"The only thought I had growing up was: get candy. Family, friends, school, these were just obstacles in the way of getting more candy. So the first time you hear the concept of Halloween, your brain can't even ... what is this? Who's giving out candy? Everyone that we know is just giving out candy? ...I can wear that."

- Jerry Seinfeld

Happy Halloween Friends

watch here.
image via









It has been a long time since I have seen such a beautiful apartment tour. Cross Decor & Design are truly talented. Now I am trying to figure out how I can re-create this apartment, because I don't know how you could ever be unhappy with such a beautiful space surrounding you.

p.s. the Groupon in Springfield Mass is seriously great today.


Cheese Soufflé

Sunday morning after my surgery I really needed something warm and filling. I attempted my first cheese soufflé and was surprised at how easy it was. It set up perfectly, and although Kevin is sometimes wary of eating my recipes the first time around, he loved it. And then proceeded to add ketchup to it... Yeah. We are classy like that.

I found the recipe here.


New Eyes

I got Lasik eye surgery on Friday, and all of a sudden I see what I was missing before - without the help of a lens.

The white curvy lines on my ceiling when I first wake up.
The individual leaves on the trees - and how the yellow fades into the green.
The vivacity of the fuchsia orchid on my window sill.

All with my own eyes.
My own lens.

"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."
- Roald Dahl




"It is in the small things we see it.
A child's first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone."
- Anne Sexton

Sometimes when I am lacking courage,
I repeat these lines from my favorite poem.

Today is one of those days.



Kevin's football team "Din-o-mite" had one of their last games last night. Even though football isn't my favorite, I went to support and watch him play.

I looked up from my latest read and talking to other wives to see Kevin score the only touchdown. They all looked at me enviously (okay maybe not :) but it still feels good to ride home with the MVP. Sweaty hugs and all.



Someone asked me the other day if I married a perfect man - because that is how I portray him on my blog. I honestly laughed out loud.

When I told Kevin that, he immediately said, " Guess what? I have flaws. What are they? Oh I donno, I sing in the shower? Sometimes I spend too much time volunteering. Occasionally I'll hit somebody with my car. So sue me-- no, don't sue me. That is opposite the point I'm trying to make."

Please do yourself a favor and watch the clip here.

The point is, Kevin is not perfect, and our relationship is not perfect, and I would hate to become one of those bloggers who swoon about their perfect husbands all day. But I also think that blogging is public, so of course I am not going to flaunt Kevin's imperfections all over the internet either. (ahem: BYU football :)

Besides, having a perfect husband is so Edward Cullen. And I do not want him to be associated with Eddy.

p.s. another wedding picture was posted here. Full wedding day updates coming soon!

photos from our honeymoon.


Wedding Poem


An avid lover of poetry, I sent Kevin this poem in a love letter one day, back when we were still dating. It will always remind me of us, because I think when you love each other, you are responsible for keeping the dreams and hopes of the other safe.

When my sister Melissa was making my wedding guest book (I promise the most gorgeous thing, which deserves its own post) she asked me if there was a quote or anything I wanted included in the book. I immediately thought of this Langston Hughes poem. It will always be ours.

The Dream Keeper

Bring me all of your dreams,
you dreamers,
Bring me all your heart melodies,
that I may wrap them in a blue cloud cloth,
Away from the too rough fingers of the world.

photo by Sheena.


Weekend Book


This weekend something wonderful happened. Our television and internet went out. At first I thought it was a catastrophe, because I was a week behind Gossip Girl and Grey's. Instead of watching my shows, I was able to finish my latest book : The Elegance of the Hedgehog, and decided it was a far better use of my time.

The defining quote: "Madame Michel has the elegance of the hedgehog: on the outside, she's covered in quills, a real fortress, but my gut feeling is that on the inside, she has the same simple refinement as the hedgehog: a deceptively indolent little creature, fiercely solitary - and terribly elegant."

And it made me wonder how many people around me are elegant like hedgehogs. Guarded and shy on the outside, but on the inside "terribly elegant" individuals, who think real thoughts and are inspired by beautiful things. And I think all of us are hedgehogs in this regard to an extent. We purposely try to be someone we are not for fear that someone will discover the very matter of who we are as people. For fear of what? Exposure? Embarrassment? Or truth?

