December 31, 2013

My 2014 Resolution

I can't begin to express how much I'm looking forward to 2014 (tomorrow).

While I'm trying really, really hard not to meticulously plan it all out - because that never really works, does it? - I'm anticipating happy times.

2013 was a year of change for us, with many highs and lows, and overall I'm proud of myself for refusing to settle. But I have some high expectations for myself  next year, and so I knew I needed to dig deep when picking a word for 2014.


Drumroll, please....

INTENTION

I have this beautiful vision of what I want my life to look like, and I believe that consciously making choices is the way to get there...even if the "there" changes every now and then.

There are several resources available that address this very concept, a few of which I've listed below:

Jess Lively - Designing a Life with Intention

Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

To me, it's all about knowing why I'm making the choices that I am.

Am I doing something just because I think should be, because someone else is doing it or because it's moving me towards the life I envision for myself?

And my goal is that my answer would continually be the latter. So I'll keep you posted.

Happy New Year's Eve!



December 27, 2013

2013 in a Nutshell

Listen, I'm all for change. In fact, I LOVE change. It might even be an addiction of mine. But this year, I've had quite enough change, thank you very much.

It all started with a little (BIG) move to Colorado. This also came with living off of just my income. Then Cory got his first sales job (that he absolutely hated). In the spring I launched a little freelance business, which caused quite the (unexpected) commotion. Okay. Then Cory got a better sales job (that he really likes). And then I decided to leave the job that we had moved to Colorado for, because I accepted another one. And then that other one didn't turn out to be all that it was cracked up to be, so I left that job too. Back to one income.

Thankfully, this crazy year of change has a good ending. I literally stumbled into a job that I love. A job that I had been hoping for since college. A job that I had almost forgotten about/given up on because of one thing or another.

Oh, and then we moved again (to another apartment). 

Whew. So that was 2013 for me. 

I wish my accountant good luck.

As for me, I feel like I can finally breathe. And I'm ready for 2014. In which we plan to make very few life changes. 

Can I get an Amen?



December 11, 2013

Opps, I Did It Again

I've been MIA for over a month. I have good reasons this time though, I promise!

First and foremost, my stay-at-home dog momming days came to an abrupt end, less than three weeks after they started. More on that in another blog, but the point is - I'm a happy, working woman again!

Second, we've been on an intense apartment search that ended with a move last weekend in WAY below freezing temps.

Last and certainly not least, we went home for the holidays.



So I wanted to post a quick update to let you know that I'm alive and doing well, just extremely busy, and plan to return to regular blogging very shortly.


November 6, 2013

Facebook & Friends

With all of my newly acquired free time I'm finally able to get some major to dos checked off my list. One that I have been meaning to do for years now is clean up my Facebook page. I've had a Facebook account since my freshman year of college in 2004 and naturally a lot has changed over the past ten years. The unflattering party pics (many with the dreaded fish face) have just got to go. 

While going through over 3000 photos (seriously), it's been great to reminisce over all of the fun times we've had in the last decade. A lot of people have come in and out of our life since then, and it's nice to remember the various experiences we've had with them. We've been blessed with some really great friends over the years, all in their own season. 

And that's sort of the thing that I've figured out about friendship - it happens in seasons. 


I think most people were put in our lives to be both. 

There are very few people who will make it through multiple decades of our lives, so if we do have those people in our lives, we must treasure them. And for the rest, we can treasure the memories and good times we shared, no matter what sort of note our relationship ended on.  

Who knows, maybe a little (or large) Facebook cleanup will be in your future. And if it is, I bet you won't be able to make it through without cracking a smile on your face. 

November 4, 2013

Motivation Monday

It's been quite awhile since I've written a Motivation Monday post, but with some exciting opportunities on the horizon for our family, it just feels right for this week.

Right now I don't have a tradition schedule to force me out of bed in the morning, so it's important to me that I find ways to combat potential laziness. For the past two weeks it's really helped me get my day started right when I sign up to attend a Pure Barre class in the morning.

Sometimes it's at 6 a.m., sometimes it's at 8:30 (or okay, some days even 9:30), but regardless of the time, it's helps me to set a schedule. If class is at 6, I know I need to get my butt to bed early the night before, and if I'm not going until 9:30, I make sure to get up a little early (as in the 7 o'clock hour) to get some things done beforehand. I've read a lot of research regarding the benefits of early morning workouts, and I know for me it just helps to start my days off right.

