Sweet Things on Sunday

August is for peaches. Specifically Colorado peaches that are shipped across our border in the back of an enormous truck that sets up in the parking lot of La Fiesta in McPherson Kansas. You can buy an entire case if you want to. You want to.

Peaches are my most favorite food. When people ask me what I would like my last meal to be, here is my answer:
Four slices of toast: one on homemade bread with salty butter, one on whole grain bread with cherry preserves, one on sourdough with smashed avocado and lots of good salt, and one on wonder bread with mayonnaise and home-grown tomatoes. And for dessert, a Colorado peach in August with homemade whipped cream.


Here are a list of things that I want to do to peaches in August but probably won’t because, instead, I’ll just stand outside and eat them fresh from my grubby little hands because nothing’s better than that.

This Peach Galette with Baklava Filling from A Cozy Kitchen.

This Spicy Ginger Miso Slaw with Peaches from Love and Lemons (I really do intend to make this one).

This Peach Ricotta Layer Cake from Half-Baked Harvest. Will I make a layer cake? Absolutely not. Do I desperately want to taste this? Uh huh. I love adding ricotta to baked goods.

That’s just a few sweet things on this Sunday.

XOXO, Lib

Photo by Charles Deluvio 🇵🇭🇨🇦 on Unsplash

Meet Me Monday: Kelsey Butcher

I, honestly, don’t remember where I met Kelsey. I just know that one day she was in my life and she wasn’t, before. And then she became my stylist and I haven’t gone back to anyone else for a haircut since. I really love the work that she does. I’m not the kind of person who generally likes to have a conversation when I’m getting my hair done. I usually like to just sit there and relax. But… Kelsey is an expert at conversation. In such a way that I’m never uncomfortable in her chair at all. If I did just want to sit and relax, though, no one gets it more than Kelsey. Just tell her and she’ll be cool with you.
Since she moved into Fox and Ash earlier this year, I feel like an extra cool kid when I come to get my hair done. Seriously, if you’re looking for a new stylist and you’re in the Central Kansas area or willing to drive to McPherson for that good good, look up Kelsey at Fox and Ash. I don’t know if I’m the best example of the work that she does since I like to wear my hair dirty and messy but if you want to see what she can do, go follow her on Instagram.

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Image Description: Kelsey standing in her studio holding a copy of &/Both magazine open, showing off the page where her poem was published. 

How do you want to introduce yourself to these readers?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could always do this? Like, “Hi! Here are a list of all of my great qualities; let’s just ignore those pesky bad ones…” Here’s the truth though… I am compassionate, creative, typically frazzled, fairly impatient, mildly awkward, forgetful, a sometimes writer, a mother to an 8 year old boy and two rescued dog-daughters, a wife of nearly 14 years, one of two daughters to incredibly supportive parents, a proud aunt of 4, a liberal bleeding-heart feminist, someone who often deflects pain with humor, a Broadway enthusiast, and a passionate hair stylist. I mother everyone around me, even if they haven’t asked for it (it’s an attribute and a flaw). I’m a big fan of Harry Potter, The Office, Hamilton, true crime documentaries, CrossFit, This Is Us, podcasts, Rent (the musical, not the bill), and naps. That seems pretty comprehensive.

What gets you out of the bed in the morning?

Pure obligation! Mornings are not my jam. But… what motivates me is building and maintaining relationships, brightening someone else’s day, and finding opportunities to learn new things.

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Image Description: A selfie of Kelsie holding a Hamilton Playbill. She’s smiling bright with red lips and the happiest face.

What word/ phrase resonates the most in your life?

  • Leap Fearlessly: I actually have this tattooed on my left foot to remind myself not to allow anxiety to take over. Sometimes you just have to do the things.
  • Let It Be: Because The Beatles, obviously. But also because everything is going to be okay, sometimes you just have to let it be.
  • Namaste: The light in my soul and respects the light in yours. (That’s the way it was taught to me, anyway)

What does your ideal day look like?

Hmmmm… I would start with a coffee date with my mom and sister, followed by a yoga class. Then I would go for a 90 minute deep tissue massage. My afternoon would be spent playing games with my son. The evening would include sushi and drinks with my husband. Then, ending the day, we would hop on a plane with all of our closest friends and head to a tropical location.


You just want to be friends with Kelsey after reading this, right? Ugh, she’s the best. Go follow her on IG and let her know where you found her! And if you need a haircut, you know where to go.

If you have any questions for Kelsey, leave them in the comments and I’ll make sure she sees them.

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Lastly, if you or anyone you know want to be interviewed for Meet Me Monday, reach out! You don’t have to be fancy or famous. Everyone is normal and everyone is awesome.

