Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Civil War[s]

If by some strange chance, you haven't heard of The Civil Wars, consider this your introduction. Maybe if you used to (or still do) listen to CCM, you are familiar with Joy Williams who represents half this band, but if you want to hear something with that same sound, this band is not for you.

In case you don't know, this pair has been feuding and the two haven't spoken in over a year...yet, they were still able to record this new album (oh, the wonders of technology). Anyway, if you're not familiar with The Civil Wars, you should go look up their first album, "Barton Hollow," because it's amazing. They were not fighting at that time, and their vocal chemistry is pretty awesome. I haven't listened to their new album in entirety yet, but what I've heard so far can be summed up by this review on iTunes: 

" through with riveting tension, enigmatic beauty, and smoldering emotion." 

Sounds like the perfect soundtrack for this transition to the dark, cold winter that approaches us. :)


Friday, October 11, 2013

New Music Friday: Track 5

What?! She's posting again? That's three days in a row! 

You're welcome.

Can you tell I'm taking a break from all social media except blogging? It's an experiment in humility. You see, I was looking back on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds for the last...while, and I realized that almost everything I post is some form of bragging. Which is lame. I now try to ask myself the question: "Does anyone care?" before posting something on the internet. We'll see how long that lasts. Like most people, I really love myself. But for now, I am not signing in to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I hid the apps on my phone and removed the links from my bookmarks in attempt to remind myself of this, and I hope that will help stop me when the urge to post strikes. You may just find that my blog is blowing up, but I figure this is a lot more intentional than the other forms of social media. If you are visiting my blog, you must at least like me a little. ;)

With that said, here is my song of the day! It's by Andrew Belle, although it's somewhat reminiscent of early Coldplay (aka the best Coldplay). He just (or will soon) released a new album, and this is the single, "Pieces." A mi me gusta.

Download this song for free!



Thursday, October 10, 2013


Did anyone else catch the sunrise today? I am loving the colors! I made myself late for work because I just had to run outside and take a picture. This is totally unedited. :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Happiness >= Money?

I want to start out by saying that I am NOT trying to toot my own horn in this post, rather; I just need to get this off my chest.

It feels like I always take jobs in which no one knows what to do with me. I can’t tell if I am under-applying for positions or misunderstanding the job during the interview or maybe I’m just desperate, but I still don’t feel like I have found a “good” job. I realize that I’m only 25 and have been out of college for roughly four years, but why do I always end up in positions that come up lacking? Am I too much of an idealist? Am I not picky enough? Or am I just trying to make myself fit in with the “business culture” of which I really have no interest in joining?

Is it okay to just take a job you enjoy and not worry about money or title? I have always thought so, but now for some reason, I am starting to doubt this. Is happiness all that matters? Do I sound crazy for even asking that? Because here’s the thing: I am very happy in my current job. I love my schedule, my coworkers, and even the actual job duties. I just don’t love the pay and title. Honestly, friends, I have backtracked to my post-college days in those two areas, and it hasn’t bothered me too much until now.

For how long do you value experience over things like money and status? Is there a right answer? And why am I suddenly questioning my values?

Part of me thinks I will look back on this in 10 years and LMAO at the silliness of this question. I really hope I do.


Friday, September 20, 2013

And BOOM, now it's fall.

Hi friends.
I'm sorry it's been so long since I wrote on here. These last two months have been full of activity and change! I don't even really remember the month of August, except that I went on an amazing trip to Washington state to visit a lifelong friend and her husband. We had a wonderful time exploring all the neighborhoods in Seattle and then spent two days in Spokane, where they have been living for the past few years. We had great weather, ate interesting foods, and drank a good amount of coffee and alcohol (not together). :P It was unlike any trip I've taken before, because we didn't make any plans ahead of time and just played each day by ear. It was lovely. Here are a couple pictures from that trip.

Another piece of news from August is that we moved again! We're only living about 15 minutes from our old place, but we had a really bad experience with our landlord this past year, and we decided to move to a more corporate-run apartment complex. I'm liking our new place a lot, and we plan to stay here for at least the next two years. 

