This Has Been the Fastest Year of My Life.

I’ve written exactly 4 blog posts in 2014. In case math is not really your thing, that number is really not good.

One year ago a made a decision out of left field to leave my second job in six months. I moved into a new industry with new responsibilities. It’s been a wild ride. Most days I feel like it’s been 2 days and 20 years all at the same time.

Everyday is hilarious and terrifying and frustrating and worth it.

I spontaneously start crying significantly more than I used to. I drink a lot more wine than ever before. And I get to spend my days with some of the most intelligent and inspiring people I’ve ever known.

It’s all good.

Then January hit. I turned 29 and realized that was one before thirty (MORE MATH.) I decided this year should probably be momentous in some way.

The Movement Mission had its first annual performance in February. We raised almost $13,000 for Melanoma research. And we’ve already started rehearsals for year two.

Towards the end of winter I met this pretty great guy (COLLECTIVE GASP) and he’s turned the past six months into quite the journey.

And 2014 brought babies. SO MANY BABIES. And more on the way. Hooray!

And now we’re to fall. My favorite time of year. Yes, I’m that girl who can’t stop talking about boots and scarves and walking around outside with coffee.

So here’s a few things I’ve been thinking about lately -

1. I just cracked open this book over the weekend and can’t put it down. Great recommendation from a consultant who recently spoke to us at work.

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2. I’m on a personal mission to find the perfect poncho sweater. I will find it. Suggestions welcomed.

3. We’re visiting LA in late October for a wedding. If you have any must-do’s, send them my way!

4. I can’t stop listening to this song. Aloe Blacc is a new obsession.

 

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5. Fall parties, apple picking, the impending holidays. All of the things. 

What’s on your radar? What’s making your heart skip a beat lately? Lets catch up, old friends. And lets not let this much time pass the next time.

Those People.

 

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This week, for the first time in a really long time, I got to slow down and breathe. Breathe in the world around me. Breathe in the moments. And breathe in people (in a non-creepy way.)

You know the people I’m talking about. Those people. Those people who know you inside out. The ones who know what you need to talk about without you ever having to say it. The ones who laugh out loud with you and sit on patios drinking coffee with you for hours. The friends that can say the right things in the right way, even if it’s hard.

It’s a shame that we let life get so busy and these people get pushed to the outside. Because they are game changers; kinda like how sunshine can turn an entire day around.

This is my personal nudge to you to pick up the phone and give these people a call. Fill up your calendar with appointments that really matter. Throw your routine out the window and do something good for your heart.

Take some time to breathe.

5, 6, 7, 8.

The countdown is on, people.

The first annual Movement Mission performance is just weeks away. EEEK. February 7 and 8 we take the stage for three performances only. Have you bought your tickets yet?? (DO IT.)

The funny thing about shows is that you always think you have SO MUCH TIME. I mean, we started rehearsals last summer. That was an eternity ago. But all of a sudden, it’s crunch time. Costumes to buy. Choreography to finish. And tired (tired!) bodies.

This week I couldn’t stop smiling through rehearsal. All this women are so beautiful. Sometimes I want to pinch myself. That such an eclectic group of strangers could come together to produce so much beauty is beyond me.

As the shows get closer, the weight of not only being a dancer, but being a first time choreographer is setting in. Choreographing is terrifying for a few simple reasons.

What if no one understands the story?

What if I haven’t been a very good teacher?

What if we just look…well, stupid? (I mean, it could happen.)

No different from other forms of art, it’s horrifying to lay a piece of yourself out for the public to chew up and spit out. But at some point you have to let it go. Just like the quote says, there comes a point when the pain of staying closed up and held tight is worse than the pain of letting go and blooming (extremely rough paraphrase by moi.)

Regardless, I’m so happy and proud to be telling this story I’ve been carrying around for a few years. It’s like a part of me has come to live in the world. I can’t wait. I better see you there (yes, you.)

And while I can’t give you an actual sneak peek, I thought I’d give you a little taste of what’s to come. Here’s our song! I’m a sucker for acoustic music and I love me a chick rocker.

Something Good in The Kitchen.

Hey friends, hey!

Have you heard about this amazing new spot in Columbus, The Kitchen?

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Love at first sight.

