50 Things I’m Thankful For This Thanksgiving

warm chocolate chip cookiesAs Thanksgiving approaches, I’ve been reflecting on the things and people in my life for which I’m thankful. I’m sure many of you have been doing the same. I have a wonderful boyfriend, supportive parents, the best friends and family, a job I enjoy, this blog that completes me, a beautiful house I adore…I could go on and on. At the risk of sounding incredibly cliché and sappy (but let’s face it, I am), I truly have been so fortunate in this life.

But while I’m thankful for all of these blessings, like everyone, I often face struggles and get caught up in frustrations and anxieties. Sometimes it takes a day like Thanksgiving to remind me to look around and take notice of life’s little pleasures—the things that always bring a smile to my face. I hope to make a better habit of focusing on them more often.

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Weeknight Dinner Staple: Korean Beef Bowls

Korean beef bowl
Last year, while in California for work, my boyfriend went to a Korean restaurant with some co-workers. He came home from the trip raving about some beef bowl he tried and how fresh it tasted.

Not familiar with Korean cuisine, I suggested that maybe we could find something similar at a restaurant here in Buffalo. He assured me there was no need for that; they’d be simple to make at home. My skepticism almost got the best of me, but as usual, he was right. Korean beef bowls have been in our dinner menu rotation since.

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Friday I’m In Love

fall_leavesIt’s 70 degrees today. In Buffalo. In November. Say whaaaat? Get out there, Western New Yorkers! Enjoy it while you can because, despite today’s record-setting warmth, we’re supposed to get our first snowfall of the year this weekend. Booooo! But, no matter what happens, we can only be grateful that we aren’t experiencing anything like we did two years ago today, when we were literally buried under several feet of snow.

I didn’t get around to posting a Friday I’m In Love last week, so here are some of the things that have caught my attention over the past couple weeks.

This was one of my favorite pieces that I read following the election. It was circling social media quite a bit last week, but in case anyone missed it, you’re welcome. Love me some Leslie Knope.

Another awesome product that has come out of the election is Artists Against the Wall, a project started by my co-worker, Desiree, and a couple of her friends. Their goal is to reach people from all over the world, asking for art submissions that promote a sense of unity. I love that they’re using their craft as an avenue to speak up for what they believe in the best way that they know how.

One of my other co-workers shared this inspiring video from the Young Women’s College Prep Charter School in Rochester, NY. There is so much good in the world.

I’ve been a big fan of Frank Lloyd Wright since first learning about architecture at a career day in elementary school. I finally visited the gorgeous Darwin Martin House here in Buffalo last winter, but it was still under heavy construction at the time. I can’t wait to go back, now that the first floor renovation is mostly complete!

A pizza crawl?! Count me in!

Speaking of Buffalo food, I can’t wait to try Ru’s Pierogi, now opened as of this week! Here’s a great overview by Al and Scott from In a DC Minute.

One more food link because, food. Toast is something I hadn’t really thought much about. I tend to stick with plain old peanut butter, but now, after reading this post from Nkay at NKMstyling, I can’t wait to experiment with all different kinds of toast.

Ok, I lied when I said one more food link. But this one’s sorta crafty too! Here’s a fun way to spice up your Thanksgiving pie. I’m too excited for turkey dinner.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

How to Find Inspiration & Overcome an Off Week

Inspiration on the coastThen you set out to make
Something great
But nothing comes out

It’s been one of those weeks during which I started a million things, but can’t seem to finish even one. Call it a post-election rut.

In a post last week, I stated that I think everyone strives for greatness, no matter what that means to each individual. But sometimes, it doesn’t always work out as planned. Roadblocks happen; we all have these draining periods. In times like these, how do you rekindle inspiration to move forward and continue on the path of success? Where do you turn?

I’ve read about a million different ways to find inspiration throughout the years, trying many. I enlisted the help of some friends, as well, asking how they lift themselves out of that sinking black hole feeling. Here’s a list of the things that have worked to help me and a few friends find inspiration, boost our moods, and get back to accomplishing our goals.