Oh, also...I finally started graduate school! This semester I am taking two classes, one online and one on campus, which has worked out really well so far. I'm enjoying both classes and don't feel overwhelmed [yet] with my schedule. I am still working at the hospital three days a week, which gives me a nice balance of time at home and in the office. I have to say that I feel very satisfied with life right now. It has only been a couple of weeks, but working part-time with school was a really positive decision and I am so thankful to have a husband that supports us in a way to make that possible. He is quite the catch. ;)

That's all for now. Enjoy the fall weather, everyone! I hope you are all doing well.

Much love,

Friday, August 23, 2013

New Music Friday: Track 4

I have some new jams for you. I just discovered this artist recently by downloading his free music on NoiseTrade (which I am promoting for the thousandth time...). It looks like his EP is still free, so you should definitely go check him out! His name is James Bay and he's from the UK. He has a beautiful, earthy voice that makes me feel all gooey inside. ;) Do I really need to say more?

Happy Friday!

Monday, August 5, 2013


I'm going to be honest with you. My spiritual health has been severely lacking over the past couple years. I could make an unending list of excuses for reasons why that is, but I won't waste your time. The point is that I've been doing a crappy job of maintaining a relationship with God, and I am sick of it. Things have been bad for so long that I can't even really remember when I last felt filled with God's love or peace. At most, I would feel apathy and at worst, bitterness. And maybe those two should be switched around.

Anyway, I guess I'm writing this as a type of confession. It's so easy to hide spiritual issues, especially when you are surrounded by Christians at home, church, and work (but not work for much longer). It's also hard to talk about it when you can't really identify the main issue. It's not just a simple "I'm struggling with ___. Can you pray for me?" Honestly, I don't know the root of my issue. I don't think I am mad at God, struggling with some big secret sin, or doubting His existence. Maybe I'm just feeling stagnant?

One of my main motivations for wanting to change is the start of friendships with my new co-workers. After a two year gap, I am finally interacting again with people who weren't necessarily raised in the church. It is refreshing! It also brings new challenges of how to "come out" about my faith with them. Does that sound ridiculous? I know it shouldn't be so difficult, but it is! I am very out of practice. And unlike in high school, I now have a solid fear of pushing people away by telling them what I believe. You can go ahead and judge me for that, but I feel pretty strongly that it's a sensitive subject and I want to approach it the right way. I've learned that many people have had some terrible experiences in the church, and they automatically associate Christians with those experiences. I don't want to be another person who pushes them away from God.

I have talked with a couple co-workers about my faith in a general way, mentioning my church and that my husband went to school to be a pastor (thanks for that "in", Toby :] ), but I know more is to follow. Does anyone have examples of GOOD experiences talking about faith with co-workers? How do you avoid awkwardness? I do not want any Bibles ending up shoved down throats.

Maybe I just need to start with getting my own beliefs sorted out. I'm working on it.
Thanks for listening! I will keep you updated as things progress. Have an excellent week.


Saturday, July 20, 2013


Hey there, blogosphere! 
Long time, no update. I'm fairly certain most of you are my Facebook friends, so none of this will be very earth-shattering news. However, it's been awhile and I figured it was time to post a little something again.

First of all, I went on vacation! I spent a week in St. John, US Virgin Islands with my husband, parents, sister, and brother-in-law. It was a wonderful week full of swimming, laying out, eating, snorkeling, beaching, laughing, and stargazing. The trip was a much-needed break from reality, and I greatly enjoyed it! Here's a taste of the scenery.

In other news, I have officially turned in my notice at my old job and my last day is August 9. I have been thinking about it for a long time, and I decided it is really for the best. I have enjoyed working there, but I don't think UGM is a place where I will be able to grow. Now that I have figured out what I want to do with my career, I realized that the organization is nowhere near ready to have someone come in and evaluate their programs. There is a lot more I could say about that, but I won't. I felt really sad about leaving at first, but now, I just feel relief. It's time for me to go.

