August 31, 2012

Dailey Wears: star spangled ruffle top & straight jeans

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jeans: Levi's straight demi curve
belt: Dorothy Perkins
watch: Michael Kors (I know, right?! From my amazing hubby!)
shoes: Target (thrifted)

Party on top, straight on bottom. Like a mullet. Kind of. 

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Happy Labor Day Weekend! 
I hope it's filled with barbecues, beer, and sunburns! 
enjoy responsibly.

August 30, 2012

jour·ney : [n]
how far one can travel in a day

Yesterday I headed to the central library downtown on a quest for a new book or two. I recently read the Hunger Games series after much reluctance and procrastination (I'm not usually one for sci-fi or action themes) but my gosh were they good. It had been so long since I had read a book (or three!) that immersed me in fantasy and fiction and imagery so much so that I couldn't put it down. Thankfully I was recovering last week so I had a clear schedule that allowed me to devour the series in a matter of days but with the satisfaction of finishing a great book comes the longing for it to continue or a new one to take its place. 
A friend recently posted her favorite "adventure" book recommendations and one in particular caught my eye so I was thrilled to see it in stock at the library. I cradled a copy in my arms and casually combed the nearby aisles. Fifteen minutes later I plopped a stack of books down on the checkout scanner, tore off my receipt, and walked out like I'd just robbed the place. 
I beelined it to my car and pulled away with 34 minutes left on the meter and the mountain of literature on the passenger seat. I drove down Broadway, busy with lunch hour traffic, in the opposite direction of our house. I knew I couldn't crack the cover of my next book from our couch- I was due for a change in scenery. A pitstop for a venti iced coffee and a right on Downing St. brought me to my destination. 
Wash (Washington) Park is post-card perfect. It's lush summer flower beds, glassy ponds, winding paths, and mature trees are a stunning backdrop for "the beautiful people", as Dan and I like to call them, who jog, bike, skate, and stroll there. The surrounding streets are lined with renovated bungalows and modern rebuilds, making it one of the most desirable, and expensive, neighborhoods in Denver. It's  cute and charming and filled with character and very upper middle class. 

 We didn't know much about Wash Park when we were house hunting years ago, but it would have been out of both our financial and geographic reach. Still, I had to stop myself from thinking if our lives would look or feel different, if we would have been happier with Denver or Colorado, if we lived there instead. Instead of in a condo squashed between four busy streets and apartment buildings and noisy neighbors, if we had a little yard of our own for the dogs, if I could feel safe sitting alone in a park or jogging down the street without being cat-called, 
and if we were surrounded by people that looked like us.

Good grief, no- I don't mean in terms of race, I mean in terms of lifestyle: young couples, working professionals, people with pets, new homeowners, active friends jogging together or playing frisbee in the field. People we could call friends or share community with. Neither of us had lived in a "big" city before moving to Denver, but when we bought our place we pictured lots of parties and gatherings, befriending our neighbors, and being near the center of all the action of downtown. Instead we share walls with people we've never even spoken to and are constantly surrounded by people but feel more isolated than ever. It's so different than what we had hoped for and failed attempts to reach out to those around us just add fuel to the fire. 

Yesterday I sat in the grass at the park and read, took pictures of pretty flowers, breathed in the smell of humid air and soil, and smiled at strangers walking by, wishing everyday could feel like that. I felt a world away, if only for a few hours, then I drove back to our house during rush hour and fought back a flood of bitter thoughts. 
I write this with a twinge of guilt and fear of sounding like a broken record but I need to be honest about where my head and heart are right now for the sake of myself and others. I know what it's like to move away to a place you've never been, to try and do it all on your own, and to feel disappointment when things don't always go as planned. It's. Freaking. Hard. (Hello, adulthood!) I also know this is a temporary time in life and we could be right on the brink of a new beginning, but I don't want to dismiss the truth behind these feelings because. I hope to look back on this chapter and its challenges and say "damn, that was hard, but so worth it to be where we are today". 
In the meantime, I discovered that a venti iced coffee, trip across town, and a yellowing library book can make for one satisfying soul-journey... pack accordingly.


August 29, 2012

{me, age 8}

Once I wanted to be an artist-veterinarian-actress who traveled the world and recorded it all in a thick sketchbook, and saved hurting animals, and made people laugh like crazy.

Once I wanted to be tan and blonde and friends with the popular girls who flirted with older boys and had wild parties while their parents were out of town.

Once I wanted to be a horse whisperer who spent everyday in the center of a circular pen as flashes of mane and hooves swirled around me, soaking in the smell of sweat and sawdust.

Once I wanted to be a folk singer who told stories and played open mic nights in hazy barrooms and yellow-lit coffee shops across the country.

Once I wanted to be the owner of a little seaside antique shop and cafe with a big patio in the back where people could bring their dogs and order from a chalkboard menu.

Once I wanted to be a photo-journalist who documented the lives of people in faraway places and told stories of hope and injustice that inspired action in others. 

. . .

But now I own a condo in a city that isn't my home and can never find anything to wear.

But now I have a degree in a subject I love and a license for a career I can't seem to start.

But now I have two dogs and a cat who follow me everywhere and sleep on my toes.

But now I can't stop daydreaming about places I have never been.

But now I write my thoughts on a computer screen while staring at treetops through narrow windows.

But now I share my life with the one person I couldn't live without.

. . .

What did you once want to be? 

But now what do you do?


August 28, 2012

late summer shopping list

The last few weeks of summer are upon us, but if you're like me- you're already dreaming of fall! 

