Love Cake





Julie (SIL) and Kevin (future BIL... confusing I know) have a long love story. They met over three years ago as freshmen, where they did freshman things and fell in love. Julie told me that she would often come home from school and find a cake pan and a whisk on her bed with a note that read, "Come over. Let's bake." They had a particular carrot cake that they both loved, and would make from scratch.

Kevin got called on a mission to Colorado, and Julie waited around for him for 2 years. That doesn't mean she didn't date anyone else. It just meant that she still loved him, that she knew things could work out, that she didn't find anyone else better suited for her.

While he was gone, she still made the cake. For his birthday she sent it to him in the mail. A whole cake. And when he came home from those long two years, they made it again.

Of course I had to ask him if he would be willing to make it for her shower. He agreed, but had surgery on his hand two days before. He insisted on coming anyway, pain meds, sling and all.

He made the cake with so much love. Even with one hand, he tried to do as much as he could do. He was happy the entire time, so happy because he knew it would make her happy. And she was.

It's a love cake.




I don't necessarily believe in pre-destination. That things are decided for us, and that we have no say in the matter. But I do believe that God gave us individual talents, and that they in a way, show us what He wants us to do here on earth.

If you have a beautiful voice, I believe that God intended for you to sing.

If you are 7' tall, I believe that God intended for you to play for the NBA, or at least reach the things on the top shelf of the grocery store for old women.

If you love to cook but don't know how, I believe that God intends for you to learn so you can do what you love, because when you are doing what you love, you will be happier.

And I believe that God wants us to be happy.

I don't know everything, and maybe I never will, but I do know that every single one of us experiences certain things because they show us what we are good at, what we should do -but mostly what we can do. I heard it said once that life is about finding your medium. And I am realizing lately that my medium is writing, and I am going to do that because I think I was born a bookworm and a word lover and harbor a passion for poetry because God intended for me to write.

(and so write, I shall.)

photo via


Engagement Haiku


Your knelt, knee in the
cold, and with only stars who
watched us, I spoke yes.

(A year and 10 days ago. No regrets at all.)


Julie's Shower








My sister-in-law Julie (who is really more like a sister than a sister-in-law) is getting married in a month, and I had the privilege of throwing her bridal shower. It was simple, but wonderful to spend time with family and friends.

Sometimes I think that I would rather have one friend like Julie who would do anything for me than a million friends who are fun and nice. She is a special person, and I feel so lucky to be in her family now. People say that you don't lose a daughter, you gain a son-in-law, you don't lose a sister you gain a brother-in-law, but I think my whole family feels like they gained a sister/daughter too. We love you Julie.



Kristin Brown Wedding Photography from Kristin Brown on Vimeo.

Here is the video made from our mock engagements awhile ago. It was fun to work with Kristin. She really is as nice and genuine as she seems.


Pillows+ Lights

I'm teaming up with CSN's allmodern.com next month for a review, and am giddy about two things in particular: their impressive display of pillows, and the pendant lighting. Our condo has great structure, but the lighting is awful, and I just don't think you can get too many pillows.(CSN's allmodern.com has an amazing selection.)

Here are some of my inspiration for choosing pillows and lights, because without both the room is not complete.





I have so many home inspiration photos my computer is starting to slow down. But little by little my condo is coming together. I am excited to show you soon!

(p.s. if you are interested at sponsoring a review email me at mandy(.)madson(@)gmail(.)com.)


Arnold Sports Expo




Just a few pictures from our weekend in Columbus. It was my very first business trip (certainly not my last!) and it was so nice to have Kevin come along with me. I felt more calm and confident knowing he was there, and being able to go to our hotel room and relax together after the trade show made me so happy.

We made a lot of new friends. Chanel Jones (top) and Carmen Electra (middle). Okay, more like making friends with Chanel and taking a picture with Carmen but still.

I was definitely the whitest and flattest (ahem) person at the show, and Kevin begged me after to not get into spray tanning and lifting weights. I told him I would see what I could do :) Those fitness trade shows bring out all sorts.


Making Me Happy

Pink owl on one of my favorite books.
How could you not smile when you see that owl?


Alice the Camel Teapot. Kevin was not expecting it when I told him I bought the cutest camel ever, but we both love Alice now.

Crepes for dinner. We make them about once every few weeks, and usually make enough for ten people. Add a little cinnamon and 1/4 c. brown sugar 1/4 c. white sugar to your crepes and make them the ultimate. (Thanks Jared!) Crepe party anyone?


And lastly, something came for me at 8:00 this morning in a big brown box.

It felt like Christmas morning when I opened it up. It rhymes with most and starts with a g. Oh and its a chair.



I just finished my first book on cd: Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson. I have a twenty minute commute to work, which means almost an hour of my day is spent driving. After everyone I knew got tired of me calling them during those two spaces in time, I went to my library and checked out Gilead. And I am so happy I did.

