Capsule Wardrobe, part 4

Things I’ve learned recently:
– getting rid of things so I can have a capsule wardrobe was not the hard part
– the hard part is standing in a dressing room…
– trying to figure out why you don’t love the adorable olive green cozy sweater
– that honestly fits you perfectly
– and you know you would love on anyone else
– and realizing what you don’t love about it is the body inside it
– and that maybe your body image issues are what’s holding you back from having the style you want.

I went shopping with Daniella, my beautiful friend who is helping me build a capsule (she is well qualified – see for yourself on her blog, Fox and Bloom). Poor, poor Daniella, who walked with me through five stores, picked out things for me to try on (after studying my Pinterest boards and the worksheet I did through her website), and gave excellent advice. Who grabbed different sizes and colors for me while I was in the dressing room, who was honest with me, and who told me I was pretty. Poor Daniella, who watched me unravel over a buy-one-get-one-50% off sale on sweaters. After two hours, I couldn’t make a decision on anything, and we thankfully called it quits. Mall: 1, Hanna: 0.

As I stood in front of the mirror wearing an item of clothing that I a) had on my shopping list, b) fit perfectly and was even flattering,  and c) met all my color, comfort, and other requirements, I knew that what I really didn’t like about what I was seeing wasn’t the sweater – it was the curves underneath.

That’s all it took for me to want to give up on my capsule altogether. I was feeling doubts about whether what I want to wear is what will look good on my body. (Or at least what I apparently think looks good on my body. Daniella liked it, and she’s usually right. Do I really have such a poor perspective on how I look?) When I was creating my Pinterest board, was I pinning because I wanted to wear what that girl was wearing, or because I wanted to look like the girl wearing it? And if I can’t look like that, who cares what I wear? Why even try? Why even put myself through this shopping experience? What could be more reasonable, ethical, and cost-saving than deciding to just wear what I already own until it falls apart?

Feeling low, I hugged Daniella goodbye and started walking to my car… or so I led her to believe. I actually entered into some sort of dazed dream sequence, blacked out, and came to in the check out line at Forever 21. Funny how that works. For about a year I’ve been struggling to climb up to the high ground where I can stand and truthfully say that I never, never, shop at Forever 21. In fact, one of the reasons a capsule wardrobe appealed to me in the first place was because fewer clothes = fewer purchases = I can shop ethically. Jen Hatmaker talks a lot about that in her 7 Experiment Bible study. Sure, I love the two shirts I bought (one of which I wore three days in a row last weekend – shhhh), and I found the scarf of my dreams, but I left with the guilt of knowing that my clothes were probably made by people who are paid next to nothing.

So that’s where I was after my first capsule shopping trip: guilty of putting my dollars where my heart doesn’t belong, and body-shaming myself. Not ideal.

It’s times like that when I’ve had to remind myself why I’m doing this in the first place. I was shopping so I would have things that I love to wear, so I don’t have to put on clothes that make me feel bad about myself, and so I don’t have stress while getting dressed in the morning. It might sound silly, but that’s the reality of my relationship with clothes. They dictate how I feel, take up my thoughts, suck away my money, and feed my insecurity. I don’t know what your relationship with clothing is like, but we all have one. Women have to deal with judgement from others regarding our clothing, feeling like nothing is made for our bodies, worrying about modesty or being sexualized, carrying emotional baggage from when we were “uncool” in our younger years, wondering what we are saying through what we wear… and I have never said this with more honesty: the struggle is real.

Deciding to never shop again and just wear the clothes I have until they fall apart was kind of a serious consideration, but one that would never work. It would only give me a false sense of not caring how I look. Never updating my wardrobe, while ethical and cost-saving, would just end with me internalizing and bottling up my hate-how-I-look feelings, and when a few of those feelings leaked out, I would impulse-buy something, just like I’ve been doing for years. But, with my capsule, I am aiming for the same kind of peace of mind I would have if I could happily wear the same sweats every day. Once it’s done, I won’t have so many worries about how I look, I won’t do needless shopping, and I won’t own so much.

