Farewell, 2016. Hello, 2017.

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I love the feeling of newness and anticipation that every new year brings. We have no idea what 2017 has in store for us, but then again, who really does? I have a lot of big hopes and dreams and aspirations for whatever may lie ahead. This past year I’ve learned more than most that it’s important to not let what makes you comfortable stand in the way of what you are called to do. Instead of making any resolutions or goals or choosing a word or a theme for this new year, I’m going to let that quote carry me through.

This has been one heck of a transformational year. It’s a funny thing when you pick up your entire life and move it to the other side of the country. It’s a transformational thing, really. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I’ve learned a lot about us. We’ve explored and learned so much new, living in a culture entirely different than what we’re used to. I’ve read a lot and written even more. Not publicly, but personally and privately. As much as I wanted to write more on here, revamp the blog, give it another facelift (and I would love to do all of these things in this new year as well), I have continued to learn that pen to paper is still my favorite way to express my thoughts, even if I’m expressing them to no one other than myself. Maybe someday I’ll share more of those thoughts with the world, but likely not any time soon.

2016 has been a challenge in many ways but an opportunity for growth and learning and adventure more than anything else. 2016 has been a really, really great year.

We came home on Friday night from our two week trip home to STL, and while it was so so good to be home with family and friends for the holidays, it also felt good to come back to our California home too. Isn’t it the strangest thing the way that we can feel so at home in one place and equally at home in another? It’s a complicated feeling, but I think a lot of it has to do with nothing more than the people we are with. Maybe it also has something to do with the fact that the months of August – December were non-stop travel for us. Really, it seems like all of 2016 was that way, and it’s been amazing, but this little bit of ‘downtime’ at home this weekend before jumping back into the busyness of work this week has felt so good. I feel rejuvenated and ready to dive right into this New Year. I know it’s going to be another busy one, I know there will be a lot of travel, but aside from that, God only knows what more is in store. Only time will tell.

Farewell 2016, you’ve been good to us.

Hello, 2017.

Xo.
Kasey

The Refresh Weekly Planner

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You guys. The 2017 Refresh Weekly Planner by J.Lynn Designery is here, and I am so in love! It’s never too early to start planning, right? Not in my book 😉 I ordered mine early because A. I really am already ready to start planning for all things 2017, and B. I had the 2016 Refresh Weekly Planner, the first that Jenna had designed, and I absolutely love it. I take it with me everywhere I go. It’s beautiful, durable and fits right inside my purse, so it’s convenient enough to have on me at all times, which is perfect because despite the fact that I love my iPhone, Google Calendar and all things digital, I will forever be a fan of the paper planner. I can’t go to bed without looking at it every night. Call me crazy, but it’s true. My 2016 version even withstood a pretty massive coffee spill early in the year (not uncommon for someone such as me) so that tells you it’s pretty tough too.

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But as amazing as my 2016 version has been, the 2017 version is somehow even better. A couple of things that I love right off the bat – 1. The hardcover and the page quality; even more durability which will withstand a lot being tossed in and out of my purse and work bag day in and day out. 2. The goal planning in the front of the planner. I am a big goal setter, and I especially love having a place to put these goals. Having a place for them someplace that I turn to daily is really ideal for me.

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There are also two planner patterns that I was really torn between – the gray + gold agate pattern and the pink plus pattern. They are both beautiful, each with gold wire bindings and gold plated corners for protection (I love gold!). After much contemplation and going back and forth between the two, I decided to go with the pink plus pattern because it ultimately is the most me.

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There are also inspirational quotes to read each week which has been another one of my favorite features from the 2016 version. I stop and ponder the quote more than once throughout the week as I plan and prepare.

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Not only does the planner feature a beautiful design, inside and out, inspirational quotes, goal planning, monthly and weekly layouts, color coded tabs for each month, inside pocket and a built-in notebook in back, but there are a few other very significant key features as well including:

+ Hard covers with gold plated corners for protection
+ Beautiful gold wire binding
+ Pocket inside front cover
+ Full yearly, monthly, and weekly layouts
+ Notebook built into back of planner for all of your note taking and idea jotting throughout the year, including both lined and grid-style pages
+ NEW quarterly goal-setting feature
+ Includes same popular weekly layout from the 2016 edition
+ Inspiration quotes on every weekly spread to keep you motivated all week long
+ Plastic-coated monthly tabs for durability
+ Small, portable size that will fit in most bags, purses and backpacks

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I hope this has you as excited as it has had me to start prepping for the new year. It may only be October, but the holidays will be here before we know it, and it will soon be 2017! If you’re interested in getting a 2017 Refresh Weekly Planner for your self before the start of the new year, click HERE to pre-order yours today. Happy Planning! Xo.

