Why I Love My Parents’ Love…

I love that my parents’ love is unassuming, like a John Prine song. It is soft and simple and real. Their love has no façade built by money or objects or worldly possessions or anything that cannot be expressed in the form of a deep kiss and tight hand squeeze. I love that they still find pleasure in taking a trip together to the gas station to fill up the car on a Tuesday night. I love that my mom knew she wanted to marry my dad the first minute she saw him from across the room.

I love that my dad promised my mom he would show her the world and that today they sit in a small café in Paris drinking champagne for lunch. I love that my mom wanted to see the world with my dad, not so she could spend his money on fancy Italian clothes, but because she wanted to bike with him through the French Alps and visit the heritage that built our family.

I love that my dad will look at my mom on any given Saturday morning and tell us kids how funny he thinks she is. I love that my parents kiss randomly, just because. I love that my mom still writes my dad silly “I love you” notes and wants to rub his old, swollen feet while he watches hockey. I love that my parents dance, not just slowly and sweetly, but fast and drunkenly. I love that my parents laugh together.

I love that my mom started taking golf lessons so she could spend more time with my dad, doing something that he loved. I love that my dad bought my mom a paper shredder for Mother’s Day six years ago and that she still loves him.

I love that my parents beat the odds, not because they were lucky but because they work hard. They fight and the fights are not always pretty or fair or based on the most reasonable argument, but the make-ups and “I’m sorrys” are. My parents committed to a life together twenty-five years ago today. They said vows and I love you and I do and never strayed from those words, those promises. I love that I walked to work this morning with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face thinking about them and that people looked at me with pity when really, I am one of the luckiest girls in this entire world. I’ve seen real love. I’ve seen real love be tested and grown and shaped by the commitment of two amazing people. I’ve seen a love so real and intoxicating that now I know I will never settle for a love that isn’t as unassuming and perfectly simple as the love of my parents. And those people, my mom and my dad, in their oneness as a couple, are what I love most of all.

Happy 25th Anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love you each and I love you as a whole.

Infinite x’s and o’s

Girls Who Read Books

“Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the café, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so goddamned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life of which I spoke at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being told. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. Or, perhaps, stay and save my life.”

Charles Warnke

Lofthouse Sugar Cookies

Let’s talk about my dad.

Big, old, jolly Bill. A child of the 60’s and lover of all things hockey. He talks too much, drinks too much, and can’t keep his hands off my pretty Lofthouse-inspired cookies…

 Yes, let’s talk about these cookies first. I eat them the way kids are supposed to eat broccoli…with my dinner, without complaint, and by the dozen. When I stumbled upon this recipe, I absolutely, one hundo percent knew I had to give it a try.

So on Sunday night, I decided to give it a whirl. When they turned out with absolute perfection, I knew they were blog-post worthy; but before I could even share them with you dears, big old Bill came walking thru the kitchen, excited as ever(like every time he gets homemade dessert) and reached for the rack of perfectly frosted aka phototastic Lofthouse-inspired cookies. Of course I stopped him before he could even lay a finger….don’t you know I would do anything for you?

Pappa Bill was startled. He asked why on earth he couldn’t have at least one of the cookies. As I frosted the remaining cookies, I nonchalantly responded,”Because dad, they’re for my blog.”

Want to know what was then uttered from jolly Bill’s mouth?

“Blog? What’s a blog????”

Mhmmmmm, yes, tis true.

All the hours I’ve spent baking, taking gazillions of pictures, destroying the kitchen with frosting and flour and powdered sugar…..all of it has been completely and utterly lost on poor old Pappa Bill.

He then had to ask my mom a couple questions…

“Well, what does she do with her cookies in her blog? Is she selling her cookies online? Is that what this blogging thing is?”

Yes dad. You are absolutely right. It is because I sell cookies online that I am able to spend money on things like, oh, let’s say that seven dollar car wash I have been avoiding for THREE weeks. You got me.

What makes this story even better is the fact that my dad is generally a very knowledgeable, cultural human being. For example, he saw The Civil Wars in concert SIX months ago (like around the time when most people thought ‘Civil Wars’ only meant internal national conflict). He bought tickets for Cold Play’s sold out concert before I even knew they were coming to town. He reads the Star Tribune every weekend and the Economist every week. My dad knows his stuff. He’s smart, driven, always reading, and always thinking. It is for this reason that moments like this are extra special for me.

My dad and I are very similar and these similarities often cause us to butt heads. But in the last year, a totally new relationship has evolved between us. I see a goodness in him that I once could not see. Now, he is the a man I admire, the man I look to for guidance, and to my own sweet surprise, the man who has my heart this Valentines Day.