The Kitchen is tucked away in German Village (arguably my favorite area of C-bus.) It was started early in 2013 by two best friends who love to cook and have a good time while doing so. The concept behind The Kitchen is participatory dining (hello! So fun!) You purchase a seat for a specific night/menu and the staff walks you through cooking various parts of the meal. At the end of the night, you get to sit down at a banquet table with 25 new friends and enjoy the meal you all cooked together. They offer private events as well, for anything from a corporate outing to bridal shower. And if you aren’t so much into cooking, you could head over on a Taco Tuesday or Sunday evening dinner, for a more traditional restaurant experience.

My girl Kimmy and I went a few weeks ago as a Christmas/Birthday date. And I’ll admit, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. But I knew we had selected a great menu, so no matter what is was going to be delicious. Here’s what we walked into:

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We were immediately offered a huge spread of appetizers and an array of drinks at the bar. Once everyone arrived, about 25 guests, we went over some general how-to’s of the kitchen and reviewed the menu. Everyone then chose a station/course that they wanted to cook and we all got to work!

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Our new friends for the night…this was Damian’s first onion chopping experience…nailed it!

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After a couple of hours of cooking away, it was finally time to sit down and be served (the staff finishes up all the dishes, plates the courses and serves you.) Here’s our menu and how it all turned out:

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Appetizer:

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Soup (we cooked this course!)

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Main Course:

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And always my personal favorite…dessert:

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Everything was PHENOMENAL and fairly simple to make. The idea at The Kitchen is to cook with friends and have fun. There aren’t a ton of rules or cooking lessons, however all the staff members were more than willing to give us advice when we asked. It really did feel like a big dinner party. I think it’s a great date night or night out with the girls. My only problem now is that I want to go all the time…I haven’t seen a single menu that doesn’t look great!

Be sure to check it out for yourself at thekitchencolumbus.com. I guarantee you’ll enjoy yourself and learn a few things along the way.

 

No Sleep til 30.

The theme of 2014, friends. Absorbing every moment of this, my 29th year of life. (However, if any of you know me, you know I can’t even stay up past midnight, so I will definitely be sleeping.)

It’s hard for me to even type that title out. But I did it. How did I blink and it’s already the last year of my 20s? I bet my parents are wondering the same thing…

On one hand, there’s the list of things I always assumed I would have accomplished by the time I turned the big  3-0. But as my lovely friend Deanna always likes to say…”You know what you do when you assume…” And as I’ve spent my fair share of time being angry and frustrated about things outside of my control, I learned one very important tidbit. It doesn’t change a thing.

As I was thinking back on them, my 20s have been a pretty stellar decade. I’ve earned two degrees and have a diverse career that I have come to love. I’ve lived on my own, bought my own car and become a homeowner. I’ve witnessed some of my best friends marry their life partners, have adorable babies and discover just how beautiful life can be. I’ve been privileged enough to travel, take vacations, and frankly live a comfortable life (something I try not to take for granted.)

Now I don’t have some kind of bucket list or countdown to accomplish in this coming year. I’ve never really been a fan of those types of things. But I do want to honor it and give it the recognition it deserves. Closing out one decade and moving into the next is a big deal. And I don’t want to look back and feel like I just ignored that.

In 2013 I focused on being alive. On remembering to go after the things I wanted, remove things that didn’t serve me well, and overall just stop settling for my own mediocrity. And, if I do say so myself, it went fairly well.

This year, let’s focus on the moments. On soaking in every memory, no matter how small. On cherishing the details. Let’s not miss a second. More pictures. Less screen time. More deep breaths. Less fear. More slow motions. Less impatience. Eyes wide open. 

Happy Birthday to me. No sleep til 30. 

The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: 4 Years

This morning I woke up and had a notification from WordPress.

“You registered on WordPress.com 4 years ago. Happy Anniversary!”

Well isn’t that something.

4 years of sugary drinks and life lessons. I love when people still tell me that they want to wait to have their first one of the season with me. Makes me smile every time.

Life posts are my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking pictures of my outfits, or my food or the weekend’s adventures too. But deep conversations are my favorite. And the inspiration that comes from this time of year is the best.

