8 Apr

Hey friends,


I got my act together and got all figured out. Ok, mostly figured out. So please change it in your readers, bloglovins and favorites list, because over there is where you will find the freshest content.





wedding gifting

6 Apr

In this day and age where etiquette rules are made to be broken, your grandmother’s idea of a great wedding gift is probably not your idea of a great gift. Now, I’ve never been married, but I’ve attended many a wedding in the past couple of years.

pinterestI think times are changing, but that doesn’t give me a really clear picture of what to buy on someone’s big day. To be real, I think we’re all making it up as we go.

Registries, to be real I don’t love them. That being said, I think they are a necessary evil. If 200 people were all going to buy me gifts, of course I’d love to give them some direction. Thank your registry for the fact that you got one toaster and not seven. Unless you have friends and relatives who don’t understand how to use a registry and you still got seven. Lucky you, that’s a lot of toast.

People register for what they want, that’s what you should get them. It’s easy and some places even wrap the gift for you.

My mom has been to thousands and thousands (slight exaggeration) of weddings and showers, and has a few go-to’s.

1. Vacuum- She has a Dyson and swears by it. It’s her fourth child. If you are especially close to her and register for a similar vacuum, she will probably want to get it for you. My friend DR also goes to a lot of weddings. He told me that he always picks some type of alcohol glass off the registry. I guess napkin rings aren’t his jam.

2. Money- I like this one too. Just some cash to spend on a honeymoon or a giftcard to somewhere practical. Of course, I add a heartfelt message in a Hallmark card too. Is this the most exciting gift to receive? No, but on a day you get 200 new things, I’m ok with giving a useful gift. I always do giftcards for couples who get married in a different city than the one they live. Giftcards are easy to move.

3. Diapers- Mom always gets diapers for people having babies. Not so much to newlyweds.

pinterestNow with Pinterest, any fool with a glue gun thinks she’s Martha Stewart (myself included). Is it kosher to craft wedding and shower gifts? Or should we just stick to crafting for our own homes? Would you hang someone’s craft at your house? It probably depends on who’s crafting.

Sometimes I’ll run across something perfect for the bride or the couple and buy it for them. Venturing off the wedding registry is not for the faint of heart. Generally, I only do this for people I am really close with, certainly not everyone. Definitely not for the type of person who expects people to stick to the registry.

My favorite gifts that I have wedding gifted are art pieces. It’s more tricky territory though. I recognize not everyone shares my “bold” decorating and style sense (read: “often gaudy”). Before buying I ask myself and trusted sources, would the couple really love this? Would this work with their style? With some of the things they already own? I have to be 100% sure before I buy something that can’t go back.

So is it fair to stray from the registry for close friends? Are you pro-giftcard? Former brides (are would you consider yourself brides still? Once a bride, always a bride?), what did you like getting the best?

pinterestAll photos via Pinterest.


never have I ever…

4 Apr

Did you play this game to learn all of your friends’ deepest darkest secrets? Me too. I think it’s time we play. I dare you to leave one in my comments!

Never have I ever…

… lived in a state other than Missouri.

... owned one of these.

… owned one of these.

… been on a cruise (but I’m available to go anytime you want).

… been to Europe (samesies).

… read the whole Bible.

… owned a boat.

… had a manicure or pedicure.

… lived on a farm.

… ridden on a horse that wasn’t being led around on a rope.

… pierced anything besides my ears (x2).

… made a  pie.

… dyed my hair. Spray color that washes out doesn’t count.

… been able to whistle.

… had braces.


I’m joining some other ladies for a big fat Never Have I Ever Link Up.


2 Apr

I wish this was about an Usher song. It’s not.

I, Shannon, did not run 100 miles as I challenged myself to do at the beginning of April. I wanted to post this yesterday, but I didn’t want people to think I was April Foolin.

When I blog about something, suddenly I’m responsible for it. Same with saying things out loud (perhaps our politicians need to learn this too). Call Me Shannon was holding me responsible for finishing those 100 miles. I wrote about it, it was real.

