Sunday, September 14, 2014

Minnesotans love their lakes. I guess they are called the land of 10,000 lakes for a reason. ;) Rain or shine, people always seem to be flocking lakeside. If they can't be IN the water, you bet they're still biking/rollerblading/sitting to at least enjoy the waves from a distance.

Growing up in the midwest burbs, I was never much of a water person. I never lived near a body of water and the changing seasons didn't exactly cultivate that kind of culture. (Not to mention my swimming skills were limited to doggy-paddling until my freshman year of college. Yikes.) But fortunately for me, it looks like things are changing! And you know what they say, when in Rome... I now live VERY close (5-minute walking distance) to a lake and can't help but to be so attracted to it every time I pass by it. There's a 3-mile bike/walk path surrounding the water and I've gone around it a couple of times so far and it was so much fun — not to mention beautiful. I definitely understand they hype now. Count me in!  

1 down, 9,999 to go...! Cheers to new adventures and cultures!




Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I haven't shared too much about my Etsy shop on this blog before, but there's a couple of exciting things I'm planning so I wanted to give you guys a sneak peek and ask for your opinion! :)

2015 planners are already releasing, so I wanted to try to take a stab at it myself — with my own twist! Everybody who knows me knows I am addicted to planners (and pretty much all things stationary.) To me, a good planner is one that is both functional and reflective of his/her personal style. I used a Moleskine for all four years in college and it was great for school. There was room for daily to-do's, and extra space to doodle and jot down any inspiration that came my way! There are all sorts of planners out there these days (and these Simplifed Planners totally catch my eye), but there was never really a type for other thoughts I wanted to get down... 

So I created a weekly planner where you can put pen to paper the stuff not only in your head, but also in your heart and soul. A place where you can pause after a long week of crossing things off your checklist, paying your bills, and running errands, so you can let your soul breathe for a minute. Reflect, re-evaluate, and process that whirlwind of a week you just went through. Because whether you feel accomplished or exhausted or a complicated combination of both, you were made for so much more than grocery lists and errands. At least that's what was going on in my heart for awhile - and I don't think I'm alone. 

Planners are so great, and while I will always be a huge advocate for them, I know I tied myself to productivity and accolades for a long time, and I learned there is more to life than making lists and making plans. So in the small spaces of white in my journal, I started scribbling more than how to wring out more minutes in a day or more responsibilities to add to my plate. I started writing about the status of my soul... Things I was thankful for, like the tips I received at work and the spontaneous dinner date my roommates and I had, things I was learning, things I wanted to start praying for, and also bible verses or quotes that inspired me. I did that for about 6 months or so, and it really changed my perspective of work, life, and friendships... And the other day I thought — hey, why not make a planner for this?! 

So I did. Err, at least I'm trying. :) From the desk of Coffee & Honeycomb, here is a [working] draft of what it looks like thus far! I wanted to give you all a sneak peek. What do you think? Would you use something like this? What other colors would you like to see? Is there another "space" in the planner I'm missing? Please, please, please share your thoughts because I would love to hear them!

Speaking of all things Etsy, the Etsy swap is back on! Bloggers Amy from Taking Steps Home and Megan from Rivers and Roads are hosting their third Etsy swap — and you can be a part of it, too. I just signed up for it and I'm so, so, so excited to participate. I've never been part of a swap before, but snail mail and etsy is TOTALLY my jam so I'm all in. I hope you are, too! Who knows, maybe I'll be your secret sender. ;) The rules are really simple and you can find them, as well as frequently asked questions, over at either of their blogs. You have until the 17th to sign! Hope to see you there.



Monday, September 8, 2014

The end of the summer is always a sweet time for the boyfriend and I. August 20th is my birthday and September 3rd is our anniversary date, so we try to make those two days a bit more special by having dinner, giving handwritten cards and gifts, and whatnot. Two solid days to enjoy the day, enjoy the past year, and enjoy one another. (: 

This year, we celebrated my birthday by having a picnic, walking around downtown, and going out for tapas. The 3rd was unique this year because it was the first one we celebrated in our new town. We had just moved and were still transitioning, so we took it easy by grilling, walking around, and watching a movie. My new apartment complex is great and has an open grilling/lounging area, so we took advantage of that since my stuff hadn't come yet. 