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(Photos and images by J.Lynn Designery

St. LouIS (Read: St. Lou-is)

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{Here we go again with another way too long lull of no writing…I swear I’m constantly writing in my mind (or in my Notes on my phone for that matter), but by the time I open up WordPress at night, I’m always exhausted and ready for bed. Gah! Anyway, jumping right back in here…}

Last week we spent a few days back home for the first time in five months. To some, this may sound like nothing, but to me, five months is the longest amount of time I’ve ever been away from home. We’ve been living in California for almost 9 months now (can you believe it!? Already!? I can’t…and in my head, nine months instantly equates to nearly one year. Whoa!), and we’ve been home twice. We went back home in March to meet our new nephew, and we went home last week for a wedding, but itching to spend some time in STL, we made it an extra long weekend and spent time with family, with friends and visiting some of our favorite STL places. Those few days went by SO quickly, and we attempted to squeeze as much as possible in such a short amount of time which was no easy feat yet we still managed to squeeze a lot into such a short amount of time. My heart is so full after being home for a few days. My heart was also reminded, though, just how in love I truly am with that city and so many of the people in it. Being across the country from home and loved ones sure does pose its challenges, but being away also makes you realize how great home really is. Not that we didn’t already love everything about the city that we call home, but when you’re away from it for months at a time living in a place so different than what you know, you are simply reminded of all those good things. As much as we’ve always wanted to go and experience some place new, and as much as we’ve always expressed so much love for our ‘rival city’ of Chicago, we’ve always shared how much we also love St. Louis, our city. It’s such a special place for so many reasons, but there is so much culture, so much vibrancy, such a strong sense of community. We went back into our church doors and felt right back at home with the overwhelming feeling of love from others, so many others who care so much about the heart of the city and its people. That city has a story to tell, and it makes my heart smile. I oftentimes share with people here that they may not understand my love for that city because they’ve never been, but that’s ok. I feel like it’s my own little secret. One that I feel like maybe you only truly understand if you immerse yourself in it. You become a part of it and its community. If you’re in St. Louis or planning a trip to St. Louis (or maybe haven’t ever considered planning a trip to St. Louis) and don’t quite see what’s so attractive to many, I encourage you to look a little deeper, because there is so so much there. St. Louis has been getting so many good remarks from Thrillist lately, but read this post in particular which almost perfectly describes so much of the good, so much of what so many are simply missing. There are people who call the city home, and there are people who only seem to want to claim it as theirs when the Cardinals are well on their way to the World Series or when the talk of crime isn’t quite so high. For those on all ends of that spectrum, it’s a city with a story to tell. A really good story.

It’s fun out here, for so many reasons, but no matter what, that city is home. It may not have a beach, it may not have a steady 75 + sunny weather pattern, but I can name a whole lot more that it does have, I can assure you of that. And for the record, our favorite street tacos aren’t in California, they are from Mission Taco in STL. Who would have thought?

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Loving our adventures and all there is to here on the west coast and truly soaking up every bit that there is to do in this SoCal life, but I’m already counting down to the holidays to be back in the Lou again for a few more days. 🙂

Xo.

Podcasts I’m Loving

Happy Weekend, Friends (or the 1-2 people who may actually be reading this?! 😉 )! In a post a couple of months back when I was wanting to keep up with ‘Things I’m Loving‘ (and you know, life sometimes just gets a bit busy), I shared a couple of podcasts that I’ve been listening to and really loving. I remember when podcasts first started to make their way into the world several years back, and I just wasn’t overly interested. Probably similar to my feeling oftentimes when it comes to movies and TV shows. I like both, however, I love to read above all else. I’m seemingly a much better reader than a I am a listener, when it comes to entertainment and pleasure anyway. If I’m listening to anything, it’s typically going to be music, my other true love. Once I started to really take more time to discover podcasts, I have learned to absolutely love them. Now that I spend so much more time in the car these days (ahem…traffic…), I’ve been taking full advantage of this extra time and have been listening to a lot of podcasts. It’s safe to say, that I’ve become mildly obsessed with podcasts. They are so inspirational. I listen to a combo of Christian podcasts to inspirational stories of female leaders and entrepreneurs to marketing podcasts to adoption stories and a few fun and entertaining lighthearted podcasts too. All across the board. I’m grateful for an awesome group of girlfriends who I get to share conversations about most of these with (and who suggested listening to many of these too…We have group text Fridays which I should blog about sometime too, and it’s SO much fun being able to share our lives together with updates all over the country at the end of each week!). Here are a few of my favorites that I’m loving right now (I’m just going to give you a brief description and opinion, but I’ll link to their show pages so you can learn more for yourself):

The Limit Does Not Exist: Why limit yourself to one side of your brain, or one career path? I have a major crush on Forbes podcasts right now, but this one in particular is speaking my language in so many ways. Christina and Cate interview some amazing individuals who have both a scientific or mathematical mindset and a creative mindset. Mind. Blown. (Yup, it’s possible to have both.)

