Wicky-wow, wicky-wow: Vinyl Record Day

From the invention of the first phonograph in 1877 up to the creation of Apple and Google music memberships today, recording and playing music can range from a highly technical, involved process to an unconscious, daily habit. And for those who prefer tickling their ears with the sound of vinyl records specifically, this day is for you!

You may have your dad’s, you may have a refurbished one, or you may have an Urban Outfitters model, but whatever your record player’s origin, you likely swear that certain albums sound best on vinyl.

My own brother, B.J., is one such avid vinyl listener and, for this Everyday Holiday, I picked his brain for a few recommendations of albums he finds are especially good on vinyl:

  • MF Doom — Mm…Food
  • Joy Division — Unknown Pleasures
  • Pixies — Doolittle
  • The Beach Boys — Pet Sounds
  • Pink Floyd — Wish You Were Here
  • The Smiths — The Smiths
  • John Coltrane — Blue Train
  • De La Soul — 3 Feet High and Rising
  • Elliot Smith — Either/Or
  • Led Zeppelin — Led Zeppelin III

As a disclaimer, B.J. did share that this is a small sampling from the records he owns, and there are several more he’d like to check out in the future. (Might I add, after marking the 44th anniversary of the invention of hip-hop yesterday, it’s a stellar weekend to revisit some of your personal favorites or even a brand new album.

Because all celebrations are better with music,


Name Day, Birthday, You Name It!

So, Matt and I finally took the plunge and started watching Game of Thrones. Yes, we realize we’re six years late to this party, but hey, we finally found our way. Over the course of two weeks, we’ve moved with lightning speed from season one all the way to season four. It’s like we’ve got the magic of the dragons moving us or we know winter is coming…

Although characters come and go in this series (let’s be honest, it’s mostly go, and it’s mostly violent), there have been one or two fairly jovial “Name Day” celebrations. Akin to birthdays, such events consist of celebrating a day of the year that is associated with one’s given name. Often in the Christian tradition of old, there is a saint or other noteworthy patron associated with a name, and either their day or birth or death is a name day–one of great merriment and feasting.

This week, I’ve been celebrating the name days or birthdays of a few good friends, both near and far. I love a good, old fashioned birthday bash or even just a quiet lunchtime rendezvous.

Over the course of this Everyday Holiday experiment, I’ve had many people inquire about “freebies” and special birthday deals. Although there are some sites that share this information, sometimes the deals are hit or miss. To aid my fellow readers in the search for birthday bliss, here are my top five b-day freebie recommendations:

  1. Liberty Hall – If you’re in the Kansas City/Lawrence area, it’s definitely worth your while to head over to Liberty Hall in Downtown Lawrence. This cute, quirky theater offers birthday celebrators not just one but two deals. First, you can see a movie for free AND you can also take home a free rental from their adjoining video store. (Bonus deal: La Prima Tazza, the coffee shop next door, doles out free b-day drinks!)
  2. Wendy’s – Love me a good frosty. And, to my knowledge, you can grab a free birthday frosty without signing up for an email or rewards club. (As you’ve probably noted in your quest for birthday freebies, most places require membership to a rewards program or subscribing to an email list serve before you are awarded birthday spoils.)
  3. Papa Murphy’s – Speaking of joining rewards clubs, well, you do have to join one for this deal. However, the Papa Murphy’s Dinner Circle sends you excellent text coupons you can use all year! And you get free “dough” (not the green kind, rather, the cookie variety) on your birthday. The best part about the dough is that it freezes super well. So, if you’re already on sugar overload, you can save this treat for another day!
  4. Caribou Coffee or Dunkin Donuts – Two places, one entry here, as you can get a free beverage at either, and who doesn’t need java on their birthday?! You can either get the coupon in advance by indicating your birthday online or you can go in store and sign up.
  5. First Watch – This establishment is the brunch place of choice for me and my extended family! If you join their Sun eClub, you get a BOGO entree deal just for signing up, and then a free entree offer will arrive in your inbox by your birthday!

Other freebie favs? Please feel free to share them in the comments section and, let me be the first to say, Happy Birthday (Name Day) to you!

– Kelsey

Real Talk

This past Wednesday, July 12th marked Simplicity Day. Originally, when I contemplated what to post for this Everyday Holiday, I thought about how sweet and simple it would be to share a picture of blossoming flowers or a flowing river. I mean, the holiday was originally created to honor Henry David Thoreau #fastfacts. Suffice to say, it was not on the top of my list to post a picture of myself, sans makeup.

So I hesitated. And I wrote words. And I changed words. And I posted it. And then I regretted it.

