Community that spans years & miles.

I have no idea how to put into words the complete beauty and heavenly bliss that was our recent trip to Boston. Boston will forever be my spiritual home, where I spent eight of the most formative years of my personal life, where I also met my husband and began married life. Many of our friends have moved away from Boston by now (not all!), but every trip back there is still so great. The most wonderful part of this particular time, though, was that basically my entire college Catholic community (#bucc) came back: all of my best friends. (Fun fact: this is the first time EVER that my four best friends and I have been in the same place WITH our spouses – it was epic). But the big reason we all reunited for this long weekend?

FATHER MICHAEL ZIMMERMAN

Mike Father Michael is one of my absolute dearest friends. Christ used him in a very specific and profound way to bring me back to the Church in my sophomore year of college. It wasn’t that I had left the Church, but I was extremely far from God, living a life that now makes me cringe when I look back on it. And I was hurting in so many ways. From the time that Mike invited me around, he was a constant support. Our friendship became something truly special, and I was constantly amazed by his holiness and zeal (and goofiness – we always had a good laugh). He has a great gift of evangelization, and I know I’m not the only one who has been deeply impacted by his witness.

BABIES! My 20th birthday (hence my blue cake teeth)!

Throughout our remaining years at BU, Mike continued to be one of the most unique and important supports for me as I journeyed along in the faith. When he told me that he’d be entering seminary following college, it just made sense. And praise God, seminary is only minutes from where I lived post-graduation. So we still got to frequent Mass together (we recently laughed about this because most of the Saturday Masses at my local parish were funerals…sometimes in Spanish…but we pushed through haha), and grow in friendship. He also got to meet Kevin as the two of us began our relationship – a great joy for me! Since that time, we’ve had plenty of long distance phone calls as he’s been studying in Rome and we’ve made sure to get together when he’s back in the US.

2013 – Mike, me & Kevin – just before he left for Rome!

An Ordained Man

Our entire community has been looking forward to Mike’s ordination for years. It is just so evident as to how wonderful he is given that people traveled from California, Texas, Arizona, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio – literally all over. And the entire reunion and celebration was total perfection (minus the lack of sleep I got, but a sacrifice I’d happily offer again!).

The ordination itself was so moving, so beautiful. Cardinal Sean’s homily, the laying on of hands, the music (“Oh God, Beyond All Praising” – my all time fave), the new Priests! I’ve been to a few ordinations before, and they are always wonderful, but there was something truly special about this one.

And the festivities to follow – my goodness. Party after party after party. The reception for Father Michael was incredible – lovely and soul-stirring toasts given by Mother Olga and a fellow Priest, the BUCC community singing “Prince of Peace” (a college classic for us all), and just being in the presence of such phenomenal people. Afterwards, a smaller group of us went to Father Michael’s parents’ home for a late night barbecue – it was so nice to have a more intimate gathering with the newly ordained man.

We then had a Sunday breakfast at Mother Olga’s convent with the BUCC folks. How do I explain the grace that overflowed? Some of these people I talk to on a daily basis (looking at you #allthemarriedladies), some are still very close friends but with less frequent contact, and some I have not seen since college. But it was like stepping back into our old brownstone on Bay Stated. This community is real and beautiful. We socialized, but also shared graces of our lives as well as prayer intentions. Then we booked it to Father Michael’s first Mass of thanksgiving. Again – WOW THE BEAUTY. I can’t describe what it was that made this so incredible, but man it was. And Kevin and I got to bring up the gifts, which was so special! Seeing Father Michael celebrate Mass was a tremendous gift.

Reunion of all Reunions

The days that were not filled with ordination festivities were spent with my bffs. An accidental sleepover with three of our families in an apartment (a memorable experience), one-on-one time with a few people here and there, playing with the babies & toddlers, a ladies night out, living the joy that is growing families (there are now seven kids between us – some moving & grooving, some in-utero), and just enjoying the rare moments of being physically present to one another.

 

Looking forward to our big family vacation happening next spring. I think most couples committed whole-heartedly as we said our tearful goodbyes, pretending it wasn’t going to be many months until we [hopefully] saw each other again.

