father's day

I am the proud daughter of a pretty great dad. In my small-ish town, when people who knew my father would ask if I was "Bruce Coalwell's daughter," I would always smile and reply "Yes, I am."

When I was little, he would take my sister and I to the park on Sunday afternoons for daddy-daughter dates. After choir concerts we'd go get peppermint candy ice cream and celebrate. And when I was in middle school, I'm pretty sure he got up earlier than he would have liked to so he could drive me to school and I wouldn't have to take the bus.

Over the years, as I've grown up a little bit, he has become one of my closest friends, too. Major decisions and concerns are always accompanied by good conversations with my dad. He reassures me that I'm still young enough to take risks and that if I fail, he'll be there to catch me.

And that my dreams are just as important to him as they are to me.

Through all my adventures and mishaps, successes and moments of doubt, he is a constant I can always rely on.

I hope the future father of my children, whoever he may be, has the kind of commitment, integrity and patience that my dad has.

Thanks, dad for all you do. I love you!

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Subways, sweet potatoes and an apartment that is way too nice

Since Wednesday, I have:

Spent a night at the International House of Columbia University
Hauled all my bags/luggage up and down subway stairs and finally moved into a new apartment
Walked all around Central Park, 5th Avenue, and Spanish Harlem
Eaten delicious southern cuisine at Amy Ruth's restaurant
Went grocery shopping and bought some pricey organic produce
Walked the High Line and explored Chelsea Market
Found my way home on the subway all by myself.

It's already been an adventure, and I love it! Sometime I'll try to post pictures (but that would involve me actually remembering to bring my camera with me, first).

Our apartment is so nice. I feel like we're being spoiled by this summer because if I end up moving here for good, there is no way I'll be able to afford a place like this.

I love seeing so many different people and walks of life, and exploring this huge island. There really is no place like New York, New York.

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When I graduated from high school, I was a little sad, but mostly just excited to experience the adventure of college life. Moving away from home, meeting so many new people with whom I have so much in common, no curfew, living by my own rules.

And it has been a wonderful five years. It's still a little weird for me to think of how much this town has become home to me, but it really has. I've made so many memories in this place and have been surrounded by some of the greatest people in the world.

{To all of you who been there for me in any and every way during the past five years, I couldn't have done it without you. I love you all so much.}

It's finally sinking in that I'm really leaving. But this time the adventure ahead of me is significantly more unsure. After my internship finishes and my housing contract ends in New York, I have no idea where I'll be. And while that is really exciting, it's also a little scary.

I worry that my friends and I won't stay in touch. I worry that in August I still won't know what my next move should be. Or that I'll get caught up in the industry and forget what I really want out of life and how I want to get there. I wonder about missed opportunities and all of the people I'm leaving behind.

But regardless of my fears, I do feel oddly calm (for the most part) about packing my life into a couple of suitcases, hopping on a plane across the country, and moving into a new apartment with some wonderful girls.

So here's to this next phase of life. I think it's gonna be pretty great.


The Almosts

She pulled out her glasses, took a good long look in the soul looking back at her in the mirror and wondered what she was doing wrong.

After all, she was the common denominator.

Three times she'd found a guy to dream about and dream with, and three times, he had almost wanted to dream with her, too.

She'd tried to be patient and understanding and flexible. She'd learned to hope and to have faith and to trust. And though she was better for every heartache and had kept her chin up and put on a good face, still, the human in her couldn't help but take at least part of the blame.

Those nagging questions of what more she might have done, what she could have done differently, still swimming laps in her mind.

She was almost enough to get him over his fear, his past relationship, his apathy.

But, for what it's worth, these almosts have meant more than the past five years' of flirting and first dates.


Coast to Coast

It's becoming increasingly apparent to me how much of a west coaster I really am. Just the other day I had the following conversation with my mother, with zero exaggeration.

Me: So I was thinking about the kinds of clothes I want to buy/bring with me for my internship this summer. And it hit me that...I can't wear shorts to work. 

Mom: Yeah, probably not.

Me: But it's summer...that's what you wear in the summer. (Granted, advertising is a pretty laid back industry, but probably not that laid back.) 

Mom: Well you'll just have to get some skirts.

Me: Yeah, it literally just hit me that there are professional businessmen and women who wear full black suits with jackets every day, even in the summer...

Mom: (laughs) Yeah, you definitely have the west coast casual vibe.

This is not to say that my mother didn't set a fabulous example of how to dress, that I didn't watch my father go to work every day in a tie, or that I didn't grow up attending church every week in my Sunday best, but let's just say that I'll be bringing my one pair of beige slacks, some summery skirts and a determination to scour the city for some thrifted "advertising cool" attire.

In other news, I'm really hoping to join a CSA for the summer and fill my little apartment in the city with fresh produce every week, and to indulge my way through each and every paycheck.


Solar Therapy

On Monday, I slipped my hips into a favorite skirt, my feet into some sandals and grabbed my sunglasses and purse and walked up to campus.

After finishing up a few things at work, I munched on an apple as I sat on a wooden bench in the sunshine and let my mind unwind.