I reminded myself of these things as I drove home, hoping that I wouldn’t regret my purchases the next day. It was a good thing, I told myself, that I was building a capsule. Less stress, fewer possessions, less money spent in the long run… all good. It was even a good thing that I was facing these feelings and fighting them, but since when have good things been all easy? I have had a lot of fun building my capsule so far, but it wouldn’t be honest of me to glaze over the difficult part. You can start this capsule wardrobe process with all the gusto in the world, but eventually you will hit an emotional wall and have to face yourself and fight the bad thoughts. But it’s okay! We’re here for you! Cheering you on! You can do it, you beautiful thing, you!

Journey to a Capsule Wardrobe, Part 3

This post is about the things you need to practically think about and do when trying to create a capsule wardrobe.

The past month, I’ve been intensely getting rid of clothes. I now have probably 30-40% of what I used to have in my closet – 80-90 items, excluding shoes, accessories, underthings, coats, and pjs/workout clothes (which means I previously had more than 200 items of clothing). The bittersweet thing is that I don’t miss anything I’ve gotten rid of. Many pieces I decided to part with are things that I bought within the past year, and now I feel foolish for spending money on them. But the monetary loss is worth it to me if I can feel less burdened by possessions. If I can not have a bi-monthly panic attack about what to wear to church. If I can make sure that I won’t feel insecure in my clothes. If I can crush this idol and time-waster and stress-starter to the ground once and for all.

Because when your closet is stuffed with over 200 pieces of clothing for one person, who really owns who?

Here are the steps I took to get where I am now:

  • I read a lot of the blog Unfancy, to get inspired and learn about how she made her minimalist capsule wardrobe(s). I copied a lot of her “rules,” so if you’re wanting to get a start somewhere, I highly suggest taking a look at her blog! This and this were really helpful.
  • I made a list of all my clothes without looking in my closet. This was really helpful, because the items that I forgot about while making the list were the easiest to get rid of.
  • I made a separate but similar list of my absolute favorite pieces of clothing (things I always reach for, as long as they’re clean)
  • I went through every item of clothing I had, and tossed things out left and right. This starts out hard, but gets easier. Easy things to throw out: what doesn’t fit, what’s damaged, what you only seem to wear once a year, what you don’t like anymore, what’s clearly not your style. *This was an ongoing step. It’s taken weeks, letting go of things bit by bit.*
  • I got rid of my unwanted clothes. I gave some to friends, donated some, and sold some at Plato’s Closet and Clothes Mentor. Tip: Bag up what you’ve decided to donate or sell, and say goodbye as soon as possible. You don’t want to be tempted into putting anything back in your closet! If you want, you can wait a week, and if you really miss something you can pull it back out. But chances are you’ll forget what’s in there because there was a reason you put it in the toss pile anyway.
  • I put things that I really loved that weren’t in season in storage. I kept the “maybes” out so I could decide yes or no before putting them away. I don’t want to have to go through this all again in the summer!
  • I started a Pinterest board just for my capsule wardrobe. I pinned only things I absolutely loved, and in the description wrote what I really liked about it. I even pinned pictures that just had colors I liked. I tried to keep the number of pins as minimal as possible.
  • I did the “How to Define Your Style” worksheet on Fox and Bloom (super helpful!)
  • A friend (Daniella) came over to help me go through my “maybes” and discuss what items (if any) I should put on a shopping list. After throwing out most of the maybes and putting seasonal yeses in storage, I had probably 100 pieces. I narrowed it down a little further to end up with the 80-90 pieces I have now.
  • Armed with my shopping list, Daniella and I went shopping for just a few items. (There’s a post or two coming about that later.)

