day 27 | Two roads

It’s my birthday! Wheee!

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I honestly thought that by now I’d be the very picture of poise and grace, or at least, I would have figured out how to stop being such a spaz. Guess not….

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Let me tell you a story…

In the spring of 2009, I found myself at an impasse. I was three years into a five year architecture program; I was miserable, stressed, and falling apart, having sacrificed my health an sanity to the fickle dieties who controlled my fate. In a moment of desperation, I called my dad. I unloaded my frustration and worry on him. I expected him to feed me platitudes about how I could do anything that I set my mind to.

Instead, my dad let me know that it was okay to change my mind. He gave me permission to choose a different path. It was probably the best gift he ever gave me.

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So this is my gift to you. I’d like to personally give you permission to choose a different path. It’s terrifying and exhilarating. It requires courage. But it’s worth it.

In that spirit, a little poetry for you…

The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
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I hope that, for you, this year makes all the difference.
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Photos Courtesy of Moriah Dawn Photography.

day 26 | It’s not a party until someone’s crying in the bathroom…

I’ve decided to blame everything that happened last Wednesday on my friend, Michele. It’s not really fair, but neither is life.

Michele is an accomplished baker and specializes in making cupcakes. Honestly, she specializes in making everything, but I’ve had her cupcakes and they are ridiculous. She pinned this Neapolitan Cupcake recipe from Cooking Classy on Pinterest.


Neopolitan CupcakesThey are so stinking cute!

If you’ll recall (or you can catch up here) I did a certain gold-and-pink thing for my faux birthday. In the tradition of elementary school, I thought I’d make these sweet cupcakes and then take them to my Thursday students, before I didn’t see them for almost two weeks. Sugar them up and give them back to their parents, you know? Moriah even offered to come over and photograph the pretty confections in a mini-birthday shoot.

That’s when it started to go bad.

See, you have to make the chocolate cake, which means combining cocoa and baking soda and pouring boiling water on it. While that cooled, I used a demonically possessed hand mixer* to cream together butter and oil and sugar before adding eggs and the cocoa mixture and some heavy cream. The batter ends up a syrupy mess, more akin to pudding that hasn’t set than cake batter.

With faith, I pressed on to the vanilla cake, which went much more like I’d expect. Using three more bowls (we’re up to 5, if you’re counting), a fluffy cake batter emerged. Now comes the part where I’d like to tell you that I deftly floated the vanilla cake on top of the chocolate soup, but there was a witness. If I lie, I have to kill Moriah which would put a strain on our relationship.

There was a lot of begging and crying as I finagled the stubborn batter onto it’s watery base.

Here’s the thing, friends. All that struggle was worth it.  Topped with a delicious strawberry frosting, the cupcakes were a revelation. So much yum!

Plus, Moriah got some gorgeous photos!

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day 25 | Monday Musings | of family ties, customer service, and a moment of remembrance…

Happy Memorial Day!

1) It was an emotional roller coaster of a weekend [more on that later] as I celebrated my birthday with a small fraction of my family. Though our numbers were small, I got to spend time with my oldest brother. Growing up, I barely knew him at all, as our age difference is a whopping 14 years. It wasn’t until I was an adult that we spent any significant time together.  Yesterday we had a chance to just spend a few hours sitting around and talking. We shared memories of our dad and different experiences we’d had with him.

True story, it was some of the best therapy I’ve ever had.

2) I don’t have many vices. I’m not into labels or having designer everything. I’d rather buy/wear pieces that don’t have to worry about. One major exception: I love Kate Spade. LOVE. If you tuned in to the list of things that make me happy, you probably noticed that a sale at Kate Spade is a happy trigger if there ever was one. I have a tradition of saving up and then buying a new bag at the Memorial Day sale, kind of a birthday present for myself. Each time I go in, the gorgeous bags and friendly staff at the Hagerstown, MD Kate Spade Outlet make my shopping experience one of perfection.

Last year I fell in love with and purchased this bag in a mere 13 minutes. I loved that bag.

And then, the unthinkable. The fastener broke. So much anguish. First world problems, you know?

So I took it back, a year later. I just wanted it fixed, but the awesome staff replaced the bag with one that I liked even better. They were professional and sweet and I was incredibly impressed with how much they care about their customers and stand behind their products.

This is why I’ll buy Kate Spade for life.

