My Nashville UBER Story

My UBER Story - tifforelie

About two weeks after Kappel’s accident, I left the house for the first time. Up to that point, I was trying to re-learn very basic things like eating and sleeping. Conversations were limited to the friends who so beautifully planted themselves by my side, and they got the full, raw, completely unedited flood of everything I was thinking and feeling as it came to me. When I was ready to leave the house, I remember Uber-ing because I couldn’t be alone just yet. Everything outside my front door was a memory attached to more memories. The corner a block away with telephone pole, dented because of a goofy u-turn Kappel took only a few weeks prior, the sushi place he took me to on our last date, the church on Thompson Lane I turned left at every time I went to his house. It all hurt.

I remember calling an Uber to Sam & Zoe’s, a favorite cafe. It was my first time going out alone, and I knew the route would take me through the intersection where the accident happened. I remember deciding early on not to avoid my regular spots. Avoidance would easily become a habit and that would have made staying in Nashville impossible.

I didn’t know how I’d feel riding past Eugenia Avenue and Sidco Drive, but I was happy to be with a stranger who had no idea what I’d been through. It meant I could be silent and feel what I needed to without questions. But as we approached, I was overwhelmed. I tried hard to hold it together, but I had to say something.

Me: Can I ask a personal question?
Driver: Yes.
Me: Have you ever lost someone?

I needed to connect. I needed to know I wasn’t alone.

Driver: Yes. My brother died in a motorcycle accident last year. We were best friends.

He told me the story of the tattoo on his arm and how he got it right after his brother’s accident. It had the date of his death and a quote from their childhood.

Me: I lost someone a few weeks ago. This is the intersection where it happened.

He told me it would get better. We got to Sam & Zoe’s, he turned around and shook my hand. It meant the world to me and my heart rested.

My Nashville UBER Story - tifforelie

Over the next few months, I prompted the same conversation with every one of my Uber drivers. “Can I ask a personal question?” and then, “Have you ever lost someone?” And every one of them shared. They all opened up, and they all wanted to hear my story too. I felt so cared for by these sweet strangers and it helped heal me.

About a month ago, Uber reached out and asked me to be a part of a video project they were doing that focused on driver stories. Obviously, I said yes and told them about the love I had for my drivers and how instrumental they were in the beginning phases of my grieving process. We couldn’t believe what a perfect fit this partnership was. I was going to adventure around Nashville with a local who had been driving for a few years and learn all about them. It’s AMAZING how the company is diving into the lives of these precious people. They aren’t just drivers, they’re stunning humans with stories worth hearing.

So I met the Uber team and Jim (my driver) downtown a couple months ago. Jim was great! He was hilarious, so kind, and lives in Nashville as a musician. We shot video of our ride through the city and talked about our favorite spots and what it’s like living here as a creative. It’s really inspiring to meet someone for the first time and have nearly identical stories about the positive impact Nashville has had our lives. We also had a few of the same favorite haunts like Frothy Monkey, Village Pub, 3 Crow, and I got to share a few of mine he hadn’t visited yet!

My Nashville UBER Story - tifforelie

Village Pub! Mule Monday is our favorite.


My Nashville UBER Story - tifforelie

Fort Louise right next door to Village Pub!


My Nashville UBER Story - tifforelie

Killebrew Coffee in the lobby at the Thompson Hotel downtown!


My Nashville UBER Story - tifforelie

Cafe Roze in East Nashville!


Anyway, here’s the video we shot!

I hope you guys love it, I hope it inspires your own stories, and I hope it opens up some amazing conversations with YOUR drivers. This is everything I’ve been learning in a nutshell. There is so much more to every one of us if we’ll be courageous enough to let each other see it, or if we’ll be courageous enough to ask.

P.S. There’s a new feature on the Uber app I was excited to find out about called “Saved Places” which is really cool because you can basically make a little city guide for yourself and save it so you don’t have to look up your regular destinations every time you Uber. SO easy, and a feature I’ll totally be using.

The Best Brunch Menu EVER | A Video With Nikki Phillippi!!

GUYS! I’m so excited to share this with you. My amazing, wonderful friend (and incredible YouTuber) Nikki came to Nashville a couple weeks ago and we spent an afternoon creating and filming three KILLER brunch recipes together. They kill because, A) they’re SO simple and use SO few ingredients, B) they seem MUCH fancier than they actually are! and C) they’re ACTUALLY DELICIOUS. I won’t waste ANY more of your time because you need to just watch and get eating. So here’s the video, and the detailed recipes are below!!

