things i love thursday! (february 23, 2012)

Vocationally, this week has been. Uh.

What eez zees werd ju yoos?


Ahh, da dahling. Zeeeteeeussss.

But I am so thankful for all the blessings around me that make up for it. Here we go!


  • That lovely card, brought to you by Carli.
  • Delicious dinners made by my husband!
  • Breakfast Club.
  • More nesting fun.
  • Redecorating.
  • Having Sarah, Trace’s girlfriend, come to stay with us.
  • How sweet she was despite Hamlet pouncing on her relentlessly throughout the night. (I promise, it’s because he loves you, Sarah!)
  • Consuming an entire bottle of sparkling grape juice in one sitting. (DO. NOT. JUDGE.)
  • Long conversations about the future.
  • Exciting opportunities for my friends.
  • A new TV! With HD! Welcome to 2012, Durrenbergers!
  • Being honest and vulnerable.
  • Getting pampered and winning free stuff at a Mary Kay party.
  • Purging (almost) ALL of my makeup.
  • Making new friends.
  • Dinner with friends.
  • Making life changes.
  • Ash Wednesday.
  • Grace.
  • Cupcakes.
  • Chocolate.
  • Knowing that a horrible, tear-filled day can be redeemed by hanging out with my bible study friends.
  • Also holding small babies.
  • Also, NEW BABIES! So many new babies! EEEP! Two this week! Welcome to the world John Matthews and Camden Machnic! Y’all are cute. I’m cookin’ you up a friend. Hold tight!
  • My best friend’s Durrenbaby pinboard. My best friend in general, really.
  • Beginning and ending my days in the warm embrace of my husband.

What do you love this week?

tuesday tip — less is more: on lent.

A few weeks ago, after coming to terms with the overwhelming reality that is the amount of space we lack in our tiny home and the fact that we’ll somehow have to accommodate another person come July, I went through my closet and dresser and collected three bags full of clothes (mostly t-shirts, naturally) and shoes I didn’t wear anymore to donate to Goodwill. I was prepared for the lump of old t-shirts I’d give away, but I couldn’t believe I was holding on to so many other obscure items that I  knew I’d never wear again. (Plaid booty shorts? Really? A WHITE DENIM MINI SKIRT? Seriously, who am I even kidding anymore? However, those items do pair nicely with a good t-shirt.)

Last night, I did the same thing with my makeup. I took all four (yes,  four) of my makeup bags and dumped them out on the floor. I pulled apart the items I desperately “need” (if one can “need” makeup, that is) to get by, and tossed the rest. Here’s what I have left after the great makeup purge of 2012:

A concealer stick, a powder compact, a near-empty tube of mascara, and one lip gloss. That’s. It. One item for every bag I had yesterday.

Is a part of me panicking? Not so much about the clothes (thanks, Nathan!) but as far as the makeup goes, yes. Absolutely. I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll purchase more (I mean, seriously, how will I survive without MAC’s seafoam green glitter eye shadow? That was a tough one to toss.) I don’t even have blush. I know that Becky, one of my best friends, is probably rolling her eyes at me right now because, I can hear her in my head, “You can’t just NOT wear blush, Lindsay Shaw!” 

I know, I know. But for the time being, I’m going to not wear blush. And it’s going to be okay.


The season of Lent is upon us (as in, starts TOMORROW, holy cow) and, for those of you not familiar with it, that means we’re entering a season of self-denial to gain some iota of an idea of the suffering Christ experienced for us, allowing us to grow closer to Him and celebrate His resurrection on Easter more earnestly. I suppose I’m a bit of a procrastinator (let’s just chalk that one up to pregnancy brain) but I’m still praying over what to “give up” this year. As many of you know, Lent always ends up changing my life: in 2010, a trip to the emergency room led me to swear off caffeine forever and last year, I learned to love the curly hair God gave me. Both of those were huge leaps in my journey toward self-love and holistic health, so I never take Lent lightly.

