November 26, 2012

inspiration: 11

"If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased."

Katherine Hepburn 


November 24, 2012

a long weekend recap

Sharing meals

I hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving! 

Of the few things we seem to have gotten right in our country, an entire day devoted to feasting with family and friends is definitely one of them! We were so grateful to spend the holiday with some of our closest friends and their incredible families who have welcomed "orphans" like Dan and I into their homes for the past few years. Being far from our own families is always difficult on holidays and although we haven't been home for Thanksgiving in six years, every year (minus the buffet at our honeymoon resort in Mexico, yum!) we have been blessed to enjoy a delicious home cooked meal with amazing company. While a lot is still unknown about our future near and far (sorry, no updates yet!), we have so much to be thankful for in the present and about our lives in Colorado. 

We also celebrated our fourth anniversary Wednesday night, since our real day fell on Thanksgiving this year. The fourth year is the fruit-and-flowers (or linen!) anniversary, so I surprised Dan with chocolate covered strawberries and he gave me four perfect roses. We stopped at a cute cafe, Satchel's on 6th, for a glass of wine before our reservation just down the street at Fruition- the most incredible restaurant in all of Denver. We first ate there on our 2nd anniversary thanks to a gift certificate from my parents and ever since we had been saying how we should make a habit of going at least a few times a year, and yet two years had passed, but it was just as incredible as we remembered. We shared a yummy bottle of Leifman's Beer, Dan had the fried chicken and I had the "grazing vegetarian" special, butternut squash and beet rosti- insane! The best part about the restaurant is that there is never any rush, courses are brought out as they are made, and beer glasses and bread plates are never empty. Once again we made a pact to go back at least once more this season, and we're stickin' to it!

After dinner we walked over to the Esquire theater and saw a late night showing of Ana Kerinina. It was fantastic, some of the best cinematography I have seen. It feels like you're watching a live play or following along with a novel rather than a movie. I snuck in a batch of the strawberries I made (milk chocolate with pistachio, milk chocolate with sea salt, and white chocolate with graham cracker- yum!) and a tiny bottle of port for us to share, but my rule-abiding husband left me to do all the dirty work. 
I'm not sorry.

We usually watch the video from our wedding day my dad put together with the footage from family member's cameras but we didn't get home until after midnight. We got up the next morning and ate pumpkin-apple-cinnamon oatmeal that had been in the slow cooker all night and watched some of the parade on tv. After taking the dogs on a long walk, we made our famous roasted brussels sprouts to take to dinner (though we strayed from our usual recipe and endangered lives by adding too much garlic and tiny shards of glass from the baking dish lid that cracked in the car ride over)... note to Hailey- just stick to the recipe. 

Friday morning Dan was working on homework, the house was clean and I was off work, so I decided to brave the mall madness by myself. I actually love shopping alone, it's when I produce my best work and the mall was surprisingly tame by the time I got there around 10:30. Having worked in retail for several years, I actually love the busy rush of the holidays, so I felt right at home squeezing through crowded stores and weaving around towering displays while Christmas music played. I found a few good deals and crossed some things off my list but mostly I just loved watching everyone rush around with their boxes and bags. Last night we put up a few decorations, listened to Ella Fitzgerald, prepared a spread of crackers, cheese, pistachios, and fruit, and curled up to watch a Bond movie...... or two. We're thinking about seeing Skyfall tonight, so we had to be prepared! 

Happy Weekend!


November 22, 2012


 four years ago today

I married the most amazing person I have ever known. 

happy anniversary to the love of my life
{ see a few more photos from our wedding day }

November 21, 2012

thirty thanks

source unknown

my handsome husband

our amazing families

three furry boys

true friends near and far

- and their beautiful new babies!

successful surgery

our new kitchen

a lifelong dream trip

wine tasting in the mountains

backyard barbecues

silent snowy mornings

a long weekend getaway in California

new career challenges

chamba chai

new comedy radio station

library books

new favorite music

de-cluttered closets

homemade meals


local museums

dried young coconut

cold morning air

late night dog-walks

completed house projects

four Colorado seasons

safety and health

our little home in the city

holidays with family and friends

hope & excitement for the new year!


