July 28, 2014

Be Your Own Kind of Amazing

People are beautiful.  I love people watching and taking in the beauty of every day life and the tiny differences in each human that make them unique.  It's such a good thing to appreciate the beauty in other people, but you have to appreciate the beauty in yourself too.

When I looked in a mirror, I used to always see a pretty plain, normal looking person, but I'm beautiful too.  The older I get, the more comfortable I feel.  There are features that have been passed down to me from my parents, my aunts, my grandmothers and their mothers.  My hair, my figure, my loud voice.  I am grateful for those things that make me unique.

I have no idea how to wear makeup and I struggle with hair that isn't a top knot, but I own it and feel comfortable.  I love when my hair looks more red than blond.  I love the way that my hair air dries with natural waves.  I love the color of my eyes which is best described as hazel.

I finally embrace the fact that I will need glasses/contacts forever.  I love that I get freckles on my shoulders & arms.  My finger nails grow really fast and really strong and so does my hair (and no, I'm not taking prenatal vitamins.)  I have really long toes (fingers if you will) and I love them.  

Embrace it all.  You are who you are and as soon as you love that person, you will find yourself in a happier and easier place.  Be your own kind of amazing - you know, like my shirt says.

Happy Monday.  Love yourself, love your week and go love some other people.  I'm heading home from Nashville today so I'm probably pouting a little bit, but I'll get over it.  Also, watch this video, because it is beautiful and these women are amazing.

Linking up with The Florkens - one of the most beautiful couples I know :)

July 24, 2014

Life Lately

Mind dump begins here:

1.  We have been working so much lately.  Last night, the thunder started and it was just the excuse I needed to put down my computer and sit with the pups.  Quincy is afraid of storms and like to be under a blanket on your lap (and this is the dog that never likes to be held.)  Lola decided it looked comfy, so she crawled on my lap too.  I was just so damn happy... although my face looks a little creepy.

2.  You should probably save this recipe in your favorites and eat it next time you need some comfort mac & cheese.  I was in heaven Tuesday night while I inhaled so much of this.  Amazing.

3.  I am not a big fan of talking on the phone, but I have had a few extra long conversations this week with girlfriends and sisters all over the country and it gave me super good feelings.  I miss them all the time, but being able to catch up uninterrupted and laugh for an hour while drinking a glass of wine makes it easier (even if it's not face to face.)

4.  My niece is 6 today.  We miss those kiddos so much, but we get to see them in a few weeks.  Plus, thanks to Amazon Prime, I know that her gifts are arriving today.  We stick with this rule when buying gifts:  Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.  It rhymes so it's easy to remember.

5.  This summer is FLYING by and I haven't sat on a front porch yet.  WTF?

6.  Finally, I desperately need your help.  I have never taken a vacation without researching the top things to do and see and eat.  We are leaving tomorrow and I haven't googled one thing to do.

So, PLEASE, send me all your recommendations on restaurants, places to see and things to do.  Send me all your favorite country songs for my plane ride playlist.  We are celebrating a friend's wedding on Sunday, but we have 2 full days to explore this city that we've heard so much about, but never been to.  Please help.

July 23, 2014

4 Words for 2014: Create

Maya Angelou has a great quote that says: "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."  And I'm on a mission to find out if that's true.

I've never really considered myself a creative person.  I think it's because I'm not great at Pictionary and I didn't really know how to paint a self portrait in 6th grade art class.  As I've grown up, I've realized that there is a whole creative realm that doesn't focus on realistic paintings & drawings.

I decided to take part of my year this year (you can read my resolutions post here) and come up with some goals for myself based on the word "create."  I want to use more creativity in an attempt to have more creativity.  I want to take my imagination out of retirement and use the side of my brain that doesn't get much attention.

This list was the hardest for me to come up with, so if you have any ideas to add on ways to branch out and get a little more creative - let me know.

Complete 3 DIY projects.  You know, those Pinterest boards that I add stuff to all the time?  I'm going to make an attempt at completing a few things.

Visit at least 2 museums.  I want to not only explore my creativity, but learn a little more about art in general.  My husband went to art school and will be the greatest tour guide through the Met.  I think it's time.

Write.  And I'm leaving that as open as possible.  I have so many ideas and I want to take some time to get them down on paper.  Maybe even real paper instead of the computer.

