Archive of ‘Life’ category

25

Yesterday marked a quarter century of life for me. In some ways I don’t feel like I should be 25 yet, and in other ways I feel like I’m already older than 25.

25

The realization that I am halfway through my 20s is stranger to me than just thinking about it as a transition from 24 to 25. While the former perspective can make me feel like a quarter century is creeping up in age, I am reminded by looking at lots of incredible older people in my life that 25 is still so young. I have been inspired by those who are older than me who pursue another degree, who change career paths, who move somewhere they no nothing about, who turn hobbies into successful jobs, who travel the world, who run marathons, and who push themselves out of their comfort zones. Watching them reminds me that there is so much we can do, and that it doesn’t matter how old you are when you start, the important thing is that you start.

I have learned and done so much in my 20s so far, but there is still so much I want to do and learn before 30! I have a good feeling about 25 and all that it has in store.

So, here’s to 25, branching out, and living a full, meaningful life!

spring bucket list

2017 spring bucket list
via

It is officially spring and we have already had the rain showers and pollen coatings to prove it! Each fall, I like to create a list of things I want to do before the next season starts. I’m not sure why I haven’t done this for every season, because these seasonal bucket lists are some of my favorite ways to set goals. The three-month time period allows for more time and flexibility than my monthly goals, but doesn’t allow me to push things around like I might with my yearly goals. These lists also force me to live in the present and focus on and enjoy the current season. Some of the items on my list are already planned out, and some are left to fill free weekends and evenings whenever the mood (and timing) strikes. So, without further ado, my spring bucket list!

Spring Bucket List
-Go on a picnic
-Plant herbs
-Celebrate my birthday
-See the Ansel Adams exhibit at the NC art museum
-Go on lots of walks
-Celebrate with friends and family at weddings
-Spend time at our local farmers’ market
-Celebrate Easter with family and make an Easter dessert
-Go to at least one new place on our triangle bucket list
-Make lots of cookies for my cousin’s wedding favors
-Have tea at the reopened Honeysuckle Tea House
-Eat a meal outside (at home or at a restaurant/café)
-Have Memorial Day brunch (an accidental annual tradition in my family)
-Celebrate our three year wedding anniversary!

What is on your spring bucket list?!

sprouts farmers market

We’re doing something a little different today. We’re going on a tour of the newest grocery store in town!

Sprouts Farmers Market North Carolina | www.passthecookies.com

On Tuesday I had the opportunity to tour the new Sprouts Farmers Market in Raleigh before it’s grand opening on Wednesday morning. The grocery store is the first Sprouts Farmers Market in North Carolina and it couldn’t have gotten here soon enough! The variety of healthy options at affordable prices was unbelievable. Do you see that produce section below?! There is so much selection! They have a great array of organic options, but also conventional options if you aren’t at a place where you want to eat (or want to pay for) organic food. That being said, the prices of both conventional items and organic and natural items is amazing. The store is a slight trek from where I live, but it is so worth it! (more…)

10 ways to increase happiness

Recently, I have been trying to focus on happiness. The news is filled with negativity, and it can be easy to focus on what went wrong in a busy day rather than what went well. There are so many ways to increase happiness, or just focus on the happy things that are already going on in our lives. I hope some of these ideas help you when you are down and in a rut.

10 ways to increase happiness

Do something for someone else. Generosity and kindness are not only good for those on the receiving end, they are also good for those who are giving. Studies have shown that you feel happier when you help others, volunteer, donate, and act with kindness. There are so many ways to do this in our day to day life – compliment someone, bring a cup of coffee or a treat to a friend or coworker, volunteer at a local organization, bring dinner (or breakfast) to a busy friend or family, the list goes on and on.

Do something you truly enjoy. Treat yourself to a fancy cup of coffee, a manicure, a treat from a local bakery, a bouquet of flowers, time in the kitchen, a new workout, 20 minutes of reading, etc, and put it on the calendar. This can be difficult, but taking care of yourself is just as important as all of those meetings and social events. When you put it on the calendar you have something to spark happiness all day as you look forward to it, and as you enjoy it in the moment.

Listen to an uplifting song or playlist. Music can do wonders to affect your mood. Find a playlist you like and press play when you need a boost.

