Coffee Talk: October


I love Amber Thomas’ and Rachel Dawson’s monthly coffee dates, so I thought it might be fun if I joined in (a little belatedly). I think the structure is really fun, and I’m interested to play with it and see what happens.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d probably be late. Because honestly, I’m almost always late. I don’t have a great sense of time and I tend to try to do “just one thing” before I head out the door and then inevitably, I’m late. I’m trying to do better, but if I’m honest I’ve had an especially hard time getting out the door the past few months.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d apologize profusely for being late, and order my drink. A plain iced latte if we’re at Starbucks, but if we were at Minuti (a local Italian-inspired coffee chain that I LOVE) I’d get an iced chai. It’s creamy and cinnamon-y and not too sweet, which is perfect. But always iced, because it’s not quite chilly enough in Houston to drink something hot.

If we were on a coffee date, we’d have a lot of catching up to do. It’s been quiet around here on the blog, partially because I’ve been in a writing slump, and partially because I’ve been unsure what to do with this space. I’ve really struggled to find a focus, so for now I’ve decided to do more personal writing, since those are always my favorite blog posts to read. We’ll see where this goes!

If we were on a coffee date, I’d confess that I’m disappointed our Halloween plans fell through. I’m planning on wearing my costume next year, but it was just so good that I’m really disappointed that I can’t wear it this year. I’m planning on making peanut butter balls and eating them on the couch while we watch a movie instead. Reese’s is the only candy I’ve really missed since I’ve started eating low carb, so I’m excited to try making sugar-free peanut butter balls. Fingers crossed they turn out!

If we were on a coffee date, I’d remember that I started my low carb diet almost a year ago. And since then I’ve lost 46 pounds (so 55 pounds total since April 2015). I’m feeling pretty dang proud of myself! I’d probably also advise against a major dietary change the week of Halloween. Speaking from experience, it’s just not a good idea. 😉

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask what your holiday plans are. Christmas is my very favorite holiday, so I love hearing about other people’s fun family traditions and disaster stories that are retold so many times they become legendary. My first Thanksgiving with Teddy’s family was a group Thanksgiving dinner with some people from their church who we’d never met. When we realized we were the first Huizingas to arrive, we were so petrified of knocking on a total stranger’s door that we parked down the street and hid in our car until Teddy’s parents came. Even after we were inside the conversations with the church group were SO awkward and the boxed-mix mashed potatoes were SO bad we decided next time we’d ask to have a family-only Thanksgiving. Teddy and I still laugh at that awkward first Thanksgiving as a married couple.

What about you guys? Can you even believe it’s already October?? Do you have any fun holiday traditions you’re looking forward to?

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Hope and a Future


I wrote this post a few weeks ago, but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to post it. I think I worried that it was “too late” since everyone had stopped talking about the crises in the news. But I wanted to post this for the next time the world seems scary and dark and overwhelming.


The last few weeks have been full of bad news. I probably don’t even need to list them all out, because between the unjustified deaths at traffic stops and clubs, police shootings, the Bastille Day attack, the execution of a priest, and the coup, it seems like it’s all anyone can talk about. My head has been spinning, and I’m not sure these jumbled thoughts will make much sense, but they’re the best I have right now.

“Has anyone tried turning the Earth off and back on again? It’s broken.”

“This is it, guys, this is the end.”

“Giant Meteor 2016 — Just end it already.”

My social media feeds are full of panicky half-jokes about how this is it, this is how it’s all going to end. It feeds into my anxiety, and soon I’m wondering, “Is this really it? Are things really getting worse than they’ve ever been?”

But then I remember the aftermath of 9/11 in 2001, and the panic that swept through the country. I read about plane hijackings in the 70’s and 80’s, and think about all the crises that have happened throughout history — WWI and WWII, the Crusades, the Black Death, widespread colonization, the growth of cruel empires. I think history kind of ebbs and flows — there will be a lull for a decade or two, and then there seems to be a few years when horrible events fall like dominoes. I’m trying to keep some perspective so I don’t become so afraid that I hide in bed all day.

I don’t think that turning into doomsday preppers and hiding from the disasters all around us is the right answer. First of all, that’s not an option for many people in other places around the world, so it’s totally unfair to expect that for ourselves. Instead I think we need to reach out to those who are suffering — the widows and orphans, the disenfranchised and homeless. There are so many hard conversations to have about policy changes, and instead of using arguments as battering rams, it might be a good time to pull out the empathy and use it.