Take better pictures.  There are some awesome photo challenges that don't use an iPhone, but instead they challenge you to take out your real camera and get creative.  

Complete a project with Justin.  Like I said earlier, my husband has some serious artistic talent.  His dream growing up was to be an animator.  I would love to work on something with him.

Take a class on something new.  Maybe I'm really good at arranging flowers and I never knew it.  I want to take a class on something outside the box and see if there are untapped artistic talents hiding.

Update my workspace.  My desk is kind of a disaster area in our apartment.  It doesn't really inspire to do anything other than roll my eyes and get frustrated.  It needs a ton of work and now is the time.

Live music.  I want to see more live music.  We used to go to concerts all the time and we haven't really gotten into our groove since we moved.  We are going to see Dawes on Tuesday in Central Park and I want that to be the beginning of a few months FULL of music.


If you are interested in the reading/research I'm doing on cultivating my creative side, you can always follow me on Pinterest.  I create a board for each of my words for the year.  Here is my "getting creative" board.  Please let me know if you have any good books, ideas or people to follow to help me with this resolution.  I'm open to anything.

July 22, 2014

4 Words for 2014: Connect

We are halfway through 2014 which is crazy.  Back in January, I decided to do something a little different with my resolutions.  In case you missed it, here is the original post.  Before I move on to my goal list for the word "create" - I wanted to recap my "connect" goals.

Be the best wife ever.  Well, you'd have to ask J how I did, but I definitely made an attempt.  We have no phone dates as often as possible.  I have been sure to send him little notes whenever I'm thinking about him.  I've been trying to pack his lunch or put his movies first in the Netflix queue.  It's the little things.

Send letters.  Check.  This is something I will continue to do often.  It was so much fun to think of random reasons to send someone a little something.

Become a better part of the community.  Hmmm... I guess this was a fail.  I have to do more research and get myself out there a little bit more.

Be present and intentional during social outings.  You can read that as "PUT DOWN THE PHONE."  It's crazy how hard it is to do this, but if you are very aware - you can do it.  I noticed a difference in the conversations and the amount of information I gathered while we were out.  This was especially important when we were visiting Minnesota because I wanted to soak them all in.

Meet new people.  I did OK at this.  We have been saying yes whenever we can.  I will eventually write an entire post about making new friends as an adult because I have a ton of thoughts on this.

Be a good neighbor.  I've been using the Be Nice Box to help give me ideas on how to reach out to more neighbors.  We love the building we live in, especially the dog park.

Appreciate our friends.  I think this is a forever project.  It's so important to make sure that the people in your life know how much you love them.  Sending mail has been one of my favorite ways to do this.  Also, we have been savoring our visits with out of towers.

Support local businesses and projects of other friends.  This is one of my favorites because it involves eating and shopping.  Duh.

Spread the love and practice random acts of kindness.  This is another ongoing important practice for everyone.  I'm continuing my subscription for the Be Nice Box because it gives me the best ideas and hints.

So there you have it.  If you missed the recap on clean, you can find it here.

July 21, 2014

A Day in my Life (GIF style)

I love this prompt from the Blog Everyday in July challenge.  I stalk this blog and love her "week in gif" posts.  They are my favorite.  So, here is a typical day for me using some of my favorite reality TV characters (and some of my least favorite.)

I'm a morning person, so jumping out of bed is usually never an issue for me.  My husband is not the same.  He is usually annoyed by my AM energy.

First up, coffee and news.

Then my workday starts and I have a good hour before anyone in the central time zone is in the office.

Once 10:00 hits, meetings have started and my day takes a turn.

1:00 rolls around and I realize that my stomach is screaming at me.

I attempt to choke down the kale juice mixed with whatever fruit is supposed to cover up that taste.

I dive into my afternoon training sessions and emails until I can't take it anymore around 5:00.

I make dinner, hang out with my husband and then contemplate going to the gym.

After deciding against the gym, I decide to paint my nails.

I settle in to write a blog post.

And then attempt to schedule some social media stuff for the following day.

Once the clock hits 9:30, it's one of my favorite times of the day.

And then I do it all over again the next day.

All GIF's are from Reality TV GIF's Tumblr which is a guilty pleasure website for me.