2017 Spring Favorites

Happy Friday, everyone!  ?

Thought I’d take a break from recipes today and chime in with an update on life behind the scenes around here this spring.

First off, can I just take a second to shout from the rooftops how THRILLED I am that we’ve finally sprung forward?!?  It’s no secret here on the blog that I’ve never been a big fan of cold weather.  But as I mentioned on my personal Instagram account recently, man, my body just seemed to have an especially rough time with winter this year, which was weird and disorienting and frustrating during a season that should have felt so happy and exciting and fun with being newly engaged and all that jazz.  But — now that spring has arrived, and our city is warming back up, and the sun is shining later and longer each day — my little mind and heart are being seasonally affected for the better again.  And those pesky winter clouds seem to be lifting.  And life is starting to feel so wonderfully warm and good and exciting again.

And…I can’t wait to get married in 42 days!!!

I also have some more exciting news about this coming year that I’ll be sharing here very soon, so stay tuned for that.  But suffice it to say, 2017 is shaping up to be a mega year to remember in my little corner of the world.  Feeling so grateful for the wild adventure of it all today, and for this handsome man who’s now by my side, and for all of you who’ve so wonderfully been there with me through it all.  Your presence and support here in this little corner of the internet means the world to me, as always.  And not a day goes by that I don’t give thanks for you and this wild world wide web that brought us together.

I hope that you are all well, and enjoying a warm and lovely day wherever life may find you today.  Here’s the latest on life around here this Spring…

INSTAGRAM

So, I’ve gotta say, one of my favorite things I’m actually loving the most this spring is…Instagram!  Specifically, my little personal Instagram account about everyday life behind the scenes of the blog (with zero recipe photos) — @gimmesomeali.

Instagram used to be my favorite social media platform.  But, like many bloggers, my @gimmesomeoven account morphed into a space for 100% food and recipe stuff awhile back — which is cool, but definitely turned it more into a work-related thing for me rather than feeling like it was just for fun.  And lately, I’ve realized that I have totally missed the just for fun!

So this spring, I decided to resurrect my old personal account and start posting on it a little more regularly again.  And it’s been so fun!  For the first time in years, Instagram has started to feel like a creative outlet again, and a place to document my IRL photos.  Hoping to stay on the ball with it more regularly over the coming year, so feel free to follow along if you’d like.  ??

(Oh, and also on the Instagram note, are you all loving Insta stories as much as I am?  If so, be sure to check out this great tutorial I saw yesterday on Sugar & Cloth about cool IG story tips and tricks.  Most all of these were new to me!)

WEDDING PLANNING

Whenever our friends check in on how wedding planning is going lately, our answer is usually somewhere along the lines of — “wellllll, it’ll all eventually get done, right?!”  ?

We still have a pretty long list of small details to wrap up.  But by this point, thankfully all of the big items are at least crossed off the list:

  • ✔️ venue (Union Station)
  • ✔️ catering (Brancato’s + a surprise dessert)
  • ✔️ music (our talented friends)
  • ✔️ officiant (Barclay’s dad)
  • ✔️ dress (sneak peek above)
  • ✔️ honeymoon (this dreamy spot in the land of mezcal)

Just about everything else — namely, decor — keeps getting simplified, simplified, simplified.  Before we got engaged, I had imagined that I would Pinterest the heck out of this wedding with DIYs and cute decor touches galore.  But this winter ended up getting b-u-s-y.  And frankly, by time we’re done with work each day, Barclay and I have just wanted to kick back and go on dates and hang out with our friends, rather than work on wedding stuff.  So simplicity has become the name of the game for us.  (Plus, it’s looking like we’re going to have an awesome — and very large — crowd of our favorite people together at this wedding.  And thus, we’ve discovered that cute Pinterest-y place settings sound way less fun when you’re cranking out 350 of them. ?)

That said, the one big wedding to-do that we are excited to work on more this next month is planning is the ceremony itself.  As a former professional wedding singer (fun fact — I’ve probably sat through at least 200 wedding ceremonies), I’m really excited about creating a meaningful ceremony that feels really like “us”.  We’ve started working through the basics with Barclay’s dad.  And we’re starting to think about vows (Barclay really wants us to write our own vows, and I want to say traditional vows…so we’re compromising and doing both).  But we still have yet to research readings and settle on scriptures and music.  So if any of you have any great suggestions, would love to hear ’em!