I went to the library and roamed the stacks, checking out an assortment of books for summer reading, and soaking in the beauty of no schedule.

After cat napping on my couch by the window for the better part of an hour, I decided to walk to the grocery store to purchase meat and cheese from the deli and fresh nine-grain bread from Shirley's bakery.

So I made a grilled cheese sandwich with swiss cheese and brown sugar ham on bread brushed with olive oil, basil and dijon mustard.

I watched Moneyball, in the summer heat of our living room and remembered that even after all these years, I still root for the underdog.

It was a day of sweet solitude, time to think and just be still. And in the absence of summer love, it was just enough.

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The Graduated Life

Apparently it takes major life events for me to feel inspired to write, but I've officially transitioned from saying "I'm studying Advertising..." to "I studied Advertising at BYU."

BYU was so good to me. I came to Provo as a freshman with a bit of an attitude not expecting to graduate from here. I thought I'd end up finishing school in Oregon or California, but I'm so glad I stayed.  It's been a fantastic experience, and it's hard to imagine college without the wonderful people with whom I've spent the past five years.

There are so many people who helped me get where I am today, and I would not be the same person without them.

Major shout outs to the boys next door, Hilamonster and the El Sal crew, the whole Adlab gang & creative trackies, the ballroom dancers, and the best roommates a girl could ask for (yes, all you now married ones).

To all my friends, faculty, family members, and church leaders, you are the best. Thank you for the time and effort you put into helping me fulfill my dreams and for believing in me even when I have doubted myself.

Here's to the chapter of life that includes real work not homework, exploring a new city, and true independence: scary and exciting as that may be.



Have you heard where I'll be spending my summer?

Well, the city that never sleeps is getting another night owl.  I'll be interning with an advertising agency from June to August, and I can't wait.

So all of you city folk should send your recommendations my way.  And if you'll be in town, let's play!


over the past month...

I have attempted to make Persian food while playing "name that 90s song," attended TEDxBYU, had some fascinating conversations, ate delicious homemade crepes, and picnicked in the sunny weather with a certain boy I like.

I'm graduating in less than a month and my life is one big mystery after that, which I'm choosing to be excited about rather than terrified.

This is fun.

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It had been about a month.

She'd accepted the truth and had moved on without regret or hard feelings. Of all the times she'd mustered up some maturity, this was one of her best moments.

She wasn't bitter. Not in the least.
She wasn't angry.
She had been a little sad, but that's all. And that was over.

There was someone new. And maybe he was more than that someone else, but he wanted more of her. And that was the best part.

But she turned down the wrong hallway, earlier than usual before class and happened to pass that someone else.

Instinctively, she bowed her head and wondered if he'd notice her or say hi.

And he did. With a grin and a big wave, he said hello and a name. Her name.
Like nothing had happened.

Because technically, nothing had.

And she responded with a quick "Hey, how's it going?" that came out more cautious than casual.

Pit in the stomach. Heart beating faster. Shaky hands.

But, you know, it broke the ice. She'd been hoping to bump into him, to show him she was fine. After weeks of convincing him she's the girl that can stay friends, she finally had a chance to show him she really is.

And maybe that's what she really needed. To finally really completely let go.

And that feels so so good.


truth is who You are

"And it's not enough to just say, "I believe"
'Cause truth is that talk is cheap
So grace give me eyes to see

You came to take us back to the start
You came to touch the hardness of our hearts
You gave us truth that truth is who You are
It's who You are"

-Tenth Avenue North

I love this way of talking about the Atonement and Jesus Christ's mission. He didn't just teach truth, He is truth. And taking full advantage of His grace is doing our best to be like Him.

I made a Pandora station of this band a while back, to mix up my Sunday playlists, and I've gotta say, it's Monday and I'm still listening.

Listen to the whole song here.


I'm the girl

who tears up when the bride grabs the hand of that special gentleman and lets him escort her to the center of the floor; he holds her close and lets the ruffles of her ivory gown swish back and forth and halfway through the song when she places her head on his shoulder, he whispers those three special words, over and over, afraid she'll forget.

And when he gives her away to her new true love, he's choking back tears, and she thinks, for a moment, that might be the first time she's seen her father cry.

It gets me every time, and I'll be sure to wear waterproof mascara the day I'm the girl in the gown.



I'm the girl who waits until she's sure and by the time she knows, it's too late.

Sometimes I forget that life doesn't hold still just because I'm indecisive.

Maybe I fear regret of doing more than I fear regret of not doing.
Or maybe I fear success because I might not know how to handle it.

I'm good at heartache and disappointment. It's familiar and I know how I deal.

But for some reason, it's so difficult for me to believe that success will come. Maybe that's because I think I won't know what to do when it does.

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If you knew me better...

you'd know that I've had my fair share of hard conversations and I do just fine
that I will never resent you for your weaknesses, if you're patient with mine
that I will never expect you to do more than just try

If you knew me better, you'd know that I think with my head and decide with my heart
that I'm a natural optimist
that regardless of what happens, I'll be okay

If you knew me better, you'd know that I'm not in this just for me,
and that I'd love nothing more than to be something you need

But really, if you knew me better, you'd know that honestly, I just want to get to know you better

*And nearly two years ago, somehow I knew this would pretty much sum it up.


girl power

This past week, I've been in a retro girl power mood. Madonna, Whitney, even a little Mariah and K Clark (who I realize is not from the same era, but really, she's got enough soul and spunk to fit in with those ladies, right?).

