Tuesday, October 7, 2014


  As almost every young lady across the nation has already proclaimed, it is fall and thus begins the most wonderful season of the year. I am quite biased on this opinion and there are plenty of good aspects of other seasons, but without fail, this one is my favorite. Autumn hold memories of baking and pumpkin patches. I remember the beginnings of my relationship with Jason and the cool air that met my face on a morning run with my sister. I think of my first time in the city and how glorious the season was because it saved me from New York's unbearable heat. I get to re-watch You've Got Mail for the hundredth time and fall in love with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks' banter all over again. I think of the preparation that began in March of last year and continued until the most beautiful day I have ever experienced when I married my best friend.

  So many wonderful things about this season. I look forward to celebrating the end to my first year of marriage and also the start of working at In Earnest Magazine as an Intern. It is always good to pause and reflect. I think I spend to much time dwelling on the negative so I am trying to make it a priority to focus on the beautiful aspects of my life that surround me daily.

Currently Listening: "Lost in My Mind" by The Head and the Heart

Monday, September 15, 2014


   One never really knows what to expect. Even within our thoughts of how the word should run, we are overwhelmed with the reality that nothing has gone the way we planned, and yet we are still here. Living. Walking. Breathing. I hop on the bus in the morning on the way to the office and I am surrounded by suits. The closer to Midtown we get, more suits join. Some suits are more worn and others created to have that vintage feel. Some are navy, others grey. They all read with concerned faces. They read a folded Wall Street Journal or the app update on their advanced tablet. They are plugged in. "Or are they?" I think to myself, they look rather consumed in a large number of small words filled with news dripping from the page. I cannot help but wonder if they worry, or are worried, or if I am the same as them, only younger. What do I worry about? Does it take over the peace of my being? Do I consistently crunch numbers in my mind to make ends meet correctly? I have learned that worry is a choice. Even when a person feels as though they are unable to escape the burdensome thoughts, it is a choice. A skill would be making light of the situation.
   Two elderly ladies were in Central Park yesterday. Between the two of them fumbling for directions to Fifth Avenue, they stumbled upon us. They felt silly as native New-Yorkers and were overwhelmed by their miscalculated choice of direction, yet they carried on with us as we led them to their destination. We were strangers, yet they opened up to us. They needed to be turned around and we looked like just the couple for the job. I was delighted that they would ask for the favor, and even more touched when I saw no worry in their demeanor.

Currently Listening: "Happy Alone" by Saintseneca

Saturday, August 30, 2014

new york; part deux.


   So we did it. We made the move that seemed so scary and ominous just a month ago, and now we are dwelling in the tight space of New York City among other millions of people trying to do the same. By acts of fortune and volumes of grace, we were welcomed into the home of a sweet family in the heart of Central Harlem. Was this the way I thought things would go? Absolutely not. Am I thankful and almost happier that things worked out this way? I think one could say that.
    See, whenever someone is about to make a move they have the scenario played out in their head. How the move will go, where you will live on the other side, or what neighborhood you will end up in are major questions that most people have envisioned months before actually packing up. I am guilty of this action and will humbly admit that ALL of my whimsical thoughts were so delicately erased and replaced with the heart of thankfulness for whatever happened. Now I am in no way saying that having hopes of what is to come is a bad thing. I actually find that it helps in working through emotion that comes with any transition. I will say that when the ideas you held dearly get placed on a pedestal and cause a poor attitude due to a different result is the issue. Again, I am humbled to a place of admittance in stating that I have not been grateful in every step.

    I was confronted with this on my walk to the bus stop the other morning. Jason normally walks with me, but that day he had gone to a men's morning of coffee and fellowship. My thoughts were taking me to places of discontent. While walking I saw the stoop of a brownstone nestled between 121st and 122nd. The stairs were clear of any and all dirt or leaves and pots of flowers were delicately placed near the door. The dark wood from the door looked soft in the morning light and I found myself in a wave of thankfulness for where I lived. I was reminded that taking care of the space where you live is important. No, I did not expect to move to Harlem when coming back to this wonderful city, but the experience in a new neighborhood with people who are invested where they live adjusted my mindset.
    Being conditioned to believe that you are only getting somewhere if there is difficulty along the way is somewhat helpful when stepping into a season of life newly married and with only a faint outline of a plan. Even in saying this I am reminded of how most of the difficulty created can be traced back to myself. I hope that this means I am learning and growing, but only time will tell. There is a strong likelihood that Harlem will be our home for the coming year and my heart is to add to the neighborhood with joy instead of detract from the community with a stubborn demeanor.