The Menu
All of which have been featured on my Instagram stories numerous times.

Stovetop Kale + Eggs
Peach Galette
Oeufs en Cocotte

Stovetop Kale + Eggs
Serves 4

1 sweet onion, sliced or chopped (your preference)
4 handfuls of chopped kale
6-8 large eggs
butter (or olive oil) for the pan
salt + pepper to taste

Heat butter or olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet over medium.

Add onions to the pan and cook until they’re translucent.

Add kale and toss with salt + pepper until the kale cooks down by half.

Crack the eggs over the kale, season with a little more salt + pepper, cover the pan and steam until the yolks form a white film. Continue to steam past this point if you like your yolks more well done!

Serve and enjoy!


Peach Galette
Serves 4-6

The Crust

Make your dough ahead of time because it needs to chill for 2 hours!

I absolutely love this recipe on Serious Eats and have not deviated from it at ALL. So do yourself a huge favor and just bookmark this page for all future pie-making endeavors.

I use half of that recipe to make 1 peach galette! If you want, make the full recipe and save half the dough for another night! It keeps really well in the fridge!

The Filling

2 large, ripe yellow peaches, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, beaten
about 2 tbsp coarse turbinado sugar

When the dough is done chilling, preheat your oven to roll it out into a rough 14-inch circle on a floured surface. And remember, the circle can be ROUGH. That’s the whole point of a galette! Imperfect is better! Once the dough is rolled out, transfer it to a piece of parchment paper.

Arrange the fruit in the center of the dough however you want, keeping a 3 inch border around the edges. My favorite is layering the slices pinwheel-style. If you do it that way, start from the outside in!

Once your fruit is arranged, sprinkle the granulated sugar over the top. It will look like too much sugar, but don’t worry! It will cook down beautifully!

Fold the edges of the dough over the sides of the fruit and brush generously with your beaten egg to seal the crust. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the crust and move the parchment paper with your galette to a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden!

Let it cool for about 10 minutes before serving with vanilla bean ice cream or homemade whipped cream!


Oeufs en Cocotte
Serves 4

12 baby bella mushrooms, minced
4 shallots, minced
1/4 cup salted butter, European style
1 cup of heavy cream (or more if you want a thinner gravy)
salt + pepper to taste
4 large eggs
1 baguette, sliced and toasted (optional, to serve on the side for dipping!)

Fill a large pot with about 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer.

While the pot of water is on, melt about 1/4 cup of butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet.

Once the butter is melted and bubbling, add shallots and mushrooms to the pan. Cook until the onions are soft, then add heavy cream until the mushrooms and shallots are covered.

Add salt and pepper, and simmer until the cream thickens.

Divide the gravy evenly among 4 ramekins, and crack 1 egg into each.

Carefully place the ramekins into the pot of simmering water, cover and steam until the yolks form a white film. You can cook longer than this if you want your yolks more well done!

Uncover the pot and remove ramekins with a pair of tongs.

Serve with toasted baguette slices or biscuits!

PLEASE let me know what you think of these recipes and the video in the comments! And let me know if you’d like us to do more of these! ALSO, here’s a link to the last video I did with Nikki where I talked about grief, healing and hope!

Follow me on Insta @tifforelie for live stories and regular photography/wanderings/musings!

CMA Music Festival with DSW!

CMA Music Festival with DSW! - offbeat + inspired

I had so much fun last weekend partnering with DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse at CMA Music Festival! It was my first CMA Fest experience and I really loved it. It was surreal wandering downtown, streets closed off, full of booths, tents, stages, food trucks. I’ve never seen Nashville like that. REALLY cool.

CMA Music Festival with DSW! - offbeat + inspired

CMA Music Festival with DSW! - offbeat + inspired

So DSW has basically been on a cross-country road trip for their #MarchOn campaign, setting up this amazing little pop-up shop at festivals and events across the US.

