prioritization. or “why we haven’t been around lately.”

Funny how when life hits you with a crazy spell, the things that are really essential just seem to rise to the surface and everything else kinda fades. You learn just how many times you can wear those pair of jeans before they need to be washed, how fast you can take a shower and get back to work, how to cut your working time by half while still getting the essentials done, and just how much frozen pizza you can eat to avoid cooking. And somehow, when you’re in the midst of a crazy spell like that, other things that used to be priorities fall off the radar. Over the past few months those non-essentials included, among other things, updating you all on the blog.

Now that the craziness has paused for a few weeks, it seemed appropriate to stop back and start chatting again. Hi. How are you? What’s going on?

Here’s what we’ve been up to:
Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 9.52.59 AM

Yep! That’s right! We’re both heading back to school! We’re super excited about this new adventure and can’t wait to jump into it!

We have been contemplating returning to school for quite some time now, but it’s never been the right time. This year, things finally felt right and we decided to go ahead and apply. Three months, two interviews, a personality inventory, countless hours of study, a six-hour written exam and a one-hour verbal exam later (times two, since we each had to do all of this), we were both accepted into the program.

We’re so excited about this next step in our education and lives and can’t wait to see what’s next in store. And now that the crazy hours of prepping for the exams are over, we’re excited to have some house projects in the works again. Project #1? Getting the study ready for us to practically live in it over the next few years.

In the meantime, we did do some pretty drastic work to the outside of our house one evening when we just couldn’t stare at books any longer. I’ll share some pictures soon.

For now, thanks for hanging with us, friends. We appreciate it.

around the interwebs 1.10.14

I decided I’d start sharing some of my favorite things from this past week with you all. So, here goes with some of the things I’m loving this week on the internet. Some things to make you think, some things to inspire you, some things to make you hungry. Enjoy!

This article about waiting to live life. Life is now. Not “when I ___________.”

These salted caramel brownies. Must. Make. Now.

This post about holding onto burdens. What are you holding onto? I hold onto the conviction that I really can do everything and that the reason I struggle is because I am not good enough or trying hard enough.

This couple who decided to take spoof engagement photos.

This article about loving people through cooking them meals. I couldn’t agree more.

This under-the-stairs cabinet. Why can’t I have stairs in my house?

This quiz on self-compassion. How compassionate are you towards yourself?

living intentionally

Let’s talk about resolutions.

I’ve never been much of one for New Year’s Resolutions. I struggle with the arbitrary “now is the time I’ll make changes” nature of them. And with the reality that 5 weeks into them I’m probably going to fail at them. And then I’ll just have guilt. As a recovering perfectionist, I don’t need anything reminding me of my failure or inability to meet my goals.

At the same time, I’ve always been drawn to setting goals for myself. Have you ever heard the analogy of the salmon? You know about the salmon runs? Where after they have matured in the ocean, the salmon swim upstream back to the spots where they were hatched to spawn and create the next generation of salmon. They fight the fierce waters, jumping up waterfalls and rapids to return to their home. Stop fighting for one moment, and they’ll be swept back out to sea.


So it is in life with all of us. If we stop fighting to go in the direction we want, we are carried along someplace that we don’t choose. There is no stagnant. There is no “just being.” We either move in the direction of the life that we want, or we are carried along wherever the stream wants us, be that good or bad.

I don’t want to be carried along. I want to choose my life, as much as I am able. I want to be intentional about how I spend my time, what I do with my money, how I invest in relationships, in whom I love.

Instead of making resolutions, which fail the second they are broken, I have decided to set goals for myself. I’ve decided to paint a picture of the life that I want and lay out a few action points that will push me towards that life. Laying them out this way helps me to stay intentional about life choices without setting myself up for the guilt of failure. They are something I will have to keep working towards in life the entire year. Not to assuage my guilt for something I think I should be doing or because I am unhappy. But because I want to be intentional about my life.

So, as if that weren’t enough of an intro, here’s some of my goals for this year.