Thank you, Father Michael, for your yes. We all will be praying for you and your Vocation of selfless love. And we owe you a ton for this monumental reunion.

There and back again

This summer (similar to last) has been one of lots of transition. And in the three week period that we had to find a place to live in a new city AND move…I decided it would be prudent to plan an impromptu trip to Boston. Not gonna lie – it added a little bit of stress to the situation, but I also think it was worth it.

I surprised my dear friend, Sarah, and her new boy, Rafa, at Boston Children’s Hospital with the help of her awesome husband. It was the first time I’d been back to Boston since Kevin and I left last summer. It was completely surreal and totally normal. However, it was only the fact that I was visiting that made the MBTA bearable (one of the tipping points in our move away from the city ;)).

IMG_0002

Me and some of my favorite people! I’m still not sure what Sarah was really thinking when I walked into their hospital room, but I hope there was some excitement there! To everyone’s surprise, Rafa was taken home just a couple days later, so these parents certainly had their hands full. I simply took in their presence in the little moments I stole with them. Such love <3

IMG_0008

I spent an evening at the Green Briar (an old neighborhood fave) with some truly wonderful people. My heart was exploding with how much I miss these people. The only thing that would have made it better was if Kevin was with me, but sadly he had to work (but he is in Boston right now, so he’s getting his fill!). There was just an immense amount of organic laughter and joy; I never wanted it to end. Which is pretty much how all moments are with the Boston community, no matter where we’re congregating.

IMG_0007

I was also tremendously grateful to have some quality time with this treasured friend! Mike has been in Rome the past few years studying at the seminary out there (he’ll be ordained a Deacon in September!), but is home this summer. So I got to catch up with him AND his family, which is always a treat. I somewhat crashed his family BBQ, but if anyone asks, I’m a long lost cousin…or just an old friend from BU.

IMG_0006

Another gift! Ammmmmyyyyy! I got a beautiful morning (and Mass) with her and her husband plus the beautiful daughter that I hadn’t met yet! All of these moments would have been worth the trip individually, so can you imagine my excitement that just compounded as my visit continued?!

IMG_0011

I was fortunate enough to visit Mother Olga’s new convent and spend an afternoon with her – a nice oasis in the midst of my go-go-go. What a Saint, that woman. And what a gift her order is to the Boston Archdiocese.

There were many more moments not captured on camera, like visits with other lovely friends and my stay at my former apartment (back from my single days). And then just the beauty of Boston that seems so obvious and striking when you’ve been away for some time…

IMG_0003
Classic Brookline.
Beacon Hill!
Beacon Hill!
The original Trader Joe's in my book.
The original Trader Joe’s in my book.
Downtown.
Downtown.
"Star-Dunkin" - aka a little spot of compromise for me and Kevin just down the street from our first home.
“Star-Dunkin” – aka a little spot of compromise for me and Kevin just down the street from our first home.
The Watertown Public Library. THE best library we've ever belonged to. Ask anyone - it's legit.
The Watertown Public Library. THE best library we’ve ever belonged to. Ask anyone – it’s legit.

It was so rejuvenating to go back, and I am abundantly grateful for the opportunity to see people that I’ve missed terribly. It does, however, feel right that it was just a visit and nothing more. I love Boston, and I treasure the people, but we are happily at peace in Minnesota.

Though I’d also be cool if we took semi-annual vacations in the Northeast every spring & fall. And I’d be more than okay if all my friends moved to one big neighborhood. 🙂

Something to miss

I love living in Duluth. In this moment, it is good that we are here. But lately we’ve been missing Boston hardcore. And I’m so glad we do. It means that despite any hardships we faced, we had a life worth missing.

224307_1729900415293_5922702_n

Today, I’m thinking of St. Clement’s Shrine in downtown Boston on Boylston Street. I was visiting a friend at her work the other day and somehow the Oblates of the Virgin Mary came up in conversation. They are a phenomenally orthodox order of great & holy Priests, and they work so hard to make the sacraments accessible to all people of the faith in a city that seems to have no faith (perfect example: these men ran into the scenes of the Marathon bombings with sacramental oils, without hesitation).

