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Heart Swells

heart swell

We made it — happy Friday! This weekend, I plan to go out on the boat, catch a comedy show with a few girlfriends, watch the Seahawks game, and maybe even BBQ while the weather is still holding strong at 80 degrees. What are you up to? I’ve come to love this tradition of looking back on all the things to be thankful for in a week, because it makes the moments ahead seem even sweeter. The things that made my heart swell over the past week…

- Saturday night sushi + downtown barhopping
- Rooftop lounging with my sister and her BF
- Coffee + lakeside visiting
- Sunset grilling and wine conversations
- Wann’s x3… Yup, that happened
- Trying out a local restaurant over new foods, effortless convos and easy laughs
- Seeing my second sister’s take on this post on her great blog
- Setting up a Facebook page for the blog – let’s connect!
- Being so sweetly exhausted from work that I love and believe in
- My sweet sister listening to my yammerings before her flight overseas
- Girlfriends new and old that make me laugh, make me think, and make me full

{Photo via Her New Tribe}

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Fall Activities

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Fall is my favorite season, and after one of the best summers e-vah, I finally feel myself warming up to the idea of cooler mornings, leaf-covered sidewalks, and cozier days spent indoors will family and friends. Before summer started, I made a list of everything that I wanted to do to soak up the season. It was a great way to make sure that I made the most of the sun-drenched months. So for fall, I’d like to do the same. Here’s my list of activities I’d like to do this fall…

- Pick out pumpkins at a pumpkin patch and make jack-o’-lanterns
- Go apple picking and bake homemade apple pie
- Try out a new restaurant during Seattle Restaurant Week
- Dress up for Halloween
- Wander through a corn maze
- Cook something for Thanksgiving and share with family
- Have good friends over for a ‘Friendsgiving’
- Cozy up by a fire
- Enjoy a thunderstorm
- Attend a fall harvest + beer festival

What other fun fall activities would you add?

P.S. Related: my summer list and fall fashion inspiration.


{Photos via Fine Art America and Pinterest}


Let’s Connect


Hi friends! Heart Swell now has its own Facebook page. I’ll be adding blog posts as well as photos, videos and content that you wouldn’t otherwise see on the blog. If you like what you see, you may like it here. Thank you for your support!

P.S. Let’s be friends! Connect with me on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

{Photo via Pinterest}


It’s in the Story

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I have been thinking a lot lately about the story part of our lives.

I use New York City as an illustration often because, for me, that city was more than just a place to live; it was life lessons as abundant as deli bagels. (Point being: I enjoyed a hearty amount of both during my time there.) (: So, as to why the story matters. There was a time in my journey of moving when it wasn’t all Frank Sinatra and Sex in the City. A few weeks before I got the job offer, I was really restless with the waiting process. I had polished my resume, compiled my portfolio, applied to every job I came across, and could visualize my life in the city more clearly than my life as it was… And yet – there was still. no. offer.  And so I was forced to wait.

And that’s when it hit me: this is part of the story. Humans love stories; we crave them. There’s no story in a movie without plot twists; there’s no story in a life that unfolds exactly as one would expect; there’s no story in someone who gets everything she ever wanted the moment she wanted it. What’s more interesting: the inner city student who fought poverty and prejudice to gain acceptance at an Ivy League school — or the wealthy, connected student who did? The musician who signed a record deal the first time they got on stage and became overnight packaged success — or the songwriter who endured years of dimly lit bars and scraped by until, at last, he got his big break? Read more…


Fall Fashion Inspiration

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Fall is undoubtedly my favorite season to dress for. I love the layers, scarves, boots, hats, textures… While I relished living in dresses for pretty much the entire summer, there’s something nice about bundling up and dressing cozy again. Here are a few of my favorite fall-inspired looks as the season starts…. Read more…


Animated Photos of Couples

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Photographer Jeffrey Lewis Bennett takes the most amazing photos of couples. The twist — they’re ever so slightly animated. I got lost in looking at all the beautiful shots. Here are a few of my favorites…