Regardless, this book touched me very deeply. I have been thinking about the Chicago Sun -Time review of it all weekend - really I think it is spot on: "This story, like all great tales, will break your heart, but it will also make you realize - or remember - that sometimes the pain is worth it."

This book left me with a broken heart, an open mind, and an insane desire to visit France.
Have you read it?

(p.s. the part that made me laugh the hardest was when Paloma says that cats are merely mobile decorative objects).


Dr. Voisin


I wasn't very nice to Kevin the other night. Well, I wasn't mean to him, but I wasn't very nice either. Kevin wants to be a doctor, which I am fully supportive of. I know it will be years of sacrificing and scraping by on no money, but I also know that it will pay off in the end, and that he will be doing what he loves. He loves to help people.

I mentioned before that I met Kevin as a camp counselor and he was the health counselor. He told me the first day we met that he was studying Neuroscience and wanted to be a doctor. I thought that was charming and romantic and brave. I pictured marrying a Derek Shepherd - neurosurgeon extraordinaire. (I may have also pictured Dr. Jack Shepherd and Dr. Doug Ross (George Clooney) which I cannot be entirely blamed for, thanks to three of my favorite television shows.) I never pictured the endless amounts of homework, EMS, research, volunteering and time away from me.

And although I sometimes complain to him about his career goals, I can't imagine him doing anything different. When I was a counselor, one of my girls got sick. I remember so vividly Kevin running across campus with his medical bag to see her. He was so gentle. I remember him feeling her forehead, and checking her temperature, and asking her questions. I already loved him so much at that moment. I also witnessed some hilarious moments - a boy who came to Kevin because his fingers hurt. Then he said, "I'm not the most athletically inclined you see, and that may be why my fingers hurt." Another boy told Kevin that dancing in a big group he "Hurt his jewels," right in front of me... Kevin laughed and gave him some expert medical advice I'm sure. He has stopped the bleeding on my sister's finger when she cut it chopping carrots, and when my dad asked if Kevin has learned how to give great "medical massages" in his medical training Kevin replied "Yes of course," trying so hard to keep a straight face. I will never forget seeing Kevin kneeling over my dad giving him a massage.

Then there was the time when I got sick. It was my first day of finals last year and I had my hardest Italian test. Even though Kevin had two tests that day, he came over in the morning and held my hair back while I threw up. He drove me to my exam and told me to call him the second I was done. I had to leave early I was so sick, and I could barely climb up the stairs to get to his car. He left his car, found me, picked me up, and carried me to the car while I sobbed about my test. He took me home, bundled me up in my covers, and came back with cold Sprite, and a pile of movies and books to help me feel better.

And so even though I feel selfish sometimes, and I want Kevin all to myself and sometimes wish he would decide to do something that took less school, time and commitment - I realize that I would be denying so many people the opportunity to be treated by Kevin. One of the most gentle, and kind person I have ever met.

So you win medical school. He's mine first, but I guess we can share.

photo by Cody Buell


Loud Thoughts


But my thoughts were so loud I couldn't hear my mouth
My thoughts were so loud I couldn't hear my mouth
My thoughts were so loud
- Modest Mouse, The World at Large

I've been feeling like this so much these days.

Shadowbox Project

Last night I finally got around to filling my the shadowbox frames I got as wedding gifts. I registered for them at Target, and you can find my exact frames here.

Because I am on a budget, I decided to fill the frames for free, and Erica's desktop redo inspired me. I went to Vintage Printable where you can print some awesome images for free, and printed two pages of this page. Then I simply cut the butterflies out, arranged them the way I wanted on my page, and added a glue dot to the middle of each one. I also bent the wings in so they looked more 3D which is one of the awesome things about Shadowboxes.

Since I got the frames as a gift, this project was free, but even on a budget you can find Shadowbox frames at almost any thrift store. I hung the frames in my kitchen, and they made me smile when I packed my lunch this morning, and I think that any art that makes you smile is worth hanging in your house.


