December Wrap-Up

B L O G  P O S T S

The "Finding Your Spark" interviews are my favorite conversations to have, and this month I talked to my very dear friend about her experience moving solo across the country and loving it. Posted just in time for the holidays but perfect for any time of the year, I shared five cookie recipes that everyone will ask you about. I talked endlessly about my trip to Arizona, recapping my highlights and recommendations. Ever park on the street and have trouble finding your car on the way back? I've got a solution with five helpful apps I've come across. I reflected on 2017, a year that proved to be very difficult. On Sundays, I talked about avoiding the word "challenge," a 45-minute long conversation with a customer service rep, the magic of B96 Jingle Bash, and actually appreciating snow and the cold. Lastly, my final book count for the year was 45, ending with these.

December Reads

Book 44:
"Lilac Girls" by Martha Hall Kelly
Plot: "Lilac Girls" is a story about World War II and the Holocaust, namely about the medical experimentation on Polish women at Ravensbruck. The story is told through the perspectives of three different women – Herta, a German doctor conducting the experiments; Kasia, a Polish teenager drawn to the underground resistance movement and eventually captured; and Caroline, a New Yorker working at the French consulate and organizing care packages for orphaned children.

3 Things From The Past Week // 19

1 | Tuesday was the last day of the year that my whole team at work would be in the office together, since various people have different days off during the last two weeks of the month. To celebrate, we went out for drinks after work, then hung out and played games. We met one coworker's wife and another's boyfriend. At one point, he turned to her and said something like, "Are the people you work with like this? Like, you can tell these guys are actually friends."

I know I've said before how special it feels to be friends with the people I work with, to get along with them and enjoy their company. But I'm saying it again.

Reflecting On 2017

It was a lot.

My word for the year was LEAP. I wanted to jump into new experiences and changes, even if they scared me.

Looking back, I made a lot of leaps. Most significantly, I started a new position at my job, moved in with my boyfriend, and took a few trips just for fun without worrying about money. Yet, while I did do those things, there were also a lot of moments where instead of leaping forward, I froze.

5 Helpful Apps To Download Now

I'm sure our phones share a lot of the same common apps. Instagram, Google Maps, Target, Shazam. We've all heard of them, we all use them.

Every once in a while, though, I'll come across one that's a little different. Here are five helpful apps you may not have heard of:

3 Things From The Past Week // 18

1 | On Tuesday I flew back from 75-degree Phoenix to 22-degree Chicago. It was... cold. But in a way, I was also happy about it. December doesn't feel like December without the cold. The holidays don't feel like the holidays without some snow. It's good to be back.

My First Trip To Arizona: Highlights & Recommendations

It's amazing how many activities you can squeeze into three days when you're somewhere new and excited to explore. My boyfriend and I were in Arizona last weekend from Saturday to Tuesday. While it was only three days, we made the most of it and saw some places we'll never forget.

Since we were on a budget and bought the plane tickets that only allow a personal item and no carry on, I didn't vlog this trip. But I did still want to share my favorite things for you to keep in mind if you ever go to Arizona (which you should). 

Five Cookie Recipes Everyone Will Ask You About

If you know me, you know that during the first weekend of December, my family and I do a crazy amount of baking for the holiday. And I'm not just saying the "if you know me, you know" part. My friends and coworkers know when it's coming. Once Thanksgiving is over, they always ask, "So that means baking is soon, huh?"

We make around ten different kinds of cookies every year and a lot of them. Last year I gave a little behind-the-scenes look at the insanity.

It's been an annual tradition for literally my entire life. When we were kids, we'd stick to the basic chocolate chip and sugar cookies. As we've gotten older, we've tackled more complex recipes and have found some that are really cool. If you try them out, I can almost guarantee that people will ask you about the recipe.

Here are five of my favorites that we made this year, festive treats for the holidays but perfect to try any time of year.

3 Things From The Past Week // 17

This week's 3 Things is coming to you pre-scheduled because by Sunday morning, I'll be in Arizona! And considering I bought the cheapest plane ticket that only allows me a personal item and no carry on (i.e., I will somehow be packing four days' of stuff into a backpack...), I will most certainly not be bringing my laptop with me. Or my camera, for that matter, so no vlog for this trip.

Anyway! Here are some things:

Finding Your Spark: Finding Where You Belong And Enjoying The Ride

I decided to start the "Finding Your Spark" series to shine a light on different types of people who are following various paths – their OWN paths, whatever those may be. The whole idea is that there's no single way to live life and a person doesn't have to be "famous" to inspire others. These individuals have found what inspires them, motivates them, makes them happy. And they've run with it. Read all posts in this series here.

3 Things From The Past Week // 16

1 | This weekend is my family's annual Christmas baking weekend. It's literally a whole weekend event, since we'll make around ten different kinds of cookies and a lot of each. This year I bought a "holiday baking squad" shirt for each of us so of course we're all wearing them and baking in uniform.