I mentioned that they have a shrine in the Prudential Mall, and it was just then I realized how unusual that must sound to an outsider. Yes, St. Francis Chapel is in the mall, directly across from Ann Taylor Loft and next to Dunkin’ Donuts. And it is a pure oasis. Such a gift. They hear confessions all day every day, they offer Mass three times a day (Monday-Friday) as well as multiple weekend Masses. They have a little shop with Catholic books, DVD’s, holy cards, etc. All downtown at an intersection of many major T lines.

One of the main reasons Kevin chose to move to Boston for art school as opposed to his other options was the availability of sacraments. And when I think about it, I don’t know a place that can compare to what we had. I bring up St. Clement Shrine because it’s Lent and every Lent since graduating college I’ve spent most of my Lenten season in this Church.

For many years it was right on my commute to/from work. Their 7am Mass worked well for having to be at work around 8-8:30am. Their perpetual adoration meant the doors were always open to visit & sit with our Lord. Their Friday night stations of the cross were always done beautifully, making it worth few extra hours downtown. It was also the place where our young adult group was held (the same group I met Kevin through). No matter what time of day you were in the Shrine – this haven in the midst of Fenway Park, Berklee College of Music, the Prudential Mall, and Kenmore Square – you could always count on seeing a friendly face.

And then there is the Triduum. I’ll admit, it’s going to be tough not experiencing the Triduum at St. Clement’s. While a couple years I ended up elsewhere for the Easter Vigil due to plans with friends, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and much of Holy Saturday were spent in this sacred place. While the Catholic faith is the same everywhere (or at least we hope) and the Mass is still the Mass, I’ll miss entering into the Triduum with the Oblates. I’ll miss the solemn entrance they make on Good Friday, the procession to the upper room after the Liturgy, sitting in our Lord’s presence before emptiness takes His place, walking into the quiet Church on Saturday in anticipation for His return.

Ah, but alas. He does make all things new. So while I will treasure the memories and gifts from those experiences and traditions, I know they will continue on in that Church in unity with my new Parish. The greatness of the universal Church! And I do love our new Parish, so I look forward to participating in all the Lenten activities as well as the holy Triduum.

May your Lenten season be greatly blessed! And go rock those ashes 😉

 

Friendship, love, and hats

Elise & Sarah in the BPL Courtyard.

I’m still very much catching up on a million things throughout this move & [sort of] settling process. However, there are still things I wish to share from my last few months in Boston – if only for my own enjoyment to look back on! While I wish it were a more common occurrence, there is nothing quite like getting dressed all fancy with your girlfriends and going out for a fancy afternoon (or evening, I suppose) on the town. When our dear friends Ashlie & Elise came to visit Boston just a few short weeks before I left, it was the perfect occasion to go out into the city and do something different.

Initially, Ashlie (the birthday girl) had requested afternoon tea at the Boston Public Library, but sadly we went on a day of the week in which it was not offered. However! We still got to eat a late lunch at the Courtyard Restaurant. It was a lovely time and we felt appropriately dressed for the occasion since the menus came in vintage books and the seating was deep purple velvet arm chairs. The food was good and the mocktails tasty! If you ever have a chance to visit the BPL, I highly recommend it. It’s quite the library with rooms that resemble Hogwarts and a cozy courtyard for reading and gathering.

Now for the fun photos! We are young women growing up in a digital age, so naturally we documented the occasion very well.

Ashlie & Elise in the restaurant.

Me & Ashlie in the BPL

Sarah & Elise

In the Courtyard!

My main ladies :)

Have a lovely weekend! 🙂

Roadtrippin’ to Duluth

It feels like both a day and an eternity since we moved from the East Coast to the Midwest. On the one hand, it really did just happen….like a week ago. On the other hand, it’s been insanity since we’ve arrived and I don’t really know what day it is anymore because it’s been so busy. I honestly don’t even know how to recap our move and the places we visited because I’m currently living in scatterbrainville.