I made it about halfway. Actually, I ran 59 miles in 22 days.

It’s not bad, nothing to be ashamed of, but I didn’t reach my goal. And I don’t like that.

On March 19, after running a four miler (and a six the day before), my knee felt a little weird. It did the next day too and the day after that, it hurt. Like knives. So I took it easy, thinking a few days off and I’d just run extra hard the last week.

100 miles in march 2013

When the final week of March rolled around, I realized that I would not be running. I talked to a PT at work and she checked it out. She doesn’t think it’s anything serious, but told me to rest and start running shorter distances when the pain goes away. Probably just a sprain.

I’m still not running. Even more frustrating is that I am writing this post and admitting that I’m not running. But I’m nothing if not honest. So you heard it from me, I didn’t make it.

April’s challenge will be writing the final research paper of my Mizzou career. That I will complete this month, even with a bum knee.


29 Mar

I just want to take a second and say thanks for reading this, whoever you are. Know that I appreciate it. Also know that I would like to meet you in real life someday, if you’re not creepy or anything.

This post is probably going to feel random, because sometimes when I blog, this is my sentiment:
michael scottAnd today is one of those days.

I’m reading Half the Sky right now by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. It’s been at the top of my Read this next Google Doc, and I’m a little mad I’ve put it off for so long. It’s easily the most terrifying and encouraging book I’ve read in a long, long time.

Nick and Sheryl have traveled all over the globe and written about the oppression and opportunity of women. It’s nuts to think about ladies just like me in third world countries not some of the simplest freedoms. The best part of the book is all of the success stories woven in to the chapters on death, poverty and lack of education. It gives me hope that people, like me, can make a change.

Seriously, everyone should read it. My description may have made it sound heavy, but it’s quite beautifully written.  It will also make us rethink things like organic pet food and trading in our iPads for iPad 2’s.

On a much, much lighter note. My dad sent me the funniest text the other day.

Me: (telling him something I had been working on went well)

Dad: We had Gwen Stefani.

Me: Huhhhh?

Dad: No Doubt.

Isn’t he a chuckle? I was impressed.

The_20_20_Experience_(Deluxe_Version)And finally, you should treat yo self to a copy of The 20/20 Experience. The album is so life-changing that I’m almost to distracted to participate in real life.

So the three take aways of this post are:

  1. Half the Sky
  2. No Doubt
  3. Justin Timberlake

Happy Easter:)

equality & slack-tivism

27 Mar

If you are a member of any social network, you’ve probably watched your feed blow up in the last two days. Tons of this:

marriage equalityThose red equals signs are posted by people who support gay marriage rights. As what could and most likely will become a historical supreme court case boils in Washington, we take to social media to duke it out.

Some people are saying, the supreme court justices will never see you Facebook profile picture. They could not be more right. I’ve seen the phrase “slack-tivism” used to describe my generation who is quick to post a picture on Facebook, but less likely to actually send money or volunteer. Although social media is not the most effective of all of the ways to approach a topic, I think it is an easy and cheap way to get the ball rolling.

I’m not going to try to change your mind in this blog post or with what I wrote on Facebook and Twitter, that’s not the point. I support gay marriage for a long list of reasons. I’d love to tell you all about it over a fancy dinner. Senator Claire McCaskill nailed it here, I have to say I agree with her on this one.

Generally, talking politics or religion (although I would argue this is a matter of the former, not the later) is tacky and fruitless. We should probably stay away from those topics the first time we meet, and save them for a period in our friendship when we’re a little closer. A little more understanding of each other and where we come from, who we are.

Rick Warren

But once we get to that point in our friendship, we should talk about gay marriage. We should share how we feel about abortion and contraception. Let’s chat about the Affordable Care Act. What do you think of national debt? We should try to understand each other’s views on the war in the Middle East. I want to know what makes you go to church and why you read the bible.