The whole book is a letter, written from a father to his first and only son. The father is 76, the boy is 6 and the father is dying, afraid that his son will never understand what his life was, and how much he loved him.

Driving on the freeway, sometimes beautiful, sometimes dark, sometimes pouring rain, I was taken to a different world where the love of a father was so evident that I missed my exit more than once, entranced by the beauty of the young son's existence.

Even though all of it was beautiful, this line has been running through my mind ever since because I think if someone asked me the definition of love, I would have to tell them this:

"I can tell you this, that if I'd married some rosy dame and she had given me ten children and they had each given me ten grandchildren, I'd leave them all, on Christmas Eve, on the coldest night of the world, and walk a thousand miles just for the sight of your face."

Gilead was pure loveliness.


Birthday Boy

Last year on his birthday, he gave me a ring, and I said yes.

I could go on and on about how perfect Kevin is for me and how happy he makes me, but to spare you all the gush that happens a little too frequently on my blog, I will just sum it up by saying that I love Kevin so much I married him.

Happy Birthday Sweets.


St. Pat's



Growing up my dad told us to each pick a holiday and make it ours. He would provide the necessary budget, but we were in charge of making that day great. My dad chose Winter Solstice - fostering the tradition of a fire, s'mores, and howling at the moon. (?) My mom chose Halloween and Lacey chose Cinco de Mayo - complete with a piƱata and guacamole, Missy and I jumped back and forth between holidays, never really choosing one in particular (so lame) but Jessica, took St. Patrick's Day by the horns and made it one of the best days of the year.

Every St. Patty's we woke up to nasty green pancakes and green eggs and limeade. She scattered green footprints around the house and took us on a treasure hunt. She made pinching an art - and wearing green underwear or green socks didn't count. She told Leprechaun jokes all day. Most of them were lame, but some were funny (i.e: What do you call a diseased Irish criminal? --A leper con.)

I never really cared about St. Patrick's day, but I always cared about Jess, and today she is in Jerusalem. Doing things like herding sheep? But mostly studying and touring. She went to Egypt and Jordan and now she is in Galilee. Just thinking about her makes my heart hurt and my eyes fill with tears, but in the spirit of being happy on her holiday, let me just say that missing her while she is happy is so much better than missing her while she's sad.

Oh, and Jess? St. Pat's sucks without you.


Things I don't want to forget

Being woken up this weekend in Anaheim by what I thought was someone pounding on my door. Rolling out of bed, and going to my 19th story balcony to see Disneyland fireworks, exploding right above my head.

Callie (9 year old sister) and I playing "Heart and Soul" as loud as we can, and me hugging her afterwards and telling her she is a regular Madson sister and her sweet laugh and eager-to-please grin.

Kevin telling me he had a surprise for me and bringing in the latest Elle Decor and Cadbury Eggs while I was sitting on our bed. He made it such an event. I never want to forget that.

Seeing Laura in Anaheim, and feeling that familiar feeling when you see an old friend and remember why you were friends to begin with, and acting like your time apart didn't exist, really.

Reading this poem for the first time, (Thanks Priscila!) and repeating these words over and over in my head,

"and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive."

Listening to Ryan Adams "In My Time of Need" and missing Kevin so much on the plane. That has got to be one of the most emotional, beautiful songs I have ever heard or will ever hear.

My little brother Taylor saving his pennies to buy an iPad. As silly and unnecessary as it is for an 11 year old, I am ecstatic for him. His happiness is more than I can bear.

Such small things, but by writing them I feel like I imprint them into some small place in this world, in the cyber - in the void. But that still gives them a place and makes all of this happiness and beauty and love more real. Containable.




Love is everywhere these days.
It is in hugging Kevin like I haven't seen him in years after getting back from a business trip, and almost crying when he carries my heavy suitcase into our apartment at 1:00 am.
It is him telling me he couldn't sleep while I was gone because he worried about me.
It is him holding back my hair as I threw up all day yesterday. (True story.)
It is in my cousin calling just to tell me he proposed last week and he can't believe how perfect she is for him.
It is my mom calling to say that Callie went skiing for her first time and did great!
It is in me picturing teaching my future kids to ski - watching their feet snowplow down the slopes, and then taking off my gloves on the lift to blow on their cold hands.
It is getting a letter from Ashley begging me to send her poetry, because she misses it so much.
It is my sister-in-law telling me that her wedding is less than a month away, and she loves him more than ever.
It is getting Maddi's announcement in the mail and feeling almost tingly as I look at her picture because they look so happy and will be so happy together.
It is realizing that Kevin's birthday is in a couple of days and remembering that he proposed on it last year and I didn't think I could love him anymore than I did then, but now that is so silly because I love him so much more than that.
It is so crazy.
Love is everywhere.