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Perspective in the Wake of the Election

Flag formed by children

Flag formed by children

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

Take a moment and let that soak in for a second. It’s a lesson that could not come at a more important time.

I woke up today feeling sad. And not just because of the outcome of the election, but because of the exhaustive hate that I found on social media. Hate spewing from all sides. This is not about who won, or who didn’t. It’s not about Republicans or Democrats. It’s about all of us.

I don’t fear an America under a Donald Trump presidency. I fear the furthering of the divide that we’re already facing. And not because of anything that one man could single-handedly say or do (though he sure doesn’t help sometimes), but because of us. I fear the first shooting, the first riot, the first expression of hate that escalates beyond words.

Each one of us, each one of you, has an opinion. But your perspective isn’t everything. It’s urgent for us listen to one another. Truly listen and consider other’s opinions. It’s ok to disagree, but you can do it without degradation or bigotry. Please think before you spread hate.

I know people who are truly good at the core, kind and sound moral people, who voted both ways. We will be ok, but we must begin to accept that we are one. It’s up to us to drive change; we are America, not the President. We’re the ones on the front lines combating crime, supporting our communities, and shaping today’s youth. I want my future children to live in a world where they know nothing but acceptance. It’s up to us to take action and shape our nation.

Our individual experiences and thoughts drive our perspectives. What a simple concept, but one so easy to lose sight of. Without that fundamental understanding, where will we be? Surely not the America that was built on freedom. I urge you again, please be kind to one another. This is so important.


UPDATE: November 10, 2016

I wanted to update this post following several conversations I had yesterday. Part of my point was to listen to what others are saying and consider their perspectives, so that’s just what I’ve been doing.

I think it’s important for me to clarify a few things. I don’t believe for a second that people should keep their beliefs silenced, or subdue their individual voices for the sake of kindness. In fact, we must express frustration and anger when something we believe is being questioned; change will not make itself. We have the right and responsibility to stand up for what we believe through both voice and action. But every person in this country has that right, whether or not you agree with them. And that is the messy part.

Everyone’s experiences and backgrounds are different. Remember, we don’t see the world as it really is, we see it as we know it based on what we’ve been through, who we know, where and how we grew up…the list of factors that shapes us is infinite.

Since we’ve all experienced differences that have led us to our individual perspectives, of course there will be disagreements. And that’s healthy. It’s ok if you don’t like what someone has to say. You don’t have to agree or accept it. Tell them; stand up for yourself and what you believe. I guess my naive hope is just that you will be thoughtful of others in choosing your words, before saying something hateful and offensive. Spiteful rhetoric gets us nowhere.

And look, I get it. It’s hard to be kind to someone whose beliefs are totally opposite yours. In no way do I believe I am above that. I have a temper and beliefs too, and I will voice my opinion when I think someone has wronged me or is being a sexist asshole, for example. I’m not suggesting that everyone should be friendly and act like everything is ok when it’s not.

But, I guess all I’m saying is, before you engage in hate, I hope that you will take a second and think about the implications your words and actions will have on your neighbors, your friends, your children, and your communities. And I’m going to work on that too. Because, in the end, I think we’re all just striving to live the best lives we can as the best people we can be, whatever that means to each one of us.

{Image: Flag formed by children, 1910. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division}

Friday I’m In Love

House in FallThis week, I saw my first Target Christmas commercial, peppermint stick ice cream was for sale in the freezer aisle, and I read that Amazon already has Black Friday deals. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Christmas, but when did we start skipping November? RIP, Thanksgiving.

Before even thinking about all that mumbo jumbo, we have to make it through this upcoming week. It sure is going to be an interesting one over here in the good old US of A. No matter what happens, I hope that the collective we can get over ourselves, accept the election results, and move forward as a united front. If we can’t do that, we’re in trouble. Please remember we’re all in this together. Can’t we all just get along?