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Two Inboxes: Another one of the Forbes podcasts that is really speaking my language. Molly is a professional in the marketing and digital media space living in NYC, and she is also a prominent part of the infamous side-hustle generation. I can relate 100%. Molly interviews several others who are a part of the side-hustle generation, those managing two or more inboxes, and these individuals share insights to their success and how they bring their passions and professional lives together.

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And/And: Yes another Forbes Podcast that I am absolutely loving. Taylor and Sloane are an amazing couple with a newborn (and a dog!) and busy lives with jobs and side hustles who stress the emphasis on and/and as opposed to either/or. I love their way of thinking. Some tell us that we can’t have it all, but I’ve always had this mindset that we can, and these two help to make it all seem possible. My favorite part about their show description – “How about being an entrepreneur and wanting to have a life and care about the world and be successful?” Yup, I totally get what they’re saying here. They interview many individuals who are in the same boat and sharing their stories and successes (and maybe not always successes) too.

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The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey: Thanks to one of my dear friends, this is truly the podcast that got me hooked on podcasts. Jamie is a Christian woman and an adoptive mom who essentially has ‘happy hours’ each week with other truly inspiring women…women who have also adopted children, who have faced struggles with fertility, who have large families, who are entrepreneurs and authors and so much more. Some of my favorite bloggers and female entrepreneurs whom I have followed long before I even started listening to this show have been featured in episodes. How cool is that? Some episodes are incredibly uplifting and encouraging while others you may need to have tissues nearby, and you may not want to listen to on your drive to work, but each episode is so different from the next and well worth the listen. I feel like I’m enjoying happy hour in person with these ladies, and it’s so much fun! Bonus: She has started releasing bonus ‘Happy Half Hour’ episodes on occasional Fridays that are fun ways to jump into a Friday!
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The Popcast: The Popcast is a podcast about all things pop culture and, according to the show hosts Knox and Jamie, things that don’t matter. I’ll admit, I’ve never been overly into pop culture, but I do try to stay in-the-know with the latest and greatest, especially living in LA land. My Grandma was the best at all things pop culture and entertainment. Before she passed away, she received People Magazine in the mail once a week, studied it, then passed it on to me for my viewing pleasure. She was honestly the one who I always got my Hollywood scoop on. Plus, my mom’s pretty on top of what’s going on in the world of Hollywood too so she keeps me up-to-date which makes me realize I need to try a bit harder 😉 Popcast is a good listen when you just want something light and fun. I love listening to Knox and Jamie chat about the latest entertainment industry news.

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Be Still Be Free: A podcast inspiring women to be before they do. This was also one of the first podcasts that I got hooked on thanks to one of my dear friends. This is another Christian podcast that is very uplifting and encouraging. A lot of these podcasts are also composed of women from the south, and I love hearing that accent. These episodes aren’t coming out as frequently as they were early on, but I still love to listen when a new episodes is posted.

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The Lively Show: If you don’t know Jess Lively, you should. Not that I know her personally or anything, but listening to so many episodes sure does have a way of making me feel like I do. Jess’s website, courses, blog, vlog and show inspire her followers to live a life of intention, and she has such a special way of doing this. She has a lot to offer, and she lives right up to her name (Lively). She’s currently exploring Europe with no plane ticket to return back home any time soon, and she’s sharing every bit of this self-exploration adventure with her listeners. I’ve really enjoyed following along (and she’s making me really want to be right there with her!). 

Marriage More: This is a Podcast from a husband and wife sharing real life. I just enjoy listening to these two. Jeff and Mandy are also ironically from Southern Illinois, very near St. Louis(!), and STL and the Cardinals get a couple of mentions from time to time, as do a few very familiar Midwest-South road trips, so sometimes listening to these two just makes me feel right at home. They are raising three young boys, and they have been in the very long process of an oversees adoption and just recently shared the news that they are going to pick up their new addition to the family. They’ve shared bits and pieces of their journey along the way, but I can’t wait to hear more once they are back home and settled.

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So these are just a few of my favorite podcasts right now. This gives you a little insight into what I’m doing during my commutes these days. I’m listening to a wide array of things, to say the least, with a bit of music mixed in between, and it has taken my commute to an entirely new level. Listening to most of these allows me to grow both personally and professionally and to learn more about so many new things. Do you have any favorite podcasts that you’ve been loving? Please share!