I am really excited about this next month. I start my grad program in September, but before then, I will just be working three days a week at the hospital. We're planning a trip to Seattle/Spokane for mid-August, which should be really fun! I've never been to that part of the country before. :) 

And one more exciting thing...this fall, I will have 4-DAY WEEKENDS! I CAN'T WAIT! I know the whole reason for doing that is so I can work on school, but I still can't help seeing this as a little vacation. I've only been working full-time for 3.5 years, but still, having a flexible schedule sounds like heaven right now. We'll see if I still think that way in six months... ;)

Well, that's all for now. My life in a nutshell. I hope you all are enjoying the summer! I highly suggest going to the beach. 


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Back to the River

I know I've featured this band on my blog before, but I really think they deserve another post. Here is an actual music video of Lily & Madeleine featuring their song, "Back to the River." I love so many things about this song and video, not the least of which is the fact that it's filmed in Indianapolis and rural Indiana -- two places I know well. :) It makes me feel nostalgic for college. I figure any fellow alumni will feel the same.



Thursday, June 27, 2013


I don’t have too much news to report, so this blog will likely just be more of the same chatter you’ve heard from me before. However, I noticed that some people DO actually check my blog on a regular basis, so I figured maybe I should give them something to read!

I guess I should share that I am doing a lot better than I was a couple months ago. You may not have been able to tell, but I was in a fairly dark place this winter/spring, and I am so glad it is over. I’m not saying that I wake up each day feeling happy-go-lucky (I mean honestly, does anyone?), but the overall darkness/blues/sadness is gone. I want to say that I am still not fully “myself,” but I have also considered the possibility that I really just have changed. I’m not the same person that I was even three years ago, and I’ve decided that’s okay.

I am currently reading a book about marriage that describes how marriages are always changing, evolving, because individuals are always changing. That is not an idea I have really recognized before, probably because I am not a huge fan of change. I like to think of myself as the person I was when I felt I was at my BEST. My PEAK. Do you know what I mean? (Are you making fun of me because I’m only 25 and talking about already passing my peak? If so, I don’t blame you. I’m sure I will look back on this and laugh at me too.) I think my personal peak was my junior year of college. I had a ton of close friends, I was in a great routine spiritually, I did well in school, and I felt incredibly confident.

But, you know what? Life changes. I’m not that person anymore. I have different (and fewer) friends, I often struggle spiritually, I’m starting a new chapter in school, and I am nowhere near as confident as I was then. And I’m sure all of these things will change again soon! I also have a ton of new wonderful parts of my life that didn’t exist back then, and I definitely would NOT change places with myself if I could. This is who I am now, and it’s time I just accept it.

On a brighter note, I have been trying to seize the day a bit more. Because I can’t just hop on a plane and move to California tomorrow, I’ve decided to try and live it up where I am. I’m constantly looking for events and activities going on in my city to fill my weekends so I don’t end up just sitting on the couch the whole time. So far, that has included some concerts, an outdoor art festival, and two off-Broadway shows (coming up!). It’s been really fun!

I think that’s all for now. Hopefully I didn’t bore you too much with my self-reflection. Thanks for reading!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Tick Tock

If I had to sum up my feelings over the past month in one word, it would be restless. No matter how quickly the weeks pass, how the weather changes, or how I spend my free time, I still can’t get past this intense feeling of restlessness. Perhaps part of the reason is because I have quite literally been having some trouble staying asleep at night, so I am lacking quality sleep. Another reason may be because I work a long week, but don’t have a lot going on at either job currently. The hours seem to tick by VERY slowly no matter where I am. And wherever I look, it seems that everyone around me just can’t find enough time in the day. They are so “busy,” “crazy,” and “stressed.” Seriously, I would be all too happy to share some of my hours with them. Then my day could be a little shorter and theirs could be longer – it sounds perfect! ;)

I’m sorry for whining, but I am just wondering: what am I missing? Why am I really feeling so restless? A lot of wonderful things are happening…

1.      It’s [pretty much] summer.
2.      I’m going on vacation in 2 weeks!
3.      I finally found a good church and a small group.
4.      I’m feeling more comfortable in my new job.
5.      I start grad school in less than 3 months.

And yet, the feeling persists.