3) I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a minute to express gratitude for the men and women of the United States Armed Services who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure my freedom, as well as the families who must press on each day without their loved ones. I can never fully comprehend your sacrifice or demonstrate my sincere thanks.

I hope that the life I live, in some small way, makes the life that was lost lived, not in vain, but to fulfill a great purpose. It’s a heady responsibility to be among the living, but we owe it to the dead to take care of the country they died to protect.

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day 24 | On being young

There’s been a thing on my heart – so here it is.

Being a twenty-something is absurdly transitional. Some days I feel like I’m waiting for my real life to start. I’m stuck in this place where I can actually remember when the class of 2015 was born and I’m going a bit gray, but I haven’t really started my career and my mom does my taxes.

In fairness, my mom is a CPA and does a lot of people’s taxes, but that’s not the point.

I’m a Millennial, which carries a stigma of entitlement, laziness, and self-involved idiocy; a society in which everyone gets a trophy for participation and no one understands how the world works. I don’t feel like that describes me, but maybe that’s just my entitled, lazy, self-involved idiocy showing. The cultural attitude results in animosity toward a generation simply because they are young. The enmity ranges from mild disappointment to overt antagonism..

I find this phenomenon most disheartening within the church. The fire of young Christians gets snuffed out by those who provide judgement, instead of wisdom and teaching. Revolutionaries are broken down by the weight of tradition and sameness. As it has always been, newness breeds fear and that fear leads to the dismissal of new ideas.

What happens to societies that refuse to embrace new ideas? They die.

In the case of the church, hostility toward millennials doesn’t just dry up a source of life within the body, it alienates an entire generation. In a world already dominated by secularism and relativistic morality, is it really good idea to cast off the young, because of their age? A generation facing a society of warfare, a terrifying economy, and a government we no longer trust, is searching for something real and good. A place to belong.

I am not a member of a perfect generation. I do not have all the answers. I don’t even know most of the questions. But I won’t be told that my opinion lacks value because I haven’t put in the time.

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day 23 | Virtual Party Planning

I’m not having an actual birthday party this year, aside from a tiny family get together this afternoon (the get together is tiny, my family is normal-sized, just to be clear), so I decided to throw myself a little virtual party. All the glamour, none of the clean up, and I don’t have to wear pants. In keeping with the theme of my golden birthday, I’m going with a bit of a grown up princess party thing.

Not Disney Princess. More, fairy-tale-ish? No Grimm Brothers, though. Not fairy princess, either. Whatever, just look.

Birthday CollageLace Crowns|Sequin Dress|Gold Balloon|Lighted Trees|Cupcake Hearts|Straws|Sparkle Print

You can check out more of my ideas for the perfect Golden Birthday on my Pinterest board! Try to ignore that most of them come from baby showers or parties for two-year-olds. It’s my birthday, I’ll do what I want.

Happy Saturday!

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day 22 | Favorite Things Friday | Summer Time!

Summer is coming. I thought that summer was here, but then it rained for two and a half days and the temperature dropped by 15 degrees, so it’s anyone’s guess. For the time being, I’m back to hoping for warm weather!

In that spirit, I’ve compiled my favorite internet finds to get prepped for summer!

Gibson1) Love my long hair, but there are certainly days when I just need it to go away. This collection of cute (and easy) updos gets my hair up off my neck without resorting to a top knot or rusty kitchen scissors.

2) I’m headed out for a week in Southern California and the idea of dragging a suitcase through an airport leaves me less than thrilled. Check out this idea for packing two weeks worth of beach outfits in a carry on!

3) This reminder that as summer vacations get underway, where you go and what you do aren’t nearly as important as the memories you make.

4) Who says that wreaths are only for Christmas?! Check out this gorgeous, but simple, magnolia leaf wreath. What says summer more than magnolias? Plus, the leaves are artificial, so they won’t wilt on you when things heat up.

5) Summer heat means summer food! Light, refreshing, full of local produce, salads come out in full force. Check out this ridiculously delicious looking Avocado Caprese Chicken Salad. Yum!

Happy Summer!

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day 21 | Birthday Memories

I have the unique, um…privilege? good luck? I dunno…of having a late May birthday. The benefit of the late spring/early summer birthday is that it coincides with the end of the school year and Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer. When I was a little kid, I kind of thought that everyone got the day off on Monday just for me. Apparently not. The day has always been really important to me because it was one time during the year that a huge portion of my extended family got together.