I'm also a big planner, so every Sunday I make time to sit down and plan out my week. I set some goals, list some to dos to be accomplished and make sure I have an overall good balance planned for the upcoming week.

 I found this list on Pinterest & thought I would share. You know I love me a good list.


Have a great first Monday November!






October 31, 2013

Taking a Moment

Last heavy post of the week, I promise. But truth be told, this year has been a bit heavy for me. Not necessarily in a bad way, just in a heavy way. Lots of changes have taken place - states, jobs, downsizing from a house to an apartment, etc.

Adding one more item to this list is my new status as a Stay At Home Wife. Let me elaborate.

 I graduated with an integrated marketing communications degree in 2009 and held a couple of marketing internships before that. After graduation one of those internships turned into a full time job, which took me down the road of sales. Unemployment took me OFF that road, and back into marketing I went. Three years and another state later, I've found myself feeling really unfulfilled and lacking passion for the financial industry.

I began to dread going to the office every day. I had trouble sleeping and eating (which, is kind of a big deal for me - I'm truly a natural at both of these things). I couldn't "leave work at work".

You see, that's not okay with me.

I struggled with the decision to leave my good on paper, comfortable job with a decent paycheck. I knew that I didn't have it as bad as some people, but I also knew that I didn't LOVE what I was doing with my life. And ultimately, that argument won out.

So I'm taking some time. Time to do some soul searching. Time to really think about the direction of my life. Time to recharge.


(Photo credit to our friend, Stefan Choquette Photography)

And honestly, I'm feeling pretty awesome about it. Obviously, I plan to return to the working world as soon as I have it all "figured out", but for now I'm enjoying having extra free time to do what I want.

So far this has consisted of: going to barre every morning, walking the dogs, networking, sometimes getting in two work outs a day (holla), organizing our apartment, looking for a new place to move next month when our lease is up, blogging, soul searching, catching up with people that I love - I talk to my sister and best friend almost daily, reading, cooking, job searching and more.

The funny thing is that I know of a handful of people who have chosen to do this too this year. Is it an epidemic of non-settlers? Have we decided that won't spend 40 hours a week doing something that we don't love because life's too short?

Whatever it is, I just wanted to share this little (BIG) part of my life with you all this month. Now whatever we're doing, let's have a fabulous November!


October 30, 2013

30 By 30

The other night I was reading in bed, as I often do, and I came across a book review-type article in Shape (or was it SELF?). The book is called The FabYOUList, which sounded pretty cheesy to me, but when I read a little farther into the review I had to admit that I loved the concept. Basically, a married mother of three realized on her 36th birthday that she was much closer to 40 than 30 and that she had not accomplished many of the things she wanted to with her life.

So she set out making a list of things that she wanted to accomplish and ended up with exactly 40 items. Some were big (write a book) and others were small (take an adult ballet class).

This got me thinking about all of the things that I have envisioned for my life when I realized: I have 30 months (including this one) before I turn 30. And so my list began.

Some of the items on this list are really meaningful, others are just things that will make my life easier (one at-home-mani a week saves $780 a year, not to mention hours of time). Some can be accomplished in a month or less, some will take years. I made this list the night I first read the magazine article, jotting down whatever came to my mind and since then I've revised and refined it to make it perfectly authentic to me.

1. Write a book.
2. Own a home - again, and this time, make it one that we really feel a connection to.
3. Learn how to surf.
4. Be a better listener.
 5. Holidays - Find meaningful ways (to us) to celebrate.
6. Develop a healthy diet & exercise lifestyle. (Yep, still giving this one a go.)
7. Try my hand at styling, starting with friends.
8. Learn photography basics.
9. Then learn photoshop basics.
10. Master my mani.
11. Become a better cook, including overcoming my fear of chicken.
12. Develop a clear sense of home decor style & begin creating a home environment that I'm absolutely in love with. Every detail.
13. Practice yoga regularly.
14. Learn about wine & cheese pairing.
15. Blog - Find my niche, even if that niche is just writing to update my friends & family.
16. Be a better dog owner.
17. Pay more attention to men's fashion, for Cory's sake.
18. Think of ways to be a cool aunt.
19. Deepen my knowledge and appreciation for craft beer. (Yes, this is a real goal people.)
 20. Complete a mini-triathalon.
21. Have my writing published in a magazine.
22. Be okay with less.
23. Be on a career path that I love and can see a future in.
24. Find more ways to connect with family.
25. Follow a budget. For reals.
26. Become a better snowboarder.
27. Smile & look strangers in the eye.
28. Create more traditions.
29. Pay down our debt (student loans I've got my eye on you).
30. Finish what I start, or don't start it.