Friday, June 14, 2013

New Music Friday: Track 3

This song sounds like summer. Hopefully, I will get to experience that sometime soon. *Sigh*

Have a great weekend, everyone. :)


PS: Anyone else think this band kind of sounds like DC Talk?

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Since moving to the city, my hubby and I have greatly enjoyed exploring our neighborhood and finding the best views within walking distance. A few weeks ago, we discovered this little dirt path leading off from the sidewalk and into the woods. So obviously, we followed it! Here is what we found...

I love this city.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Feeling Cloudy

I lied.
It's not summer. It's not even pre-summer. It's just cold, rainy, cloudy spring. On JUNE 5TH! Dear Minnesota, what did we do wrong? Is God punishing us?

I apologize, because all I really have to say is negative today. This weather is incredibly depressing, and quite honestly, I think we're all depressed along with it. I should be able to take a walk, go to a lake, and enjoy the wonders of this state. But NO. It has been raining almost nonstop for the past 3 weeks. I hate it. Like, really.

I have seriously looked for jobs in California. If I wasn't about to start school, we would be currently apartment hunting on the west coast. There, it is summer A LOT. :) 

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...I'm ready for an adventure.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Keep your eyes wide open...for Gotye.

Okay, I realize I might just be very late to the party here, but does everyone already know about Gotye? I mean ASIDE from Somebody That I Used To Know? To be honest, I completely wrote him off as a one-hit-wonder with that single, but I have recently listened to his other music and it is awesome! I was shocked. It's a pretty unique sound, and occasionally I feel like I'm listening to a modern version of The Police. I don't know about you, but I like The Police, so I consider that to be a positive thing. :)

His music videos are quite artistic and entertaining, so I highly suggest checking them out. Also, if you're not too stingy and actually still buy music, I would encourage you to pick up his album Making Mirrors. It's definitely worth the purchase. Highlights from that album are the songs: Easy Way Out, Eyes Wide Open, and Save Me.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Adventures in Odyssey

Change. Future. Time. Adventure.

All of these things have been on my mind lately. In the past month, I have come very close to making some very serious and permanent life decisions.  However, I've also had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that prevented me from making these decisions. The feeling is this: I want an adventure.

This isn't necessarily a new feeling, as you may know from reading previous blog posts, but it is becoming more concrete. I'm 25, with no mortgage, no children, no major financial burdens...this is THE TIME. Okay, maybe "the time" was actually three years ago right after I graduated college and didn't have a job yet. But, I was (and am) hopelessly in love and needed to finally live near my boyfriend (now husband)! I wouldn't have been happy to move to another country and teach English by myself, nor would I be happy doing that now (because, duh, I have a husband). :P

So, I guess what I'm discovering now is that my definition of adventure has changed. It doesn't have to mean living in a mud hut with dreadlocks and learning fluent Spanish (although the dreadlocks might be fun for a short time...). I think an adventure may just mean moving to a new place and exploring a different part of the country. I don't think I'm ready for us to settle down permanently just yet. 

And no, I'm not saying that we are going to move tomorrow. It is just something that has been weighing on my mind a lot lately. I really don't feel any rush to live in one place longterm (I can probably thank my parents for that one - I still haven't lived in any place for longer than four years). There are just so many options! So many WARM options! Who knows where we could end up?

Before you freak out, dear family and friends, be comforted by the fact that we will be here for at least the next two years as I'm in school. But after that, I cannot make any promises. *SANFRANCISCODENVERBOSTONMAUISEATTLE* You just never know.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

My Summer Playlist

It's finally warm outside and I daresay we can call this spring or better yet, "pre-summer." In honor of this wonderful news, I am posting my preliminary Summer 2013 Playlist*. Get ready to roll down your windows, turn up the jams and car dance! Feel free to share with others as you please. :)

*NOTE: Not all of these songs are from 2013, but they are all awesome (or at least fun). 

Radioactive by Lindsey Stirling & Pentatonix (Cover)
Mountain Sound by Of Monsters and Men
Eyes Wide Open by Gotye
Little Numbers by BOY
Hey Mama by Mat Kearney
Below My Feet by Mumford & Sons
Cottonfield by The Vespers
1901 by Phoenix
5 Years Time by Noah and the Whale
All Alone by Fun.
Loveless by Said the Whale

And now for the part of the playlist for which you will judge me.

