Like any year, 2016 has had its conquests and its struggles. It is important to remember the good, to write it down and to reflect on it. Consider this my digital "Christmas card", the top 12 of 2016 if you will.
THE MAGNOLIA SILOS
My Saturday routine involves coffee, bunny cuddles and watching HGTV's Fixer Upper. Obviously, I am a pretty big fan to have traveled 1,030 miles to see Magnolia's new famous property. It did not disappoint.
Joanna Gaines is a woman after my own heart. Every single inch of this place was designed, considered and artfully selected. Even down to the 2x4 wooden swings out back for children to play on. A+, 5 Stars, all the kudos!
THE MAGNOLIA GARDEN
The Magnolia Garden is a charming little green space on the northwest corner of the property. Various plants have grown up handmade wooden teepees, adorable little mushrooms and their store, Magnolia Seed & Supply. This is where you wanna go to buy fun Magnolia styled garden goodies, kid inspired fairy gardens and even seeds of your own.
THE MAGNOLIA MARKET
The holy grail! I was beyond excited to check out all the home goods inside the Magnolia store, but of course I still had time to take a selfie or 2 or 9.
WHAT IS IT LIKE INSIDE?
AMAZING, DUH! I wish I could have gotten more wide pictures of the main store area, but as you could imagine it was fairly congested. We did not have to stand in any lines to get into the store, but it was a wee bit crowded inside. The image above is the back of the store where it opens up into the warehouse like section.
On the Magnolia property there is an outdoor space, perfect for kiddos to burn off some energy. A square of turf equip with a box of sport balls, food trucks and 2x4 wooden swings. And of course we had to get a picture in front of the famous Magnolia Jeep.
HARP DESIGN CO.
Anyone who watches Fixer Upper knows the infamous Clint Harp. He pops into many episodes always building stunning wood home pieces in collaboration with Joanna Gaines. We just had to stop by his shop while in Waco. It was very charming, full of rustic home goodies, custom wood pieces and the famous blue Harp Design Co. T-Shirt we always see Clint wearing. I cannot wait for his new HGTV show, Against the Grain, to begin.
COMMON GROUNDS COFFEE SHOP
Another famous spot in Waco. If you remember, the adorable couple that owns this shop hired Joanna & Chip Gaines to create their dream house for them. Boy, was it a good one! Rustic centralized fireplace among a cozy living space, exposed shiplap and amazing cathedral windows in their master. So, we stopped here to grab our afternoon pick me ups. Delicious coffee, very close to the Baylor college campus.
After a long day in the sun at Magnolia, ice cream felt like the perfect way to top of the day. Heritage Creamery is right next door to Common Grounds. Delicious, adorable branding and a very helpful staff.
NEW YEARS EVE
The day that everyone shares their reflective Facebook posts. I know these can sometimes become annoying, you find yourself combing through memories for those "post worthy" things to brag about. I get that. I'm personally working to break the habit of always trying to one up myself. It's amazing how easy it is right after a personal "upgrade", we can go from "Omigosh, this apartment is so much nicer than our last one" — to — "Ugh, I can't wait until we can have more space, nicer things."
Usually I hear the words of comparison, complaining, ungratefulness as they come out of my mouth and feel how ugly they sound. I want to be able to just enjoy what I have in the present and not constantly be thinking about how much better tomorrow could be.
As much as these reflective "Cheers to what the next year brings!" posts can be repetitive — I do think it is important to reflect on the good that happened in 2015. Remind myself, look how far you have already come in just 1 year's time. The challenges you never thought you'd overcome, and here you are standing on the other side of it.
2015 was a year of enjoying earned stability and creating our own adventures.
The 12 biggest things to happen to me in 2015!
Goodbye 2015, hello 2016!
HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
I once had a professor that would always tell us how we each cast a sphere of influence. "You touch people’s lives all around you, no matter if you’re aware of it or not” he’d say. From your closest loved ones, to the guy that works in the cubical next to you, even the stranger you accidentally bumped into at the grocery store. He would always tell us, do your best to make sure your sphere is a positive one. That every human you come into contact with, for even a moment or years - you improve their life.
I would always nod along and say of course, of course. But this week those words have weighed heavy on my heart.
Chad Smith was one of those people. He was the person my teacher was trying to get us all to aspire to be.
He was radiantly positive, endlessly generous and wonderfully kind. If you were a person in Chad’s sphere you know it, you’ll never forget it and the impression his personality made is something that will stick to your heart forever.
I moved to Cincinnati 1.5 years ago for my 1st post grad job. My boyfriend, Danny, had to stay back in Columbus until he could find work down in Cincinnati to join me. Not an easy task. For months, Danny applied applied applied - nothing. I was starting to think, “Maybe this was a mistake! I don’t know if I can do this.”
Chad saw something in Danny, and that’s all it took. Chad went out of his way to help us. He gave his time to us when he had none to give. He generously shared work opportunities. He welcomed us into the creative community of Cincinnati and treated us like old friends.
