Links & Holiday Love

lights

Hey guys!

Happy, happy, happy Friday. I am a particularly joyous individual right now because at 5pm tonight I am officially on “winter break” (AKA taking a whole week off work). I get to spend time with my momma, exchange a few gifts, sleep in late, travel to my homeland and see friends and family.  YAY.

Next week is my 25th and this blog’s 2nd birthday, so I miiiiight just have some really fun stuff for you on Monday/Tuesday! Be sure to check back.

In the meantime, I’ve got a few great links for you.

Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy a few thought-provoking, useful Internet tidbits:

Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim. – Nora Ephron

Loved these career tips from women like Mindy Kahling, Madeline L’Engle, Arianna Huffington and Martha Beck: 15 Career Tips from Smart Women via Cup of Jo

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I Turn 25 in 5 Days and Have Many Thoughts About It

2015 Desire Map Planner

I turn 25 in 5 short days.

Every year around this time I become extremely, agonizingly reflective. It’s actually kind of annoying, to be totally honest. I think the whole Thanksgiving, birthday, Christmas, New Years mash-up just sends my brain spiraling in a way that I can’t seem to control.

Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Scheming. Plotting. Figuring out how the heck I’m going to approach my 25th year of life.

First, a few reflections on being 24 and what that ended up meaning for me. Here’s what I decided about the past year:

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Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild by Cheryl Strayed Review

Memoirs are such an interesting genre of literature.

More so than fiction or even non-fiction (self help, business, etc.), memoirs are unique in that each reader experiences them in a different and personal way.

Last night I finished reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed.

In Wild, Strayed recounts her prolific hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, along which she traveled over 1,100 miles by feet in just over 100 days.

The hike itself was impressive. The fact that she traveled those miles by herself was admirable. And the way she recounted those miles was poetic.

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New Things! My Bedroom & Blog Design

Attic Bedroom feat. West Elm, Target & Pottery Barn

Hey guys!

Two fun things to talk about today: my fancy new attic bedroom + a new look for All Things E. 

I know the look and feel of the blog hasn’t changed a ton, but I like what I like when it comes to my blog: simple, clean & easy to navigate… with lots of white.

I had the previous design for about a year and when I started thinking about changing things up, I tossed around the idea of a name change, but for now I’m stickin’ with All Things E. It works. Why fix what isn’t broken, right? Right.

Before I show you a few more photos of my bedroom, I wanted to call your attention to a few new features here on the blog (so, uh, if you’re reading via email or a feed reader right now, now’s a good time to click over to the site for the real deal):

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Crunchy Cloud Salad Recipe

Crunchy Cloud Salad - A quick, easy & delicious side dish!

‘Tis the season for holiday dinners, get togethers, parties, festivities and… delicious food.

So here’s a recipe for you to make your next holiday get together just a bit tastier. It’s one of my absolute favorite things that my mom makes and I can pretty much guarantee you’ll love it too.

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Quick Tips for Photographing Christmas Lights at Garden Glow

garden-glow-bonfire

Right now I’m sitting in our living room with the beautiful Christmas tree to my right and the mantle in front of me, draped in garland with white twinkle lights. My heart is absolutely FULL.

This past weekend my Mom and little sister came down to St. Louis and we spent the weekend together, decorating our house for Christmas, crafting, dining out (including an awesome meal at Gamlin Whiskey House), gallivanting through the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Garden Glow and going to the Garth Brooks concert.

Garth was EPIC.

I’ve been to quite a few country concerts but Garth Brooks was more excited to be on stage than any performer I’ve ever seen. He made performing look FUN. And the fact that I just happened to know every word to every song wasn’t bad, either. It was like a soundtrack to my childhood, song after song after song.

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My Favorite Way to Surf the Web: A Link Round-Up Of Link Round-Ups

A List of Regular Link Round-Ups I Love

I’m wildly passionate about the Internet. I know that statement sounds kind of ridiculous, but if you know me, you know this is true.

I spend all day working on the Internet for my day job. Then I turn around and spend a billion hours on it after work just for fun – playing on this blog, hangin’ out with my virtual pals on Twitter (You’d be amazed at how many people I’ve met IRL from Twitter. It’s a lot.), drooling over recipes on Pinterest, scrolling through the beauty that is Instagram and reading article upon article upon article… upon article.

I like to justify my passion for the Internet with a go-to line, “I just love learning. And reading. And getting to know people.” 

And frankly, it’s easy to do that en masse on the Internet.

So naturally, I love it.

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In-Betweening & Thoughts on Being “Content”

Tracking Pixelgold-peak-1

Thank you to Gold Peak Coffee for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are genuine, and my own.

The other day I spent 2 hours on the phone with Autumn, one of my absolute best friends from college. While we were talking, she said something that stuck out to me and honestly, kind of freaked me out:

“It seems like you’re pretty content right now… like things are good. Your blog posts sound like you’re in a good place. Nothing crazy going on… just good.”

The word “content” jumped out to me in a way that made my stomach drop right away. Not in a good way.

I have this delusion right now in my life where I think contentedness is to be avoided – I think I need to be doing, changing and evolving. It comes from a place where patience doesn’t really exist in my soul. It’s that over-achiever, ambitious competitive part of me that has always been there and occasionally rears it’s ugly head and makes me look into a statement wayyy too far.

Our conversation continued and we lamented over boys, how our careers are evolving and things that we just didn’t really expect to be dealing with in the “real world” life we’re living now. In the “in-between” life we’re living. Catching up with her was so, so sweet.

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My Favorite Holiday Housekeeping Hacks

our-house
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CleanForTheHolidays #CollectiveBias

In my current living situation, I used to be frequently referred to as “the messy one.”

My old go-to excuse for having this title was simply that, “we all just have different perceptions of clean! I’m really not that bad! I swear I pick up a spray mop every now and then!” Shameful, I know.

I like to think that since moving into our new house last month (and enjoying a significantly shorter commute + the luxury of having time to go home over my lunch hour), I have really turned a corner. I am ever so slightly less messy. The fact that my room is literally three times larger than my previous 9×11′ bedroom and completely hidden away from the rest of the house up in the attic might also be helping with my levels of cleanliness (and quite frankly, my mood). The extra space is quite nice.

Regardless of my new and improved outlook on cleaning, my messy days allowed me to develop a few tried and true hacks for making what was once messy, clean… FAST.

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November: In Retrospect

November

Welp, last day of November has arrived. Just 31 days remain of 2014. What. The. Heck.

This weekend I realized that I’ve been what I’d call “on” for about a month and half now. My life is busy enough for me to feel like my plate is full but not so busy that I can’t take care of myself or do the things that make me feel like myself.

Once upon a time, my godmother gave me a framed definition of my name. While at home over Thanksgiving this past weekend, I was unpacking a few boxes and found it. Like horoscopes, this type of thing is usually general enough that most Erika’s would be able to see their own personalities and such reflected in the definition.

However, in this particular definition, there was one line that really stood out to me and I feel like it summed up the balance I always feel like I’m trying to find in my life – I don’t remember the exact words, but it was something like “Erika loves to be social and you’ll always find her at the heart of the party, but she requires quiet time alone to recover.”

Ashley was reading it out loud to me and my Mom and before she read that line she said, “Oh geeze, if this isn’t the truth about Erika.”

Earlier this year I wasn’t great at finding that quiet time. I didn’t read. I barely wrote. I spent an inordinate amount of time texting (which yielded me basically nothing). I’m kind of annoyed at how I spent some of 2014, to be totally honest.

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