Face not foodPlus, there was cake, which is always good. Each year’s cake was reflective of my favorite color, except for the one year when my mom (horrifyingly) had my face put on the cake. Eat your own face and don’t get creeped out, I dare you.

Celebrating the personal passage of time has a certain universal appeal. The minds behind Mental Floss put together a list of Birthday Traditions from around the world. Honestly, some of them are kind of terrifying (check out Ireland!)

There is something special, almost magic about birthdays; there is a sense of wonder as the end of your year rolls around and you look into the future with hope.  Birthdays are an opportunity to look at all that you’ve done and all that you’ve accomplished. Think about yourself a year ago: the people you hadn’t yet met, the lessons you hadn’t yet learned, the trials you hadn’t yet conquered. What an amazing, wonderful, lovely person you are!

Which leads me to wonder: what is your best birthday memory? Is it funny or sentimental? Was it your birthday or that of a friend or family member? 

I’ll start…

This was last year. It was the first time in 20 years that my siblings and I had been together. I’ll cherish that memory always. I’ll also always be quick to notice that I’m the only non-blonde-haired-blue-eyed one of the group. But that’s a story for another day…

Comment below or hit me up on Facebook!

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day 20 | A look back

I started The adventures of EveryGirl four years ago. The first original post went live on June 29, 2011. It was a review of the film Stranger than Fiction, which is still one of my favorites. Seven people viewed the post. I’m pretty sure that at least 3 of them were me.

200 posts later, here I am. The site has received over 9,000 views and over 130 comments.

I’ve used this blog to share my highs and lows with you. You’ve read along with me through triumph and through heartbreak. You’ve walked with me through the happiest and saddest times of my life and your words of support have been unbelievably gracious. There are those that have been with me from the beginning and those for whom Project27 is the first glimpse into my particular brand of crazy.


By the by – for those of you who’ve just joined us, once Project27 is over, you should for sure not expect me to post every day. You’ve been warned.


Why the nostalgia? I always get this way as my birthday approaches. I think birthdays are an opportunity to make peace with the past and embrace a new year, full of hope and possibilities.

And oh, the journey I’ve traveled. Please forgive the crappy photography. In June of 2012, I decided that I absolutely had to make meringues the same weekend I was applying to grad school. The were weird, but delicious. Like really sweet Styrofoam.

That same month, fueled by bloggy adrenaline and self delusion, I tried my hand at homemade caramels. They. were. AWESOME. Little did I know that two years later, I’d make hundreds of the tiny confections for the wedding of two of my favorite people on Earth.

For my 25th birthday in 2013, I wrote a list (please, try to hold back your surprise) about 25 things I’d learned in my first 25 years. When I reread the list now, I think that maybe 25 year old Simone knew way more than almost 27 year old Simone does. Which is troubling for a lot of reasons.

Then, I didn’t blog for almost a year. Talk about killing your momentum.

In February of 2014, I went on a disastrous first date that was so laughably bad, I couldn’t resist telling you about it.

Oh, the horror.

You were there with me through September when my world fell apart. Through November when I fell in love and in March when my heart broke again.

They’ve been the best times and the worst times and you’ve stayed for all of it. There’s really just one thing left to say.

Here’s to 200 more!

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day 19 | Guest Blogger: Untidy Grace

hello peeps! 🙂

you may or may not know me / follow my blog, untidy grace!
this is me:

I am a BIG fan of black nail polish, writing about things, slow mornings full of sweet tea and creativity, AND sweet simone’s blog (as are you, I see!), so when she asked me to write a spring-themed guest post for her wonderful 27-day-blogathon, I was off-the-walls, squeal-really-loud excited!

I thought for quite a while about what I ought to write.
and after seeing the countless “I can’t wait for summer ahhhh” facebook posts and flood of beachy pins on my pinterest feed, realized that spring is a truly under-appreciated season.
we spend all winter longing for some fresh spring air, and as soon as it comes, we’re totally over it and practically sobbing for sand and sun tans.

spring is like summer’s ultra-organized, annoyingly perfect big sister- famous for cleaning and losing an hour of precious sleep (blurg), while summer is all about having fun and staying up late!

poor spring always gets skipped in our brains 😦

if you’re one of the aforementioned spring-skippers… this post is for YOU!
(it’s okay, you’re not in trouble)

before we’re out with may, here are some wonderful and fun ways to enjoy SPRING 🙂
spring bucket list, if you will.
naturally, I am including 27 things, in honor of this 27-day blogathon!

