Monthly Archives: July 2012

Morning hikes with Z

My new favorite thing to do {and by “new” I mean since mid-May} is urban hiking with Zach! We sometimes go on weekends, but my favorite time to go on midweek mornings. We’ll grab a coffee and head up to Corona Heights to catch the sun hitting the city at the perfect time. Sometimes it’s not sunny and the never-surprising San Francisco fog clouds over the city – which is equally beautiful. There’s something really magical about sitting at the top of these huge rocks overlooking the entire city’s skyline. I’m obsessed!

Do you have a favorite spot for a midweek pick-me-up? Do share! xx

Happy last day of July! I can’t believe how quickly this summer is flying by.

I Am From, Part 3

I am from hilarious text message conversations with Kerry, Katie and Hope

I am from second chances, third chances, fourth chances

I am from big smiles and big laughs and big hearts

I am from “Thank you for sharing your life with us” and “You mean the world to us” and “We’re so proud of you” words from my grandpa

I am from Ariel and Belle and Jasmine and Cinderella

I am from Corona Heights trails and rocks high in the sky and a view that stretches for miles

I am from freedom and spontaneity and possibility

I am from women who aren’t afraid to work hard and get their hands dirty

I am from fists full of dandelions

I am family dinners around the dining room table, dogs at our feet, favorite people in front of me

I am from blowing bubbles on the porch

I am from every book I’ve read and a new world opened up with each page

I am from matching velvet Christmas dresses and big bows in our hair

I am from childhood devastation when Nikita was hit by a car and pain I hadn’t felt before

I am from a God who mends, renews, restores, saves, transforms

I am from a city too pretty to not snap photos of

I am from Marco Polo and hold your breath contests and diving sticks and hours playing in the pool

I am from “there’s no place like home.”

I am from radical grace.

I am from proud big sister moments

I am from feeling really small, from a much-needed sense of perspective

I am from Thursday Thankful Lists and counting my blessings on a daily basis

I am from the sunshine and brick-lined streets of Athens and four years of college that just can’t be topped

I am from birthday picnics in the park

I am from exactly 2,369.1 miles that stretch from San Francisco, California to Bowling Green, Ohio

I am from packing up and going, from starting afresh

I am from “you belong among the wildflowers, you belong somewhere close to me. far away from your troubles and worries, you belong somewhere you feel free.”

I am from childhood innocence

I am from hayrides down the lane, from wading in the creek, from hide-and-go-seek in the orchard

I am from love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness.

It’s really important for me to take a step back from life and think about who I am and where I’m from. It allows me to press the “refresh” button and get out of any funk I may be in to focus on truth – to focus on the the bits and pieces that bring my life together as a whole. This was just a quick list I wrote down to remind myself of the people, places and experiences {both ups and downs!} that make up my ridiculous, happy, sometimes sad, magnificent, confusing and crazy life.

Where are you from?

More here: I Am From Part 1 and Part 2.


What Gives Me Hope? Part 2

Thursday Thursday Thursday! Today’s Thursday Thankful List continues from last week’s post. Last week, I shared a piece {yet again} from Be the Miracle: 50 Lessons for Making the Impossible Possible by Regina Brett and below is the rest of the excellent chapter. She simply asks people to answer the question “What gives me hope?” To me, being full of hope is similar to being full of thankfulness. Hope and thankfulness go hand-in-hand as we count the things that make our lives better and happier and as we look to the future.

Hope you enjoy the list as much as I do! xx

My nephew home from college who told me no, he didn’t get taller since I saw him last, he simply stopped slouching.

The way a baby’s head smells better than rain.

Country music songs that profess, “Love like you’re not afraid of being alone.” The Ursuline College writing student who told me, “A pen has no fear. A voice often does.

Psalm 30:11: “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: Thou hast put off my sackcloth and girded me in gladness.”

Authors Kathleen Norris, Joan Chittister, and Annie Dillard. Paul Schenly’s piano students at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Pussy willows.

The Carmelite nuns singing their hearts out on Easter morning.

The baby in the manger. The empty tomb.

Standing room only at Easter Mass. Purple crocuses bursting through the snow.

Farmers, artists and poets. The light at dawn and twilight. Seeing the sun hit the grass and knowing that God has His eye on me.

The stories told by stained-glass windows.

A child holding a handful of fresh-picked dandelions like it’s a bouquet of roses.

A perfect stranger saying “God bless you” when you sneeze.

A preschooler asking “Why?” for the hundredth time in five minutes.

A nursing home resident who can’t remember her family but can recite every word of the Lord’s Prayer.

Firefighters and police officers who place their lies on the line for complete strangers.

A teenager with purple hair and body piercings holding a door open for a woman with a double stroller.

