where to sip: Leo’s Beanery

coffee, lifestyle, where to sip

I do not miss job hunting. It took me 3+ months to find work when we moved to Scotland.

It was a discouraging season. We had all the excitement and anticipation of moving but we were blowing through our savings at a rapid rate. My primary job was to look for a job. We decided to combat our discouragement with a little remedy. A nice latte on Friday mornings was our cure for the week.

This was our ritual. For three months. Leo’s Beanery on Friday mornings. Leo’s was our safe place. It was and still is the place that we leave our worries at the door and focus on the good things.

Perhaps you too, have a coffee shop that is more than a coffee shop.






We LOVE this shop because it is:

  • Cozy
  • Woody + warm
  • Friendly staff
  • Antiquey
  • “Hygge”

I now work on Friday mornings but Leo’s will always be at the top of our day-off list. We cannot get enough of their coffee, GF bagel sandwiches and home-baking. Being in Leo’s cozy basement shop is like the feeling you get while enjoying a relaxing chat and cuppa in someone’s home.

Popular menu picks:

  • Lattes (go vegan with the oat milk, so delicious!)
  • Wide range of loose leaf teas
  • Homemade granola (my mother-in-law was obsessed)
  • Award-winning GF brownies
  • Homemade fruit + savoury scones
  • GF Bagel sandwiches (from the Bearded Baker)
  • Local Scottish produce

Their location on Howe street is wonderfully warm. There are black and white family photos on the walls and glass jars adorning their pantry shelves.  It is hygee, a Danish way of life,  the perfect retreat from the winter blues and the hustle and bustle.






Locations: The first location is a charming, basement level shop in New Town located at23A Howe St, Edinburgh EH3 6TF.

They have two more locations (posts to follow). A quaint shop with a beautiful rustic/Restoration Hardwood feel at Leo + Teds in Tollcross and the airy and artsy location, Leo’s at Dovecot Studios in Old Town.

Hours: Monday – Friday [8am – 5pm] Saturday  [9-5] + Sunday [10 -6]

If you are staying in or visiting Edinburgh, visit this welcoming family-run cafe. You will not regret it.

Have a great weekend and happy sipping!


month in review

devotionals, lifestyle

Autumn is crisp evenings, a mantle with lit candles, dressing in layers and, best of all, comfort food.

After the trips and activities of summer, I crave the serenity and quiet of fall. We are going into this season incredibly grateful for the friends and family that visited us this summer. Our sweet parents all made the journey to Edinburgh and being able to share our second home with them was more than sweet. There was something so special about taking them to our favourite benches, walking in gardens, tucking into museums and drinking coffee at our kitchen table. A blog post on their trips is to come, but we go into the next months with super full + warm hearts from their visits.


As the days turn cooler and darker we tend to indulge in lots of reading, catching up with Netflix (on all seven of the shows we have going on…) and entertaining friends with homemade dinners. A simple after-dinner walk along the Water of Leith and smelling that campfirey smell of fall (you know the smell, right?) is delightful.

Latley, I am noticing the vivid changes that occur this time of year. The leaves change color, the sky is darker, the wind a bit chillier. Autumn is a good time to reflect on what was and what will be. This time of year encourages us to sit back and remind ourselves of the simple pleasures in life and to prepare for what is ahead.




There is beauty in passing from the green and fruitful days of summer into the shadowy hues fall. All things change, somehow. There are lessons to be learned from our times of activity but I have found that I can only find what God is attempting to show us by taking a step back and being still.


Our lives can be a reflection of the season both secular and sacred. We experience many autumns, physically, spiritually and emotionally. I slide my feet through crunching leaves, small piles of them on my walk to work and take a break from my headphones to listen to the sound. The trees shed their leaves, but only for a time. They rest and wait with hope for what is ahead, preparing for a deeper time of hibernation – winter.  Our lives are like this too and we can take advantage of the season of hibernation as one of contemplation.


God allows the spiritual seasons of our lives to coincide with the physical seasons. And in that I find great comfort. Autumn brings wisdom, reflection and time to repair and plan. The hope of new chances and life renewed. A time of rest. To plan (or not plan) and letting go of what was. I am encouraged by the words in Ecclesiastes 3:1, ‘To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.’



What is your life yielding this autumn? Can you recognise what you have planted and what you have reaped? We need this period of fall – of gathering + remembering – to see where we are and where we are going and to be reminded that God is in all seasons.


We pray that you are enjoying your start to the season and find time to enjoy the simple things.