Get outside. Being in nature and soaking up some vitamin D can lift your spirits and stimulate happiness and positivity. I find that I am so much happier when I get outside during the day, especially after being stuck in the office or the apartment all day. Even something as little as sitting outside while I eat lunch can boost my mood and make me happier for the rest of the day.

Stretch. Every time I go through a good stretching routine I find that I feel better and am more relaxed and happier. Try doing a few stretches when you wake up or before you go to bed to loosen up and bring a little happiness to your day (and to your body).

Write out three things you are grateful for or that went well during the day and focus on those before you go to sleep. These things don’t have to be large. They could be as small as getting a compliment or completing a project, as long as you come up with three good things. This practice helps you focus on the positive and to notice and remember good things in your life. You can read this to learn more.

Start your day by focusing on one good thing. It could be that you are going to wear your favorite necklace, you have a morning yoga class, you have 10 minutes to read a book, you are looking forward to your morning cup of caffeine, etc. When things get frustrating during the day, come back to that one good thing you focused on at the beginning of the day.

Share one good thing every day for a certain number of days. #100happydays is popular, but choose the number of days that will challenge you. Take a picture every of one thing that makes you happy for the number of days you choose. You can keep it private and just save the photos on your phone to create a montage of happy photos at the end of the challenge, or share your photos on social media. If you share them, create your own hashtag to track your challenge and easily look back on what made you happy.

Spend time with someone you love. Sometimes you just need interaction with friends, family, or a significant other to make you feel happier. Set aside some time to enjoy being with loved ones.

Exercise. Boost those endorphins! There are many days when exercising is the last thing I want to do, but I know I often feel better after getting my heart rate up. Taking a brisk walk, doing yoga, going on a run or on a bike ride by yourself or with a friend can boost your mood and your energy.

a january snow day

A month ago temperatures were in the single digits and snow and ice covered the ground. Today it is a balmy and humid 72 degrees. Winter swooped in and showed itself right out.

January Snow Day | www.passthecookies.com

Snow only comes to North Carolina about once a year, twice if we’re lucky, but usually not until late January or February, so it was a shock to see meteorologists talking about snow in the first week of the new year. I honestly didn’t put much weight into the meteorologists’ predictions for snow when they first started talking about it early on in that week. I couldn’t believe that we would get snow so early! As it got closer and closer to the weekend, they started increasing their predictions for how many inches of the fluffy stuff we would get. They started with 4 inches, then upped it to 6, then they started predicting 8 inches of snow for our area and 12 in nearby cities and towns! Grocery stores were completely out of eggs, milk and bread in a matter of hours the day before “the big snow” (we don’t know how to handle snow very well here).

Friday night came and precipitation began to fall. Sleet came first, then snow started late and continued to fall through Saturday afternoon, piling up little by little.

January Snow Day | www.passthecookies.com

January Snow Day | www.passthecookies.com

January Snow Day | www.passthecookies.com

January Snow Day | www.passthecookies.com

I have found that the older I get, the more snow is a source of nuisance rather than source of fun, but having already figured out backup plans for work events the next week, and having the snow come down on Friday night and Saturday made this snow day so exciting! Will and I took advantage of our location and the empty roads and walked to our downtown shops to see what was open, catching falling snowflakes along the way.

Since we live in such a walkable area with a quaint and quirky downtown and lots of neighborhoods nearby, some of the shop owners and other residents had the same idea. On a whim, we popped into a local coffee shop and stayed warm with a cup of coffee, a press pot of tea and a slice of delicious galette de roi from a local bakery (fitting for the first weekend of January :) ). This impromptu coffee shop visit was one of the best parts of the snow day – it was so unexpected, cozy and fun and we felt like true community members! We watched out the large front windows of the shop as the snow fell and winds twirled the snowflakes around people walking boot-clad dogs.

There are a lot of temporary residents in our town (including us), transplanted from all over the country and the world to attend college, graduate or other professional schools here. This made for great people watching on a snowy day, as we could easily pick out people who had previously lived in colder areas (hint: puffer coats that came past their knees, full snowsuits, snow boots and face masks to block the wind; extra points if their dog had a full snowsuit too).

January Snow Day | www.passthecookies.com

January Snow Day | www.passthecookies.com

January Snow Day | www.passthecookies.com

While these 70 degree days are beautiful, I’m not sure I’m ready for them to stay. I wasn’t expecting winter to leave so soon and it doesn’t feel like February without the cold weather. Maybe these pictures will bring us a few more weeks of cold? Just a few.

pumpkin picking

Halloween is less than two weeks away, and while I haven’t even thought about a costume, I have all the pumpkins I could need.