Jeremiah 29:11 has been running through my mind constantly lately: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” That verse was written to the Israelites after they were exiled to Babylon  — Jeremiah 29 is full of dire warnings to false prophets and hard-hearted kings, but this verse is a glimmer of hope in the midst of hard news. I know a lot of people would say I’m stupid for believing that God has a plan that will bring about good through horrible events, but I have to believe it. Scripture is full of unlikely people being chosen to save the Israelites, and I know he’s still working, even if it’s hard to see in the moment. It makes me think of Mr. Rogers’ quote about the helpers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

Update: I heard about Khaled Omar Harrah’s death yesterday, and he and the other White Helmets are amazing examples of helpers. I can’t even begin to compare to their selflessness and bravery, but I can keep listening, learning, looking for ways to help, and praying for peace. But I’m holding onto hope too. Even though sometimes it seems totally impossible and it’s so easy to wonder “Is this it?” it’s all I really can do.

Hoping you’re safe and well, and praying for peace and grace for all those affected.

XO Tabitha

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Favorite Places: Cornelius Nursery

Flower store
Just look at these beauties!

Lately my favorite place to be on a Saturday morning is the Cornelius Nursery near my apartment. Teddy and I drive to our favorite coffee shop and get our drinks to go — an (iced!) chai latte for me, an (iced!) caramel macchiato for him. The ice is very important, even if I always forget to specify and almost order a hot chai latte every time.

all the succulents!
All the succulents!

Then we drive back toward our apartment, but turn right as if we’re going to my office. But luckily we turn into the nursery parking lot instead.

It’s hot and humid (hello Texas!). My cup is sweating in my hand, I’m sweating, the people stocking fertilizer and potting soil are sweating. But every now and then you’ll pass an enormous fan and close your eyes, lingering in the breeze. Until the lady with a cart full of 20 identical plants needs to  pass you. (I don’t know why you would need 20 identical plants but there’s always someone.)

I found Neville's mimbulus mimbletonia
I found Neville’s mimbulus mimbletonia

But the best part is getting lost. We walk up and down the aisles, point at new plants we’ve never seen before, read labels to see if a plant will survive in our apartment. We talk about the plants we’ll have when we have a yard and more room to plant things — Teddy likes jungle plants, bonsai trees, and Japanese maples. I like roses and bougainvillea and anything that looks like it’d grow around a British cottage. Our yard will definitely not be boring!


The other best part about the garden store is how it almost seems magical — like a small jungle full of plants that come from all over the world, in the middle of Houston. Once we saw a kitten weaving through the rose bushes like he’d done it a hundred times.


We keep walking around until we decide we’re too hot. We pay for any new plants we’ve picked up, hoping we’ll be able to keep them alive this time. After the 5 minute drive home we collapse on the couch and soak up all the air conditioning. And maybe take a nap.

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Lately – June 2016

candy cane rose


Hiya friends! It’s been quiet around here. I’m trying to learn to embrace the ebbs and flows instead of fighting it. There are so many blogging rules, but since I don’t run a business blog I’m trying not to get too bogged down by rules that don’t apply to me.

Since it’s been quiet, I thought I’d give y’all a little life update. Lately I…

  • Am TIRED. Seriously beyond tired. Last week we flew out for Teddy’s family reunion, this weekend we helped Teddy’s sister move… I am just totally worn out. Everyone talks about how relaxing summer is and I have no idea what they’re talking about. Summers are always the least relaxing time of year for me. Is there a summer secret I’m missing out on?
  • Have been getting past some crippling creative self-doubt. I’ve always been pretty self-confident (for the most part) but somehow last September all my self-confidence seemed to evaporate into thin air. It’s been a long 9 months, but I think I’m slooowly feeling more like my old self. I’m not all the way there yet, but I’m getting there.
  • Have eaten ALL THE CARBS. I’ve been eating low carb since last November, (with some breaks for holidays and emergencies — i.e. pizza cravings) but since we were so busy this weekend we decided to ignore carbs temporarily. I had french fries, pizza, and a pancake AND a slice of french toast at breakfast. It was great, but I’m all carbed-out now, so I’m secretly excited to go back to eating low carb.
  • Ironically since I’ve had so much creative self-doubt and eaten my weight in carbs, I’ve been feeling really comfortable in my skin lately. I’ve still got a ways to go to reach my goal weight, but I’m feeling really good. I’m loving it!
  • Am wishing for a puppy. Teddy and I both love dogs, and were hoping to adopt an adult dog for our first dog together. Until I started seeing puppies everywhere! They’re so cute, I’m tempted to get a puppy instead! I’m really torn. But since Teddy and I share a car and work for 8-10 hours a day, it just doesn’t seem fair to get a dog right now. Someday!
  • Am wearing this tank top non-stop. I love sleeveless shirts that are office appropriate (as long as you wear a sweater) and comfortable enough to wear outside on hot Texas weekends. So far I have one in black and pink, and I’m thinking about getting one in navy blue next.
  • Am craving a short, relaxing weekend trip, just Teddy and me. It probably won’t happen until September or October, but I’m already daydreaming about a quick getaway without any plans or obligations. Heaven!
  • Am excited for a three-day Fourth of July weekend. Last year I spent the the Fourth alone in the airport, so I’m THRILLED to be in town for my first Fourth of July in Texas. I am slightly nervous that our neighbors will take the Texas “go big or go home” mentality a little too seriously though. 😉