Eventually, after the dust of the remains of my ego settled, I was okay, well, better than okay. I felt deeply connected to people–some whom I know well and some whom I know distantly–in a oddly profound way. The complements and words of encouragement were difficult to receive, as I didn’t want the post to be  gratuitous or self-serving. But beyond the niceties, there were real, powerful words exchanged between people, and it was beautiful.

The internal and external meet in a swirl of perceptions when it comes to self-concept and self-worth. I’m trying to remind myself that how I talk about who I am and how I look has a direct, profound impact on myself and others.

Rewind back to college, sophomore year to be specific. I was again contemplating my understanding of beauty and, of my own accord, decided to quite literally “peel back the layers,” one by one. Each day for a week, I wore one less item of make-up until, by the end of the week, I was bare-faced. I thought the slow process would help me ease into a more natural state, while taking stock of my feelings daily to see how the process was changing me internally as well.

As the week started to wind down, I shared what I was up to with a friend. With audible shock in her voice, she said, “Not even mascara?! You can at least wear mascara.”

Of course, I was bucky and determined enough to not wear mascara that final day. It was, however, the last item of make-up I willingly left off my face. To this day, almost 10 years later, mascara is still the one thing I must have on my face before going to the grocery store, filling up my car with gas, or attending a yoga class. It’s funny how words and presuppositions stick.

Mascara, or any other additions or subtractions we make to our appearance, are not evil in and of themselves, of course. If we like how our our skin feels with a certain product or enjoy curling our hair, why not go for it! However, if some derivative of comparison, shame, or obligation comes into play, pumping the breaks might be in order.

I believe true, character shaping moments come when we ask ourselves not if we need these things but why we need these things.  It’s the simple difference between, “I feel awesome after a facial. Clean, refreshed, and more confident,” versus, “My skin is a train wreck. If I don’t get a facial at least once a month, it’s game over.”

Self-talk matters, whether it’s spoken under your breath or at the top of your lungs. A simple, yet challenging truth I don’t think I’ll ever fully grasp. If this week has taught be anything, however, it’s that I’m not alone. We all see ourselves “through a mirror dimly” at times–blurring out the best and brightest of who we are and what we’ve accomplished.

So, my friends, here’s to simplicity. Here’s to self-care. Here’s to a better vision of beauty.

Graham Crackers Galore

Happy Graham Cracker Day!

Whether camping in the woods or crashing at home, I always enjoy a good, old-fashioned graham cracker, primarily, in s’more form.

To make the day a little sweeter, here are a few recommendations for some tasty combinations with crunchy grahams:

[PB&A S’mores] Take one part graham cracker, a spread of peanut butter, and a slice of apple, then top it off with a toasted mallow. Another fun idea? Switch traditional honey grahams for the cinnamon variety.

[Strawberry Nutella S’mores] Break a graham in half and spread Nutella, topped with a few strawberry slices on top of one half. Finish off with your toasted marshmallow and place the other graham half on top.

[White Chocolate Raspberry S’mores] Replace the typical milk chocolate bar with a white chocolate bar and spread either raspberry jam or chopped raspberries on one side of a graham cracker. Add your toasted marshmallow, along with the other graham cracker half, and crunch away!

[Dark Chocolate Almond Coco-mores] Make your s’more in the typical fashion, but enhance the traditional flavors with a piece of dark chocolate, a sprinkle of coconut, and some slivered almonds.

Have a merry–and extra sweet–Graham Cracker Day!


*Photo Credit: kevinandamanda.com

Celebrate: International Handstand Day

Guest post by Vanessa Newton // Instagram: @vlnewt // Twitter: @vlnewt

It’s June 24th, and do you know what that means??

It’s International Handstand Day! Like most holidays, why this holiday was created who knows? But I am active participant in anything that means I get to stand on my hands. I started out tumbling as a little kid and have kept it up as a “grown up” by taking adult gymnastics classes. The feeling of flying through the air and finding the perfect balance in a handstand is like none other. (If you are struggling, might I recommend doing handstands against a wall and then finding a nice open space. When you go up, squeeze your abs to help keep you stable…really squeeze all of your muscles!)

To participate in International Handstand Day, post photos or videos of you doing a handstand and tag #handstandday in your post! Here are a few of my favorite places I’ve done handstands…

My Kentucky friends and I went and hiked the Pinnacles in Berea, KY and we got this amazing shot!

​​When I lived in #LFK (Lawrence, Kansas where Kelsey and I worked together), I was an active member of the Lawrence Trailhawks and on this night, I was named Tumble Hawk!
​If you are going to be at the #data17 Tableau Conference, look for me there! I’ll probably be doing this…
And finally, on the rooftop of my old apartment here in Rochester, NY…

Go out and celebrate International #handstandday today and continue celebrating everyday! Spending time upside down and, remember, doing tumbling isn’t just for little kids! If you are interested in taking up adult gymnastics classes, I highly encourage you to try. Both of the gyms I’ve found simply by googling “adult gymnastics classes” and adding the city I’m living in. Adult classes are loads of fun because you have some people in the class that are advanced and others who have never done a flip before in their lives. But, hey, we all come together to learn and have fun (and hopefully keep injuries at a minimum)!