Currently Listening: "Girls Chase Boys" by Ingrid Michaelson

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

vital organs.

Vital Organs by Jason Howell
Artwork by Katie Lynn Howell (moi)

    Since early February, this project has been stewing and marinating in the mind of Jason Howell. With most of the songs written years before the tracking began, kinks were settled to create this beautiful mix of singer-songwriter emotion with melodic cello parts and haunting choruses. Recorded right here in Atlanta, Georgia at The Cottage, Damon Moon used his producing mastery to develop Jason's songs into a complete and succinct sentence. A journey from a lonesome feeling surrounding love and the emotions entailed to the final track where you are taken on a stream of consciousness, wandering along a path traveling up and down the East coast. 

Track Listing:
1. When It Comes to Love
2. Arsenic Eaters
3. Skeletons
4. He That Hath Ears to Hear
5. Company I Keep
6. Mr. Finite
7. The Name Doesn't Make You a Son
8. Vital Organs 
9. Movement
10. Mustard Grain

Stream the whole album here!
If you want to purchase a physical copy of the Vital Organs, meet us at Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta at 9pm this Friday evening!

Currently Listening: Listed above.

Monday, July 14, 2014


   In anticipation of what will await the next couple of weeks, I have settled into the idea of a new season. Reflection is one of the greatest tools we have in life that allows us to reach back into what has occurred and bring into the present so that we can make needed adjustments to the way we handle situations or even think of others. I have been back in Atlanta for just over a year, and even though it seems like a short amount of time, I have learned, grown, reflected, if you will, on what this season meant.
   First, it meant becoming a married woman. I am not sure that I can refer to myself in that manner just yet. The wording itself makes me feel like I added a decade to my life in a matter of months, but in terms of life lessons, one could probably propose such a thing. I am still young and I enjoy having fun, being with friends, and taking road trips to different cities. The difference now is I always have my best friend to go out with or come straight home to. He makes my eggs in the mornings while I half-rush to get ready for work. He does the dishes quickly when I know he would want to relax first. He makes our small apartment home and I like it that way.
   Next lesson has to do with work. What is work? Oh, right. That place we frequent, that pays bills? Yes. It also funds those road trips that make wonderful memories... yep. Well, work is what you make it, and though I enjoy a large portion of my duties, there are certainly hardships that make some days more difficult to bare. My greatest test of emotional consistency and sanity happened in the last six months or so. When I say test, it was almost like I was given the duty of carrying boxes full of loosely packed china up a five-floor building that only had stairs. The greater challenge was having over two-hundred boxes to carry in five trips. I will leave you to do the math. What I mean to explain here is balance and precision when dealing with a slough of tasks. Just in case there was any worry in regards to my current state of sanity, I believe we have basically made it through.
   I feel like ending on a positive note would be nice. Family. One of those things you appreciate more when you are not around them so often. We are still in Atlanta with a few weeks to go, but my heart is realizing the sadness that grows a small measure each day. I have been blessed with family that goes the extra mile and makes the effort to make me feel loved. I was suffering from a headache just last night, and as I would expect my momma rubbed my head and neck for me and researched a remedy for my small ailment. Not to mention just a couple of weeks ago my momma and I took on the project of making a blouse. I will admit, I cut most of the pieces and she sewed, but the outcome was a beautiful piece of art that I will cherish. It has a piece of her time and effort in it wherever it goes. I have sisters who share life with me. Char went with me to gaze at beautiful fixtures and clothing in Anthropologie while finishing the night with Jeni's Ice Cream as dessert.
   Memories. Those are the things that make it so hard to leave a place. I just have to remember that it only provides me with the opportunity to make more.