Bach Finale

Last season I was certain Tenley was going to win, so when Vienna did I almost cried. Vienna? Over Tenley? (who after Bachelor Pad I actually found annoying.)

This season though, I really like both girls. I have been rooting for the two of them all along, and a couple of times thought that Chantal was going to be kicked off but am so happy she made it this far.

Personally, I am pretty sure that Emily is going to win unless she decides to back out and say that Ricky isn't ready for a dad yet. Otherwise I am about 80% positive Brad will pick her. Chantal is darling, but struggles with fashion sense and doubts their relationship a lot, while Emily totally strokes Brad's ego.

I heard rumors that Ashley was the next Bachelorette which would be a shame. She has a mom haircut and is a dental student. NOT a dentist yet like they claim. I would be happy with either Chantal or Emily as the Bachelorette, but might be sick if they pick Ash.

So what do you think? Chantal or Emily as the winner? (And who would you want as the next Bachelorette?)


My Last 2 Weeks

I know I have been a lame blogger lately. 8 flights in two weekends does that. Here is a glimpse of my past couple weeks. Last business trip! I will return to normal on Monday.

Slot machines in the Vegas airport. Even the airport feels gross...


Feeling like a 10 year old with all of my sparkles. What was I thinking?


Saving my Elle Decor all week so I could look forward to the plane ride. Elle Decor and Ginger Ale make everything better.


Best event of the travels so far. Kyle spilling is $8.00 shake all over the floor (after waiting for 45 minutes for it) and Weston telling the janitor, "Excuse me sir, I think my friend needs some assistance." (Btw- Kyle is single ladies. Let me know if you want to be set up. I promise you will not have a more enjoyable time.)


As fun as traveling is, I cannot wait to be home a whole weekend.

Loveliest of Trees


Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

- A.E Housman



Such a good morning. Sleeping in a little late, and wearing my new kicks.

Eating my new favorite cereal: Blueberry Muffin Tops (omygoshtheyaresogood).

Admiring my new tacky/classy pillows that are oh so soft.

Realizing that Aesthetic Image is the Groupon. $19 for a Brazilian? I am buying ten, and giving them out as shower gifts. And... maybe saving a few for myself.

Best morning ever.



Here is a little glimpse of my crazy weekend.... Yes that is Carmen Electra.

More to come soon!



"I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it."
- Picasso

I am beginning to feel so overwhelmed. Two business trips in two weeks, teaching on top of that, zero sleep and loads of pressure. Picasso is inspiring me today.


On Becoming a Poet


Someone asked me when I started writing poems.

Growing up in the summers my mom would make us "charts." We did them everyday of the summer, and got paid $2 per day, totaling $10 a week. Everyday there were constants: Practice the piano, practice the violin, read 40 minutes, play a game with your sisters, ride around the block three times." And then everyday there was a bonus job. Sometimes they were crazy things like, "Drink 6 glasses of water," which, to a 10 year old meant waiting until 10:00 pm, sitting down with the smallest cup, and drinking until you felt sick. Sometimes it said, "Ask mom for a chore," or "Learn 10 new facts." But my favorites, the bonuses - were ones that said, "Write a poem about rainbows." "Write a story about a girl who lost her dog." "Write a poem about fireflies."

Those prompts were the most delicious part of my day. I would brainstorm all day about the colors of the rainbow and approach my mom with questions like, "What rhymes with Indigo?" (RIP Indigo) or, "Is there a length requirement?" Summer charts showed me that making words fit together so nice and neat was my way of organizing. Organizing my thoughts, my energy, my imagination into this little set of words that told a story, or stimulated images or made you happy.

In school there is always a sort of competition that goes along with writing poetry. Whose is longest? Or, whose rhymes best? But I feel like poetry was never given the proper attention it deserved at school. What was left out (at least of my curriculum) was that poetry was supposed to make you feel something. Anger, bliss, melancholy. Anything.

I am not a professional poet, and maybe I never will be. But you have to start somewhere. And I started on fresh summer mornings, while I rode my bike around the block, or played scales on the piano, or ran through the sprinklers. In that dry, summer heat I thought about yellow, orange, indigo... and what would come next. And those thoughts never really stopped.

And that, my friends is how a poet is born.
(or at least a poet hopeful.)

photo via

Ballet Wedding


Yesterday I took my mom to get a pedicure for her birthday (her first! crazy) and picked up the latest issue of Martha Stewart Weddings. I thought their Ballet-Inspired Bridal party was one of the most inspiring, beautiful wedding fashion that I have ever seen. Full of pink and white ruffles, sequins and ballerina buns.

Sometimes I think about my dream job and it usually consists of a designer or author, but days like today make me want to drop everything and beg Martha Stewart to hire me to style photo shoots like this one.