26, What a Doozy!

Sometimes, I forget the real reason I started this blog was to document life. Basically, I want to look back when I'm old & gray & remember what I was thinking in my youth. 

So, with that being said..... 

Today is my birthday! I'm twenty seven! But,  before Jake and I head off to the bars to celebrate this new & wonderful year, I'd like to first take a second to reflect on the biggest moments of my last. It was a doozy! 

1 month into twenty six (July)
Vacationed with most of my family (+ Jake) at Lake Michigan.
Celebrated the union of two of my best friends.

2 months into twenty six (August)
Visited Yosemite for the first time.

3 months into twenty six (September)
Celebrated the union of two MORE friends.
Moved out of my studio in the TenderNob. 

4 months into twenty six (October)
Watched a freak fire destroy a u-haul filled with all my belongings. 
Decided to marry Jake!

5 months into twenty six (November)
Started a podcast with my sister-in-law to be. 
Took bomb engagement photos c/o my bestie.
Got totally scammed whilst buying a wedding dress online

Twenty six and one half! (December)

7 months into twenty six (January)
Made exercise a semi-regular part of my life.

8 months into twenty six (February)
Visited beautiful Maui with all my in-laws to be.
Joined a gym in SF.

9 months into twenty six (March)
Woke up with eyes & mouth nearly swollen shut!
(Found out I'm severely allergic to poison oak)
Said goodbye to a dear uncle.
Got showered with love for our approaching nupitals. 

10 months into twenty six (April)
Celebrated my final days as a BACHELORETTE!

11 months into twenty six (May)
Married Jake! 

It's been one HELL of a year. Twenty six had some of the best moments of my life, and some pretty low ones too. But in one adjective, I'd describe 26 as solid.

Jake and I solidified our devotion to each other. I solidified my relationship with his family during our first Heath vacation. I celebrated all the relationships in my life: friends, family, and loved ones alike. I made my body (sorta) solid by setting weekly workouts. & I solidified my love for nature with every glorious trip around this world (Hawaii, Yosemite, Half Moon Bay, Tomales Bay, Lake Michigan, Vancouver, etc). 

So now, I'm sitting here looking at twenty seven like: "Whew, tough act to follow there, twenty seven. You up for it?" 

& twenty seven is all like: "Life is full of surprises, Annie. Just you wait."

Isn't life grand :) 
Now let's get a beer!

So this is 26.

Today is my 26th birthday. In most ways, I feel like not much has changed since my 25th birthday. I still have a solid relationship with my family and all my sweet friends. I'm the same height. I weigh about the same weight (+ a few pounds, thank you Mr. Holmes). I cut my hair, then I grew it out again. From the outside looking in, I'm pretty much identical.

There is one major difference, though. I moved! & not only did I move apartments, I moved to a new coast.
So, I guess everything about my life is different, really.

I remember writing this birthday post on the eve of my 25th birthday from a hotel room in Buffalo, New York. If you had told me at that moment that in a short 365 days I would be living on the opposite coast, with a stitched up hand, 3 emergency room visits, two heartbreaking losses, lots of new friends, countless new experiences, one skiing lesson, one surfing lesson & one tiny tattoo... well, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't believe you. 

I think that's an awesome blessing about living in the unknown, though. Had I seen all those things stampeding down a looking glass toward me, I probably would have crawled into my bed and never left. But I had no idea what was on the way. Instead I had to take it step by baby step, by a few leaps of faith.

I haven't any clue what my 26th year will bring, and I don't want to know.
Every year we have to choose to leap again, right into the unknown. 
& every year, in the middle of a normal day, I expect you take a look at your life and realize all those leaps taught you how to fly.


Photo: Jacob Heath, Nikond3200 35mm | Edits: Adbobe Lightroom and Photoshop
Past Blog Birthday Posts: 2015, 2014, 2012, 2011 (x2)

Today, I'm 25.

Today is my twenty fifth birthday. Can you believe that? A quarter of a century. As a kid I never pictured myself at this age. I saw my childhood (obviously) & I saw myself as like a 40-year-old. Nothing in between. 

Yet, here I am. & here are you. & today I'm 25. 