However, we did it. The evening before we moved out was an absolute nightmare (we should have expected that). It was a complete scramble – we had sightings of skunks and racoons by our car as we were frantically trying to fit everything (getting skunked literally would have threw me into a pit of despair – praise God that did not happen!), we ended up working in the dark of our apartment since we’d given away all our lamps, we ended up having to last minute ship 9 boxes that just would.not.fit, words were exchanged (as were apologies)…but we made it through! The next morning, after leaving the apartment and not looking back, we stopped off at the convent of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth to see Mother Olga. And thank goodness. Instead of leaving in bitterness, we left in complete consolation. It was a grace-filled morning and we left Boston in a state of joy.

The peaceful morning with Mother Olga.

 

The next few days were spent in PA with my family. It was a lot of getting things done that we really hadn’t had time to do up until then, relaxing in my parents’ home, and preparing for our journey. I have so much to be grateful for when it comes to my parents. They have given so much and are a wealth of support.

The following weekend was at the Dills’ in State College, PA! This is where we really entered into our peaceful stage. It was a weekend of literally just hanging out with them as they live their life with a baby. Pure awesomeness. The search for pumpkin spice (fail), deep conversation, good food, laughter, Catholic scattegories, and prayer. It was a gift to be able to stop and see them en route to MN.

Me & Ashlie!

After PA we drove to Ann Arbor, MI – through northern Ohio…mehhh. But we arrived! And we got a full day with Elise & her fiance, Joey! I had visited Elise in Detroit once before and LOVED it so it was great to be able to share that with Kevin now. If you’ve never been to Detroit, go. It’s got such character and draws me into its beauty in unexpected ways. We spent the evening in Ann Arbor walking around U Mich and had a delightful dinner.

With Elise in her natural habitat.

The next couple days seemed to blow by, but we didn’t really spend an extended amount of time anywhere. We stayed at Holy Hill Shrine in Wisconsin, which was beautiful, but we didn’t get to explore much. It’d be nice to go back! Erin, WI was absolutely stunning and I now want to spend a dedicated trip exploring the rurals of this [foreign-to-me] state.

Erin, Wisconsin

Erin, Wisconsin

We had a night in St. Paul with a good friend, but then dipped out early to make it up to Duluth. It was a relief to arrive with our full car, but I made the mistake of thinking the stress of moving was behind us. In fact, it really hadn’t even started. Since our arrival, we have not stopped going. Car registration and issues. Unloading our Ubox. Picking up all our shipped boxes. Figuring out how to live out of a select number of boxes during this transition time. Job searching. Job interviews. And lots more.

Up to the old country :)

I’ll admit it’s been a lot of trials. But our God is good. And there have also been a lot of consolations. Through the difficulty, God has been affirming the decision we made to move here. I cannot express my gratitude for that because it would be very discouraging if it were just the trials. In fact, while I do feel a bit like a chicken running around with her head cut off, I’ve received immense peace about being here…and about staying here. While I’ve been trying to make plans like “in a year we will move to the twin cities,” I feel a calling to just be present in this place. No timelines. No additional steps. Just enjoy where I am. And with that, I can see a future here, which I did not anticipate. So for now, I will just see where God leads us.

OUTBOUND

Outbound from Boston!

(Warning: I’m in reflective mode and this will be more dramatic than it needs to be!)

 

Monday, August 31st, we set out from Boston on our two week adventure to Duluth. We are currently sitting in a Caribou Coffee just outside of St. Paul, just a few hours away from our destination. It all feels incredibly surreal to me. When I really try to think about it, I understand that this is a move and that we are not turning around. But for the most part, it feels a bit like a vacation. We traveled, saw family and friends along the way, will get to our destination, and then venture back to Boston. It feels like we’ve been in transition for months at this point, so the thought of something more finite and permanent is really hard for me to fully comprehend.

