send some love

I miss the feeling of Valentine's Day as a kid. It wasn't all about finding a date or sulking for not having one. It was about making candy-covered boxes for all your pals to place Valentines in. I used to love browsing for the perfect Valentines to give. I was partial to Ninja Turtles or Care Bears.

Now that I'm older, there are more options than what comes in a box of twenty. Send a little love this year, whether it's to your honey or to a friend. Bring back that goodness you feel when giving a Valentine. Here are some that I adore...

If you want to order any of these, just click on their cuteness of a picture.


happy birthday, dad

Happy Birthday to my pops!

We've shared plenty of memories together. When I was little we climbed trees, skateboarded, and warmed up our Mr. Goodbars on the television set. It was our little secret. Now-a-days we order too much sushi, go to two movies in a row at the theater, and travel to new places.

Through all the memories I've learned to not take life too seriously. It's all fleeting and the best thing to do is roll with the punches. You taught me to breathe. You taught me to accept. You taught me strength.

You taught me that you can make a meal out of the strangest ingredients. You showed me how to dip a paintbrush in paint and create. You've given a few dating tips that would have been wise to follow. You made me realize it's okay to laugh at myself. It's actually better that way.

There are so many things you've taught me that a simple "Happy Birthday" doesn't feel like it adds up to enough. Since we can't spend the day together, it's all I have. Enjoy your special day. I love you very much.


sunday spark

“Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such."
-Henry Miller
[click on image for source]


friday funnies

I love watching the web series, Between Two Ferns. I wish Mr. Galifianakis would do more of these. He is so awesomely awkward. Check 'em out for a giggle or two.


the bravest love

I believe in a great love. It's something I long to have. It's something I must have. I know it will walk into my life when it's supposed to. When I least expect it. When I stop looking for it. 

When I came across these words by Ann Voskamp, it knocked me off my feet and filled my heart with so much faith.

"In his sleep, he finds my hand.

It’s the only one I’ve ever known.

Hand in mine, that wraps around a waist, draws in close, slumbering strength always holding on.

I don’t know how another man’s skin feels.

My grandmother lived that kind of courage. The kind that made a vow and had the bravery to let it age.

The wrinkled faithfulness of monogamy, it can look pedestrian, the kind that finishes well, parades up through the Arc de Triomphe, battle scarred, and the tourists just blithely shuffle by, pigeons taking to oblivious wing. She told me about this.

I remember it, nights like these.

How she said that the bravest love is wildly faithful and it falls hard again every morning. How it puts the toilet seat down and the cap on the toothpaste and winks for those already-won eyes. It knows what we seek may be found in what we already have. And there can always be this — the allure of the vows.

I feel his skin, his hand around me in sleep. We sleep like this this night after years of nights, light of the moon stretching long across our room, the pillows, us growing old in this romanced ordinary. It’s grace and fresh gratitude that can make us strong enough to marvel in the seeming monotony of anything. And the happily married have eyes that look long enough to make the familiar new. When he comes up behind me and hugs me at the stove, I still whisper it to him: “I still can’t really believe I get to be married to you.” Grandma washed Grandpa’s underwear for fifty six years, and she said it was always so good.

Warm it falls on the nape of my neck, his sleep breath, close. I press closer. There’s this beautiful drama’s in a long faithfulness and aged love might be heroic. God knows the passion of a covenant.

His stubble rubs my shoulder.

He makes me, shape and rib, and my head’s full of how we’ve known each other and how he still is mystery and how the want is still all his. We sleep in matrimony and it is holy."

This. This beautiful meshing of words is what puts that reassuring voice in my head that says,

"It's all worth it." 

Every heartache. Every sad song played on repeat. Every blip in timing. Every misguided and misjudged feeling. Every time "baggage" could have stayed behind with the other loose ends and carry-on items. Every person you had to walk away from. Every belief that your world could end if they were stolen away, or worse, chose to leave. 

All of these moments that tug so violently on your heartstrings are all moments that are leading you to great love. To the one person who wants to create new moments. Moments that outweigh all the others. Moments that heal you. Moments that make you believe in good again.

[click on image for source]


We've been wanting to step out of our little bubble for quite some time, so Christine and I went to explore downtown Phoenix. To make it a little more interesting, we decided to let serendipity lead the way. We dug through our change to find a trusty penny. Heads or tails led us down different streets and in certain directions.

We ate a delicious (and cheap) lunch at Bistro 202. Our tummies were full of lobster mac n' cheese, salmon, and creme brulee. YUM. We went on a nice, long stroll afterward. Along the way we met some friendly statues, saw some pretty gardens, checked out upcoming shows, and ended our day at Rose and Crown for a pilsner.