Your twenties are hard. You'll go through a lot of ups and downs. I hardly have anything figured out about myself, my life, or my future. But, I have learned a few lessons over the years & I wrote them down. Take a read if you're bored at work ;D 

Sending you tons of love on my drive home from Buffalo. Thanks for being a part of my past 4 years. 
PS. If you're up for a trip down memory lane… I've linked my birthday posts from 2014, 2013 (n/a), 2012ish, 2011 & 2011 (Two post day, aww. I was so excited about being 21).


  • Love yourself. You are your only permanent companion.  Accept your quirks. Celebrate your strengths. Don't be so hard on your weaknesses. Play up your good stuff & accept the other qualities. You aren't perfect. & that's okay. Perfection is boring, anyway.
  • Confidence is the most attractive quality. 
  • French press.
  • Stay modest. Remember where you came from. Try to put others before yourself. What you put out into the world is what will come back to you.
  • Train your mind to see one small happiness every day. Write it down at night. It will affect your entire life.
  • The best book you will ever read is Tiny Beautiful Things. Send it to all of your friends. Read it once a year.
  • Learn how to cook. It is cheaper than eating out  & it is lovely fun. 
  • Accept help. So many people want to see you succeed. Help others, whenever you can.
  • Drink two Nalgenes of water every day. It clears your skin & will help you feel good on the inside.
  • Treat yourself.
  • Eat dinner with your family as much as possible. 
  • Wear whatever you want. You can pull off any fashion trend if you do it with enough confidence.
  • Always be honest. In all your relationships. With others & yourself. At work, at home, with friends, with loved ones. Always.
  • The bad days will help you appreciate the good ones. The long days at work will help you appreciate the easy days lounging in the sun
  • Celebrate

Photo by Lydia Phillips at Mintwood Photo Co.


Photog: Courtney Boeckman
Shirt: Crop Top from Abound via Nordstrom Rack 
Pants: Cartonniev via Gabriel Brothers (old);
Shoes: Leopard Skimmer via Madewell
Earrings: Curate Boutique

You asked for it! Well, only one of you did (love you so much, Leis!)... still waiting to hear from the rest of you. But,  writing my first style post was so fun that I decided to answer for you. Here comes Magical Simplicity's Style Post Volume 2: The Crop Top

Crop tops have been sneaking into our wardrobes for years & now it's pretty much everywhere! In fact, the last time I was at Neons, there was midriff at every turn. (Including a turn around the mirror in the (omg when did Neons make both bathrooms downstairs women's?!?!) bathroom).

I love the crop top. For one, there is literally less material to it. That is oh so nice in these warm months. Also, I think it's cool that this trend is coming back from the 70s. It really is a testament to my theory that all fashion is cyclical. But lastly & most importantly, it's about time we own our bodies! To me the crop top says: Well heck yes! I am confident & happy & love my curves! (But in a humble way, because you're not actually speaking it... Right?)

Anywho, I'm not quite cool enough for the full crop, but I sure do like to rock a long crop from time to time! & because I'm Annie, I've incorporated bows where I can (the pants. They've been a pair of my faves for years.  Partially for the ruffles but mostly for the bow).

Trying to decide if I would be able to make it up there... I was :D

One of my best gals & I took a little walk through our neighborhood  this week in a quick & rare respite from the rain. I know I've talked about it before, but the murals in Cincinnati are just the coolest. & isn't Courtney a great photog!? I love her angles & shots & I gotta say the fact that she's seen me at my truest (we send triple chin snaps to each other throughout the work day) made this shoot so fun & natural. Felt like we were just out for a stroll :D

Oh & p.s. in case you're wondering: my arm. I want to lie and tell you I injured it doing something really cool (skydiving? scuba diving? hang gliding? even a cartwheel..). But nope. Poison ivy. Probably got it while exploring Cincy for the blog. So, I guess it was something cool, after all.  :D

Well, this is my last post as a twenty-three-year-old, lovers! I'll catch ya in my mid twenties! Hope you have the best weekend.

the balloons that carried away a girl

my birthday has never been so lovely. surrounded by friends and feeling so happy. my opera family has gone completely out of their way to decorate my bland desk (with balloons bigger than my body!) im quite suprised ive not yet floated away.

my real family picked me up for lunch whisking me away to eden park for an elaborate picnic where we stood out like a kennedy clan in our casual summery elegant attire.

ive never felt so loved, and im only halfway through the day.

youve carried away my heart this birthday.