Xo.
Kasey

 

The Latest and Greatest

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So. Getting back on a schedule with my posts hasn’t proved to be much of a success for me just yet because, well, life. We’ve been extra busy with our jobs, and since I still have events under my belt, that also means evenings and weekends too. So, every little bit of time that we have together, even if it’s Thursday nights or Sundays, we are taking full advantage to get out and explore and do something fun. We got to go home for Easter a few weeks ago and meet our new nephew, and it was SO good to be back home in a city that we love with family. It’s only/already been four months for us being out here, and that’s also the longest that we’ve been away from home and away from family, which I will definitely admit, is tough. But, let’s dive right on it…

Currently Loving: 

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St. Louis sports and this great little package that my parents sent in the mail last week! The Cardinals are my number one, as I believe we all already know, and I’ve been making sure that everyone out here is well aware of how great they are too. We’ve got tickets to at least one game in every series that the Cardinals play out in California starting with a game in San Diego next weekend to celebrate Tim’s birthday. I am SO excited to see those boys out here and to wear all of my Cards gear loud and proud in the stands! I am not the biggest hockey fan, but I do of course support the Blues, and hockey is really Tim’s support. It’s playoff time for them, and I am of course cheering them on as well.

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Hiking! We have been taking advantage of God’s beautiful creation out here, and it certainly is nothing short of amazing. The views are phenomenal. We have been going on a lot of hikes with the dogs. We have some pretty great hills and mountains closer to us in North Orange County, we’ve done the touristy Runyon Canyon in LA (the city views were pretty spectacular here) and we’ve done some neat hikes by the ocean and the bay. I would like to do a post in the future on some of our favorites. There isn’t a ton of opportunity for hiking in MO (although there is some), but out here there are so many mountains, hills and trails to explore.

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Travel! We just booked some exciting upcoming trips including Portland and Seattle for our anniversary in June (5 years!) and San Francisco in September (where we will see the Cardinals play the Giants!). We’ve also got quite a few smaller weekend trips on tap. We want to take advantage of so many great places around us while we live out here. We are working on adding quite a few pins to our map. The west coast was looking pretty sparse, but it’s starting to fill up quite nicely.

Not So Much: 

Sweet tea and good BBQ are hard to come by out here. I LOVE my sweet tea, and BBQ (especially a favorite of Tim’s) are two things that we just haven’t nailed down yet. I think that these are two comforts that remind me of home too, so when we try out a new BBQ place, and it’s just not like St. Louis (not that I would actually expect it to be of course), I get a little let down. So, if you have any good BBQ recs in SoCal or any other suggestions on where I can get sweet tea aside from Chick-fil-a or the grocery store, please feel free to share 🙂

Listening:

MisterWives. Just got their newest album. So good. Fun, upbeat summertime music in my opinion; it just puts you in a good mood. We’ve been listening on our record player outside on our patio.

Watching:

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I watched season 1 when we first moved out here and absolutely loved it. It’s just so lighthearted and funny, typical Tina Fey style. Season 2 just came out. Something light and fun to watch when you want something sort of mindless at the end of a long day.

Reading: 

I tend to always be reading way too many books at once, but I recently started going through Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life, guiding you through 40 days of purpose. His church is actually out here where we live, so we’ve visited one of the locations closest to us a few times. We’re still on the hunt for a new church home out here (no easy feat), but more to come on that in a later post.

Tomorrow starts another Monday, but it’s also Tim’s birthday week! We are getting awfully close to 30 this time around. Crazy! We have had a lot of milestones set for ourselves early on in our marriage when we reached 30 and/or five years of marriage. We celebrate five years of marriage this year, and 30 will happen for us both next year. Never would have imagined we would be living in Soithern California right now, and I can only imagine (and hope and pray about) what the next few years will bring. God’s got plans for us, and we are living out each new page of our story one day at a time. April is a busy month of work and life, but I’m extra excited for May because my parents come to visit, we have friends coming to visit and the Cardinals will be in town!

Hope you all are enjoying a restful Sunday. And I will leave you with this quote that I stumbled upon last week – “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.” -George Washington Carver

Xo.

KaseyLucasStLouis

 

 

Things I’m Loving (and maybe a few that I’m not…)

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Hi All! I feel like it’s way too much of a challenge for me to find the time to post regularly over here, unlike on IG, but I want to so I’m trying to come up with the best way of doing so without it being too forced, you know? So, I think that what I’m going to try to shoot for is (hopefully) two weekly posts. One being a weekend adventure recap since many of our weekends out here are spent exploring SoCal, and two, I want to try sharing weekly ‘things I’m loving now,’ as inspired by the super great Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey podcast that my dear friend Chelsea got me sucked into, and now I cannot stop listening! I think I may even do an entirely different post on a few of the podcasts I’ve been listening to thanks to this girl because now thanks to a significantly longer California commute to and from work each day (seriously, traffic is no joke around here), I spend a lot more time in my car, but I’m listening to some super great podcasts (and catching up on sermons from my home church because of it) so I supposed that makes the commuter lifestyle seem a bit better.

So anyway, here’s how I think I want to line out at least one of my weekly posts:

-Three things I’m loving right now.

-Something I’m not really loving so much right now (because as much as I don’t like to be negative, sometimes I just need to let out a little vent session, so one sentence here might do).

-Currently listening to (this may be favorite Spotify stations, podcasts, etc.).

-Currently watching (Netflix because since moving, we have given up cable, which I have mixed emotions about. I just really miss having HGTV on all the time!) 

