Tuesday, August 30, 2011

mari makes, and makes and makes...and it's all amazing.

why hello, gorgeous new Blog Around the Corner.
It's so nice to meet you.

clearly this blog has been in desperate need of a makeover for the last month. I fiddled around on photoshop, using all sorts of wallpaper and fabric swatches and downloaded fonts, but every time I thought I had something, it would fall apart. It wouldn't look right on the site, or the text would be off, or the color... it was maddening. Enter Mari Fray Foster. How do I even know Mari? I'm not sure when we first met. We had mutual friends in high school through youth group. The last time I saw Mari was when we went on beach week together. It's a little embarrassing to admit, but since we're facebook friends and still have a close mutual friend, I've "kept in touch" w/ Mari through the years. She has the cutest name and the cutest hair and the cutest style and she had the cutest wedding. CLEARLY, the girl's got cute down. I read her blog, Mari Makes, and as I was reading it this morning it occurred to me that maybe I should ask Mari to make a banner for me.

So 8 hours ago, after 6 years of not communicating, I sent her a facebook message. I tried to explain to her my style as best as I could. I sent her a couple images of things I liked (including this playful chevron) and some different fonts I had already played around with. We messaged back and forth, and BAM. She nailed it on the first try. Mari, you made... my day. Haha.

Check out Mari's blog - she makes incredible jewelry and hair pieces, and I can tell that she's the kind of gal that thinks to herself "I bet I could make that" and then actually does. She even has a jewelry blog and an Etsy shop. She's such a sweetheart and I think she's working on my blog behind the scenes as I type.... hello? Mari? can you hear me in there? :)

(one of Mari's posts included a clip from the show "Portlandia." ohhhmygosh. hilarious. the show pokes fun at the granola types that we all think of when we think of Portland... what's so sad about the clip "put a bird on it" is that I'M THE PERSON WHO BUYS THOSE ITEMS. ahhhhh.)









kills me.

what do you think of the new look?

farmer's market flowers


I bought these flowers from the market today. They came in the milk jug,
which is funky and charming at the same time. I carried my jug across the street
and up to the newsroom, where they cheered me up all day long. I miss them and
I'm excited that they'll be there waiting for me in the morning. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

i fell in love tonight...

with StoryCorps - a non-profit organization that collects people's stories in an effort to preserve oral history.

"Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews from more than 60,000 participants."

"We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters. At the same time, we will create an invaluable archive of American voices and wisdom for future generations."

You can listen to interviews on the organization's website (click here), but you can also check out these incredible animations that were inspired by the stories shared at StoryCorps. The first three, "Danny and Annie," "Q&A" and "Miss Devine" are my most favorites, but they're all amazing.

This video was inspired by interviews with Danny Perasa and his wife, Annie, as they recounted their twenty-seven-year romance -from their first date to Danny’s final days with terminal cancer (if like me, you're dying for the transcript- read it here):


Joshua Littman, a 12-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome, interviews his mother, Sarah. Joshua’s unique questions and Sarah’s loving, unguarded answers reveal a beautiful relationship that reminds us of the best—and the most challenging—parts of being a parent.



Cousins James Ransom and Cherie Johnson recall their formidable Sunday school teacher, Miss Lizzie Devine, the only woman who scared them more than their grandmother.



funny stories from Kay Wang, a strong-willed grandmother who was reluctantly taken to a StoryCorps booth by her son and granddaughter (this one prompted an unexpected sob fest because it brought on lots of memories of my grandma, aka granny creeps, who recently passed away):



This interview between Blanca Alvarez and her daughter Connie reveals how much children can really see of their parents' lives—and the inspiration they draw from their struggles:



Joseph Robertson, who was an infantryman in the U.S. Army during World War II, recounts a haunting memory:


a good reminder of the beauty of the human voice, by the great oral historian Studs Terkel:


The Human Voice from StoryCorps on Vimeo.


and lastly, a sad yet hopeful story shared on the website:

Friday, August 26, 2011

take your tee to work day




take your tee to work day


I took the tee from my casual "end of summer" outfit (seen here)  and dressed it up for work.
click here to view the items individually.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

wardrobe essentials

simple end-of-summer outfit



I've recently been asked some advice on how to go from a cotton t-shirt and workout pants/jeans uniform to a more updated look. It's hard to know where to start! While I am no expert, I'm confident my advice will help anyone who needs a little "boost" in the fashion department.