This past week was pretty bad. I mean, bad. And in the midst of me being completely frustrated and hard on myself, I got this sweet note from a friend I’ve known for a long time. She’s one of those friends that I (sadly) don’t talk with often, but our lives intertwine and we find ourselves getting to randomly reconnect.

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What’s funny about this is that she is hesitant to say how much she enjoys reading what I write, and I am usually hesitant to write because I assume no one wants to read it. Ha…oh life.

That’s where The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles grew from, my desire to write but with a short-term commitment (in case I ran out of things to say.) But as luck would have it, I apparently have a lot to say.  And I’m so so glad it’s grown past that.

So what do YOU have to say, friends? How’s your November starting? How’s your joy going? Let’s not waste all the good in this time of year. Share it!

 

For the Love of Layers.

Fall is undoubtedly my favorite season for fashion and for one simple reason…

Layering.

Maybe it’s because I’m naturally cold-blooded and value the warmth. Maybe it’s because layering allows me to get more wear out of my clothes. Either way, it’s so fun!

I get a lot of comments and questions about my fall wardrobe, so I thought I’d share a little bit. Here are my top tips for layering:

1.) Don’t be afraid of color. Despite what you think, bold colors can go together. Just make sure you use prints and accessories sparingly.

2.) It’s about proportions. Know your body and know what shapes and lengths flatter you. If you’re going to wear long layers on the top (tunic, long sweater, dress) then skinnies on the bottom are probably your best bet. If you’re going shorter or slimmer on the top, maybe try a flared skirt and wider jeans.

3.) Put a belt on it. Cinch in that cute waist of yours. When you wear several layers, it’s easy to start feeling like the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow Man. A belt can not only be a great accessory, but it can pull the outfit together and make it look tailored and finished.

4.) Own it. Somewhere along the line I stopped really caring if other people liked my clothes. I think it was towards the end of high school; when I used to wear my royal blue, sequined show choir dress to school for performances, layered over plaid flannel pants and a zip-up hoodie (I’m just going to let you sit with that hot mental image for a few.) If you feel good in what you’re wearing, and it’s flattering to you, then you look good. Don’t get hung up on trends. Trends change every season. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Find your own style and own it. Be classy.

In case you need some inspiration, here are some of my faves from Pinterest!

There you go, pretties. Go forth and layer up!

Stayin’ Alive.

I’m running out of witty titles for this series, can you tell?

As the year is winding down (good golly, can you believe that?) I thought I should do another check-in on my One Word 365 challenge. It’s been awhile, right?

This year has certainly been Alive (my word) though at times I’ve felt like I might be on life support. A few highlights of my journey…

- In March I took a new job for the first time in almost 5 years. It was hard. I cried for days. Sometimes I still cry about it.

- And then 6 months later…I took a different new job. (Good things always happen when you’re not looking, right?) Entirely new field. Entirely new responsibilities. But, oh so much fun to learn.

- I got involved with the Komen Young Professionals Board and Dress for Success Columbus. One of my goals this year was to get involved with a nonprofit where I could not only give to a local cause I care about, but also use some of my professional skills and event planning interests. Bingo!

- Not only did we start dancing again and The Movement Mission was formed, but I’m choreographing a piece for our show in February. This dance has been in my heart for nearly 5 years and it’s slowing figuring itself out. It’s nerve-racking but also so satisfying to put yourself out there.

- I started making intentional “me” time…simple things like quiet times in the morning, actually taking a lunch hour, going to yoga, early Saturday morning walks. Things that refresh my heart.

- I’m going to NYC for Thanksgiving with my momma and I CANNOT WAIT! Macy’s parade, Broadway, the Rockettes and so much holiday fun. If you have suggestions on places to visit or eat, please leave a comment!

- I really started to look my relationship with God in the face. I stared down some bad choices I had been making the past few years and made some hard decisions. I decided to stop throwing a temper tantrum with Him and pursued Him instead. And though I don’t completely feel fixed, it does feel incredible not to feel like I’m constantly swimming against the current. It feels good to see beauty in the world again.

And now we’re almost to my favorite time of year…Peppermint Mocha Season! I’ve been pretty selfish this year (which I don’t always think is a bad thing. You have to take care of yourself so you can take care of others) but these last months of the year are my favorite to look outward and focus on relationships and others. Are you ready, people? November is coming! Let’s do it big this year.

