things i have been loving/thinking/doing lately,

the produce that keeps making appearances in my fridge (besides kale, because obviously): turnips. also, white sweet potatoes. #winter...

i've been listening to a lot of: adele. oh, and hillsong live's newest album, cornerstone. can’t get enough.

my go-to piece of clothing has been: this sweater, which i got for christmas. and can’t seem to stop wearing.

i'm mostly likely to indulge in: talenti gelato, still. have you tried it yet?

my favorite ihpone app is: duolingo! finally, i have someone to practice/speak italian with whenever i want. even if that someone is a little green owl.

a favorite dish to make has been: honey and harissa farro salad from smitten kitchen. but i use quinoa instead. because farro would likely kill me. 

what i’m enjoying reading: i am not actually reading a book right now. but i am reading through my bible this year. i’ve tried a million times, and never made it. i’m already 15% of the way through and not a single day behind. yes, this is the furthest i’ve ever gotten. onward!

(but do you have any good book recommendations?)

where i’ve been eating yummy things in durham: lilly’s pizza. they have a crust i can eat that is actually pretty tasty. i think i have been four times in the past month. cheers!

a product i currently love isgud shampoo, by berts bees. orange petalooza smells fabulous.

someone i have loved getting to know is: this beautiful lady. God introduced us. no, really. it was awesome.

something i’m really looking forward to is: this concert. also my bff's wedding. and duh, the arrival of this little one.

what have been been doing/loving/thinking about lately? would love to know.


snuggling might be in order.

this time of year is hard for me. i'm being teased with the promise of spring but it won't seem to turn the corner around here and just get warm. i'm a very cold person, always. my whole body stays cold from about october through march usually. then i start to thaw. sloowwwly. 

but in the meantime, all i want is to snuggle. seriously. anybody else just want to be constantly snuggled all winter long? i think i would have made a great bear cub when it came time to hibernate. i don't think adam minds it. he knew that snuggles were a large part of being married to me before he stepped into the role. but i'm not going to lie, i'm looking forward to some warmer weather. even if it makes snuggling a little less necessary for survival...

so, since it's pouring down rain and cold here today, i thought i'd just share some of my favorite warm inspiration from around the web.

for starters, can i please have a monster mug of this?

um, i'm sold on this idea. now where to put it...

i've literally been living with this around me. it's heaven. thank you mother for my favorite christmas gift maybe ever.

french lavender bubble bath. let me go run one now...

dreaming of our (someday) trip to nz. it's summer there right now and i could really use one of these beaches. or all of them. 

i pinned this jacket forever ago and my mind always wanders to it when i'm cold...

some luxurious fireplaces around the homeland. next time we are home i'd like to go on a fireplace tour of all of these...(#snuggles)

i think i could sleep in these. and i would. and then i'd wear them all day too.

and maybe wear some of my favorite woolies inside of them.

hot yoga. mmmm, yes. i'd like to try this place out right this minute.

i think i am going to make this for dinner, pull out the electric blanket, some wool socks, and hope that adam is ready to be pounced on for some snuggling when he gets home. how i miss him all day.

what do you do to stay warm in the winter? is it as cold and icky where you are as it is here? hope these links give you some inspiration for warmth!


porters! snow! gifs!

this weekend adam and i went to charlotte to visit one of our very favorite families. these five special people became ridiculously important to me while i was at school in charlottesville. all three of the children were also in our wedding. ella was a jr. bridesmaid, ava was a flower girl, and jack did what jack does best...stole girls' hearts (while bearing rings).

and i wouldn't want to forget to say how much i love amber and chris too. they played the role of my adopted (much younger) parents when i moved across the country from my real ones. and they let me invite myself over to their lovely home whenever i saw fit. it made the world of difference. oh my, i can not, will not, could not imagine college without them.

we miss these folks so very much when we don't see them, and it had been way too long since we saw them last.


they live in charlotte, nc now conveniently. and we finally got our bums down there this weekend to play.