If you feel compelled, I hope you make a list of sorts, no matter what age you are approaching. And if not, I hope you'll follow my pursuit!

October 28, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 28: Blazer a New Trail

Since this is sort of the theme in my life latey anyways...


Life's Not Always Fair

I may have mentioned before, but for the past two years I've been reading a daily devotion by Sarah Young called, "Jesus Calling." A friend that I look up to very much recommended it to me, and since then I've found that many of the women in my life are reading this particular devotional each day. It's that powerful. 


(Haha - I had to.)

I just have to share today's message with you, because I bet that it's been oh-so-relevant for us all at one time or another in our lives. 

Young writes, "Do not expect to be treated fairly in this life. People will say and do hurtful things to you, things that you don't deserve. When someone mistreats you, try to view it as an opportunity to grow in grace. See how quickly you can forgive the one who has wounded you. Don't be concerned with setting the record straight. Instead of obsessing about other people's opinions of you, keep your focus on Me. Ultimately, it is My view of you that counts."

While I'm not currently going through a situation like this, I can remember many times in my past that I have been. Whether you are a believer or not, I believe this message is so true. We can't control what others say or think of us and, honestly, it is none of our business! What IS our business is to be true to ourselves, and to choose grace. 

Recently I was faced with a choice when exiting a situation. Encouraged by my dad to handle the challenge with grace, I did so, and I feel so great about it. I was able to walk away from a stressful situation with a smile on my face, a clear conscious and a peaceful heart. 

More on this to come...

Have a great Monday and choose grace!

October 22, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 22: So My City

I live in a college town of 150k, so you can probably imagine some of the interesting fashion I see on the streets of my city. Some good, some bad, some...essential. Like these Sorels. 

Last year I roamed the snow packed canvas of Fort Collins in Uggs, Hunters and embarrassingly, heels. None of those worked but eventually my native Colorado friends informed me about these babies. 


While I don't own a pair quite yet, these are the ones I plan to order!

October 20, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 20: Hue On Hue

Admission: I skipped days 16-19. Not because I didn't like the themes, but because life just sort of got in the way and I had an exhaustingly busy week. After a wonderful weekend with my husband and friends, including breakfast at a coffee shop, church and a chat w/my BF this morning, I'm feeling refreshed and ready to tackle life. 

And I'm starting with my #StyleMeOctober Challenge. 

So here you have it...my best version of hue on hue w/denim. 

October 15, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 15: Mixing Patterns


The Perfect Life

Ever feel like you will "be happy" once you attain a certain goal? Whether that be getting married, losing weight, making more money, whatever. I believe that many of us think this way. For me, it was always, "When we move out of Kansas" or "when Cory gets weekends off and we can spend more time together".

Oh, the elusive "perfect life."

Those two things have both happened over the last year and while they have both been extremely fulfilling, our life is still not "perfect." Don't get me wrong, I truly love my life, I've just begun to let go of the illusion of perfection.

What I've been realizing is that no one has a perfect life. Sure, it may look flawless on the outside, but underneath the surface there is stuff that we can't see.

This year has been full of highs and lows for us. It's been rewarding, scary, amazing and confusing. For me, I've been doing a lot of soul searching and asking myself questions like, "What am I here for?" and "What I am meant to do with this life that I've been given?"



I've learned that sometimes the best laid plans don't always fulfill you like you thought they would. And that life is not meant to be planned out meticulously, but it is to be appreciated, savored and lived. There is a lesson in each situation and it's our job to figure out what that is, while keeping ourselves open to unknown opportunities to come.

So the conclusion I've come to? Life is messy and it is beautiful. Most importantly, life is what we make it. We can choose to be joyful and thankful, whether we are in a palace or a prison. Our happiness in life is truly up to each one of us. And life is perfectly imperfect, just the way it is.

October 13, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 13: Makes Me Want To Twirl

Today was the perfect day to be in a skirt that "makes me want to twirl" because it's always fun to get a bit dressed up for church and running errands afterwards. Today's were: dog park, Home Depot for a little project we're working on and the grocery store for some lunch ingredients. 


