I love you, Kappel

I love you, Kappel - offbeat + inspired

It’s been 12 days since Kappel’s motorcycle accident. These last 2 weeks have been the hardest of my life. There’s so much to feel, so much to process, so much longing and missing, confusion, sorrow, absolute devastation. But there has been comfort too. Sweet, beautiful friends and family have been with me each day, taking care of me, reminding me to eat, making sure I’m comfortable…and really I couldn’t ask for anything more given what I have to go through right now.

I was texting Kappel’s sister, Lily this morning. We’ve been texting each other a lot with updates on how we’re doing. This morning it was about denial and anger. Feeling everything in order, and figuring out what to do next. How to walk through this in a healthy way. It’s really hard. I feel angry, but when I play that out, I’m not actually angry…I’m sad. I feel cheated, but when I play that out, I don’t actually feel cheated…I’m just really sad. It always ends up at the same place. I’m sad.

Pictures have been really hard for me. When I look at them, I break down sobbing and it’s like I’ve awakened this earth shattering longing to have him here. Crying it out for a few seconds feels right, but beyond that it feels like I’m just torturing myself. So I made a Kappel box that I’ve been filling with those things. It’s hidden in a closet and it’s easy to avoid.

With all of this…the process, feelings, crying, exhaustion, stomach aches, moments of peace, laughter, shock…I’m constantly brought back to this place of contentment where I know I’m on a path now that many others have walked and survived. I have to walk this path. I can be dragged, kicking and screaming, or I can stand up and move.

I shared a line from one of my favorite movies with Lily. It’s from Elizabethtown. Kirsten Dunst says it to Orlando Bloom when she finds out he’s grieving the sudden loss of his father. She says, “We are intrepid. We carry on.” Like…it’s just what we do. Whether we choose to handle it poorly or not. We carry on. So if I can grieve well, feel it all and keep walking…that’s what I want to do.

I spoke at Kappel’s memorial service this past Monday, and I wanted to share what I wrote with you here.

Kappel was my best friend, my partner in work and adventure, a challenge and inspiration to me every day I knew him, and the love of my life.

Being here right now and having the honor to talk to so many people who loved him, as the person who spent every day of the last year and a half with him, is kind of a huge task. But at the same time, I get to do something I dreamed of doing every day I had him next to me…to let everyone know the raging beauty of what God was doing with us, what He was doing in Kappel’s heart, and how it changed my life.

The first thing I noticed about Kappel was his sweet spirit and his soft heart. I felt it the night we met, before we’d spoken two words to each other. We had just sat down for a business meeting at Pinewood Social and all I could think about was how strange it was to feel so fiercely protective and amazed by someone I literally knew nothing about.

It was like God gave me eyes to see his true, pure self before I had a chance to experience him on my own.

Over the next month, we had a few more “meetings”, and found out we had both just been through divorce and had absolutely no filter about our respective commitment-phobias. It wasn’t best foot forward. There was a lot of vulnerability up front about the wounds and confusion we were carrying.

We fell hard pretty quickly at that point, and after a little while, the ugly stuff started to surface. He expected me to run for the hills when I saw it, but I just couldn’t. When he allowed me to see the mess, it made me grateful. I wasn’t looking forward to how hard it was probably going to be, but I was excited about the fact that he was letting me see it, and continuing to come back. It made me feel like I had this incredible opportunity to prove to him how DEEPLY loved he was.

I found myself in the middle of the hardest and deepest relationship I’d ever been in. It changed us both. It showed me such a vivid and real picture of what God’s heart really is for us. 

Relationship wasn’t just about romance and fun and creating. The person deep down in each of us, the one that loved perfectly, and served, and sacrificed, and radiated beauty and life…the one that we hoped and dreamed was real, but doubted our whole lives because of our hurts and mistakes and failures…that one was actually called out and SEEN in each other. The goal of relationship was suddenly to be more ourselves each day. To be the ones we were created to be. To speak it out loud and reflect it back to each other. The ugly things were simply proof that our eyes were half closed. The act of putting our depths on the table in front of each other brought true intimacy that I’ve never known with another person, and a desire to love like I’ve never loved before.

