Agape: Through it all.

Always to and fro

Before I headed back to Ohio for Thanksgiving, a friend asked me what I was most looking forward to.


So... this is going on at right now.

I also look like I just rolled out of bed, but maybe that's the beachy look they were going for?

Maybe it was just a Hard Day's Night. Either way, some of these pictures could end up in my mom's photo album.


A Room with a View

I like taking walks at night because I like peeking into other people's lives. Lights are on: pockets of lives on display. I know.... it's creepy. Olden day Facebook, if you will. There's something mystifying about how we are all living simultaneously, completely oblivious of each other. I also like looking at other people's photo albums. Some think that's creepy too. Maybe you feel the same way. Either way, peeping or not, here are some pictures from this last weekend. Don't feel obligated to click through unless you're my mom.

Melt, Cleveland and it's 'cheesy' decor.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
The destruction of Thomas in Words with Friends

A short note to parents of teenagers.

A short note to parents of teenagers:

I was asked what advice I'd give parents of teenagers. I’m not a parent, but I’ll share the two things I most appreciated about my parents.  Both are related to transparency: on your kids' part, and on your part.

A letter to my 16 year old self (part 2).

Oh hey. Hello.

You remember when I told you I’d have some advice for my 16 year old self…tomorrow? Yes, I’m aware that was four days ago.  But, we’re here now.

A letter to my 16 year old self. (part 1).

Hey Guys! We always appreciate your supportive emails, and especially enjoy the blogging suggestions.  Someone recently asked me what advice I would give to my high school self.

What's in a name?

This is the man responsible for MRDJ.
I get it. This half of RMK has a difficult name.

My new friend, Peta Niehaus (who does a fun doodle everyday on her facebook) had this to say:

"Kristen. Your last name is completely impractical. I've tried saying it a three whole times, got flustered, and then left my computer weeping."
I really don't like making people cry. I also noticed on an old blog of David and mine that half the hits came from "How to say Mrdjanov", so I'll solve the name conundrum for you.

My former co-worker explained it best. Think of a highway. Merge on. off. (it's actually 'ove', but if you can say Merge-on-off I'll be happy enough with that).

See? Easy. You're a pro now.


The Happiest of Birthdays

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
                                                              -Marcel Proust

I wanted to post this picture because she's so dang cute, and because it was this little lady's birthday recently.
Rach is one of the kindest, most sincere people I know. I have long considered her a 'charming gardener', and doubt there is a soul in the world who would think otherwise. In my short 25 years, I have never met anyone like her: sweet, cheerful, warm, kind, thoughtful, and constant.

I'm so thankful you are in my life, Rachel Morris! You are special in so many ways.


Costco, Aldi, Target and Walmart Price Comparisons

Some people like spending money on name-brand groceries, and think it's tacky to worry too much about what you're spending. That's nice. I don't.  I'd rather spend money on other things.

This project started very simply. I was at the Costco, and couldn't decide if the nuts were a decent price (they're ok). I decided to compare them to Aldi, Target and Walmart.  And, well, if you give a mouse a cookie... she's going to just want the whole list.

I know. It's total boring adult stuff. It's also I'm-tired-of-wondering-how-we-spent-so-much-on-food stuff. But maybe (to you) it's I-could-use-this stuff. To me its wow-this-took-forever stuff.

Some people think it's unrefined to talk about, think about, and post about money, but I'm beginning to realize that if we hope to save any considerable amount of money, it's going to require patience, thought, and planning. I don't really care if other people think this post is totally tacky. For everyone else, here you go.

While it doesn't have everything it's pretty close to everything you'll need.

Here is what the first page looks like:

Eavesdropping "With A View!" - Lakeview East / Boystown

This is how my Saturday evening began:
Boystown Where Rainbows GrowBut on a Saturday night, "Al Fresco" seating isn't exactly conducive to casual reading. I'm not the first to comment on the unique qualities of Chicago's neighborhoods (see to right). But Lakeview East, colloquially known as "Boystown," is quite the melting pot of personalities. 