1. host a spring-themed dinner party!

2. visit a farmers’ market
maybe purchase some ingredients for that dinner party of yours? 😉

3. go mini-golfing
grab some friends and hit the course! 🙂 make it even more fun – winner buys everyone ice cream!

4. wash your car
get all that winter salt off and make your vehicle shiny and bright! plus, enjoy that fresh air.

5. go to a baseball game
america’s game, right? I’m not much for sports, but once a year, in the springtime, it’s so much fun to get caught up in nostalgia and head out to the ballpark.

6. try something you’ve been wanting to
whether it’s a craft, sport, or anything at all, grow and better yourself… and have fun doing it!

7. DIY some plant pots
I made some nerdy ones for my super-cute succulents, and you can read all about it here!

8. try yoga
it’s great for your health… and more challenging than you’d think! 😉

9. go hiking
look up a local trail, and make a day of it! even pack a lunch aaaand….

10. have a picnic
it’s cliche for a reason!

11. buy a new color of nail polish
and paint your nails fresh and pretty for spring!!

12. see a cheap outdoor concert
get dressed up like a total hippie and just go for it (heehee!)

13. turn clouds into shapes
give yourself a break– relax and unwind with this classic childhood pastime.

14. take a photography class
spring is full of perfect subjects for your camera! learn a new art form, and take advantage of everything green popping up all over the place!

15. catch lightning bugs
and put them in a jar. because, duh.

16. make strawberry shortcake
all the yummy noms.

17. send someone a care package
I mapped the anatomy of the perfect one here.

18. sweet potato fries
that is all.

19. create a happy music playlist.
for those april showers, you know.

20. decorate a neighbor’s driveway with sidewalk chalk
because you’re a nice person who does nice things. also you’re five 😉

21. make s’mores
I’ve put a lot of food on this list….

22. try a new hairstyle or makeup trick
you never know… you just might discover a new favorite or go-to look!

23. participate in a super fun 5k
the color run (where you get covered in large amounts of colorful dust), the glow run (in which you run at night through colorfully lit areas and sport glow sticks as part of your ensemble), and the glitter tour (the color run. but with glitter) are all basically the most fun thing ever and even non-runners (me! me!) love ’em!

24. pick strawberries
and eat half of them on the way home 🙂

25. road trip with friends
even if it’s just a saturday trip to a fun spot a few hours away!

26. wear a dress just for fun
because now your legs won’t freeze, and you can feel girly and happy.

27. keep tuning in to keep up with lovely simone and yours truly as we make our way (let’s hope gracefully) through the end of springtime!! 🙂

day 18 | Monday Musings | of the boss lady, and doing what the kids do…

1) In one of my many jobs, I work for my dear and sweet friend Kristi who is, in addition to being an awesome mom and volunteer of the year at her daughter’s elementary school, a therapist. Today, I was sitting in the office, tap tap tapping away at the keyboard as a waded through the stack of files in my inbox (I love having an inbox, btw) when this conversation happened:

Kristi: You seem quiet, today.
Me: Yeah.
Kristi: What’s going on?
Me: *chuckle* I’m kind of falling apart.
Kristi: Okay, seriously, what’s going on?
Me: *spontaneous sobbing*

Oh, friends, it wasn’t pretty. Snot oozed from my nose as a torrential downpour fell from my eyes. Not my finest hour. To my relief, and Kristi’s credit, she didn’t even bat an eyelash.

Why am I telling you this? Maybe you feel like you’re the only one barely holding it together. Maybe, like me, you’re frustrated with yourself because you seem to be the only person in your life having a hard time. You aren’t.

Maybe, you have no idea what I’m talking about. I guess, at the very least, when something ridiculous happens, you can remind yourself that it could be worse – you could start sobbing on construction invoices.

2) I’ve resisted Instagram for a reason that makes me feel silly and more than a little old: I didn’t know how to use it. I still don’t really know how to use it, but I’ve started, so hopefully, it’ll get easier.

If you’d like, you can follow theadventuresofeverygirl and stay updated on my goings on. You can also reach out on Facebook and connect with The Adventures of EveryGirl. I hope you’re tuning in on Wednesday, because I’m working hard to prepare my first contest giveaway ever!!!!

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