My relationship with Kappel put a fire in my heart not to quit on the person God calls me to be, and never to quit on the person God calls the one I love to be. His heart for us is that kind of beautiful. He wants us to have the clearest picture of how He sees us and how He loves us. Relationship was designed to give us glimpses and tastes of what that true love is.

I believe that right now, besides the fact that this is a story we longed to tell together…and with all my heart I wish we could have told it together…the only thing that’s different is that he is with the Father Himself. And there isn’t a doubt in his mind anymore about true and perfect love. He’s not just tasting it anymore. And I will be grateful for the rest of my life that I got to walk through the last year and a half by his side.

I wanted to read this quote that Kappel recently wrote and shared on Instagram. 

“Everyone is going on “adventures” these days. Webster defines adventure as “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity”. I crave to be in the wilderness very often. Entertaining fantasies about “escaping” from normal life, challenging myself against nature, and letting discomfort become comfortable, have become more and more frequent. But then I realized…in a season of growing, in an intensely emotional way, I have mistaken my wilderness. I have focused on the easy adventure. Is learning to be in deep relationship with others possibly the greatest adventure of them all? Is it possibly the deepest, most uncharted wilderness still available? The wilderness of knowing and being known. The adventure of beating your heart for another to see. Grizzly bears can’t kill you there (you’re in luck, Leo). But you can be left emotionally open. Bare. Vulnerable. And potentially acquire a wound deeper than any wilderness adventure could produce. 

Or, on the other hand, the discomfort becomes comfortable. The pain heals. The thought of entering the grizzly of emotion, the freezing temperatures of vulnerability, or the bee sting of emotional pain and healing becomes a welcomed challenge for the warmth of fur it produces when conquered.

I dunno. Just sayin.”

I love you, Kappel. I actually love you.

1988-2016

I love you, Kappel - offbeat + inspired

I love you, Kappel - offbeat + inspired

I love you, Kappel - offbeat + inspired

I love you, Kappel - offbeat + inspired

<3

Boat Dayyy

Boat Dayyy - offbeat + inspired

I NEEDED to share this little 15-sec video Kappel shot of our boat day with friends + Mike’s Hard Strawberry Lemonade last week. It was SO much fun and I posted about it on Instagram this morning…SO HAPPY THE WARMER DAYS ARE FINALLY HERE!!

My caption on Insta!: “BOAT DAYYYY!!! This is just one of the many things I love about Nashville..an impromptu cookout on the water with swims and friends IN SPRINGTIME. ☀ I got to partner with @mikeshardlemonade again to show how we’re having fun outside this season and I would love to hear about what you’re doing too!!! :D After all the traveling lately, this was MUCH needed. <3 #mikessummer #whyweadventure #partner #SPRINGTIME [COMPLETELY obsessed with this little video @kappeljamescloninger made!! <3]“

My Sister’s Love Story [Featuring BHLDN]

My Sister's Love Story [Featuring BHLDN] - offbeat + inspired

I’ve been incredibly blessed to have extraordinary men marry into my family. My youngest sister, Rebecca, and her husband Paul have a relationship that makes me cry for utter joy any time I see or hear anything that even reminds me of them. I mean that literally. Songs, smells, recipes that Rebecca makes for Paul, people that resemble one of them…it’s a real thing. And now, my middle sister, Rachel, is getting married to a man named Eric. I feel just the same. I call him “the good egg”.

My Sister's Love Story [Featuring BHLDN] - offbeat + inspired

My Sister's Love Story [Featuring BHLDN] - offbeat + inspired

BHLDN was lovely enough to partner with me on sharing their story! So I photographed Rachel in the Ephra Gown on a snowy day in Lexington, KY at the beautiful old apartment building I used to live in with Rachel — the one that will be their first home!