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Read more…


Heart Swells

heart swell

This week was full of good surprises — unexpected emails, friends coming to visit, gifts in the mail. For a notorious planner, it was a good reminder to leave a little room for the unplanned and see what life does with it. I hope to spend the weekend with friends, enjoy these last persistent summer-weather days, and work on a few blog-related projects that I’ve been dying to have some time for. The happiest moments of the past week:

- Pizza by the slice with my sister
- Running into old friends later that night. The beauty of living downtown.
- A leisurely weekend home-cooked breakfast
- Iced coffee, cookies, and a sunny walk through old Victorian streets
- A new hair ‘do
- An unexpected email about a new blog partnership
- A surprise gift in the mail
- An invitation to a backyard kabob BBQ
- My tradition of quiet Monday nights
- Bartender’s choice and good conversation at Bathtub Gin
- Wine and girl talk night with this gal
- A morning in a focus group with Nordstrom
- A much needed day off for errands, rest and ^^^
- Movie night and the surprise attendance of a good girlfriend
- An email with a flight itinerary saying that my Kara is coming to visit!

What were some of the highlights of your week?

{Photo via Carolina Lobo}


How to Create a Vision Board

how to create a vision board

Do you have a vision board? I am a firm believer in the power of clarifying your intentions, setting up visual affirmations, and seeing the magic of how doing so can propel you toward your goals. In the words of author Amy Spencer, “We attract what we think about, focus on, and feel.”

The clearest illustration I have of this is when I decided to move to NYC. To outsiders, it may have looked like a simple job offer, but to me, it was a purposeful exercise in harnessing of all of my energy toward one specific goal. First, I narrowed down a date that I wanted to have a job offer by, and scribbled it on a piece of paper in big blue felt marker and taped it to my refrigerator. I hung black and white photos of NYC as art in my apartment. I ripped out a page from a magazine of a woman getting out of a taxi and posted it in my kitchen. Every single password I typed, every single song I listened to, related in some way to my dream of NYC. And within only a few months, I’d reached my goal. It was the clearest, most decisive use of my energy that I’d ever set in motion. With each visual cue, it became less of an ideal and more of an expectation. I just *knew* it was a matter of time before everything felt into place.

Recently, it’s felt like time to develop a new vision board. Luckily, it’s easier now than ever to do so. One can make digital vision boards on Pinterest, or use the good old fashioned method of magazines cutouts and bulletin boards. In my experience, the following tips make for the most effective visual cues: Read more…


All We Are

To me, this song feels like peace.

Matt Nathanson’s All We Are.


Rainbow Veggie Bowls with Homemade Ranch

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Chances are, if you and I have talked in the last week or so, I’ve told you about this salad. I have searched high and low for the *perfect* lunch, and I am here to tell you — I’VE FOUND IT. Now, I take this title seriously. My requirements:

1) Delicious. Duh. But really. By the time I make it to lunch, I’m so hungry that I need to have something that I actually looking forward to eating — otherwise, I’ll find myself at the myriad other restaurants and delis around work, swapping my homemade lunch for something — anything — else. What I love about this salad is that it feels like a treat. Corn right off the cob. Creamy avocado. Sweet snap peas. Tangy cherry tomatoes. Crisp cucumber. Quinoa. Lentils. And my favorite part: RANCH. As much ranch as you want, because it’s homemade, and its biggest ingredient is Greek yogurt. Normally, I pass on salad dressing because of its high fat content and list of ingredients that I can’t pronounce. But this salad feels like you’re really getting away with something because you can POUR THAT RANCH ON.

2) Energizing + Filling. Have you ever eaten lunch and then proceeded to melt into food coma the rest of the afternoon? I hate that feeling. And even more so, I really can’t risk it with afternoons that require me to be on my A-game through meetings and deadlines. This salad is *packed* with only wholesome, nutrient-dense, energizing foods, so there is no afternoon slump in sight. Not to mention, did you see that list of ingredients above? There isn’t a single part of this salad to feel guilty about, so there’s no need to eat sparingly. Eat as much as you want, and enjoy, because every single part of this salad is beneficial to your body. Read more…