It was a really sweet and simple celebration - and exactly what I needed this year. Not only because of the move and the new life stage, but because I really want to learn simple living and what that looks like for me. It's easy for me to become so wrapped up with aesthetics and picture-perfect presentation. I'm easily attracted to extravagance and glitter and throwing around buckets of money into those things like it's confetti. And nothing is wrong with glitter or money (thank the Lord); but in Japan, I saw how much of a distraction and idol it could be in my pursuit in loving God. We live in a culture that emphasizes perfection and obsesses over 'more'... More money, more clothes, more friends, more options... And we live in a culture that makes 'more' possible and perfection right around the corner. But that kind of lifestyle, that chase, is all a mirage. It's empty, damaging, and soulless. I know I'm 100% guilty of falling into that trap - Instagram, Pinterest, and reality tv (conveniently three of my favorite things) just make it too easy. Chasing perfection, happiness, and temporary pleasure when God invites us into eternal joy, contentment, and freedom in His name. 

Anyway! A bit off tangent. So this year, there WAS still 'fun' and all that goodness a celebration should be, but we were just very intentional about focusing on what mattered. Focusing on good conversation, each other, and how God really blessed us this past year. 

Take a peek! :) What does 'simple living' look like in your life?


Saturday, September 6, 2014

It's no secret that I love my Starbucks, but being in MN has made me so curious to check out all of the local coffee shops this city has to offer. I've decided to lay low from chains for awhile, minus the Chai trip I took this afternoon, to get a feel for MN's unique coffee culture. 

One spot I tried is near the U of M campus called, BLACK. (Don't worry if that name doesn't sound like it sticks, they blast their name everywhere so you'll never forget it.)

I learned about this place through a local Instagrammer who raved about its waffles so I really wanted to try it out. I dragged the BF along with me and we split a Dogwood coffee + a strawberry cream waffle. 

branding/ambience: like I said, they never let you forget its name and have it written on basically on every surface area. The branding is definitely a memorable one. Inside the decor is rustic and minimal, mostly black and wood, giving it a rich, hipster vibe. Seating is limited and not too cozy, but it sufficed. Very lax.

menu items: I ordered an iced Dogwood. I heard Dogwood roasters really monopolize the area, so I assumed it was popular, but I wasn't much of a fan. The coffee had strong fruity undertones, which isn't my kinda brew, and I would probably pass on that next time. BUT THE WAFFLES. but the waffles. I could go back any day for the waffles. I wish I could describe it to you in detail (or even better, just send it to you through a computer screen. side note: why isn't there a technology for that yet?), but I am not a food blogger for a reason because my capability to describe food is limited. The only words I use is: MM! delicious! strawberry-y! cream cheesey! gooey! so good! All while the food is in my mouth, so we don't get too far. 

GREETINGS FROM THE TWIN CITIES (and first impressions)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

^ The OCD side of me is pained to post this photo because the canvas is tilted... But I decided to share it anyway because this is my new town and I'm gonna love it. 

I officially moved into my new home over Labor Day weekend, and I am completely ecstatic to be here.

  • People love to give thumbs-ups & high-fives. 
  • Everyone here is so friendly and loves small talk. They strike up conversation everywhere we go - the local ice cream shop, in the elevator, on the street, etc. They just really want to know how you are doing. Even when I'm driving and I make a mistake, they wave at me and smile. THEY SMILE. 
  • Speaking of driving, the roads are awful here. Whoever constructed and planned these roads was awful. All left turns are basically U-turns, entry/exits of highways are on the same side, roads merge and split and change names whenever the want... It's a mess. Even my GPS gets confused sometimes. Next time I'll screenshot my Maps for you all to see, because then you'll see what I mean.
  • It's okay that I get lost all of the time because all highways are free! Bye, bye ipass.
  • People don't seem to follow traffic laws either. I've seen a handful of people run a red light, and I think the other day a car behind me honked at me for actually stopping at one... I dungetit.
  • All cop cars have the license plate, "POLICE." lol
  • The air is so clean. Every breath is so full and crisp and fresh and I love it. And the water is so fresh and smells like heaven.
  • People pronounce words funny. "Bag" as "bayg" - "About" as "aboht" - "Sorry" as "sohry." It's like we are in Canada. 
  • The city is concentrated with so many libraries and book stories. I did read beforehand that MN was the 3rd most literate city, but they really do value their books — and I can appreciate that! 
  • It's also concentrated with coffee shops, which I very much plan to check out. (;
That's about it so far! :) I do like it here, and E & I say everyday how thankful we are because everyone has gone above and beyond to welcome us to the city and make us feel at home. 