You can follow my tumbling and handstanding on my Twitter and/or Instagram! I’m @vlnewt on both #selfpromo.

Fresh Veggies Day à la Summer Solstice

In perfect summer fashion, last Friday marked Fresh Veggies Day. Admittedly, I enjoyed a few of my vegetables on pizza that day (I’m loving SPIN! Pizza’s Melanzane pie with roasted eggplant, caramelized onions, and goat cheese), and I’m still keeping the spirit of this everyday holiday alive in both my home cooking and restaurant dining this month.

In the kitchen, specifically, I’ve been challenging myself to make do with what I have–to avoid excess grocery store trips, while boosting my culinary creativity. With a fabulous farmer’s market less than 100 feet from my front door, I’m attempting to make a weekly practice out of finding what’s fresh and what’s available, then cooking at least one meal without preconceived prep time or recipe-following.

It’s no secret I veer on the type A side, however, I found myself in the kitchen without a plan recently. So, I turned to one of my pantry go-tos: Annie’s pasta…with a twist. For me, this “twist” came in the form of some farmer’s market veggies that I sliced and froze the week before (see previous “type A” comment).

If you’ve never tried any of Annie’s pastas, they are basically organic variations of classic mac and cheese. Very good and super easy! Recently, I’ve found that these pastas make a great base for layering additional flavors and ingredients–resulting in pretty tasty, pretty balanced meals in a pinch.

For this dish, I made the pasta according to the directions on the box and, while boiling the noodles, I sautéed my frozen veggies with garlic, cumin, and red pepper flakes (I used a few chipotle peppers in adobe sauce and fresh veggies the next time I made the dish). Cue “these are a few of my favorite things!”

The chopped leak provides a nice, subtle grounding to the dish, while the squash just feels fun and summery. Because there are so many ways you can “spice up” Annie’s, please share your experimentations below!

Some suggested options:

  • Pea pods
  • Black beans
  • Feta cheese
  • Carrots
  • Dill
  • Eggplant
  • Chipotle peppers in adobe sauce

Have fun and avoid the grocery store…for at least one more day. Happy (Belated) Fresh Veggies Day and Happy Summer Solstice!

Spicy Annie-Pasta

A little play on “anti-pasta,” although fully pasta, this recipe is dedicated to my fellow cupboard scrapers out there.

Time: 15 minutes / / Servings: 2


  • 1 box Annie’s shells and white cheddar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small or ½ large zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • ¾ cup frozen corn
  • 1 medium leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded (optional)

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a clove of garlic, followed by the veggies. Sautée for 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through. Add cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper

To the skillet with veggies, add the milk and enclosed cheese packet, followed by the drained pasta. Stir well.

Serve warm and with Parmesan cheese if desired!

*This site has no formal partnership or agreement with Annie’s, but their boxed shells and white cheddar is my personal favorite!


Don’t Call it a Comeback

It’s been three years.

Holidays were celebrated. Merriment was made. And, dare I say, a few balloons were unfurled.

At some point during this time, I decided to sequester The Everyday Holiday into the secrecy of “private” mode on the interwebs, leaving the site to collect virtual dust.

Simply put, I lost perspective regarding what I was doing and why I was doing it. I felt like I could create and celebrate in other ways, and so I did. I changed jobs, I got married, I traveled abroad, and I switched cities of residence, in no particular order, all over the course of 1,000 days. While enjoying many wonderful, landmark celebrations, the practice of noting the small, everyday holidays seemed to shift to my personal back-burner. But lately, I’ve been missing it. Missing the connections, missing the celebrations, and missing the fun.

Slowly but surely, I’m planning to release new content in this little corner of the world. I’m holding my breath and my proverbial pen, unsure of what will come. I’m okay with the uncertainty, however, because new endeavors, paired with simple expressions of creativity, are something to embrace. Whether it’s an eventful or seemingly mundane phase of life, I believe the moment is always ripe to rejoice. So, I’d like to rededicate my time to sharing joy across all seasons of life, emotions, and experiences.

“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.” – Bill Moyers

As a first step, I will be updating The Everyday Holiday Calendar function (housed under the “celebrate” tab), so y’all can add some interesting, zany days back into your lives—or at least to your Google calendar. In addition to adding a few new posts here and there, I also plan on sharing some of my process as I brainstorm what The Everyday Holiday could look like in terms of printed cards, party planning tips, and simply, easy-to-follow recipes.

In sum, stay tuned, and stay thirsty (for celebrations), my friends,