Month : December 2012

resolutions.

I have always loved the idea of a new year. It’s a chance to start fresh, make yourself better, and take a moment to breathe, reevaluate, and reboot. I have quite a few things I want to work on in 2013…

Source: oprah.com via Life In on Pinterest

 

No. 1
No more gossiping. It’s unattractive and unkind.

I have noticed that I tend to use a secret tidbit -whether it’s a funny private joke or a gossipy story – when I’m with someone I don’t yet know very well. It’s like my way of trying to create a common bond between me and this new friend is to share some information that is not always mine to share in order to bridge the stranger status. I’m all for being real and funny and myself, and I’m not trying to go all Pollyanna, but I sometimes do this retelling of info that’s not mine to share in the moment without realizing. Then later, I regret it. This habit needs to go. I vow to only tell stories that are mine to tell (or I have permission to share!).

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No. 2
Stop caring what others think. Or allude to. Or come right out and say.

There are always people in life who will voice their many opinions about you and your decisions — to your face, written on your wall, or behind your back. You can’t control what people say, but we can control whether or not you let if affect you. I’m working on the latter.

Whether it’s politics, our decisions about children, career ambitions, or even the way we chose to tile a bathroom, I’m embracing the words of Robert Downey, Jr.: “Listen, smile, agree, and then do whatever the fuck you were gonna do anyway.” 🙂

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No. 3
As for those who can’t support you, move on.

We all have our own way of doing things, but at the end of the day, I want to be happy for the people in my life, regardless of their choices and whether or not I agree with them. And I expect the same in return. I am making a point to turn my time and energy toward embracing some new friendships and building on existing ones. I’ve already been acting on this goal and finding new avenues in which to get involved and meet people. I can’t believe how refreshing it feels to mix it up and, as I’m learning more about myself, find so many commonalities with new people. I count myself very lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life and plan to make them the priority. No more room for negative relationships.

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No. 4
Be better about telling people what they mean to me.
Be like Dad.

I’ve always been a bit awkward with the “love yous” and taking a true moment to thank someone for what they mean to me. I can write it in a blog post, and certainly think it to myself, but I need to be sure these people actually hear it from me. My dad is one of the best people I know when it comes to this. I never see him without an immediate bear hug and an “I’m so glad you’re here, I love you!” Really, how great an example is that? And why doesn’t everyone (including me) do that – just come right out and tell someone how much you appreciate them? I’m going to tell my family that I love them. I’m going to tell my friends how much I value them in my life. Basically, I’m going to spread some love in 2013…. so get ready for some awkward but well-meant gushing. 🙂

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No. 5
Stick to the plan and keep working.

Details will be shared when the time is right, but for now, I can say that the other half and I are tackling the steps in bringing a business dream to life. The goal is to stick with it, try things even if they may fail, and constantly improve the end product. We’ve decided against other things in our life right now so that we can dedicate our time and energy to this. Dreams take work and I plan to do so – a lot – this year to get this dream closer to a reality.

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No. 6
Take time to live.

For as much as I plan to work, I plan to take time to do more of what I love – decorate my house, shop, take more photography classes, go on more photo walks with friends and my mom, do art projects, read more books, meet for coffee dates, have more phone dates, try new recipes, have the neighbors over, and the list goes on.

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No. 7
Take care of me.

Continue to get to the gym and stay a little longer when time allows. Go on runs to clear my head. Put healthy food in my body. Go to bed at more reasonable hours. Get a massage once in a while to unwind. Have jam sessions and dance like Britney (when no one’s around to be horrified). Go to church instead of just thinking about going. Don’t blow off check-ups. Keep applying sunscreen. Be mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy…for me and for others.

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No. 8
Continue to count my blessings…and count often.

2012 has been a blessed year for Page and me both. We and those around us are healthy and we all have our basic needs met and then some. Yes, I like to shop and I love labels, but I do understand as fun as the stuff is, it’s just stuff. It’s easy to lust after the next designer bag or long for a new piece of furniture for the house. I will check myself more in 2013 and reflect on what I already have, just as often as I think about what I don’t. What makes my life truly rich is the people in it and the experiences I have with each of them.

Anyone else making resolutions for the new year? I’d love to hear and be inspired!