1- painted nails will put you on the fast track to feel more stylish. check out OPI's website and look at their blues and greens. the bottom 3 rows (minus the two marbled ones) are all great fall colors -  normally I head straight for purples and grays, but I'm really loving "Ski Teal We Drop" and "Here Today...Aragon Tomorrow." If bold colors aren't for you, a pale pink (or clear!) works any time of year.

2- try EVERYTHING on - in front of a mirror - before you take off the price tag. sounds obvious, but it really makes a difference. don't purchase anything that's super sheer or looks funky over your bras. wear a nude colored bra and seamless panties when you go shopping if you can remember - and I also recommend wearing your favorite jeans and a shirt that is easy to take off and put back on. also, wear your hair like you normally wear it. I HATE it when I can't really tell how things will look at home b/c I'm not wearing the right things underneath and my hair is in a messy ponytail. 

3- I recommend having several soft, solid tees (scooped or v-neck) in your closet. You can never go wrong with white and black, but the top I get the most compliments on is a slate gray one from Loft. For this fall, look for a dark teal or a feminine, light purple. I almost bought this top in weathered blue and light lavender, but I decided I don't really need them. Look for materials that are dressy enough for work but casual enough to wear with jeans. Pair the top with your favorite jewelry, and you're good to go. 

4- Don't be afraid to try on something that you're not sure about - last year I gave dolman-sleeved tops a chance and they are my FAVORITE. They're everywhere now, so I'm glad I jumped on board!

5- Invest in at least one black and one brown belt - skinny or wide, braided or snakeskin - find something that suits your personality AND works with one more than outfit. 

6- Every girl should own a quality pair of dark wash jeans (they go with everything, they're slimming and they instantly dress up a simple top). And a white and black camisole/tank that is long enough to be tucked in under a blouse. AND a pair of black shoes. I'm a flats girl myself. 

7. Try to add a little color to your outfit, whether it's through your shoes, purse, cardigan, wherever.

8. Get your jewelry on! I've always feel more put together when I wear earrings. If you don't have your ears pierced, think about purchasing a necklace that you can wear with a variety of your clothes. While it's fun to get crazy with jewelry, it never hurts to have a few simple pieces that you can rely on. 

9. Toss (or better, donate) everything in your closet that you either never wear, or you do wear but you hate wearing it. Then take inventory of what you're missing and get shopping! (In my case, I was missing a couple of comfy button-down shirts, so I got on that right away.) 

10. If skinny jeans or dolman sleeves or chunky cardigans or whatever don't look good on you - don't fret. You will look LESS fashionable if you wear something that doesn't fit your body type or your personality. Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and happy. 

and one bonus tip - don't buy a fashion magazine if you're not super into fashion. just google fashion trends or browse through an InStyle at a bookstore, and try to incorporate at least one new trend into your wardrobe.

Monday, August 22, 2011

case of the mondays


bursting into tears when a friend asked how I was doing... embarrassing.

spending close to an hour at FedEx and having the cashier help five people who came in after me and making me wait to the side... exasperating.

coughing EVERY TIME I ate a triscuit... uncomfortable (and gross).

having a huge load of work when I expected it to be an easy day...discouraging.

having a friend drop by the newsroom...breath of fresh air.

having my fingers smell like hot dogs because hot dog juice spilled on my food in the fridge...icky.

finding at least a dozen HUGE choc. covered raisins in my bag of choc. covered raisins...delightful.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

some of my favs from pinterest

ahhhh. well done, boston interiors.
hey dad, want to build this for me?
if you had a sturdy dresser to start w/ and could anchor
the shelves to the wall, it might be a do-able project.

I have a thing for hedgehogs (not real ones).
Maybe it's because I played Sonic 1,393,590 times as a child.
this little guy (or gal) is from etsy, of course.


hehehe.
this goofy pillow cover has already sold out -
and I'm not surprised.
I don't think I'd actually use it in my own home, 
but just looking at it makes me smile.


I love everything about this outfit. I have never owned a skirt this length-
and now I'm tempted to start looking for one.
 Leave it to the sartorialist to discover
this lovely lady.


I love these lightbulb vases for a summer/fall wedding or 
a garden party

not on pinterest? you're gonna need to get on that - and then we can follow each other's pins.

Friday, August 19, 2011

dr.? dr. leo marvin?