The fact that I haven’t chosen one “thing” to fast yet this year doesn’t mean that Lent is on the back burner for me. If anything, I’m more aware of the sacrifice of Lent since I’ve been sacrificing a whole heck of a lot (food, drink, sleep, money, moments of hormonal normalcy) ever since becoming pregnant. But, here’s the sitch: without getting too preachy, Lent is the perfect time of the year where we can look at the closets of our lives and pick out the white denim skirts and seafoam green eye shadows that are merely taking up valuable space where something greater — Someone greater — could live and enrich us.

Are you giving up anything for Lent?

a shirt a day keeps the drama away.

When I got married, I felt pressured to turn into the perfect wife — one who cooks gourmet meals, keeps a spotless home, and looks damn good 100% of the time, both in body and fashion — even though that’s not at ALL the person my sweet husband married. My new-found Pinterest addiction and my perusal of countless new and trendy fashion/homemakey blogs have done nothing but worsen that pressure. Have you seen this? There are about a hundred thousand fashion/homemakey blogs out there touting the idea that You, too, can be a fashionista! And a stay at home mom! And a Crafty McCraftsALot! And be perfect at all of those things! Just look how easily I do it with my $3,000 SLR camera! 

I think I’m starting to break under this pressure. I’ve regressed. You’ll notice that I’ve stopped trying to blog about my home or food preparations or fashion choices. I’ve retreated into a dark cave of blog-solitude where I merely write about things that piss me off about society versus the things I’d love to work on concerning myself.  By doing that, I’ve created an environment where it’s completely safe for me to fail at all of these things without each and every one of you reading about it. But yep, I’m failing. Here’s how:

  • Dan does all the cooking and most of the cleaning. Happily, I might add.
  • My workout routine has all but vanished since tearing my ACL and becoming pregnant (but hey, the occasional dance class and the weird prenatal yoga DVD I have are at least giving me some peace of mind for the moment. That, and the fact that at 17 weeks I’ve only gained 7 pounds.)
  • And my fashion sense? My “style,” if you will? Ha. Well. I wish I could say I have one. But I really don’t. At the moment, for example, I’m wearing brown sandals with a black striped cardigan. Yep. I know this is wrong. But I’m doing it anyway because I just don’t care.

It wasn’t until I began drowning myself in all these trendy blogs and the black hole that is Pinterest that I really became concerned with this. Here’s what’s been going on in my brain:

Crap. I don’t know anything about fashion. I’m not a real girl. I’m not a good wife. And now I’m pregnant! I’m going to be that embarrassing mom! The one who dresses frumpy all the time! My kid is already hating me for this! But why doesn’t it come easily to me? Why don’t I look at things on hangers in stores and put outfits together? Why can’t I do it? Am I deficient? Did I miss out on some lady fashion gene?

It’s sad that I panic about these things while there are children in Rwanda who die before they’re three. But alas, I do. I panic about my appearance so much so that on more than one occasion, I’ve walked into my closet and thumbed through all 100 of my t-shirts and my eyes have welled up with hot tears.

I must look so stupid!

Well. Maybe I do. You know what, though? Maybe it doesn’t matter.

My friend Nathan (who also happens to be a middle-namer like me, shout out!) did an experiment where he wore the same shirt for 365 days. Granted, Nathan isn’t a girl awash in a sea of trendy wife/mom blogs, but he is a person who recognizes the importance society puts on outward appearances. So, without telling many people, he conducted a little social experiment. (You can read about Nathan’s experiment here.)

Spoiler alter: he lived.

Okay. So maybe I’m overreacting a little bit. Maybe the world will continue spinning if I wear t-shirts and jeans. Maybe it’s not the apocalypse of I don’t have the time to curl my hair in the morning or coordinate patterns (is that what you do with patterns? Coordinate them? I don’t even know.) Maybe life will go on, even if I choose to wear the same shirt for 365 days.


things i love thursday! (february 16, 2012)

Happy Thursday, friends! I can’t believe that a week ago, the hubs and I were driving down to Orlando for a romantic (?) getaway at Walt Disney World. Time flies, huh? Anyway, this week has been pretty killer, so on to the list!