Hope you all find love where you least expect it:)

Infinite x’s and o’s

14 Ways To Love Yourself

Nothing could be more unattractive than a girl who feels sorry for herself on Valentine’s Day. Yep, we know your single. But so what? (and yes, this is coming from one single girl to another).

A February 14th filled with over consumption of ice cream and accessible amounts of wallowing in self-pity is SO 2000s. It may be a day based on romance, but more importantly, it is a day all about love.

Do you know anybody that deserves a little extra TLC today? That’s right. YOU do. And don’t be fooled. This doesn’t just apply to single ladies. Plenty of girls have boyfriends who, welllll, to put it simply, suck. Sad flowers and stale chocolates doesn’t exactly scream ‘Most Romantic Day Ever’. Don’t let anybody else determine your happiness but you. So here you go ladies, fourteen ways to love YOU this holiday:

1. Take a bubble bath. A long, hot bath with a little company from Mr. Tony Bennett and Ms. Diana Krall.

2. Grab lunch or breakfast with a friend. Great food and even better company without the awkward surrounding of lovey dovey couples you most likely would see at dinner.

3. Take a class. Develop an interest of yours, whether it’s cooking, photography, French. The world is your oyster.

4. Mani/pedi. Happy toes for a happy girl.

5. Get a massage. You’ve been working hard. You earned it.

6. Wear your favorite bra and panties. Wearing your prized lingerie pieces will give you an extra boost of confidence throughout the day. Plus, a girl should never need a reason to feel sexy.

7. Workout. In the words of Elle Woods “exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy.” Feel good in your skin today.

8. Tackle an item on your to-do list. Organize a book shelf, the spice rack, or your closet. The sense of accomplishment will do wonders to your ego.

9. What’s your favorite dessert? Creme brulee, banana cream pie, tiramisu? Eat it. You deserve it.

10. Watch a documentary or read a non-fiction book. Learning about the world can give you perspective and help clear your mind. Enlightenment nourishes your soul more than a commercialized holiday ever could.

11. Take a half day. Your co-workers will think you are just another girl headed home to drink unforgivable amounts of wine, watch a pathetic sob story, and eventually pass out. In actuality, you are opening up your entire afternoon to conquer this list.

12. Get a makeover. Learn to do your hair or make-up in a new way. It’s good to rediscover what you find beautiful about yourself. Sometimes it’s just easier to start on the outside and work your way in.

13. Take your dog for a walk. If you don’t have a dog, offer to take a friend’s, family member’s, or neighbor’s. There is a reason college student’s cling to pictures of puppies during final’s week. Only dogs can bring out a desperately needed level of happiness and cheer.

14. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Life is too short to waste away an entire day. Don’t commiserate yourself, love yourself.

Infinite x’s and o’s

Five Friday Finds

{left to right}

1. Fun fact: I’ve never died my hair. Yes, that means these luscious locks of dull brownness are a gift from God. SHOCKING. But a girl at work has been raving about balayage, a highlighting technique. So naturally, I went home and looked it up. Balayage is a French term meaning “to sweep”, essentially the way the color is applied to the hair. It is an intricate technique; however the benefits are totally worth it: balayage only needs to be done every few months. I am no hair expert, but that sounds pretty much amazing (especially to a broke college girl), right?

2. I like crafts. Like, I like them alot. Sadly, I’m not THE most creative human on the planet. I know, I am just full of surprises today. Sania Pell recently blogged about this adorable DIY painting. It made me seriously want to make one…or at least buy a painting that looks just like it.

3. Orange Theory Fitness is an up and coming fitness boutique. Minnesota is one of the five states in which it is located and one of the boutiques just happens to be less than five minutes from my house. I swear it’s like someone is trying to tell me something….So far I have been to two classes and am kinda sorta obsessed. It is one of the best workouts I have had in years. Like my trainer said, you can’t cheat yourself out of a good workout when you are there… exactly how it should be.

4. The sweetest, coolest, most touching wedding video. Ever. Ever ever ever. Oh yea, it just might have Dubstep…

4. I’m a writer. I try to be creative and inspiring and distinctive with my work. Unfortunately, there are times when I am nothing more than boring and redundant. The Daily Writing Tips blog is what helps me keep those plain, lifeless pieces of work at a minimum. It offers useful tips about word usage, synonyms, punctuation, and other writing basics. If you are a writer, Daily Writing Tips will be your best friend. End of story.

Happiest of happy weekends my loves:)

Infinite x’s and o’s