gather up your scattered dreams & build a life you love ((goals and intentions))

2014 goals and intentionsa new year is a great time to take a look at where you’ve been and where you want to go. a couple of weeks ago i posted the review of how my 2013 goals and intentions panned out and thus it is time to formally announce my plans for 2014 . i really enjoy the idea of setting plans for the coming year, but have much grief with “resolutions” because they are so black and white. and because of that they are easy to just give up on the one time you “break” your resolution. i fancy goals and intentions because they are flexible, adjustable, and open to changing as life changes. this is going to be a year of focusing on overall health, wellness and happiness…

healthy living

overall i just want to keep being active and continue to be more aware of what i’m putting into my body. no diets, no programs; just clean eating and good ‘ol fashioned exercise.

  • continue going to the gym at least 12 times/ month
    • shift to running outside when if spring ever comes
  • run Goldy’s 10 Mile & the Color Run 5K
  • find a half marathon and complete it in >2 hours
  • strive to get more steps daily thanks to my fitbit flex
  • get my wellness fx assessment

growing my smarts

i love to learn. for reals. it is something i miss about being in school. though it’s not the right time for me to head back to grad school (yet) i want to be sure i’m always growing and expanding my horizons in new ways.

  • read 4 books; my mom and i are starting our own little book club. though i love to read it gets easy to put it off so this way we’ll be held accountable. our first book is, i thought it was just me; women reclaiming power and courage in a culture of shame.
  • go to a wine tasting and become more educated on how to pair it with meals (i mean any reason to drink more wine is a good goal, right?)
  • brandon and i are taking a cooking class later this month at local d’lish on vegan cooking – while we aren’t vegan, it should be a fun time and hopefully teach us (me) some things

social media diva

my blog is one of my favorite things. i love coming up with an idea for a post, and feeling so accomplished once its finished. it gives me pride and happiness. and yet, it’s what gets the shaft when life gets busy. i want to carve out time each week to blog or do social media diva related tasks.

  • rock out my presentation on Unleashing the Power of Social Media at EXHIBITOR2014 & the EXHIBITOR FastTrak
  • attend my first social media/ blogging conference, Go Blog Social (my ticket is officially purchased!)
  • post no fewer than 3 times per month on my blog
  • continue defining my personal brand, “social emma”

full of thanks and grace and love

likely the most important goal for this year is to practice thanks, grace and love everyday; towards myself, towards others, towards my job, towards my hobbies, towards the world. deep, i know. i want to be present and enjoy all the blessings i am given each day. with my anxiety, i tend to live in either the past, the future or the what if. this year is already filled with amazing experiences and opportunities and adventures and i know that list will only continue to grow. i want to be there and truly enjoy each moment.

  • i purchased an app last year called day one – it’s like a daily journal. what i like about it is that you can add tags so last year i started a tag called “itsthelittlethings” so that i could look back at all the wonderful things that happen daily/ weekly/ whatever that are so easy to forget, and remember them.
  • start practicing yoga; whether its something i do every morning, every evening or just taking some classes at the gym i think the meditation of it will help keep me focused and present
  • potentially and maybe try acupuncture. i am terrified of needles, and that’s no exaggeration. so obviously, the thought of acupuncture is almost unbearable. (ok, that may be an exaggeration) but there are many benefits. so maybe. maybe

of course, this list will be ever evolving throughout the year. but i like having something to keep me in line and give me some focus. we’ll see what becomes of this all. stay tuned for updates as we get further into the year. i’m sure you’ll be on the edge of your seat.

celebrations of one year {and the love of french toast}

good morning, friends! i hope you enjoyed reading all about the story of brandon and me. missed it? loved it so much you want to read it again? perfection. you can find it here. we had a great weekend celebrating that we have officially tolerated each other for one whole year, just kidding… but seriously. :) here is how we celebrated the occasion…

cheers to one year


saturday evening we went to spill the wine in uptown for dinner. we have an extensive list of restaurants to go to in our wunderlist and so it’s really exciting when we get to cross one off the list. (not familiar with wunderlist? highly recommend for all my fellow list making fanatics out there. can be used as an app as well as a desktop application. and you can share lists. boom.) brandon had been to spill the wine when it was located it downtown, and i am a fan of any place with wine in the title plus i had just gotten a new little black dress and wanted to have a reason to wear it. it’s a very modern/ trendy place. lots of re-purposed wood and eclectic light fixtures. very fun.