November 15, 2012

How low can you go?!

I was once a limbo champion.  
My 12 year-old self could fling her head back toward her waist, plant her feet wider than her shoulders, angle her knees to the floor, and shimmy her way under that pole better than anyone. A limbo contest was the highlight of my 6th grade birthday party- if you don't count using 40 rolls of toilet paper to TP my own house, or the front-yard-swing-trapeeze stunts that ended with at least one broken wrist. 

As an adult, I still find myself attempting to beat my limbo record- only now it doesn't involve plastic leis, colorful pvc pipe, NOW that's what I call music 3......and I am much less flexible. Now limbo is a stiffening combination of suspense, anxiousness, and excitement. I am feeling bent over backwards with the weight of so many huge decisions pressing my shoulders toward the floor; praying that my feet don't slip out from under me and I fall flat on my butt. It's no longer an option to step back to the starting line, regain my composure and reassess my approach. I am no nearer to the end of this process than I am to the beginning. I am committed; smack dab under that streamer-wrapped bar, staring up at the ceiling lights, wanting so badly to close my eyes and pray that after a few more shuffles I'll be in the clear. I can almost hear the applause and can feel my victory breath filling my lungs. 

There is an end in sight, no doubt. In fact, the other side is so painfully close it seems insane that so many big decisions, choices, and opportunities will be sorted through before we get there. It's like crossing an entire desert to get to an oasis, only to discover a 50 foot deep pit separating you from the sweet relief just on the other side. I hope we are able to look back in a few months and see how far we have come and how small and distant this crazy limbo game feels. I know the suspense is driving you mad and I am sorry I can't share more yet... all I can say is that it involves a lot of when/where/what/how.

I know, I'm about as good at hint-giving as I am at limbo.
 Thanks for hanging in there.


November 13, 2012

an inspired cubicle

We made inspiration boards during our staff meeting at work last week. I am not going to tell you how long I spent making mine- searching, cutting, arranging, pasting- but I am going to tell you that I am surprised by how much I love it. Despite how cheesy and superficial "inspiration boards" can be, 50+ real estate professionals were given strict orders by the boss lady to spend the better part of our meeting filling them with words and pictures that visualized our individual goals...and boy, did we. 

Stats show that people who have a visual representation of their goals and dreams in front of them at work are more likely to achieve them than those who don't.

Can't argue with science, people.
So whether you work from a little cubicle or a big shiny office, at home or at a coffee shop, find ways to keep your inspiration in front of you at all times. Take a few photos of your family or past vacations, a toy model of a sailboat or a medal from your first 5K, a great quote, or a journal to put down your thoughts on paper- whatever represents your dreams and goals- and never have them further than arm's distance... since they really aren't, anyway.

My cubicle inspiration board:

And yes, I was the only one to paste beyond the edges of my laminated sheet.

November 08, 2012

NO means... no?

It has been a whirlwind of a week, or two, or three.....
 since they are starting to all blend together in my mind.  To say that I feel busy is an understatement, and I'm certainly not looking for bragging rights. I am simply finding myself in a very familiar place of chaos brought on by my own fatal flaw of over-committment. I find myself again staring up through the narrow tunnel I dug myself into, straining for a glimpse of light (read rest) and am not so much shocked by how I've ended up here..... but why. 

Why do I lack the capacity to say no? Why do I say yes when I know I shouldn't? Why do I set unrealistic expectations for myself and attempt to stretch the hours in the day to accommodate them all?

I don't like to admit it, but I think I am simply afraid of the word "no".  In all honesty, it's not a word I warmly embraced during childhood (save the comments from the peanut gallery) and it is a word that I've stubbornly rebelled against as an adult. No means deprivation, lacking, missing out, falling short, disappointment, and negativity. No is also often followed by one word that distinguishes human reasoning: "why". The problem with saying No, is that if you lack an adequate answer to the subsequent "why", the statement is practically rendered defenseless (Kids, you didn't hear it from me). 