Remember my friend Michelle, who I featured in my series Run the World? Here is a fantastic breakdown of all the fact checking that she and her colleagues at the Post have been up to this election season.

Speaking of the election, I don’t know anything about this contest, but it cracked me up.

Loving this November desktop wallpaper feature one of my favorites, pie. Now that’s what I’m talking about – a little love for ya, turkey day!

If you haven’t heard yet, you’ll soon be able to shop on Instagram! Sorta.

I’m totally feeling these Rustic Modern living room designs. My living room is made for this.

My living room is also made for built-ins. What a dream. They’re at the top of my list for the house, but definitely aren’t a weekend project.

Grace Bonney does it again! Business is hard. Real, relatable talk makes it just a little bit easier. I love her.

Have a great weekend, everybody! And please remember to be kind to one another.

Run the World: Shannon, the Design Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur Shannon Oakes of MINI-malistI’m thrilled for you to meet another inspiring Run the World lady boss, design entrepreneur Shannon Oakes. Shannon is the founder of MINI-malist, a Los Angeles-based gender neutral children’s clothing line and simplistic home goods shop.

I first met Shannon about eight or so years ago while visiting a friend at Ohio State. Through our mutual friend, we’ve crossed paths several times since. Every time I’ve been around her, I remember thinking how incredibly kind and sweet she is. When I learned about Shannon’s venture, MINI-malist, I couldn’t wait to talk to her more about her work.

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Psychics and Mediums: What Do You Believe?

psychic illustrationThe past two years around Halloween, a group of women from my office gathered together for a psychic party. We headed to one of our houses for the evening, snacks and cocktails in hand, and hired a psychic-medium or two. As the rest of us relaxed and chatted, each of us had a private, 20-minute reading.

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Friday I’m In Love: Halloween Edition

Halloween haunted house

Spooky doorway to a Halloween-season attraction in Fort Worth, Texas

Haunted houses, costume parties, ghost walks, horror movie marathons, pumpkin carving contests, you name it. Halloween weekend is here! What’s your favorite way to celebrate?

Halloween seemed to really sneak up this year, didn’t it? If you’re like me, and waited until today to sort out a plan and a costume, don’t panic. It’s not too late! Here are lots of last-minute ideas.

Buffalonians, here’s Step Out Buffalo’s list of the best Halloween events around town. (And, the best Halloween parties, too.)

If you’re throwing your own party this weekend:

• To set the mood, a Halloween playlist.

• Some festive Halloween dinner ideas.

• Delicious Halloween cocktails for the adults!

• Followed by chocolate bark Halloween brownies for dessert!

• A list of horror movies to play for your guests.

Studio DIY’s life-saving roundup of DIY costume ideas. See ya at the craft store!

Advanced pumpkin carving templates for those who can’t draw, like me. (Let’s be real, I doubt my carving skills are advanced enough to do this despite the template. But I’ll give it a real effort!)

I hate haunted houses (way too chicken), so this one is definitely too scary for me. Would you do it?

Whether you have kids with allergies, or leave your light on for trick-or-treaters, here are some great tips for keeping Halloween allergy-friendly.

Ok, this is a Christmas thing technically, but Stranger Things sorta fits into the Halloween theme, right? This Peanuts version of Stranger Things is so good.

Whatever your plans, I hope you have a safe, fun, and perfectly spooky weekend!

{Image: The Lyda Hill Texas Collection of Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.}

A Buffalo Staycation

Hotel Lafayette Junior Suite

Our room at the Hotel Lafayette

On Friday, Steve and I celebrated seven years together. It was his idea to head to our former stomping grounds in downtown Buffalo for a little staycation getaway.

We moved to Buffalo in early 2012, not long before the Hotel Lafayette reopened after many years of dilapidation and, ultimately, renovation. We’ve read about it, seen lots of pictures, and heard about a gazillion weddings hosted there, but neither of us had ever been overnight guests. So, we decided to change that.

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