  • Free bagels!
  • M&M McFlurries. (Ooh. That sounds good. Can someone bring me one?)
  • Food in general.
  • Road trips with the hubs. They are so fun!
  • Comfortable beds.
  • Free shuttles.
  • No lines at Disney!
  • A high of 80 degrees in February.
  • Eating lunch in France. (Seriously. Disney is spot on.)
  • Drinks with fish and chips in the Rose and Crown.
  • Cheesy things from the 80s and 90s. (I’m looking at you, Captain EO and the preview video for Space Mountain.)
  • Fireworks.
  • Little girls dressed up like princesses.
  • Little children, boys or girls, wearing ears of some sort.
  • Being able to ride every ride and see every show that we wanted to see. Hooray for going to Disney during the off season!
  • Finding humor in vacation snafus (like tiny beds, broken cars, and unfriendly hotel staff.)
  • Mickey Mouse ice creams.
  • Gelato.
  • “Expectant mothers should not ride.” Define “should not…”
  • Seeing Ashley and Kylin!
  • Kylin saying, “Wis-see!” BEFORE SHE EVEN SAW ME. (She saw Dan first!)
  • She’s so dang smart.
  • Getting back to Tallahassee on time.
  • Starting the work week on a Tuesday instead of a Monday.
  • Morning cuddles.
  • Another not-so-traditional Valentine’s Day.
  • Cooked sushi, seaweed salad, and edamame.
  • Sundresses.
  • Winning free books.
  • Watching Dan begin to nest.
  • Cupcakes.
  • Heart candies.
  • Pineapple.
  • Kitty cuddles.
  • Love in general, and the people I know who are in it.

Ah! My heart is so full! What do you love this week?

tuesday tip — be your own valentine.

DISCLAIMER: I’m going to write this as if we all went to grade school together in my little hometown. If you didn’t go to school with me, hooray for you! You get to pretend for a whole five minutes that you did!

Valentine’s Day in schools kind of eased us into reality, didn’t it?

Do you remember it?  In elementary school, we’d all come to school toting boxes of little cardboard Valentines, one for each of our classmates. No more, no less. Every one of us kids received the same amount of little I Choo-Choo-Choose You! cards stuffed in our paper sack “mailboxes” and, at the end of the day, couldn’t see straight from all the Valentine’s Day candy we’d consume together as a class.

Everyone got the same amount of love. Everyone was special.

But come high school, things changed. We all graduated from the communist love-fest that was boxed Valentine sets to “Candy-grams,” tokens of love that were purchased from student government. In case you forget, Candy-grams were carnation flowers with some candy and a sweet Valentine’s Day message attached to them. Adorable, right?

If one was bought for you, a member of the student government would barge into one of your classes and publicly deliver the Candy-gram to you in front of all your classmates to show just how adored you were. It was the ultimate Valentine’s Day popularity contest because, at the end of the day, the most popular (and, therefore, the most loved) people would be carting around the most carnations.

Most years, I’d be lucky to get even one. It’s true. I rarely got these Candy-grams.

(Here’s the saddest thing you’ll ever read: my undying defense of my high school popularity.) You know, I bet you it’s not because I didn’t have friends. Au contraire! I was one of those people who was friends with everyone. (Seriously. EVERYONE. How else would I have been voted onto Prom Court my senior year? SHOUT OUT!) It must have been that I didn’t get Candy-grams because I had so many friends that they all assumed that I was already getting my very own bouquet of Candy-grams and that they didn’t need to send me one more droopy flower to carry. (Sure, self, whatever you say.)

Sad, isn’t it? Anyway…

The truth of the matter, though, is that no matter the reasoning behind my empty-handed state on Valentine’s Day (I had too many friends, you see!) I always felt incredibly lame when I didn’t have at least one Candy-gram to show off. As cheap and fragile as those little flowers were, they carried on them the entire weight of my self-worth. If I had no flowers, I had no worth.