What about you? Are you having a relaxing summer? (Please give me all your secrets!) Do you have fun plans for the Fourth?

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Looking Forward To — Summer + Ice Cream Sandwiches


1 / 2 / 3 / 4

It’s already starting to feel like summer in Houston, and while I already miss the spring weather, I’m really looking forward to pooltime, summer thunderstorms, and ice cream! This is the first summer I’ve had an ice cream maker, so I’m SUPER EXCITED about eating homemade ice cream on the porch after dinner. I’ve especially been craving ice cream sandwiches lately, so here’s a round-up of all the recipes I’ve got my eye on:

I’ve been obsessed with chai lately, so chai ginger ice cream sandwiches sound amazing! Is it bad that I’m thinking about making them not vegan?

Just look at all these fancy ice cream sandwiches!

I bought Yossy Arefi’s Sweeter off the Vine a month ago, and I can’t wait to try these strawberry ice cream sandwiches with cocoa nib poppy seed cookies!

Would it be weird to eat gingersnap eggnog ice cream sandwiches in July? I can’t decide.

My grandma always made cracker cookies, so I’d bet money that these saltine crack ice cream sandwiches are to die for!

A couple weeks ago I wrote about how excited I am for peach season, so these peach gingersnap ice cream sandwiches sound perfect.

Have you made an ice cream sandwich with semifreddo before? It sounds really interesting…

This isn’t an ice cream sandwich, but I can’t get over Joy’s cream cheese red velvet ice cream. It sounds so over the top and amazing!

What about you? Do you have any summer food cravings?

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How to Survive an Out-of-Town Wedding Weekend


Since I’ve moved to Texas, I’ve flown back to the east coast for 3 friends’ weddings. I LOVE weddings, but between the long security lines, waiting for connecting flights, and getting the rental car (the bane of my existence), those wedding weekends can really take it out of you! Here are some tricks I’ve picked up along the way that I’m definitely going to use for the next out-of-town wedding. I thought since it’s wedding season, maybe they’d be helpful for you guys too!

  • Buy a pack of water bottles on the way to the hotel. This might sound weird, but it’s really easy to get dehydrated while you’re running around all weekend, which will make you even more exhausted. We try to get a 24-pack for the two of us and we’ve always used them up by the time we check out on Sunday.
  • Pick a hotel close to the action. This might seem like a “No duh” point, but we made this mistake TWICE when we went to weddings in Chattanooga. A 5-minute drive to the hotel from the reception is much nicer than a 45-minute drive. Also it’ll be more convenient if you’re close to friends who live in town or are visiting for the wedding.
  • Pack light. I tend to overpack because I want to be prepared for totally ridiculous scenarios anything. But I’ve discovered that packing my wedding outfit + a comfy travel outfit + a cute outfit, with one or two extra shirts or sweaters gives me plenty of options without weighing down the suitcase. Also I try to wear one pair of comfortable shoes and pack the nice wedding shoes, because those are the only ones I’ll actually wear.
  • Bring melatonin and/ or anything that helps you sleep. You need all the sleep you can get while you’re traveling, but it can be hard to fall asleep in a strange hotel room. So download a white noise app on your phone and bring that embarrassing t-shirt or stuffed animal that always helps you sleep better. No judgement! Also don’t make the same mistakes we made and forget melatonin! We get a slow release pill that helps us stay asleep and *usually* doesn’t give us crazy dreams. 
  • Hand sanitizer! We’ve all been in a gross airport or gas station bathroom. After one particularly gross gas station that didn’t sell soap or hand sanitizer, I always keep a mini bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse, and it’s a total lifesaver.
  • Emergency kit: Your emergency kit might look different than mine, but I always have Excedrin for migraines, Aleve or Tylenol for minor headaches or pain, chapstick, bandaids, pads, hair ties, and bobby pins.
  • Bring something fun for the airport. You never know how long you’ll be waiting for your flight, so I try to pick up a magazine in the  airport so I have something new to read. I look forward to it before it every flight.