CMA Music Festival with DSW! - offbeat + inspired

CMA Music Festival with DSW! - offbeat + inspired

I’m so glad they came through Nashville. Exploring with one of the sweet gals from their team was so much fun. We stopped at a few of the stages and bars lining Broadway, checked out DSW’s mini pop-up where customers got to make custom bracelets for free, and eventually wandered out to the pedestrian bridge where we had an amazing view of the big stage with a HUGE crowd right on the Cumberland River. I loved the boats sneaking up on the show. Hilarious, amazing, magical.

CMA Music Festival with DSW! - offbeat + inspired

I got to snag a few pairs of shoes from the collection for my summer adventures. The favorites: Adidas Neo Courtset Sneakers

CMA Music Festival with DSW! - offbeat + inspired

…and Lucky Brand’s Larise Bootie in Black! Love love love.

CMA Music Festival with DSW! - offbeat + inspired

Guys. This just makes me so excited for summer! Where will you be adventuring this season?!

Check out my posts from the festival on Instagram here and here. AND follow the rest of DSW’s US tour on Instagram here!

CMA Music Festival with DSW! - offbeat + inspired

Sailing with Celebrity | Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica + Mexico

Sailing with Celebrity | Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica + Mexico - offbeat + inspired

Happy 2017! Can’t believe it came this fast. So much has happened in the last year. I’ll devote another post to a full update on all of that, but for this one I want to share about one of the last significantly healing things I did in 2016. I got to work with Sionnie and Celebrity Cruises again. And this time, we went to the Caribbean!

Sailing with Celebrity | Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica + Mexico - offbeat + inspired

I didn’t blog about my first cruise with Celebrity (which was also my first cruise ever). The one where my dear friend Sionnie and I went to Europe only 2 weeks after the accident. As you can imagine, that trip was extremely difficult, and profoundly beautiful. The Celebrity team graciously gave me the option of backing out of the contract I had originally signed with Kappel, but Sionnie said she would come with me and we decided that completing the job would be the best way to begin my own healing journey, and honor the dream Kappel and I had of going to Europe to tell an adventure story we believed in. (You can see the video we made here.)

Fast forward 6 months to Sionnie and I boarding a Celebrity ship again. Location: Cartagena, Colombia.

Sailing with Celebrity | Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica + Mexico - offbeat + inspired

By now, I’m used to the fact that the Celebrity team consists of absolute angels. They feel like old friends the second you meet them. So we had a built in family for our second ocean journey, this time aboard Equinox.

It was so strange that the last time I was on a ship like that, I was right in the middle of the hardest thing I’ve ever walked through in my life. It was pretty amazing to be in that place again, this time with 6 months of healing behind me. It was beautiful to have Sionnie there, to “check in” and talk about all that had changed. So many wonderful things. I felt like a different person. I had access to so many brand new treasures…deeper joy, rest, freedom, hope. They had become daily realities instead of hazy anticipations. It was such an affirming realization.

Sailing with Celebrity | Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica + Mexico - offbeat + inspired

Colombia was marvelous. It was like a cross between the colorful plaster buildings of Tulum and the flowery overgrown balconies of New Orleans. Absolutely stunning. And then we set sail for Panama!

Sailing with Celebrity | Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica + Mexico - offbeat + inspired

Ship life is lovely. Even though this was only my 2nd cruise ever, we’d developed a few routines. A morning cortado and a gluten free coconut macaron at Cafe al Bacio, a reading/napping session in the actual grass (for real, there’s grass) outside The Lawn Club on the upper deck, lunch at Oceanview Cafe, hammock lounging by the Solarium Pool, dinner at one of the many AMAZING fine dining eateries on board, with menus expertly crafted by my friend and extraordinarily talented Chef Cornelius Gallagher (Luminae, Tuscan Grille, Sushi on Five, Blu and Murano to name a few…), and FINALLY, our favorite part…dancing and karaoke-ing at Sky Lounge, Martini Bar or Quasar. We live for the dance parties.

Sailing with Celebrity | Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica + Mexico - offbeat + inspired

Sailing with Celebrity | Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica + Mexico - offbeat + inspired

Sailing with Celebrity | Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica + Mexico - offbeat + inspired

Panama was bustling. We ported in Colón and wandered for a few hours in the heat. I loved it. There was so much going on! The marketplace was absolutely packed. Street after street full of carts, bins, spices, vegetables, buying, selling, so much noise, an organized chaos of culture that I wanted to marinate in and just LEARN. Every few steps there were locals warning us to hide our cameras, and I tried. But I had to snag a few shots.