Can't Hold Us by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton
Thank You by MKTO
That Power by ft. Justin Bieber
Mirrors by Justin Timberlake
22 by Taylor Swift
Here's To Never Growing Up by Avril Lavigne


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Nature Secrets

Last weekend, I stumbled across something wonderful. It's a place that feels secluded and private, but is really right in the middle of the city! It's called Hidden Falls Park, and I'm almost afraid to tell you about it in case everyone suddenly runs over there at once and it loses all its privacy. They don't even tell you this on the website (although maybe it's supposed to be obvious), but there are actual hidden waterfalls in this park! It was fantastic. I'm going to go ahead and title it "the best kept nature secret in the Twin Cities," however, I am completely open to discovering something else more deserving of that title. Please, enlighten me. 

Here are some of my pictures from the day. Enjoy.


Saturday, April 27, 2013


Happy Spring! To celebrate, I'm sharing this photo I took the other night. You will soon find out that I am OBSESSED with sunsets. I take pictures of them every chance I get...and in the summer, that is quite often. :)

So, depending on how well you know me, you might have observed that I am currently on a Facebook fast. I am somewhat addicted to Facebook, and our new church (which we both LOVE - answer to prayer) is doing a 40-day fast to focus on prayer. I know it's a little shallow and immature to just fast from Facebook, but it honestly consumes a ton of my free time. There are many benefits to having an iPhone, and constant connection to the internet is one of them. Unfortunately for me, that means I am checking Facebook at all hours of the day, basically whenever I get distracted or bored by whatever else I am doing. I'm pretty sure that is unhealthy behavior and also puts me in the same category as 7th grade girls...hence the fast.

The thing is, fasting from Facebook has turned out to be extremely easy. Maybe I wasn't as addicted to it as I thought. However, I haven't really figured out how to do the whole "focus on prayer" part. I feel really out of practice. 

I don't know if this stems from some anger at God from losing my nephew last fall (let's face it, I DO know), but I'm finding it really difficult to pray. It's almost like I'm afraid to ask for anything, even wisdom or guidance, because I don't know how much He cares. I do believe that He hears me, but I'm really unsure how much He directly intervenes. Honestly, I struggle with this issue probably once a year. There is just so much hurt in the world! The fact that God sees it all and doesn't stop it kind of makes me sick, but I also accept that there is a lot about God that I don't understand. I still believe that Jesus loves and saves me, and that basic faith is about all I can handle right now. 

Whew, I did not intend to get that deep in this blog. I guess that's why blogging is such a good outlet - once I start writing, I often uncover thoughts I didn't even realize I had. Thanks for listening.

I love you all.

Here are a couple videos from a Josh Garrels concert I went to last week. He's amazing. Go check him out.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Hint Of Spring

Here are some photos I took last weekend at the Como Zoo & Conservatory. Maybe spring will take the hint and come already!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mind. Blown.

Oh. My.
Violin + Dubstep + Beatboxing.
I need more of this in my life.
Go look up Lindsey Stirling. Then look up Pentatonix.

I am in love.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Waste of 3.5 Minutes

Only watch this if you are incredibly bored. I almost added music to make it more interesting, but then you couldn't hear anything I said...this is what happens when I'm home alone. :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I don't know what you're doing, but I know who you are.

Since blogging takes energy and I don't seem to have any right now, I will instead share this video by one of my very favorite artists: JJ Heller. This woman knows how to write about real life. Grief, pain, joy, love, guilt, anxiety - she pretty much covers it all. Whenever I am struggling and can't find the words to express my feelings, I can always find a JJ Heller song that says it perfectly. Her vulnerability and transparency is inspiring. What I wouldn't give to sit down and have a cup of coffee with her...

On a side note, please don't conclude from me posting this video that I am depressed right now. I'm actually doing pretty well. I just stumbled upon this video today, remembered how much I LOVE this song, and decided it needed to be shared. Maybe it will speak to one of you!