Ugly Duckling

The Pictures that DIDN'T make FB

I’m a sometimes (now very sometimes) model.  If you’re a friend on Facebook, you’ve maybe seen some of the photos like the ones at the bottom.  I like modeling.  I like wearing pretty clothes and getting my hairs did. But mostly, I like having pictures that I’m not afraid will scar my children.
While these photos are nice, they aren’t exactly representative of my life.  Actually, NOBODY’s FB photos are an accurate representation of their life, which is why studies have shown that the longer someone spends on facebook, the worse they feel about themselves.   I thought about this while finishing up my bike ride this weekend with a fluorescent red face. This was not  facebook-worthy.  You know what we miss out on by editing these juicy details from our timeline? The ability to laugh at ourselves, connect with other people over the painful reality of life, and the ability to move on and get over ourselves.

The best guarantee to maintaining surface-level relationships is never admitting our imperfections, the chinks in our armor, and the things we are most ashamed or embarrassed about. We are all goof-ups. My dirt is just as bad as yours. If you want to talk about it sometime, let’s get coffee. I bet I could learn a lot from you, and maybe spare you some pain by sharing my own mistakes. Mostly, we just want to know each other (all parts of each other), and be known wholly in return. This is what we miss out on when we hide our indignity.

Absent from the internet are pictures during my “growing painfully” years.  You know. The ones you shriek over when your mom inevitably lets utter strangers paw through the photo albums. “Don’t judge me!”, you think. “I’m not that skinny/fat/ugly/blotchy/red/desperate/awkward anymore!”  These are the photos that mysteriously go missing after you realize it’s a parental sifting strategy for future husbands. Looking through my ‘memory book’ is a little like watching the horrifying Michael Jackson aging videos.

We did not have a touching slideshow with Taylor Swift singing softly in the background at our wedding. Partly because my Dad thinks those things are egocentric, and partly because…well, if we selected good pictures from my childhood, my portion of the video would be about three seconds long (David would fare better).

It’s my personal belief that it’s a mom’s job to make sure they’re child goes through a healthy awkward stage. This is when we learn that we are not God’s gift to mankind. That there are other people much better than us out there, but we still have to do our best anyway (Parents: this is something to prepare your children for, NOT protect them from!). That brains and personality are just as important and valuable as knowing how to do your hair. Deep down, we all still feel like an awkward turtle sometimes.




without this:

is NOT the full story.



SHE Is | Happy Birthday

I was recently pondering a KOCO NY type card my sister gave me years ago titled "She Is." I have it framed, but only once in a while do I take the time to reread it. I think every woman can appreciate and relate to it in some way.

I couldn't find it online, but this is how it reads:

SHE is real (as in phenomenon)
She is real (as in authentic)
She is a dream.
She is a woman Homer sung.
She is a non-prepositional phrase.
She is a wonder.
She is adorable.
She is not a doll (as in Barbie.)
She is a motion. Emotion...
She is sound. (Song.)
She has a memory.
She has the ability to listen. 
And speak. And touch.
She kisses. She lives in history.
She has a psychology.
'Shes' rhymes with he. See. And free.
She is the spoken word.
She is the mother of all creation (in a Jungian context).
She is the source of mythology.
She was Eve and a tree.
Love. She can make love
and she can break just like a little girl
(to quote Bobby Dylan)
She has a circulatory system.
She comes in many colors. (Often brown tones.)
She can experience things emotionally.
Rationally. Objectively. Spiritually.

Today happens to be this girl's 25th birthday.

She also happens to be one of the wisest, most loving, intelligent, giving women I know (and pretty exemplary of that poem above). I hope you all are as fortunate to have friends and family like Kristen Mrdjanov.

Here's to your first quarter, K. (And cheers to the rest.) <3


Yes! Thanks for the love!

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