If we spend too much time immersed in groups of like-minded people, we never understand. We never grow. I’m not saying we’ll change our minds, actually I’m fairly sure we will not. But Camelot’s Court isn’t healthy.

Our politicians and church leaders set a terrible example of dialogue for us. They tell us not to listen to the haters. Ok, maybe rappers say that, but either way, it’s time to listen. Even if we can’t totally agree, we can find some middle ground. Maybe then we can solve some problems.

Throwing down a bible verse or posting a photo isn’t the end, it should be the beginning of a compromise or at least understanding.

Although we may not see a decision until early this summer, at least we are having some big conversations.

Paula Dean for equalityC’mon, that’s just funny.


Whitney Family Book Swap

25 Mar

Last November I birthed a new and wonderful idea. I immediately talked to Julie and Will and they got on board. The first annual Whitney Family Book Swap was born.

For starters, all of us like to read. Some get more done than others, but some (me) have more time than others (Julie and Will). For Christmas we each purchased our favorite book we read in 2012. On Christmas Eve we unwrapped someone else’s book and made the solemn vow to read all of them before Christmas 2013.

What better time to try some new reading material than Christmas break? So here’s what we unwrapped.

book swap

Yes, Julie has brown hair now, and yes, Will is wearing a tuxedo tshirt.

I tackled Redeeming Love while on vacation in Argentina, and I just finished  West of Dodge towards the end of February. I thought this would be a cool way to try new books and something new for us to talk about rather than how crazy our parents are and who is going to change Dad’s diaper when he’s 106. Kidding.

Now, I realize that this blog post was still on my “To Blog List.” Sorry it’s way late. When I run, I blog in my head and sometimes I can’t keep track of things I post here and posts that still live in my noggin.

In October I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and LOVED it! That was my contribution to the swap. Julie really liked it and my mom sorta liked it. Will, feel free to read it over spring break!

Gone Girl is a thriller about a missing woman, narrated by her old diary entires and her husband, the prime suspect. Surprisingly, I hated all the characters by the end, but I still enjoyed the book. Both of the characters had strong voices, but Gillian did a marvelous job weaving them together. There is an element of suspense to the whole read, urging you to finish one more chapter before you go to bed. I judge a book by its negative impact on my sleep. This one was incredible.

Although “Girl” is in the title, I don’t think it’s a super-feminine book. hopefully Will doesn’t either. I picked it to gift because I thought both Julie and Will would get into it. They are both students and I knew it was a page-turner. Also, who doesn’t love a mystery?

Julie’s contribution, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, was a Christian Romance novel. I haven’t read a romance novel in years, so it was defiantly different territory than my current reading list.

Loosely based on the book of Hosea, it follows a prostitute during the gold rush in California. She is saved/kidnapped by a farmer who rescues her from her terrible life and at the same time sort of holds her hostage. The man, who is written to be dreamy (strong yet sensitive) came off a little in your face to me. It was great that he took her out of the brothel, but I’m not sure his approach was the most considerate.

The Book of Hosea is virtually unknown to me, so I enjoyed learning about it and doing some more research. Redeeming Love also opened my eyes to the cycle of prostitution and how hard it was/is for a woman to stop and create a life of her own. Those women have virtually no other life skills and very few people still willing to help them.

Will’s pick, West of Dodge by Louis L’Amour, was a book of short stories by one of the Whitneys’ favorite writers. My dad is a big Louis fan, and we’ve all read a bunch from the shelf in the basement. I was glad to read some short stories instead of a long narrative to switch up my pace. I should do that more often!

The stories were mostly about cowboys and took place in western towns. By the end of the book, they all felt a little repetitive. Good guy defeats bad guy, usually gets a girl. Louis does a wonderful job setting a scene and building suspense. He’s a gifted writer, and I wish I could do those things half as well. A quick, but fun read.

So that’s what I thought of the three books for 2012. Maybe if we start a chant Julie and Will might do guest posts?!?! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!

What was your favorite book of 2012? What book do you wish you could guilt your siblings into reading?