I wonder if you’re allowed to throw you own birthday party. Do other people do that? I guess it doesn’t really matter what other people do because I already did and it was a blast.

I threw myself a brunch party with a frittata, donuts and hash browns. There were flowers and balloons and maybe – one or two – spilled glasses of champagne. Because last, but certainly not least, we had a mimosa bar.

The frittata was adapted from a recipe in this Against All Grain cookbook.

Donuts here.

25 will most certainly be an interesting year. It will always be the year that I started medical school. It will be the year that I move back to Colorado [maybe for the last time, or the first time]. It will be the year that I adventure to Thailand and the year that I try to squeeze in as many schenanigans in the South as possible. I wonder what else the year of 25 will be.

Radical Love

One of my friends recently let me borrow her copy of Love Does. It’s a fabulous book written by Bob Goff as a testament to what it looks like when we wholly and completely love others. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately – what would it look like to live this way? To go all in and simply love people without the mess of personal agendas?

I was in the midst of contemplating answers to these questions and starting to draft this post when I made a cup of Yogi tea. [I love the little bits of wisdom that come with each cup and I love them even more when they seem to speak right at me. It’s like I was meant to have that exact tea bag at the exact time I opened it]. The quote on my chai black tea read – “It is not talking of love, but living in love that is everything”.

So, in this month of love let’s be radical about it. Let’s throw off our inhibitions and leap with faith into simply loving people.

What are some tangible ways you can love people today? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Set the Table

“Success in your twenties is more about setting the table than enjoying the feast” – Paul Angone

When I saw this quote on Instagram the other day I could immediately relate. These days there is so much pressure from society telling us we need to have it all together and you be well on your way in this world.

In reality though, are we all well on our way in this world? Like ever? The question becomes then – when do we really start our lives?

What a radical idea would it be to think that our lives have already begun? For real though!

Life. It’s what is happening right under our noses as we continue to cross months off the calendar in preparation for those big moments. [I’m talking about graduating school, getting married, starting a family, achieving success in your career, etc]. Now, I don’t want to dim the lights on the significance of these events because they are important. I’m also not going to lie when I tell you that this is something I struggle with. I’m often comparing my life to other people’s highlight reels and I see a gaping hole in the shape of another person.

Why am I still single? Why haven’t I found the one yet? I will be truly happy when I have a boyfriend. This is the seemingly last piece to the puzzle.

But wait! What about that time today that you ran a little further or when the memory of sitting criss cross apple sauce on skis made you laugh?

So, does the party start before or after I set the table? If I get to choose – and believe it or not, I do – then I choose now. I’ll set the table in between belly laughs and clinks of glasses. In between tears of joy, sadness, and pain. In between the big moments because this is my party and I don’t want to be late.

Yesterday my parents decided to put down our childhood dog. Sienna was old, hasn’t been doing well the last few months and seeing her when I went home for Christmas was hard. She just wasn’t the same pup I’ve known for all these years, so while I’m sure going to miss her loyal spirit, cute face, and boundless energy I know doggie heaven is just the place for her.

New Year, New Me (or Something Like That)

Did you make New Years resolutions? It’s week 3 of January and I’m wondering how those are going! When I think of resolutions my thoughts immediately jump to goal setting. What is a realistic thing I can accomplish in this month, in the next 2 months, perhaps in the next year?

Here are my new years goals for 2017 –

  1. Camp 10x this year
  2. Eat less sugar
  3. Be generous with my time
  4. Quality over quantity – relationships, material items, experiences, etc
  5. Ask good questions
  6. Be present

Each day is a new opportunity to be better my friends.

This month I’m doing a Whole30 challenge. It’s going well so far – day 15! – and I’ve gotten to try a ton of new recipes. I’ve officially successfully prepared a pot roast and last night I made my very own Tomato&Squash soup. Yum!

In the spirit of giving, here are some of my favorite food bloggers –

Molly Yeh My Name is Yeh – the soup recipe was from her book, “Molly on the Range”. Lots of tasty bread recipes for after Whole30

Danielle Walker Against All Grain – paleo, simple, and delectable!

DanaMinimalist Baker – easy recipes with 10 ingredients or less, though I usually add some type of meat

5 Beautiful Things

To round out this season of thankfulness, gratitude, and joy my cousin Katie has issued her own form of challenge. Katie is the creator of the blog – 52Beautiful Things. She uses her platform to illuminate beautiful things she encounters each and every week. Katie was a huge inspiration to me when I first started on my blog journey and so I am pleased to be able to contribute in my own small way to her page.