What if I'm looking for a bathroom, I can't find one,
and my bladder explodes? 


 Isn't this a breakthrough, that I'm a sailor? I sail?! I sail now?!






and one more...

Hi, I'm Bob. Would you knock me out, please? Just hit me in the face. 


I was going to wait until next weekend to watch "What About Bob" w/ my college roomies, but a) we probably won't stop chatting long enough to watch it, b) they both fall asleep as soon as a movie starts and c) I WANT TO WATCH IT NOW.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Love in essence...


This living water will not quench us if it's watered down. It's not our place to hide again this treasure that we've found. We might as well just fold our hands if we can't call a spade a spade, 'cause we will miss the heart each time if we won't ever shoot them straight.

This song is about the temptation to dress down the gospel and the danger that lies in doing so.

It's also dangerous to dress down our calling as believers - and there is a LOT that we are called to do! According to Matthew 22:36-40, loving God and loving others should be our top priorities. You know how in "A Scarlet Letter" the main character is forced to wear a symbol of her sin for all to see? Christians should be easily identified by a badge of love -  a symbol NOT for how we feel about someone, but a symbol for our willingness to sacrifice for that person.

I recently attended a study on spiritual growth. We discussed the attributes listed in 2 Peter 1:5-7: knowledge, virtue, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love. And then there are verses 8 and 9...which are SO incredibly convicting..."For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins."

We talked about how these attributes build upon one another, with love being the very last (and most important) "step." Without love, you are ineffective. You are unfruitful. You are a clanging cymbal. Essentially, you are straight up WHITE NOISE to whoever you are attempting to witness to.

We will miss the heart each time if we won't ever shoot them straight.

I came across a post on agape love (sacrificial love - the kind of love that God desires us to have) that really convicted me. I hope it will speak to you, too.
(side note: while I agree with many of the points I've read on this site, please do not view this author's word as Truth - filter everything through Scripture - and feel free to contact me if you have questions.)

Agape love is not about feeling good but doing good - treating people as God has treated to us in Christ.

According to Jesus, agape love is the distinguishing mark of the church: "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35). We do not allow the errors and excesses of others to excuse our own behavior. We do not allow our feelings to prevent us from treating people right. We practice the discipline - and it is indeed a discipline - of agape love. This will keep us busy enough without having to condemn others: Love in essence is not a matter of how we feel about people, but how we treat them... (this blew my mind. Such an obvious truth, yet not something we really think about. If we were to spend our energy loving others, we wouldn't have much energy left to judge them). It can be said with confidence at the outset, and also at any subsequent stage on the road, that learning to love all the different sorts of people whom God sends across our path, in all the different sorts of situations he shapes up for us and them, is going to prove the hardest discipline we shall ever face.
- Thomas Howard and J. I. Packer, Christianity: The True Humanism

In order to live this way, we must "deny self and take up our cross daily and follow Christ. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it" (Luke 9:23-24). This way of life will directly oppose our self-centeredness, but it will also, at the same time, open us to new life, God's life (this is why love can be so hard - it requires humility). Above all other expressions of love, agape allows us to transcend ourselves for the good of others. It exposes our selfishness and draws us out of our shells to love others, no matter what it takes.



Is agape love a quality others easily identify in you? Is your love for others increasing?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

jewelry dishes

I have a plastic box w/ tiny compartments for my earrings, a miniature dress form (not my pic) for my necklaces and an old Victoria Secrets box for my bracelets. But if I'm looking for my favorite pieces of jewelry I know to look in one of two places - the white w/ gold trim lotus-shaped bowl by my bed or the small hand-painted bowl from Kazakhstan by the bathroom sink. Both are feminine and lovely, but most of all they are so daggone HANDY! I love being able to take off my earrings before my head hits the pillow, knowing that they won't roll on to the floor or get lost under a pile of books. Don't have a dish for your jewels? Here a few options:


Keep your rings on the handle and your baubles inside- from here

you'll never forget what you're supposed to use it for
 from here

I love the unique shell shape of this dish
from here

just like mine, only blue!
from here

oooo ahhhhh these bowls are SO gorgeous! keep one for yourself
and give the other to a friend.
from here