We also have our second (of four!) wedding shower this weekend, which I’m really looking forward to.  I’ll report back more on those in a separate post later because — oh my goodness, guys — I was totally unprepared for how special and moving and they would be!  Like, seriously, I still get teary thinking about the first shower, and we’re not even halfway through them.  ?  Our friends and family = extraordinary.

YOGA

I also decided around the new year that 2017 would be the year I got back into yoga.  ??

For the past few years, I’ve been alternating my workouts mostly between my elliptical and walking outside and Barre3, which have all been great.  But I’ve been wanting to work on my posture and flexibility lately.  (<– Especially considering how much time I spend sitting at my computer, which seems to be the worst for your body in every way.)  Also, I’ve become obsessed recently with how good my body feels after I spend a few minutes doing some deep-breathing, and I’ve looking for ways to incorporate more of that into my days.  Also, one of my best friends is currently in yoga-teacher-school right now and has been sharing all sorts of compelling stuff she’s learning, which has been an extra motivating kick in the yoga-pants to get back to practicing.

So…yoga it is!

I’ve started attending the weekly yoga class that Barclay organizes (and sometimes co-leads) at his office.  And twice or so a week at home, I’ve been trying out new classes on YogaGlo.com (which has sooooo many options).  And it’s been great.  And….pretty humbling, especially considering how much flexibility I’ve lost over the past few years.  But it feels good to be making (very) slow and steady progress forward with that, and learning more about my body and how to give grace to it along the way.  Feels like just the right thing for this season of life.

Oh, and I also mayyyyy have taken this new-habit-resolution as an excuse to go shopping for some new yoga swag this spring.  Some of my favorites?

  • Girlfriend Collective Leggings — Totally obsessed with these.  I was one of the thousands who signed up for their Kickstarter with free leggings, and man, they nailed it and completely sold me on the design.  The fabric is super-strong and smooth, they don’t bunch or roll down, they sit in a flattering place above the hips, and I would happily wear them every day.  Totally planning to purchase another pair or two once they go on sale this spring.
  • Zella Twisty Tea — Love this simple top from Nordstrom.  Super comfy and cozy.
  • Sanuk Yoga Slings — I’ve had a pair of these for about a year now, but they get an honorable mention here because they are made from real yoga mats and are the comfiest shoes I own.  I pad around in them all day while I’m working and running errands and walking the dog, and love ’em!
  • Zum Yoga Mat Cleaner — Made by one of my favorite Kansas City companies, all-natural, and smells great.  (Also, if you need a massage afterwards, this oil is a favorite amongst my friends in KC.  Smells amazing!)

ALBUM RELEASE

This Spring, everyone at my church has been celebrating the release of our latest worship album — Bright Hopes!

As I’ve mentioned on here before, I actually used to work as a musician and worship leader at a church in my previous job, and still get really excited when I hear about good new worship music being written.  (<– Let’s be honest, it can be hard to find.)  So I feel especially lucky nowadays to be part of a church that sings mostly original music from our community that I love each Sunday.  And love getting to play keys and sing as part of the band there once a month.  And love when our favorite are recorded into a new album every few years…like this one!

If this isn’t your kind of thing, no pressure at all here.  But if you’d like to take a listen, you can check it our for free on Spotify, or support the musicians and buy it on iTunes.  (And if you’re a church musician and want chord charts to play any of these songs, you can find those here.) . Here are a few of my favorite tracks that I’d recommend:

Also, if you listen closely, you can hear Yours Truly singing harmonies on a few of the songs.  ??

SPRING GREENS

Finally…I can’t talk about spring without mentioning all of this fresh green food growing in our city again!

First off, I’m thrilled that the City Market (see below ?) here in Kansas City has finally opened back up for the season.  Soaking up every last second here in this neighborhood before I move.

Also, I just signed up again to be a part of the New Roots For Refugees CSA, which begins next month.  (KC readers — I think there’s still time to sign up if you’re interested.  It’s the best!)  My farmer friend, SiSi, grows the most amazing organic veggies and herbs in her garden with the program, and sent me home with a bag full of fresh spinach, kale and mint when I saw her last week.  Made me all the more excited for weekly pick-ups to begin soon.

Otherwise, I’ve mostly been obsessed this spring with just eating as many greens as possible.  Barclay and I have been obsessed with steaming lots of artichokes and grilling asparagus lately.  But other favorite recipes have included:

WISHING YOU A LOVELY SPRING AHEAD!