Rebecca sat down with Rachel and Eric a few weeks ago to talk about how it all began…

Rachel: Ahhhhh, well, Eric was working at Amazon as a workflow analyst. I got hired as a seasonal costumer service associate and we were taking a tour of the building.

Eric: She was wearing a purple coat and high heels and was a full head taller than everyone else.

My Sister's Love Story [Featuring BHLDN] - offbeat + inspired

Rachel: While we were taking our new hire orientation tour of the building…

Eric: I was going to get some coffee and ran into their group, and their tour guide introduced me to their group, and I awkwardly waved with my handlebar mustache. And the 6’4” girl, at the time, because of her ridiculous heels…She was easily noticeable.

Rachel: Well, I smiled and waved because that’s what you do to strangers when you’re introduced, but I had no thought that he noticed me in particular. So while I was going through training and stuff, Eric made it a point to find out my name…

My Sister's Love Story [Featuring BHLDN] - offbeat + inspired

Eric: And I stalked her on Facebook a bit, and I didn’t think it was her, because, your Facebook picture at the time, looked like a model. It was the cover of that magazine you were on.

Rachel: Umm…and then, the new hires were having a debrief with Workflow so they understood how their time off worked, like how to request it and stuff. And in that meeting, he called me out by name, but he shouldn’t have known my name at that time, which was curious. But he played it off really coolly as if he knew everyone’s name.

Eric: It was a fallacy.

My Sister's Love Story [Featuring BHLDN] - offbeat + inspired

Rachel: So in that meeting I had asked if I could have my lunch hour moved on a certain day, and he said it wasn’t possible. But he found me in the hallway later. He said, “I just wanted to let you know, I had to say ‘No’ about moving your lunch hour, but I would not have to say ‘No’ if your manager asked me to move your lunch hour.” So he was being very sly and helpful. And, when he was done telling me that, I thought he would just walk away, because he was a big analyst, and I was a nothing seasonal hire, but he stuck around to talk to me even though I was a nobody, and I thought that was very sweet. After that he would come by my desk at times, just to chat, and he was always drinking Earl Grey tea. And when I found out he lived in Lexington, I invited him to come hang out with a group of us that worked at Amazon and lived in Lexington, and would just hang around, like bowling and getting sushi or watching Disney movies on Walt Disney’s birthday.

Eric: Yes.

My Sister's Love Story [Featuring BHLDN] - offbeat + inspired

Rachel: So the more we hung out in groups, and the better friends we became, the more it became clear that he was developing feelings for me, and he ain’t no slouch neither.

Eric: Well, I did slouch a lot, I had poor posture.

Rachel: And, eventually, he got up the nerve to ask me out on a date.

Eric: Via text message…

My Sister's Love Story [Featuring BHLDN] - offbeat + inspired

Rachel: But it was after a conversation, so there was context. And we went out and we started going on dates. We went to Table 310 on our first date.

Eric: We got a cheese plate that included Camembert and chorizo.

Rachel: That was a really good cheese plate.

My Sister's Love Story [Featuring BHLDN] - offbeat + inspired

Eric: I won her over with my charms and my humor and my general shape.

Rachel: So then we kept going out, and the more time that we spent together, the more we fell in love with each other. We found out we have a lot of random things in common. He was just really easy to fall in love with.

Eric: I’m kind of a nice guy.

Rachel: He’s so sweet and thoughtful and wants to do the right thing,

Eric: And she’s really hot, and there’s other things too.

Rachel: And, at the same time, he’s so smart and humble. Because I had never been in a relationship before, and I was 24 years old when we started going out, at that time, there were so many criteria that I had trimmed off my list, like the guy being taller than me, the guy being able to pick me up and carry me around a building, the guy being sweet and thoughtful… but Eric turned out to be all of those things.

My Sister's Love Story [Featuring BHLDN] - offbeat + inspired

Eric: She is intelligent. I can have a conversation with her. That was it [laughs]. She is very lovely, um, she is very friendly and kind. She made me feel very welcome in her presence. She gives good presents.

