10 reasons I'm smiling

1. Tennessee friendships. If you asked me last year at this time if I'd ever have friends in Tennessee, my Eeyore self would've said, "I'll probably be alone for days, weeks, months, who knows," in a very sad, pitiful Eeyore-like tone. But alas, we have friends. Friends who love taking pictures of meat and cheese trays just as much as I do. Who woulda thunk it?!

Not pictured: all the boys. Because they'd much rather watch hockey/do anything else but take a picture. 

2. We're going to the Tetons in August with Mallory & Cory!!!! Our flights are booked. And we'll be there during the solar eclipse. And fun fact: "Grand Teton" means "large teat" in French. The more you know, people! The more you know. 

3. Friends in town! Chris and Jordin came to visit over Memorial Day Weekend, and it was enough to make us want to move to Chicago, if it meant being closer to them. Friends that are easy and effortless to hang out with are the best kind. (Bonus: they recently got engaged!! Lots of smiles on this one!)

4. Josie and Margaret. Who are they? Well, I don't know everything about them. But I know that Josie grew up on a farm in New York and Margaret drinks black coffee like water, at all hours of the day (just like me). And they're both around 60 years older than me. My friend Cailyn and I have been frequenting a nursing home near us, and it's been both challenging and wonderful, disappointing and rewarding. Overall, we're grateful we get to spend time with these people, and we're always glad we stopped by. 

Cailyn and I have been discussing our culture and how seniors fit (or don't fit) within it. She said to me recently, "There's so much unwritten history and stories they have, and we're missing it. Someday, they'll be gone." 

Let's not miss out on the stories or the relationships or the Josies or the Margarets. 

5. Strangers who offer to take pictures and absolutely nail it. It's a rare unicorn. 
My friends and I recently tried to take a self-timed picture in front of a pretty mural (the most millennial-Nashville-resident thing you can possibly do) on our lunch break, and it was a total fail. Then up walked this super sweet lady, likely also on her lunch break, and she said, "Here, let me take this for you!" 

We tried to take a jumping picture, but girls wearing dresses probably shouldn't take jumping pictures. And this outtake ended up being better anyway! 

Kyle makes fun of me for offering to take pictures for strangers (I do it often), but it's one of my very favorite things! Next time you see someone holding their phone with the camera app open, standing in front of a mural or a pretty tree or an Elvis statue, glancing around with an awkward expression on their face, offer to take their picture. I dare ya. 

One more note on the pictures-for-strangers topic. After years of doing this, "Hey, I'll take your picture!" bit at every opportunity, I've discovered that some people actually PREFER selfies. Excuse me, what? That's a big no-thank-you for me. I'd rather take a gamble on what my face looks like in a stranger or self-timed shot than have to stare at myself, contorting, angling, attempting to look prettier than I actually am. Selfies are HARD. Kudos if you can nail a good selfie, but I always look like I'm in pain or trying too hard. 

ANYWAY... :)

6. Trips home. So very thankful to have lots of excuses to head home to Indiana this summer. (Wedding season, ya know?) You all know (hi mom) that my favorite place in the world is my parents' porch. Sitting on their wicker couch, wrapped in a quilt, with a cup of coffee in my hands, staring at cornfields. That's my happy place. 

The fabulous five. Love my cousins so dang much.

^ Kyle said something wildly inappropriate here, of course. (Okay, not too wild.) No need to fake laugh in our family. 

7. This picture of me pretending to be Kathie Lee Gifford. Mallory is Gelman, of course. 

8. These state prints and also these state prints.  I recently purchased this Indiana print at Porter Flea, and I'm trying to find a reason to buy one of these for someone. Such a great gift idea. Perfect for gallery walls!

9. Naps. With open windows. And the sound of a lawn mower. And the smell of grass. Pass the quilt and the allergy medicine, and I'll see ya in 3 hours. 

10. Lemon water with mint leaves. Freshly picked with a little dirt on them. Just kidding, I rinse them. Try it.