Wearing the top I made with my mom today.

Currently Listening: "Let it Die" by Feist

Thursday, June 5, 2014


    Apartment hunting is on the horizon as Jason and I plan to move up to the city. I can hardly contain my excitement to reunite with a place I grew so fond of last year. It was an intimidating decision, first moving up there, but it took no time for me to fall in love with NYC. I think there is something within each person that conditions them to almost instantly fall in love with the fast-paced nature of New York or find themselves in utter disdain for any portion of the concrete jungle. Luckily, I fell under the former category and loved every minute of my time in NYC. 
   The scary thing about finding an apartment in the city is how close you get to your move-out date before actually looking for a place. The normal time-frame is about three to four weeks at the earliest to have a serious offer on any option. Another factor is that we live in the South, way down in Georgia. Hunting from afar is not ideal, but is currently the predicament we find ourselves in. 

Early in our dating, Jason and I went to the Highland Bakery and thought up fun things to do in New York if we ever went. Who knew that we would eventually live there for an extended period of time? Fun to look back on some of these moments.

Contemplation: Does it really take a few minutes for sunscreen to "soak in" or is that just another thing our mom's told us when we were little? This is one of those things that I never questioned when younger, but it came to my attention just yesterday that it may not be 100% accurate. 

Reading: Currently tearing through The Fault in Our Stars  due to that fact that I am going to see the film with a friend Friday. For some reason I would like the real story behind this movie before seeing it. Needless to say, I got the book yesterday and I am over halfway finished.

Obstacle: A summer cold. This does not seem right or fair, but I seem to have contracted a cold somehow and have suffered the compiling side effects since last Thursday. Cough drops. Tea. Sinucleanse. Repeat. 

Something Overheard: At the pool the other day, a mother was observing her daughter's newly acquired swimming skills and I overheard her say, "Girl, that is not swimming. That is drowning with style." Not the most encouraging thing to tell a six year-old, but I found the comment amusing. 

A precious building in Chelsea, New York City. One of my favorite neighborhoods to frequent.

Currently Listening: "Not a Bad Thing" by Justin Timberlake (Yes, it is true.)

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Observation: Men, who are fortunate to have such facial hair, like to play with their beards often. For example, in the car on the way to work, at a stoplight, etc.

Thought: Does a eating a lemon bar count as eating a fruit? Or does the lack of nutrition within the sugar I added negate the positive attributes of the highly acidic fruit? I had a lemon bar for lunch today.

Aspiration: I am working on painting/drawing more often. So far I have worked on three projects this week and completed two of them.

Frustration: There are only so many things that I can do during a day. Even less during an eight hour work day... therefore I am left with a job (or many small jobs) unfinished. I found myself asking the question: "Will I ever get ahead?" I hope that I do.

    We are making the move back to the big city in a couple of months. I realize that a couple of months is also only a matter of weeks, but in regards to the amount of things to be done, I may be putting that to the side. I am all set up for school. Woop! We do not know where we will be living yet. No need to freak out. New York City is known for its last minute decisions.
   I can't wait to call that place my home again. Filthy subway stops and loud noises into the night never seemed so appealing. I will be reunited with my New York family and all of the other folks that find small spaces enjoyable. It is another step into an important season of life, yet I find myself completely at peace. We have had everything we ever needed in our small apartment here in Georgia, and I have no reason to believe that there will be a difference when we move. It will be our first true adventure. I think we will make it.

Things coming up:
The second week of June is vacation for me! This will be a stay-cation, but I will enjoy every glorious second of it.

July 18th we are having a record release party at Smithe's Olde Bar for Jason's second album! It will be a night of food, friends and fun. Oh, and some pretty amazing tunes.

July 31st is our "moving-out" date. Details to follow.