It's nice to step out of our usual surroundings and experience something new. We made some friends, found tasty spots to chow down, and peered up at skyscrapers. Sometimes escaping to someplace new is only a hop, skip, and a light rail away.


what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Student teaching
I spent yesterday with my classroom of little kiddos. We read books, put together puzzles, and learned how to share. They call me Miss Brianna and give me big, bear hugs.

2. Shooting
On my journey in trying new things, I headed to the shooting range. It felt a tad scary holding a gun in my hands, but I quickly came to love mastering my aim.

3. Journaling
I just opened up a brand new journal after filling my other one up. It's a completely therapeutic thing to do right before bed, or whenever you need to get your feelings out on paper and out into the universe.

i love you, mr. lonely

It's not always the easiest thing to find comfort in being alone. The silence can be deafening. The only movement is my own chest rising and falling with each breath. The only thoughts spoken are the ones replaying in my head. There are even those moments when I question whether I said them aloud or if they stayed locked tight in the confines of my brain.

To shoo away the loneliness I tend to surround myself with people, but eventually their company wears out and they have to head home. It's those moments of goodbye that the loneliness creeps in. It feels like chilly fingertips wiggling their way towards my insides. It's eery.

I'm uncertain as to what makes loneliness such a scary feeling. It's as if an empty home is being built inside me, brick by brick. There is no fire burning in the fireplace. There is no tea kettle whistling on the stove. There are no echoes of animated voices in the halls. It's a model home that isn't being shown to any potential buyers.

Now before I plunge anymore into a depressing post, it's not meant to be that way. This a place for uplifting thoughts so let me get to it...

I've given up being up in arms over loneliness. I can't chase it off. I can only embrace it with a big ol' bear hug. I realize that being alone, doesn't mean being unhappy. There is a beauty in loneliness and I'm taking the time to look for it. That means exploring the silence, studying my own motions, and playing out my thoughts. There is no need to be afraid of being alone with myself. It only means I'm growing. It only means I'm finding contentedness. It only means my soul is doing a little searching.

While I have a love/hate relationship with Mr. Lonely, it's in those trying times that I need to remind myself how beautiful our relationship really is. He let's me write without covering up the pages of my journals with my arms. He let's me sing and strum on my guitar without hurting the ears of innocent listeners. He lets me eat the strangest combination of food for a meal. Think PB&J with a side of nachos and a pickle. He reminds me that my quirks are strange, but unique. He makes me appreciate what makes me, me.


one woman show

As if I didn't have enough of a girl crush on Ingrid Michaelson, it's just turned into a whopping one. Her unique rendition of "Somebody That I Used to Know" is beautiful and she looks just so darn cute in her specs and beanie. Even better? She sang and played each and every instrument to make this. That girls got talent.

On top of all that goodness...it's a sweet, little break-up tune.

chocolate for breakfast

I normally don't eat sweets for breakfast. The early morning and sugary bites just don't make for a happy tummy for the rest of the day. It doesn't mean I don't eat those types of breakfast foods for dessert. This especially holds true for this recipe I saw on Raspberri Cupcakes. What's better than a coco puff milkshake ? Yum!

Chocolate Cereal Milk Mousse & Cocoa Pops
(adapted from Momofuku's cereal milk mousse recipe, serves 4)

For the cereal-milk mousse:
3 cups cocoa pops (AKA cocoa krispies)
2 cups whole milk
1 1/4 tsp powdered gelatine
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 cup heavy cream

For the topping:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup dark chocolate. chopped into small pieces
Extra cocoa pops to top off

Preheat the oven to 275°F. On a lined baking tray, toast the cereal for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a sealable container, combine the toasted cereal and milk. Let steep for 20 minutes, then strain into a measuring cup; the mixture should yield about 1 cup of 'cereal milk'.

Place 1/2 cup cereal milk in a medium bowl. Sprinkle powdered gelatin on top. In a small saucepan, scald 1/2 cup cereal milk with the salt and sugar. Whisk hot milk into the cool milk until the gelatine is dissolved. Chill until almost set (I basically chilled mine and checked on it every 5 minutes until it was thick and almost going lumpy, at which point I whisked it until smooth and proceeded).

Whip the cream to stiff peaks and fold it into the almost-set gelatine mixture. Pour mixture into 4 serving glasses. Chill in the fridge while preparing the topping. Put chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Place 1/2 cup cream in a small saucepan on medium-low heat and just bring to the boil. Pour hot cream over the chocolate and leave to sit for a minute to allow chocolate to melt. Use a whisk to mix, ensuring that it is smooth and all the chocolate has melted (if it hasn't, place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until smooth).

Leave to cool for about 5 minutes (ensure that the mixture is still pourable, otherwise you will have to reheat). Carefully pour a thin layer of the chocolate mixture over the top of each mousse glass. Sprinkle a layer of cocoa pops over the top. Chill until set, at least one hour. Best served on the same day to ensure cereal layer is still crunchy.