Rachel: Do you feel appreciated because I believe in you? [yells passionately] Do you feel encouraged and inspired because I believe in you!?

Eric: I do.

My Sister's Love Story [Featuring BHLDN] - offbeat + inspired

Rachel: Well that’s too bad, because I don’t believe in you. [laughs]

Eric: [sings] I believe in a thing called love!

Rachel: I can be completely myself, my best and my worst, and he appreciates me and encourages me…and feeds me. [laughs]

Me: So, Eric. I just have one question, and it’s not, like, a part of the interview or anything. I’m just curious. What was it, after you saw Rachel, that made you search for her on Facebook and find out her name?

Eric: She was my size…and she had a very lovely smile.

// THE BEGINNING //

More soon. They will be married on April 2, 2016.

See you at The Vintage Round Top for TRIBE with Where Women Cook!!

See you at Vintage Round Top for TRIBE with Where Women Cook!! - offbeat + inspired

First of all, I am beside myself about the fact that the Spring Issue of Where Women Cook is on shelves now, and I’m in it!!

This is such a dream. That publication is absolutely stunning and has been a favorite of mine for a while now. So when The Vintage Round Top reached out a few months ago about having me attend their TRIBE event in collaboration with Where Women Cook, AND that WWC wanted to feature a few of my recipes in their next issue, I was THRILLED.

So let me tell you more about the actual event. It’s a free admission “Meet the Makers” gathering on Tuesday, March 29 at Zapp Hall in Warrenton, TX with various creatives and entrepreneurs who have been featured in the 2016 issues of WWC. The lineup is incredible…I cannot wait to meet these wonderful humans myself! So we’ll be hanging out between 3-5PM, chatting, listening to live music, inspiring and being inspired! It would be SO amazing if you could make it out! It’s going to be so much fun.

You can find all the details on the images below! Do you think you’ll be able to make it out?? I hope I see you!!

See you at Vintage Round Top for TRIBE with Where Women Cook!! - offbeat + inspired

See you at Vintage Round Top for TRIBE with Where Women Cook!! - offbeat + inspired

 

I’m Doing A Workshop!! In Texas! At Vintage Round Top!!

I'm Doing A Workshop!! In Texas! At Vintage Round Top!! - offbeat + inspired

I’ve only done one workshop before in my life. It was in Cincinnati a couple years ago with Anna Liesemeyer (In Honor of Design), and it was WONDERFUL! I really didn’t know what to expect, but I ended up loving it so much. Workshops come in all shapes and sizes, but the focus of my segment was on finding your social media “voice”. A few stories and laughs later, I did a table styling demonstration followed by an iPhoneography/editing tutorial! I’ll be covering the same bases at my Vintage Round Top workshop, and I’m SO excited to be co-hosting with Travis of Manready Mercantile! Oh, and there will be goodies. Does anyone love Philosophy? ;)

There are only a few spots left, so reserve yours HERE! I really REALLY hope to see you! Oh and I found out Jana (Vintage Whites) is going to be there, so I’m basically beside myself. She is one of my favorites in the universe. JUST ANOTHER REASON FOR YOU GUYS TO COME!!

Date: Wednesday, March 30th from 9:30AM-noon!

Location: The Vintage Round Top, 1450 N. Hwy 237, Round Top, Texas 78954

And if you really can’t make it, I’ll try to understand. But at least follow the adventure on Instagram! :D

A Subscription Box for Foodies + Adventurers THAT I LOVE!

A Subscription Box for Foodies + Adventurers THAT I LOVE! - offbeat + inspired

I posted last month on Instagram about THE COOLEST foodie subscription box I’ve ever tried. It’s called Hole In Wall Box and here’s why it’s my new favorite:

1. (literally my number 1 reason..) Each box is like an edible/sniffable city guide. The contents are sourced entirely from the featured city, and when you’re done tearing through the box, it feels like you’ve actually been there. I absolutely LOVE this and it’s why this subscription is so unique! I got to try the “San Diego” box. A city I’ve never visited, but now I really feel like I know it better. And when I DO visit, I know exactly where to explore first!

