an ode to a european thanksgiving

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this time last year, i had just arrived in paris via train from london with two of my very best friends in celebration of what we liked to call “a european thanksgiving”. aka living the dream.

id be lying if i said i haven’t spent all week daydreaming about that trip. the trip of a lifetime. cafes and cappuccinos  and croissants and macaroons. and also more things than food, but for some reason food always seems to jump to the front of my memory with things like this. which in some ways makes me feel like a really awful person – how food ends up being more important than people in my memory. oops. good person fail.

anyway, i’ve been reminiscing about the sights and sounds of these two beautiful cities – from the moment eri, cole and i decided we too should try to be traveling musicians on the paris metro to the rain splashed stage of “singing in the rain” in london’s west end. apparently the ticket woman wasn’t joking when she asked us if we wanted to purchase some ponchos. it was so full of all things the last season was defined by – spontaneity, sister friends, and space to live like their wasn’t a care in the world. and i am so thankful for it.

like literally what?! I WAS IN PARIS LAST THANKSGIVING. nothing will ever replace the sweet memories i got to make with two of my very best friends living on the edge of adventure and adulthood, figuring out who we were and where we wanted to be. and most of all being reminded that there was a great big world out there to be a part of. and traditions would change as we had our very first “friends-giving”. such a funny foreshadowing of the season to come…. where things are discombobulated and your trying to figure out what traditions you want to make on your own.

so with that, heres a few reminiscent shots of our very own european thanksgiving. aka christmas since the europeans don’t celebrate thanksgiving, which sadly enough we were a little shell-shocked to discover upon our arrival.

^ a few snapshots from london – covent garden was DECKED OUT for christmas, from giant ornaments hanging over the sweet carts and shops to the HUGE christmas tree so prominently displayed on the outside… as i said we were quite surprised but nonetheless STOKED that those fabulous europeans get into the christmas spirit a little earlier in the year than we americans do; the third photo is at camden lock where we spent the day exploring with our oxford studying friend my-spick enjoying rainy streets around every corner of the city; and the middle photo is a croissant thrown in because who doesn’t love a good pastry?! and because buying sweet treats like this is why all of us panicked our last morning at breakfast when we realized we had perhaps spent our money like queens the whole week when we were most definitely not of any royal fiscal stature. bummer. but nonetheless the best decision in some ways too looking back on it :)

^ we stumbled upon this gorgeous church in paris just around the corner from rue cler and i had to stop and take a photo…. also, in case you were wondering, you can find a starbucks in any city it would seem.

^ sight seeing in the city of lights :)

happy thanksgiving to each and every one of you this holiday season… european or not.

a weekend away.

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this weekend i found myself lost in a world of fog, fireplaces, and 24 hour starbucks coffee canisters.

hard to complain, really.

it was my very first retreat with my church CA up in twin peaks, ca. and it was a weekend very well spent. also i got a heinous cold that left me at multiple points yesterday wondering if my lymph nodes were abandoning ship. they weren’t, thank goodness, and today I’m feeling a little bit better.

all in all the weekend away was so beyond worth every infectious sneeze i’ve had since returning. i got to sit with new friends and some partial acquaintances and actually laugh together and learn a little more about what makes each of them so uniquely their own. i got to have deep intimate conversations like “whats your go-to-no-doubts-favorite-sick-day-movie” among other life altering topics. i got to learn what the HECK modge podge is and that sometimes “craft time” can be a touch difficult when you’re a perfectionist like me. i got to be challenged in my faith and what it means to make space to listen for God’s voice amidst all the other resounding clangs going on in my life. i got to pray. and sit. and actually not talk to other people for a little bit – in front of a FIREPLACE no less. and i got to wear sweaters and socks and boots like it is actually fall in california instead of an extended summer.

it was such a great space to be away and explore some new places with new friends.

i was also reminded of the differences that exist in this season i.e. i’m STILL not in college anymore. and so things happen at a slower pace, more naturally in most ways, and in the end, beautifully – as much as i am tempted to throw a temper tantrum at many a given moment. things don’t just “click” or “happen” in the same handed-to-you way as they did in every season prior to this one. but it makes the things that DO happen all the more special. you get bits and pieces of the puzzle instead of the full enchilada all at once because the journey is longer but no less robust. more in fact. because theres more to taste and see and dive deeper into along the way. and thats one thing that i know i do love.

…oops. and there went the rambling :)

anyway, the point is that i am so thankful for weekends like this past one. cold or not. and below you’ll see why.

^ these were the men of the hour. and i got to hang with their humor all weekend long.
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^ just a handful of the fabulous girls i got to share a cabin with over the weekend. plus one cabin crasher aka maurie. aka i wasn’t mad because turns out she’s a champ.