"No" needs a good excuse, and if there isn't one, I say "yes" to things I probably shouldn't, by default.

I also know that part of me thrives on the sinful pride that comes from heaping my plate with insane amounts of mashed potatoes commitments. I like seeing my calendar chock-full of plans for the next several weeks and I like a certain level of chaos that comes from constantly rushing from one place to the next. It's why I couldn't just go to high school or college as a full-time student... but also wanted to work, go to every church event, volunteer for projects, clubs, and internships, and move 4 times while starting out a young marriage, owning our first home, taking care of three pets, and a maintaining a hearty social life. Anything less would be too practical. Seriously, it's pretty sick.

The hardest part about saying yes to so much is that it is never as simple as "yes to good, no to bad". No one thinks too long and hard over going clubbing on a work-night or going on a shopping spree instead of paying bills (if you do, let's talk). It's the "good" things that cause the biggest issues... yes to volunteering, yes to social commitments, yes to more tasks at work, yes to classes and extracurriculars, yes to projects at home, yes to running a household and caring for your family.
I mean, what are you going to say to those....... no??

Obviously, something has to give, right? So I start with sleep...then cancel out the exercise, then eating healthy, quality time with my husband and pets, and quality time for myself and so on... 
and before I know it I'm ordering dinner at a drive thru at 10pm and the only thing I can fit into are my cranky pants. Not my best days.

I know I am not the only one with this struggle but I do feel that I am being convicted to reassess how I am using, spending, giving, and living my time and shed the extra weight of unhealthy expectations on myself. I need to prioritize, purge and practice! It seems that some of my skeletons missed this series

. . .

Do you struggle with saying "no"? How do you simply let your no's mean "no"?


November 03, 2012

e-course, of course!

I just signed up for Blog (design) Love e-course taught by the lovely ladies over at ABeautifulMess/ RedVelvet Shop and I could not be more excited!! 

After recently completing the Flying Lessons e-course with Kelly Rae Roberts a few weeks ago I have been finding new ideas and inspiration all around me. This class was incredible and helped put a lot of the unknown and scary what-if's about starting a creative business in perspective. I have a much better grasp on where I want to take my blog/creative business ideas over the next few years but I have been feeling stuck by not knowing how to physically create a space in which do to that. I have played around a little with the templates and html options provided by blogger/google and used photoshop throughout college but don't have it available at home (yet... right, Santa?) so I am anxious to finally go beyond the basic. 

Needless to say, I am looking forward to soaking up everything these gals have to say. Not only have they built an incredible blog, store, and creative business from scratch- I love their aesthetic and style, something that most coding books and websites lack. The irony is that my husband is about to graduate with his Master's in computer science and develops software for a living... but he's always too busy saving the world to help me with any of this important stuff, like adding a Pinterest button in the shape of a heart to my page.

So naturally, at $34 for the class,  I couldn't pass up the chance to join this fabulous e-course! 
I can't wait to pimp my page with some new blogger bling.


November 02, 2012

dailey wears: florals in fall?

How on earth is it Friday again? 

I actually had intended on posting this a whole week ago, but I was busy volunteering at a career fair (as one of the careers- can you believe it!?) and setting up for our Halloween party. So I apologize for serving up leftovers today. I actually wore this outfit to work on a nice warm day last week so I didn't need an extra layer. This outfit is also 50% floral print, which could be a big no-no for fall, but rules were made to be broken. I layered over this cami from H&M that I am currently obsessed with. Super soft and machine washable,with a little bit o' lace. Get one... or two. 

>>>>> <<<<<

shirt: Nordstrom rack
wide leg trousers: Loft
shoes: DSW

>>>>> <<<<<

Have a wonderful weekend!
I have a busy one ahead of me filled with open houses, happy hours, 
museum visits, showings, and getting in some quality time with my boys. 

Don't forget to set those clocks back, woohoo!