Pumpkin Picking-1

Pumpkin Picking-3

A few weeks ago Will and I crossed one item off our fall bucket list when we went to a pumpkin patch where we were able to pick the pumpkins we wanted right off the vine! We’re not just talking the regular orange spherical pumpkins either; this field had Cinderella pumpkins, fairytale pumpkins, and pumpkins of all colors, shapes, sizes and textures. We weren’t expecting such a broad selection, which made searching for our perfect pumpkins even more exciting.

Pumpkin Picking-4

The pumpkin patch we visited was kind of geared toward children (but then again, aren’t most pumpkin patches?) and had lots of perks for parents with small kids. They had a miniature hay maze, slides, tractor rides, and lots of other cute activities. One great offering was a hayride that would take you out into the parts of the patch that were farther away, and pick you up if your pumpkin was too heavy to carry back to the entrance. We grossly underestimated how far the entrance was when we picked Will’s massive pumpkin and carried both of our pumpkins all the way back to the grassy parking field. I hadn’t felt so old until the next day when my neck and back were sore from carrying such a heavy gourd.

Pumpkin Picking-6

Pumpkin Picking-7

Most pumpkin patches charge you by the weight of your pumpkin. The patch we went to charges a flat rate to get in, but you can pick whatever size pumpkin you want. Will took this as a challenge to find the largest pumpkin in the patch, and that we did. I ended up getting a large green fairytale pumpkin, which was dense and heavy, but Will’s pumpkin was massive! I wish we had measured it on the scale, but it is at least 50 pounds!

Pumpkin Picking-8

Pumpkin Picking-9

Our pumpkin picking excursion was a success and such a fun date, and our home feels fall ready because of it!

Outfit details | Shirt: J.Crew, skirt: J.Crew Factory (similar here, here, here), Vest: J.Crew Factory (similar here, less expensive here), Boots: Hunter

fall bucket list

Fall Bucket List 2016-1

Now that fall is officially here and the weather is feeling more and more like the season, it is time to retire our summer bucket list in favor of a fall bucket list. We checked off everything on our summer bucket list this year, and I have the same hopes for our fall bucket list! I love the fall season so so much and always wish it would hold on a little longer, but at least we have another wonderful time of the year to follow. ;)

October is one of the busiest and most hectic months in my work schedule and I’m already a little stressed about what is to come. I am working or traveling every week from now until the second week of November. While some of it will be fun, I can only think of the things that will get neglected at home during this month during all of the weekends I am not at home (aka every weekend). I know I will make it through, but I don’t want to go through one of my favorite months of the year as a ball of stress without having any fun or accomplishing anything. This bucket list is partially here to serve as accountability for me to make sure I intentionally schedule time for fun and relaxing activities and enjoy the season as much as possible amidst the busy. What is on your bucket list?

fall bucket list

-visit the mountains
-make an apple treat
-make a new savory recipe (maybe a new soup?)
-go pumpkin picking
-go to the state fair
-plant winter veggies (kale, beets, broccoli?)
-make pumpkin bread and other pumpkin treats
-figure out costumes and dress up for Halloween
-drink apple cider
-go on a hike/trail walk
-go on a run/walk on Pumpkin Loop (a local trail)
-find a good fall candle
-paint our bedroom
-decorate our apartment for fall
-start working on a large canvas for our living room
-enjoy coffee dates with friends
-start planning Christmas gifts
-plan an exciting celebration (details to come! :) )
-go to a football game
-make a pumpkin spice latte (or find a good local one – so far Bean Trader’s is winning)
-celebrate our dativersary :)
-VOTE!

happy 2nd anniversary!

Two years ago today we exchanged vows and said, “I do” to a life together forever, for better or worse. I would do it again 1000 times!

2nd wedding anniversary

2nd wedding anniversaryThe past two years have flown by and it definitely doesn’t seem like it has been two years since our wedding day, but at the same time we have created so many memories since that day. One of my favorite parts of our ceremony was something I had never seen before – the blessing of the hands. At some point in our wedding planning process, my mom mentioned that a nice component of a wedding she had recently attended, performed by our pastor, was this portion called the “Blessing of the Hands.” She encouraged us to look at it and potentially include it in our ceremony. Now that I look back at the blessing after two years of marriage, I get teary eyed realizing that we have already witnessed so many of the items on this list.