With love,


P.S. Canned pumpkin is very hard to find here + I am eager to use it in every recipe from now until Christmas. If you feel inclined, book a trip to come see us and bring some with you, #jokingnotjoking.






Travel: Highlands Road Trip

food & drink, lifestyle, travel, where to wander

The Allen’s came to town and we are still not sure how to put into words what their trip meant to us. Matt and Shannon traveled long hours from Denver, took time away from their jobs and made their first trip without their sweet son, Jude. The big and small sacrifices they made for this trip to happen were not lost on us. There were moments where I noticed our two worlds merging – excitedly showing off our new life in Scotland alongside the familiar faces of old friends from home. They blessed us with a suitcase of our favourite brand-name snacks from the States, poured blessings on us through prayer and it was extra nice of them to bring along some Colorado sunshine.





IMG_9300Day One: Buchanan Bust Station, Glasgow. Bacon rolls. Train to Edinburgh. Water of Leith. Inverleith Park. Vinyl shops. Stockbridge. Coffee @ Cairngorm. New College.  Royal Mile. Grassmarket. Grayfriar’s Church. The Meadows. Dinner + whisky.


sCOtland2016-010Day Two: We started a morning tradition with the Allen’s of having a ‘slow brekkie’ or slow breakfast. This included sipping countless cups of coffee, in our pajamas, listening to Matt’s playlists and frying up some delicious food. Our day in Edinburgh was full and mixed the best of city + hills. Holyrood Park + Arthur’s Seat. Hike up the Crags. Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop. Old College. Calton Hill. National Museum. Coffee @ Brew Lab. St.Gyles Church. Dinner @ The Scran + Scallie. Fish Pie + Sticky Toffee Pudding. Drinks @ The Last Word, Stockbridge. Circus Lane. More whisky…

IMG_4024The Scottish Highlands live up to the hype. They are what you have heard and more. Sunny skies, sideways rain, other-wordly landscapes, enchanting animals, unique colours and foliage, hills for miles, snow-capped mountains, remote villages and places you would imagine only trolls and fairies living in. The road trip was carefully planned yet adventurous,  rugged yet stylish, wild yet tame, budget-friendly yet indulgent, and at times I had to ask myself, is this really happening?

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset


Processed with VSCO with c3 presetDay Three: Slow brekkie on repeat. Rental car. Drive to Aviemore. Cairngorm National Park. Loch Morlich. Reindeer Centre. 10K Circuit to Ryvoan Bothy. Prayer on the summit. Views at An Lochan Uaine– Emerald Lake. Lunch @ The Winking Owl, Aviemore. Loch Ness + Urquart Castle. Dinner at Oakwood Restaurant, Dochgarroch. Smoked Scottish Salmon + Venison Goulash. Raspberry Cranachan. Drive to Drumnadrochit. Loch Ness Glamping B+B. More whisky…


Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

An Lochan Uaine

IMG_9307Day Four: Waking up to Highland cows + sheep out our front doors. Drive to Torridon on the most dangerous/beautiful/narrowest road I have ever been on, The Bealach na Ba. Stopping the car to see baby cows (I know they are called calves, but I prefer baby cows). Gauking unashamedly at baby lambs (again… I know…) Traditional Scottish lunch at the well-known  Applecross Inn. Hake and prawns. Fish + chips. Langoustines (not what Shannon expected but she was a trooper).  Drive to Skye. Shepherd Huts B+B. Fairy Pools. Prayer. Stargazing.

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset




Processed with VSCO with c3 preset


IMG_9038The Bealach na Ba : Torridon to Applecross

Day Five: Blue Herron out our window. Birds chirping instead of a phone alarm. Morning greetings from rescue donkey’s, George + Gilbert. Slow brekkie delivered in picnic baskets by our lovely host, Janet. Whisky Porridge. Grapefruit. Fresh coffee. Drive to The Old Man of Storr. Magical black, white and emerald landscape. Lunch in Portree. Fishcakes. Cullen Skink. Drive to Ft. William. Ben Nevis, 1345m. Glencoe. Charming cottage, Tigh-na-Gare, located in Arrochar on the bank of Loch Long. You guessed it, more whisky.




Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset



Portree, Isle of Skye

IMG_9054Day Six: Slow brekkie. More coffee. Drive back to Glasgow. Car game of ‘Lost at Sea’, wow still laughing about this ‘team-building and communication’ game. Bittersweet parking lot goodbye’s. Gathered around the Allen’s suitcases at the airport. Prayer for traveling mercies and that God would seal this trip on our hearts always.