2. The items in the box are well curated and very high quality. Jeremy and William (co-founders) are avid travelers themselves, and have a passion for exploring the little-known, often overlooked “holes in the wall” in cities all over the world. These are the ones that are celebrated in each box.

3. There’s a new city every other month, and your input is SUPER valuable. If there’s a city you’d like them to feature, TELL THEM! They’ll probably end up doing it!

A Subscription Box for Foodies + Adventurers THAT I LOVE! - offbeat + inspired

A Subscription Box for Foodies + Adventurers THAT I LOVE! - offbeat + inspired

A Subscription Box for Foodies + Adventurers THAT I LOVE! - offbeat + inspired

A Subscription Box for Foodies + Adventurers THAT I LOVE! - offbeat + inspired

A Subscription Box for Foodies + Adventurers THAT I LOVE! - offbeat + inspired

The stuff inside was so good, I ate half of it before I got a chance to snap a photo. THAT’S A GOOD SIGN.

So if you need more of this kinda thing in your life, subscribe and check out the current/upcoming cities!

You can also follow Hole In Wall Box on Instagram and Facebook!

Tell me what you think!! Which city would you like to see them box up and deliver to your doorstep next??

Nashville Exploring + the Warmest Winter EVER with Brooklyn Bicycle Co.

Nashville Exploring + the Warmest Winter EVER with Brooklyn Bicycle Co. - offbeat + inspired

Back home, I always considered “the north” to be EXTREME north. Basically the Canadian border. It’s lake-effect snow, sub-zero winters, local skiing, maple syrup fresh from the tree and basically any scene from Fargo. Living in Nashville, I’m learning that “the north” means anything upwards of Tennessee, where it’s not uncommon to cut down your Christmas tree in a t-shirt. And I’m kinda torn.

Keep reading!

Campfires, Cocoa + Minnetonkas

Campfires, Cocoa + Minnetonkas - offbeat + inspired

This is definitely one of my favorite combinations in the world…campfires, the outdoors, hot chocolate, cozy clothes, sunsets and good friends. Simple, magical, and getting to feel adventurous right in the backyard. This was such a welcome retreat from the craziness that is November/December. The holidays seriously snuck up on me this year! I’ve been so busy settling into Nashville that when I finally came up for air, it was Thanksgiving week! And now Christmas is right around the corner. It’s ok though, campfires like this one will be my reality check – all is right with the world when you’ve got sweet ones to share life with and a good pair of shoes.

Keep reading!

Salted Bourbon Brownies + Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream! #ButterSeason

Salted Bourbon Brownies With Organic Valley Butter - offbeat + inspired #ButterSeason

I happen to love the fact that Christmas season starts at 12:01 AM on November 1st. I love that I went to the mall the other day to get my shattered phone screen fixed (again), and was met with the comforting warble of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald’s “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and a jolly See’s Candies employee handing out free chocolate lollipops. I love that as abruptly as the holiday magic begins, my kitchen turns into a buttery, chocolatey, flour-y wonderland where I retreat regularly to create and let the inspiration (and sugar) fly.

Keep reading!

A Weekday Brunch, Vintage Inspiration & Mini Quiche Lorraine + Pancake Skewers with Warm Maple Butter

A Weekday Brunch, Vintage Inspiration & Mini Quiche Lorraine + Pancake Skewers with Warm Maple Butter - offbeat + inspired #VintageCharm

Thrifting for kitchen stuff is my favorite. I love that I can give myself a $10-$15 budget and an afternoon at the flea market, and walk away with a pile of treasures. I’ll go straight to the section with tables full of vintage dishes as far as the eye can see, and daydream about swimming through a sea of them cartoon-style — remember the duck in the vault with the gold coins? Yeah, that.

Keep reading!