Chad and his wife opened their home to us. Who knew a simple night of burgers and board games could leave such an impression. But anyone who got to watch first hand, the love Chad displayed for his wife and children. I mean, common. No woman would ever settle again. We left their home feeling overwhelmed with kindness, happy to call Cincinnati our home.
Chad, I will be forever grateful that I had the honor of knowing you. Forever thankful for the amazing mentor, friend and colleague you were to my Danny. And forever challenged to be better. I promise to walk straight up to creative speakers at design events and introduce myself, to smile at others as I walk down the street and to do my best to have as much of a positive sphere as you did.
Thank you Chad for all you gave us.
YOU WILL BE DEARLY, DEARLY MISSED.
When I moved to Cincinnati I wanted a way to get to know the city. And the way to a city's heart is through food. I think that is a saying somewhere anyways. Two co-workers and myself, roughly once a week pick a new place to try for lunch. It has been the perfect way to explore various neighborhoods and foods. Yes, I am that obnoxious person in a restaurant that needs to capture her food before eating it. No shame.
BUNNIES BUNNIES BUNNIES
Anyone that knows me knows I am a weirdo for bunnies. Like most, I didn't grow up with a pet rabbit, I actually didn't know much past the standard stereotypes. Classic Thumper, they eat carrots, the big one delivers me candy on Easter.
But about a year ago I decided to do a Care Campaign for the Ohio House Rabbit Rescue. Since I had no pre-existing knowledge coming into the project I decided to start volunteering and get myself immersed in bunny culture.
And yes, there is such a thing as bunny culture. I laughed too.
Through volunteering I learned about these incredibly intelligent kind creatures and fell in love. At the time, I was living in a household full of roommates and was finishing my undergraduate degree. Not exactly a bunny friendly situation.
So I waited, a lot of Pinterest pinning and torturous months later I was finally in a place in my live where I could adopt.
A LOT OF PINNING !
Anyone that knows me also knows if I am going to do something, I am going to do it all the way. So, the intense preparation began as I searched for my perfect bunny.
Don't even ask me how long it took to pick out that laminate flooring in Lowes. I think the guy thought I was kidding when I told him it was for a Rabbit.
By now I think you know where I am going with this —
INTRODUCING THEODORE! Our recently adopted Rex Rabbit.
Our friends were very supportive!
& of course he has a hashtag.
Stay tuned for continued cuteness!
"SOMETIMES I MISS THE STARS"
It's easy to overlook beauty hidden in the forgotten nooks & crannies of small rural towns. While driving through it's easy to miss them entirely. I'm guilty of this like most, but recently while driving across the plains of Kansas, I paused. Vintage typography, remaining artifacts from previous inhabitants, the way the light dances across abandoned businesses. The silence. The simplicity of the lives that remain. It can be beautiful if you just stop and look.
I am sunflower born but have since moved away. Left for shinier cities, taller buildings and a quicker lifestyle – and most of the time I love it. But sometimes I miss the stars, sometimes I miss the silence.
I made all these plans for 2014. I had set my mind on how I wanted my last school year ever to turn out, where I thought I wanted to live and work after college, that I didn't want to do long distance with my boyfriend, or stay in Ohio etc. etc. I had prepared myself, 4 years in development with this mega "perfect" plan, doing all the "right things" and trying to leave as little as possible up to chance.
WELP, THE UNIVERSE JUST SHIT ALL OVER THAT
I've always been a to-do list kind of person, always wanting to know what's going to happen so I can be prepared. But I'm learning more and more that life doesn't care about what you think should be next. It continues to surprise me, and ultimately gets me where I am supposed to be. So I'm done looking forward, I'm just going to enjoy that I have no fucking idea what 2015 will bring, and that the mystery is kinda wonderful.
The 12 biggest things to happen to me in 2014!
2014 went against all of my plans, & I'm so happy it did. Sometimes God just knows where you're supposed to end up, even if you don't.
HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
MAY 2014 I graduated college & accepted a job at LPK in Cincinnati. Which means I had to say goodbye to all the wonderful friends and places that the last 4 years in this city has brought. Columbus will always hold a special place in my heart! Cheers to my first home away from home!
ECHO SUN | SENIOR DESIGNER
Had the pleasure of meeting Senior Designer extraordinaire, Echo Sun from our Guangzhou office. Then we had lunch with talented Jenny Hoverman at the cutest lil' french resturant called The French Crust. Yum! I love my job.
WEEK 1: LPK DESIGNER
PRE-GAMING WITH CUPCAKES
FANCY TAXI RIDE
THE NIGHT WE HAD BEEN WAITING FOR
It was a huge honor to be recognized among so many talented students from across the globe. By far the most high profile party I've ever been to! & the photo booth was a blast.
THE CELEBRATION AFTER THE CELEBRATION
photo credit: Shake Shack