For those of you who are wondering why I would make a shopping list if the goal is to have less clothing, here’s the reasoning: buying one sweater that I love could replace two or three sweaters that I’ve kept, but don’t love to wear. At this point, I’m getting down to the “defining my style” part. I have way fewer clothes, but most of what I still have showed the way I used to shop; much of it doesn’t reflect what I have on my Pinterest boards or what I wrote on my worksheet. It would be so easy if I could get rid of all my clothes, start from scratch, and go buy 30-40 pieces of clothing with an unlimited budget. But that’s just not my reality, and I’m betting it’s not yours either. So doing a little shopping along the way will help me define my style more, and help me get rid of items that don’t really fit cohesively in my wardrobe (wrong style or wrong color).

Your reality may be totally different from mine in other ways. I happen to have a job where I only have to dress business casual every once in a while. Sometimes it’s most appropriate to wear a t-shirt, shorts, and sneakers. But most of the time, I just have to dress “nice” and “appropriate.” No ripped jeans. No spaghetti straps. No miniskirts. You might have a job where you need to dress business casual all the time, and sometimes even nicer than that. And to that I say: don’t let it stop you from simplifying your closet and defining your style. You could create a separate capsule for work clothes, just stick to the “rules” of only buying things you love and are interchangeable with one another.

Right now, I’m working on dividing up my 80+ items into four seasonal capsules (plenty of items will overlap). I actually have more than 80 items, because I didn’t count some summer things that I already put in storage. But I’m not buying anything else until this job is finished.

If you’re working on building a capsule wardrobe too, I’d love to know where you are in the process and if you have any tips!

Journey to a capsule wardrobe, Part 2

[If you missed my first post about doing a capsule wardrobe, and my heart behind it, you can find it here.]

Last weekend, I got to sit down with my pal Daniella, of Fox and Bloom, to talk about my wardrobe. Daniella has been teaching me about style and dressing myself properly since I met her, when she interviewed me in college for a student-run magazine for an article called “Modest is Hottest” (NO JOKE). She described me as “slender,” and I’ve been in love with her ever since. Daniella has gone on to make me proud in so many ways. She joined my Bible study and rededicated her life to Jesus. She traveled overseas to be a missionary for a summer. Now, she is using her skills as a writer, style coach, and content strategist, and her passion for showing others the light of Christ, to inspire women to dress their best, from the heart. You should really check out her blog. It perfectly seams together how to project inward and outward beauty.
(I mean, if I was proud of her for I Hate Sweatpants, her previous blog that is “down for maintenance,” of course I’m proud of her now. Getting a little teary.)

When Daniella got engaged earlier this year (to the most lovable curmudgeon/my husband’s kindred spirit, Jon), she approached me about doing her wedding flowers, and I proposed a trade. You help me create a capsule wardrobe, and I’ll throw in my time and expertise fo’ free. I even got to be interviewed by her again, for a post on Fox and Bloom about how to plan your wedding flowers. Check it out!

Before we got together to go through my closet, Daniella sent me to her blog to do some worksheets, which I was happy to do (filling out forms is the TIME OF MY LIFE). Before I did that, I had already been tossing out clothes left and right. I had already experienced that liberating feeling, AND the high of taking clothes to Plato’s Closet and Clothes Mentor and getting cold hard cash for them. So I was ready. To. Go. We went through the worksheets, which were honestly so helpful! Especially on her “How to Define Your Style” worksheet, where she asks you to “Define your ‘why.’” Why do I want to minimize my wardrobe, and why do I want to dress the way I want to dress? It really made me explore my heart further and go deeper into some of what I talked about in my last post.

Then, D told me I had to throw out my most comfortable, The-OC-era-bright-yellow-American-Eagle-drop-waist-skirt and I was somehow not ready for it. Then, Daniella hand the nerve to say the words, “You have a lot of clothes,” and I was inwardly furious (I had a little Mindy-Lahiri-“First of all, HOW DARE YOU” moment). How could she say that after I had already gotten rid of so much?! This is where I was really happy that I already knew and trusted Daniella. I told her about some of my struggles with clothing, and I think that helped her understand how to help me out. Weeding through my “maybe” pile with Daniella – and getting rid of most of it – was harder than I thought, but this week I’ve realized she was right. I still do have quite enough clothing. Halfway through this week, I have not re-worn anything, not even jeans. So, while there does seem to be a lot of space in my closet, and I can (practically) grab the first thing I see, put it on, and be happy with it, I have a way to go yet before my wardrobe reaches capsule status.

