Obligatory Christmas Post

Our Christmas weekend was wonderful. Full of family and food. 

For the very first time, we held Christmas Eve at our new home. I piled everyone downstairs into our practice space to devour chili after our candlelight service at church. Surrounded by guitar amps and pieces of scattered drums sets, we came together as family and enjoyed each other's company. 

(The Chili Masters) 

The next morning, Ryan and I awoke early and the festivities soon followed. We began at my parent's house, then on to my grandparent's house, then on to my aunt and uncle's house (where a massive feast was held), and then on to Ryan's parents for swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes. 

I really don't have any need to eat for a while after this weekend. I dearly wish I would have taken a few more photos, but these will do. 

  (Stew Man) 

Ryan's parents framed one of his paintings for us for Christmas. 

I love the holidays. 

The Pack A.D: Chick Rock with Guts

Music to my ears, quite literally. As a chick musician, I do my best to stumble across bands that are woman fronted or include female musicians that I can actually respect and appreciate. I have nothing against the poppy acoustic driven chicks out there (at least they are doing what they do and are rockin' it), but that is about as far from my taste as it gets. Enough of the sugar coated butterflies and four chord wonder songs. 

Play some music with some guts. 

Today, I was enlightened. While listening to Pandora at work, which is probably the best website I have ever discovered while being stuck in an office all day, I heard a band pop up on the mix I was listening to. 

Case and Point....The Pack A.D. 
(Image Source: The Coast
( Image Source: Shaun Stander

Awesome two piece band of two women that actually play their instruments and do so with rock n' roll to the core. I'm hooked. 

They remind me a lot of the Black Keys or the White Stripes, both bands I love and adore. 

Take a listen. 

And Ladies, let's do more of this kind of rock n' roll. 

I declare at this point to NEVER have a soccer mom haircut......

I’ve been greatly pondering the idea of what it means to be a wife, a homemaker, and someday a mother. Daily, as I sit at my neatly ordered desk at my place of work, my mind is swept off with ideas of what’s for dinner, the lack of a maternity leave at said place of work, and the cost of the Kitchenaid mixer that I just can’t seem to get my hands on. 
What’s happening to me? 
These new thoughts and occurrences have lead me to question...
At what point does a girl become a wife? A mom? Suzie Homemaker? 
It’s as if a switch that was once buried deep inside of me has been turned on by some unknown force. As of late, my mind has been filled with decorating my house or making zucchini bread. The simple joy of leaving my work everyday and driving back to our home to spend time with my husband is reason enough for me to simply love my life. 
My desires seem to be changing overnight. I am known to be a driven individual. Always dreaming my way into the next course of my life, swiftly riding upon a wave a music, photography, and an entrepreneurial spirit. I am always seeking, always searching, always striving. Those things will always be a part of me, but not the biggest part, as I am coming to find. 
There’s something else. A spirit of legacy and family. Of banana bread and vacuuming. Of coming home to cuddle with my husband on the couch and talk about all of the business ideas that have been running through my head. 
Yet, many of those ideas seem outlandish compared to what has been placed on my heart. 
And strangely enough, I becoming alright with all of it. Almost. 
For so much my life, I have been consumed with doing, doing, doing. Working, working, working. I was in a place where if I wasn’t moving, I felt lifeless. I wanted to be a successful, creative individual that would do anything to get where I felt I was supposed to go. There was always a song to write, a practice to go to, a photo to take, a connection to make.  
Now my thoughts are filled with a very different picture. I see myself as a stay at home mom/working part time, learning for the first time what it is to truly care for another human being in a way that I have never known before. I would bake that banana bread, have a garden out in our backyard, and go to those play-dates with those so-called soccer moms (although, I declare at this point to NEVER have the soccer mom haircut). The music and photography would still be there, in some form, but not in an all consuming one as I have seen in the past. 
Someday, we will grow a family and a home. 

Christmas at the Hollens

I finally took some photos of our house this Christmas. I love owning a house and being able to decorate as much as I please. I also love the DollarTree and the fact that I spent about 40 bucks on everything. Last year I used aqua and silver. This year I decided on gold, silver, and white on the tree. In our kitchen, I used most of our ornaments from last year. It's almost pathetic to think of how excited I was to have banister now to decorate. 

I love Christmas. Hopefully these next few days are easy going at work and then I can enjoy time with my family and friends. Many things have been circulating through my mind and heart as of late and this coming year is one of the unknown, which makes me search it out all the more. 

Here's to some time of reflecting upon 2010 and dreaming about 2011. 

We Have A Strong City

My wonderful box of organic fruit and veggies arrived at my doorstep this afternoon. I took it upon myself, in all of my excitement, to cook some dinner tonight. I'm beginning to enjoy the idea of me cooking meals more often. I have high intentions of baking chocolate chip zucchini bread tomorrow night as well. 

How domestic of me. 

So good. 

And in other news, our lovely friends at Everyday Joe's, have released another compilation album of local artists. The thing I love most is that I know many of the artists found on the record and many of them are very good friends. We have become a little community of musicians and creative people that do what they love and love what they do. 

