dear angie.

Dear Angie - 

I started to write this with an accounting of how long we've been friends, and then I realized...I don't know. It's not that it's not important to me, it's just that 1) I am notoriously bad at anniversaries (ask either of my ex-husbands) and 2) I don't exactly remember a time when we weren't friends. Anyway....

I know that we don't always agree on things. It's unlike that we'll ever share political opinions, polka-dotted pants, or recipes involving meat. That's okay by me. I know that we agree that raising kids is the hardest work that there is, that gin can smooth the edges, and that lip gloss is pretty important aspect of life. When I look at the passion and energy that you bring to your daily life (and sometimes, the honest truth that you're just out of passion and energy), I am a bit jealous that I didn't find that spark, that voice, when I was your age. I know that the view from inside can sometimes be a bit out of focus, let me give you the view from the outside - you are so loved.

I hope that you've had a lovely day that involved a starbucks run, spectacular eye shadow, and at least one seranade of Happy Birthday from those littles that you love. I wish you all the best in the coming year. I know that all of your wishes will come true.

Sending light, love, and birthday blessings, 


ventage tuesday : five bucks.

VentagetuesdaysI managed to miss out on last week's brilliant ventage tuesday topic (chosen by Angie), so I decided to just go with it this week. Better late than never, right? Here are 5 things @ 5(ish) bucks each that make an appearance in my daily life... 5under5

1. Macadamia nut oil. ($5ish) I usually buy this BOGO 1/2 off, so it comes in right around $5. It's technically dry styling oil, but I use it on wet hair b/c it helps to keep frizzies away. 

2. KCups (varies). Bear with me for some creative math here. :) I normally pay $6-$8 for a box of 12 (unless I do a Costco run), so that makes these little cups of convenience about $0.58 each. 

3. Burt's Bees Lip Gloss (?). Fact: I rarely wear lipgloss during the week. I do, however, carry Burt's in my bag. I don't actually know how much it costs (for obvious reasons). 

4. Gratitude Journal App ($0.99). Love this little app, and TRY to use it daily. Even if I don't actually get around to typing, the alert that comes up on my phone at least prompts me to THINK about gratitude for a moment.

5. Great Lash Mascara ($5-6). I have a variety of mascaras laying around...some that we make, some that I've been sent, some that I've purchased and some that were benchmarks at some point. Maybelline's drugstore staple is still my go-to. 

ventage tuesday : love/hate

The Ventage Girls are an opinionated group. We know what we like...and what we don't...and we're (mostly) okay to disagree with those judgements. We also know the value of balancing gratitude with brutal honesty. Hence, the love/hate list...


*my first cup of coffee in the morning

*funny - and fun-loving - co-workers

*Instagram - seriously. It's my sanity break. 

*the delete key

*dimethicone (and it's friend - cyclomethicone). Huh? the main ingredients in anti-frizz serum



*dishes. dishes. dishes. 




*my kitchen floor

What's on your lists? Be sure to check out the other Ventage girls! 

ventage tuesday : pinterest plans

Like most of you, I *heart* Pinterest. I don't spend as much time on it as I sometimes wish...but it's my go-to site when it comes to recipes, DIY projects, and general inspiration. Don't worry google, I still rely on your for really important things, like the meaning of tube steak, and (unrelated) how to repel skunks.

This week's Ventage Tuesday is dedicated to summer Pinterest plans....

image from
1. make terrariums.

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2. Grow a ridiculous amount of basil.  

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3. Make this salad. Eat. Repeat.

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4. make ice cream sandwiches.

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5. build pallet furniture for the deck.

What are your Pinterest plans for this summer??

ventage tuesday : ventage hangover (the good kind)

image from katyat34.typepad.comThere will be #averyventageweekend post coming SOON, I promise. I will also get back to more regular blogging, I promise. Today's ventage topic is really about how to come back down to reality after spending a super-awesome-incredible-epic-glamorous-fabulous weekend with the ventage girls. And, given that I've been traveling on & off for 3 straight weeks - it's about how I get back to reality in general. Sigh. 

1. Water - H2O will be my drink of choice over the next week or so. Lots & lots of water. I enjoyed many a Wisconsin beer, a few glasses of wine, and several gin & gingers this weekend. Oh, and a mimosa with virtually every breakfast. It's now back to water. 

2. Veggies - Even as a pescetarian, my veggie intake suffers when I travel. Who wants to order a salad when there is a pan of melted cheese with apples & walnuts??? Not this girl. I'll be loading up on lots of veggies - and even MORE starting on Saturday when Austin & I embark on a raw vegan experiment (his idea!). 

3. Laundry - This is a lesson that I've learned over the years of traveling. Suitcases gets emptied directly into the washer. Clean clothes = order. 