The second thing I discovered, that I think I’ve been slowly realizing for a long time, is that I almost never buy anything that I feel is “me.” I buy things because they’re cute and on sale. But I need to be able to objectively say I like something and take a pass because it’s not my style. As soon as I told Daniella about how I’ve approached clothing (only shop clearance, make it work, too many statement pieces), she knew better how to help me narrow things down. “Hanna, are you keeping that because it fits you and you got it on sale, or because you really want to be a person who wears bright red corduroy pants?” The next second, they were in the toss pile.

So, if you’re struggling to turn your “maybe” pile of clothing into definite keeps and definite no’s, ask yourself the important questions. “Is this article of clothing projecting who I want to be to the world?” “Do I love this piece of clothing and how I feel in it?” And it totally helps to have a friend with you whom you trust and know will be honest. Some of my items were so easy to give up when Daniella was there, because nothing ruins your love of a red velvet skirt like embarrassment.

Of course, there are some practical things to think about too, like budgeting and seasons and not ending up with nothing in your closet. Trust me, getting rid of stuff is such a good feeling that it can get hard to stop! Right now, I’m at the point where I want to get rid of every sweater I own, but I have to remind myself that I don’t have the money to replace them now, and winter is coming. I’ll talk about these kinds of things in my next post.

If any of you has a capsule wardrobe, would you mind sharing some tips? I’m especially curious to know how many items you have in your closet!

Journey to a Capsule Wardrobe, Part 1

Once upon a time, I signed up for a 7 Experiment Bible study and was never the same. If you haven’t heard of 7, you should a) continue reading b) go look up Jen Hatmaker immediately c) purchase the book and/or Bible study d) brace yourself for life change. Such good, good life change…

The 7 Experiment is a book/Bible study by Jen Hatmaker, a Christian author and speaker with a sparkling personality. She calls the 7 Experiment her “mutiny against excess.” The book chronicles her journey through seven monthly fasts from seven different things that can quickly take up too much space our hearts and minds: food, clothing, media, possessions, waste, spending, and stress. The study invites us to do the same fasts, but in seven weeks instead of months. I would highly recommend checking this out, if only for the first two weeks. They completely changed how I think and feel about food and clothing.

…Which, eight months later, has led me to begin to build a capsule wardrobe.

First, let me share with you about my relationship with clothes, so you understand where I’m coming from. For one thing, I watched my “style” become popular before my eyes when hipsters started happening, and Macklemore’s song “Thrift Shop” is satirically my life. All through middle school and high school, I never felt like my clothes were “cool” or that they ever elevated my social status in any way. The compliment I most often receive even today is that I can “pull off anything.” That’s because I literally had to, because my clothes came from the thrift store, were someone’s grandad’s clothes, or were scraps from the clearance section (anything less than 50% off isn’t clearance – it’s reduced).

I’m not upset about my childhood or about the clothes I wore. Honestly. And it’s not like I never had anything new, but mall shopping was foreign to me until I became an adult. If my clothes were new from a store, they were clearance, or from outlet malls…  you get the idea. I was never on top of trends because my family couldn’t afford it. There are so many more good things about that than bad. I liked that I got to be creative and resourceful with my clothes. I knew my appearance wasn’t a huge factor in the fact that I had friends. And if this kind of upbringing and shopping this way led to some bad habits, at least those habits weren’t credit card debt.

