So Very Thankful

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, friends!!! Ohhhhh how I love this season. It builds a much needed anticipation of all things – good; in its purest, most honorable, and gorgeous meaning. The joy, hopefulness, hugs, prayer, laughter, and home-cooked meals that the holiday season delivers is just remarkable. I wish that wherever you are and whoever you’re with today, that the day fills your heart with all things good. You most certainly deserve that.

As for me, I couldn’t be happier. This has been an incredible year filled with so much good. There were of course some “downs” that snuck in there before and after some “ups” in the year, but that’s to be expected; this is life, after all. If anything, holidays like Thanksgiving remind me to look back on any disappointments yielded against my own silly agenda and to be so very thankful for where each moment led me in the end.

In true Katherine-fashion…I wanna make a list 🙂 You should try it too. It’s fun and even a little therapeutic! My unwavering love of list-making (happy things only, always…that’s the rule) is one that will stay with me into my older-than dirt years and I’m so excited to watch how these lists progress over time. For today, in no special order, here’s my random and lovely list of what I’m thankful for:

  1. traveling to new places with hubby
  2. laughter to the point of tears
  3. my Wilson, Mason, and extended families
  4. all my friends (old and new)
  5. Oklahoma!
  6. a job that makes my husband happy
  7. a job that humbles me and brings me joy each day
  8. answered prayers
  9. un-answered prayers that teach me patience and faith
  10. did I mention family and friends?! (seriously…love you all so much!)
  11. FOOD. All the food. Particularly home cooked meals; both healthy and unhealthy. Today especially: Mama’s homemade mashed potatoes (seriously y’all….Sean and I are going to eat ALL of her mashed potatoes…we’ve already decided)
  12. how hard parents work for their children’s happiness
  13. my husband (he’s my favorite person)
  14. coffee
  15. long, overdue hugs
  16. seeing someone shed a tear or two when they are so incredibly happy
  17. mountain scenery
  18. when people aren’t afraid to let their joy shine! Debbie-downers can’t hold us down! Nope 😉
  19. the joy of shopping for other people
  20. the joy of….shopping for yourself, hehe (let’s be real…it’s so awesome)
  21. Stella – the best dog in the entire universe
  22. indoor heating
  23. fires in the fireplace
  24. the anticipation of getting this year’s Christmas tree
  25. hiking, running, biking, walking, and dancing
  26. the ocean
  27. how my mom, sister, and I get each other’s humor (usually pun-worthy)
  28. remembering that happiness is a choice. Because it really is!
  29. pine trees
  30. America!!!
  31. The men and women who do everything in their power to defend, protect, and preserve this great country
  32. The smell of onions, garlic, and olive oil sizzling on the skillet (totally what I’m smelling right now, btw)
  33. a really good book, and the satisfaction of reading it cover to cover
  34. chocolate
  35. cheese. All the cheese. I love cheese
  36. gift-giving
  37. the inspiration I get from the people I choose to surround myself with
  38. the option to filter my Facebook newsfeed 🙂
  39. Instagram…and its simplicity
  40. snuggling with Stella, my lab
  41. going for long walks
  42. an unforgettable culinary experience
  43. fresh flowers
  44. meeting new people who are filled with joy
  45. time to myself to watch rom-coms
  46. the new craze of adult coloring books. I want one!
  47. seeing smoke pipe out of chimneys from a few distant houses in the mountains
  48. learning from a new perspective
  49. a feast at the table with family/friends
  50. Today! 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Wishing you so much laughter, so much food, a nice little walk afterwards, and a nap. Or…whatever makes you happy 🙂 Feel free to comment below with anything you’d add to your list, or anything on mine that you love love love!

Happy day,

Katherine

Thirty One

It’s my 31st birthday today! I’m spending the day with my hubby. He’s my favorite person 🙂 We’re exploring Austin, TX all weekend and are having the time of our lives!

A weekend getaway to a new place often heightens my senses to the world around me. The air, sights, and sounds all stand out a bit stronger because it’s new and different. That got me thinking – I hope I take enough time to appreciate the little things that I adore in life. I used to be better at that.

Throughout high school and college I’d escape for a few minutes (or hours) and add to a list of what I loved. Totally random things…like…how people tilt their head when they eat a taco, or a much needed outburst of laughter after something has gone horribly wrong and that poor moment needs some comedic relief. Before I knew it, my list had exceeded 1,400 things. The sad truth is that I have no idea where that book is now. But the idea of doing that, of writing down the little things that I love about life, well I think today’s a brilliant day to bring it back.