Sailing with Celebrity | Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica + Mexico - offbeat + inspired

Sailing with Celebrity | Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica + Mexico - offbeat + inspired

Sailing with Celebrity | Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica + Mexico - offbeat + inspired

Next was Costa Rica. We took a bus to the rainforest…and we zip lined. THAT was pure magic. In the misty treetops gliding over a lush bed of green, imagining getting sneezed on by a Brachiosaurus (ya feel me?). Oh, and I saw a sloth up close. I’d text Kristin Bell if I had her number.

Sailing with Celebrity | Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica + Mexico - offbeat + inspired

Sailing with Celebrity | Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica + Mexico - offbeat + inspired

Sailing with Celebrity | Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica + Mexico - offbeat + inspired

Last was Cozumel. Mexico is so near and dear to my heart, I enjoyed every minute I got to stare at that wild sunset kissing the ocean.

Sailing with Celebrity | Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica + Mexico - offbeat + inspired

The end of our adventure was bittersweet. We drove up to Cancun, said goodbye to all our new friends and flew home.

The idea of cruising had always been sort of lost on me. I love exploring too much to be “stuck inside a resort” for an entire trip. But that’s not what Celebrity is about. They want you to explore. They’re passionate about it. They want to give you a place to rest and unpack your things so you can see that great big world AND have a spot to come home to while you do it. I love that. They take really great care of everyone that sets foot on their ships. They took care of me while I was going through the hardest season of my life and I hope we continue to work together as this journey unfolds.

Sailing with Celebrity | Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica + Mexico - offbeat + inspired

If anyone is interested in a trip like this one, Equinox is now doing the Caribbean year-round for an “Endless Summer”. They have sailings departing from both Miami and Ft. Lauderdale!

This post was sponsored by Celebrity Cruises, but all stories and opinions shared are 100% my own!

Our Last Adventure | Hawaii

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired

I’ve discovered a lot over the last few weeks. I’ve discovered how beautiful the people in my life really are. How precious what I had with Kappel actually was, and how my heart has come to process those things as time slowly passes. I say “discovered” because when blurry images become sharp, it feels like you’re seeing them for the first time. I knew we went on a disproportionate amount of adventures. I knew the things he loved to do complemented the things I loved to do, and that our hearts wanted to move through life in the same direction. But the details that filled in the space of our relationship sometimes flowed beneath the radar. They came naturally, and now that I have distance from him I’m able to notice them in a way I couldn’t before. Details like how much we changed and inspired each other. How I finally learned to ride a motorcycle because he pushed me to tackle that dream. How we both geeked out over Playmobils and woke up the little kids in each other. How he fell in love with food because I loved it so much. We learned so many new things about ourselves because of each other. I have to collapse under that truth sometimes and just cry. We let ourselves be seen, and be changed for the better by each other. I think that’s the most beautiful thing we ever accomplished.

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired

Our last big trip was to Hawaii with Bon Appétit and the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau. It was a food-focused journey that led us across the four islands of Oahu, Kauai, Maui and The Big Island. We tasted all the things, and loved it. I would normally write about an experience like that from my own perspective. I would talk about what I loved in each place, what the tastes were like, what spots I would recommend based on my own preferences…but I don’t want to do that here. I want to talk about what Kappel loved. I want to share what it was like to watch him light up over bruschetta at The Pig & The Lady on Oahu. I want to talk about his favorites, the places he would have told you to go, because my heart exploded every time he got excited about food. I knew it was something we loved together…and was a part of him that came alive a little more when he was with me.

So here’s how Kappel tasted Hawaii, and another batch of reasons I love him so much.

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired


Kappel loved the shrimp trucks. We drove aimlessly one afternoon and ended up on the north shore at Macky’s Sweet Shrimp Truck where we holed up under a big umbrella at a picnic table while a storm blew in. He got the garlic butter shrimp over white rice with a side of vegetables. I got the lemon shrimp. He tasted both and definitely preferred the garlic (so did I).