I don't start work for a couple of weeks and the movers (finally) come tomorrow, so I have a lot of free time on my hands. I want to...
- Learn calligraphy.
- Explore coffee shops.
- Check out church communities.
- Spend time with ze Lord.

<3 I shall keep y'all updated! 


Friday, August 29, 2014

In a couple of days, August will be over.
In a couple of hours, it will be my last night in Naperville with my family.
In a couple of (more) hours, I will be a Minnesota resident.
In a couple of weeks, I will be a full-time worker. 
So, so, so weird. 

I was taking a look at my baby steps for August; reflecting and reevaluating how this month went. I completed a lot of the tasks I had set (minus the bonfire and Japan scrapbook), but overall, the month was a pretty tough one. Creatively, I felt no motivation or juice left in me to make anything. Physically, I felt like a squishy sloth (lolz @ the alliteration) all of the time. I wasn't eating healthy or being active or sleeping regularly, so my body often felt sluggish and slow. (But hey, calories don't count in your birthday month.) Spiritually, I was inconsistent; very reactive to my surrounding and circumstances versus standing firm and remaining bold. Overall, I treated August as an 'interim' month, just a fill-in until real life began. Don't get me wrong, the break was really nice and probably much my last one ever, but everyone around me was starting life and school and work, and for me, I was on pause. 

And let me tell you, I hate pausing for too long. I just hate it. I've never been that kind of person. I hate being stagnant. It makes me restless and lazy and crazy. I need change and movement and projects and challenges and surroundings and new grace thrown my way. I like to be elbow-deep in work, in growth, in dreams — and not just any kind, but meaningful work, intentional growth, and ginormous dreams/prayers. Hey, that's kinda catchy. Maybe I should make that my slogan for the year... ;) 

One of my "baby steps" were to turn 22. I'll save ya the suspense, I succeeded. I turned 22. I'm sure the suspense was just killing ya on that one. Anyway, with a new year, I made a list of 22 vows/dreams I'd like to do before I turn 23. :) This is my first time doing this so I threw in a mix of lifestyle changes, bucket list-worthy tasks, and also some simple ones. It's on the calm side — nothing like go bun-jee jumping or drink 22 shots in 22 hours or whatever people actually add to their bucket list. But this is mine, and this is what it looks like. Inspired by Elise's #makeitpublicmakeithappen, to share things with you. Here it goes!

22 VOWS:

1. Memorize 22 verses.
2. Cook 22 dishes.
3. Read 22 books.
4. Send 22 letters.
5. Do quiet time daily.
6. Take more photos.
7. Develop more photos.
8. Learn something new.
9. Start a bible study.
10. Pick up a new sport/physical activity. Barre? 
11. Develop Etsy shop.
12. Be deeply invested in a community.
13. Be intentional with my time and relationships and money. 
14. Run a race.
15. Visit 22 different cities.
16. Write a song.
17. Call family often.
18. Serve at a retreat.
19. Give the blog a makeover + ad spaces.
20. Volunteer. 
21. Love my job.
22. Love God more than I did the year before.



Sunday, August 10, 2014

I believe in friendships. Not because I have perfected the art of it or am currently in perfect friendships, but because it is through friendships God has taught me grace and love. It is through friendships I have experienced healing and joy and freedom.

I believe in stories. Not because I have the most outrageous stories to share, but because it's through stories God shows me fingerprints of Himself. I've always loved stories — reading them, exchanging them, and even writing them. When I first met God (and even as I continue to experience Him), He reminds me of the greatest story of them all - the story about the cross and how it radically changed my life.

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