So, in honor of my 31st, here are 31 little random things that I love:

  1. Snuggling with my yellow lab, Stella.
  2. Stovetop popcorn.
  3. The entire experience of walking around an Anthropologie store.
  4. Slowly sipping red wine on a cold night.
  5. The 1st cup of coffee in the morning.
  6. Finishing a long run.
  7. Writing.
  8. Star gazing.
  9. Small town America.
  10. Getting positive results from using little pockets of time wisely.
  11. Country music.
  12. Cowgirl boots.
  13. An unforgettable culinary experience.
  14. Dark chocolate.
  15. Laughter from my favorite people.
  16. The distant smell of a campfire.
  17. Swivel chairs.
  18. HGTV & The Food Network.
  19. Needed hugs.
  20. A new dress.
  21. Baking.
  22. Stained glass windows.
  23. Coffee shops.
  24. Windows open, kinda weather.
  25. Sushi.
  26. Getting asked to take strangers’ group photos.
  27. When a baby smiles or yawns.
  28. Zumba. 
  29. Hearing perfectly beautiful harmony sung a cappella.
  30. People who don’t complain, appreciate life, and embrace each day.
  31. Choosing happiness.

More than any of these, more than anything in the world in fact, I love and adore my family and friends over all. I’m a very lucky lady to have such joy surrounding me all the time. Not quite sure how I got so lucky, but I thank God everyday for y’all.

So…what’s on your list?!

Happy day, friends!

Pockets!

Let’s be real, how much do you love pockets? Pockets in your pants…pockets in your jacket…pockets even in your dresses (I LOVE them!!!)…pockets WITHIN pockets in your purse…and the list certainly continues. Whatever their venue, pockets are pretty sensational. It’s EVEN kicked the idea of ‘sliced bread’ to the curb. My friend Stephanie once explained how great something is by enthusiastically proclaiming one of my new favorite lines in life:

Oh, it’s the greatest thing since pockets!!!

I think my heart skipped a beat when she said that. This is why we’re friends. I just adore phrases that celebrate an idea like that! And yes, I LOVE pockets. But this little Newlie post tonight is not about those simple and predictable old pockets that you store your loose change in, or that you’ll find a movie stub in 3 weeks later. Nope. This one’s about pockets of time.

When life gets a little busier than I’d like, or at least when my mind gets hectic with too many worries or ideas fluttering around in there, it’s just a sign that I need a few more “pockets of time” for the right people in my life. Even just pockets of time, just to “be.” Getting older makes such a sacred season like the summer completely fly by more than ever before. I talked about it a lot in one of my recent posts, Summer Freedom. I recently started thinking more about how grateful I am for these little pockets of time at my first official BBQ night of the summer. A couple of weeks ago, Sean and I drove out to Ellicott City, Maryland to spend the afternoon and evening with some good friends. These are friends that I’ve been extremely lucky enough to inherit because they’re Sean’s good friends from college. It was an evening of everything you hope to get out of a BBQ with friends in the summertime (shout out to Tony Giampapa for these photos!):

Me enjoying a game while barefoot, in my favorite jeans, sippin’ white wine:

Sean investigating his new love of Scotch:

Something that’s a little “newlie” growing into my late 20’s life: Friends becoming parents!

And then we have the classic scene, of NON-parents, mixed in with NEW parents: 

I can’t stop laughing every time I see this photo. Ohhhh I loooove these moments. Maybe it’s the sweet summer air, the cheer of victory over an outdoor game, a baby lighting up a living room full of friends with her precious smile, the fact that CeCe is chugging a beer while the new dad, Tony, looks up at the camera with pure bewilderment, or a moment to hear how someone else’s life is going, or heck…maybe it’s even the white wine that’s making me giggle a little more. But, whatever the reason, these quickly become pretty sensational pockets of time that I’m learning to keep as a constant.

Last Saturday we had about 30 friends stop by our house throughout the day for crabs, burgers & drinks. Despite last weekend’s EXHAUSTING heat reaching OVER 106 degrees…it was still an awesome day. Whether friends stopped by for 30 minutes, 3 hours, or the whole afternoon…it was so refreshing to see everyone in our home!

I’m even learning to be better about breaking out this concept by using whatever spare time I have, to instead fill it with life-updates from my best friends who live all over the nation right now. This morning I called Carolyn (my sensational rockstar of a sister and matron of honor! She lives in South Carolina.) for the few 10 minutes that I had in between meetings, and buildings, on campus at work. This afternoon I spoke with my mom (SO needed…always. I’ve been blessed with, truly, the world’s most joyful and delightful Momma. She lives outside of Philly, but is about to move to North Carolina with my dad in a few weeks once they’re both retired!), then I spoke with one of my best friends from college, Brandi (she lives in D.C., and she’s been one of my best friends for nearly 10 years!), and THEN I spoke with my best friend from high school, Katie (she’s known me since elementary school, and is sincerely the definition of a best friend. She lives in North Carolina right now, and I miss her dearly!). And YESTERDAY I called my friend Erica from Seattle (catching up on her new baby-to-be!).

Before I knew it, I was home! The horrible commute of an hour and a half just flew by me without frustration thanks to those pockets of time with my friends.

Love to my family and friends. They’re truly: “the best thing since pockets.”