Here are some bad habits I pick up regarding clothing:

  • I find it hard to let things go. I will milk a trend for all its worth. I will make one skirt go with everything. There is no such thing as seasonal clothes (yes there is).
  • I find it hard to spend money on simple items of clothing, because I think that if I’m going to drop more than $20 on something, it better make a statement. So I’m left with a closet full of jumbled styles of statement pieces.
  • I feel less guilty spending money online, thinking I can take back whatever I don’t want, than buying something in a store. It’s less stressful to buy online. But the thing is, even if you don’t love something, you might wear it one time. So I’d buy something online, wear it and take the tags off, and three months later it’s stuck in my closet, even though I hardly wear it. You can always make something work one time, but to buy it you need to love it. And if you don’t love it in a dressing room, you never will. As opposed to loving it on a model’s body on a website.
  • Most importantly, I never developed my own personal style, because I had my eye out for deals more than anything else.

The result of all this was a closet stuffed with stuff I wasn’t very enthusiastic about wearing. Which, in turn, led to moments of “I have nothing to wear.” This would usually happen on a Sunday morning, making us late for church, but more importantly, my attitude was not ready for church. My heart was at the mall, getting to buy a whole new wardrobe full of things I loved and looked great in (I was also 15 pounds skinnier in this fantasy). I was 95.5% discontent with my wardrobe, though I didn’t want to admit it outwardly because I could clearly see how much I had. Then I would feel guilty and ashamed for wanting more. Then feelings of guilt and shame would make me feel bad about myself. Which means I felt bad in my clothes. Which means I didn’t like my clothes. And on and on. If you’re a woman, I hope you’re feelin’ me right now. If you’re a man, well… you can only imagine.

Everything I just said was realized as a result of doing the clothing fast of the 7 Experiment. For the fast, I chose 7 items of clothing to wear for a week (not counting underwear. I know you were wondering). It took some thinking and planning (which, let’s be honest, I LIVE for), but it turned out to be the easiest and most enjoyable of the seven fasts. I was amazed by how much room was left in my brain to think of things other than what I was going to wear. Plus, I chose clothes that would all go together, and chose some of my favorite things to wear because I knew I wouldn’t get tired of them. Not only was so much time saved, so much stress relieved, and so much space opened up in my brain, but I felt good in everything I was wearing. I enjoyed my outfit every day of the week. I was amazed that it was exponentially more freeing than I imagined it could be. When the week was over, going back to my stuffed-full closet felt daunting.

Jen Hatmaker pairs her fasts with action steps. The clothing fast wasn’t just about limiting your clothing options, it was also about getting rid of stuff for good. Only wearing seven items opened up space in my brain, and donating clothing opened up space in my closet. I got rid of probably 25% of my clothes, and I can’t even remember most of the items I’ve sold, given away, and donated. I haven’t thought twice about them. If you have any ideas of good places to donate or ways to get rid of clothing that are beneficial in some way, hit me up! A good 50% of my wardrobe is in bags and boxes and shoved behind my bedroom door.

My goal is eventually to have a capsule wardrobe of 30-40 pieces (tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes, outerwear) for every season (things will overlap). I can’t wait to tell you more about it in future posts! If you have any questions about the 7 Experiment, capsule wardrobes, or more about what this process has been like for me, drop me a line in the comments section. There’s so much more I could say because I’m so excited. This is going to be so good.

Read with me: One Thousand Gifts

I was a total bookworm as a kid. Homeschooling was kind of bad for me, because I spent most of my time reading library books in my room and didn’t start my school work until 8 o’clock at night sometimes. But during and after college, I stopped enjoying reading. Textbooks and Christian self-help books did me in. Reading became about learning and being told how to live my life instead of for enjoyment. I went through periods of starting handfuls of books at a time and never finishing them, or reading Harry Potter over and over again (not saying there’s anything wrong with that). So two summers ago, I started a book club, and it was so much fun. We read only novels and fun memoirs, and I began to love reading again. And there was an added bonus of bringing together women from all different parts of my life – church friends, high school friends, college friends… It was really me-centric, but I think everyone involved enjoyed it. After a brief hiatus, our book club is coming together again to read One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. I am very excited to announce that this blog is launching and expanding that book club to you!