1. Start my days well. 
This past year, Rob and I started walking on trails near our house first thing in the morning. We’ve never been “morning people” by any means, but we’ve come to love our mornings. Between the endorphins from exercise, having time for ourselves in the morning before we rush off to work, getting to talk to each other before the madness of the day starts, getting to see the beauty of the sunrise each day, and having time to enjoy nice meals instead of eating in the car, it just starts our days off really well. But, when the alarm rings at dark-thirty, it’s way too easy to justify staying in bed. This year, I want to be more consistent about our mornings. It’s well worth it.

2. Take time to soak in beauty and go on adventures.
I don’t know about you, but I get way too busy in life. I try to be as efficient as possible. I try to maximize the use of my time. Or, when I’ve done that for too long, I crash into a pile of mush and can’t get off the couch because I’m too exhausted for anything. I want to change the pace of life this year. I want to take a break from making dinner to go sit out on our back steps for a few moments and watch the sunset instead of worrying about having dinner on the table right away. I want to take a walk at lunch and breathe in the smell of the grass instead of trying to send another email. I want to crank the music in the car on my commute and jam out to some songs instead of squeezing in another phone call. I want to call a friend for an hour and ignore the dirty dishes in the sink. I want to make cookies for friends just because. I want to make a cup of tea and curl up with a good book instead of getting sucked into the facebook timewarp. I want to play tourist in our own town on the weekends and explore the hidden gems that I always walk past.

3. Make time to write more. 
I love writing. I love writing this blog. I love writing for a blog we have at church. I love writing papers. (Sick, I know.) But, I haven’t been writing enough lately. Why? Because it’s so time consuming. This next year, I want to make time for it. I want to research, write, and pour myself into it. For years I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use my degree. This year I want to make some opportunities.

4. Say no to good things that steal my time from great things. 
I struggle with saying no. I always feel guilty. And it’s even harder when it’s something that I would enjoy. Or something that I know is necessary or beneficial to others. But, all too often, I get involved in things that are wonderful – except that they take me away from other things that would be even better. This year I want to be more discerning in this. I want to learn to say no when I need to.

What about you? What things do you want to do to create the life that you want? How can you create goals so that you can continue to swim upstream instead of being carried by the current?

dancing through life, down at the…filoli ballroom

Hello? Unburied yourself from the piles of wrapping paper yet? We finally did, but we’re still recovering from a sugar high over here at casa marcelli….

Which is probably why (in addition to the fact that I am a dork) I keep giggling over that title. Not because it’s particularly apropos or clever. But because I actually was singing and dancing to this song while working on this project. So, excuse me as I pat myself on the back and snicker, while I tell you about filoli ballroom.

It’s the name of the paint for our bathroom vanity! And isn’t it pretty.

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We debated for a long time what color to paint our vanity in here. We kept going back and forth between our strong contenders: black and white. Yeah, I know, we’re crazy like that. White would look nice as it matches the trim we have in the house. But, against the not-quite-white tile, we were afraid a glossy white would make everything look dingy. So, black seemed to have the upper hand. But…we weren’t sure about a big black vanity in a room with soft colors. So, we hesitated.

Then one day we had a crazy idea. What if we drew from the colors in the shower curtain and painted our vanity a soft green? We were sold. We brought a few paint swatches home from Lowes and let them live against the vanity for a few weeks until we had a winner. Filoli ballroom, here we come!

Shower Curtain

I just like that it’s a fun color amidst all our neutral tones.

Filoli Ballroom Paint

We used to have a shelf under the vanity that actually made it impossible to store cleaning bottles upright. Rather than having leaking bottles, or investing in “travel sized” cleaners, I went ahead and removed that when I painted the inside.

Then I added my favorite peel and stick tiles to add some protection to the inside of the cabinet and make it easy to wipe up any spilled cleaners.

Finally, a usable vanity that is clean, has new shiny hardware, and is greeeeeen.

Which, given the title I gave to this post, is appropriate, don’t you think?

Don’t mind me. I’ll just sit here, to an absurd degree, being fixated on it’s verdigris. Ok sorry. I’ll stop. And let you get back to the leftovers! Me? I’m gonna find some more cheesecake….