shake it off

Finally, seven months later, Laura got her Christmas present from me. T Swift came to town! It was fun, it was fabulous, it was amazing, it was a dance party. 

Excuse the quality of these pictures. I can't afford to be front row, you know.

Vance Joy was there too. He was great and cute. And Australian.

And Haim! I do love these girls. I first saw them open for Of Monsters and Men (I think) and fell in love. Nobody rocks like they do. Seriously, as an all-girl sister band in the rock genre-- they're kicking ass.

I'm sure you've heard of the wristbands they've been giving out with Taylor's shows. They light up to the beat of the songs and it was awesome when they first started activating.

On the way to the show, Laura and I kept debating which surprise celebrity would show up. After throwing around about a million names, I told Laura my gut felt like it would be Lorde. And my gut was right!

It was so much fun and I'm glad we got to go. She really does put on a great show and we danced and sang and laughed. Good times for a Monday!


Behold, the best birthday present in all the land! My best friend Alicia got it for me. She knows me so well. (I secretly wish boom boxes were still popular.)

I'm 29 today. And apart from a few tears shed last night in a moment of panic while watching Shark Tank and Call the Midwives with my roommate, I feel pretty okay about it. I am excited to celebrate with my closest friends this weekend (and my sister!). I am thankful that my mom is doing okay and still with me. I feel lucky to have so many friends text me and Facebook me their well wishes. They really do love me! And I love them. I had a conversation with my good friend Elizabeth today that went like this:

E: I am so glad to have you in my life. And I plan on having you in it for the next 29 years... And beyond
S: Same! Don't ever leave me ;)
E: Never!


 Here's a funny thing: I have had a tradition for the past 4+ years of taking off work on my birthday. This year, I thought about it and realized the only reason I ever took off was because I hated the jobs I had before this one. My birthday used to be the perfect excuse to not come into the office. But this year is so beautifully different. I like my job. My work is meaningful, and I have a great team of people. I wanted to come in today. What a good feeling.

And tonight's birthday dinner shall be Steak 'n' Shake! They just opened one near us. I haven't had their food since I was in Florida a few years ago. It's Laura's favorite (midwestern girl, you know) and I am excited for us to go tonight for the first time in forever.

29, you are not so bad.


 image via google

I am such a foodie at heart. For real. I looooove food. I praise the Lord every day for good genetics and minimal gym time. The only time I hate food is after the stomach flu, which has occurred twice in the past two years. One of those times was on my friend's wedding day and it sucked.

Anyway. FOOD!

There are so many things I want to try this year after I turn 29. I think everyone has their go-to's and those are hard to get away from. I will most likely choose a specialty grilled cheese 98% of the time. And Laura gets grossed out by all the weirdo stuff I like to try (squid ink pasta, YUM). Here are some things on my list (food + places):

1. Chicken & waffles
2. Steak 'n' Shake (I have only had it once but I need it again)
3.  More authentic ramen
4. Fried green tomatoes
5. Bagel & lox
6. Woodberry Kitchen
7. Cold soup (like cucumber)
8. Croque-madame (or I'd settle for a croque-monsieur)
9. Many different kinds of mustard (never ketchup for this girl)
10. Lamb (sorry, little sheeps)
11. Quail egg
12. Bone marrow (yes, sounds disgusting but lots of people like it)
13. Fried pickles
14. Frog legs
15. Lobster roll
16.  Bánh mì

To name a few. We'll see how far I get. Half the problem is finding someone to go eat all of this with...

three days left.

image via google

I am turning 29 in three days. It terrifies me. 

You guys, I really don't want to leave my twenties. They have been the best. And now that I will only have one year left of them, it makes me feel old. I know all the over-30's out there are laughing maniacally at the screen right now. But it's weird to move into a stage of life that you don't feel like you fit into. I feel like I will be a 26-28 year old at heart for a very long time. 

My life doesn't look the same as most 29 year olds that I know. A lot of them are married by now. Some of them have two+ kids already, or have spent their twenties cultivating successful careers. But I am happy with where I am. I have an awesome roommate (and cheap rent, I might add!), so many friends that my birthday invite list was 35 people without even trying, and I keep living my life the way I want. It sounds really selfish, doesn't it? But I really enjoy not having to worry about making someone else happy. 

I've been reflecting on this past year and I wanted to make a list of 28 things I did or accomplished this year. And hopefully this will inspire me to do even more when I'm 29.

1. Experienced a dead-end job, got out of said job, became employed at a great job with great people.
2. One of my best friends had a baby. I witnessed one of my best friends get engaged. Two of my best girls got married.
3. Started getting monthly massages and it has proved to be worth it.
4. Stopped caring about working out and focused on eating better. But I will never stop eating Chick-fil-A. 
5. Went to Hawaii. (Still so amazed by that.)
6. Made it through the roughest Christmas of my life and came out the other side with a better understanding of my mother and how depression/anxiety relates to my family.
7.  Let a friend go for the right reasons with no regrets.
8. Spent some memorable, quality times with my best girlfriends.
9. Went camping for the first time.
10. Held a chinchilla.
11. Played some open mics and got a really encouraging response.
12. Discovered the joy that is Shark Tank.
13. Went to brunch a lot.
14. Worked through some hard times with my church.
15. Got really excited over my friend Emily's "long time coming" engagement.
16. Read more books.
17. Embraced Nutella/Hazelnut liqueur milkshakes.
18. Saw all these shows: Ben Folds with the BSO, Grace Potter, Ed Sheeran, Audrey Assad, Needtobreathe, Dave Barnes, Chadwick Stokes, Mae, Milo Greene, Good Old War, Matt Wertz/Dave Barnes/Jon McLaughlin, Denison Witmer/William Fitzsimmons, The Weepies.
19. Got a new tattoo.
20. Finally saw Wicked.
21.Celebrated my high school band director's retirement for an entire weekend and got to thank my elementary and middle school band directors for instilling music in me.
22. Went to my 10 year high school reunion.
23. Spent a full day resting and watching Netflix. (Literally, all day.)
24. Bought a ukulele.
25. Buffalo Wild Wings Sundays became a thing with my roommate.
26. $6.50 movies on Tuesdays.
27. Had important conversations with friends about everything from anxiety to babies to relationships to heartbreak.
28. Learned (and am still learning) how to forgive myself for things and let God take control.