Tag / seriously though…

one little word for 2016.

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For the past two years, I’ve passed on the concept of a resolutions list and simplified things with one little word. (You can read about the One Little Word concept here.) Like everyone else, yes, I’m planning to get back into regular workouts, eat better, continue to improve work/life balance, and visit somewhere new in 2016. But rather than sweat the checklist, it is so much more gratifying to me to let a single idea guide my year rather than get hung up on what exactly I did or did not accomplish.

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After a crazy-busy year of adventure in 2014, followed by last year’s settling in and nurturing a new little family life, I’m ready for a year to not take it all so seriously. Hello, I sleep through the night again after many, many, long months of not. My hubby and I can finally talk about the possibility of a “just us” trip sooner than later. This awesome tiny roommate of ours is SO. MUCH. FUN. and on a daily basis, I just want to gobble him up with kisses and tickles. I’ve made some new friends and am ready to spend more time reconnecting with old ones. I need more one-on-one time with my mom this year – it’s like soul food to get a good long conversation with her and it happened too rarely in the Year of the Newborn.

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I have a year of balancing motherhood, day job, side job, and life in general under my belt, and I’m continuing to prioritize. I’ve let some things go in favor of others that are more important. I’m not going to do it all, and I’m getting better at declining an opportunity here and there. I’m trying to get tuned in to what I care about most so I can spend my energy whole-heartedly and in the right places.

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I’m planning on lots and LOTS of laughter in 2016. Happy tears. Dancing and singing. Silliness. Waking up rested. Slowing down for extra hugs and kisses. Coffee and conversation. Cocktails and conversation. More laughter. Sore face muscles from so much smiling. Maybe even staying up past 10. And when the inevitable tough stuff comes along, finding a way to laugh, yell, “plot twist!” and make the best of it. So much happens in a year, and it’s all really good, joyful stuff.

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Here’s to 2016…

Bliss.

Bring it on.

one little word for 2015.

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This time last year, I ditched the idea of a traditional resolutions list in favor of a single word on which to focus. Page got in on the selection for the first time and we landed on adventure as our guiding mantra for 2014. As the twists and turns of the year unfolded, we focused on rolling with them all, looking for even more of them, and relishing in the way our life together was evolving because of it all.

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Maternity Photos | Key West, Florida

We could not have known how true the concept of “adventure” would ring for us throughout the last twelve months — we had not yet decided to even look at the possibility of moving, and certainly not to build. We had begun to discuss the idea of starting a family, but neither of us dreamed that journey would begin as early as last spring. If you had told me when the ball dropped last year that in several short weeks, I’d be living in a one-bedroom apartment battling morning sickness, I would NOT have believed you. 🙂

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18 weeks & staking foundation | August

And yet I wouldn’t change a moment of the last year — it was one large, blessed adventure from start to (almost) finish, as the fruits of our two biggest adventures remain to arrive in the coming first few weeks of the new year.

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36 weeks and ready for siding | December

As I look back on 2014, there were other adventures that took place that, while somewhat paling in comparison to our two “biggies”, also helped us to grow and change. We took awesome trips, both together and separately with friends, and tried on new roles and responsibilities in our career paths, tried a new dish or two, and with our eyes a bit more open to them this year, discovered just how many adventures we get to partake in together.

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Page and friends skiing in Steamboat | February

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Girls’ weekend in New York City with my bestie | April

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Web designer… turned hand model for a client’s billboard shoot | June

The year of “adventure” certainly went full-throttle, and it took us in directions we couldn’t have imagined, but through so many experiences we wouldn’t trade for anything. It has been a huge leap for both of us in learning to let go a little, realizing we can’t control it all and that not everything happens on our time table. And that is all part of the bliss. 

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The BEST moment…when we learned we were having a SON | July

With that in mind, I think about what I want for myself and my little growing family, as I pick my word for 2015. While I’d sign up for it all again, I’m okay that 2015 is less about “go go go” adventure-seeking, and more about relishing in the ones that are happening now, finding our new normal as a family of three, nourishing our life in our new home, and truly “tending to my garden” so to speak, before striking out in search of the next to-do.

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My one little word for 2015 is nurture. 