Monday, April 14, 2014


  At times, being around brilliant and talented individuals can be difficult. One can experience the feeling of never measuring up to the level of artistic ability or creativity. I can tend to be a "jack-of-all-trades," wanting to dabble in so many veins of creativity, yet leaving little room for experience or devotion in one area. Most often I am frustrated with this trait and do not understand my consistent, yet inconsistent, behavior that leads to the same result.
   There are some who are brilliant. Those who have spent years sneaking sketches, or mindlessly writing melodies, suddenly emerging with a branded craft that has become their own. The word that I usually glaze over in these stories is "years." This means for a large portion of their lives they probably thought little of their own work, but kept painting, writing, drawing or singing until their confidence grew. And continues to grow.
    In contrast to my first statement, at times being around brilliant and talented individuals can be the best thing for you. It develops a sense of fervor and hope that can encourage you to keep doing what you enjoy. Sometimes the best kind of inspiration can come from looking at something you never feel like you could create.
   Jason and I traveled to Savannah, Ga a few weeks ago and stayed with a friend and her husband. I have never felt more inspired to pursue the creative outlets that I enjoy.  Even more than that, I was reminded to keep working even when most of it turns out terribly toward the beginning. Most of my work is simple. My current work resembles, roughly, a twig with some berries on it, yet I am proud to say that I am painting. I realized that most of the joy in art comes from the process that brings you to the polished end product.

Above is the artwork of Kelsey Garrity-Riley.
She is a graduate from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
 Her pieces tell stories with whimsical detail of friendship, childhood and love.
See more of her work: kgriley.com

Currently Listening: "Planes to Crash" by Damien Jurado

Thursday, March 20, 2014


    Though I am no expert on the subject, it seemed relevant because of my recent purchase that I would research some about succulents. Specifically, I am interested in keeping them alive inside of my home. Google is a wonderful help in this department. I simply searched something to the effect of "growing succulents inside." I was surprised to find out that some of the choices I made were conducive to indoor living. 

    One tip is that you should pick green plants. This would be no surprise to folks who do not have any idea what a succulent is. They generally come in various colors anywhere from orange to purple in color. Green succulents generally tend to grow best when inside. Succulents grow in numerous shapes and sizes, so when in need of green ones, there will be plenty of options. 

   The biggest question that I had was, "How do I keep my plants alive?!" These small and delicate plants are actually quite simple in nature. After watering them, there is no need to water again until the soil they live in is completely dry. Overwatering is the trouble with this kind of plant. (Not to mention, cacti appreciate the lack of watering as well.) Sit them on a sunny window sill or somewhere that sees the sun's bright rays. 
   I hope that they stay alive because they make me so happy. I also enjoy seeing some plants inside of my home reminding me of spring!

Happy Spring everyone!

Currently Listening: "Down with the Shine" by The Avett Brothers

P.S. The hubs and I get to travel down to Savannah, Ga to see The Avett Brothers this weekend. Woop!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

pursue it.


  Most often we sink beneath numerous ideas which amount to nothing and bury us in comfortability and lethargy. My experience tells me that people are accepting of this nature. This is a generalization made from a small portion of experience but nonetheless speaks truth into ears of those waiting... and waiting... and waiting. It is seen even in the hearts of older folk who fail to let go of the "glory days" and prize those moments as the only time when they truly lived. But why leave it there?
    We are nervous, intimidated and sure of failure before we begin. I will admit, my own heart has spoken these things at weak moments, but I have also been to a place of overcoming and taking huge steps towards an important portion of my life. I had to make exceptions to even very valid arguments that some people made, but I made it to the city; that big city where people say that dreams come true. No, I do not believe that my life began when I went there. I certainly learned about confidence, friendship and peace within constant movement. No, I learned about the satisfaction that came from being exactly where I was supposed to be and doing precisely what I was to be doing.
   This step has repeated itself in recent months. My husband is pursuing his music full-time. When I say that I do not mean that he is trying to get gigs on nights and weekends after work. He took a step towards what he feels called to, and I fully support him. I have seen joy well up within him after finishing writing. I have also listened, and responded a bit too much, while he is wrestling with his worth. All of these moments together have created his story of walking into that unknown. That road that many never begin and most who begin fail to finish. I want to see completion.
    More lately we have heard of friends who are thinking about steps of their own. Take them. Invest in those desires.

Currently Listening: "How Long" by Lowland Hum