2017 Spring Favorites

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Happy Friday, everyone!  💛

Thought I’d take a break from recipes today and chime in instead with an update on life behind the scenes around here this spring.

First off, can I just take a second to shout from the rooftops how THRILLED I am that we’ve finally sprung forward?!?  It’s no secret here on the blog that I’ve never been a big fan of cold weather.  But as I mentioned on my personal Instagram account recently, man, my body just seemed to have an especially rough time with winter this year, which was weird and disorienting and frustrating during a season that should have felt so happy and exciting and fun with being newly engaged and all that jazz.  Ooof, no fun.  But — now that spring has arrived, and our city is warming back up, and the sun is shining later and longer each day — my little mind and heart are being seasonally affected for the better again.  And those pesky winter clouds seem to be lifting.  And life is starting to feel so wonderfully warm and good and exciting again.

And…I can’t wait to get married in 42 days!!!

I also have some more exciting news that I’ll be sharing here very soon, so stay tuned for that.  But suffice it to say, 2017 is shaping up to be a mega year to remember in my little corner of the world.  Feeling so grateful for the wild adventure of it all today, and for this handsome man who’s now by my side, and for all of you who’ve so wonderfully been there with me through it all.  Your presence and support here in this little corner of the internet means the world to me, as always.  And not a day goes by that I don’t give thanks for you and this wild world wide web that brought us together.

Anyway, I hope that you are all well, and enjoying a warm and lovely day wherever life may find you today.  Here’s the latest on life around here this Spring…


So, I’ve gotta say, one of my favorite things I’m actually loving this spring is…Instagram!  Specifically, my little personal Instagram account about everyday life behind the scenes of the blog (with zero recipe photos) — @gimmesomeali.

Instagram used to be my favorite social media platform.  But, like many bloggers, my @gimmesomeoven account morphed into a space for 100% food and recipe stuff awhile back — which is cool, but definitely turned it more into a work-related thing for me rather than feeling like it was just for fun.  And I have realized that I’ve totally missed the just for fun!

So this spring, I decided to resurrect my old personal account and start posting on it a little more regularly again.  And it’s been awesome.  For the first time in years, Instagram has started to feel like a creative outlet again, and a place to document my IRL photos.  Hoping to stay on the ball with it more regularly over the coming year, so feel free to follow along if you’d like!

Oh, and also on the Instagram note, are you all loving Insta stories as much as I am?  If so, be sure to check out this great tutorial I saw yesterday on Sugar & Cloth about IG story tips and tricks.  Most all of these were new to me!  So fun!


Lately, all of our friends have been checking in on how wedding planning’s going.  And more often than not, our answer is, “eh, it’ll all eventually get done, right?!”  😆

By now, thankfully all of the big things are pretty much crossed off the list:

  • ✔️ venue (Union Station!)
  • ✔️ catering (Brancato’s + a surprise dessert!)
  • ✔️ music (our talented friends!)
  • ✔️ officiant (Barclay’s dad!)
  • ✔️ dress (sneak peek above!)
  • ✔️ honeymoon (this dreamy spot in the land of mezcal)

Everything else — namely, all of my ideas for decor — keeps getting simplified, simplified, simplified.  Before we got engaged, I had imagined that I would Pinterest the heck out of this wedding with DIYs and cute decor touches galore.  But this winter ended up getting busy.  And frankly, by the end of each day, Barclay and I have just wanted to kick back and go on dates and hang out with our friends, rather than work on wedding stuff.  So simplicity is the name of the game for us.  (Plus, it’s looking like we’re going to have an awesome — and very large — crowd of our favorite people together at this wedding.  And we’ve discovered that cute Pinterest-y place settings sound way less fun when you’re cranking out 350 of them. 😂)

That said, the one big wedding to-do that we are excited to work on this next month is planning is the ceremony itself.  As a former professional wedding singer (fun fact — I’ve probably sat through at least 200 wedding ceremonies), I’m really excited about creating a meaningful ceremony that feels really like “us”.  We’ve started working through the basics with Barclay’s dad.  And Barclay really wants us to write our own vows, and I want to say traditional vows…so we’re compromising and doing both.  But we still have yet to research readings and settle on scriptures and music.  So if any of you have any great suggestions, would love to hear ’em!