Cancer survivors with new hair. Foster parents.

A one-year-old learning to walk. A stroke patient relearning to walk.

Nuns who still wear habits.

Birth announcements. Golden wedding anniversaries.

People who are willing to share what gives them hope.


when you stop doing things for fun, you might as well be dead.

If you’re anything like me, it can be easy to feel boggled down by responsibilities, tasks, to-do lists and challenges. It’s also equally easy to find yourself overanalyzing and stressing yourself out over what may or may not happen in the future. As a young adult, I’ve been taught and trained that “adulthood” means managing responsibilities and checking things off my to-do list. My initial perception of adulthood was that you go to work, go to the gym, make dinner, go to bed.

Enough is enough! I’m not discounting that it’s important to honor responsibilities and obligations, I’m focusing on infusing a whole lot more FUN in my day-to-day life. I’m thankful that the last few weekends I’ve been able to step away from my to-do list and my computer and just live life for excitement – and for fun. I love the Ernest Hemingway quote above: “When you stop doing things for fun, you might as well be dead.” Embrace and appreciate fun things in life, and then go out and do them! Here’s a few things I’ve caught myself doing…just for fun.

Screaming Hilary Duff songs at the top of my lungs. Playing in the park with a little kid or a puppy. Driving in a convertible with the top down. Swinging as high as you can. Coloring. With markers, colored pens AND crayons. Doing spontaneous cartwheels. Laugh at your own jokes. Going on scavenger hunts. Ordering an XL ice cream cone. Laughing really deeply and loudly. Making cupcakes or cooking a random meal you’ve never tried before. Snowball fights. Playing Marco Polo in the swimming pool. Catching fireflies. Impromptu happy hours. Going on a trip “just because.” Wearing a ridiculously colorful outfit.

xx – Andi

5 Must Reads

Happy Tuesday! This past weekend, I began the terrifying task of organizing my folders and files on my computer. One thing I’m also going through is my Google Tasks, where I quickly post articles, quotes, songs, recipes – literally anything I want to read for another time. I found a ton of good articles that I’ve forgotten about from the past year and thought I would share five of my new and old favorites. Enjoy!

The Lesson of Failure
Emily Bennington, Blog

When the failure is yours, it huuuuurts. Deep. Bad. Still, I have to take my own advice here and recognize that failure isn’t final. It’s a test – and the difference between those who pass and those who don’t is who gets up and who doesn’t. So while every cell in my body wishes things would have gone differently, this is the part where I have to recognize that I can’t change what happened. I can only learn from it and do better next time. Yes, I’m devastated. (Believe me, this will take a while to get over.) But I’m not going to use a moment of failure as an excuse to play safe or small from now on. Instead, I’m replacing those self-defeating questions with a simple statement: “Thank you for this lesson.”

On How to Find Work That You Love
Clayton Christenson, Fast Company

True motivation is getting people to do something because they want to do it, in good times and in bad…This means that it’s possible, for example, to both love your job and hate it all at the same time…The point isn’t that money is the root cause of professional unhappiness. It’s not. The problems start occurring when it becomes the priority over all else, when you’ve satisfied the hygiene factors but the quest remains only to make more money. Herzberg’s theory of motivation suggests you need to ask yourself a different set of questions: Is this work meaningful to me? Will I have an opportunity for recognition and achievement? Am I going to learn new things?

What I Know About Beauty Now That I’m in my 20s
Kate Fridkis, Huffington Post

Stop tweaking. Tweaking is my term for the little mental adjustments we make about our appearances. If my waist was a little narrower… If my eyes were a little bigger… If my jaw line was more defined and my skin a tiny bit clearer and my lips slightly fuller and my ankles had more of a taper and my nose was just a hint shorter and if maybe I could just have some cheekbones? I can tweak all day long. I know how everything about my appearance can be improved. Seriously — call out a body part, and I’ll tell you how it needs to change, just a little, so I can look better. When I realized how much I tweak, I started trying something new. When I look in the mirror now, I observe something good about myself. Nice ears! Could they be improved? It doesn’t matter. They’re nice the way they are.

Moments Everyone Needs More of in Their Lives
Ryan O’Connell, Thought Catalog

You need to be genuinely surprised by someone’s kindness. It could be anyone — your mother, your friend, a stranger. Just someone who comes around and restores your faith in mankind. The gesture can be small (someone picks up a $20 bill that accidentally fell out of your pocket and gives it to you) or it can be much larger (a care package, a surprise birthday party). It can be anything that makes you feel acknowledged and protected. You are on this planet with billions of people and a handful of them are actually looking out for you. Sleep easy tonight.

Kathryn Schulz on the Psychology of Regret and How To Live With It
Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

If we have goals and dreams and we want to do our best, and if we love people and we don’t want to hurt them or lose them, we should feel pain when things go wrong. The point isn’t to live without any regrets, the point is to not hate ourselves for having them… We need to learn to love the flawed, imperfect things that we create, and to forgive ourselves for creating them. Regret doesn’t remind us that we did badly — it reminds us that we know we can do better.

Weekend Snapshots

I‘ve wanted to press REPEAT on the past couple of weekends; this one was no exception! This weekend was a perfect mix of relaxing and being social. I enjoyed early morning cups of coffee, not setting an alarm clock, running outside, reading in the park and playing tourist in my own city. At the same time, I equally enjoyed non-stop laughter, insanely good food with friends and frolicking around the city dressed in a Beyonce-inspired outfit. Already counting down the days until the next!

Hope yours was lovely! xx

 {An impromptu hilarious Friday evening}

{*Finally* bought new tennies – picked out the right neon pink ones.}

{Oh you know, Facetiming with Max, our family dog}

 {This Facebook post from Katie that made me happy/sad at the same time}

 {Michelle doing the splits on Saturday afternoon…in heels.}

 {Our team during the Beyonce scavenger hunt the CLASH team hosted – SO SO fun.}

{Annnnnnnd…our team won the entire scavenger hunt! Wahoo! Also so happy Pat was in town from NYC for a quick visit!}

 {Sunday brunch}

 {A walk around the Palace of Fine Arts}

{Lots of (pretty) fog near the Golden Gate Bridge}

seeking beauty and truth

Dear Happy Girl,

We tend to find exactly what we are seeking and exactly what we are expecting…in some way or another. This is why it is so important to seek for beauty and truth, and to expect the best of people and situations.

What happens when you do your best and expect for the best…when you look for goodness and when you seek for beauty and life surprises you with something that is not so fabulous? What happens when clouds cover the sunshine and walls seem to be around everything?

This is where it gets tricky…and this is where the magic happens too. See your problems as potential teachers…see your difficulties as stepping stones to your most fabulous life. See your trials as opportunities to become even better at what you are already good at, and to learn things you never could have learned otherwise. See your place in painful situations as perhaps the ONE person who can bring the light into a dark situation.

There is good everywhere you look…if you decide to look at the good instead of the yuck. True…there is yuck everywhere too…so it’s more important than ever to step right over it, look up into the light…and decide RIGHT THIS SECOND that you are going to be a force of goodness, light, happiness, laughter, optimism, funky dancing, loud signing and creative fun solutions to every dilemma…because THAT is who you are…and don’t let anything or anyone ever tell you otherwise.

Thanks for being that incredible force, lovely lady….the world would not nearly as beautiful without you.

via Brave Girls Club

Happy weekend to you! And happiest birthday to my mom tomorrow! xx

What gives me hope, part 1

As mentioned here, here and here, I’m reading Be the Miracle: 50 Lessons for Making the Impossible Possible by Regina Brett and I’m seriously obsessed. I think I’m initially reading it slowly and rereading almost every chapter just so it doesn’t have to end! It probably comes as no surprise that I loved this chapter that listed things that give the author hope. Hope is strong and confident expectation, hope is optimism about what’s to come. I’m a strong believer that being hopeful has rewards – joy, peace, courage, comfort and confidence to name a few.

Happy positive Thursday! xx

The first crocus that cracks through the earth. The budding lilacs. The smell of hyacinths. A bird’s nest full of tiny blue eggs. The first butterfly sighting. Double rainbows.

Pregnant women and giggling brides. Watching a newborn baby’s fingers unfold in slow motion. Slivers of orange goldfish swimming beneath the ice of a frozen pond.

Poems by Billy Collins, Adrienne Rich and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Church hymns like “Amazing Grace,” “Be Not Afraid,” “How Great Thou Art.”

A dandelion that pokes through concrete to find the sun. The last leaf in autumn that refuses to fall. Four-leaf clovers.

Van Gogh blue skies and Degas dancers in feathery skirts.

New sheet music. Voting ballots. The kindness of strangers.

Monks all over the world who pray daily for peace. Scripture readings: “Let not your heart be troubled,” from John 14:1, and the promises in Isaiah 25:8: “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all their faces.”

Each dawn that breaks through the darkness.

The life lessons of Max Cleland, Stephen Hawking, Rosa Parks, Anne Frank, Helen Keller, Beethoven and Mr. Rogers.

The movie The Shawshank Redemption

Pennies in fountains. Birthday wishes. First Communion dresses. A grand slam on opening day.

Newborn colts. A bakery full of wedding cakes. That random daffodil growing in the middle of nowhere. Students majoring in journalism.

Organ donors. The nun who said, “I tried so hard to be good. But God doesn’t need my goodness. He wanted my love.”