what did you do this weekend? did you get to squeeze someone you really missed? or just hang out and relax at home? hope it was splendid, whatever it brought. happy monday!

ps, a few funny gifs that the girls made this weekend that made me smile. :)



any mac sticky note users out there?

i use my sticky notes for everything. and like a purse, a car, a closet, or a camera, sometimes you've just got to clean that thing out! too much miscellaneous junk can overwhelm a soul. 

whenever someone i love says something that makes me laugh, or has a memorable exchange with me, and i really don't want to forget it, i'll type it onto a sticky. i read them all the time and they make me smile. but at this point, i just can't think anymore through all the stickies. so i'm doing some cleaning. 

i decided to dump a few of them here so that i can still refer to them from time to time, as i see fit. maybe they'll make you laugh too. i've completely forgotten the context for most of them. i do apologize.

"i have always liked halloween. it is fun to dress up and eat chocolate. it is a real part of my memories throughout life. i like the reformation too though."

-my mother.

"it's warmish i would say. you may touch it if you'd like." 

-dom, referring to a chocolate brownie, if i recall.  

adam: "that kind of thing just freaks me out."

me: "oh, don't worry about that. it's such a freak thing."
adam: "i'm not worried about it, it just freaks me out."
(perhaps, we should delete the word freak from our vocab, ad.)

"in this weather, no man is hairy enough"

-adam, when it was really cold?

"love you, praying for your brain." 

-adam, sometime during my thesis writing?

and a recent favorite:

me: "i just had a funny memory. did you throw up fritos after the reba concert?
sis: yes. cause they had free bags. and i ate 50 hundred. and i have never eaten them again.
me: me either. i ate them till i fell asleep before "does he love you" which was my favorite song and i missed it. depressing seven year-old, i must have been. 

sis: ha, maybe you were wondering if nick jorgenson loved you.
me: haha, probably. i was totally crushing on him back then. to no avail...
me: ps, totally just started a private session in spotify so i could listen to "does he love you" without being judged by facebook. #noshamejustkiddingshame."

do you keep up with funny things people say? or silly exchanges? i like having reminders of the people i love on my desktop all the time. remember this post about the roommates quote boards? maybe i'll start one for the nelson home soon. 

and finally, just a sweet one that i like to remind myself of often. i don't know who said it, but i like it.

"if equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one, be me."

your welcome for that randomness. happy friday!


fritos and the dpac.

my very first concert was reba mcentire. my dad must have been working a twenty-four hour shift that night because my mom took all three of us kids with her. i fell asleep before my favorite song—which oddly enough was that tragic duet she sang about her husband being in love with another woman. unfortunately for me, she waited till the end of the concert to sing it, and i was long gone. 

the only other thing i remember is all three of us eating way too many free bags of fritos. my sister got really sick afterwards. neither of us ever ate fritos again.

anyways, my awkward first concert reminiscing has a point, kind of. when adam and i first got engaged we accidentally discovered this band by attending a dave barnes concert in raleigh for which they were opening. we fell in love with them and it has all been downhill since then. we adore every last precious thing about this husband and wife who sing the most awesome songs together and look ridiculously adorable while doing it. well, they happen to be touring with needtobreathe at the moment, and they are coming back to the triangle, but this time to durham! and to the fourth-ranked performing arts center in america—the durham performing arts center. or, as we call it around here, dpac.

shameful as it is, adam and i have never been to the dpac. we thought we might go when jersey boys was playing in the fall, and i would have loved to go see lion king two years ago…but as you can probably imagine, tickets can be prohibitively expensive at that place. man alive. but when we saw that drew and ellie were going to be playing there, we knew the time had come.

so, that’s what we’ll be doing april 10th. and by the way, if this tour happens to be coming close to you (attention: cville folk), i would highly recommend going. my friend steph can hardly handle how good needtobreathe is live. and combine them with d+e…you will be in for a treat. no doubt bout it.

so, just out of curiosity, what is your favorite band to see live? can you remember your first concert? were there fritos involved?