Processed with VSCO with c3 presetOur friendship with the Allen’s, this visit, this experience came at the time we needed it most. It was only a week before Ryan would leave for his semester in Germany and we were more than encouraged by it. This trip reminded us of God’s provision, his goodness and an appreciation for the natural beauty in our world- what a privilege it was to share with such dear friends!


With love from Scotland,




-Thanks Matt for being our friend AND for being an incredible photographer. You documented this trip like a boss. – If you are interested in the places we stayed, I have linked to websites for our choice of accommodation.  – Curious about Scottish cuisine? Click on the links to find out more about some of the traditional Scottish food we tried along the way! – If you are in Edinburgh, links also included for a few of the best places to sip in the city.

Month in Review

devotionals, lifestyle, travel

January – the first month of the year but the second month of winter.

Three words that come to mind; cold, windy and damp. Maybe you are thinking that it’s Scotland and I shouldn’t be surprised, however, locals say that this is one of the worst winters in recent memory. So alas, I’m not too pathetic.

Keeping the new year mentality and momentum leading into February is hard when the entire month of January can feel like a perpetual Monday.

Like most of us, I start the year feeling new– a clean slate, my to-do list in order and the momentum is in full throttle. Then, by the end of the month, the January blues are trying to set up camp and I start googling symptoms of seasonal affective disorder on my lunch breaks. The long winter days are marked by harsh winds, dark walks to and from work and an umbrella that has taken a beating.

However, I am trying my very best to hold onto the momentum and reminding myself of why January can be a great month. After the bouts of excess and hustle in December we are finally feeling settled and rooted back into the grooves of Edinburgh. I have more time at the flat, reading books (an even better experience with my new glasses! yay for being able to see!), catching-up on projects I haven’t yet done, focusing on eating healthily and my at-home yoga practice.

This year, 2016, we have so much to look forward to. Friends and family are always keeping us updated on their trip planning and we are beyond excited to finally be able to share this dear city with visitors we love.

We will start next month with a quick trip to Bruges, Belgium to celebrate Ryan’s recent publications, and we are nearly finished planning an epic road trip to the Highlands + Isle of Skye with our best friends from Colorado in March. We are daydreaming of German food in Tübingen and European travels with my grandma this summer. Summer will ask us to be tour guides as our beloved parents come round this July + September, and we’ll be sure to catch a Fringe Festival show sometime in August. Still trying to decide on where to celebrate my birthday (30th!) hopefully somewhere warm and lovely at the end of the year, but we have time and all I know is that I am grateful for what is happening now and for exciting things ahead!

Right now, I’m taking the time to hibernate, refocus, plan exciting adventures and, keep the momentum going. I’m not pretending this virtuousness will last the whole year, but I am praying that it will last for what has turned out to be a surprisingly enjoyable start. Lord, may I be reflective and intentional this year and pray for the patience and compassion to do so. Friends, I hope this finds you well, that you be compassionate toward yourself and reminded of what has made your January great, keeping those blues behind you.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
watching and waiting, looking above,
filled with his goodness, lost in his love.

-Fanny Crosby, 1873




I can see! I highly recommend Glasses Direct for your next pair. They send you as many frames as you want to try on at home so you can test drive the frames with all those hats, hair, outfits, make-up. Yep, awesome!



This month we had the thrill of waking up to small dustings of snow, blue sky and a beautiful, wintery crispness outside.


Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh


Scott Monument, Princes Street Gardens


Artisan Roast, where the hippest of hipsters sip on some joe. This stop is definitely high on the ‘where to sip’ list in Edinburgh and if you go on a Sunday you can stroll the Stockbridge Market beforehand. IMG_3010

This year, I am reading through the Psalms + Proverbs in the One Year Bible as part of my efforts to be in scripture daily. I am really enjoying this and the thoughtful devotionals over at SheReadsTruth.


I started Kilts+Kale one year ago! I am really enjoying it as a creative outlet and place to keep my thoughts and recipes. For those of you that have cheered me on along the way, I really appreciate your kind words and encouragement.


Grassmarket, City Centre


After a hike up Arthur’s Seat, I finally visited the oldest ‘skittle alley’ and pub in Edinburgh, The Sheep Heid Inn 


Edinburgh Castle, Royal Mile


where to wander: portobello beach

travel, where to wander

Summer is over but the beach is always open. The beauty of Portobello Beach is that it is just a few miles from Edinburgh city centre and makes a good weekend wander year round. This charming seaside suburb, has two miles of beach making it perfect for a picnic lunch or Sunday stroll. We like to access it through the amazing cycle network as there is a path directly to Portobello Beach from the Water of Leith, but it is also walkable and you can catch a bus from city centre.