Purple room

Purple is my favorite color - and so naturally I want to incorporate it somewhere in my home. I love that it feels so royal. Such a rich, comfortable shade to me. However, if done poorly, purple can look a little cheap and girly. Kevin needed some convincing when I told him I wanted to add purple to our new living room. We already have a white couch, but that is about the extent of our furniture for the living room so far. I created these boards to prove to him that purple can be done right.

Which board do you like best? And do you think purple can be done right?


New Bed




Sadly, Kevin and I are in the market for a new bed. We currently have a Queen, but it is a little too small for us we are realizing. After being elbowed in the face last night, and having my pillow stolen several times I think we need to upgrade to a King. (Kevin also says I sleep like the letter K but I think that is an exaggeration :)

So for now we are in the market for a King. That also means our gorgeous white, upholstered Pottery Barn Queen bed is for sale for a fraction of the price. Email me mandy.madson(a)gmail.com if interested. Such a sad day.

On the bright side - I get to find a new bed. Joy. The above images are providing some inspiration despite the sadness of giving up our new pretty bed.



I feel like the blog world is filled with people who love fall. Everywhere I read of new fall recipes, ideas for fall outfits, and love for the changing leaves, crisper air, and Halloween. (I won't lie, Halloween is my least favorite holiday - and it's not even close.)

For awhile I tried to convince myself that fall isn't so bad, and tried out these new fall outfits (still too hot for them in Utah), tried to enjoy the crisp air and the falling leaves, and tried to make myself believe that this season change is good.

However, what fall really means to me is school, which means not seeing Kevin, ever. I don't really know of anyone busier than Kevin, and I will spare the details on his daily events. Needless to say, I am missing the warm summer when we lived in our bare feet and ate popsicles for breakfast and lunch, and went to the park in the middle of the day and read whatever books we chose. I miss the thrill of planning the wedding this summer, and counting down the days to it. This summer was the best of my life, and I am so sad that it is gone now.

But when Kevin brought this little guy home from the grocery store last night I had to smile. He said we needed a little bit of fall spirit in our home and he thought I wouldn't mind such a small pumpkin.

We named him Thumpkin. (Inspired by this scene).

If you can't beat em, join em.

Welcome fall.


christmas shopping

I am done with my Christmas shopping.

Usually I try to do it before Thanksgiving, but October 6th is a new record for me. Since my birthday is in December and this year my graduation as well, I wanted to be able to enjoy the entire month without having to think about Christmas shopping, and since I already knew what I wanted to get Kevin and all of my sisters, it wasn't too hard this year.

Kevin asked me for a wish list and laughed when I sent it to him yesterday. It used to be full of clothes and shoes - but now it is full of this:

(Can someone, anyone tell me where I can find a rug like this?)

My mom warned me that when you get married you stop caring so much about what you wear and start caring more about what your house looks like... She was spot on. Any other newly marrieds dealing with this?


Guilty Pleasure





Blair Waldorf is the reason I love Mondays.
As much as I try to tell myself that Gossip Girl is a major waste of time, I can't help it. I am obsessed with Blair. I realize she is a fictional character, but I still think she is so human, and somehow I relate to her so well.

I recognize that Gossip Girl is highly inappropriate and shamelessly shallow, but as long as Blair is still there, I will continue to watch.


Have a guilty pleasure?
Care to share?


Fall Recipes

Inspired by Summer and Michelle, I decided to make my own apple crisp. I have never made it before, because I generally don't like fruit in my desserts. However, after trying Summer's recipe I decided I am in love with it, and have since made it two other times this week.

I also want to thank all of you who were so helpful with my plea for help about cooking for two. I have actually tried several of your tips and I am proud to announce that my refrigerator is pretty much left-over free.

Also, earlier this summer I was able to meet Michelle in real-life. We had a hurried lunch date, because it was only days before my wedding and I was also still working full-time. We had such a good time, and I wished after that I could meet all of you. I used to think that it was weird to have "internet friends" but now I just think it is fantastic.

Happy Weekend.

(p.s. I found a lot of other great fall recipes in the October issue of Sweet Paul Magazine.)