Blessing of the Hands

via

In times of joy, sorrow, struggle and triumph, we reach out our hands in love. In times of sickness and health, we aid each other in love. In crazy busy times and in relaxing moments, we relish any time we can be together, side by side with our best friend. It takes love, commitment, dedication and work, but it is all worth it. So today, two years after receiving this blessing, I once again reach out my hands to the wonderful husband beside me, and remember what these hands have done and will do today, tomorrow, and forever.

Happy anniversary, Will!

2nd wedding anniversary

life lately

Welcome to June! Here is a look back on some of the happenings that went on in May.

Peony season arrived in North Carolina and Instagram had a field day with it’s favorite flower. I did my best to pitch in with that one. Peonies are my favorite flower and I love love love when they come out in the spring. The gardens are gorgeous.

Life Lately

Speaking of gardens, my parents’ garden is amazing. Green and purple and pink and white and lush, absolutely lush. Everything was bright and beautiful in May, with rain bringing even bolder colors. Also worth noting, the college spring semester finished up so my siblings came home!

Life Lately

Life Lately

My cousin graduated from UNC on Mother’s Day and was commissioned into the Air Force after completing four years of Air Force ROTC. Congrats, Josh!

Life Lately

Life LatelyIt was a great occasion for us all to get together, celebrate, and enjoy a beautiful (very green) day on campus.

Life Lately April May 2016-9

Life Lately

Life Lately

Strawberry season arrived, and while we haven’t had a chance to go pick our own strawberries, we loved seeing all of the fresh red berries popping up at the farmers’ markets. Berries are one of my favorite parts about summer, and I’m so excited to stock up on them throughout the season.

Life Lately Strawberries

We ended the month with a packed Memorial Day weekend, filled with friends, family and food. It kicked off with a beautiful farewell garden party for one of Will’s college friends, complete with magnolias, candles, outdoor dining, a three-course meal, lovely conversation, and the state toast.

Life Lately

On Memorial Day we popped over to make brunch and spend the day with my family. We have done this for the past few years, and it is always fun to spend the morning in the kitchen with sweet breads in the oven, fruit on the table, and big band patriotic music on the playlist. And of course, all of the red, white and blue, gingham and stripes we can find.

Life Lately

Life Lately

June is already off to a whirlwind start, but its looking like a good one!

goals for may and summer

Sometimes life can feel overwhelming. Sometimes it isn’t quite overwhelming, but still whelming. We have had a lot going on in our lives recently, at home and at work, and my routines have shifted or dissolved. I am a big list maker and sometimes just the act of making a list helps me feel more at ease and less stressed about what I need to be doing and what is upcoming.   Since this spring has been such a busy season for us, work at home and work in my job sometimes take over time that I might otherwise be able to spend with friends, family or just having me-time. I’m starting fresh with some goals for the week, month and season ahead, to help get me back to some routine and add fun things to my schedule. Let’s see how it goes!

May Goals

These beautiful peonies are from our local farmers’ market!

Goals for the week:
Post a recipe!
Make and photograph recipes for PTC
Incorporate push-ups or dumbbells into some part of my day

May goals:
Unpack (halleluiah, amen!) – not everything will have a place yet, which is okay, it just needs to be out of the boxes!
Go strawberry picking!
Get into an evening routine, including time for blogging again
Plant our plants in their pots (instead of leaving them to die in the plastic bins they came in)
Make practice cakes as dry runs for a wedding this summer
Get some blog posts ready to go
Get glass or acrylic cups/jars for the bathroom
Take it slow on memorial day

Goals for the end of spring/beginning of summer:
Plant an herb garden
Build raised garden
Make a plan for building a headboard
Make a meal plan for the week and stick to it (we haven’t been good at this during our move and unpacking period)
Try a new dinner or appetizer recipe
Find art I like for the living area
Do something to encourage a friend
Take more walks
Go to the farmers’ market and the flea market
Start reading a new book
Make time for friend dates
Have fun with friends and family at weddings!
Explore our area

Do you have any fun goals for the month or the upcoming season?  Spill!

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