[click on image for source]


squaw peak

We continued our hiking adventures today. Jenn, Charlie, and I headed to Squaw Peak for a little change of scenery and to get away from the loudness of life's silly mishaps, of the city, of all the hustle and bustle. It was a perfect day for it too. 

Never without incidents, we got in a little tiff with the park ranger about trying to sneak my four-legged friend up one of the trails. We watched as four-year-olds fell, scraped their knees, and screams echoed through the mountains. We listened as one couple yelled about getting a divorce because up a mountain is the ideal place to discuss marital issues. We went on a search for a missing pup. Other than all of that it was a peaceful hike. We cleared our heads and headed back down with new perspectives and a few calories burned. 

sunday spark

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass... 
It's about learning how to dance in the rain."
-Vivian Greene
[click on image for source]


one of those days

Every day is different. Some days are easier than others, while some carry something darker and heavier. When sticking to a set schedule, days might not come with different scenery, people, or tasks. But each one comes with different feelings. It's those feelings that can make you see things in a new light.

I read this on BLISSBOMBED and it gave me a sureness of life. I felt comfort in knowing that it's okay to feel certain emotions and think various thoughts. Just remember, that these days are yours. You take them how you want and you make them how you want.

Read on...

"There will be days where you wish you knew what you really wanted in your life, but you don’t.

There will be days where you wish the other person in your life stopped and listened to you, but they won’t.

There will be days when you will come to the end of your strength, and all that’s left to do is cry. The next thing is forgive yourself.

There will be days where someone says something really hurtful about someone you love or care for and it will derail that relationship.

There will be days where some movie reminds you of the you that used to laugh and be joyful and you will shed a silent tear.

There will be days where you wished someone loved you, and yet they don’t.

There will be days where the smallest gesture from your child or a stranger will carry you sailing through the day.

There will be days where the thought of falling in love with someone will be the furthest thing from your mind, and you will.

There will be days that hold a surprise that you never saw coming. And it will change everything.

There will be days where you thought a friend was a true friend and you come to find out they have less to give than you thought.

There will be days where a person with a totally different vantage point in life will become your new, and deeply wonderful, lifelong friend.

There will be days when love makes requests of you and demands more than you think you’ve got to give, and you’ll do so unconditionally.

There will be days where someone expects more quality time, and your quality time will be spent quietly with yourself.

There will be days when you finally get it, and realize the relationship is truly over. You will feel mixed emotions of relief and regret but the long term memory of the relationship will help you be a better and more loving person in the future.

There will be days when you see something like the internet, once a miracle of exciting opportunity, is just a window to other souls who are fragile, some flawed. You will come to realize this is not the single venue for your long-term growth, and you will have mixed emotions about this.

There will be days when you walk outside, see a hidden glimpse of beauty, a butterfly landing on a flower, a duckling trying to keep up with his family in the pond…and you will know your eyes were the only ones that ever saw that single act of beauty and you will be renewed.

Every life holds many days. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves.

These are YOUR days.

And how you chose to filter what happens in any given day is a choice you, and you alone, make.

You have that awesome power.
Enjoy this day."
[click on image for source]
[original post found here]


the color run

Lately I have been wanting to try new things. I figure, why not experience something a little different? Life moves quickly. If you're not careful you'll miss it and all the things you could have tried. Thankfully, I have some amazing gals on board with me. They keep me company through the learning and the experiencing of new activities.

One activity we will be doing at the end of the month is The Color Run. It is a 5k that is more about fun, rather then speed and competition. Everyone wears white and at each kilometer they are sprayed with colorful paint (The paint is safe to eat and actually quite sweet!) At the end of the run you look like a splattered masterpiece. How fun and different is that? The best thing about it is that all proceeds go to the Banner Health Children's Hospital.

Here is where you can find a location and register. Gather some friends and do something out of the ordinary. Do something that supports a good cause.
[click on image for source]

what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Musical pals
I was so happy to be reunited with my talented pals this past weekend. They put on a great show at The Clubhouse. Now they're off touring, but we definitely gave them one heck of a farewell.

2. Opening up
I'm learning to appreciate every moment for what it is. Some tend to forget how quickly certain moments can pass, and they look back on what they should have said or done. I figure there is nothing to lose in being honest.

3. The Cure
I can't stop, won't stop listening to the good tunes and sappy lyrics of this band. I've been musically obsessing for about two weeks now. I tap my toes, snap my fingers, and even attempt a British singing voice. All while thinking, "This song is the story of my life."
[click on images for sources]


stunna shades

I love big sunglasses. They are comfortable, protective, and cover my face on the bad days. The other day my gal and I went to pick out some sunglasses for her. I was drooling over all the styles. It was hard not to try on a few pairs. We found her the perfect pair of Tory Burch aviators and I definitely accumulated a wish list of my own...


sunday spark

"I think of life itself now as a wonderful play that I've written for myself, and so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part."
-Shirley MacLaine

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