Holding many different meanings for me this year, first and foremost is to step into this new role as someone’s mother, and continuing to improve upon being the best wife I can be to my husband. I am anxious to focus on nurturing my body, post-partum. Healing, rebuilding, and nourishing physically will in turn help me mentally, so I can feel more like myself again, and in turn have the energy to nurture others. It’s all a cycle.

I look forward to creating our home, the space in which we nurture our life as a family of three, both in the physical compiling of our finished home, and in creating memories together within its walls.

As always, I’m curious to see what our professional lives have in store for us this year. I am eager to try some new things in the spirit of nurturing my brain and challenging myself with new ideas and how to bring them to life.

In all, the goal is to relish, reflect, and take the best care possible of these blessings that have come our way.

Cheers to you all reading, I wish you a nurturing new year in 2015!

“Be one who nurtures and builds…”
{Marvin J. Ashton}

100 happy days.

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Shortly after the new year, I saw Instagram and Facebook posts pop up everywhere with the hastag #100happydays. I was so bummed I was out of the loop, and behind to start with everyone else on January 1. If you aren’t familiar with the project, you can read about it here. I love that it’s a simple way of keeping a gratitude journal of sorts, and it reinforces one of my very favorite sayings — that we are as happy as we make up our minds to be.

A friend declared yesterday, on July 1, that she was starting that very day. Of course — you could start this whenever you please! So I’m playing along, as well.

I’m astounded by the fact that 71% of people don’t finish this project because of lack of time. This is a great way to remind myself (daily) that there’s more than enough minutes in the day to be grateful and document what for.

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And I’m already planning fun ways to collect my 100 photos in a little book — I’m thinking I might order through the foundation as a way of donating to this cool project.

Anyone else want to play along? Or have already? I’ll be posting mine on my Instagram account if you want to follow along!

grateful.

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There are times when I still blog something just for me, and not for anyone else. Today is one of those times.

I’m a huge believer in things happening for a reason, and events being made known to you to keep you aware of just how much you have to be thankful for. While I find myself sending up a thank you prayer on a regular basis, a few recent events have me particularly aware of just how grateful I am for all that I have.

During this home building process, I’ve been weirdly excited to move into a one bedroom apartment with Page, put the bulk of our stuff in storage, and live pretty simply for the coming months. I think we are about to realize just how much we have…and remember how much we can do without. Additionally, in the face of some friends going through tough times, I’m reminded of just how strong we are together and that while, like anyone, we work at our marriage, in many ways we are blessed it’s been as easy as it has.

Cheers to a fun adventure in the months ahead, but also to appreciating the awesome guy I married, hanging on the couch, maybe eating off a paper plate, and needing little more than a good laugh together to feel completely fulfilled. Cheers to being grateful.

Happy weekend.

life in (black and) yellow.

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You may or may not have heard the recent news that The University of Iowa just ranked as the top party school in the nation.

I’m not going to lie. The immature, still-wish-I-was-a-student-some-days part of me had to smile at the story (you BET we’re number one!) as if it’s a badge of honor. Okay, in a twisted way it kind of is. 😉

But then I think of the high school students deciding where to continue their education in a year or more, and the parents who may influence them to pick a school other than the party capital of the country. And I feel compelled to share a little about my experiences and gains at Iowa, away from the shot glasses.

Yes. Iowa students party. Hard. But I think it’s more the fact that they do EVERYTHING hard. They push the limits. They have lofty goals. Now that I’m removed from campus life for more than seven years (!), I see clearly that my years as a Hawkeye were challenging, memorable, and most of all formative in every aspect of my life. And I look at the fellow alum in my life who are leading well-rounded, successful and happy lives. There must be some correlation, yes?

Hawkeye Homecoming

 Aside from the fact that a Big Ten school will bond you with strangers in an airport halfway across the country (if you’re wearing black/gold in other states, you inevitably hear SOMEONE shout, “Yeah HAWKS!!” in your direction)…

Aside from the fact that the school boasts a Greek community that rivals any in the country and led me to meet lifelong friends and become involved in community and philanthropic organizations…

Aside from the fact that Iowa City is a safe, Iowa town that boasts as much culture as it does friendly smiles…

Aside from all that…you have the meat of why you come to Iowa in the first place. Education.