Good weather draws large crowds and the promenade hosts a number of popular events-  including volleyball competitions, triathlon events and the community-run rowing club.  I recommend bringing some coins and hitting up the huge arcade along the promenade – you know, like adults do.


If you are looking for a place to sip or snack, there are several bars and cafés on the promenade, with further options on Portobello’s bustling high street, including quality independent restaurants and charity shops. There is a market in Brighton Park on the first Saturday of every month, selling fresh local produce. You can also find this adorable green truck offering a delicious organic and local range of goodies.



For lunch, The Beach House is a winner for it’s great views of the boardwalk and Firth of Forth. This spot is welcoming and has loads of coastal charm. Chunky wooden furniture,  pale blue walls, driftwood accessories and bright wildflowers deck the tabletops.  They also have an excellent selection of gluten-free and vegetarian sandwiches, wraps and cakes. This ultimate 4-layer falafel, spinach + avocado toastie hit. the. spot.


Planning a weekend wander? You’ve earned it. Portobello is a unique, quaint and quick city escape and we all know that Edinburgh’s seaside should be an essential part of your visit or life in Scotland’s capital city!

Happy weekending!

east coast organics



There is no such thing as the twelve month strawberry? Gasp!

Eat Seasonably celebrates eating the right things at the right time: a chilled fruit salad when it’s hot, a hearty root vegetable stew during the cold months; raspberries in June and butternut squash in October. We received multiple recommendations from our friends in Edinburgh to try East Coast Organics, Scotland’s highly awarded organic farm & vegetable delivery service. They offer seasonal fruit and vegetables along with organic cheese, bread and eggs.  We order the UK veg box with free-range organic eggs.The farm is close to the city, only 10 miles southeast of Edinburgh, and they deliver straight to our door!

I am loving the UK box for several reasons:

1. I am curious to learn more about local produce, currently reading The Allotment Cookbook 

2. I am trying new produce, “Hello celeriac and parsnips!”

3. I have to be more creative with meal planning and recipes, this Beetroot Walnut Hummus is a keeper

4. Because scrubbing the dirt from your carrots and potatoes is good wholesome fun!

There’s nothing like fresh vegetables at their seasonal best and eating food when it’s just been picked. It tastes better, it’s better value and it’s better for the planet. There are a number of good reasons to eat more local, seasonal food:

– to support the local economy

– to reduce the energy and CO2 emissions to transport the food we eat

– to avoid paying a premium for food that has travelled a long way

– to reconnect with natural cycles of planting and harvest

– to enjoy fresher, tastier and more nutritious food

Eating seasonably has its advantages and it’s challenges. Alas, I  sometimes crave and indulge in a good banana when it’s February. If you are in Edinburgh, give East Coast Organics a try! If you are elsewhere in this beautiful world, explore what’s in season in your area.

What are your favorite seasonal recipes?

the scenic route


We realized recently how much we like not having cars. No car insurance. No worries about gas prices. No random mechanical failures or transmission issues. No check engine light woes. No hour long commutes sitting in highway traffic. And the best part, no ice scraping on frosty mornings. I mean, we loved our ’96 Honda Passport and our fancy ’99 Honda Accord, but life without them is not as hard as we thought – that is until the time comes when you want to go for a little road trip.

This past fall, my aunt Debbie and uncle Nelson came through Edinburgh on an epic, month-long trip through the United Kingdom. They invested in a rental car and when they asked if we wanted to tag along on a day trip to St.Andrews we simply couldn’t resist. An entire day spent with our sweet family from home and a wee road trip? Yes please!

When they told us about their plan to take the scenic route we were even more thrilled. The scenic route includes several miles of coastline, and a string of beautiful villages lining up one after another as you make your way closer and closer to St.Andrews.

Buckle up and join us as we recap one of our favorite trips so far.


First stop – St. Monans

St. Monans is considered to be one of the most attractive of East Neuk of Fife’s coastal villages. For those of you that enjoy history (there is a lot of that here, come visit us!) St.Monans hosts the ruins of Ardross and Newark Castle. You can also view the Parish Church at the west end shoreline.