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^ on our way home we stopped into the little village in lake arrowhead for pizza that was to die for and a little lakeside commemoration sesh. because how can you not, right?
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^ and finally the most famous guest star of the weekend itself – my box of saltines. don’t ask me how this ended up becoming a thing. all i can say is that when the snack you purchased gets locked in your friends car unable to make its debut until the final night of retreat, it kind of becomes the long awaited center of attention.

happy tuesday! hope you all had a relaxing weekend in one wonderful form or another.

a place to visit.

i found myself in granada hills yesterday and stumbled upon THIS little gem pictured above – joe’s cafe.

you could say its kind of a winner.

and so there i was, wandering inside, intrigued by the simple whisk logo on the sign out front.

to my absolute DELIGHT joe’s was much more than i could have originally expected. fresh ingredients, friendly people, combinations to die for were all waiting for me as i walked in the door. a few of my most favorite things :)

if theres one thing i love, its a good little cafe hidden smack dab in the middle of some “old town” street complete with fresh food, architectural decor, and a warm environment – not exactly your typical let alone easiest space to discover. oh and maybe some good coffee too. of which they had. intellegentsia to be precise.

so if you’re in the area, or just feel like driving to the area, i highly recommend this little hidden slice of food heaven as your next lunch destination. oh and apparently they have a killer brunch on sundays too. as well as everyday until 11 am. aka positive life decision.

please PLEASE let me know if you have a little coffee shop/cafe/orgenerallyyummyfoodprovider that you are currently loving as i am ALWAYS ready for a good *any of the above* adventure.

have a beautiful day :)

a little nugget.

perfection

 

just a little something i stumbled upon yesterday.

and decided needed to be shared.

and also i might tattoo this somewhere.

(not really but thats a nice thought, isnt it?)

xo

being a grown up.

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graduation.

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forgive me if ive been a litle overwhelmed by so many different emotions lately.

for those of you who have graduated, well freaking done. for those of you who havent, it will be quite the interesting season i can tell you that much. and for those of you who are along side of me, im sure you can relate to living in a constant dichotomy.

dichotomy. meaning “a division into two mutually exclusive, opposed, or contradictory groups”. at least thats what dictionary.com tells me. you’re with me now right? total excitement and complete terror. unrelentless drive toward your passion and crippling fear of the failure to get there. looking forward to the future while feeling nostalgic about the past. ready to move on but feeling confused about letting go.

this is the life of a senior getting ready to graduate. or at least this is the reality of my life as a senior getting ready to graduate.

i dont know why at the same exact time throught this season its felt like im going to get through this next transition no problemo, having my future in the bag, AND that nobody else had ever done this before and i was the very first person EVER to have to traipse the rugged, unknown terrain of life ahead on my own.

dichotomy. thats the only way i can think to explain it.

what ive come to realize amidst the moments of excitement and hope paired right alongside the freak out sessions and “will i ever get a job” chats with my roommates, is that i need permission to just be HERE right now… and then start chapter one.

a very wise professor told me that our career path should be a story, and if we’re too worried about treating this next step in life like an intersection rather than a delta, we will totally and completely miss it. we will miss our chance to start to tell our story now, starting with the very first chapter and trusting that even past that there will be more chapters to come. it doesnt matter if i am an assistant to a reality television star or working at a womens gym, this next season is about learning – about pursuing options that can lead to the next thing all the while allowing me to simply grow.

there are so many things i dont know how to do yet. i am not  an expert at paying bills. i am not familiar with working a 9-5 job. i have not, nor will i probably for quite some time, owned a house. and i do not know what it looks like to practice intentionally pursuing my friends who are going off in a million different directions while i am as well.

but what i do know is that there is grace enough for all of that. i want this season to be about becoming. in the words of an author i absolutely love, shauna niequist, i dont want to get stuck in the past or fast-forward to a future i havent yet earned. i want to simply sit in the grace of today – trusting that it is a story God is writing, certainly not me.

do want to pursue holiness. i was catching up with a good friend the other day when we started chatting about the future. “you know what ive realized?” she said. “amidst the chaos of the season of change that is to come – ive realized one thing. i cant figure it out on my own. so for me, its about pursuing holiness, and trusting that from there, everything else will fall into place”. is this not the truth of our lives? the future will always bring change and confusion. there will always be elements of life that both lift us up as well as knock us on our butts because the future is what it always has been – unknown. pursuing a God who I believe transcends all of that brings peace into an otherwise messy scary life. and so thats what i want to do – pursue holiness, and trust that the rest of it will fall into place.

i do want to give myself permission to fail. and no not in a selling-myself-short kind of way. in a life-will-always-have-failures kind of way. i think im realizing that failing is not a reflection of my worth as a person… and so really, what matters most is what i choose to learn from it. let me preface this by saying failing is not something i am currently good at. in fact, im kind of a wallower – you know, taking it very personally and buying myself an extra starbucks just for the pick me up. we’re talking about a girl who doesnt even necessarily like to sign up for things shes not good about because she hasnt grasped the idea of a learning curve. but that is not real life. real life is falling down and getting up – choosing to laugh about the things that didnt go our way in life. letting them become stories around the table instead of the pieces that tore us down because we were never able to fully recover from. i want to have a true sense of humor in it all. because giving myself permission to fail also gives me permission to really go for it. over and over and over again until one time, the perseverance finally pays off. i dont want to take myself out of the game before its even started.

there are so many things that are unknown about what is to come. and so i hope for you, whatever season of change you find yourself in, whether thats that you too are getting ready to graduate and set out on your own in the world or are facing something completely different yet nontheless puzzling and/or scary, or maybe youre just trying to decide what class load would be best to take next semester, that you too will choose to use this time as an opportunity to stop and be a student again. to learn and, more than that, give yourself permission to grow.

and, with that, lets be in this together okay? trusting that there is so much more before us than simply what we can see.

dichotomy. maybe its not such a bad thing after all.

stop.

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renewal.

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