10 Ideas for an Alternative Valentine’s Day


1. Make an indulgent breakfast and laze around all morning. I recommend these strawberry buttermilk doughnuts.

2. Print some sweet valentines to pass out. I love these ones from The Black Apple and these Downton Abbey-themed ones.

3. Knit a stuffed anatomical heart. Or if you don’t have time, knit a quick heart hair clip.

4. Stay in and watch a great, classic romantic movie like Funny Face or When Harry Met Sally.


5. Make this hilarious and punchy “bang me” valentine for your special someone.

6. Go on a bike ride to your favorite book store with your date and pick out a book for each other.


7. Participate in a cool, collective project like the One Sheepish Girl heart bomb. I did it last year and it was great fun.

8. Bring some love to your office with these super simple valentines for co-workers.

9. Fill someone’s car/closet/cubicle with heart-shaped balloons.


10. Have a Galentine’s Day brunch with your gal pals.

This year, Domenico and I are probably going to repeat our Valentine’s Day plans from last year by watching the Oscar-nominated short films at Camelview 5. We’re not going to eat out this time to avoid the craziness, but will make dinner together and probably do some kitchen dancing. Of course, we might go out to split a milkshake or a slickable.


Make This: Home Photo Album


I am not a scrapbooker. Although, I must admit, I alway did love those little, detailed stickers and decal packs that had nurses’ scrubs and hamburgers in them, and I’ve always had an abundance of patterned paper tucked under my bed. But those scrapbooks with the photo corners and inspirational-phrase stickers always seemed too tacky to me.

However, last year, I decided I wanted to document my home and compile the photos into an album. After moving to my first adult home and watching my parents’ house change over the last few years, I realized how important it is to preserve the memory of how and where I live. I also noticed that the pictures I take often revolve around people, special events, and vacation spots. (And even that seems to be dwindling lately – my iPhone photos mostly consist of food and outfits I’m proud of.) Yet, I hardly have any photos of the place I spend most of my time. I decided I wanted to create a simple and small photo album documenting that place. Because I wanted to keep things simple, I chose a Project Life album and picked out a few cute stickers and gold, glittery letters.

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Here are some things I learned from my first foray into scrapbooking:

1. Take good photos. I guess that’s pretty obviously, but it’s really important. I used my sister’s nice DSLR and was very selective when choosing which photos I wanted to print. Along with this point, take unexpected photos. I decided I wanted all of mine – for the most part – to be people free. So how many shots can you take of your living room? A lot, it turns out. I shot some wide-angle photos and then got in close to capture the details in each room. I took pictures of the inside of my bookcases and the perfumes on my vanity. With each spot, I varied the angles and played with the perspective.

2. Try adding embellishments directly to the photos. I applied glitter glue to some photos and wrote personal notes on others. This is particularly effective if you want to avoid that clunky, traditional scrapbook look.

3. Don’t be afraid to cut your photos in half. I bought an assortment of Project Life photo pages that accommodated a combination of 4×6 and 2×3 photos. In some cases, I wanted to put a 4×6 photo where there were two 2×3 spaces. So I just sliced the picture in half and put the pieces side by side. These actually ended up being some of my favorite pages. That being said, you should really plan ahead and think about the sizes and orientation of your photo pages before you do any printing.

If you want some more scrapbooking inspiration, check out these projects on A Beautiful Mess. I know I want to keep making these little albums, hopefully turning it into a tradition for each home I call my own.

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My Year in Review

2014 was an especially busy year, full of new endeavors and old friends. During the past 12 months, I started two new jobs; watched the complete Gilmore Girls series; became the editor-in-chief of a literary magazine; taught myself how to crochet; traveled to Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, and Virginia; read possibly my favorite book ever, Carmelo; and began the process of selling my knitting. Here are some of my favorite moments from 2014.

1. When I made this vegetarian sweet potato chili.


2. When I knitted two hearts for Valentine’s Day. (One is anatomical and one symbolic; both are soft and fiber-y.)


3. When Domenico went to Payson and found the lake snow dusted. We ate chili there too!


4. When Domenico, Emily, Tommy, and I spent the day in Phoenix at the Book Swap and Phoenix Flea Market.


5. When I made bacon jam and grits crackers shaped like the state of Virginia for my visiting relatives.


6.  When Domenico and I drove up the California coast, visiting flower fields, touring old castles and prisons, eating amazing food, and trying to figure out the San Francisco bus system.


7. When I got to celebrate my wonderful dad on Father’s Day.


8. When I got to show Kaylie and Ted all my favorite things in downtown Phoenix, like The Phoenix Public Market, Short Leash, the Melrose District, Lux, and Welcome Diner.


9. When I spent a week with my BFFs Kaylie and Rylee in Portland. We made crafts on Kaylie’s floor, ate ridiculous ice cream, saw so much beautiful green, and made plans for our future together.


10. When I traveled back to Virginia for a cousin’s wedding and spent the weekend exploring an old plantation and introducing Domenico to my sweet family.


11. When I turned 22 and made a list of little and lofty goals.


12. When Domenico and I got festive at a pumpkin patch.


13. When we celebrated our eighth anniversary by dressing up, eating a fancy dinner, and visiting Zoo Lights.


14. When I decorated the house for Christmas and documented all the silly/adorable decorations we’ve collected.


Here’s to an even more memorable 2015!