I can only speak for myself, of course, but I was pushed (and pushed!) to become a better writer, earning my Journalism & Mass Comm degree from one of the top programs in the nation. I still remember a copy of a story I wrote at the beginning of a semester being displayed on the overhead for the class and watching as the professor took his red marker to it to “make it better”. It was bleeding red by the time he was done. The same scenario happened the week before finals with a different story; there was still a little red, but lots of green underlining the pieces that were much improved. I remember breathing a proud sigh of relief.

I was challenged over the course of my capstone semester to create (and re-create!) a 56-page business plan for a start-up company, guided by the professors in the Tippie College of Business Entrepreneurial Certificate program. When it was my turn to present my plan to our class of twelve fellow aspiring entrepreneurs who I’d worked alongside in this program the past three years, I took PAGES of notes on their feedback and to this day, can’t throw it away. The input I got that day was and still is GOLD.

And that’s just the undergraduate experience.

I look at our friends and acquaintances who are Iowa alumni and are now blossoming in a range of careers from law enforcement to law practice and everything in between. They are happy, settled, and many are creating families of their own. They are contributing to their surroundings and participating in their communities. They are also the same people who may or may not have drunk-walked home with me many a night in Iowa City. So say what you like, because students at ANY campus are bound to blow off steam in one way or another. But I’d rather be blowing off steam as a Hawkeye. 😉

san francisco pride: the window displays

I just returned from a fantastic first trip to the city of San Francisco. The purpose was to attend a graphic design conference, which always puts me in a heightened state of awareness to the graphics around me, but during this visit in particular, to this city, during THIS historical week, there was no denying the images of pride bursting at every seam of this city.

I have more to share about my trip, but wanted to post these various store windows around the Union Square area. It’s amazing to see so many national retailers step up and give prime sales space to such an important issue. I only managed to snap photos of a handful, but these colorful window displays were EVERYWHERE. I couldn’t help but feel as I walked around that history is happening right now. These days will be the subject of the history books our children and children’s children read years from now. I’m so happy I could capture a tiny bit of it in some photos.

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This one stopped me in my tracks. The artwork drew me to this side of the street, but it was the words that really sucked me in. Well done, Levi’s.

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Some were a bit more subtle, like this simple hashtag decal on Lululemon’s storefront window.

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This San Francisco based bakery, Câko, specifically iced dozens of real cupcakes in the colors of the rainbow. (And hell yes this one is taken from inside…I was in line ordering!) 🙂

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Crate & Barrel’s windows were right in the middle of a construction zone, so it was tricky to stop and snap, but I was equally moved by their spin-off store, CB2’s display around the corner.

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There were so many more, and in such a bustling area, it was difficult to stop and get them all. But I did manage to get a quick shot of one of my faves at Macy’s, keeping it simple and to the point:

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The icing on the cake was leaving the city yesterday. Upon the news breaking, pockets of people throughout the airport burst into cheers and clapping. A friend put it beautifully: “Humanity just got a little more humane.”

Happy Thursday.

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.

In the words of Baz Luhrman…

Wear. Sunscreen.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.

Consider this post my public service announcement for the season. If “The Sunscreen Song” and this video don’t motivate you to slather on the sunscreen this summer, I’m not sure what will! I am a sun worshiper – I’m at the pool every free second I have between May and August. And during college and the year I got married, I was an almost daily visitor to the tanning bed. I’ve had my share of bad, peeling, sunburns.

I also happen to be fair skinned (and as they mention in the video, I definitely have 50+ moles). I am married to a red-headed “ginger” (although don’t call him that – he hates that term haha). After years of prompting, this video was the final nail in the coffin when it came to convincing him to go to my dermo for an exam. There’s no particular spot he’s worried about, but after my several scares, and this video, I believe anyone with our traits should definitely get checked out on a regular basis, by a professional.

I myself have had several painful procedures, but they were minimal compared to what you see in this video. Thankfully, everything I’ve had was caught early enough that nothing spread. I keep my date with my dermo like I would an anniversary dinner. Priority. If you have light skin, light hair, light eyes, are prone to burning, or just have a spot that makes you go “hmm”, Get. Checked. Out. It’s so much less scary to go in now than later.

Slather it on, people. PSA concluded. Over and out.