Maybe in a few weeks, once we’ve conquered all the insurmountable tasks that lay before us, I’ll feel a sense of permanence. But for now, I’m letting it be what it is. Because honestly, the thought of not going back, not seeing some of my best friends every week, not having our close-knit marriage bible study, not having ladies nights with my former roommates, not experiencing a New England fall (especially that we now have a car!), not being in the place where all our college friends come back to, not being able to visit Brother Sam and Mother Olga, being even even further away from my family, not having such easy access to all the things that come with living in a big city…it’s a challenge. And that’s not to say that I’m not incredibly excited for what’s to come and for the ways in which God will lead us through this change, but with most worth it ventures, there is a sacrifice (or many).

I spent eight years and one week in Boston. Those eight years carry with them a lifetime of experiences, growth, relationships. I’ll never be able to craft the words to express how different, and better off, I am for having lived there. It wasn’t necessarily the city of Boston that did it, though it has a unique place in my heart for being the place where it all happened. Mistakes were made. Some really big ones. But I transformed from an ignorant college freshman to a more mature woman that I would not have recognized back then. I went from not knowing my creator to having an intimate relationship with Him. I did not know what real community was, and I now have the greatest one that spans countries and oceans. I grew, sometimes painfully, alongside sisters and brothers that I will forever be connected to in deep friendship and the sacraments. I met my husband at such a providential time in my life, and spent the majority of my time in Boston outside of college growing in love with him and integrating that relationship into the rest of my life. Kevin and I conceived and lost our first child, one that I know God has welcomed into His Kingdom for our benefit as well as that of many others.

Some people live eight years in one place and leave no better, sometimes for the worse. I cannot thank God enough for every little piece of my time in Boston. Every trial, every victory, every tear, every laugh, every person, every messed up commute (yes, I can say that now that I’ve left), every Sunday morning sunrise I saw on Newbury Street when I had to work those dreadful early shifts in the hotel, every BUCC retreat/SNL/spaghetti supper, every sacrament, every moment with the diversified variety of roommates I’ve had the privilege to live with…everything.

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned (and will probably have to learn over and over again), it’s that God can bring an incredible good out of suffering, and to take the sorrows alongside the joys in growing closer to the Lord. Yes, we have suffered, and we discerned that it was good for us to leave, but boy, did we have an abundance of joy as well, and that is what I choose to take with me. (And of course we will visit!)

“Son,’he said,’ ye cannot in your present state understand eternity…That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, “No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say “Let me have but this and I’ll take the consequences”: little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin. Both processes begin even before death. The good man’s past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven: the bad man’s past already conforms to his badness and is filled only with dreariness. And that is why…the Blessed will say “We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven, : and the Lost, “We were always in Hell.” And both will speak truly.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

Summer Highlights

This summer truly is going by so quickly. I am torn because as excited as I am for this next phase of our life, it breaks my heart to leave the people I love and the place that has so much significance in my life. To recap the summer that has just came and gone, here are some choice photos…

Just a few of us former residents of 728 at BU in front of the Grotto where my life was literally changed on a retreat nearly 7 years ago.
Just a few of us former residents of 728 at BU in front of the Grotto where my life was literally changed on a retreat nearly 7 years ago.

June was the Brotherhood of Hope Boston Alumni Retreat. A beautiful reunion of friends from both the CC at BU and Northeastern.

Precious time with the Dills and my family!
Precious time with the Dills and my family!

The weekend of July 4th, which turned out to be a bit more eventful than we had planned, was still a really beautiful one. There weren’t any real plans, so I got to do my favorite things of going to Pat’s Colonial Kitchen for brunch, visiting Washington’s Crossing Park, strolling around Peddler’s Village, and spending time with the Dills and my family.

:)

Time with Sarah. This girls been here with me for seven years. We grew in faith together, lived together in two different places, were by each others side on our wedding days, became neighbors, and have just shared many joys, sorrows, and everything in between. I’m going to miss this lady so much…but I know God will provide and our friendship will grow in ways we cannot predict.

The VB's flew out to the East Coast!
The VB’s flew out from AZ to the East Coast!