We also have our second (of four!) wedding shower this weekend, which I’m really looking forward to.  I’ll report back more on those in a separate post later, because man, I was totally unprepared for how special and moving and they would be.  💛  Our friends and family = extraordinary.


I also decided around the new year that 2017 would be the year I got back into yoga.  🙏🏻

For the past few years, I’ve been alternating my workouts mostly between my elliptical and walking outside and Barre3.  But I’ve been wanting to work on my posture and flexibility lately.  (<– Especially considering how much time I spend sitting at my computer, which is apparently the worst for your body in every way.)  Also, I’ve become really aware this past year at how much better my body feels when I spend a few minutes doing some deep-breathing, and I’ve looking for ways to incorporate more of that into my days.  Also, one of my best friends is currently in yoga-teacher-school right now and has been sharing all sorts of compelling stuff she’s learning, which has been an extra motivating kick in the yoga-pants to get back to practicing.

So…yoga it is!

I’ve started attending the weekly yoga class that Barclay organizes (and sometimes co-leads) at his office.  And twice or so a week at home, I’ve been trying out new classes on YogaGlo.com (which has sooooo many options).  And it’s been great.  And…pretty humbling, especially considering how much flexibility I’ve lost over the past few years.  But it feels good to be making (very) slow and steady progress forward with that, and learning more about my body and how to give grace to it along the way.  Feels like just what my body needs in this season of life.

Oh, and I also mayyyyy have taken this new-habit-resolution as an excuse to go shopping for some new yoga swag this spring.  Some of my favorites?

  • Girlfriend Collective Leggings — Totally obsessed with these.  I was one of the thousands who signed up for their Kickstarter with free leggings, and man, they nailed it and completely sold me on the design.  The fabric is super-strong and smooth, they don’t bunch or roll down, they sit in a flattering place above the hips, and I would happily wear them every day.  Totally planning to purchase another pair or two once they go on sale this spring.
  • Zella Twisty Tea — Love this simple top from Nordstrom.  Totally comfy and cozy.
  • Sanuk Yoga Slings — I’ve had a pair of these for about a year now, but they get an honorable mention here because they are made from real yoga mats and are the comfiest shoes I own.  I pad around in them all day while I’m working and running errands and walking the dog, and love ’em!
  • Zum Yoga Mat Cleaner — Made by one of my favorite Kansas City companies, all-natural, and smells great.  (Also, if you need a massage afterwards, this oil is a favorite amongst my friends in KC.  Smells amazing!)


This Spring, everyone at my church has been celebrating the release of our latest worship album — Bright Hopes!

As I’ve mentioned on here before, I actually used to work as a musician and worship leader at a church in my previous job, and still get really excited when I hear about good new worship music being written.  (<– Let’s be honest, it can be hard to find.)  So I feel especially lucky nowadays to be part of a church that sings mostly original music together each Sunday that was created within our own community.  And I feel especially thankful to be able to play keys and sing as part of the band there once a month.  And I feel especially excited when our favorite are recorded into a new album every few years…like this one!

If this isn’t your kind of thing, no pressure at all here.  But if you’d like to take a listen, you can check it our for free on Spotify, or support the musicians and buy it on iTunes.  (And if you’re a church musician and want chord charts to play any of these songs, you can find those here.)

Here are some of my favorite tracks that I’d recommend:

Also, fun fact: there are about 40 of us friends playing on the album.  And if you listen closely, you can hear Yours Truly singing harmonies on a few of the songs.  👆😉


Finally…I can’t talk about spring without mentioning all of this food growing in our city again!

I’m thrilled that the City Market (see below 😘) here in Kansas City has finally opened back up for the season.  Soaking up every last second here in this neighborhood before I move.

Also, I just signed up again to be a part of the New Roots For Refugees CSA, which begins next month.  (KC readers — I think there’s still time to sign up if you’re interested.  It’s the best!)  My farmer friend, SiSi, grows the most amazing organic veggies and herbs in her garden with the program, and sent me home with a bag full of fresh spinach, kale and mint when I saw her last week.  Made me all the more excited for weekly pick-ups to begin soon.

Otherwise, I’ve mostly been obsessed this spring with just eating as many greens as possible, which includes steaming as many artichokes as possible (<– Barclay’s and my fave!).  Other favorite recipes have included: