{A Year-End Review, The Best of 2012}

Monday, December 31, 2012


Tim and I want to thank you for your support and love this past year! 2012 has been an unforgettable year. Your support and kind words have meant so much. Can't wait to see what is in store for 2013!

This Year's Highlights:

1. Making My First Batch of Homemade Beef Jerky
2. Celebrating MLK Day
3. Seeing The Civil Wars at the HOB
4. Velvet Taco's Monday Back Door Chicken
5. Reading, Reading, Reading
6. Speaking at a Leadership Conference in Uganda
7. Saying Goodbye to the Fart Box
8. Completing Whole30
9.  Running in the Greenville Dash
10. Celebrating 7 years with Timothy James
11. Catching My First Rainbow Trout
12. Meeting Katie Davis
13. Being on the News {Thank You Food Truck Fest}
14. Climbing the Windmill at the Ranch
15. Visiting My Childhood Lake House
16. Meeting Our Sponsor Child, Moti
17. Seeing Hippos on Lake Ziway In Ethiopia
18. Milking a Goat with Bek
19. Catching a 24" Rainbow On the San Juan River
20. Falling in Love with Louisville
21. Camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains
22. Eating a Fried Red Velvet Cupcake at the Texas State Fair
23. Hiking Half Dome with My Best Friend
24. Seeing Ben Howard in San Francisco
25. Stealing Grapes from the V. Sattui Vineyard in Napa
26. Seeing This Photo on Patagonia's Tumblr
27. Taking a Beekeeping Class with Tim
28. Throwing My First Mug on the Pottery Wheel
29. Finding My Dream Car on Craigslist
30. Receiving Our Sweet Pup, River (Best Going Away Present EVER)
31. Flying 41 Times in Twelve Months
32. Driving Around Looking At Christmas Lights with Twinner

Favorite Songs (in no particular order):

1. The Tracks (the Fool) - Margolnick
2. Hearse - Ani DiFranco
3. Wash. - Bon Iver
4. Atlas Hands - Benjamin Francis Leftwich
5. Old Pine - Ben Howard
6. Taller - Foreign Fields
7. Bowsrpit - Balmorhea
8. Sweet Sweeping Joy - Matteo
9. Drift - Kim Janssen
10. Black Flies - Ben Howard
11. Sail - Awolnation
12. Follow the Sun - Xavier Rudd
13. Drift Drive - The Antlers
14. You Don't Know How Lucky You Are - Keaton Henson
15. Where the Light Gets In - Sennen
16. Shut It Down - Sarah Jaffe
17. Rivers and Roads - The Head and the Heart
18. Sideways - Citizen Cope
19. Slow It Down - The Lumineers
20. Strange Like We Are - Campfire OK
21. Bones - Every Kingdom
22. Desperation Breeds - Andrew Bird
23. Death Is Like a Beating Drum - Sanders Bohlke 
24. Eyes Wider Than Before - Scott Matthews
25. Hymn #35 - Joe Pug

Best Albums of the Year:
1. Every Kingdom - Ben Howard
2. Ancient Crime - Kim Janssen
3. Babel - Mumford & Sons
4. Spirit Bird - Xavier Rudd
5. Before We Turn to Dust - Sean Hayes

Favorite Concerts / Live Events:

1. Ben Howard (San Fransisco)
2. The Civil Wars (Dallas)
3. Indigo Girls (Dallas)

Favorite Movies:
1. Les Miserables
2. The Intouchables
3. The Hobbit
4. Hunger Games
5. Lincoln
6. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
7. Argo
8. War Horse
9. The Perks of Being A Wallflower
10. Life of Pi

Favorite Books:
1. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
2. Love Does by Bob Goff
3. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
4. Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis
5. Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas
6. When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett & Bryan Fikkert
7. The Good Life by Helen & Scott Nearing
8. Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas 
9. The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns
10. The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller

Favorite Videos:
1. Seam by Homeland
2. Dispersion by Homeland
3. Conversation by Homeland 
4. Odyssey by Homeland 
5. Bon Iver at AIR Studios
6. Heart Breads
7. Stools by Sentayehu Teshale
8. Cain's Arcade

Favorite Eats (in no particular order):
1. Velvet Taco: Back Door Chicken (Dallas, TX)
2. Noble Pig: Noble Pig Pulled Pork Salad (Austin, TX)
3. Gristmill: German Chocolate Cake (Gruene, TX)
4. Rockstar Bakeshop: Smoke on the Water Whoopie Pie (Dallas, TX)
5. Chilantro: Beef Tacos (Austin, TX)
6. Mud Street Cafe: Coconut Cream Pie (Eureka Springs, AR)
7. Pecan Lodge: Pork Butt & Sliced Beef (Dallas, TX)
8. Rye on Market: Acorn Squash & Risotto (Louisville, KY)
9. Hammerheads: Elk Burger & Truffle Fries (Louisville, KY)
10. Please & Thank You: Homemade Cinnamon Roll (Louisville, KY)
11. Ten Bells Tavern: Fish & Chips (Dallas, TX)
12. Harvest: Buttermilk Fried Chicken (Louisville, KY)
13. Caffe Trieste: German Chocolate Cake (San Francisco, CA)
14. Nord's: Apple Fritter (Louisville, KY)
15. Hillbilly Tea: Cornmeal Pancake with Chai Butter & Pumpkin Syrup (Louisville, KY)
16. The Pearl Cup: Lavender Chai (Dallas, TX)
17. Contigo: Tempura Fried Green Beans (Austin, TX)
18. Guero's: Fish Tacos & Homemade Limeade (Austin, TX)
19. Oddfellow's: Cider French Toast (Dallas, TX)
20. Legal Grounds: Homemade Granola (Dallas, TX)