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We will be reading One Thousand Gifts from October 23-November 24. If you live in the Columbus, OH area, we’ll be meeting at the Easton Barnes & Noble cafe three times throughout the month (details below), and would love for you to join us! Look up the book on Amazon or Goodreads to see if you might be interested. I’m not quite sure what to expect, but I know it’s about counting your blessings (though Ann seems very real – she’s not going to sugar coat anything). I’ll also be posting about the book weekly as I read, and we can swap stories in the comments section. I’m so excited to tune into thankfulness this fall. Many Thursday Thankfulness parties to come!
*Book discussions will be at the Easton Barnes & Noble cafe:

Tuesday, November 3rd at 7pm (chapters 1-4)

Sunday, November 8 at 4pm (chapters 5-7)

Tuesday, November 24 at 7pm (chapters 8-11)

Tell me if you are able to make it so I can grab enough chairs!

DIY: Eclectic Gallery Wall

This project, like almost every other project I do, was in the planning phase for months, and yet the plan was still underdeveloped before I impulsively started and finished it all in one day. I had been wanting to do a gallery wall in our living room for more than a year. I began collecting things and making things to hang up, wanting it to be a mix of all my different tastes and things I like. …And then, inevitably, one Saturday morning I lost all patience and decided to get everything I had on the wall. Immediately.

Fast forward a few months, and I’m not in love with it. The day I did my wall, I forgot about a few things I wanted to hang up and neglected to make room for them, like the “haters gonna hate” cross-stitch I made one lonely night. Now I think of that cross-stitch with regret, because now I already have 40 holes in the wall and would have to move everything around to accommodate it.

So even though this is a DIY post, I don’t recommend jumping the gun, like I did. Make sure you have everything you want to go on the wall, and be patient. It will be worth it to love your wall forever instead of for a couple months.

I don’t hate it or anything. I still really like most of the things I put up, which I feel is a miracle because of how many ideas are out there on Pinterest. I browsed through so many different types of gallery walls, and I liked all of them. It was hard to go with one style, but here is how I chose the pieces for my wall.

  1. I chose colors purposefully. I have a general color palette for our living room. It’s a lot of rich, warm colors, with navy being the dominant neutral (hello big blue couch), and dark gray being the secondary neutral. I made sure nothing on my wall would clash with the color palette, and added some punches of contrasting or supporting color.
  2. I matched my pieces to the feel of the room. I’m pretty lucky that my living room is already a modge podge of textures and patterns. I kind of put everything I liked together, and it worked. It has a worldly, ethnic feel, with some earthy and quirky touches (see pine cone garland and disco ball). So almost anything I included in my gallery wall would work because the room is already pretty eclectic. If you have a more specific style, choose things that will compliment it. If your room is minimalist, choose some strong, bold typography prints, or a few larger, colorful pieces to contrast.
  3. I made sure I had different sizes, because I wanted my wall to look like the rest of the room – laid back and kind of quirky. Nothing too strictly measured. I didn’t want to set up all my pieces in a grid, like you would if you wanted a statement wall of everything being the same size.
  4. I chose things that meant something to me and reminded me of things I love. The first thing I hung on the wall, which ended up being engulfed in the gallery wall, is a big picture frame with twine strung behind it, so I could hang lots of pictures, postcards, and pretty stationery from it. It set the trend of just jumbling everything together that works for my wall. There are vintage photos of my grandparents, a couple wedding pictures, photos friends send us, paint swatches, and pretty patterned notecards hanging there, and each thing has meaning to me. The rest of my gallery wall collection has meaning too. There are quotes from my favorite books, a framed letter I wrote to Brett once, hand-lettering I’ve done during quiet time, paintings I made myself, and a cross I got on a missions trip to Honduras.


    Here’s how I made my gallery wall:

    1. Gather all your pieces – and choose carefully!

    2. Lay everything out on paper and trace it. I used some wrapping paper that I don’t like anymore, but you can use newspaper, craft paper – anything!

    (Shoo your bunny out of the way if he becomes a problem.)

    3. Label your pieces so you know what they are, and carefully cut them out. I also put the sizes of each piece on there, but I don’t really know why I did that except that it was satisfying.