The challenge is to describe 5 beautiful things you encounter within your own life and you can read all of mine —> HERE.

– THEN –

Maybe consider submitting your own to her. As a bonus, if you decide to write out your beautiful things you will be entered into a small contest for a basket of Colorado goodies. I’m sure that could even be one of your beautiful things!

As an aside, I submitted my piece to Katie around lunch time today and then proceeded to escape the conference for a jaunt at Balboa Park [San Diego]. It was at the park that I stumbled upon a small Japanese garden. A hidden gem within the heart of the city. A place of quiet solitude, beauty, and grace. I found myself wishing I had waited to press send so I could add this in, but then I was reminded that we live a continuous journey with beauty waiting around every corner.

30 Days.

At the beginning of November I threw a challenge out into the Universe. A challenge to document the tiny things you are grateful for each day in an attempt to cultivate a life filled with gratitude. My point being, that joy stems from our gratitude and practicing thankfulness might – ahem, will –  just lead to happiness.

When I first started this challenge my jar seemed impossibly large. I kept thinking to myself, “how could I possibly have something different to be grateful for each day?” Yet, each day something small came to mind that made me smile, or remember what was good. Even better were the days when I would experience a moment and immediately think to myself, “Wow, that was fantastic. That is what’s going in the jar tonight.” So, with each day, my pile of paper got a little bit bigger and I felt my heart grow more joyful [less frustrated] with where I’m at in this crazy life.

Listed below are just a few of the [unedited] things I found myself feeling lucky to have experienced within the last 30 days —

  1. I’m thankful for good hairstylists. FINALLY.
  2. I’m thankful for my crockpot + quick + tasty dinner!
  3. I’m thankful for old friends and talking on the phone for hours.
  4. I’m thankful for packages in the mail @ the end of a long day.
  5. Today I’m thankful for doing a workout @ a weight I wasn’t sure I could do. Pushing myself to be better.
  6. I’m thankful for chocolate when I’m feeling bloated.
  7. I’m thankful for falling leaves. With all of the trees here in ATL a strong breeze makes the leaves dance and fall like snowflakes.
  8. I’m thankful for MARTA.
  9. I’m thankful for a house full of people.
  10. I’m thankful for the ability to write + for the courage to share my heart with others.
  11. Facetiming with my crazy family today!
  12. I’m thankful for my finances, but also cheap/quality clothes on a budget.

What were you thankful for this month? Let’s celebrate gratitude together!


happy Tuesday

I know, I know. I’ve been M.I.A.

Even the bus driver today asked me where I’ve been, and the easy answer is that I’ve been busy. Really busy. But also, the good kind of busy, where you sleep like a rock at the end of the day and all most items get scratched off the to-do list.

It feels good to have a solid routine worked out – even though I haven’t worked in time to write blog posts yet. I figured those would come as my week went by and things happened that I wanted to share about [It would be so much easier if my subconscious would magically write out a post while I thought about it].

Today, I offer you boots & copper string lights because these are the things that are currently bringing me peace. You see, I’ve had these lights for over a year now but when I moved I never got around to hanging them again [Mostly because I read a design article on how string lights can make a space look like it belonged in a college dorm]. I wasn’t sure how to style them without hanging them so I just left them tucked away in a corner of my closet until this weekend.

On Saturday night I was feeling inspired. I was feeling the weight of always conforming to other people’s standards and ideas of what is right/stylish. I decided that by no means do I want my decisions to be influenced by the way other’s perceive them, so I did the damn thing and hung the lights in my room.

THEN… on Sunday I went shopping for new shoes, and in the middle of the store I found myself crafting messages to my sister asking if she thought the shoes were cute, while simultaneously asking myself if I could pull them off. Asking myself if other people would think they were cool, or if I was just crazy, and this is where I stopped myself.

I realized I was completely wrapped up in how my appearance and actions would be interpreted by others at the expense of my own joy. I thought the boots were cute, so I did the damn thing and bought the boots.

What lies have you told yourself about how others see you? What can you do today to love and to be true to yourself?