Do you have any travel essentials I missed? How do you cope with whirlwind travel days?

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Looking forward to — Summer + Peaches

peach season
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I never liked peaches growing up. I would eat them in a peach cobbler, but I secretly cared more about the topping and the vanilla ice cream than the peaches. But now I can’t get enough of them. Isn’t it weird what you don’t like as a kid, and then fall in love with when you’re older?

Since I’m new to the peach dessert world, here are some recipes that sound perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon:

  • There are a lot of “best” recipes out there, but since the peach pie from A Couple Cooks is a family favorite and won a prize at the county fair, it really must be the best peach pie.
  • I’ve never had peach butter before, but it sounds amazing! (Also, how is peach butter not everywhere in Georgia? I went to college there for four years and never heard of it until I found it in the Smitten Kitchen archives!)
  • Deb from Smitten Kitchen loves peaches, and I’m hoping that these Almond-crisped peaches count as breakfast. Leftover fruit crisp is one of my favorite breakfasts!
  • Hummingbird High’s Blackberry peach pie combines two of my favorite fruits in one pie, so obviously I have to make it. I’m pretty sure there’s a rule written about it somewhere.
  • I’ve never been big on banana splits (I don’t know what’s wrong with me either), so these grilled peach splits from Smitten Kitchen sound like they’re more my speed. I bet they’d be amazing at a summer barbecue!

Do you have any favorite peach recipes? I’d love to hear about them!

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Flower arrangement

Hey guys! It’s been a while! What started out as a break after my gallbladder surgery ended up stretched waaaay past that. I had been feeling frustrated about my blog/ blogs in general, so I think I needed a break to clear my head.

Since we haven’t talked in awhile, I thought it’d be fun to update you on what I’ve been up to. Lately I’ve…

  • Gone to two weddings. One for my college roommate, and one for Teddy’s high school friend. Both were really fun, but man, those wedding weekends take it out of ya! We had to wake up at 3 am on Sunday to make our flight home, and I’m still recovering.
  • Had my gallbladder removed. And I feel sooo much better! I’m getting more sleep (you know, when I don’t have a 5 am flight) and it honestly makes such a huge difference! I can also eat normally again, without having to worry about my gallbladder throwing a temper tantrum because I ate cheese.
  • Fallen in love with making my own flower arrangements. I haven’t had the best luck with keeping a plant alive, but I’ve been getting better at keeping cut flowers looking fresh for as long as possible. Progress?
  • Worn my favorite jeans non-stop on the weekends. I fit into them again (!!!) and summer’s coming fast, so I’m wearing them before it gets too hot to wear anything but shorts.
  • Speaking of summer, I’m planning on stocking up on these muscle tanks. I love that I can wear them with a sweater for work and by themselves on the weekends. Plus, I’ve been trying to learn more about ethical clothing, so I like that they’re made ethically in the US. (Without the huge price tag that usually goes with ethical clothing!)
  • Snuggled with my doofus cat on the couch every night. Since our last trip she’s decided that 4 am is breakfast time, so I’m hoping her inner clock will go back to normal soon.
  • Been drinking lots of coffee. I’d cut waaaay back on it, but lately that’s gone out the window. Ooops!
  • Brainstormed 16 blog post ideas on the plane! I always thought I was a night owl, but I’ve noticed that I tend to be most productive in the mornings. Who am I?
  • Been daydreaming about summer. I’m ready for swimming and drinks on the back porch and our second anniversary!

What have you guys been up to lately? I’d love to hear!

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On Stepping Back

via Death to Stock Photo
via Death to Stock Photo

You know those movie montages* where the girl breaks up with her boyfriend** and starts reinventing herself? Going dancing, taking classes, visiting new places, making new friends? That’s how I feel after (finally) making the decision to take a break from writing fiction.