While it's tempting to dust off our boots and throw on thick sweaters, the temperature in Denver is still lingering near ninety and the official start of the new season is a deceiving four weeks away. But stores are stocking up on fall time favorites so I put together my shopping list of things I'm longing to add to my closet. These are all fairly neutral, transitional, and basic pieces that can be worn year round- but are easiest to find from August-November and having a list like this helps me remember what things I "need" to help round out my wardrobe so I make fewer frivolous purchases.

late summer shopping list

View my late summer shopping list on

What items are on your list this season? 


August 27, 2012

Inspiration: 1.

"Happiness, as far as we are concerned, is achieved through living a meaningful life that is filled with passion and freedom, a life in which we can grow as individuals and contribute to other people in meaningful ways."

- The Minimalists


August 24, 2012

Dailey Wears: chambray shirt, patterned skirt

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Shirt: Ralph Lauren (Outlet) 
Skirt: Target (thrifted) 
Belt: Fossil (thrifted) 
Shoes: BC (Nordstrom Rack) 
Cuff: from my mama



August 22, 2012

There was nothing good about today...

Unless you count me wearing real pants for the first time in a week, or not needing to take awful pain meds anymore, or finding out this ordeal helped me pitch a few pesky pounds, or that I finished the two first books of the Hunger Games series in two days (ugh, so good!)...

But really, other than that today was filled with worry, fear, bitterness, and exhaustion... Mostly concerning -no surprise here- money. The hospital bills will be coming in, our kitchen still isn't done, I left a job that ended up costing us more than I made (in the real estate world, everything's possible), and our emergency fund has felt more like an I.V., dripping life into our checking account veins for far too long. So today was pretty rotten.

That is, until just now... when I find myself completely undone over news from Dan. Out of the blue, he received a vague email from his boss explaining that someone "up top" has been impressed with his performance at work and requested a bump in his pay.

I am speechless (good thing this is a blog) as I process this timely gift. Dan said it is God telling us "Don't worry, I always have and always will take care of you. Honor Me." Tears literally came to my eyes and I realized how much I've been feeling sorry for myself and how consumed I have been by worry. Frivolous, fear-fueled worry.

If there is a telltale sign of a heart far from the Lord, it's one filled with worry. I am just overwhelmed that in the midst of one of the hardest seasons of our lives, when we've been fighting with our fists instead of falling on our knees... this gift has humbled us and given us a glimpse of hope.

Seriously, God is good.

15 Things We Loved About Ireland

In March (March! Can we just pretend like the last 5 months didn't already come and go?) we jetted off to the Emerald Isle to fulfill my a dream of visiting a country and culture I had been fascinated with my whole life. Being born on St. Patrick's Day with red hair and freckles made my journey to the homeland (even though I'm only about 1/4 Irish) feel every bit as necessary as it was exciting. We had ten days to see, taste, experience as much of the country, the people, the scenery as possible and we certainly did. When I'm excited about something I become a bit obsessed with it. I wanted to read and learn everything I could about everything- places, history, people, streets, restaurants- not wanting to miss out on anything. 

Normally, I embrace spontaneity and surprises but with travel there are so many unknowns I guess being prepared helps me feel like we won't accidentally waste a minute or wish we had done something we didn't. Luckily, Dan experienced this aspect of my personality on our first international adventure to New Zealand when we lived out of a van, camping at some of the most gorgeous places around the North Island and fitting in quality time with our friends at their wedding and their home. It wasn't a vacation by any means- traveling rarely is- but we definitely came home from that trip with amazing memories. 

But Ireland was the first trip we ever took with friends and I was paranoid about everything. I worried if the hotels were going to be less than anticipated (they all were, but I think that was more of an American-expectations-versus European-standards flaw) or the drive between destinations was going to be unimpressive (quite the opposite) or if it wasn't going to be the perfect Ireland we pictured (shallow, much?). I put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself to make this trip amazing but I ultimately had to accept that it wasn't all about me, that this was also a dream of the other three companions sharing our tiny rental car, that most of these worries were out of my control and to just go with the flow. 

It ended up being an amazing trip filled with great memories and some really good stories we'll probably tell our kids one day around the dinner table. We survived- rental car, luggage, and friendships intact- and have 860 photos to prove it. 

But for sanity's sake I've sliced and diced them down to a few dozen that capture my version of our 15 favorite things about our trip.

1. St. Patrick's Day in Dublin. 

2. Pouring the perfect Guinness.

3. The sights and sounds of city streets.

4. Reading about monastic ruins and 9th century cemeteries. Hi Kevin!

5. Churches, castles, and forts... oh my!

6. Skeet shooting on castle grounds.

This is Ross. He is Arthur's Irish cousin. Such a cutie but made me miss our boys at home.

7. The Cliffs of Moher. Walking along the edge, ignoring trespassing signage.

8. Having great friends to share the memories with.

 10.  Exploring winding backcountry roads in a tiny rental car.

11. Colorful seaside towns and fresh fish n' chips.

This was taken when I was trying to teach Dan how to focus my camera lens. Bless his heart, this is the very first photograph he has ever taken of me that I actually liked. It may be because its in focus, or that I like the colors...or the fact that I'm not making the "our children will never know what their mother looked like because her head is cut off or out of focus in every picture her husband tries to take" face at him. I'm not photogenic, and he's no photographer (yet!)... so say a small prayer for this blog if you will. 

12. Sweaters that still smell like sheep.

13. Local shops and markets.

14. Visiting with furry friends.

15. Stopping to explore every corner of the country.