One recovering alcoholic telling another one, “I think you have God traipsing all over you.”

A plane taking off. Birthday candles, right before a wish extinguishes them. All the bridal parties posing by the fountains for wedding pictures at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

A blank page in a new journal.

The word dayenu repeated over and over during Passover to acknowledge “it would have been enough” to merely have been freed from slavery. To cross the sea. To find dry land. To eat in the wildness.

A mud puddle full of splashing sparrows. The kind of sunset that erases away a bad day.

The words from Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton, who described love as the only thing with complete power.

New voters. A child carrying a stack of books home from the library. Driving by a farm that still has cows grazing.

Psalm 43:3-4: “O send out Thy Light and Thy Truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto Thy holy hill and to Thy tabernacles. Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy.”

What gives you hope? Scan your life and you’ll find the answer everywhere.

Advice I Love

Good morning sunshines! Hope you’re having a fantastic start to the week. Part of me is thinking, “It’s already Wednesday?!?!” while the other half of me is asking “HOW is it only Wednesday?!” Weird how that works, huh? Anyway, I’ve been lucky enough to receive some awesome advice over the years and usually at the exact moment I need to hear it. Today’s Words for Wednesday shares just a few of my favorite pieces of advice. I think my favorite is: “do to others as you would have them do to you.” Such a good reminder when thinking about how to treat the people you interact with!

I’ll never turn down good advice and would love to hear the best advice you’ve received! xx

June/July Resolutions

1. APPRECIATE ART: I want to spend more time enjoying art. One of the perks of living in a big city is that there are tons of art galleries and museums and I need to take advantage of it! I definitely am trying to learn more about art and in turn, appreciate it more!

2. SHOW LOVE: It’s so easy to show love to people who we are in tight-knit relationships with. I have no problem loving my parents, sisters, friends and people I’m surrounded with every day. Something I need to work on is showing love to absolutely everyone I encounter. I shared in this blog post “…it’s important to look at love from a larger scale. We are called to love e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e. That’s right, the bus driver. Your coworkers. Your neighbors. That person from high school who annoys you like no other. The person you pass by in the park…You can love someone {and everyone} you meet by choosing to be patient, kind, forgiving, encouraging, humble, hospitable, caring, compassionate and respectful.” That’s a big resolution this month {and always}

3. LEARN TO BRAID: It’s ridiculous that I grew up in a family of four girls and did cheerleading for six years and STILL can’t braid! I usually half-attempt twist things that just look awkward. Learning to braid is on my to-do list this month, even if that means spending hours watching YouTube videos to figure it out. I just love this fishtail braid my friend Holly did last time I visited home!

4. LAUGH MORE OFTEN: How many times each day do you laugh? I get nervous sometimes that I’ll go a day without laughing – which would just be…not okay. A really good laugh is like a cure – I automatically feel refreshed and rejuvenated after a hilarious moment. Striving to laugh more often also forces me to “lighten up” a bit and stop being so uptight and worried about pointless things.

5. TAKE A 30 MINUTE WALK EVERY DAY: Swimming is my workout of choice, but I want to add in a morning or evening walk to my weekday routine too. It’s a great way to appreciate and enjoy where I live and “wind down” from whatever may be going on that day. Plus, when you add in a good friend for a great conversation, it makes it even better!

6. LISTEN MORE: As a naturally loud and outgoing person, I usually don’t have any problem speaking up in any given situation. I’m learning {slowly} the value of listening more than speaking – and engaging in conversations by listening well. It’s one thing to hear what someone says, but it’s another to truly pay attention and take in what they’re saying. I want to be a good listener – to others, to myself, to the world around me.

7. READ THREE BOOKS: Living in the digital age we do, I often find myself staring at a computer or phone screen most of the day. I’ve always loved reading so lately I’ve been consciously carving time out of my day {usually with a cup of tea before bed} to read. Right now I’m reading Lucky by Alice Sebold and Be the Miracle: 50 Lessons for Making the Impossible Possible by Regina Brett {still}! If you have any good book recommendations, send my way please!8. FIND “WHAT MAKES MY HEART SING”: This is something my mom always asks me when I’m in funk or just feeling out of sorts thinking about where I’m at in life. She asks me directly, “What makes your heart sing?” This means – what do I feel like I’m called to do? What makes me happier than anything else? What is my purpose? What makes me feel alive? I’m not able to completely pinpoint the answer to the question yet, but it’s something I’ve been thinking and praying about a lot lately! I think figuring out what makes my heart sing isn’t going to just magically come to me, but instead will be a gradual process of figuring it out.

9. STRETCH: Self-explanatory…I need to do this more!

Thanks for reading! Do you have any resolutions this month? You can find more monthly resolutions right here. xx!