Since my writing break started, I’ve noticed how much more mental energy I have every day. I’ve started paying attention to interests I had been ignoring for a long time. I’ve been journaling regularly and started doing yoga this week. I’m reading a biography I got for my birthday and remembered how much I LOVED reading biographies as a kid. My stress and anxiety levels have gone way down. I don’t feel *as* guilty about not writing as I used to. I feel so much lighter and freer than I did before.

Stepping back from writing is still scary sometimes, especially because it seems like EVERYONE on the internet tells you to never give up, to always keep pushing, to never give up on your dreams. Well, honestly I was pushing myself into a brick wall repeatedly, and that shit is EXHAUSTING. So even though I sometimes wonder “What am I doing, I have no idea!” I know it’s really the best option for me right now. (Shout out to Meg Kissack from That Hummingbird Life for a super uplifting conversation on Twitter that helped reinforce that this decision was the right one for me!)

I realize it’s a little ironic to write about not writing, but I think reevaluating your dreams and seeing if they’re really working for you is important, and isn’t discussed enough online. So if you feel like you’ve been hitting the same obstacle over and over again, maybe it’s time to step back. You can always come back to it whenever you’re ready.


*Is there a movie where this happens? I feel like I’ve seen it before, but the name is totally escaping me right now…

**All breakups mentioned in this post are metaphorical. Teddy and I are still doing great, in case you were wondering.

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What Leslie Knope and I have in Common

Ummm, it’s not the hat.

Do you ever try to match yourself or people you know to your favorite characters on TV? Teddy and I do it all the time, but I think our closest “matches” are Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt. This is me:

Ben Leslie2











And this is Teddy:

ben gif2 ben gif3








If I didn’t know better, I’d think the writers had eavesdropped on actual conversations we’ve had.


I’d never watched Parks & Rec consistently until last fall, when Teddy and I binge-watched seasons 1-6. (I still haven’t watched the last season because last seasons make me sad. If I haven’t watched it, it’s not over, right?)


At the time, I was feeling pretty crummy about myself. I had finished the rough draft for a novel, but I had no idea where to go from there, and I had the sinking feeling that it might be fatally flawed. I was left without a project. So I guiltily watched too much Parks & Rec, and then I noticed something. Leslie and I are a lot alike when it comes to work.


Leslie loves working. All she does is work work work — on vacations, on her days off, when she’s sick. Always working. When she can’t work, she makes up new subcommittees and community projects and runs them all herself. If Leslie doesn’t have a government project to do, she spirals into a lovable, super caffeinated tornado.


I do the same thing when it comes to my creative projects. Even if I’m not directly working on them, I’m thinking about them. I love projects, and I always want to be working on (at least) one. And if I don’t have a project, I get stressed and irritable. (Sorry, Teddy!) I’d love to be working on a creative project right now, I just can’t swing it. It’s felt like I’ve been running into one brick wall after another. I was thinking about it recently and I realized that in the past year I:


  1. was diagnosed with PCOS
  2. made drastic lifestyle changes
  3. lost 45 pounds (woohoo!)
  4. had to change my birth control because it wasn’t doing its job (not in a pregnancy scare way, but in a “my period started a week early AGAIN?!” way).
  5. had gallbladder problems which means I’m getting my gallbladder out in April


That’s a looooot to handle. And I realized recently that writing a novel sounds totally exhausting and not fun right now. The thought of seeking publication/ marketing sounds like self-imposed torture. (Just like Leslie, I have the tendency to be a *smidge* hyperbolic.) I just do not have the creative energy to pursue that at this stage of my life.


It’s honestly terrifying to type out those words. I know there are lots of people who might be rolling their eyes at this post and saying, “Really? That’s what’s stopping her? She just couldn’t cut it, I guess.” I also didn’t want to admit to myself that writing wasn’t working for me. Haven’t I wanted to be an author since I was 12? I’ve literally been working toward this dream for over a decade. Does this mean I’m a failure, or worse, that I’m giving up on my dream? What do I do now?


I don’t know the answer to the last question, but for right now I’m trying to show myself grace. I’m still writing down random story ideas and journaling. I’m trying to read about other interests/ think of new things I’d like to try. And Teddy has told me 1500 times that even if I stop writing now, I can always come back to it. I’m *finally* starting to sort of believe him.


I keep thinking about the recall vote that kicked Leslie off of city council. That setback didn’t stop Leslie Knope, and this won’t stop me either.


Note: If you are working on a novel or other big project, this post is NOT intended to discourage you! This post is talking about how writing isn’t working for me right now. I’ll be the first to cheer you on from the sidelines! Go get ‘em, tiger!

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