happy first day of 2016.

happy new year! here’s a big new year’s smooch for you to start your year off right weird.

like i said yesterday, we had big plans last night. there was a lot of couch sitting. there was a lot of prosecco drinking. there may have even been some leftover buffalo chicken dip eating. i won’t say for certain. it was a wild and crazy night that was right up my alley. i did wear my new floppy hat to make things feel more festive. see below for proof, and follow me on snapchat for real-time ridiculousness (username: hooleywithaz).

this is my NYE hat |

i don’t mean to make Mister Man and i sound so boring. we do sometimes go out and have fun that doesn’t involve putting the baby to bed and sitting on the couch. for example, a few nights ago, we happened to have some free babysitters (hi bridget and mark!) and decided to go try a new restaurant in town, the commodore. it was all booked up but we risked walking in, and it TOTALLY paid off. by the time we had parked the car and walked back to the restaurant, they had a place for us.

the fitzgerald and the commodore cocktails at the commodore bar |

this place is a 1920s lounge type place, with a lot of history, so all the seating is lounge seating, big chairs or small cocktail tables. we lucked out and got a table for two tucked in the back of the restaurant. you guys, the cocktails at this place made me sing a hallelujah. i want to go back and try every single one. and the food was great. i wish i had gotten MM’s dinner, because his pork scallopini was ridiculous in the best way. my risotto was pretty bomb too. because it’s us, and we literally can’t go anywhere without seeing people we know, we ran into my cousin and his wife as we walked in AND we sat right next to my old babysitter for dinner, which was such a lovely surprise (hi kelene! thank you for dessert!). minnesota readers, if you are in the mood to try a fun, new place for dinner and drinks, i highly recommend the commodore bar in st. paul.

this weekend we have no plans until sunday, so there will be some house projects and hopefully some relaxing done. on sunday we’re headed up to st. cloud with a few of my cousins for our annual cookie exchange party at my grandma’s. it’s always a good time and i always come back on a sugar high. after all the fun lately, it’s safe to say that the next week is going to feel very long, but all in all, 2016 is going to start out pretty great.

i hope the first day of your year is wonderful (and hopefully not too hungover), and that all of your resolutions stick for the whole year. but even if they don’t make it past the first week, i’ll still like you because you’re great.

happy new year with love!

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coffee date.

we’re back! we’re back! we’re back for another coffee date! and let’s call this a holiday catch-up while we’re at it! all aboard the efficiency train!


(sure, caribou, i’d love for you to sponsor me, i think that would be perfect!)

how was your christmas?? was it great? were there cookies and cocktails and carols? i hope so, because i think that christmas is great and i like you and hope yours was great.

my christmas was pretty awesome. amelia just about lost her mind opening presents and entertaining the families with her walking and talking (wouldn’t it be great if that was all it took to impress people when we’re older?). she is most definitely a people person. sure, she needs breaks every couple of days, but she loves to be social and is at her brightest when she’s “performing” for a group of people. not that any of us mind watching her…she’s quite entertaining!

the cutest baby in the world! |

[wearing one of her three christmas dresses. girl’s gotta have options!]

my best bloody mary creation to date. |

[we have a christmas morning bloody mary tradition at my family’s. this year’s edition was good.]


today at our coffee date, i’m going to indulge a bit and have a caramel salted vanilla latte. we’re still in the holiday season, so it’s fine to get a little fancy, you know? i’ll treat you today, because it’s the holidays and we’re friends, and i’d like to do that for you. please don’t try to talk me out of it, because it won’t work, and friends let friends buy their coffees for them when they offer.

the time between christmas and new year’s is a bit like the eye of a hurricane, isn’t it? it’s so calm, you feel a little tired after all the fun, but you’re still looking forward to another holiday in just a week, so it’s all still fun really. i always like that time, it feels like being in a bubble, safe from regular life.

but now it’s the last day of 2015, and i feel like i’m on the edge of everything. the planning i haven’t done, the goals i haven’t quite set, those are all a little nagging right now. because tomorrow i’ll have to leave the safe holiday bubble and go back to the real world. at least we have a whole three-day weekend in between us and the real world, right? do you get this feeling too, or are you one of those who just can’t wait for the freshness of the new year? if you are one of those people, i like that about you. i like people who are joyful about the changes that always come our way and who face the newness head on. you’re alright by me.

trying to get my crap together for 2016 |

today during coffee you’d get to see my new planner. it’s gold and polka-dotted and has a pretty binder clip on it. i love it with all my heart. deep down i wish it was a fancy life planner like all the cool bloggers have, but i’m afraid i’m too flaky for such a nice planner so i stick to the simple ones. have you tried bullet journaling yet? i want to try it SO BADLY, but i just haven’t researched it enough yet. this lady here has some amazing bullet journal posts, but i need a REALLY basic introduction to help me understand her methods better. if you have a really good intro, can you share it with me? i’d love you forever.

i’m going to give you a big hug now and send you off to your new year’s eve plans. if you’re cool like me, you’ll be staying in, drinking prosecco and watching old tv shows with your better half. if you’re an even bigger party animal than me (is that possible?) you might have a party to get dressed up for…in which case please tell me all about it this weekend so i can live vicariously through you. i hope your 2015 has been everything you wished for and more, and that your 2016 starts with all the happiness in the world. thank you for spending some of your 2015 with me here, i hope you stick around for another year of love and laughs.