Saturday, August 13, 2011

modern mad men: joan (holloway) harris

Joan (Holloway) Harris


I think Joan would look this outfit up and down and give it a satisfied nod of approval - especially upon seeing the pen necklace and peacock brooch. Pair her favorite accessories with a curve-hugging dress and some killer heels, and she's sure to keep turning heads at the office.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

modern mad men: peggy olson

modern mad men: peggy olson


modest peggy might pass out if she saw the length of that skirt, but the plaid print would be awfully tempting... and in the long run, the knotted top and gorgeous navy briefcase would win her over. those yummy booties don't hurt either. eat your little secretary heart out, peggy.

modern mad men: betty draper

modern mad men: sally draper



pearls and classic a-line silhouette? they had betty at hello.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

a d'oh moment


we're all losing our minds.

last night around 7 Andy called and told me he was going to drive to Harrisonburg in the morning to pick up his new Blackberry, which was supposed to be delivered to my parent's house. I was so excited. I thought we would get to see each other for a few minutes before I left for work, and I'd get to hug and kiss him and tell him how cute he is. Yay!

so a few hours pass and then BAM it hits me. why doesn't he get in the car and drive to Hburg tonight? then we could have some hangout time and sleep in the same bed. WHY DID I NOT THINK OF THIS BEFORE?! 

I called Andy and he started laughing. Wow, we are so dumb, he said. He immediately packed an overnight bag and hit the road. He didn't arrive until midnight, but it was still SO worth it.  He got to show me his company car and we watched Master Chef and made nachos and snuggled. This morning we had breakfast together and I got to see him in his new work uniform - a black Kellogg's golf shirt w/ khakis.

we're just two idiots in love.  :)



have you seen the music video for Katy Perry's song "Last Friday Night?" it's actually really entertaining and there are some surprising (and random) guest stars.

Monday, August 8, 2011

let's discuss: breastfeeding.

Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm not pregnant, I'm not a mom, what the heck do I care about breastfeeding?

The Manger, by Gertrude K√§sebier
by the way, this post talks about BREASTS. so if you don't want to read that word, come back another day! It's OK if it makes you feel uncomfortable -  I personally get skeeved out when people talk about their breast feeding experiences in detail on social networking sites. At least this is slightly more private. But you know what? I think moms do need support, and moms need to rally around one another, so social network away you bunch of breastfeeders, you! I'll just wrinkle my nose - slightly.

Back to boobage. I think breastfeeding is an incredibly sweet and loving connection between a mother and child, and I hopehopehopehope that I will be privileged enough to experience it. I have many friends who struggle with it, and it's frustrating and disappointing. I also have friends who have said, "you know what? I don't want to deal with it - I'm going with formula."

Do I think it's wrong to not breast feed? No. Do I wish moms would give it more of a shot? Yes. It just makes sense to me - if you can feed your child for FREE and provide natural nutrition, dooo itttt. If you can't, you can't, and I'm sorry!

I recently shared a post from A Cup of Jo on here, but I just couldn't help myself from sharing another -- I look forward to Motherhood Mondays each week, and this one didn't disappoint. Guess what?! It's about breastfeeding! Wahoo! It was a little freaky, because I checked A Cup of Jo around 7:40 p.m., but around 4:30 today my friend texted me saying that a lady was openly breastfeeding in a park. I wrote back and said I had just been thinking about writing a blog post on breastfeeding. And then I read Joanna's post. I love how open she is about it, and how excited she is to share her experiences with others. Then there's this post on breastfeeding - also great. A little risque- just to warn ya. And one more - this isn't a post, this is a whole blog devoted to breastfeeding!

I saw a LOT of breasts when I nannied for these adorable twins. Their mom was not shy. I love that about her. That's not me, though. I imagine I'll use a blanket or a nursing cover if I'm in public. I think breastfeeding super openly in public is fine, but it does make people uncomfortable and I think using a blanket is a nice compromise. Feed your baby. Don't flash your boobies to the world. They have some really cute tops out there for mommies.

OK, enough about breastfeeding for now. Feel free to ask me more about my take on it, or share your opinions/experiences!

