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Until Monday

plants

I’m spending the week away to recharge and focus on a few things that need my attention most right now. I’ll be back with fresh content and a lot of missing you next week. <3

P.S. Speaking of Mondays

{Photo via The Fresh Exchange}

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Heart Swells

heart swell

This week officially marked one year on the blog, so it was fun to look back on all that a year can teach and contain. This weekend, I’m going to a game night with friends, then maybe out on the boat and to a few early Halloween parties. What are you up to? Thank you for your continued support — I hope you have a lovely weekend. (: The moments that made my heart swell this week…

- A (second) roadtrip to Leavenworth Oktoberfest
- Driving windy backgrounds looking for an elusive hiking trail + gas station
- Eventually finding said trail for a brisk and rainy hike at dusk
- Walking through the little Bavarian shops post-dinner
- A weekend of full Oktoberfest get-up, dancing, bar-hopping and fun
- Learning to line dance with friends
- This gal arriving back home after a few weeks overseas
- Officially celebrating the one year anniversary of the blog today

{Photo via Camille Styles}

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Lessons from Blogging: Year One

blogging lessons

Looking back one one year of blogging, here are 8 lessons I’ve learned in blogging and in life…

1. Start today.

Two quotes sum this up perfectly:

“A year from now, you’ll have wish you started today.” – Karen Lamb

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – Earl Nightingale

If there’s something you’re itching to start, start TODAY. Or at the very least, make a game plan to get everything in place by a certain date on which you will start. I spent so many years thinking about starting a blog, that if I’d have started the first time I intended to, we’d be on a much later anniversary.

2. Take one baby step after the other.

One of the reasons that I hesitated so long to get started, was that I had a picture-perfect idea in my head of how everything should be before I even began. I would get frustrated with my efforts, seeing the dissonance between what I wanted things to look like what they actually were. The day I decided to just take one small step on top of the other was the day I actually made progress. Hell, this blog wasn’t even heart-swell.com when I first started; it was on a whole different platform, with a whole different look. But I made that clear to myself and my audience from the get-go — that this would be a process — and that’s exactly what it has been. I have watched this clip by Ira Glass maybe 100 times; I *highly* recommend it. Give yourself permission to be a beginner and to grow into your goals. One baby step on top of the other has gotten me way farther than waiting for one perfect leap ever did.

blogging lessons 3

3. Be yourself.

When I read my early posts versus my recent ones, the biggest difference I notice is my voice. I was MUCH more tightly controlled and self-conscious in earlier posts. As I became more comfortable writing and putting my thoughts out there, I eased into just being myself. I read once that you should write as if you’re drafting an email to your closest, wittiest friend. I think this post was the first time I really did that. I had so much fun writing it, that it completely shifted something in me to always try to be my most genuine, free self.

4. Be bold.

I used to FREAK out about sharing my content. The first Facebook ‘like’ on a post was always a major sigh of relief for me, and I definitely called my sister a time or two (or ten) asking if I should take something down because an hour had gone by without anyone giving the almighty thumbs up. Melodramatic much, I know, hah. But it was a very scary thing for me to put my work out there and let it just… sit. Or to ask people to like the Facebook page and support the blog. The last thing I would want is to be intrusive or make someone feel uncomfortable. But at some point, I had to shift my perspective from feeling like I was burdening people by sharing my work, to believing in it enough to feel like I could potentially be offering them something of meaning with it. This is still my biggest struggle on a day-to-day basis. But I believe we should all be bold enough and proud enough of what we do to own it, share it, and believe we have something of value for one another. Because we do.

5. Leave room for a little magic.

I am a notorious planner. But this year, I’ve gotten better at leaving room for the unplanned. I used to map out posts months in advance, but I began to realize that things would pop up that I was more passionate posting about. Or sometimes when I had NOTHING to say, in the eleventh hour I would come across something that I just had to share. So I began trusting the process a little bit more, and leaving room for life to work its magic. In blogging and in daily life. And it still amazes me how, but when you give it room to, life comes through every single time.

blogging lessons 2

6. Don’t be afraid to change your mind.

Hey, some things work and some things don’t, and you never know until you try. For a while I featured a Friday Find. The first few weeks I had things to share, but it quickly became hard for me to find content that I believed in every single week for that series. After all, much of this blog is a daily find. So I shifted to a Friday wrap-up of Heart Swells, which felt much more natural for me to write. In blogging and in life, give yourself the freedom to say, “Let’s see how this goes.” And even more importantly, the freedom to change course. Package deal.

7. Find your cheerleaders.

From the very beginning, my friend Lydia supported the launch of this blog and was always available for a midnight perspective about how something looked or sounded. My friend Ashley comments all the time; my sister texts me; my friend Vanessa always likes posts on Facebook. And so many others leave kind comments or tweets or messages. That might not sound like a lot, but it means everything. There have seriously been days when I’ve felt like throwing in the towel on this whole blogging business, and someone will reach out or comment and it gives me the gusto to keep going. No matter what you do in life, find people in your corner. Support them, and let them know how much their support means to you. It doesn’t make a little difference in the journey; it makes all of it.

8. Celebrate the little things.

All those baby steps we were talking about earlier? Try to savor them. I have pictures of every single thing that’s been mailed to me for the blog, starting with a sample bottle of coconut oil. I’ve saved kind emails or memos about partnerships, because I have felt every step of this journey, and I am deeply thankful for them. For all of you. For reading and commenting and liking and being part of a community that truly makes my heart swell. <3

{Photos via Erika Bretchel}

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One Year

This week marks the one year anniversary of Heart Swell. Thank you for inviting me into your days. Blogging feels so personal in many ways, but the community that has grown out of this humbles and inspires me. Your kind words mean the world to me every single time. In looking back over the past year, here are a few of the post highlights…

Travel

travel

1. Rattlesnake Ridge
2. New York City Bar Tour
3. One Year in Seattle

View all travel posts here.

Friendship & Relationships

relationships

1. The Power of Kindness
2. Everyday Encounters
3. The Right Questions

View all friendship & relationship posts here.

Health & Fitness

health

1. For the Love of Hot Yoga
2. Dolphin Moments
3. Thankful for Mondays

View all health & fitness posts here.

Food & Drink

food

1. Harvest Salad
2. Apple Pie & All My Thanks
3. Summer Sangria Recipes

View all food & drink posts here.

Design & Creativity

design

1. It’s in the Story
2. Creating Positive Momentum
3. Shoot for the Moon

View all design & creativity posts here.

{Photo via Daily Inspiration}

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Rice Krispies Treats Halloween Pumpkins

Rice Krispies Treats Halloween Pumpkins 11

I feel like I’ve already celebrated more of Halloween this year than in that last several years combined. Last weekend a group of friends and I wore lederhosen at Oktoberfest; this Thursday we’re donning western wear for line-dancing; and Friday night we’re dressing up as Rockettes for a neighborhood party. That being said, it felt like time to begin preparations for the other best part of Halloween: the treats. I whipped up a batch of these Rice Krispie Treats Halloween Pumpkins, which are so easy and so quick, so the only thing left to think about is the costumes for the main day. Let the festivities begin!

Ingredients

3 T. butter
4 c. mini marshmallows
4. c. Rice Krispie Treats cereal
Orange food coloring (or I mixed red with yellow)
Chocolate chips

Directions

1. Melt butter on low heat.
2. Add marshmallows and continue stirring until melted.
3. While stirring, add drops of food coloring until desired orange color appears.
4. Add in Rice Krispie Treats cereal and stir until combined with marshmallows.
5. Form into small ‘pumpkin’ balls and add a chocolate chip on each.

P.S. Related: more treats — coconut macaroons.

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Leavenworth Oktoberfest

leavenworth oktoberfest 6

This past weekend, a group of about 20 friends and I road-tripped to a little Bavarian village in the mountains for a second week of Oktoberfest. We arrived Friday afternoon in time for a hike up Icicle Ridge at dusk (after about an hour attempting to locate said hike) then donned Fräulein outfits and ventured into town for German beer, live music, and bratwursts piled high with sauerkraut. The festival happens every single year in Leavenworth, and we’re already excited for next time. Here are a few photos… Read more…

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Heart Swells

heart swells

Happy Friday! How was your week? Mine contained more quiet nights in than I’ve had in a long time – and a few days in, I FELT the difference. I woke up easier, had more energy in the evenings, and felt more relaxed throughout the day. I just started reading this book, and I’m hoping it continues to make a difference in how to focus on what really matters and simplify the rest. It’s a life’s work, huh? (: The moments that made my heart swell this week…

- Cocktails and conversation at Maximillien’s with V <3
- Snaps with M
- Surprise greetings from Italy and this girl
- A night spent reading in bed (been way too long since that happened last!)
- Finally getting a mini catch up with my sister. Excited for more next week. (:
- A fun night out at Wasabi + Shelter Lounge
- Homemade brunch with friends the next AM
- A lazy Saturday
- Satisfying sessions at the gym
- Halloween prep
- As always, my faraway girlfriends who bring a smile and laugh every day

{Photo via How Sweet It Is}

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Monterey

monterey california-3

Last week I visited Monterey, California for a business trip. After the conference had finished one night, I walked down to the wharf for a bite to eat. Dusk was just settling in, and the pier was covered in barking seals, brightly colored candy shops, and sailboats rocking in the marina. Here are a few photos… Read more…

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Fall Sweaters

Few things feel cozier than snuggling up in a fall sweater. I pulled together some of my favorite styles below in a variety of colors, textures and patterns. Wouldn’t these be great to pair with leggings, boots and a scarf?

fall sweaters

You may purchase the sweaters at the following links: 1/2/3/4/5/6.

P.S. More fall fashion: top bootie picks and outfit inspiration.

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Liquor Placecards

alcohol-placecards

We’re coming up on party season with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas just a few weeks and months away. I recently saw these liquor placecards, where each person’s name is wrapped around a bottle of their favorite kind of alcohol. Wouldn’t that be a great idea to implement at a party this season? For bigger parties, mini bottles might have the same effect of a personalized (and fun) way to get the party started.

{Photo via Cupcakes and Cashmere}

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