(nutella stuffed) brown butter (sea-salted) chocolate chip cookies.

so i went to this cookie exchange. about three months ago...

and i made these.

it's like they tried to put everything yummy and trendy into one cookie. and it worked.

and adam couldn't keep his hands off them.

if you know what's good (and delicious) for you, you should make them too.

that is all.

sorry it took me three months to tell you.


i do stuff.

i don't really talk about my job much on the blog. and it's funny that i don't, because it's such a huge part of my life and who i am and how i spend my time. 

maybe it's because by the time i get home from work, i don't want to think/write about work. but i actually enjoy talking about my job, so that can't be it. 

but anyways, i really do work. and i do stuff there. and i really love the stuff i do.

let's see if i can sum it up:

i do research. 

i do research at duke.

i do research on a study called SLAM DUNC. 

our study has nothing to do with basketball. it's just a long acronym. (for something...)

all of our patients have HIV and they also have depression. our study is testing an intervention that integrates depression care and HIV care. did you know that a lot of people with HIV also have depression? well, it's true. and it's really difficult for them, as you can imagine. and often times their depression goes un-managed. and when they are really depressed, they don't take their HIV meds. and then their HIV gets worse and their health gets worse and on top of all that, they remain really depressed.


when someone can help them get their depression under control, they are healthier; mentally and physically. because when they feel less depressed, they take thier HIV meds better. then, their viral loads go down (good) their CD4 counts go up (good) and often they just feel better about things in general. oh, it's so good to see.

so our intervention helps to manage depression at the ID (infectious disease) clinic where they receive their HIV care. it's really neat, it's sustainable, it's cost effective, and it seems to be working really well. yay for research!

my role is to help meet and enroll patients, talk to them throughout their year in the study to measure their adherence to their meds, measure their depression, and collect data on lots of other aspects of their lives that we think are important for our study. i also do a lot of other stuff...

analyzing data, entering data, helping with papers, abstracting information from medical records...

right now, i'm even working on an abstract for a big HIV conference that is coming up. here's hoping it gets accepted. which, among other things, would mean a paid trip to Florida to present, you know, yes please.

so there it is, in a nutshell of course. sometimes it gets a bit crazy around here. and sometimes it's incredibly emotionally exhausting. but i love getting to intersect the lives of all these people who i would never otherwise  know. and to learn a little about what it's like to live with and battle HIV. and to try to be an encouraging and kind voice in their day. and to not take my health for granted. 

and i could go on...

but i won't. 

what do you do every day? and who do you meet while doing it? it's so worth it to stop, think, and being grateful for employment. so here's to monday!


my valentines.

(red velvet cheesecake hearts and red velvet whoopie pies!)

i've been itching to host a party in this new house. my mom gave me a love for entertaining. and even though the place is far from being finished...i just wanted my friends in it now!

so last night we had a little bit of a ladies valentine's night. plus, my friend brooke is a stella and dot stylist so we had a jewelry trunk show too. what's better than friends, and food, and jewelry?

maybe friends, food, jewelry, and my mamma.

and, lucky for me, she was there too!

per usual, i made way to much food and people brought things to share too. so if you are hungry and in durham, please come to our house and take some of it off of our hands. this was the favorite recipe of the night.

i feel so lame for not taking any photos of the ladies at the party. once the party starts it's hard for me to focus on picture taking because i just want to hang out. you know what i mean? so, not one photo of actual party-goers. but at least we captured a few of the details.

and just fyi,

my trunk show will be open online for another few weeks, so if you find yourself needing a fun new piece of jewelry to spice up your wardrobe (or want to give a hint to the man in your life for a good valentine's gift) just go to stella and dot and assign me as the hostess. if you don't know about stella and dot, you really should. it is one of my favorite discoveries in my recent adult life:

started and run by women.
worn by lots of celebrities.
totally affordable.
and amazingly stylish.

yeah, that was a plug.

i hope you are having a fun weekend too!




