julie & julia.

when jamie blogged about this almost 3 months ago i've been looking forward to this movie ever since...and now the countdown is just one week!

melding together two popular memoirs, Julie & Julia focuses on the life of renowned chef julia child (meryl streep) and frustrated office worker julie powell (amy adams) as she attempts to cook all 524 recipes in child's book Mastering The Art Of French Cooking.

here's the trailer...


tuesday tunes - mandy mann.

this week's tuesday tune is my friend mandy mann.

you can hear (and download) her song "home" online for free and then go purchase her new ep, come on let's go, on itunes.

in addition to having a unique stellar voice, mandy is also the cutest mom i know :)


sweet and natural.

i've mentioned before how i'm kinda obsessed with cookies.

well, i've recently discovered a great brand of cookies... immaculate baking. the cookie dough is made with all natural ingredients and comes in 5 delicious flavors (i've tried 3 so far).
so tonight, i couldn't resist baking the "triple chocolate chunk"...

and, um, yah...they were amazing. seriously some of the best i've had in a long time. paired with a glass of cool milk, it was simply perfect.

i bought mine my neighborhood grocery, the turnip truck, but i know publix and whole foods carry them, too. bake some for your family or your roommate or your office, and watch how you suddenly become very popular!


guest blog...

i wrote a "guest blog" for our mocha club blog, and it was featured today. it's just some thoughts and reflections i've had regarding my last africa trip. check it out here.

p.s. this photo is by my fellow trip-member, quinn. check out his amazing photography!


home free.

i can't stop thinking about this past sunday at midtown. we're working our way through Acts, and chapter 12 this week brought some good stuff.
after a powerful message on God's sovereignty and being grateful for the "prisons" we each are in (and how the gospel sets us FREE)... levi weaver sang this song of his during a time of reflection (thanks to jamie for finding the video!). then we all had a powerful time of worship...one that has continued into the week with my fellow midtowners, as we get into conversations about what the Lord is doing in and through our church and our hearts. and like i said...it's some good stuff.


tuesday tunes - mat kearney.

this week's tuesday tune is mat kearney. originally from eugene, oregon, mat has called nashville home for the past 8 years. it has been so fun to watch his career grow in just a few short years. back in college i was a rep for aware records and one of my projects was distributing mat's ep. i loved it from the beginning. mat went on to release his first album in 2004, bullet. but it wasn't until 2006, when nothing left to lose was released, that mat's songs became familiar. he had a couple of songs (like "breathe in breathe out") on the tv show grey's anatomy, and started touring for guys like the fray and john mayer.

just a couple months ago, mat released city of black and white. and i didn't think he could do it -- but he's outdone himself. i think all that time on the road touring for the last album plus a season of just living life here in nashville has equaled songwriting brilliance. grab yourself a copy of the album, and i promise you'll keep it on repeat.

mat's on tour right now supporting the album, so check out his dates and go see him if he comes near you! and by the looks of this video, i think they're having fun out there (featuring my friends adam and jeremy!)...

(you can watch the real video here for the first single, "closer to love")

also -- mat will be on the tonight show w/ conan tomorrow night -- check it out!


international justice day

today is international justice day. a day set aside to call attention to the issues of injustice around the world. it also happens to be the day that mocha club is launching our NEW WEBSITE! we've got a new homepage, blog, and lots of new features (and new store items).

oh -- and an amazing video about justice.

head on over to mochaclub.org and check it all out!!


trader joe's top ten.

so we all know that i L.O.V.E. trader joe's. i swear that place should pay me commission. i can't tell you how many people i've converted into TJ-lovers. i often find myself giving tips and directions on what to get and how to navigate the store. so i thought i'd compose my current "top 10" for my favorite grocery store... (and for the record, it was really hard to narrow it down to just 10!)

10. sweet apple chicken sausage // already fully-cooked and all-natural, you just heat these bad boys up in a pan for a few minutes, and they are ready to enjoy on their own, or to add amazing flavor to any dish!

9. frozen pesto pizza // organic pizza covered with pesto, mozzarella cheese, tomato slices, and broccoli...a dinner favorite.

8. fruit wraps // one of my favorite snacks, these are all-natural, made from fruit and fruit juice. and at just 50 calories, they're guilt-free! i love them at work or on the go, and especially when i'm traveling.

7. turkey breast - roasted + sliced // one of my newer finds, this turkey makes it feel like thanksgiving every day. surprisingly moist and the perfect thickness, it makes for a great sandwich, or i often just eat it on it's own (ok, maybe with some buffalo sauce!)

6. dark chocolate covered pretzel slims // need i say more?

5. multigrain + flaxseed crackers // my favorite " hummus dipper" (see #2 below)

4. coffee // first off, their whole bean coffee comes in cool cans - so that's already awesome. second, it's cheap. oh yah, and it's good coffee! my current favorite: organic fair trade breakfast blend

3. sweet potato "frites" (+ wasabi mayo!) // when i'm not in the mood to cut up my own sweet potatoes, these come frozen in a bag and cook up in about 15 minutes into the most tasty little treat. and TJ's wasabi mayonaise is seriously the perfect compliment to any kind of sweet potato fries.

