Welcome! Young Alumni is a blog about my wanderings and explorations in the passage between college and career. It's about learning to live simply and purposefully in the real world, and I'm glad to share it with you.


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Sierra's bookshelf: 2013

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i never sink when you are with me

One night, back when Danny was still living in Gainesville and regularly making the 4-hour trek down to visit me, we devised a mission to find some really good pizza. We looked up a few places and found one we thought we'd have dinner at before heading to the movies that night.

On the way over I remember thinking that I'd never seen a restaurant where the map was sending us, but the reviews sounded tempting and it was really close to the theater so I silently willed it to exist. As it turns out it did exist...as a delivery only shop with absolutely no tables, let alone enough room to swing around and mash a box of pizza out the door. 

I was at a loss for what to do; between the limited time we had before the movie and my own ravenous desire to put away several giant slices I grappled for a solution. While I racked my brain for nearby restaurants Danny ordered an extra-large mushroom and spinach pizza with wings, took my hand and headed across the parking lot towards my old Grand Cherokee.  A few boosts and a little balance later we were having a full on picnic on the roof of my car.  

It was our own little table for two, complete with ambient street lamp lighting, great conversation and open-air views. It’s one of my favorite dates and best memories from the beginning of our relationship, and it’s a true testament to Danny’s ability to make the best of any situation.

I found these photos when I was sorting through folders on my old computer and couldn’t believe how simultaneously close and far that time felt from where I now sit. Sometimes I think relationships don’t travel in a linear path, but that they instead loop around through time and space, expanding and diffusing in several coats over our own memories and history. 

That night on the roof of my car we were so new, so gingerly wound and loosely assembled. Today, Danny, you are richly threaded into my history, and for that I consider myself very lucky.

Happy Birthday, I’m so glad that you exist.  


independence day cake

Last 4th of July I made this cake for a lakefront barbeque with some longtime family friends. We got together on a great stretch of lawn behind our neighbor's house in Indiana to talk and play games and celebrate the life we are afforded in this beautiful country. We passed around plates of food and glasses of sangria, tossed bean bags and took walks down around the water. At 9:30 when twilight finally dwindled down to dusk, fireflies emerged - floating across the hot summer night sky, and we drifted out towards the waterfront to watch the early fireworks.

The cake is light and simple and fresh, and a great way to celebrate a long American summer.

Update: My world has been flooded by a series of unexpected adventures in the past month. Puerto Rico was beautiful and challenging, a casual lunch meet up turned into a new fulltime job, I watched one of my childhood friends say ‘I do’ in San Francisco, and now here I am at the end of a cross-country road trip sitting in the North Webster library in town, clinging to wi-fi and the outside world. I have so much to share it’s overwhelming and I hardly know where to begin. 

I’ve needed this time to be present and experience all of these new moments introspectively, but Young Alumni pulls at the back of my mind and I know I need to come back to it to feel like my thoughts are complete. Thank you, to those who still come to this place.  I look forward to finding a rhythm in a new schedule and coming back with stories about travel, food, family and love. Happy Independence Day! 


destination: puerto rico!

Away we go!  I am so excited to be heading south for a getaway with three friends I've been close with since we were just 12-years-old. How we've managed not to ever plan a girls trip in the past fourteen years is beyond me, but better late than never right? Do you have a favorite destination for a girls or guys trip? Any recommendations for future excustions?

I'll be back with photos and a travel guide soon!


young alumni DIY: baby bear blocks

felt lowercase stickers // baby bows // gorilla wood glue // needle & thread // wooden craft blocks

Having a new baby in the family has been such an exciting experience, especially looking at it in my twenties. The last time we were passing a baby around was when my cousin Shawna was born, and she’s about to graduate from high school.  I was also only eight when she was born, and therefore lacked certain maternal instincts as well as crafting dexterity. 

This time around I have been able to concentrate on the gravity of parenthood, and on what having a baby really means for people who choose to start a family. I wanted to give them something special, to share a piece of my own childhood, so I dug around in storage and found a bear that was mine when I was a little girl. I picked up blocks, a bow and felt letters from the craft store, and put it all together with Gorilla Glue and thread. (The same idea would be simple for a boy, just make it a bow tie and go with a blue theme.) It was fairly simple, and has proved itself to be a sweet addition in her nursery.

I started this project before Caroline was born, and in a way it helped me to really ruminate on all the changes in store for my cousin and his wife in this new chapter. I thought about all of the ways that I would try to be there for this tiny girl, and how before I know it she’ll be walking across a stage to receive a diploma of her very own. Fortunately, now that she's born it feels like time has slown a bit, and I am grateful for every second I get to see her: this brand new beautiful baby girl discovering the world around her. 


a very gatsby evening