(World Breastfeeding Week was August 1-7 and on their website there is a link to this horrific song, which apparently was played during a flash mob. This is TOO MUCH people.)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

post script

more happy weekendings - (read the ones I wrote this morning here)


-- dining at Present Vietnamese restaurant w/ the fam. My brother order the appetizers for us and recommended entrees - he did this in Korea and it was so fun to have an "experienced" diner w/ us. The more I sat there the more I KNEW I had read a review of the restaurant in the Washington Post Magazine, so of course I have to link to it. I would kill to dine with Tom Sietsema.
The menu at Present is hysterical - as mentioned in this article on the restaurant:


"the whole serene concept took a left turn when I started reading some of the dish descriptions, which are written in both English and Vietnamese and which carry an extra, fable-like name. I'm sorry, but I laughed out loud at such anthropomorphic names as "Pig and Friends Crepes" and "Resting Steer on Haystack." Yeah, that creature is resting all right." - Tim Carman from Washington City Paper (from here)


We had the spring rolls and Treasure From the Sea appetizer. My parents and I had the Country Banquet Vermicelli, John-Michael got Cow on the Open Field and Andy ordered the Pilgrim on the Beach. I think Sky got Shrimp in the Fresh Ocean but I'm not sure. Everything was incredible - super fresh and flavorful. Yum. If you're in NOVA and you're an open-minded eater - go to Presents.


-- getting a necklace from Sky. I complimented her on her necklace (a sweet itty bitty heart on a thin gold chain) and she told me that when she put it on this morning she thought to herself, I bet Laura would like this. She took it off her neck and handed it to me. I was so touched! I thanked her and then said, "I really like your dress, too." She laughed and pretended to take it off and hand it to me. Yup. I like her.


-- Sweetzels Spiced Mini Cremes. I was craving fall this morning before church and then Andy went and had a chai latte at church, which made me crave fall even MORE and then at the grocery store I saw these:



cue the Hallelujah Chorus. these things are GOOD. in fact, Sweetzels cookies are so beloved they have their own Facebook page. 

-- having things to look forward to, especially since Andy isn't here w/ me and I won't see him 'til the weekend. I've got an episode of Project Runway and Design Star to watch, a Netflix movie, an INCREDIBLE book ("Peace Like a River" by Leif Enger), an Old Navy coupon and a pantry and a closet that need cleaning out. 

weekend delights

friends, my brother is getting married NEXT WEEK. !!!!! Check out Sky and John-Michael's wedding website and learn how they met and how he proposed... it's way too cute.

some of my fav. Christian songs right now: Motions of Mercy, Waiting Here For You, and Your Great Name.

We're in Springfield right now and there's something about being at my parent's house that makes me feel like I'm on vacation. It doesn't hurt that my mom treated me and my sister to a pedicure yesterday.

We had a version of this Korean dish  for dinner last night. Sky's mom provided most of the ingredients and we had others on hand (my dad has been taking kimchi to work). It was Andy's first Korean meal since we ate at a super fancy Korean restaurant in London, and he devoured it.

Sky came over yesterday afternoon and we helped her make tiny flags for namecards. I'm amazed at how natural she is with our family.

tomorrow Andy starts his new job! not living together is going to be tough, but we're both in agreement that weekends will consist of nothing but snuggles (and eating).

hope your weekend was delightful!
--check out this neat video of one guy-eleven countries-one minute--

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

heavens to betsy

I've had one of those days where I just want to trudge around grumbling and punching pillows and sighing deep sighs. For some reason I keep saying, "heavens to betsy." Where is this coming from?? I don't think I know anyone who says this phrase (I don't think). I didn't read it recently (I don't think). I have no idea what is going on in my head.

Yesterday was Tuesday, not Wednesday. Today is Wednesday, not Thursday. Nightmares. Bad interview-ees. Day-long headaches that make me dizzy and nauseous. Taking a two hour nap starting at 5 p.m. and waking up realizing I'm never going to fall asleep tonight and the nap only made my headache worse. URGH.

BUT, I did get to nosh on the elvis burger and sweet potato fries at Jack Brown's today with the loverly Melissa Williams. I did get a phone call from Andy, who kept telling me how cute I was and then asked me if I was being cute at work (I wasn't, but I told him I was). I DID purchase a ticket to Boston to visit Becca.

so, it could've been a worse day.

p.s. how wild is this? I mean, if I was running late to catch the Metro I would be all for it. OK, I'd slide on it even if I wasn't late.

Monday, August 1, 2011

secrets to a happy marriage

my poor broken husband. he's doing much better - this was taken
right after he broke his collarbone. doesn't my hand look HUGE here?
I swear I don’t have man hands in real life!
do you read A Cup of Jo? Joanna occasionally asks other well-known bloggers questions and then posts their responses on her blog. Back in 2009 she did a series called "Our Secrets to a Happy Marriage." Here are some of the responses - I've emphasized what stands out to me. Our secrets are at the end.