I am blessed to be a part of this city. So blessed. 

Please listen, donate if you heart so desires. 

We love you. 

Healthy Eating

I stumbled across this company, Door to Door Organics,  a few days ago and I was so stoked to find that they deliver locally. I love the idea of supporting local farmers, having a box of delicious, organic vegetables and fruits delivered straight to my doorstep twice a month, and knowing that I am taking better care of myself and my husband. 

I can't wait for Monday! (Never thought I would say that.) Monday is the day that they deliver to our area and I cannot wait to cook some meals I have never endeavored upon and to know that I'm eating healthy. For those of you that don't know, I recently went on a diet and lost thirty pounds and my goal is to maintain that weight loss before I continue on the next stretch come January. (More on that in another post.) Being able to finally lose the weight has made me completely rethink the food I put into my mouth and I really do desire to eat healthy foods. 

Here is what will be in our box this coming Monday: 

5 ea. Roma Tomatoes
1 ea. Red Leaf Lettuce
1 ea. Collard Greens bunch
1 ea. Fennel Bulb
1 ea. Carrots 1LB. Bag
2 ea. Zucchini Squash
1 ea. Cucumber
2 ea. Pomegranate
2 ea. Anjou Pear
2 ea. Kiwi Fruit
2 ea. Pinova Apple
2 ea. Pink Lady Apple
4 ea. Navel Orange

I can't wait! I need to grab my mom's chocolate chip zucchini bread recipe from her and actually try it out! 

Again, please go check out their website. 

#12: Read a book every month

As a part of my 25 things before 25, I vowed to read a new book every month. I have gone above and beyond that lately, consuming a lot of books, which I am fully alright with. 

Some of the titles as of late....

Juliet, Naked

This book was a very quick, but enjoyable read. I consumed it in about two days, when I need to be doing a lot of other things, but this book was my aid to my procrastination. 

One Day

This book takes place in the lives of two people, one day every year for a number of years. It is all about the ups and downs of their relationship and how their lives intertwine with one another. I believe they are also making a movie out of it. 

The Opposite of Love

Some of my girlfriends and I decided to start a book club, nerdy and awesome, I know. This was our first pick. We randomly chose this one late one night at the bookstore and the choice deemed itself wonderful. A story of love, loss, and love found again. It was a total chick book, but in the best way possible. 

Eating Animals

Open at your own risk, for you will never eat the same again. I've been greatly researching the foods I eat and the condition in which our food industry is in. I'm slowly but surely making the change of taking meat out of my diet, for personal and health reasons, but also due to the condition that we find our food industry really in. This book is packed with tons of research, facts, humor, and is a perfect tool for those that want more knowledge about what really eat. 

We are what we eat. 

Omnivore's Dilemma

This is my current read, much like the book mentioned above. I think it is good to know what it is we are actually eating. The necessity of our food has changed greatly over the years and the chicken we even eat today doesn't hardly even resemble to one our grandparents consumed when they were kids. 

I like books like this that challenge me. 

I am sure there will be many more titles to come, but these are the few I have devoured. Now that I have been out of college for a few years, it's refreshing to be able to read whatever I want. 

On a much cooler note, I have a feeling that I will be getting one of these for Christmas. 
Beyond excited. 


I have much to say, just not much time to say it. Hopefully this weekend I will be able to state some of the stirrings that have been going on in our lives. Good things. Good community. Good friends. 

I awake today to the first snowfall of the season and the overwhelming sense of peace in my life. 

Love my life.  

Decor Obsession

I stumbled across this kitchen on Apartment Therapy today. I'm drooling. 

P.S. I promise our kitchen cabinets are still on my to do list. I have a lot of shows coming up the next few weeks so my DIY time is dwindling. Soon, though. Very soon. 

With Every Pound Lost

For those of you that don't know, today is a grand day. I am a little more than half way to loosing the pounds I have set out to lose and to achieving my goal weight. (Which is the amount I weighed the day I graduated high school.) This is a little more personal than normal, but once I got married, I became quite comfortable with my wonderful existence and started to pack on the pounds. In a goal to become as healthy as possible for myself, my husband, and the potential kids we desire to have in the future, I made a major life change. 

I have been on a new, pretty intense eating plan for the past month or so. I am down 20 lbs today! The weight on the scale is one I haven't seen since sometime in college. It feels really good. I can't believe the discipline I actually have! Seeing the pounds come off a little more everyday is reason enough for me to continue on. 

I feel like I could take on the world! 

I have been daydreaming about some new outfits that I want to buy once I reach my goal weight. It is good encouragement to actually be working towards some wonderful new outfits! I tend to gravitate towards blacks and whites, but lately I've been trying to add some color to my wardrobe. Lots of oranges, reds, and floral. 

Here's some items on my wish list! 

(For my husband: this is what your wife would love for Christmas!) :) 

And being a photographer, I have major bag envy for this....

Life is good.