Friday, March 29, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

All The Deets

As you may have heard, there have been some recent developments in my life. I have a new job! This last month has been a whirlwind, and I'm still somewhat in shock of it all. Honestly, I wasn't seriously looking for a new job, and I applied to one position thinking I would never hear back about it. But, obviously I was wrong.

The position is part-time at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. I'll be working on a three year research study looking at the attitudes and behaviors towards Children's Hospital of American Indian patients that utilize the Emergency Room. I'll be working with the IRB, surveying doctors and hospital staff, and interviewing the patients and their families. For those of you that know me well, you can probably tell why I took the job. I'm getting back to my research roots! :)

Since the position is part-time and because I wasn't planning on leaving my previous job, I asked to stay on at the Mission part-time as well. I'll be dropping some of my duties and taking on others, as I hope to start doing more program evaluation there. My plan is to work at Children's three days a week and at the Mission for the other two. Hopefully this will all work out, and it won't be too stressful balancing both jobs. I'm going to give it a six-month "trial" period, and then reevaluate my decision if things aren't going well. We shall see!

That's all I have for today. I just thought it would be easiest to update you all at once instead of maintaining 15 different Facebook conversations...

Thanks to all the people in my life that love and support me. I appreciate each of you so much! Have an excellent week.


PS: I am currently obsessed with this song. Don't judge.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

For Your 'Big Day'

I want to take a minute to give a shout-out to my friend Bryan. If anyone is looking for a wedding videographer or DJ, you should go check out his website today. He does videography for more than just weddings - he also films commercials, music videos, and just about any other event you might want to catch on camera. I know quite a few people who have hired him to DJ their weddings, and I can honestly say he comes highly recommended. 

As I was looking through his website, I saw one wedding video in particular that I loved. First, because it reminded me a LOT of my own wedding day, and second, because it made me tear up! Go ahead and take a look, and if you like what you see, check out more videos on his website. :)


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sweet, Sweet Sound

New band alert!

The band is called Lily & Madeleine, and it's comprised of two teenage sisters (15 and 18, respectively) from Indianapolis. I just discovered them a couple hours ago, thanks to a newsletter from Asthmatic Kitty Records (label of Sufjan Stevens). I am in musical love. They posted their first YouTube video 3 months ago, and it already has over 250,000 hits. And that's about all I can tell you!

Check them out for yourself. :)


Friday, March 1, 2013

New Music Friday: Track 2

In honor of it being Friday, here is some music for your enjoyment. Don't roll your eyes just because you see Taylor Swift in the title - this is a great song even if you have a T. Swift bias.

Also, I need to hear this today. I am completely exhausted. I seriously feel like I could sleep for days. That's life for ya.

Later, folks.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Enjoying Life [On A Budget]

Being the fairly frugal couple that we are, I thought it would be fun to share some tips from the Zook Nook on how to save money and still enjoy life. Some of these tips are aimed at newlywed couples, but not all of them. I don't claim that any of this is groundbreaking advice, but you may learn something new!

1. Chipotle: To make your money stretch further, split a burrito bowl between two people. To do this, ask for extra rice (you must ask very sweetly and maybe even wink - my husband does this well) and they will give you bigger portions of all the toppings, making the bowl larger. You can even ask for a tortilla on the side, and then have one person scoop half the toppings into the tortilla. This gives you the feeling that you are eating a normal burrito, except it's a much healthier portion size for each person. Plus, it's delicious!

1B. Around Christmas and Graduation time (in May), Chipotle offers a deal where you can buy a $30 gift card and get a free burrito at your next visit. We take great advantage of this and buy one gift card every time we go during this time period. That way, we get a free burrito bowl each visit, AND we are stocked up with Chipotle gift cards for the rest of the year. We rarely pay actual money for Chipotle.

2. Netflix: This may seem obvious to most of you, but using Netflix Instant instead of paying for cable TV saves a TON of money! Since getting married, we have never had cable, and yet we watch TV all the time. We pay $7.99/month for all the TV we could possibly need. Plus, we have been exposed to shows like 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Friday Night Lights, Jericho, Lie To Me, The West Wing, Bones, etc.