spill the wine

in proper spill the wine fashion, we started the evening off with a bottle of wine. the menu is family style where you order lots of small plates to share . it was really hard to decide because everything looked delectable. we just started picking things from the menu and i’m not ashamed to admit that one of the first things we decided on was cheese curds. our first dishes that came were sweet potato sopes with chicken, salsa verde, crema & cotija; cheddar polenta with spicy lamb sausage, onions & peppers; and gnocchi with roasted chicken, gorgonzola cream, spinach & marsala. i had no idea what about 60% of the items in the sweet potato sopes were; let alone what a sope was (it’s like a flat bread) but whatever it was, it was amazing. the spicy lamb sausage in the polenta was super delish. my favorite of the 3 was hands down the gnocchi. it was the bomb{dot}com. we added hoisen pork belly with stick rice & picked egg; and the cheese curds with truffles. both were super delish, but my number one vote still goes to the gnocchi. since we were celebrating we finished the meal with a piece of flourless chocolate cake. #delish.

spill the wine

it was a wonderfully lovely night spent reminiscing about all that has happened throughout the past year. it’s crazy because it really feels like it’s been more than a year. not only that, but that just over a year ago i didn’t know him at all, and now i couldn’t imagine life without him (and starks) in it. good wine, yummy food, sassy new dress and the love of my life. what’s not great about all of that? nothing.

recreating our first meeting

one year, original pancake house

on sunday, our official anniversary date, all i wanted to do was exactly what we did one year ago on that day. we did ride together, not meet there, but i think that was about the only change. we drove to caribou and got our yummy pumpkin goodness and drove back over to OPH. we had been deliberating all morning about what we were going to order and decided that i would get the infamous caramel banana cinnamon french toast, and brandon would get pumpkin pancakes with pecans and we would share… just a little. my mom even called me to make sure things were going ok. and i didn’t get in any more cars with strangers. :)


now that we were officially in food coma, we went back home to lounge around and watch football all day. i couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful weekend spent celebrating one year of love. of finding everything i never knew i always wanted. i simply couldn’t be happier and can’t wait to see what year 2 has in store.

love is a partnership of two unique people who bring out the best in each other and who know that even though they are wonderful as individuals, they are even better together.

it all started with french toast {the story of us}

it all started with french toast; the story of us
one year ago this sunday i drove up to the ‘burbs to meet a guy for breakfast. more specifically, for caramel cinnamon banana french toast. even more specifically, a guy i had never met.
i had no idea what i was getting myself into. and i thought several times about backing out of the whole thing. but i didn’t, large in part to the fact that caramel cinnamon banana french toast sounded like heaven on a plate. and here we are one year later, and i couldn’t be happier that i got into a car with a perfect stranger.
that stranger was brandon. and this is our story.

my match on

the story of usour story starts about 3 weeks prior to the aforementioned french toast meeting. back when i sent him a message on i had been on the site for a few weeks, not really expecting anything to come out of it. but apparently my wit sparked something and after a few messages he gave me his number. sidenote: i later learned that he gave me his number first so the ball would be in my court to make the next move. well played…

i think i rewrote my text probs 6-7 times. and then i contemplated when to send it. or if i should even send it at all. but i hit send and at the risk of sounding too cliché, the rest is history.

french toast date

during one of our text conversations we got on the topic of delicious breakfast treats. i shared about my hometown favorite, B&B, and how they have the most amazing pancakes in all the land. he countered with the caramel cinnamon banana french toast at the Original Pancake House. i was intrigued so that’s where we settled on meeting. i had numerous conversations with my co-workers about what i should wear, because these things are important when meeting someone for the first time, you want to look cute but not like you tried to hard, even though you obviously did. it’s tough to be a girl. i took the proper precautions and made a deal with my mom. we were meeting at 11, she would call me at 12 and that way if things were going really bad or if he was a crazy person straight out of a lifetime original movie, i would have an out. if it was going well, i would ignore the call. so worst care scenario, i had a plan. thanks to GPS i found the OPH and sat, full of anxiety, in my car as i text him that i was there. and then… the moment of truth (not to be superficial, but let’s be real)… was he anything like what he looked like online? yes. actually, even better. (don’t let that get to your head brandon)