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy 2013 full of joy.

oh, for cute: wallpapers for 2013

A whole bunch of changes will be happening for Life In Yellow in 2013 (stay tuned for a list!) and one of those will be moving away from the monthly free download wallpapers. I love that many of you use these, but the months seem to fly by so quickly that to stay ahead of them and have something to share is, more times than not, hard to keep up with!

But don’t despair! I’ve rounded up some of my favorite desktop wallpapers, should you need a little style for your devices! Check out some of the delightful designs!

Make It Happen wallpaper by Ampersand Design Studio

All kinds of wacky, funky wallpapers are available here.

Wallpaper for desktops and phones from Just Eleanor.

And….if you want to turn one of your own photos into a desktop wallpaper, follow this tutorial here!

 

 

holiday greetings to you!

mad men marathons
finishing the basement
celebrating 5 years of marriage
{drinking more vino than we care to admit to}

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013
We wish you all
of the things that bring you

……….    JOY    ……….

holiday party snacks

December was my month to host book club. It’s my very favorite month to host because A) you’re guaranteed a good turn-out (no one ever misses the annual white elephant exchange) and B) the holiday decor and theme is so much fun to play with. Major photo-taking fail on my part (I only grabbed a couple) but hopefully the links below help you get the full picture.

I’m always on the hunt for new party food ideas that can work ANY time of year (and have been tried and loved by someone firsthand), but I included a couple the other night that were a bit more specific to the season. Here’s a rundown of the couple iPhone pics I managed to snap, and links to where I found the recipes – I would make all of these things again!

Cranberry Brie Bites – I loved how festive these looked! The red and green and the snow-like sugared cranberries made these so pretty to set out! Recipe can be found here. I love her entertaining/food mantra of, “we eat with our eyes first!”. Wise words!

cranberry brie bites

 

Crock Pot Hot Chocolate – This might have been the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. And for good reason – condensed milk, 1% milk, and heavy cream…um yeah, this was thick and rich and amazing! Plus, I love anything that my Crock Pot can manage for me. I added some marshmallows on candy canes as stir sticks, and Bailey’s minis for those who wanted an extra stir-in. The recipe can be found here.

crock pot hot chocolate

Spinach and Cheese Croissants – I didn’t have time to get a pic of these, but there are some great ones if you follow the link to the original recipe here. These were a super-easy thing to prep ahead of time, and who doesn’t love a warm, flaky crescent roll?

Tortellini Skewers – I don’t have a link or a photo for these, because they’re so simple. I pre-cooked some cheese tortellini (the red and green kind to be festive!) and skewered them onto sticks with black and green olives, slices of pepperoni, and grape tomatoes. Another colorful red and green option for a holiday app!

Cranberry Water – Yet another photo fail, because this SIMPLE idea is so pretty! I used a clear beverage dispenser and filled it with water, added a splash of cranberry juice to tint it light pink, and floated a bag of cranberries on top. Instantly fancy and festive, but still refreshing and oh-so-simple.

Hope everyone is enjoying their last few days before the holiday…bon apetit!

holiday gifts for the neighbors.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE all of the sweet eats during the holidays (and any time!). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the goodies that have been left on our front stoop from neighbors. But to mix it up, I wanted to try and do something festive and Christmasy that wasn’t centered around food. Okay, so this is still technically food, but for smelling purposes, not eating. 🙂 If you’ve been following Life in Yellow on Instagram or on Twitter, you may have already seen some photo sneak peeks of this project. Today’s post has all of the details and a printable for you to make your own!

photo (1)

We live in a great neighborhood with fabulous neighbors. When we moved in this time last year, it wasn’t long before people stopped by to introduce themselves, and quickly, I learned that it’s a ‘hood thing to exchange little tokens of neighborly joy during the holidays.

photo

Ours this year was to dry some apples, oranges, and lemons, add bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and allspice to them, and make little packets of delicious-smelling goodness to simmer on the stove. Via several tutorials on Pinterest, I learned that you don’t need a food dehydrator for projects like this one. Just popping the slices in my oven at 200 degrees for several hours did the trick. (If you’re wondering about quantity of ingredients, there are twenty houses on our street, and I found that about three of each fruit was enough to divide up between all of the bags. I also bought one small jar each of the spices and a Costco sized container of cinnamon sticks was the most economical way to go.)

neighbor gift

I added a line to personalize ours with our name and house number, but if you want to use this treat bag topper for your own treats, help yourself by clicking the link below for a version you can sign with your own names! I didn’t add printable crop marks, so that you can trim to a size that fits whatever size of bag you want to use (I found mine at Hobby Lobby).

