The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Early on in 2014 I gave this little challenge to myself – No Sleep Til 30

This was my mindset for my 29th year. The year I would celebrate the closing of perhaps the most important decade of my life. And in fact, my wonderful, glorious friend Kimmy even gave me a lovely journal for my 29th birthday, so I could document all my adventures.

I opened it up yesterday and found this:

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That’s right. NothingBlank. Ugh. I failed.

But, alas. There are two months left! Today marks the 60 day countdown to 30 (things your 16 year old self never expects to say…) Now I’m still not saying that I’m going to be successful in filling the journal. However, it was a kick in the butt to start loving life a lot more and get back to the things that are important.

And you know what else, friends? This week marks the start of the most wonderful time of the year. Red Cup, Peppermint Mocha Season!

You see, this whole blogging thing came about as an experiment. Half to do with my fear of having a blog and then never having anything to write…and half my love for fall and sweet drinks. Put em together and boom. Six years later and here we are.

So here’s the thing I need your help with. The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles isn’t about me. It’s not about filling the world with my opinions and my ramblings. It’s about you and the people you love, and me and the people I love, and a whole lot of people none of us have probably met yet.

It’s about slowing down and taking a deep breath. Smiling. Cherishing the season and the moments (my word for 2014!) It’s about remembering what’s important. Putting people first.

2014 has been a year full of surprises and 2015 is shaping up to top that. But I’m going to do my best not to let my favorite time of the year rush by without me. So let’s do this together. More quiet time. More moments. More laughs. More people.

And a red cup in hand. Who’s with me?

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.

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.

 

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!

 

It’s December! (Really?!?)

It came up so quickly that I actually didn’t even realize it was starting yesterday! Hence, we are a day late…

We are officially into the holiday craze. I can’t even believe that in less than 31 days, 2012 will be over. How did that happen??? November was a good month but it seemed to go by in a flash. Let’s recap…

Stef and Matt got married. And yes, that’s a fire truck. We’ve now had two consecutive weddings set off the fire alarm. Nothing like evacuating the entire hotel!

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We had a little girls day out. You can read more about that adventure here.

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FRIENDS THANKSGIVING!

This is the prep the night before…

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And this is the result…Chuck 2.0! We eat well around here.

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I also had Thanksgiving at home which included our annual tradition of  the Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo. And of course, plenty of decorating for the holidays!

Things to look forward to in December…

– Plenty more Peppermint Mocha dates with good friends
– So much food! We have three holidays parties just at work alone. So much celebrating.
– Two weeks of holiday break. You heard that right. Such a blessing at my job.
– Momma comes to visit for Christmas!
– Zoo lights, The Nutcracker, baking days…just so much good time with good people.

What about you? What is your favorite part of December?

The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: Let the Joy Begin.

About three years ago, I started an experiment. The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles. It was a mash-up of several motives, including my desire to have an outlet to write (yet a fear of keeping up a full-time blog.) But mostly, it has been motivated by one simple word.

Joy. 

Short and sweet, right? Yet, such a heavy word. And one of my favorites. Joy can encompass so much. It’s not happiness; you can be sitting in the earthly pits of Hell and still be joyful. It’s a daily choice.

As I was preparing for this year’s PM season, I contemplated what effect it has actually had over the past several years. Because again, my goal is not to fill the interwebz with my ramblings. Has it made an impact?

And then, for the second year in a row, my friend Sonya found the red cup first and sent a photo with a note about how it reminded her of me. And in fact, my friend Jen said that it’s her “goal to make it into one of Heather’s blogs” (YOU DID IT!)

Indeed it has had an impact. Not to remind people to think of me; but to remind us all to stop and think. About something. To reflect during this holiday season. To live in the moment and enjoy the life that is right in front of us. To be joyful, whether you’re on top of the world or climbing out of the deepest hole.

So here’s my challenge for this year: Be present. In your own life. In someone else’s life.

And share it. With your friends. With a stranger. Here.  The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles are going to live here now, and I want you to be a part of it. So send me your stories. Your experiences. I’d love for you to write a guest post. Let’s go on a PM date. Let’s live life together! Because if we don’t, then what’s the point?

It’s October!

Hello friends!

September has flown by…hard to believe we’re already into fall. I know I’ve been a little MIA, so here’s a snapshot of what this month brought…

I made this for my front door with my sweet friend Jae.

I took a trip here for work.

Niagara Falls!

I danced with these lovely ladies in Breathe for Bonnie (see last post).

I took this handsome guy on a road trip…it was equally traumatic for us both.

And I finally planted something in my flowerbed!

Baby steps…one thing at a time.

And I spent a lot of time with great friends (and I cannot find pictures to account for everyone…so in an effort to not leave anyone out, I will leave everyone out :))

What I’m looking forward to in October…

– Kimmy and Bryan are getting married!

– My fourth work anniversary at Capital.

– Gatsby is old enough to be fixed and de-clawed…praise the Lord.

– STILL wearing fall boots and scarves.

– My first trick or treat in a neighborhood with kids.

Happy October…what are you looking forward to in the next 31 days?