    IMG_6579 IMG_6583
    4. Start taping your wrapping paper pieces to the wall and arranging them. Since I wasn’t making a grid or measuring out the space between everything, this part took the longest. I started with the big pieces, then added the smaller pieces. Then took it all down and started over. Multiple times.

    IMG_6586 IMG_6595
    5. If you feel like your wall isn’t full enough… make more stuff! I had to get a little crafty to fill in some gaps.

    16. Once you like how you have everything arranged, start nailing things to the wall (or have your husband/brother/boss-girl-friend do it for you). Voila!

    I can’t wait to add more to it and really make it what I wanted it to be in the first place. But for now, I’m enjoying all the personality it adds to the room. For a bonus extra step, you can add washi tape around your frames. I did this because I still felt like some pieces were too small and needed to fill up more space.

    FullSizeRenderIf you have a small space, like I do, don’t worry about crowding it. I feel like people worry about making their rooms feel smaller, especially if they live in an apartment. I say, if you’re not up really committing to chic minimalism, go ahead and embrace the smallness of the room. It’s okay to fill in the space! Do whatever feels good and makes you happy to be in the room. Give it as much character as you want. This is supposed to be fun!

    What’s your favorite thing on your wall? Do you have any gallery wall tips to share?

Thursday Thankfulness Party

The firsts of the month are some of my favorite days of the year. They’re like mini New Years’, where you get to start fresh, watch the seasons change, get a new perspective. I always feel like the firsts of the month should be really good days, setting the precedent for the rest of the month. But what I’ve learned about really good days is that gratitude makes all the difference in the world.

Right now, I’m thankful for:

1. My all time favorite husband


This is him at 8am on a Saturday, after I bribed him to come downtown with me for work with the promise of an amazing breakfast after a short event set-up. Except the place I was going to take him for breakfast was closed for renovations, so we ended up in the closest small cafe we could find. It was eh.

2. This little critterIMG_7722

My fluffy wittle pumpkin. Hagrid has gotten so much sweeter and cuddlier as he’s gotten older (and since his manhood was taken away from him). Anyone else have a house rabbit? I’m afraid I don’t feed him enough.

3. Exploring Columbus with friendsFullSizeRender IMG_7721 IMG_7781

This is quickly becoming a favorite pastime. I got to introduce some non-Columbus natives to North Market one weekend. The above macaroons are from Pistacia Vera. My favorites of these four were lavender honey and vanilla bean. Heavenly. Biting into a macaroon is the food equivalent of laying your head on a pillow. Must do with eyes closed to get the full effect.

The last picture is of Kirstin, whose friendship I treasure. Through the years we’ve discovered we have so much in common, so little in common, and so much in common yet again. She’s also basically the reason Brett and I got together. Another bonus: our husbands have been best friends since middle school. Kirstin and Pete come from two opposite corners of Ohio, and somehow ended up here in the middle with us to enjoy things like margaritas and Bacon Fest (to the fullest extent it can be enjoyed) and sharing a Netflix account.

4. Paddleboat double dates with friends from life group

Guys, our life group (city group/small group/Bible study/whatever you want to call it) is HUGE. Which is great because, as my amiga Sara put it, “We have so many friends now!” But it comes with some challenges, like getting to know one another and going deeper with each other. I’m a very open person, and even I have to admit that it’s harder to be really vulnerable with eighteen people instead of ten. But paddle boats and nature walks and pounds of chips and salsa make me feel like we’re getting somewhere. Date your friends, people. It’s the best.

5. The little thingsIMG_7783 IMG_7740 IMG_7762

Spontaneous family bonfires, rainbow food (warming up to a Whole30!), swapping hand-me-downs and strengthening the bonds of friendship, flannel, running outside again, apple cider, tomato soup with cornbread plopped right in the middle and honey drizzled on top, having a houseful of women drinking wine and chatting, lying next to Brett knowing that he’s home for good (new job, PTL!!), and going to bed tired and smelling like campfire.

This life is good. What are you thankful for today?