The Girl in the Mirror.

Hello, sweet friends.

I was feeling kind of introspective this weekend. Do you ever have those moods (No? Just me? Thought so.)

A couple of weekends ago I volunteered to model in a photo shoot for a local Columbus designer and blogger, the lovely and talented Allie Lehman.

When she sent me the shots, I was pretty impressed with myself. (Ok, I’m not going to lie. I couldn’t stop looking at myself.)

Hello (2)Damn, girl. You’re kinda hot. 

It’s not every day you get the chance to have professional photos taken. It’s fun!  Feeling pretty is fun. Getting “likes” on your new profile picture is fun. Looking like I just showed up in a park, with perfectly curled hair under the perfect beam of sunlight is fun.

But totally unrealistic.

Then I started to feel a little bit of guilt sink in. We all know this is how life in the year 2013 works; we post the best and the brightest moments of our lives online. We filter everything. We get jealous of the lives we see people live, even though we probably haven’t actually lived real life with them for years (or maybe ever.) There are studies which show we’re actually more alone and miserable even though we’re more connected than ever.

So I wanted to make sure I was real with you. I love that girl up in those photos. But I’m also totally crazy in love with this little lady…

In case you’re wondering, my shirt says “Jump on Board the D-Ship”…we made them for our Discipleship Team in college…we thought we were REALLY witty…

It’s really important to me that you know that. And not so you’ll think that I’m some self-righteous, got-it-all-together, saint of a human.

But because I want to make sure you know that life’s not about the wrapping. I love to talk about clothes and hair and makeup, style, shoes, you name it. It’s fun to me. It’s a way to express yourself – kind of like art. But I don’t go to those things to feel complete. I think it’s necessary that you love yourself without all of that.

And I would be doing a disservice to you, and myself, if I just hid behind a computer and pretended to be that first girl all the time. If I just sat here and only shared my filtered, edited, cream of the crop parts. Trust me, I have a lot more mediocre moments than I do picture-perfect ones.

Let’s be real, people! This is life; good, bad and fresh-out-of-the-shower-with-wet-hair. Life’s too short to hide your true self and try to be someone else. Go take a good long look in the mirror and repeat after me. Damn. You’re kinda hot. 

We Have Come to be Danced.

As a follow-up to Tuesday’s post, I thought I’d share a poem that we’re currently working on a dance for. It’s a beautiful piece and the text summarizes The Movement Mission almost to a tee. When you find your thing, it goes all the way to the core of who you are. And that’s what this is about.

Have you found your thing yet? I want to hear about it! Happy Thursday, loves.

We Have Come to be Danced
by Jewel Mathieson

We have come to be danced
not the pretty dance
not the pretty pretty, pick me, pick me dance
but the claw our way back into the belly of the sacred, sensual animal dance
the unhinged, unplugged, cat is out of its box dance
the holding the precious moment in the palms of our hands and feet dance

We have come to be danced
not the jiffy booby, shake your booty for him dance
but the wring the sadness from our skin dance
the blow the chip off our shoulder dance
the slap the apology from our posture dance

We have come to be danced
not the monkey see, monkey do dance
one, two dance like you one two three, dance like me dance
but the grave robber, tomb stalker tearing scabs & scars open dance
the rub the rhythm raw against our souls dance

WE have come to be danced
not the nice invisible, self conscious shuffle
but the matted hair flying, voodoo mama shaman shakin’ ancient bones dance
the strip us from our casings, return our wings sharpen our claws & tongues dance
the shed dead cells and slip into the luminous skin of love dance

We have come to be danced
not the hold our breath and wallow in the shallow end of the floor dance
but the meeting of the trinity: the body, breath & beat dance
the shout hallelujah from the top of our thighs dance
the mother may I? yes you may take 10 giant leaps dance
the Olly Olly Oxen Free Free Free dance
the everyone can come to our heaven dance

We have come to be danced
where the kingdom’s collide in the cathedral of flesh
to burn back into the light
to unravel, to play, to fly, to pray
to root in skin sanctuary
We have come to be danced
WE HAVE COME

Photo by B.Hockensmith Photography, www.bhockensmith.com