-Currently reading (books, blogs, etc.).

A few of these things may vary or remain the same each week because, well as much as I love to read, it still tends to take me way longer than it really should to finish a book based on a way too busy schedule (will get into that at some other point, I’m sure).

Here’s what I’m going to start with for this week (even though it’s still the weekend; not sure which day I’m actually going to try to plan for posts yet, but schedules do definitely tend to help.):

Three things I’m loving right now:
1. Being an aunt! My first nephew was born this week! I will say that this has been the first real feeling of challenge being so far from home, BUT, we’re going home next week to meet him, and I couldn’t be more excited! (I also went to the TOMS warehouse sale earlier this month (perks to living in California!) and just had to buy a pair of these Tiny TOMS for Rhys.

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2. Everything at Target, not that this is anything new because I’m always loving everything at Target, but they are consistently continuing to rock my world. I’m especially loving all of Oh Joy!’s lines at Target.

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3. Dog + Bone dog collars and leashes made in Austin, TX. I am in love with this brand’s look, and Bent and Emma recently got new, bright colored collars and leashes.

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Something that I’m not really loving so much right now: 

Some of the oddities that I’m learning about California. The biggest example would be the fact that I thought this place was supposed to be so ahead of the game on everything, but even in the world of gluten freedom, they don’t have it. Like, at all. Before moving out here everyone said how easy it was to be gluten free in California. Hm. Maybe I’m just finding all of the wrong places? We just have to do some pretty serious digging every time we are planning to go out to eat to search for the best gf options. There are certainly some, just not quite as many as I would have hoped or expected. St. Louis is definitely way on top of the game when it comes to this, especially compared to here. Also, there is no good Italian food here. Anywhere. And Italian is my #1 so this is so sad! I’m still determined to find it. We are definitely spoiled by all of the great local restaurants on the Hill back home (with great gluten free pasta too!).

Currently listening to:
Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey podcast (so many inspiring women on this show, go listen!)

Currently watching:
GIRLS HBO. I’ve been watching since season 1, and I’m seriously obsessed with this show. Trying to figure out what this twenty something life is all about? So are these girls so it makes me feel a bit more sane about having a million and one different dreams and goals and ambitions in one single moment.

Currently reading:
Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lisa TerKeust – Almost done with this one. I absolutely and have read a few of her other books too. As you can probably tell from the book title, she is a Christian author, and she also runs Proverbs 31 Ministries. They have a great app called First 5 with quick devotionals to start your day. It’s so great.

That’s it for this week. Let’s see if I can get this thing back on some kind of a schedule. Phew! In the meantime, Happy Spring! Yahoo! (Side note – This took me five days to actually even post…yet I had started it. Let’s see if we can keep this thing on a schedule. I wrote this over the weekend, and it’s already a new week sooo there’s that. Additional side note – I would normally be adding more photos and linking way more things that I want to share, but when I do these posts from my iPad, it complicates things a little and takes wayyyy longer than it should. So I’ll hopefully go back and do things, but hey, progress, not perfection, right?! 😉 )

Xo.
Kasey

We’re from Missouri

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The tall, skinny palm trees along the coastline are my absolute favorite; I think they have their own quirky sense of character. I’m still in awe that these surround us everywhere here every single day.

Whoa. I can hardly believe that we have already been living in California for a month and a half now. SO many things have happened in just a month and a half! I have been meaning to write since we got here and just haven’t quite found the time to do so yet (but I update Instagram frequently with #stltosocal adventure updates so feel free to follow me there!) I started my job out here with an amazing University of California school a week after we arrived. So thankful for the way that God has provided for us on this journey. There are definite reasons as to why we are here. We’ve both been busy with our jobs and spending any and all free time exploring all things Southern California. And let me tell you. There is so much to explore in Southern California. We still haven’t quite finished unpacking yet either, but when you’re across the country in a brand new place exploring so many brand new things, that tends to fall lower on the list, even for the perfectionist. Enjoying what we can of this adventure is what’s most important right now. (I never even got to share our full travel story with you, but we left the day after New Year’s Day, drove two very long days across the country with the dogs, waited two weeks for all of our belongings to arrive and are still trying to get settled in, but hey, it’s all a part of this adventure, and it’s teaching me to let go of the things that aren’t always in my control.)

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Just a few hours into our road trip from Missouri to the West Coast! Had to make a pitstop for Starbucks. Bentley and Emma did amazing on the two day trek.

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Day 2 of the trip. Once we started to see signs for LA, we knew we were finally getting ‘closer.’

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And once we crossed the California border we had to stop at a vehicle inspection to ensure we didn’t bring any ‘foreign objects’ into the state (just another reason why I feel like this place is a country of its own). Once we crossed the state line, we still had a long way to go. California is a massive state.