XOXO, Lib

Meet Me Monday: Makeda

I don’t know when I first encountered Makeda but I’m so glad our paths have crossed on the internet. Her Instagram feed is a good place to go to when I need color and… I’m gonna say… sugar? But not, like, a delicate darling kind of sweet. More like a raw sugar. I think after you meet her a little bit, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Makeda believes in snail mail and glitter and saying what she means and I think, by now, you know that’s all I ever want.
If you finish this and you’re like, “No! Don’t go! I need more of Makeda’s voice!” Here’s a link to an interview she did late last year where she talks more about Keda’s Poetry Service and other very, very, very dope shit.

So meet Makeda:


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How do you want to introduce yourself to these readers?

Hey darlings! My name is Makeda Loney and I’m a copywriter by trade, poet by internal force. My mind is an eclectic sea of interests from photography to glitter to airplanes, but writing will always be my lighthouse. It keeps me steady, it translates the darkness inside of me, it carries me home. I’m a lover of everything bright and friendly, and I try to omit that same energy. I’m really trying to dive deeper within myself every day, allowing myself to lean into all the passions that I had as a child, because life is far too short to not focus on the things you love.

What gets you out of the bed in the morning?

Some days it’s necessity. I know I need to get up, go to work, make that cash. Most days it’s desire. At work I know that I’ll laugh with my co workers despite the stress that may come. I know that each day I work hard I’ll get better at my craft. I know that there’s going to be a learning experience whether I like it or not. Life is such a toss up, but I’ve been granted one more day, why the hell not just go out and live it? Let’s be very real, I only think like that right now, now that my clouds have parted and the sunshine feels like it’s coming down again. For a greater part of the winter I didn’t feel that at all. I lived life like I said earlier, out of necessity, but it’s okay if you can’t. Living and breathing count all the same some days.

What word/ phrase resonates the most in your life?

Resilience. It’s a word that comes up in therapy a lot. It’s a word that I never really understood the definition of until very recently. It’s the definition of every point in my life that has been a high for me. The ability to crash and bounce back is one that I never think of but I appreciate.

Another that I have is galaxy. They’re so vast and all encompassing and distant. They glitter from a distance, they glow. I feel like this is this is how I’ve lived most of my life. Although as much as I love being vibrant and loud and out there, I also enjoy sitting in the background going about my own business. Everyone is their own galaxy in their own way.

What does your ideal day look like?

My ideal day looks like an adventure brewing up. I wake up (on time), I shower, I do my makeup if I’m feeling it. I feel confident in what I’m wearing, I feel confident about the day ahead of me, I’m feeling excited. If I’m going to work I like to be busy, but with moments to take pause at the same time. If I’m not at work I love my friends and spending time with them. Building a tribe is extremely important to me no matter where I go. My ideal day is filled with laughter, filled with comfort, filled with the feeling of home no matter if I’m in my apartment or not. It ends feeling fulfilled, feeling warm, and wrapped up in a blanket like a god damn burrito. I still chuckle myself to sleep over stupid things that happened earlier. I’m excited for tomorrow.

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Okay, friends. Sadly, that’s all for this interview.

Let me know if you have any questions for Makeda and I’ll make sure to pass them along. And go follow her on Instagram–it’s a delightful addition to whatever you’re currently scrolling through.

XOXO, Lib

 

A Week Without a Phone

Last week I was having coffee with my friends and their kids. It’s one of my most favorite things to do because I feel like a lot of the time, we forget how important face-to-face interaction is in our relationships.  When we were talking, I mentioned to my friend Kellory that every time she doesn’t respond to a text message, I feel jealous. Like, I wish that I could be so untethered from my phone that I could go let more than 90 seconds go by without responding to a text. I can barely even go 90 seconds without checking my phone to see if I’ve received a new update. I don’t like that about me.

We finished our coffee and I drove over to the library to get a new book. On my way back out to my car, I pulled out my phone to send a text to Ryan. Just then, I dropped it on the concrete. Now, look, I’ve dropped my phone approximately four bazillion times since I’ve owned it and never ever has it ever cracked. I knew it was a matter of time. I picked up my phone off the ground and to my horror, this thing was utterly and completely shattered. Just… like… obliterated.

Since it was already set up to send a text, it went ahead and sent Ryan some texts. I don’t know how but it did. It was writing random letters that the phone, then, autocorrected into something that made Ryan think I’d had some kind of a stroke. He was truly concerned. I don’t remember exactly what my phone told him but along with the gibberish was definitely the word “bad”? Which… just… that’s not a comfortable text to receive.