Favorite New Websites:
1. WanderLost
2. A Well Traveled Woman
3. Bucolic Beauty

Fist Pump Friday:
1. Countries Represented: Australia, Argentina, Belize, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Jordan, Italy, Ireland, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Uganda, South Africa and Thailand.
2. Favorite Locations: Mount Rushmore, Pyramids in Egypt, Sistine Chapel in Rome, Eiffel Tower in Paris, Caine's Arcade, The Great Wall of China, The Alps, Mount Whitney, Colosseum in Rome, with Katie Davis, These 4 in Lou, Machu Pichu, Petra, and The Parthenon.

Looking forward to 2013 because ...
1. Slower pace of life in the 40206
3. Taking my first pottery class
4. Road trips, road trips, road trips
5. Orvis' Fly Fishing Guide School
6. Celebrating 8 years with Timothy James
7. Holding baby Roberson (due May 28th)
8. Extracting honey from my first hives
9. Building our chicken coop
10. Owning a home

Come out and show yourself, 2013. We're ready!
Em & Tim

{Eyes Wider Than Before by Scott Matthews}

Saturday, December 29, 2012



Heard this song in a coffee shop the other day. It's been on repeat ever since.
Happy Saturday, friends.
Eyes Wider Than Before - Passing Stranger

{Gratitude} Lately

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Lately I've been thankful for our pup who decided to give up here.


For free flights to the city we'll soon call home.


For cookies that remind me of my 7 year old self.



For shared meals that I don't deserve.



For best friends who let us live in their guest room.



For lavender chai that makes winter warmer.



And for a wombmate who loves me just as I am. What have you been grateful for lately?
Here's to gratitude and how it turns everything into enough.
Happy Thursday, brave ones.

{A White Christmas}

Wednesday, December 26, 2012



Yesterday was almost as good as living in a snow globe.
Was your Christmas a white one too?

{Merry Christmas!}

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


"Heap on the wood. The wind is chill;
But let it whistle as it will, we'll keep our Christmas merry still."
- Sir Walter Scott

Merry Christmas everybody!
Love,
Tim, Em & River

{The Christmas Scale}

Monday, December 24, 2012


Wishing you and your families a wonderful holiday filled with the things that matter most.
Happy Christmas Eve.
Em & Tim

{Chocolate with Candied Hazelnuts}

Sunday, December 23, 2012


If our kitchen wasn't in boxes I'd be making this today.
Happy {almost} Christmas, y'all!

{Fist Pump Friday!}

Friday, December 21, 2012


{Katie, Michael & Tyler : Peace Corps Volunteers : Bahia de las Aguilas : Dominican Republic}



{Zac, fiance Kerianne, and Friends : Tacky Christmas Sweater Party : Houston : FPF Challenge Winners!}



{Erin & Kameron : SD to NJ Road Trip : The Cloud Gate AKA "The Bean" : Chicago, IL}



{Chelsea, Joc & Tracie : Iguazu Falls : Argentina : December 2012}



{Joc, Lydia & Chelsea : Stairway to Nowhere : Paraguay : December 2012}

Thanks to Zac & Kerianne we can now cross off another FPF challenge photo from our list! Here's to accomplishing some others: 1) while riding an elephant 2) with your mailman 3) in front of Antique Archaeology in Nashville 4) with Twinner at Local123 5) at your favorite BBQ joint 6) at the Pyramids in Egypt 7) at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo 8) after running a marathon 9) in front of the Sistine Chapel in Rome 10) in front of your sorority / fraternity house 11) at the National Cherry Blossom Festival in DC 12) with your grandma or grandpa 13) with your favorite professor or teacher 14) at Caine's Arcade 15) by the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco 16) with Katie Davis in Uganda or at Catalyst Dallas 17) on a sailboat 18) while cheering on your favorite team at the ballpark 19) in front of the Sydney Opera House in Australia 20) camping with friends 21) at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC 22) at Old Faithful in WY 23) at the Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox Statue in Bemidji, MN 24) at the World's Largest Peanutin Ashburn, GA 25) before / after sky diving 26) while stuffing your boca with fried goodness at your local State Fair 27) with your friends at a college football game 28) while fly fishing 30) at Carhenge in Alliance, NE 31) while rocking your Halloween costume 32) with the Fremont Bridge Troll in Seattle 33) on top of the Empire State building in NYC 34) while rocking tacky Christmas sweaters 35) on top of Mount Agung in Bali 36) with Naomi, Josh, Eleanor or Samson Davis of Rockstar Diaries 37) in front of your favorite brewery 38) at Please & Thank You in Louisville 39) in front of the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas or 40) while sledding or no the slopes. To participate email photos to em@todaysletters.com. Happy freaking Friday, Homies!