Sad. But true.

But, you know, that’s the reality of life. Life isn’t governed by the elementary school Everyone is special, everyone gets a Valentine! doctrine. High school Candy-grams really hit the nail on the head — some people love you, and some people don’t. Some people think you deserve a Candy-gram on Valentine’s Day. Some people don’t.

And that’s okay!


A couple years ago, I found a quote on my cousin’s girlfriend’s Facebook profile. I don’t know who said it, but after reading it, all my Candy-gram-less Valentine’s Days melted away into the background.

Remember to plant your own garden instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

Sheesh. Amen, Whoeversaidthat. (FYI, according to Google, it could have been a hundred people.)

On this Valentine’s Day, whether you have a traditional “Valentine” or not, make a commitment to be your own Valentine first.

Here are some ways you can do that:

  • Write a love-note (ahem, or Candy-gram, whichever you prefer) to yourself.
  • Style your hair in a new way.
  • Pamper yourself — give yourself a facial, manicure, pedicure, the works!
  • Take yourself and your favorite book out to dinner one time this week. (This sounds bizarre, but it’s so fun! I love doing this!)
  • Sleep in at least one day this week.
  • Hang a picture of yourself in your favorite outfit in your cubicle, office, or bedroom.
  • Go. For. A. JOG.
  • Make an I’m More Awesome Than Anyone playlist and BLAST IT. (Artists on mine? Avril Lavigne, Paramore, and all kinds of other cheesy girl-rock. I am not ashamed.)
  • Buy a sexy, maybe even non-practical pair of underwear. Even if you’re the only one who sees it, dang girl! Work. (If you’re a dude, a shiny new pair of boxer briefs can probably help, too! Though I can’t be totally sure…)
  • Make cupcakes and share them with your favorite friends.
  • Buy fresh flowers and put them in your kitchen.
  • Fill in the blank with whatever you love to do.

The old adage is so true; if you can’t love yourself first, you’ll never truly (healthily, fully, wholly) love another. Start today by being your own Valentine.

How can you love yourself first today? Comment and let me know!

things i love thursday! (february 9, 2012)

Love is in the air, friends! It’s February, which means Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so what better time to start really focusing on the things in your life that you love?


  • Stock photos. Muahaha.
  • Music.
  • Collaboration.
  • Creative people.
  • Donated/loaned maternity clothes! Yay cheapness!
  • Sleeping in.
  • Telepathically convincing my husband to make me pancakes in the morning. (No, seriously…)
  • A clean house!
  • Hanging out with Chelsea, Angie, Zander, and baby Gavin!
  • Holding baby Gavin. Awww. So much cute.
  • Singing “Happy Birthday” to Chrissie over the phone!
  • Silly conversations with Chelsea.
  • A long day of music making, chili eating, and football watching with friends.
  • Cheering on my buddy Evan at his first full marathon! He’s a machine.
  • Flat Sunkist.
  • Online gender prediction quizzes. (Looks like it might be a girl, y’all. Not sure I’m convinced yet.)
  • Chick-fil-A for breakfast.
  • A healthy dental check-up! Hooray for no cavities!
  • Fun meetings.
  • Pregnant tweets.
  • Best friends.
  • Cuddles in the morning.
  • Both of the cats now sleep with us all through the night (Hamlet more consistently than Romeo, but still.)
  • Sleep.
  • Cupcakes again.
  • Feeling Durrenbaby move!
  • And, finally… heading to Disney World on our Babymoon!

What do you love this week?

actually hourglass-shaped.

When I first saw a picture of Romanian model Ioana Spangenberg, I thought to myself, Holy Photoshop, Batman! That has to be the WORST editing job I’ve ever seen!

But uh, I was surprised to find out that this isn’t Photoshop. This is what Ioana actually looks like.