Anyway, apart from filling my ears with the beautiful soundtrack of the 80s, this week has been great. Major events:

-Monday--all-nighter scrambling to get everything ready for Tuesday, 1am 7-11 run for hot cocoa and only getting 30 minutes of sleep before heading to Sundance.

-Tuesday--Recruiter's fair up at Sundance. Got to talk to some really cool agencies and make some good connections. I'm slowly realizing that graduation is actually going to come and I'm going to have to grow up and be a real adult. Yikes/Yay!

-Wednesday--Meeting with more recruiters and following up with those from Tuesday. Ice cream social with the Leo Burnett crew.

-Today--Catching up on some homework, Adlab stuff, random errands. Comfort Food (aka grilled cheese and homemade tomato soup) party at mi casa with all the ad geeks. We all just chilled, played a little Just Dance 3 and it was fantastic. I seriously love my major and all the people in it. We know how to work hard and play hard.

It was a stressful but really good week. It's nice to be able to see my work on a website (check it out, kids!). I'm really proud of it, so that always makes it easier to show to other people.



An El Salvador clan reunion a mi casa with late night pizza making and inside jokes,
a very entertaining commercial shoot,
a fantastic concert by Ryan Innes (blows me away every time, check him out here),
an uplifting and hilarious Sunday watching Downton Abbey and Boy Meets World with a favorite movie-watching comrade,
Kneader's all you can eat french toast with the roomies this morning,
and this beautiful Monday holiday.

Couldn't have asked for a better weekend.
Hopefully this means I'm refreshed and prepared to kick some advertising butt this week getting ready for next week.
Wish me luck.


have a little faith

Right now, I'm learning a little about faith.
In myself, in others and in a loving God who has a plan for me.

Someone who knows the timing better than I do, and who can see the whole picture.

On a less dramatic note, in 11 days representatives from 14 ad agencies are coming to look at our portfolios and I get nauseated just thinking about that.

I'm really excited, but this just means I have to be ready to show my soul to them in advertising form and hope that they like it.

It's vulnerability to a degree that I have not yet experienced.

But I prefer this to stagnant growth any day.

Here's to the sweat and tears that will be spent over the next 11 days, putting my book through the refiner's fire.

And here's to having a little faith.


The Help

As if enough book clubs haven't blogged about this book already, I'm going to add my nickel or dime, too.

I feel like Skeeter and I are kind of similar. 23, college graduate (or soon-to-be), single and trying to write out a place in the world.

Since the first time I went to South Carolina when I was a little girl, I've loved the South. Maybe it's my grandmother's Charlestonian blood running through my veins.

I feel confident that I could live in the South for only one reason: the food. And after reading about Minny's caramel cakes, and fried chicken and pork chops, all I want is some down home barbeque.

Over Thanksgiving, my family visited the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. I could have spent all day walking through the exhibit, reading the labels and quotes from everyday people and prominent leaders of that movement, but we only had a couple of hours.

We saw the room where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated and read about so many others who suffered simply for trying to speak out. It became so much more real to me. I have so much admiration for those who fearlessly fight for justice, anywhere and everywhere. Whether that is by staying put in a bus seat or taking huge risks to report the truth.

All I can really say about The Help is: read it.

And then think about it.

We study history so we don't repeat it. But, just like everything in life, it's never all bad. I loved reading the stories of tightly-knit bonds between women, remembering that despite the tough times, in the long run charity never fails.

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Maybe my New Year's resolution should be to stop neglecting this little blog of mine so often.

Just to warn, this is going to be one of those catch all, catch up posts. Don't expect beautiful writing or any attempts at poetry; it's just the raw, real stuff.

Because life is messy sometimes.

So let's see, major updates:
1st semester of the creative track is done. (weird, but it was a crazy busy, fun, good time)
I'm graduating in less than 5 months.
I'm realizing I'm much more of a flirt than I thought. (good or bad? This could be a post of it's own, so maybe more on this later).
Finals are over and grades turned out better, in some classes, than I expected.

Christmas at home was wonderful. My family is incredible. Lunch with Dad, Downton Abbey with Mom, last minute Christmas shopping and Panda Express with the little brother, Portland adventures with the sister (and sister's friends) and bro-in-law, sooo many treats and tins of fudge with Oma, a family history lesson with Opa, a visit from Grandad, and plenty of Rock Band and Just Dance with all.

New Year's adventures in Portland with Hilamonster (aka this girl Hilary who made sure I didn't die in El Salvador): getting kicked out of a birthday party turning into a girls night out on the town, eating sick-nasty oatmeal at Le Montage (potential remnants of ashtray contents included), and a rockin New Year's Eve dance party.

Welcome, 2012.

Here's to another year of adventures and misadventures, and all the nonsense in between.

(Oh, and as far as boys go, I can't say there is a boy, but there is the hope of something with a certain boy.)