So This Is Your Mid-Twenties....

I think I've officially reached the epitome of being in your mid-twenties: not only do I identify with it in terms of age, but everything about my life lines up with the iconic "being a twenty-something": I'm full of ideas for the career I want, my current work looks nothing like the career I want, I'm single, I'm always busy, I do yoga every day, seldom eat at home, and have the freedom to make spontaneous decisions like waking up at 4 AM for a beach sunrise, or buying four packages of cream cheese and making a cheesecake at 9 PM. Most of my long-time friends are now family-people, my weekends are filled with events related to weddings, and if I have to buy one more baby shower gift, I'm going to have to go live in a Charitable Home for Destitute Twenty-Somethings.
If these things were not indicative enough of being in my mid-twenties, I've now stood in the card section of Anthropologie going to tears over a Cheryl Strayed quote. What on earth could be next? SoulCycling? All joking aside, one of the key things that has made the learning process in this season feel a little less like those times when you were small and the big kids wouldn't stop bouncing you on the trampoline even when you begged them to let you off, is realizing that I'm not alone in this whole "How To Be A Successful Adult" struggle. Podcasts, articles, vulnerable conversations with friends and my mother...all of these things have helped me realize afresh that no one has their act together. Not truly. Not firmly. And, I don't know, that somehow makes me feel better about my life which, to me, looks like a hotel permanently under renovation.
"You don't have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don't have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don't have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don't have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts. You have to pay your own electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give all you've got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that's all."
-Cheryl Strayed
I wish that I had a recipe of my own to share with you today - they're coming, the recipes, but they've had to take a back-seat for the moment while I figure out April, which is a particularly knotty section of the road and includes having double-booked every second of every day on top of tax season. A recipe related to the upcoming royal wedding, one involving foraging, and another involving this weekend's dinner party are some of the things to look forward to. Today I'm sharing the things that have been making me laugh, relieving stress, feeding my soul (podcasts & music), and my body (recipes & exercise). Because we're never alone in our struggle, I hope that you'll find some shard of your own self in what I'm writing. We are all, each of us, an intricate weaving of brokenness and beauty and failure and redemption, mostly trying to give all we've got. How could anyone have it all together? Because I'm endlessly curious about other people and the random things they like, I'm here to share all the random bits of Me that are stuffed between the double-bookings and I hope that you'll connect with at least one thing on this list and let me know that you like it too!

- making me laugh -

  • this article on the Mark Zuckerberg memes which have taken over the internet and kept us all in stitches. Seriously. So. Funny.
  • this graphic from John Crist showing just what a Christian Coachella might look like. I've never been to or watched videos from the real Coachella but the fine print of this graphic is brilliant.
  • this video of 4 year olds talking about being married. I know I've shown it before, but it still makes me laugh every time. You need this in your life.

- relieving stress -

  • paying my taxes before the due date - okay, all but my state taxes
  • life-coaching with an amazingly strong and beautiful person: Gabrielle ("Gabe the Girl" as she's known on Instagram). This was never something I planned to do but after just two sessions I'm already so strengthened, inspired, and empowered by what taking simple steps toward goals can do. If you tend to get overwhelmed and paralyzed by how big your dreams and goals are, I 100% recommend life-coaching.
  • preparing beforehand - whether it's actually reading over my the assigned curriculum for church, making sure I pack my lunch the night before, or taking extra time to fully create lesson plans, my days and weeks go so much smoother when I (duh) prepare.

- feeding my soul -

Podcasts, podcasts, podcasts. Many of us spend a lot of time on the road and podcasts are my new favorite way to feel like I'm able to redeem that time in something other than growling about traffic and worrying about how long my low coolant light has been beaming up at me from the dashboard. My current favorite podcasts are:
  •  Passion City Church  - (especially the "Trip Around The Sun" series that has been running since January) Whenever I need a dose of truth to act like a green smoothie for my soul, I will often turn on this podcast from Passion City Church. I love that truth isn't sacrificed on the altar of comfort zones, and the Gospel reigns over all. 
  • That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs - these episodes are like sitting down and eavesdropping on a conversation between hilarious best friends. That's because literally every single guest on Annie's podcast is a personal friend of hers. It just so happens she's friends with a zillion really cool, creative, change-makers like Ben Rector, Bob Goff, Cory Asbury, and Jon McLaughlin.
  • Unveiling Your Creative Superpower - This is a brand new podcast, co-hosted by my friend Emily Lewin of Bright Ideas Collective! The entire point of their podcast is to empower and inspire people everywhere to unlock their creative potential. The episodes are thoughtful, informative, and even come with optional action steps to accomplish before the next episode airs to make sure you have the best chance possible of unleashing that boundless potential.
  • Also we can't forget music! The uplifting music I've had on repeat has been Living Liturgies by Red Rocks Worship, Be Held: Lullabies For The Beloved by Christy Nockels, and the Evolve album by Imagine Dragons. All the categories, right? 

- feeding my body -

Confession: I haven't cooked that much in what feels like a long time because of it being April and April being, as I said before, ridiculously overbooked for me.
  • duck eggs - after being given several dozen duck eggs by friends of ours, I am hooked. They're slightly bigger than chicken eggs and far more yellow which just makes me happy when trying to make a spirited-looking omelette. Eggs in every form have been decidedly on-menu for me during this hectic month.
  • the best cheesecake ever in my life: this Epicurious recipe for Junior's cheesecake (only the best cheesecake in NYC) is literally the finest thing to ever come out of my oven. I made it to celebrate my friend Valerie's opening show and I maybe pushed to make sure I actually stayed up late to make it because I really, really, really wanted a piece too. My Twitter bio doesn't lie.
  • salads - most every day at work I end up packing a salad because they're easy and when I sit in the middle of a shop swimming with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a salad is what's up. Getting a lot of salad-spiration these days from Primal Gourmet (Ronny) and his "car salads."
  • daily yoga - I'm in the middle of a 30 day yoga challenge again and this time I have done yoga every single day but one (I was dead-tired that night). The fun thing about yoga for me is that it gets me into the mode of taking care of myself, works out all the kinks and things that stress tries to knot up in my back and shoulders, and even inspires me to go farther. Instead of just doing yoga, I've been getting a lot of long walks in too!
  • hiking - okay, clarification: I live in the flattest bit of Virginia which means that the most "hikey" a hike ever gets is rolling, pine-needle-covered hills. Still, I've been upping my walking pace to "brisk" and feel pretty good about myself when I've kept up a 3 mph pace without really breaking a sweat. I'm looking forward to hiking a particular 6-mile trail soon, hopefully before the weather decides to get blazing hot.

Thanks for letting me keep it real around here and for putting up with departures from the topic of food and hospitality. You're the coolest because you're here for everything, and only the best people are like that. Cheers!


  1. I really enjoyed this, I'm going to be in my mid twenties soon. That Cheryl Strayed quote is exactly what I needed.

    1. It's pretty amazing how something you used to roll your eyes at (sic) suddenly becomes impactful to you personally! Haha.