So I drove right down to my phone place where everyone is awesome and they were like, “you have excellent insurance on your phone which means that we can repair it for about $30.”
And I was like, “Okay but that kind of falls under the category of ‘okay’ insurance, not exactly ‘excellent’ but semantics I guess.”
And then they were all, “Oh… but you’ll be without your phone for 10 days.”
So, I was like, “Again… ‘excellent’ isn’t exactly a word that I would use to describe this but whatever.” (Full disclosure they did give me other options to get it fixed faster but your girl’s on a budget.)

But I was kind of excited about being forced to be without a phone for ten days. Like, I can still text Ryan via my computer. I can still Instagram on my iPad (which is one of the only ways I market this here blog so I didn’t want to go 10 days without using it). We’ll make do.

I have not missed text messages. I have not missed phone calls. I have not missed being easily accessible to everyone that I know.

I have missed not being able to easily and quickly photograph the beautiful things that I encounter in my day. I didn’t realize what a big part of my life that was until it was gone. I like that. I like celebrating and hoarding the little beautiful things that I see every day. Mostly shadows and reflections or garbage on the ground or leaves or lists or handwriting.

I have noticed that without the immediate gratification of dictating my whole entire day whether by telling a story via text or writing an on-the-go Facebook post, I have more words. I have more words to write. This week without a phone has been one where I feel filled to the brim with words to write and things to tell you about in due time. Isn’t that nice?

I think for that reason and that reason alone, I’d like to give myself more phone time-outs. Because it’s good for my work. Or at least, it’s good for my brain and a good brain does good work.

Only When I’m Telling the Truth

One of the most natural and acceptable getting-to-know-you questions for college students is, “what’s your major?”
“English,” I’d say.
Then they’d ask a question that was all at once boring and also deeply triggering if you, like me, didn’t have a real answer. “Oh, so what are you going to do with that?”
“I’m not sure,” is what I said for years. Then in my senior year I decided that I should start putting out there into the universe what I actually wanted. “I want to write for a living.” Pipe dreams. Everyone knew it.


Last night I sent some pieces of writing to a friend of mine. Something that I wrote without any audience in mind so I was able to be more free than usual. I was writing just to get this experience down on paper. Just because it was begging to be written.
This morning she texted me, “seriously, your writing is beautiful.”

I’m going to sound so arrogant right now but this is a compliment that I’m used to. It’s easy for me to not hear it and just say, “thanks” because I’m embarrassed by flattery. But I knew that she meant it. I knew that she was saying that something I said landed with her. My routine, robotic, “thanks” would have disregarded her. So instead of responding right away, I decided to hop in the shower and think about what that means. Because I don’t always write beautifully. I don’t always write in a way that connects with people. As I’m doing it I can tell, “this isn’t going to work. No one is going to hear this.” And I’m usually right. I don’t know how I know, I just know when it’s right and when it’s not.

What I wrote last night was vulnerable and even a little scary. It was all truth.


Right after graduation, I did get a writing job. My first grown up job. In Brookings, South Dakota at SDSU. This was great because I got to stay in a comfortable university setting but I’d get to be one of the grown ups! A department hired me to assemble their course catalogue and put it online. The writing part? Oh, I’d get to write the course descriptions. Yeah… that’s utilizing my talents! I’d spent the last four years writing whatever people asked me to write, I could do it and get paid for it for sure. Then, when the catalogue was up and running they asked me to write pamphlets for different courses and tracks and stuff like that.

It was the worst. I was terrible at it. In addition to not understanding the basic structure of how a public university operates (I went to a private school), feeling like a complete outsider, living so far away from the people that I loved (though my best friend did live with me at the time and that was an actual life-saver at times), writing because your life depends on it is horrible. I got the worst writer’s block. And not only that but this was stuff that I just didn’t care about. Which made it infinitely harder to dredge up any damns for the task at hand. I don’t care about the classes you have to take to keep your teacher’s certification. Some people do, I do not. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t force it.

When I was fired after six months, I was relieved more than anything. I vowed to never have my life depend on my creativity. It took me years to get my magic back. But my magic is back, don’t you think? I’ll be cocky, it’s fine. My magic came back this summer.

I do write for a living, now. But “for a living” means something totally different. More like: to stay alive.


After my shower, I picked up my phone and responded to my friend’s text:
“Seriously, your writing is so beautiful.”
“Only when I’m telling the truth.”

That’s the one. That’s how I know whether or not you’re going to hear what I’m saying. When I’m just filling space. When I’m hitting an arbitrarily self-imposed deadline, you don’t care. You don’t! You just don’t and that’s fine. In fact that’s good. That keeps me here in this honest space where I want to live forever.

Thank you for keeping me here.

XOXO, Lib

[Feature photo by Jessica Dixon on Unsplash]