Two dear friends, Christina and Ky, got married in Connecticut and it was a beautiful celebration! A few good friends came from quite a distance and it was absolutely lovely reuniting for a bit. Emily and Ted (far right) are expecting their first child in November and we were able to throw them a little baby shower in Boston the following day with some local friends out here.

Mother & Daughters

I went home again to PA in August to celebrate my sister, Kristen (blue dress), and sister-in-law, Jenan, who are both expecting their first children in October! Both girls!

Such an awesome group of people.

The Dills (A, J, and JP) drove up to Boston for Ashlie’s birthday, and Elise made it out from Detroit as well! It was quite the reunion and we had a beautiful evening bringing together many loved ones. Mike (tallest guy pictured in back) is a seminarian for the Boston Diocese over in Rome and has been back for just a bit this summer. Brother Sam (second from left, back row) joined us as well! That guy. Aka my former boss, campus minister, and always spiritual father.

Friendship, sisterhood, love, hats 🙂

The four of us ladies, Ashlie, Elise, Sarah and I, did afternoon tea/lunch at the Boston Public Library for Ash’s 25th birthday! We got all fancy and it was splendid. We had the entire restaurant to ourselves on a Monday afternoon, and then strolled to the courtyard for some photos and boy, did we get some stares or what (because of our hats). We loved every second.

Siblings and some cousins at Fenway!

A couple weeks ago, my family did a large vacation in Plymouth, MA since my brother and his wife are currently stationed not too far away for the military. We rented a magnificent home on the water, and some extended family joined us as well. It was a week of games (sometimes a bit too competitive), relaxing, riding bikes along the coast of Nantucket (#worthit), and going to a Red Sox game at Fenway. A wonderful trip (so grateful to my dad!), and a kind of last hoorah before two babies arrive and cross country moves are made by multiple parties.

Boston friends! Oh how we will miss them!
Boston friends! Oh how we will miss them!

Sarah & Javi threw us a little going away party with some close friends, and gosh…I get sadder with every day we get closer to our move. It is so nice being with these people; we had a great time of fellowship and of course, P&P (the game “pencil & paper” that will forever be my legacy in Boston).

Various generations of BUCC Alumni, former roommates @ Priscilla, good friends!
Various generations of BUCC Alumni, former roommates @ Priscilla, good friends!

And finally, a night out just before we left celebrating a friend’s birthday. It was a gift to have another reason to see everybody before we left.

There has been much more goodness, but one can only make a post so long! I’m overwhelmed with how much there is to reflect and look back upon my eight years in Boston, but above all I am filled with gratitude. Deo gratias!

 

Leaving the community I love.

In all those months Kevin and I discerned leaving, it seemed like the obvious thing to do – it was just a matter of when and where. There have been a number of difficult things about our time in Boston together – unfulfilling jobs, finances and the insanely high cost of living, public transportation, the Northeast mindset, the go-go-go mentality of city living…there’s no doubt that it was hard. But now that we are really moving…in a month…we are both struck with all the good things we are leaving behind. Primarily community.

Boston is my spiritual home. I’ve been here for eight years, and seven of those I have been intimately tied to a Catholic community rooted at BU. While some of my best friends have left since college, there are still so many loved ones here – and the community has grown as well. This is also the place where all those who are elsewhere come back to – it’s our hub. I’ve been spoiled with incredible friendships, and this place is the center of it all.

This past weekend it really hit me hard. It was a weekend filled with all my favorite people in Boston – having drinks with the ladies, hanging out at a barbecue, exploring the city, studying the Word of God, the sacraments…Christ is woven into it all, and that is why I know I am so bound to all these people. And why I’m going to miss them so much!

Last night, Kevin and I went on our evening walk (a little ritual for us), and we relayed to one another how much more difficult this is going to be than we anticipated. And for him – he came to this city four years ago for schooling, found the Catholic group I was a part of, met me/got married, and all this time he’s been surrounded by my friends, my community, living in my city…or at least that’s sorta what we both thought. But they have truly become his friends, his community, and he’s made this just as much his city. And now that he’s going back to his hometown, he’s just as sad as I am (well, maybe not as sad)!