Scarf - Target
Chambray Shirt - JCrew (this season)
Belt - Abercrombie & Fitch circa 2003
Skirt - purchased from a little boutique in Chelsea last December
Flats - Old Navy (this season)
Sunnies - Michael Kors
Bag - Vintage Coach
Coffee Mug (it's the most durable thing ever) - Bed, Bath & Beyond (for like, $5)

Have a great Sunday!

October 12, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 12: Used to Scare You

Believe it or not, it took me a long time to get into hats. I always felt awkward wearing them, until something just clicked. Now my favorites are: fedoras and baseball caps, though I'm not opposed to trying any & every kind! 

October 11, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 11: All About The Eyes

I've never been that good with makeup. I've picked up a few tricks here and there to get me by, but I'm really pretty simple when it comes to my makeup routine. It takes me less than five minutes to do my makeup each morning. 

One thing that I have improved on in the past year though, is my eye makeup and I have this to thank for that. 



Too-Faced makes it so easy, with the color palettes laid out for you & instructions on how to use each color palette for a different look (a total of three looks). It's a bit pricey ($45 or so, I think) but it lasts for a long time. I've been using it for about a year now and have even branched out to buying single shades and making my own combos with them! 

I'm no pro, but at least now I feel like I have "real" eye makeup on, as opposed to the one shade swipe that used to be my routine. You can find Too-Faced at Sephora.

October 10, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 10: A Classic White Shirt

I got this white tank at Old Navy a month or so ago and it has quickly become a staple. Old Navy has some great items at good prices this fall - check it out!

October 9, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 9: A Steal of a Deal

I spotted this dress in JCrew and felt like it was perfect for fall. It became even more perfect when I got it for less than $25 - originally $74.95. Score!


Happy Hump Day, Friends!

October 8, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 8: Polka Dots + Animal Spots

I got this shirt from Target last month & just LOVE it for fall. It's a little hard to tell in this photo, but the polka dots on it are black. Mix in a black pencil + leopard heels and it's off to work!


Follow me on Instagram to see all of the brands in this look & others from the #StyleMeOctober Challenge!

October 7, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 7: Layered Jewelry

Happy Monday! 

It's not hard to get jazzed up for the week after you've had a really good weekend, which I did. We spent a lot of QT w/my MIL and in between cocktailing, biking, eating, hiking and eating some more I was able to slip this little ensemble on my wrist. 


I'll be the first to admit, I love the layered jewelry look but I'm really don't do it often. I've always said I'm more of a simple jewelry person - too many pieces overwhelm me. Then again, I do really appreciate this style, so I'm looking forward to seeing what all of the other challenge participants Instagram today. Inspiration station! 

October 6, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 6: Bold Kissable Lips

Fact: Today is Sunday. I've spent the day hiking, eating a burger composed of half bacon and hitting up the grocery store. A bold lip was just not in order. So I pulled this unused oldie but goodie from the archives of my iPhone because I just love me a good red lip, especially in the winter - so glam.


Happy Sunday to All!

October 5, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 5: All Black like a Spy

My mother-in-law is visiting us from Florida this weekend and since she loves bluegrass music we took her to Crankenstien last night to see the Mother Pluckers play. While the music wasn't quite what we were expecting, we loved the venue (it's a bike shop/bar/coffee shop) and I had a super interesting tequila soaked cider and an AWESOME milk stout. Fun was had by all. 

For my All Black like a Spy look I paired a long-sleeve black fishnet top with leggings and booties, topping it off with a solid gold chain necklace. Super comfy!


Happy Weekend!

October 4, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 4: Nautical Preppy Stripes

When I think nautical, I think of summer, and I really didn't want to put on any of my preppy striped classics. This may be because the high in Fort Collins today is 41 degrees and there is a 60% chance of snow. 

Right...

So this was my compromise: not so in your face nautical stripes mixed with a preppy khaki pencil.


I ended up loving my outfit! Plus, I washed my hair - just for you! Now that deserves a close up.



October 3, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 3: Yellows + Greens

This dress was a staple for me last year and when I saw that today's theme was  Yellows and Greens I knew it would be perfect. Add a mustard cardi and some riding boots and it works for fall. I threw in one of my favorite scarves to add in another pattern too.


PS - One of my fears during this challenge is that you will realize just how many days a week that I DON'T "do" my hair. The topknot is just too hard to pass up some mornings!!