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i’m dreaming of a white christmas.

it’s currently the day before christmas eve (christmas eve eve, as some like to call it), and i’m watching some snow fall from the sky. none of it’s sticking, but i have high hopes that if it lasts long enough into the evening, it’ll get cold enough for the snow to stay. i mean, i know that plenty of people survive christmas with no snow, but i’m from MINNESOTA people. a green/brown christmas is simply unacceptable. there must be snow so when we put on our parkas, it feels like there is a reason for it. so yes, i’m dreaming of a white christmas in a big, desperate way.


we’ve got some big holiday plans lined up for the next few days. celebrating christmas with both our families and both our extended families, seeing friends in town, and my favorite: watching amelia open presents and hang out with her aunts, uncles and grandparents. i’m so excited to see everyone and i can’t wait to watch amelia slightly comprehend christmas this year. she’s opened a couple presents already and has REALLY enjoyed that process, so it’s shaping up to be a hilarious wonderful christmas morning. i’m so excited that i’m tingly and a little twitchy and i’m fairly certain i’ll want to stay up all night long until everything starts. totally casual and normal, i

and now for the love…

i hope that all of you are with people you love this christmas, and that you feel so much grace and peace surrounding you during this time. i am so thankful for all of you (i’ve said it before and i’m saying it again, because it’s true). every time i get to interact with one of you, whether it’s in the comments of a post, online talking about a recipe or a cocktail that you tried, or in person talking about our lives, it brings me so much joy. i write here for me, yes, but i also write for you, in the hopes that something i make or something i share will inspire you. and so even though i don’t know most of you, i’m wishing you a merry christmas all the same, and i mean it from the bottom of my heart.

may your days be merry and bright, and may all your christmases be white.


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life lived thoughtfully. volume three.

can we get honest here for a moment? like, really, truly, honest?

i have not been myself this last month. i’ve flaked out on friends (sometimes with reason, sometimes because i’m terrible), i’ve let balls drop that i normally would not, and i’ve been a less than stellar wife.

i’ve had things not turn out as planned, and been disappointed in myself and things happening around me. and i’d like to say i responded with grace and a lot of patience, but i didn’t. i responded with a cranky attitude and far too many bad moods to mention for fear of you all seeing me in a different light.

my husband has taken on far more than his share of things to make up for where i’ve been lacking, and his life hasn’t been any easier than mine…we’re partners living this life together after all. but while he’s been living it thoughtfully, i’ve let my thoughtfulness get lost in the shuffle.

so there is no story this month about buying coffee for the car behind me, no thoughtful metaphor on how happiness can be found by doing things for others. just some real talk about how sometimes, even when we try to focus on it, thoughtfulness is not easy or welcomed. i don’t want to be one more person talking about how all you have to do is make thoughtfulness a priority and it magically changes your life to make you a better wife + friend + mom + person. it doesn’t. the journey to a life lived thoughtfully comes with progress that can sometimes be backwards.


but we can still take that journey. instead of being discouraged, i’m turning towards a fresh start in this advent season, this waiting season. time for more focus on how i can offer up my disappointment as a sacrifice to that holy one who offered Himself up for us. if He can be born a child in a manger, i can surely do the dishes with a happy heart. if He can die for me, i can be content with my disappointments, knowing that there is more ahead planned out for me.

here’s to finishing out the year on a better note. a more thoughtful note. here’s to ending 2015 with the happiest heart i can.

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december goals.

oof. november was not my best month, goals-wise. personal life-wise, it was awesome! i’ve been busy having fun with Amelia, both while Mister Man travels and while he’s here. even though it’s gotten (much) colder, we try to get outside every single day to play, and she has now shown a LOT more interest in coloring and playing pretend with her stuffed animals. our days are very full. it doesn’t leave too much time for goal achieving, but i tried my best!

first things first: november goals update

  • finish the updates for the first year of amelia’s baby book. oh you guys. i tried so hard. this is still not done. why is it that the smallest things are so difficult for me to just finish up??
  • cook three new soup recipes. woop woop! i definitely got this done, and my freezer is very happy with me! you have seen one of the recipes i think, but i am saving a couple to post later this month. here’s a little preview:


  • go to a movie. i’m counting this as done, even though i’m going to the movie today…i technically planned the movie outing in november, which when you count finding a babysitter and a free day, that’s good right?
  • organize the basement catch-all closet. i have no idea how this got done. i apparently had a fit of organizing the other day and just went to town on this closet. i organized my craft supplies, Amelia’s craft supplies, and our wrapping paper/ribbon/bag/box situation. everything is labeled and all in one spot instead of hanging out all over the place. i’m very excited about this you guys.
  • bonus: if i get motivated, run a 5K on the treadmill. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.



  • finish the updates for the first year of amelia’s baby book. i mean. if i fail again, can i just call this one impossible?
  • make santa cookies. Christmas is coming and that means one thing for my dad’s family: grandma’s santa cookies! i’m the oldest granddaughter left in the state, so i’ve taken the responsibility for continuing the tradition since my grandma passed away. we’re still picking a date, because a lot of us are spread all over the country, and we want as many people there as possible, but this will definitely happen. DON’T WORRY FAMILY THERE WILL BE SANTA COOKIES!

christmas cookie tradition: homemade santa claus mold cookies.

  • finish Christmas shopping. i really have to get this one done, don’t i? whatever, i’m throwing myself a bone here. if you’re still working on gifts, here is some inspiration for you.
  • go to brunch with my family. Amelia has been hilarious during mealtimes lately, and she is such a hoot to share a meal with. plus, she is an amazing eater. so i want to take her out to brunch at our favorite neighborhood place, for one because we haven’t been there forever, and for two because i feel like she will really groove on it at her age.
  • bonus: if i get motivated, run a 5K on the treadmill. we can try this one again. we’ll see what happens.

i threw myself a few softballs, but hey, it’s the holidays and i want to be free to enjoy my friends and family without too much hanging over my head. december is busy enough as it is…my calendar has writing all over it and i’m excited!

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