Through all my tears on our lovely walk, Kevin turned to me and said, “So much of you is your love for your friendships, and that’s part of why I fell in love with you.” And then he made promises to ship me back here (or wherever it is I’ll need to go) as often as possible and to continue encouraging these friendships that are so life-giving (sound like anyone we know, Josh & Ashlie??). I’ve seen this happen with those who have left, and while distance isn’t exactly easy, we’ve been abundantly blessed with time together – we’ve grown together through Vocations, children, losses, and more.

Duluth will be a new experience, quite the transition, and I know it will be good. But leaving this city where my faith came alive and this community that continuously bears fruit will be difficult. It’ll take a huge amount of trust in God on my part. Trusting that these relationships will continue to grow in the manner they ought, that life will change for the better, and that God will bless all of us as we strive for the same goal: heaven.

And now I will be sappy and post this song that comes to mind…thanks for not judging. 🙂

Now let’s enjoy this last month!

A few of my favorite things.

It’s funny that my last post was on the joys of winter. I spoke too soon!! The past two weeks here in New England have been crazy in terms of the weather. I thought we were having a nice, mild winter and then the parade of snow storms started! Now, I’m trying to give Boston some credit…trying. I get it, it’s a super tiny & congested city, so at some point, too much snow is just too much snow. But my goodness! A two hour commute to work that should be 30 minutes?!?! It’s ridiculous. And they want to host the olympics?!?! They be mad. Bottom line: I’m over it.

It’s so easy to start feeling down in times like this when I don’t get my Vitamin D exposure, my rides to and from work are painful, and then quality time at home is limited. But I want to be happy! So I’m going to think about the things that bring me tidbits of joy!

Lattes. I will never be bashful about liking a good latte. Can I always slash ever afford one? Umm, not really. But they are delicious and they comfort me. And when my monthly spending allowance is low, I will make my own! Some good mystic monk espresso classico, frothed whole milk (or almond if it’s on hand!), tasty caramel sauce, and a dash of cinnamon! And voila – day. made.

Candles. Kevin and I are big on candles in our apartment. And when we find a super good smelling one like we did recently (it’s been in our closet for months!), we love to just let that thing burn all evening.

Soups! I’ve been making homemade soups lately – a lot less difficult that I thought – there’s just the time to cut up the veggies and then having to wash the blender afterwards. But the batches make large portions and a cozy dinner (topped with bacon and cheese when possible). We’ve done butternut squash soup, a super loose version of this cauliflower soup, and I’m hoping to try a kale & sweet potato soup this week. #lovinit

Romantic Comedies. In the past week, I’ve watched Notting Hill (oh to be back on Portobello Road!), 27 Dresses (aka a glimpse into my life), and Leap Year (if only just for the beauty of Ireland!). Thank the Lord for Netflix and Amazon Instant Video.

Long socks. Gosh, I love socks so much. And I have a few pairs of thigh-high socks and I LOVE THEM. They are so comfy and awesome to wear around the apartment when I’m in pajama shorts or something. Although…I did wear a black pair to work over my tights this week hoping that nobody would notice (just had to keep making sure my dress covered them!). Nobody did 🙂

Thrive Market! I got wind of this great site from Wellness Mama and it’s essentially Amazon Prime but for natural and sustainable products. Obviously, the selection is small(ish), but my first order I got 15% off and free shipping because it was over $49. But it’s awesome because I got products that I would normally buy at Trader Joe’s or order on amazon, but in bulk and at wholesale prices! Bam. Check it out!

And then there’s the blogosphere slash podcasts. I’ve been reading so much online content and listening to some awesome interviews. In terms of podcasts, I’ve really enjoyed a couple of episodes of Fountains of Carrots, especially the one with Hallie Lord. What a great interview on marriage! Also, Wellness Mama – she is the bomb. I’ve gotten to many awesome tips from her, and listened to some great podcasts on hormonal health, fertility, and thyroid issues.

Well, that’s my Wednesday!