{Discovering Minimalism} Live Local.

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Last night brother and I walked around downtown Burlington at dusk, taking pictures and being generally awesome.

unnamed (6)Our train station.

unnamed (4)Our theater.

unnamed (5)Diner.
unnamed (3)Christmas lights.
We got coffee at the Co-Op.
And as we drove home, we noticed a live drive-through nativity at a local church. So of course we stopped and checked it out.
This is the sweet life, friends.

As small as my little town is, I love it. The people aren’t specifically cultured, the nightlife ends around 6:30 and 90% of the establishments are “cash only” – but this place is ours.
One of the lifestyles I especially love within the “wellness culture” is the locavore movement. The concept of “eating local” means only eating and purchasing foods that were grown and/or created within a 100 mile radius from your home. {I definitely don’t do this all the time, I wish I did!} People’s reasons for doing this usually varies. From my research (Pinterest baby!) a couple reasons I found included: reducing carbon footprint, better quality produce (since you’re forced to eat seasonally, and seasonally always tastes best) and the confidence of being able to know where your food comes from.
I definitely agree with those things, but I want to go further…

I don’t only want to eat local – I want to live local.

– When I go out to eat, I want to go to a restaurant owned by one of my neighbors.
– When I shop for stocking stuffers, I want to buy homemade pepper jelly from someone at my church and a beanie made by one of my friends.
– When I am looking for some weekend fun, I want to research my town’s downtown events and go to the Christmas festival, check out the lights at the City Park or go listen to a local band.
– Looking for beer or wine? Something about buying local brands just tastes better. And you know what it tastes like? Community.
– When I need some fellowship I want to invite my friends and family into our small home for a simple meal, some of that local beer and lots of laughs.
– Looking for a venue? Look no further then your surroundings. I was married in our Downtown Historic Depot, no more then 5 minutes from my house. Now I get to see that place almost every day, the sweet memories flooding back to me.

It’s a community thing. By living local, you’re supporting the local artists, farmers, musicians, salespersons and chefs – those people who are trying to make this place a little better. You are enriching your surroundings.

Yes, we have the totally hipster Saxapahaw and downtown Durham within 100 miles – but I want to cultivate my town. Burlington is definitely not perfect, but that doesn’t mean I just give up on it. If more people supported their local community, then that community is only going to get better and better.

So next time you make an effort to eat locally, don’t forget to live locally as well.

{For more fun locavore information and inspiration check out my pinterest board: Locavore.}

P.S. this doesn’t mean I’m a hermit that doesn’t like to travel. I love to travel. But believe me, there’s no place like home!

||Four Ways to Enjoy Christmas for Two.

Whether you’re empty-nesting or newly-married, Christmas for two (or for a small family) can be tough and different. Culture and tradition portrays Christmas as a big affair with a huge family and lots of friends. Maybe you’ve moved to a new state or unforeseen circumstances arose, and you’re going to be away from your family this Christmas season. Or maybe you’re newly married and aren’t sure how to create a special holiday for you and your spouse. Or maybe all of your children have moved out and it’s your first year as empty nesters. Whatever your reasons, I invite you to embrace this new season of your life and make this Christmas the best you’ve ever had.

||Clean the house.

You know what gets me excited about having a holiday party? The preparation. You get the perfect playlist, buy a new scented candle, consider snacks, add special touches of decorations and – you clean. A two-person holiday can feel un-important for the lack of preparation involved. It’s hard to feel cheery when the house is a wreck, neither of you have showered and you’re really not sure what you’ll eat for dinner. This year, pretend you’re having a huge group of people over and get the house ready. Create the atmosphere of holiday hustle and bustle. It’s totally worth it to make the season special, even if it’s just for you and your spouse. As my mother-in-love would say, “Add some ambiance.”

||Order Chinese.

Don’t stress a big meal if that’s not important to you. If you don’t want a Christmas tree – don’t get one. Here’s a crazy, new, mind-blowing concept – have a relaxing Christmas. Now is your chance to give it a try!

||Be Non-Traditional with your Tradition.

There are two ways to look at your small Christmas. You can gripe and be sad, remembering Christmas past and realizing, “It just isn’t the same!”. Or you can smile at the future and new ideas, remembering Christmas past with joy but also realizing with excitement, “It won’t be the same!”. Don’t try to force Christmas past into Christmas present. Did you grow up with a huge family meal and a Secret Santa exchange? I’m sure that was wonderful, but with two people that probably won’t work so well. Change it up! Create a complex (and maybe expensive!) dish with your spouse that would be impossible to afford or pull off if there were more than two of you. Slow dance to Frank Sinatra in front of the Christmas tree – who knows where that might lead ;) Have a Christmas Day party with all of your adult friends, include cocktails and fancy-schmancy appetizers (sometimes being an adult can be fun!). Essentially – don’t force it. Let go of past traditions that don’t work for your lifestyle anymore. Instead, create and explore opportunities for new traditions and experiences.

||Be Young.

While doing fun grown-up things can be a new Christmastime experience, don’t forget to channel your inner child as well. Build a fort around the Christmas tree and spend the night under the glowing lights. Buy matching jammies and watch a children’s Christmas movie. Play around with different hot chocolate concoctions (but since you’re actually NOT a child – peppermint vodka anyone?). Allow yourself to get excited about the Christmas parade. Have fun with this holiday!

||Be small.
Embrace it. Maybe for Christmas Eve, you and your spouse can go out to a nice meal, a lovely candle-light service and then finish your evening with a glass of egg-nog and the Bible, sitting in front of the Christmas tree meditating on the reason for Christ’s birth. Or Christmas morning can be celebrated at the Homeless Shelter, serving meals to families less fortunate and realizing that the world is so much bigger than ourselves. Small Christmas can truly be a wonderful thing.


Thankful {2014}


Thankful for him… ^^ Obvs.

^^Thankful for these people…amazing family. Seriously. Amazing.

^^And thankful for these people…beloved friends {so many that aren’t even in this picture!}.

These three pictures make my heart OVERFLOW. 

– Thankful for our little home, warm and cozy.

– Thankful for a space heater…to make our lil’ old house actually warm.

– Thankful for Christmas music that I started listening to as soon as it came on the radio. Hashtag shameless.

– Thankful for Jesus Christ, His Word and His Church. Without Him, I am nothing.

– Thankful for my second cup of coffee today.

– Thankful for homemade cinnamon rolls.

– Thankful for America. Thankful for freedom. Thankful for the prosperity this nation has been blessed with.

– Thankful for the beautiful possibilities of the future.

– Thankful for sweet moments and sweet days that while you’re in them may not look like much, but if you take a breath and look around, you realize how insanely blessed you are and how happy you can’t help but be.

What are you thankful for?