there was a wait so we decided to get some caribou to pass the time. then i made a decision that apparently wasn’t the “wisest” of decisions. brandon asked if i wanted to ride with him or follow him over to the caribou. i said i would ride with him, because how silly would it be to drive separately to the same place less than a mile away. not really adding in the fact that i would be getting in the car with someone i just met and he could just as well drive to a cornfield and kill me than drive me to caribou to get coffee. #justkiddingbutseriously. but we did go to caribou, got our pumpkin goodness, and went back. we got seated, ordered the infamous cinnamon caramel banana french toast. 12 o’clock came and my mom called me as planned, and i happily ignored it. after sitting there for a few hours, we were starting to get the stink eye from our waitress so we decided it was probs time to head out. we said goodbye and i headed to my car to immediately call my mom to tell her all about it/him. later that afternoon i got a text from brandon asking if i would like to go out again, and i ecstatically agreed. #bestbreakfastever

The Story of Us

but what if i really like him

we continued to text every day following our french toast date and had made plans to go to (my favorite restaurant ever) Chino Latino for dinner that friday. i was excited, and then anxiety and nerves kicked in. i got home from work, laid down watching gilmore girls and started to wonder if i should really go through with this. i started crafting a message to him in my head; should i play the sick card, make up a family emergency… because the worst thing that could happen was that i could really like this guy. and that is a terrifying feeling; to put your feelings on the line, put yourself out there. i called my mom to talk it out and she reminded me that they possible reward is so much worth the risk. and if you don’t try, you will never know. so i picked an outfit from my fashion coordinator tashy’s collection and said a prayer as i waited for him to pick me up. in suit with our previous date, we were there for several hours; ate amazing food, and i learned that brandon enjoys cocktails with flowers in them. #justkiddingbutseriously. we laughed and joked and the conversation flowed. nothing was forced, it just clicked.

The Story of Us

life changing weekend

after chino, we made plans for the next Friday.  i was going to head to the burbs for dinner and to watch dexter (romantic, right?) i got to see brandon’s house and most important meet starks the pup for the first time. we had dinner and watched many episodes of dexter and the most special of all was when he kissed me for the first time. (awwwww) i made the trek back to the city late that night and made the same trek back to the ‘burbs the next afternoon. i suppose you could say i was smitten. that weekend has been dubbed the life changing weekend (cred to my girl, kristi, on that one) because after that weekend, i can probs count on 2 hands the number of nights i spent at my own apartment and i just knew this real.

The Story of Us

i love you too

i had always wanted a real christmas tree. brandon had said we could get one and to say that i was thrilled would be a vast understatement. we went to the tree lot and there was no wiping the smile from my face. after searching we picked out a beautiful frasier fir tree, strapped it on to the car and drove it home. we spent the rest of the night decorating the tree, listening to christmas tunes, and drinking homemade hot chocolate (and baileys). it was the perfect weekend. and it was made even more perfect when we were in the kitchen, helping ourselves to more hot chocolate, and he told me the 3 sweetest words a girl hopes to hear. and it was the star on top of a wonderfully happy weekend. a few weeks later, we took the next big step and i officially moved in.

The Story of Us

this life would kill me if i didn’t have you

throughout the past year so much has happened. we’ve gone though celebrations of exciting news, and sadness of tough times; we’ve spent time with each others families; we’ve taken trips to places both near and far; we’ve created the most perfect arrangement where he cooks and i clean; we’ve spent countless evenings playing candy crush and watching tv; we’ve ran a marathon (if you combine both our halfs); we’ve enjoyed many bottles of wine; we’ve kicked off most weekends with caribou; we’ve supported each other when we need a boost; we’ve motivated each other when we’ve feeling lazy; we’ve gone on hundreds of walks with starks; we’ve laughed til we cried; we’ve stuck our tongues out at each other as a love language; we speak mainly in sarcasm; most of all we’ve been there for each other. always. i have no idea what the rest of my life has in store, or what would have been if i had never met you. but the one thing i do know, brandon, is that my life is better with you. and i couldn’t be happier that i decided to get into a car with a perfect stranger that saturday morning. xoxo