2B. For free movies, we use the...library! Again, this may seem obvious, but you can order pretty much any movie from your local public library, and it will eventually get in your DVD player for FREE. Does this sound familiar to anyone *cough*Netflix*cough*? Boom, save $7.99 additional dollars each month.

3. 2-in-1 Shampoo: I don't think I need to expand much on this topic. Buying 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner saves money, time, and space in your shower. Garnier Fructis has a good 2-in-1 product.

4. Generic Products: Consider buying off-brand products. Of course, you can always do this with food at the grocery store, but in my opinion, there can be a significant drop in food quality with certain brands. What I am referring to here is generic brands of medications, vitamins, paper goods (but not toilet paper), hand soap, etc.
*Did you know that Equate brand "Tums" are WAY better than any other brand?

5. Noisetrade: Free music, people! Subscribe to their weekly emails, and you will enjoy the benefits of getting free downloads of new bands, old bands you didn't know, and bands you already love. I found most of my current favorite bands on Noisetrade. Seriously, who needs iTunes when you have Noisetrade and YouTube?

6. Thrift Shops: Again, super obvious, but if you look hard enough, you can find art, picture frames, and cool decorations for your house at thrift shops. I will have to add Craigslist to this category as well. If you don't know about that (are there people who don't?), you are missing out.

Speaking of thrift shops, let's take a break for this gem. Don't worry, it's the clean one.

7. Public Transportation: I know your options for this may vary based on where you live, but most cities have a decent public transit network that may reach farther than you think. All you suburbanites out there, you should look into your nearest bus/train stop at home and work and check to see if the route saves you any time/money. I took the bus to work last winter, and it made me a much happier person!

Okay, I don't want this list to get obnoxiously long so I think I will stop here. Maybe you learned something, and maybe you just got to jam out to "Thrift Shop." Either way, thanks for reading my blog! :)


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Faint Not

I’m scared to write this down, because I don’t have it all worked out yet. I apologize in advance if this is hard to follow or seems scattered. My hope is that writing a blog will provide an outlet for all of my jumbled thoughts and help me figure out what’s going on in my head.
Let me try to start from the beginning…
For the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling pretty depressed. I think I can contribute some of that to Seasonal Affective Disorder combined with Minnesota winter, as it is definitely that time of year again. However, the thoughts I’m having aren’t very consistent with past winters, and I am fairly convinced there is more going on than SAD-ness (oh, puns!).
As I mentioned before, work is very slow right now (but apparently not for anyone else in the office), and I don’t have a lot of extra-curricular activities going on – although I did start tutoring at the library one night a week. We are still looking for a new church, and we don’t have a lot of consistent Christian community. Oh, and I haven’t heard about grad school yet either. I say all of this just to make some excuses and offer possible causes for the feelings I will now reveal.
I feel like my life is purposeless. I feel like I am wasting these precious, carefree years of my mid 20’s planning for my future and acting too much like an adult. What is the rush? I don’t own a house, don’t have kids, and have very few responsibilities. Here’s what I’m thinking: I want to move to another country. Preferably in South or Central America. I want to take a break from offices, TV, happy hour, driving, makeup, winter, gossip, senseless worrying, shopping, Facebook, 401K, Netflix…
Some of you may be thinking, “Heather, didn’t you say this same thing 4 years ago?” Yes, I did. But at that time, I was looking for something else. I really just wanted experience living in South America so I could learn Spanish fluently. And sure, that would definitely be a bonus, but now I feel the need for so much more. This may sound cliché, but I want to serve God and his people wholeheartedly, and I think that means giving up some of the comforts I have now and living alongside people in need. I realize it’s possible to do that without even leaving my city, and that’s always a possibility, but I also feel like getting away from the familiar may be a necessary part of serving.
I also realize there is a whole other person in my life that needs to be on board before we pack up and move to Chile (Costa Rica? Mexico? Paraguay?), and there are jobs, school, finances, relationships, and many other factors that would need to be considered. For now, I think I could be content to plan a short-term trip, and that planning is already in the works. But, if I’m not going to move to South America, then what AM I going to do to satisfy this discontent?
PS: I LOVE the lyrics to this song by Jenny & Tyler.