personal topic ahead. just warning. if you don't like personal things, don't read. also, if you are a man, don't read. unless you don't care, then fine. ok,

so one thing that freaked me out about marriage was birth control. probably because i was terribly freaked out by the idea of birth. and me having it. and i went through a pretty obnoxious time of not wanting to go to the doctor. not wanting to talk/think about you-know-what. and not wanting to figure out birth control. 

and then eventually i got over it because my wedding was fast approaching and i needed to get my act together. said my mom. 

so, i started on the pill. 

the transition was a little hard. i had a wave of immediate side effects, all of which were gone by the end of month one. but it was pretty traumatic at the time. and i thought it would never work to be on the pill. but then, it did work. and i loved it. and it turned out to be a great decision for us. and i really did remember to take it. which i thought would be hard. but it wasn't too hard. and it made things so simple. 

recently however, since i've settled into married life...i decided to switch over to a more natural method of birth control, fertility awareness. and i can't sing loud enough praises. i love knowing exactly what's happening with my body and when and why. it's really quite empowering. and i even have a super cool app on my iphone called kindara that allows me to chart my temperature each morning (and all the other "body signals" of fertility). i read this book, recommended by my sister, which told me all i needed to know about using the fertility awareness method (fam). it really has been one of my favorite decisions of life. ever. it-makes-me-feel like a nat-ur-al woomaan. nevermind, bad joke.  

i mean, you have to be committed and consistent with charting. so it's not quite as low-maintainence as a bcp. but if you are slightly ocd, like me, and you are crazy about charting and temperature taking, and knowing what's up, then it is pretty darn effective at preventing the whole baby/birth thing.

when friends ask me for advice about birth control, i hesitant to really give too specific of advice about what will work for them. i think it's great that different things work for different women, at different times, and that we have the freedom to experiment and pick the method that seems just right for us. and that there are so many different options out there. i wish i hadn't been so darn intimidated by it before i got married.  

what do you ladies think? was the birth control decision hard for you? are you happy/unhappy with your method? have you/would you ever try FAM? seriously, i wish i'd had this talk with you a long time ago! could have saved myself a lot of unnecessary angst. 


travel bug.

until college and graduate school, i hadn’t travelled very much. besides visiting our neighbors (canada and mexico) on occasion, the only other country i’d been to was costa rica. but in college i got to travel a lot. i lived in italy for five months and travelled some in europe while i was there. then the next year i got to spend a week in dublin on the way to (seven weeks in) rwanda. graduate school and research took me to nepal and then back to italy for our honeymoon (che buon viaggio!).  if you remember, i flew 34,596 miles in the year 2011. yikes. it was heaven. 

well it’s been a little while now since i’ve left american soil, and i’m starting to get the bug again. who would have thought that this homebody would be so anxious to be on her way? we don’t have any big trips planned for this year, but we are dreaming one up for the winter/spring of 2014. adam used to live here. and he met some people there who are kind of...pretty dang awesome. and he misses them. and strangely, so do i. and he is aching a bit to get back. 

so we are dreaming.

is there anywhere you have a bug to get to? are you a traveler? a homebody? a travelling homebody like me?


out of my shaky hands.

you know when you have expectations? and you try to hold them loosely? because you trust God, you really do. but unknowns are hard. and they are so, unknown. and so, you still hold onto them, loosely. or sometimes it's actually, tightly.

but just then, God takes those expectations out of your shaky little hands and breathes His breath over them. and they explode into something far more beautiful and exciting than you could have possibly hoped.

i believe this happens. i have seen it with my own eyes. once or twice, or ten times...

wednesday night our home was filled with people who my shaky little hands have been holding onto for months. before i even knew their names. and i had expectations for who they would be. where they would come from. what their hearts would look like. and whether i'd get the chance to really know their hearts.

and He did it,

he chuckled at my expectations as He took them and put in my hand, instead, His most wonderful plan.

and it was wonderful.

and each and every one of them are so wonderful.

and i can't wait to get to know them little by little.

and so our small group begins.


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