So, now to the important stuff. Everyone wants to know about California. It’s definitely quite the change from St. Louis, I will say that. It’s amazing out here, yet so different in so many ways. But do I miss home? Oh yes. The Midwest is absolutely home, and always will be so if you’re asking whether or not we will be back, the answer is definitely yes. While I don’t want to ‘plan’ too much too far ahead (and like I’ve said before, this was never particularly in our ‘plan’ either, as our plans aren’t always ours), I do know that at some point, that is definitely where we want to be. But for today? This is a fun adventure that we fully intend to take full advantage of.

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Or, as I like to say, our home sweet home AWAY from home, because of course, St. Louis is definitely home.

It’s only been a little over a month, so this will change as time goes on, but in this short period of time we have already learned quite a bit about this state. The one thing that I tell just about everyone here is that I feel like California is its own country. It’s just so different and strange in a lot of ways; this state has a lot of its own quirks that I don’t fully understand, and I’m not sure that I ever will, but maybe I will start to more so as time goes on, but I’m pretty sure I will forever hold onto my Midwest ways. But a couple of thoughts right off the bat:

1. Traffic. Is. Horrible. We’re in Orange County, so we thought that maybe being a little south of LA meant that traffic would be less frequent. Wrong. A drive to work in the morning that should take me no more than 15 minutes takes an hour. Or more. I cannot seem to wrap my head around the fact that people spend so much of their lives sitting in traffic here. I don’t love that. The plus side, though, is that I use my commute to either A.) listen to podcasts, B.) listen to sermons from the Journey or C.) call my mom and dad and other family and friends so at least I am able to put all of my car time to good use.

2. I don’t see Cardinals anything anywhere like I’m so used to at home. I LOVE our Cardinals. They are of course not so well loved around here. I have spotted a couple of STL Cards license plate covers since we’ve arrived though (and I get ridiculously excited when I do!!), and I recently added a STL sticker to my car. I have so much pride over that team and refuse to ever let that go.

3. There is quite a mix of people here who are either born and raised SoCal/Orange County or who are transplants from other cities. When I meet someone who is from across the country, I instantly want to become their best friend. Everywhere I go I also find it necessary to tell everyone around me that I’m from the Midwest (not sure if I’ll ever stop sharing this fact with strangers during our time here). What I’ve quickly learned, though, (and no, I am not speaking for everyone here) is that many of the people who are born and raised here seem to take all of amazingness that surrounds them for granted, and I don’t want that to become me. Sure, there are things that are bothersome like the traffic and the higher gas prices and other little California quirks that I’m sure I will at some point share, but the fact that I drive to work and see snowcapped mountains in my rearview mirror or the fact that I can drive 5 minutes away during lunch and stare at the ocean is so surreal to me. If you know me you know my love for all things city (and yes, I am longing for that I will not lie, but luckily LA is so close), but the beauty of God’s creations that are right in front of us, in conjunction with this amazing weather, are things that I never want to lose sight of. It’s snowing back home, and here I am at the beach after church then having iced coffee outside in 75+ degree sunshine. I don’t even feel like I deserve this so I don’t want to become one who complains at 60 degrees or who sits inside during lunch or on the weekends when there’s so much to go see and do.

I’m excited to see where this adventure takes us. While I sit here with a million and one ideas and visions and dreams and goals in my mind (I swear my brain never shuts off!), I still want to work to enjoy each and every day and take this all in. Our first month and a half here has gone by so quickly, but we’ve already done so much like explore LA, hike Peter’s Canyon, visit several beaches (and even take the dogs to the beach!), visit San Diego, enjoy the Farmer’s Markets in February and so much more. So yes, although I’m currently sitting outside writing, a piece of me misses St. Louis (and of course a huge piece of me misses my family and friends) and maybe even a little bit of the snow (gasp!), but this is us today, and it’s pretty incredible. There is so much more to experience, and this is what life is all about. I think that there is something to be said about experiencing an environment and a culture so incredibly different than what we’re used to.

Kasey Lucas St Louis

I had ironically found this saved in my random things box (I save a lot of random things) while we were packing. The perfect, subtle reminder.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain

Kasey Lucas St Louis

The west coast is the best coast? Nah. I was conveniently wearing my favorite ‘Midwest is Best’ tee when we passed this one day and clearly had to stop to take a quick pic.

Here’s to exploring and adventure. But don’t worry, as much as I love visiting and exploring other places, the Midwest is definitely still the best. But for today, California is pretty amazing too.