Daily Dose

Everyday Facebook diligently reminds me of my memories. While some of these memories I would care to forget, most of them stir up feelings of nostalgia and reminisce. For instance, lately my memories have all been related to my graduation from CU. These are memories that I cherish. I look back on those four years and I am reminded of some of my greatest experiences. I met some of my best friends who pushed me to try new things. They taught me to laugh a little more, to value friendship, and they reminded me to relax and have a little fun every now and then. #goBuffs

There is nothing wrong with these daily reminders of what we had to celebrate a year ago, 3 years ago, 10 years ago. In fact, I think they are really important because they help us look back and realize that we really were able to get through things that might have caused anxiety or stress. I’m not saying that this is true for everyone, but in my case it’s very comforting. All those late nights spent stressed out about a chemistry final wasn’t the end of the world – I would make it through those experiences, and because of those I will now be able to make it through tougher stuff.

On the flip side, sometimes looking at old photos is tough for me. I acknowledge and accept that I will never have a life like Kim Kardashian or be as skinny as a Victoria’s Secret model. That’s just not me. What I will confess though is that what I do struggle with is comparing myself to… myself.

I look at pictures of myself from 4 years ago and think – “Damn, I had good hair then. Why doesn’t it look like that now?” – or – “Huh, I was a lot smaller than I am now”. Or even – “I was less serious than I am now, and maybe had more fun”. I can get stuck in a negative cycle that’s hard to break out of. I hope I’m not the only one…

I certainly need a daily dose of positivity. Memories are beautiful and I’m not going to give those up, but instead I remind myself that I am not the same person I was four years ago. Sure, those experiences are part of my identity, they have shaped me and impacted me, but they aren’t Madeline Grace on May 10th 2016.

So today, I sit in a hotel room between conference sessions and I am thankful for this opportunity. What have I done to deserve this chance? To take a risk and step outside my comfort zone? I am thankful for who I am and what I have become because if I was the same as 4 years ago I sure as hell wouldn’t be here.

There’s grace in accepting my bad hair days, in recognizing change, growth, and my differences from year to year. Thank goodness for grace, beauty, and memories.


The Key to Scientific Talks

If you want people to come to your talks, provide lunch. And not just stale pizza. Maybe mix it up with sandwiches one week, burritos the next, and a pizza week thrown in there every now and then. Just to throw em off. 

If you provide lunch, people will come, they will tell their friends about free lunch, their friends will come, and then – just maybe – everyone will learn a thing or two about science. 

And that is what I learned about science today. Science is cool. 

Birthday vs. Crockpot (Which is Better?)

Tuesday April 12th has been a kick ass day. Mostly because it’s my sister Anna’s birthday, and a little bit because I bought a crockpot. I’m currently taking suggestions for the best crockpot recipes you have because the possibilities are endless, and in case you were wondering… I’m drooling with anticipation. Most nights I don’t eat dinner until after I get home from the gym, 8 or 9 PM, so this has been a monumental purchase in my adult life – take that!

But, mostly today has been awesome because Anna is awesome. She is my big sister and the person I’ve looked up to my entire life. When we were little kids she started doing gymnastics and I loved watching her swing around on the bars so I started doing gymnastics. Anna HATED that I was doing the same thing as her so she quit and started taking ballet classes. For a while I stuck with gymnastics only, but as I got older I proceeded to follow in her footsteps and took a few dance classes.

It turned out I wasn’t much of a ballerina but preferred jazz so she lucked out there. Until, we both joined our high school dance team. Not only did we live together, but we attended practices, football games, basketball games, and all things POM together. I sort of expected that we would fight all the time – surprisingly we didn’t. If anything we grew closer together. Then when we went to college several years apart at the University of Colorado we became even closer. Now we do lots of things together – ski, hike, sing horribly, dance, cook, run, yoga, read – just to name a few. Without Anna I wouldn’t have a profound respect for a cool restaurant bathroom, or stop at as many architecturally beautiful buildings in whatever city we are visiting, but I wouldn’t have life any other way.

There’s nothing better than having sisters.

Someone who you can just look at and they know you’re asking to borrow chapstick. Someone who will laugh at your stupid jokes and puns. Someone who will always tell you the truth, no matter what. Someone who knows your deepest, darkest secrets, but still loves you anyways.

Thankfully, I have two of them and they are incredibly inspiring, hard working, generous, creative, and kind. I’m also lucky enough to have made friends in my lifetime who are my sisters in a different way. Everyday I celebrate y’all, but today I celebrate Anna. I know I’m not there in person to drink margaritas @ El Camino, but I’m there in spirit (while simultaneously trying to figure out what I’ll make in my new crockpot)

Cheers to you! Here are just a few of my favorite pics –