2. edamame hummus // really, i love all of TJ's hummus varieties...but i do think edamame is my current favorite. all of their hummus contains no artificial flavorings or preservatives.

1. one-minute brown rice // already fully cooked, then vacuum-sealed for freshness. just heat in microwave for one minute! i love topping it with stir-fry vegetables or chicken sausage. (see above, #10!)

[i would have included charles shaw wine...also affectionately known as "two buck chuck"... you can't beat the price, and it actually tastes good...but our nashville TJ doesn't sell wine b/c of the whole "no wine in grocery stores" stupid-law-thing...but i do buy it by the box-full when i'm in atlanta and bring it back up!]

here's a hilarious video another TJ-lover made as a trader joe's "commercial"...enjoy!


tuesday tunes - brooke fraser.

this week's tuesday tune is brooke fraser. she has two albums what to do with daylight (2003) and albertine (2006 in new zealand and 2008 in the US) and is currently working on a third album. brooke is also known for being one of the principal worship leaders/songwriters for hillsong united! (...including all my favorite songs - "hosanna", "lead me to the cross", "you'll come", "desert song" and "none but jesus")

brooke has a huge heart for africa, which of course i love. on her website, she says this:
"I have been to Rwanda every year for the past three years. It is a place very special to me. The need in our world is overwhelming, but our ability to each do our part (whether it may be sponsoring a child, giving online, signing an online petition or writing a letter/email) is easier (more accessible and convenient) than ever before...see how you can be involved in making the world a bit less crap, and meet some of the amazing people who are dedicating their lives to being of practical help to hurting humanity..."
brooke's albums have become true favorites and i really connect with her lyrics...especially her song "albertine" (i referenced it in my blog about africa last summer...you can see the video there!)

if you don't know brooke's music already, i highly recommend checking her out.
here's one of my favorites of hers, "shadowfeet"...


eat more (free) chicken.

today was the 5th annual cow appreciation day at chick-fil-a stores around the country. the concept was quite brilliant.
dress up like a cow = free chicken.
so of course i rounded up all of the interns and we took an office lunch trip to gain our complimentary combo meals.

here's a little photo recap...

the "starter kit" you could download from the website.
complete with ears, nose, spots, and a tail.

all ready to go get our free chicken!

don't forget the tail!

ready to order...
my friends christine & julie were in town visiting from georgia,
so they joined in on the fun! :)


tuesday tunes - paper route.

this week's tuesday tune is the nashville band paper route. and i'm going to venture to say that they create my favorite music coming out of this city. (yes, big statement.)
these guys are TALENTED. some of the best live shows i've ever seen...seriously. (not to mention they're all great guys, too!)
i'd attempt to try and convince you just how awesome they are, but this little video does them way better justice...

so go grab their full-length album, absence, on Paper Route - Absence (Bonus Track Version). i promise you won't want to stop playing it!

and here's their most recent music video, for the song "carousel"...



when i say "trimming" you may think of a plethora of different activities...
maybe regarding personal hygiene...trimming your beard or your...nosehairs? ewww, gross.
...or maybe an activity one would do in a garden...trimming bushes...trimming roses. (not that me and my black thumb would know anything about that..) ...but all implying making space...for growth...for life.

so what about our lives? do we trim our lives?
i've been reading a book by wayne muller called sabbath: finding rest, renewal, and delight in our busy lives" and he talks about this idea...
"we plant so many seeds, and they seem so small, so benign, they take up hardly any space at all. but everything, as it grows, needs space. children, a home, a career, a project, a hobby, a spiritual practice, everything needs space, and everything needs time. and as each grows, each one takes from the other, until nothing grows beneath the surface, it is all foliage and greenery above-ground, and no nutrition beneath. sooner or later, it all withers from lack of nourishment."

i picture my life right now as an overgrown yard. i keep tossing in new seeds, hoping they'll find roots somewhere in the already maxed-out soil of my heart. each new plant seems harmless at first...it's just a little seed, right? but that little seed starts to grow, and requires attention, and space, and as the days pass, more and more water and sunlight. instead of seeing the real need of taking time to nourish my spirit and take care of what's been growing, i just keep fitting in more plants. and i think i'm at the point where my yard...ahem, my life...is about to wither away...from lack of nourishment. it's time to do some trimming.

so i'm praying through what needs to change...what i can trim back...and what i can let go.
much easier said than done. you mean i have to say "no"? you're telling me i have to give things up? not my favorite thing.

and i know i'm not alone in this. life in america is all about doing and experiencing all we can and filling up our days and iCals with more and more. i think it's been one of the biggest things i've been wrestling through since my most recent africa trip. when i travel overseas i get a taste of a slower pace - no iPhone, no facebook, no meetings. i experience real priorities - time with God and deep relationships over my to-do list. i think trimming for me involves both cutting back and taking time to focus on nourishing what's most important.

in john 15, Jesus talks about cutting off the branches that do not bear fruit, and pruning - trimming - the ones that do, so that they may bear even more fruit.

may we be like the branches that are so deeply joined to the vine that we can't help but feel nourished and strengthened, with the space and freedom to produce fruit. fruit that will last.