give a dog your heart & you’ll get one in return {happy birthday starks}

happy birthday starks

growing up we never had a pet. i know, insert sad violin music here. i mean we had fish once, bert and ernie, but they didn’t last long from what i remember. the lack of pets wasn’t for lack of wanting; i have always loved dogs and i loved playing with my friends or family’s pups. my brother and i dropped many a hint that we would love a puppy brother, but instead we got a human brother. who i did indeed dress up like a puppy when he was young and impressionable. true story. sorry not sorry carter. and our babysitter had a cat, fonzy, that i tried to pretend was a dog but talking him on walks (against his will) and making him sit on my lap. but that’s really as close as it got.

starks the pup

starks the pup

for those of you who don’t know, starks is brandon’s dog (he adopted him about a year before we met). he is a schnauzer/terrier/hot mess combo – but to many people’s surprise when hearing that breed, he is about 54 pounds. but he thinks he is a lap dog. for (nearly) daily pictures of him you can give me a follow on just about any social media platform and cuteness will fill your screen. starks loves to play ball; especially the moment that both brandon and i are home from work; he loves to play with a rope that brandon and i hide because we hated playing with it; he loves treats; he gets anxious at the first sign of one of us packing a suitcase; he doesn’t like not being included in hugs; he is afraid of the kitchen floor and will only go in so far and then has to back out; he is an attention whore and will bark at me and lick my face obnoxiously as soon as i start talking on the phone; he loves to wrestle and play; and loves to steal my spot in bed. mostly, he loves to be petted and cuddled and lay right in the middle of brandon and i. and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

happy birthday starks

dogs have a way of rescuing people who need them; and filling an emptiness we didn’t even know we had

and today, is that adorable pup’s 3rd birthday. though we’re still trying to teach him what that means. but, to you my pup, i wish you a happy day filled with belly rubs, treats, playing with the ball, and cuddles. love you so much. xoxoxo

want to see more of Starks? Interested in witticism and thoughts from the pup himself? follow him on twitter @starksthepup

full of thanks and unbelievably blessed

imagetoday and every day i am thankful for the abundant blessings i have in my life. sometimes in the midst of the day to day living, we tend to overlook and under appreciate what we have. i am certainly guilty of this, but hope and pray that i always be aware and be thankful for how wonderful my life is. i give thanks today, and every day to God for the wonderful blessings i have been given. i wish you all a wonderful day filled with love, food, family, friends, football, laughter, smiles and may you always be thankful for this fabulous life. happy thanksgiving, lovelies. xoxo

dear God, i want to take a minute, not to ask for anything but to simply thank you for all i have.


for the opportunity to speak at EXHIBITOR and share my passion with others

for sunrises and sunsets; and the many i’ve got to see from all parts of the US

for my health and the ability to run a half marathon

for the many experiences and travels i’ve got to go on

for wine

for puppy kisses

for networking with others and getting to be part of a conference i love

for cupcakes

for all my wonderful friends

for manicures and for pedicures

for wine

for letters from my dear neighbor

for caribou

for my family; who i love more than anything

for 2 o’clock tea time

for birthdays and weddings

for my blog

for the love of my life.

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.