XO

KaseyLucasStLouis

Focusing on what the west coast has in store

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(Photo taken from above Orange County as we were about to land in Santa Ana last night (not the best quality but look at that sunset and all of the city lights!). Thoughts written from yesterday’s plane ride, post actually made from cute little coffees  shop marketplace thing today.) *If this post is formatted funny, I apologize in advance…sometimes these come out weird when I post from my iPad.
Last week was my last week working with The Covering House, an amazing non-profit organization in St. Louis. If you haven’t heard of The Covering House, visit their website HERE to learn more about their mission and what they are doing in St. Louis. It has been an incredible year (or just about) with this organization and group of people. The job itself has humbled me in so many ways, taught me so many things and introduced me to some truly incredible people that I otherwise would never have met. This role was such a great transition for me for so many reasons, both personally and profssionally. My last event for TCH was on Thursday evening, and although my heart felt sad to leave, I am really ready to fully focus on what the west coast will have in store. Did you miss our moving (yet again, but BIG move this time around) announcement? You can read more about it in my last post.
As I sit here on this airplane leaving home to travel to our soon-to-be new home, so many thoughts are racing through my head, as they have been for the last few months as we’ve been working through the details of making such a big life change. And boy are there ever so many details. I’m going to miss so many things about home (as in home home, St. Louis home), but gosh this is just going to be such an incredible opportunity for us in so many ways. We’ve got big goals this next week as I fly out to meet Tim in Orange County, CA. We need to find a place to live. I’ve got job interviews lined up (prayers and good vibes are so greatly appreciated). You know. Just the minor details that moving across the country entails.
I think that this whole thing is a really good challenge for me. If you know me, you probably know two things about me. I’m a perfectionist. And I’m a planner. (A blessing and a curse I tell you.) But at the same time, I crave adventure, and although terrifying, I do actually like to take risks every once in awhile and just see what happens. I say all this as I continue to mentally plan our entire next year, next five years, next ten years. Will we still be living on the west coast? Will our family finally start to grow (as in with humans)? How old will our dogs be? Will they love our future children? Where will we be working? Whoa whoa whoa. Seriously people. This is how my brain works. This can truly make someone crazy. I want so badly to take things one day at a time. I will say that right now, I have never been so unplanned in my entire life, so unknowing as to what our future holds (no home to live in in CA yet, no official moving date on the calendar (we’re looking at shortly after Christmas or the New Year as of now for those who have been asking…hoping to know for sure real soon!), and I’m currently unemployed at the moment, if you will (gasp, that sounds SO weird!). But, somehow, deep down (like really deep down here), I also feel ok. I’m freaked out, yes. But I also feel ok. Something in the back of my mind (well, basically God here) is telling me that everything’s going to be OK, and things will soon fall our way. Slowly but surely, but they will. And slowly but surely, they have been. Maybe not quite as ‘planned,’ but you get my point.
One thing that life has really taught me, especially recently, is that no matter how much we plan, there are likely other plans out there waiting for us. Just a few weeks ago, I heard this quote…I can’t remember where I heard it, but it goes like this:
“You just give up the life that is planned to get the life that has been waiting for you,” Joseph Campbell
Boom. In my face. I needed to hear that. So badly. (It’s killing me that I cannot remember where I actually heard this though…was in in church? Did I read it in one of the ten different books I’ve started in the last several months that I’ve yet to find the time to finish? Huh.) I’ve been getting small signs such as that coming my way.
So, I can sit here and plan all I want. Every single step along the way. And of course I do still think that plans and goals are good. So so good. But, I also think it’s important to go where life leads us sometimes too. Will the timing always be right? Probably not. We’ve owned our house in St. Louis for a year, and our first nephew is on his way into the world in a few short months (yay! I’m already so excited to go back home and meet that tiny new human in the spring!). But can we always let things stop us? The unknown? The what ifs? I really don’t think so. (Coming from the girl who is having an internal anxiety attack thinking about what the future may or may not hold right this very moment.) I’ve always admired the people who have the courage to make such big and exciting new changes, and I always thought at some point I too could, would, be that person, yet it always felt so far away, and I never quite knew In what capacity something like that may actually look like. And here we are.
Life is a beautiful and bold adventure. I’d be lying if I sat here and told you I’m not going to plan a dang thing anymore because, let’s just be honest here, but I am going to continue to challenge myself to take each day one day at a time and to live life for what it’s worth. I can’t wait to see what the west coast has in store for us. But in the meantime, feel free to send good vibes our way 😉
Xo.
Kasey

side note – I am finding that dogs can seemingly go just about everywhere around here. Bentley and Emma will love it! 

another side note – again, sorry if formatting of this post is weird (it’s driving me crazy); sometimes I think that WordPress has a mind of its own…will fix when I am no longer on a mobile device. 