4. Photos - I've already downloaded photos from my "real" camera, and I'll upload iPhone pics tonight. I'm going to resize & send to Costco for printing. I normally print at home, but when I've got a BUNCH, there's no way to beat the Costco route. Spending the weekend with creative friends definitely put me in the mood to tackle Project Life again. 

5. Lists - I've written before about the fact that I sometimes get my best ideas while on an airplane. I've made several lists over the past few weeks - it's time to pull them together and make plans. 

Be sure to visit the other Ventage Girls to see how they're readjusting to real life...

ventage tues(wednes)day: opposites attract

I had this post written in my head last night - so I'm considering it a legit ventage tuesday entry! This week, we're celebrating Stephanie! And by 'celebrate' - I mean that ALL FIVE VENTAGE GIRLS will share the same physical space for the first time in history. Look out world!!! 

Steph & I are probably the most opposite of the Ventage Girls. She eats bacon/I eat kale. She swoons over muscle-y guys / I lean toward skinny hipsters. She vacations at Disney/ my kids have never visited the mouse. She can recommend awesome kids programming / I forget that I have cable. Despite all of these differences? We are friends. We share a love of the Ventage Girls, scrapbooking, Target, and the well-placed "for the win" comment. Stephanie knows what it means to be a warrior mama - her battles are different than mine, for sure, but we both show up - road-weary, clutching a starbucks cup, and wearing lipgloss. 

Happy Birthday dear friend!!! See you sooooo soon!!!! 


ventage tuesday : five summer basics

VentagetuesdaysI apparently did a major purge of summer clothing before I changed out my closet last fall (can I just say that I kind of hate that part about living in the Northeast? That changing our your closet is an acutal thing? Yeah, not a fan.) I have precious few summer clothes. My summer basics are very...basic.

summer styles

I just bought this black maxi dress tonight. I think it's perfect to dress up for dinner out, but also super cute with flip-flops for everyday. I adore Target's vneck tees (wearing the grey one at the moment). Maxi skirts are the new yoga pants. White jeans are surprisingly cute (I was terrified of them for years). And...I really need a chunky turquoise necklace
Check out what the other Ventage Girls are wearing - Em, Barb, Angie & Steph.

ventage tuesday : we were late bloomers?

VentagetuesdaysI'm posting this MUCH later than anticipated...but I am determined to participate in today's Ventage Tuesday. We like to call this year the "Ventage Year of Awesome." Today, we're bringing you the "Ventage Years of Awkward." I think it's fair to say that we were late bloomers. (note, for anyone that I have known in my ENTIRE LIFE, be warned that I likely have photos of be careful how hard you laugh!)

IMG_19572 things about this photo - 1) crooked glasses much?? and 2) my Mom made that shirt and I loved that shirt. I think that I wore it in consecutive school year photos. 

IMG_1958Curly hair tip - when you don't know what to do with your hair, just keep it short.

IMG_1959This is the reason that frizz serum was invented.

IMG_1960Oh the 80's. And Sun-In. 

IMG_1961In case you thought I was all girly in the prairie skirt - BAM! preppy polo with the casually tied sweater brings the outfit home. 

IMG_1962There is SO MUCH WRONG with this photo. The hair. The yellow teeth. The XL tshirt from the men's department. Oh, but hey! I'm wearing a Swatch! 

IMG_1963Let's just call this one - go BIG or go home. 

Be sure to check out the other girls' ventage awkwardness. And please, do feel free to share your own. 

Angie, Steph, Barb & Em

light & love...again.

The Ventage Girls have been a bit out of sorts lately. I'd say that we're all taking "spring break" from Ventage Tuesdays, but that would bring to mind images of fruity drinks & sandy beaches...or at least Starbucks runs & springy new flats. The truth is, the Ventage Girls are hanging on. We're looking for the bright spots, reminding each other that we're loved, and maybe drinking an extra glass of wine (or three). I know that personally, I thought that this week held the promise of less dark & twisty, and more shiny sparkle. 

And then the bombs exploded in Boston. 

I heard about the explosions from Becky via email. Like so many others, I quickly scoured social media sites & news sites for information. We are 4 short hours from Boston. Which means that everyone knows someone - or knows someone who knows someone - that could have been there. I'll be honest, it was an hour or so before I could even process who might have been nearby. I checked on friends' Facebook statuses & Twitter feeds. I didn't call or email b/c I didn't want to add to the chaos. And...I needed to wrap my head around what was happening. I texted Hope to see if she knew what was happening. I knew that Austin would be monitoring information as it came out. I checked the news again. I watched the videos again.

I blogged on Sunday that I was "grateful for the chance to begin again. And again, and again." The word again has been haunting was the first word that came to mind when I read the word "bomb." I was living in Oklahoma...3 hours from OKC...when the federal building was attacked. Distance doesn't lessen the fear or the heartwrenching sadness. It simply felt too close. Yesterday, it felt too close, again. 

So. On this Ventage Tuesday, I'm sending light & love to Boston...and I will do it again, and again, and again.