines

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetWe’re back from Lake Tulloch, and suffice it to say, heading back to the office yesterday after our amazing weekend was brutal. It’s always tough to be cooped up inside after a normal weekend, but it’s especially difficult after a holiday, isn’t it? Reuniting with the puppies made everything better, as usual, and fortunately I had an impromptu get-together with Laura and Korena that seriously boosted my mood.

Through various outlets of social media, we all learned that the new paper shop in town, Read Between the Lines, was hosting an event at their store last night. I had been wanting to check out this new spot for several weeks and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. Fortuitously, Laura & Korena both expressed interest in going when we all connected over e-mail, so we planned to meet there after work. The event was in full swing when we arrived, and we helped ourselves to refreshing ginger beer cocktails and mini Sprinkles cupcakes. Everything in the store was 20% off (!!!) so we browsed and snagged several gifts for friends (okay, and for ourselves). I wanted everything in the store. Not only is the shop itself so beautifully curated but the stationery, prints, and gifts available for sale are so dreamy as well. The best part was getting to explore Read Between the Lines with two of my favorite gals. It was definitely a pick-me-up, an unexpected blip of joy in the midst of my post-Lake Tulloch self-wallowing, and it was such a treat to explore a darling new shop in town. I can’t wait to go back and stock up on more paper goods!

Lake Tulloch

IMG_8154Happy Labor Day Weekend! We are jetting back to the best coast to spend the long weekend at Lake Tulloch, one of our most favorite places in the world. Karli’s family owns the most gorgeous lake house in northern California, so our core of best friends from college and our spouses gathers there annually to soak up the sun and play in the water together. We always have the most perfect time, so I’m counting down the seconds until we arrive! Enjoy some photos from our last trip, and have a wonderful weekend!

IMG_7966 IMG_7970 IMG_7971 IMG_7975 IMG_7969 IMG_8001 IMG_8038 IMG_8107IMG_8010 IMG_8059 IMG_8062   IMG_8089  IMG_8177 IMG_8129 IMG_8271 IMG_8150 IMG_8175 IMG_8155 IMG_8165 IMG_8169 IMG_8187

If Your Job is All You Do

unnamedI’m back home in Dallas after having an absolutely wonderful time in Los Angeles! The Yellow Conference was so incredibly inspiring, and I loved getting to spend time with Andrew and Lauren on the best coast. More recaps (and lots of pretty pics) to come!

The conference stimulated me creatively in so many ways, and I felt encouraged to continue to seek out inspiration in my daily life once I returned home. Sometimes inspiration comes in the most unlikely of places, like in an email I received yesterday from one of my favorite companies, Artifact Uprising. The subject line – “If your job is all you do…” – jumped off the screen, capturing my attention. I loved what the business’s co-founder, Katie Thurmes, wrote about this topic on AU’s blog:

“You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do.”

I scribbled those words on a napkin three years ago. The words came at a time of tire. The truth is, I had spent years creating art at a rate that would soon try my passion for the very art that inspired that pace. It’s difficult to acknowledge that place. For one: it’s a privilege to take on work that’s infused with so much passion you dare name it a calling. And for two: admitting to that need, to admit aloud that your fire needs fueling demands a certain kind of courage to shift your own expectations for yourself.

Creativity requires of us to get out there, to unplug, to move and to pause – it requires we make room to think about what could be. We too often forget to take the deep breath and say “yes” to the things that scare us. Or the things we need the most. This “yes” is courage. Without it, we would have never made it to our desk today. And without it, we’ll never leave. Leaving is important – you’ll be better when you’re back.

I must interject here that I am blessed to have a healthy work + life balance, thanks to the fact that my place of work values personal time, family commitments, and vacation time. The fact that I was encouraged to go to the Yellow Conference on behalf of the foundation is an indication that our organization values inspiration that comes from outside the confines of the office. I know that many companies aren’t like that, and it isn’t always an option to sneak away or stop working (whether for a creative conference or a restful vacation) when deadlines and angry bosses loom near. That being said, I thought the message in Artifact Uprising’s email was an excellent reminder that creativity will always be stifled if we’re working ourselves to the bone, forgetting to pause to take in the beauty around us. This theme is one that was reiterated frequently at the Yellow Conference, and I can’t wait to share more of the things I learned while I was there. Stay tuned!

Image via Artifact Uprising

Week & End

tumblr_n3n73wHzYe1s79rl8o1_1280Happy Friday from the best coast! A full recap of my time in California will come soon, but for now, enjoy some fun links! Have a great weekend.

I loved this wine & food pairings post. My favorite combination is one that James and I enjoy frequently – macaroni & cheese + Chardonnay!

I adore all things Clare Vivier, so I really enjoyed this tour of her Los Angeles studio. Isn’t it gorgeous? It also makes me want to add several more bags to my ever-growing collection, stat.

I’ve recently been learning more about Paul Quinn College, a school based in Dallas, and it was neat to see Michael Sorrell featured in this list of America’s ten most innovative college presidents. The school’s vision, as summed up in the piece, is so fascinating:

“[Sorrell] disbanded the football team, no easy task in Dallas, and literally turned the field into a farm. The team had been costing $600,000 a year, according to Yahoo Sports, and Sorrell said it would have cost $2 million to save. The farm is operated by students (who are paid for their work), and the resulting produce is sold to local grocers and restaurants, used at the college, or donated to local charities. Students aren’t just picking vegetables—they’re working on the business end, too, getting paid professional experience with a service twist. It’s all part of Sorrell’s vision for what he calls the “New Urban College Model”—a work school that emphasizes local businesses rather than manual labor (like at rural counterparts).”

This post totally affirmed my belief in never washing my jeans. Hurray!

This book keeps popping up everywhere and I’m totally drawn in by the premise: the author cooks her way through recipes featured in wonderful books (think everything from The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill A Mockingbird to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Gone Girl). It’s a combination of two of my favorite things – reading & cooking – and while I super love using my library card to check out books, this title might just be one that I have to purchase.

Image via Topo Designs

Los Angeles & The Yellow Conference

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetI am so excited to be heading back to the best coast again today – I’ve been there every month since May, how lucky is that?!

Remember last year when I dreamed of attending the Yellow Conference? Lauren and I put our heads together in January and started setting the wheels in motion for both of us to attend the event. We bought our tickets, booked our flights, and time flew by as we giddily anticipated our adventure together. I can’t believe the conference is here already! We leave for Los Angeles this afternoon and we couldn’t be more excited. We’re staying at the Ace Hotel, and we’re hoping to enjoy a delicious dinner at one of my favorite spots in Koreatown, The Commissary at the Line Hotel, after we arrive tonight.

Over the weekend, I’m going to stay with Andrew. He’s hosting a cocktail fundraiser party to benefit Touch A Life on Saturday evening, which is going to be so fun! I’m stoked that I get to spend good quality time with him while I’m in his neck of the woods.

Happy Wednesday, and enjoy the rest of your week!

Photo from Becca’s bachelorette weekend in Malibu in June…more pictures to come!