PS, Each week we receive several FPF photos that can't be posted on the blog due to photo quality. We'd love to encourage you to 1) take your FPF photo horizontally (when possible) 2) use an SLR camera (no blurry cell phone pictures) and 3) take your photos in the daylight. Thanks!

{Keeping Austin Weird}

Thursday, December 20, 2012




















{Photos by MMR}
My last road trip through Texas started here and ended here.
We stayed at my favorite hotel, ate the best crispy green beans and aioli I've ever had, went on walks with the pup, walked around Town Lake, had coffee with Maura of Folk Fibers,
ate ice cream and donuts in at midnight, watched Season 1 of Friends,
and met lots of friendly and interesting people at Jo's.
It was amazing.
Happy Thursday, y'all!

{Heart Breads}

Saturday, December 15, 2012



To be this kid. What a life.

{Fist Pump Friday!}

Friday, December 14, 2012


{Jane & Jason : Santa Elena Cloud Forest Preserve : Suspension Bridge Tour: Monteverde, Costa Rica}


{Katie & her brother David : First 5K : Graffiti Run : Houston, TX}


{Bethany, sweet friends & Josh Garrels : The Sea In Between Film Premiere : Philladelphia}


{Holly with 2 month old foster babe and sister, Hannah : Cedar City, Utah : Day After Thanksgiving}

FPF Challenge Photos: 1) while riding an elephant 2) with your mailman 3) in front of Antique Archaeology in Nashville 4) with Twinner at Local123 5) at your favorite BBQ joint 6) at the Pyramids in Egypt 7) at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo 8) after running a marathon 9) in front of the Sistine Chapel in Rome 10) in front of your sorority / fraternity house 11) at the National Cherry Blossom Festival in DC 12) with your grandma or grandpa 13) with your favorite professor or teacher 14) at Caine's Arcade 15) by the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco 16) with Katie Davis in Uganda or at Catalyst Dallas 17) on a sailboat 18) while cheering on your favorite team at the ballpark 19) in front of the Sydney Opera House in Australia 20) camping with friends 21) at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC 22) at Old Faithful in WY 23) at the Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox Statue in Bemidji, MN 24) at the World's Largest Peanutin Ashburn, GA 25) before / after sky diving 26) while stuffing your boca with fried goodness at your local State Fair 27) with your friends at a college football game 28) while fly fishing 30) at Carhenge in Alliance, NE 31) while rocking your Halloween costume 32) with the Fremont Bridge Troll in Seattle 33) on top of the Empire State building in NYC 34) on top of Mount Agung in Bali 35) with Naomi, Josh, Eleanor or Samson Davis of Rockstar Diaries 36) in front of your favorite brewery 35) at Please & Thank You in Louisville 36) while rocking tacky Christmas sweaters or 37) in front of the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas . To participate email photos to em@todaysletters.com. Happy freaking Friday, Homies!

PS, Each week we receive several FPF photos that can't be posted on the blog due to photo quality. We'd love to encourage you to 1) take your FPF photo horizontally (when possible) 2) use an SLR camera (no blurry cell phone pictures) and 3) take your photos in the daylight. Thanks!

{Today's Letters}

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Dear Mr. Loerke, we'll be apart for three weeks in January while you finish up your shifts here in Dallas. Thankful Mr. McFeely has already delivered letters for us to read from our friends. Where would we be without them? Dear 12/12/12, one of two things will happen today: the Mayan Apocalypse or lots of weddings. I predict the latter. Dear Ben Howard & Mumford & Sons, you'll be the best concert duo of 2013. Mark. my. words. Dear Timothy James, you work your ars off, teach River tricks, and make the best pumpkin cheesecake I've ever had. Thankful for you.

Happy Wednesday, friends. Hope it's good to you!

{A Sweet Farewell}

Tuesday, December 11, 2012



Some sweet friends at work made me this farewell video in honor of my last week on staff.
I'm so thankful for the lifelong friendships I've made over the past 8 years.
To say you guys will be missed is the greatest understatement of the century!

{The First Snow}

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


My Papa always says to open a jar of homemade summer jam the day of the first snow.
Last night I did. {Thanks MHA}
I guess my Papa and Albert Camus were right;
"In the depth of winter lies within us all an invincible summer."
Happy Tuesday, friends.

{Today's Letters}

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dear Mr. Loerke, you make hanging Christmas lights an adventure. I love this about you. Dear Pockets, yesterday I reached into you and pulled out two broken dog biscuits and some pistachio shells. This made me smile. Dear Pottery Class, you'll be the perfect way to kick off the new year in Lou. Can't wait to sling clay with my best and learn how to master the five minute mug. Dear Timothy James, after mentioning I was out of toot paste I came home and found a tube on the bathroom sink. Thank you for making me feel loved and cared for.

Happy Monday, friends! How was your weekend? What's one thing you'd like to accomplish in 2013?
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