Click to download –> NeighborCards2UP

As for the artwork, I am struggling to find the vector art I found free for use (the starburst and the squiggly line) – they are part of a package called “Hand Drawn Elements” but I can’t find the original source to link to…if you happen to know, please relay and I will be happy to post credit!

neighbor gift bag toppers

Off to make some deliveries. 🙂

Linking up today with Snap!

SNAP!

Christmases past…

Christmases_Past

One of the many fun things about keeping a blog is the ability to go back over time and reference previous days, weeks, months, and eventually years. Sometimes I like to randomly look up what we were doing on this day a year ago, or go back and read a bunch of our “just married” stories.

In other cases, it’s fun to see things you tried (and either love or hate now), how your style has evolved, and what you’ve learned. This week for me, it’s been Christmas decorating. 🙂 It was harder to get very “into” it when we had a shoestring budget and were renting so it didn’t quite feel like our home anyway, but it’s still fun and heartwarming to look back on the Christmases we’ve celebrated during our marriage and remember what “life” things were going on in the background, behind the photos.

2007 – Our first married Christmas. We were new to Des Moines and thrilled to be relocated from Chicago that summer in our first Des Moines apartment. We had actually moved from Charlotte, NC, to Chicago, to Des Moines all since the previous Christmas, so we were stoked to be staying in one spot for a bit.

2008 – A more stressful year, having lost my job in late October and working some ad-hoc jobs while searching for something more permanent. At the same time, Page was worried at the time about keeping his own employment status. Still in our first Des Moines apartment.

2009 – First Christmas in our townhouse. While we were still renting, this was a great move and we loved having a bit more space. It felt more like a house. I had found a home with a new employer by this year and Page was starting to get excited about making a move of his own, and fortunately on his own timing. In short, life was very good this particular year and we were more at ease about everything. This particular post made me realized I have improved my photog skills in recent years, just a tad! Ha!

2010 – I specifically remember not doing as much this year for decorating. We bought a new “main” tree and did it up, but I didn’t decorate any other rooms. This year was a busy one for us both with our freelance jobs on top of everything else, and I think there just wasn’t a lot of free time. After the first couple years of marriage involving one or the other being unemployed, we felt behind in our savings and we were in overdrive mode to save for a down payment, so we worked what felt like every waking moment. When there was a spare minute, we were completely lazy and wanted to do nothing but lay on the couches and stare at the one tree we DID manage to put up. We both had a hunch that this might be our last Christmas in a place that wasn’t “ours”. We had secretly made a goal to make 2011 “the year of the house”. We just barely squeezed in under the wire…

2011 – Just days after moving into our home (closing on the 1st and technically moving “in” on the 8th) we mustered the motivation to at least put up the tree and even hung a box of ornaments we were able to find among the piles. I’m so glad we did. I read this post now and I can sense how totally exhausted we were and just ready to be in a put-together house after a few months of not. I remember taking a lot of crap for our frustration haha – people told us just wait until you have kids and have to move! I can’t imagine. It was enough just being Type As that had to have it all unpacked, organized and decorated RIGHT NOW, working and running second jobs, and trying to squeeze in the handful of holiday parties and get-togethers on top of it all. There were lots of wee morning hours unpacking, catching a few shorts hours’ sleep, then going into the office. But we were so damn excited to be in our house and loved every minute of our non-traditional Christmas season that particular year.

It all makes me appreciate the calmness that has encircled us in 2012. What a difference a year makes in having a little time and energy to plan ahead and enjoy the process of pulling this together. Already excited to plan the 2013 version of our house’s holiday decorations — next year it will include the basement! Woo hoo! 🙂

Pssst….need an idea for gifts for your neighbors? Or teachers or anyone else on your list? An idea — with free printable! — is coming tomorrow!