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired

We visited the Hawaiian Shochu Company to learn about (and taste) Japan’s favorite drink next to sake. It was a private tour with the sweet owner, and Kappel couldn’t get enough of his stories. Usually, he would film while I talked to people. But he loved the conversation so much that I took over camera duty. I loved watching him be free while getting to know people, absorbing what they were passionate about and celebrating it with them. At the end of the tour, we did a tasting. Shochu is a rice-based spirit with sweet potato, fermented with Koji-kin, a mold used to break down the starches in the rice and potato. The flavors came through beautifully, and we departed with 2 bottles. We had no room left in our bags, but Kappel was determined to get them home and he made it happen. My bottle is unopened, on the counter in my kitchen. I’ll keep it there.

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired


Koloa Rum Company was a lot of fun. We went for a tasting, learned a lot about rum, and Kappel insisted that we buy the Mai-Tai mix and a bottle of coffee rum. From there, we drove out to the canyon and stopped along the way for a coffee rum picnic. He loved that moment. We sat on the edge while the fog rolled out, sipped and took pictures.

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired

We went on an official Kauai food tour and got to stop at Wailua Shave Ice. It was a beachy, cherry red, happy little trailer and Kappel got the Stumptown Coffee flavor. I got a fruity one, he tasted both, preferred the Stumptown. We were both really impressed by how refreshing the shave ice was.

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired


O’o Farm was incredible. It’s a full farm to table experience. It starts with a tour. You eat from the trees and pick your own salad, then you make your way to the dining area where the chef gives a menu intro, then you make friends while everything comes to life. Finally, you eat on a beautiful hillside at a big family table. With our full plates in front of us, new friends next to us, and a sweet breeze blowing, we looked at each other and said, “What is our life??” Beautiful.

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired

The Mai Tais at Humuhumunukunukuapuaa (say it 5x fast) spoiled us both. We spent an evening at the bar, tasting what became our favorite beverage of the entire trip. Kappel loved that they weren’t too sweet, and that the fruit flavors were so fresh. We agreed they were the best, and would recommend them across the boards.

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired


On our last day, we met at Daylight Mind Coffee Company for breakfast before heading out for a day of shooting with Mark and Soni from Moon & Turtle and the HVCB team. Kappel loved the food at Daylight Mind. We had dinner at one of their other locations earlier on in the trip, and that was a great experience too. I ordered the Avocado Toast that morning and he had the Eggs Benedict. He LOVED Eggs Benedict, so was pretty picky and Daylight Mind nailed it.

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired

Later that day, we visited Hirabara Farm where Mark cooked for all of us in the outdoor kitchen right next to the farm. Then we ate together right on the farm. We made some beautiful friends that day and it was the highlight of our entire trip. Kappel loved connecting with the owners, Pam and Kurt. He wanted to go back. We walked away feeling like they were family, and talked about making plans to visit again. When Kappel fell in love with people, I fell in love with him more. It wasn’t just about the food that day, which was incredible (Mark is an insanely talented chef). It was walking into a situation as strangers and walking away with bonds that led Soni to send me a box full of Hawaiian treats and a beautifully comforting letter when she found out about the accident.

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired

Kappel was changed by our Hawaii trip and so was I. We checked a lot of items off our bucket list, and added a lot of new ones. Our desire to travel and gather with people over food for the purpose of going deeper, loving better and connecting in a more true way grew tremendously. That’s a big part of the journey we were on, both professionally and in our relationship. That journey continues for me and I will honor it. Our hearts intertwined there. We loved people, food, and the process of overcoming fear so that we could venture into beautiful places like this and experience the hearts and souls of precious human beings. It opened up the doors to so much life, and I will keep after that. And find healing in it.

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired

Outside the Hawaiian Shochu Company

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired

Mark and Soni preparing our dinner at Hirabara Farm

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired

The Pig & The Lady, Oahu

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired

The winding road to Waimea Canyon

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired

Hirabara Farm

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired

Next to Wailua Shave Ice

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i - offbeat + inspired

Full plates at Oo Farm

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i -  offbeat + inspired

Me and my love, shot by Meghan Kay Sadler for 12th Table

Our Last Adventure | Hawai'i -  offbeat + inspired

My favorite picture of us, shot by Meghan Kay Sadler for 12th Table



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.


I love you, Kappel - offbeat + inspired

I love you, Kappel - offbeat + inspired

I love you, Kappel - offbeat + inspired

I love you, Kappel - offbeat + inspired


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 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!!! 😀 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.


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! 😀