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27 comments on “2017 Spring Favorites”

  1. 42 days, that’s so soon! Hope all is going well with the preparations! :)

    Charmaine Ng

  2. Awwwww, I love that Barclay’s dad is going to be your officiant! :) Can’t wait to see all of the pictures of your big day. Enjoy these last few weeks of being engaged!

  3. So excited for you and Barclay!

    As for picking a Scripture reading, my advice would be to read it aloud first. It always looks shorter on paper. My husband likes to say, “Remember when Beth read half the book of Philippians at our wedding?” As a big brother, he conveniently forgets we assigned her that long passage, and assumes that she just wanted to be the center of attention with a mini-sermon. :)

  4. As someone who also struggles with SAD, I’m right there with you celebrating the arrival of spring. It’s amazing how much better things feel once we get past Daylight Savings time, right?! ??  I also didn’t realize you were a singer.  I will have to check out that album…..congratulations!

  5. We had this quote at our ceremony and really loved it. :)

    “But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.

    To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take. If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.” – Madeline L’Engle

  6. I didn’t realize we were going to be wedding day twins! June 2nd is going to be a great day! ;) Congratulations, girl!

  7. Yay for spring! BTW, the last photo is beautiful. I love your dress & shoes. Where ever did you get them??

  8. Could you tell me where you got the shoes (the brown ones) in your engagement pics? LOVE them!
    So exciting about all your wedding plans, it’s coming up so fast, best of luck!!

  9. Love reading your wedding plans as we prepare for our June 10th wedding!  We decided to nix the DIY Pinterest stuff too and it has been such a stress relief to trade off simplicity for a shorter to-do list.  As for scripture we decided on these 2 passages.  
    Ruth 1:16-17
    1 John 4:13-19
    I love the one from Ruth because it reads like marriage vows.  And the 1 John sums up everything we believe about love :). Happy planning!

    • Love those two scriptures. :) And love that you’re also having a June wedding! Cheers to simplicity, for sure. :)

  10. Such fun and exciting things happening Ali!!! Love the album! Well done!

  11. If I can make a quick plug, I’m a yoga teacher and post prayer and yoga sequences you might enjoy. :) I just finished a whole series for Lent. PrayerandYoga.com Also, if you’re looking for a great app, I love the Yoga Studio app. (Not mine or anything, just one I really like). Glad you’re enjoying yoga! :)

  12. I’m so happy for you, Ali! I always enjoy reading your lifestyle posts. Sending strength your way as you prepare for the big day (in 42 days!)
    Also, I so much love the singer part of you. I once listened to you sing a song on YouTube encouraging bloggers and it really blessed me. When I feel overwhelmed, I remember that song. You are such an inspiration. All the best with your plans.

  13. For the SAD stuff during winter- have you looked into light bulbs hat are the same wave length as sunlight? They come in something like a table lamp (my mom has one she sits beside for 30 minutes a morning in fall and winter) or as big as kitchen lights (I have them in my kitchen because I. Spend lots of time in there). They really help offset the winter blues quiet a bit. 

  14. Hi Ali,

    42 days, it’s so soon! How exciting for you both! I think it’s great that you’ve nixed the Pinterest stuff. Neither you nor Barclay needs the stress. 

    When planning music, most couples don’t give much thought to the processional and just go with Handel. But if you want to make it more romantic to set the tone for the day, pick something hopeful and dreamy, and a little less staccato. We chose an instrumental of Elvis Presley’s arrangement of “Can’t Help Falling In Love”. Instantly recognizable, it drew an audible “awww” from the assembly. Friends of ours went with the equally dreamy “Whiter Shade of Pale”. Instrumental, of course, because the lyrics would make everyone ask WTF? And the bride’s grandmother would have had a coronary. But the instrumental was perfectly lovely. 

  15. We were just in Puerto Escondido in March. It was wonderful!!! That resort looks perfect!

  16. You are just about the cutest thing ever! I have loved your blog for a long time and you just keep getting better and better. I’m sending you prayers and best wishes for a beautiful wedding and life filled with love! Go for it!!
    ~Donya

  17. Oh my gosh, I am missing have a garden right now to grow my own food. Unfortunately my little corner of Korea doesn’t have a fresh veggie delivery service. :( Congratulations on getting married soon, that’s so exciting!