"Love your other how they need to be loved, not how you need to be." A friend told me this simple mantra, saying that it had transformed his parents' marriage. It has stuck with me ever since. It makes so much sense and yet is so easy to forget because I think by nature we tend to be pretty selfish. Love is selfless, though, and what truly makes me happy is when my husband is happy. So, a key to a good marriage is trying your best to focus on what your significant other needs you to be to him, instead of what you want him to be to you.

P.S. Nathan told me I should write, "
Have drunken sex as often as you can." Ha
. (sorry mom and dad!)

-- Anna Bond, 
Rifle Design



1. Talk it out: No matter how angry you are, talking always helps. I wasn't a big talker before meeting Aaron (I was a big "slam the door"-er) and he taught me the value of talking through any and all difficult situations.

2.
Support each other's dreams: AC loves to play poker and guitar, and he also likes mixed martial arts. If he wanted to leave his job to pursue any of those, I would support him 100%. And I know he'd do the same for me. I realized a few years back that no matter how good the salary or benefits, if your partner isn't happy, even the best job is the wrong job. If you're both truly happy, then material things really do become less important.

3. Go on adventures: Whether it's a scooter ride to Coney Island or a backpacking trip out west,
remember to experience new things together. AC and I are complete opposites, but we both love to try new things, which keeps us growing together. 

-- Grace Bonney, Design*Sponge


One of the smartest things anyone ever said to Josh was that marriage is like a garden. You have to tend to it every day lest it become overgrown with weeds. Now we try to nip any issues that may come up in the bud. Just today, for example, Josh left me holding our 21-month-old daughter while he ran inside to grab a last-minute item before we set off to catch a ride into town. He checked his email and (as happens so often when you run your own business) got caught up in a work-related emergency that needed immediate attention. When he emerged ten minutes later explaining what was up, rather than a) blowing up or b) seething and saying nothing, I chose option c) gently reminding him that he left the two of us hanging and that a quick "hey, something's come up, I'll be a few minutes" would go a long way. He apologized, we both felt better, lesson learned, annoying afternoon averted!

Another super important tip: Make your relationship a priority, especially when you have a family.
What your kids need most is to be loved by parents who are happy and productive participants in the world. And what keeps your partner feeling great is a spouse who feels great too. So get a babysitter so you can have date night, or take that ceramics (or karate or skydiving) course that you've always wanted to take. The whole family will be better off.

Last word to the wise--everything is a negotiation and agreement. Remember that there are two parties in the relationship, and
together you're so much greater than the sum of your parts. When you're headed out to see District 9 instead of Julie & Julia, you may just find that the action flick is exactly what the doctor ordered.


-- 
Brooke Williams and Josh Liberson



Think play, not romance.
Forget flowers, dinner and candles, and instead play a video game, have a water-gun battle or play in a photo booth (or with Photobooth if you have a Mac!).
Embrace imperfection.
Accept that you're both going to make mistakes, and if the mistake was not intentionally hurtful, let it go.
Adjust your expectations and align them with reality (dirty towels on the floor, pre-menstrual hormone insanity), not fantasy (a pristine house, a perpetually perky disposition).
Reinvigorate the Old.
Life's grind sometimes whittles away the parts of us that are carefree, inspired, focused or fun.
One of the best things you can do for your spouse is to defend the parts of them that you married them for. And that doesn't mean saying "You used to be so..." It means reminding them that they ARE those things; they're not gone, even on their most beaten down days.
Discover the New.
Embark on unplanned adventures. Often.


-- Nichole, 
Little Brown Pen



"put your spouse before yourself. be spontaneous and do nice things that will make him/her feel loved and appreciated. did you notice your nice clean house when you came home?"
-- Andy, two seconds ago on the phone (yup, I noticed. thanks babe.)


when I'm a mess, Andy rubs my head. when he's a mess, I rub his back. sometimes loving each other in silence speaks louder volumes than loving aloud. 
flirt. tease. tickle. sing. dance. chase each other around the house. push each other's buttons (but know when to stop). repeat inside jokes until you're crying with laughter. bring up old memories.
make the CHOICE to focus on the positive.
-- me