 

Wanderlust

imageWanderlust is a very real thing, and I’ve got it bad. We just got home from vacation last weekend and jumped right back into a very full work week this week. My family goes on vacation to Destin, FL every summer. There’s a big group of family and family friends that has been going ever since I was a little girl. I am so grateful for the opportunity to get to do this. For the opportunity to spend a week away, to spend quality time with family, to have this view right in front of our eyes when we wake up every morning and sit out on the balcony eating breakfast while listening to the sound of the waves crashing and the sea gulls soaring by.

imageEach day is is filled with a very subtle schedule of walking on the beach, sitting on the beach, enjoying a drink or two and going out to dinner. A schedule like this for an entire week is something that I am far from used to. This vacation, more so than most, has made me realize more and more the importance and beauty of what surrounds us, what truly lies right in front of us. It’s so hard to unplug in today’s say and time. I try to, I really do. I’ve done a social media free weekend , and it was amazing. When Tim and I went on our honeymoon to Jamaica four years ago we locked our phones in the safe and didn’t even turn them back on until we got back in the U.S. I didn’t miss my phone one bit. But now, even with an out of office reply, I can’t help but still consistently and obsessively check emails and check all of the social media business pages that I manage (this is really important regardless, in my opinion). I want to make sure that I’m still pleasing everyone, that even though I’m taking a break that everyone so deserves every so often, I’m still there for anyone’s needs, even if it is something that could truly wait a few days until I was back in the office and could give it my full, undivided attention.

Last week’s vacation was honesty the first full week that Tim and I have both had off since our honeymoon. Four years ago. Sure, we take the occasional long weekend, and we’ve been able to explore some amazing new cities and take frequent weekend trips to Chicago, but for the first time in four years we were off work, out of the office, for an entire week. That seems like quite some time. It seems like some people are constantly on vacation, and it seems like others never have the opportunity at all. I truly believe, despite my struggle to unplug and my workaholic mentality that I know I inherited from my father (not that this is a bad thing, but for one’s self worth, it’s certainly a challenge), I think that vacations should be far longer and far more frequent. Although it’s easier said than done, case in point, I think it’s import for us to escape reality, to escape the mundane, and to truly revel in what surrounds us. Last week was an amazing getaway, but being just a few months into my new job, I especially felt like I needed to stay as tuned in as possible even from afar, even when my coworkers told me not to. I am truly so grateful that even for being there just a few short months I was still able to take this week away with my family. Although I didn’t fully unplug, it was still an amazing escape, and today, all I can think of is the amazing views that we had all week long. Only God can make a something look this good. Seeing things like this make you truly think about the most important things in life.

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I love to travel more than a lot of things, even if it’s the same place I’ve had the opportunity to visit every single year. Every day, I dream of visiting new places and seeing new things. I want to see the cityscapes, the architecture and the beach and the sea. I want to travel the world, I really do. Maybe one day, this will be true. There is so much in this world to see. In the same way that time away refreshes the soul, exploring places that are different than home helps us to learn and grow too. All of these tags are such important key aspects in life.

imageIn the meantime, I will continue to dream, already anticipating whatever our next adventure will be.

KaseyLucasStLouis

 

 

 

 

It’s Been Awhile

imageHi there! Long time, no write. So, over the course of the last few months, life has certainly been happening for us with so many amazing new things. I finally, officially finished grad school in May, and shortly before that, I started a new job on the next step of my career path! I officially have a Master of Arts in Marketing, and I am currently working in partnership development for an amazing non-profit organization in STL. I just did my last big wedding for the time being in June, and it feels really good to finally be starting to really narrow my focus down to a couple of things as opposed to a million so that I can truly devote myself to what I am doing (although I still haven’t quite been able to eliminate the ‘busy’ that I’ve been trying  so hard to do, and I’ve still got a lot of things on my plate, but for today, it’s ok). With my new full time position, I am finally really feeling like I’m on mission, and truly doing something that matters, which is what I’ve been seeking, and I get to utilize my passion and skills in doing so (plus, I’m still planning a lot of events!). It’s amazing, it’s challenging, it’s so many things, but I’m excited to see where this next step in my career path leads.

Tim’s now officially got less than a year to go in grad school himself, and we’re taking this time to determine what the best next steps will be for us and our little (four-legged) family. So many exciting things to think about and ideas and opportunities to explore. A big part of me wishes that I wasn’t such a planner and so goal-oriented all the time, but at the same time, it’s what truly drives me and inspires me each day. As usual (while trying to really focus on living in the present), I’m exited to see what lies ahead for us. Our favorite thing to do as of late is sit down in our favorite local coffee shops and dream (real) big dreams. I heard a quote in a service a couple of weeks ago that really stuck with me that went something along the lines of, ‘Find your purpose in life, and find it well.’

In the meantime, while we’re over here dreaming big dreams, we’re also being inspired by two of our favorite couples, one who just made the move to KC, and the other who is NYC bound. For a couple that wants nothing more than to see the world, we’ve got a lot of work to do, but that’s an inspiration to me in and of itself. We finally found this perfect cork board map to hang in our home to start pinning some of our favorite places we’ve been, and the places we want to be.

Happy Fourth of July weekend, America. Hopefully I’ll be able to find more time to write again soon, but at the very least, I’ll be doing some dreaming and a little bit of travelling and taking a lot of notes along the way.

Cheers!

Kasey

 

 

 

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