We decided to stop here for some sunshine at the pier, warm coffee and fluffy scones. We found our way to the rooftop of the cafe to sip our lattes. As we sipped and talked about what a great idea this all was, our favorite author and theologian, N.T. Wright. walked up the spiral staircase and headed straight toward us. Ryan and I both did the double blink, did-I-just see-what-I-thought-I-saw thing. We recognized him immediately, and were instantly starstruck, like a couple of teenyboppers seeing N’Sync in person. We eventually settled down and introduced ourselves telling him how much we enjoy his work and how important his books have been in our faith and ministry. Curious? We recommend his books whenever we get the chance, here is my chance and here is a great title to start with Simply Christian by N.T. Wright.


Next stop- Crail

A few miles further east you come to the most remote, and perhaps most photographed of the villages, Crail. Charming cobbled streets wind down to the miniature harbor, which is sheltered by cliffs, surrounded by historic fishing cottages and places to eat lunch or grab a pint. An older gent that I met here told me that the harbor has been featured on postcards for “as long as there have been postcards”. So, for a very, very long time. The whole village was a fascinating place to walk through, explore and needless to say, photograph.


Final stop- St. Andrews

St. Andrews is home to golf, one of Scotland’s oldest universities, to a castle standing on a rocky cliff, and to the partial remains of a once great cathedral. Here, I’ll save you the trouble of googling it and highlight some Wikipedia facts for your reading pleasure.

  • Built in 1158, St.Andrews Cathedral was a Roman Catholic cathedral that became the centre of the Medieval Catholic Church in Scotland.
  • It fell into disuse and ruin after Catholic mass was outlawed during the 16th-century Scottish Reformation.
  • The ruins indicate that the building was approximately 119m (391 feet) long, and is the largest church to have been built in Scotland.
  • *It is old, it is huge and a lovely place to wander. *Not from Wikipedia.


St. Andrews Links is regarded as the “home of golf”. It has one of the oldest courses in the world, where the game has been played for 600 years! What many people don’t realize is that there are seven public courses here; the Balgove, Eden, Jubilee Course, Strathtyrum, the Old Course (1552), which is widely considered one of the finest, the most famous and traditional, courses in the world, the New Course (1895), and the new Castle Course (2008). Yes, I am bringing my clubs to Scotland after our visit home this May and you betcha, I am definitely going to try and play here.

P.S. Dad and Papa, if you are reading this, thank your for instilling a love in me for this frustrating but oh so darn addicting game. I hope you can come see the course one day! 

We really had a lovely time getting outside of the city and being able to explore some of Scotland’s gems with our family. We are grateful for an aunt and uncle that accepted the challenge to drive on the left side and we simply adore their spirit of adventure.


Moral of the post… Come and visit, let’s get a rental car and go take a scenic route!


A + R




We hear it a lot these days, and I want to use it, I really do, but it just doesn’t feel like a natural thing to say. Just when I am about to use it, little thoughts pop into my mind. What if I don’t say it in the right context? What if my American accent just ruins the moment? So I did a little research. When I say little, I mean little, like Google search kind of little. After a quick search, I was able to gain some insight into this cheery expression.

Definitions; 1). a friendly expression said just before you drink: Cheers! To good health. 2) UK informal used to mean “thank you”: “I’ve bought you a drink.” “Cheers, mate.” *note: do NOT say this if you are not British, you will will get made fun of. 3) UK informal used to mean “goodbye”: “Bye.” “Cheers, see you next week.” Where it gets confusing is when you hear someone use ‘cheers’ and ‘thank you’ or ‘cheers’ and ‘goodbye’ in the same sentence. Then, what you thought you knew about the word just becomes more perplexing and the contexts are quickly blurred.

For now, we are truly enjoying this linguistic immersion and study of Scottish English. There are so many phrases, words and euphemisms that differ from American English. Sometimes we laugh and sometimes we are embarrassed. Example, a couple of weeks ago I went out with my colleagues to celebrate the end of a week. A girl from our group walked into the pub, and in a slightly louder-than-average volume I remarked, “Cute pants!” A few people looked at me wide-eyed, and my other colleague said, “Oh dear. Trousers. Say trousers. You just told her you like her underwear.”

Life is full of learning moments and they catch you off guard sometimes. Living abroad provides lots of these opportunities.

Before we moved we prayed for our life here. We prayed for community, for friends, for a smooth transition and for the ability to “do” life here. Prayers for open minds to soak up the culture, to share life, to meet new people and be open to the differences that might come about.

So with that, I will pretend we are at a table in our favorite neighborhood pub, the St. Vincent, and propose a toast; May we all be a little more open-minded, able to learn from one another, to laugh a little more and to not take ourselves too seriously. May we live well with one another, be kind to each other and enjoy our days together. Cheers!