Now, I’m not one to be a policeman and regulate others’ bodies. That’s how I got diagnosed with an eating disorder in the first place and I know how exhausting it can be to defend your natural, God-given appearance. So, I’m really struggling with the fact that Ioana is claiming she is naturally built this way and — on top of that — eats three big meals a day!

I’m having a hard time buying this. Ioana HAS been informed that a head of lettuce does not count as a “big meal” right? I mean, I can see how that could make things confusing for her. All I’m saying is that if I were eating three big heads of lettuce a day, I might look like that, too.

What do you think: do you buy it?

Click here to read more about Ioana and see her, like, walk around and stuff.

things i love thursday! (february 2, 2012)

Happy February! It’s the month of love, after all, so why not start out with a wonderful list of all the things you love in your life! Might as well get in the spirit — all the retail stores have been since Christmas!


  • Delicious food at Newk’s.
  • Also. The word Newk’s. It makes me think of cooking something in the microwave, but Newk’s is SO not that way.
  • Going on a date with my husband! I swear, we haven’t done that in so long. We are so bad about going out on dates!
  • Finally seeing Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Holy cow. Such a great movie. I think they did a great job!
  • Snuggling with the Romeo and Hamlet. Just look at them up there. Don’t you want to snuggle them?
  • Being described as, “The only crazy cat lady I’ve ever known who’s actually married.” Yep. If the shoe fits!
  • Our monthly bible study.
  • Key lime pie for breakfast? Sure! Why not?
  • “Oh yes, yes, yes!”
  • Going to see the circus with Ashley!
  • Snow cones.
  • Hipster clowns.
  • Getting Netflix back.
  • Nesting.
  • Sushi and frozen yogurt.
  • “Boba” tea.
  • Finding “Intervention” on Netflix.
  • And “Tangled!”
  • Taking care of a sick husband.
  • Seeing Connors at our other bible study.
  • Hair products that help my hair not be dry and awful!
  • Babies.
  • Friends.
  • Cuddles.
  • Love.

What about you? I want to hear your list, too! What made you happy this week?

self-photo challenge!

I’ve never actually done this before, but Chelsey, The (lovely) Paper Mama, posed a photo challenge to her readers. A self-photo challenge! She challenged her readers to post a photo of themselves and blog about themselves and the photo.

Because I’m a the writer of a self-love blog (and, also maybe because Chelsey will choose a winner who will get a cute family portrait from her) I took the bait. If nothing else, it’ll be a chance for me to write things about me that aren’t, you know, “bloggy,” but are just me-y.

So. Here’s my submission for The Paper Mama’s photo challenge!

Oooh, look at me! Hard at work in my cubicle! Listening to Bon Iver! I’m so fun! I’m also:

Currently obsessing over:
The crazy mess that is my house, and my overwhelming apathy toward it. Nesting. Whether or not Durrenbaby is a boy or a girl. Navy blue or lavender? Whether or the five pounds I’ve gained during my pregnancy will turn into 25 or 85 pounds. Please GOD don’t let it be 85 pounds.

Working on:
Two jobs! Holy crap! And writing, when I can. And, in theory, editing my novel.

Thinking about:
“INTERVENTION” IS ON NETFLIX WHICH MEANS I CAN JUST GO AHEAD AND KISS MY SOCIAL LIFE GOODBYE. I hope my husband is okay — he got sick last night and is bed-ridden. It makes me sad. He never gets sick.

February 28th! That’s the next time we have an ultrasound, which is HANDS DOWN the most amazing experience ever. Oh! And we also get to find out the gender of our baby! And, well, anything that has to do with our baby. I love that little person so much already! I am anticipating the start of our life together.

Listening to:
Bon Iver. It calms me. Oh and uh, “Intervention,” which does NOT calm me. I suppose the two cancel each other out.

Ritz crackers. But I’ll be honest, I kind of wish it was a bag of Blazin’ Buffalo Doritos.

I could be a stay-at-home mom when the baby comes.

Hey! I think you should enter Chelsey’s challenge, too. Maybe you’ll win something! And, if not, maybe you’ll just write about yourself truthfully for the first time in a while.