October 2, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 2: Perfectly Parisian

It was fun to see over 250 ladies participating in this challenge on Instagram yesterday. I even got to connect with a few on Twitter - so cool. : )

Today's theme is Perfectly Parisian and last night I had written a nice, solid post on why I went with what I did, but when I woke up this morning that post was missing.  Boo hoo. 

So instead, here is the super short version:

1. Messy, carefree topknot.
2. Fancy jewels with an otherwise casual outfit.
3. Half tucked in, half out chambray shirt
4. Pencil skirt in a beautiful, rich pattern + flats


I've said before that wearing a pencil skirt with flats is a "no-no" in my book, but when I think about Parisian style, I think about breaking the rules. Because they're meant to be broken, right? Especially our own.

Happy Hump Day!


October 1, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 1: My Style Icon

One thing that I've been struggling with this year is figuring out how to incorporate my style into this blog. I'm obsessed with several style blogs, including Damsel in Dior, Kendi Everyday and Sequins and Stripes. I follow all of these stylish ladies on Bloglovin, looking forward to their updates every day. And after I'm done reading their posts I think about how I never seem to manage to get my style across half as well as these gorgeous girls. 

So what better way to work on this than to start a challenge. And my challenge of choice is this: #StyleMeOctober. Bow Ties and Bettys is another great style blog (there are just oh-so-many inspirational women out there) from which this challenge comes from, and it looks like this:


The main platform for this challenge will be Instagram, but in order to keep with one of my yearly goals, I will be posting daily on my blog as well. 

My hope is that the end of this month, I will have found it easier to express my style online. 

And now, for Day #1 - My Style Icon


I wouldn't say that I have just one style icon, but like I mentioned earlier in this post, I follow all of my favorite bloggers daily and the one who provides the most inspiration for me right now is probably Jacey Duprie. Her style is fancy, laid back, smart and just so cool. She is ALWAYS, ALWAYS looking good.

September 30, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up

It was a really good weekend. 

Friday was rainy and dreary, so I skipped out of work around 1:30 and came home to an impromptu snuggle sessions with my pups on the couch. Yes, even Natty (shh...don't tell Cory). We watched this week's season premiere episode of Nashville, caught up on some magazine reading and just relaxed.


Around 4 I hopped across the street to my new favorite happy hour spot, Domenic's, to meet Rachel. We hadn't seen each other in awhile, mostly due to our conflicting travel schedules, so it was SO GOOD to catch up. Rachel was my very first Fort Collins friend and I just adore her. : )

Saturday Cory and I hiked to the top of Horsetooth Rock. It was probably the toughest hike I've done so far (not that I've done many at all) and was so cool at the top.


Later that afternoon we found ourselves at what is now one of my favorite new (to me) bars in Old Town called The Forge.


The only take cash and they only sell beer - lots of really, really good beer. I tried a pear cider & a pumpkin lager.


Cory tried this delicious beer:


On Sunday Cory went to work for a couple of hours and I took advantage of having the place to myself by staying in my PJs until past noon. Ahhh...it was awesome. We went to our friends, Stefan and Erin's house to watch the Broncos dominate & then it was home for me to plaster my butt to the couch and watch all of my abc show's season premieres. Have I mentioned the I LOVE fall television? : )

I hope you had a wonderfully relaxing weekend too. Now back to the grind of Monday!

September 27, 2013

Washington

Cory and I ended our summer travel with a trip to Washington over Labor Day weekend. This was the first time I had been to the northwest and I really fell in love with it. I mean, it was JUST like Twilight...what's not to love?


We spent three days crabbing with our family in Sequim, a truly picturesque ocean town. In between crabbing we found some time for other things, like reading, wine tasting and...okay, I'll be honest. 90% of our time was spent sitting around and eating crab. 



It was an AWESOME vacation that encompassed everything I think a good vacation should: relaxation, new experiences and plenty of quality time with people I love. 


We then spent Labor Day in Seattle, which was cool, but way more 90's grunge than I expected.



If we're friends on Facebook, watch for my WA Album - coming this weekend!


September 23, 2013

A weekend with Grandma

My Grandma Terrie and I have always had a special bond. We just seem to connect and "get" each other. This past weekend she came to visit us in Fort Collins and we had such a good time.


We took her to The Crown Pub for dinner on Thursday night and went out for breakfast and shopping on Friday morning. Later that day we had delicious salads on the patio at Austin's before going for mani pedis at She She, ending the night with homemade pasta & going to see the movie, The Family.


On Saturday we breakfasted at Snooze and drove up to Red Feather. We sampled beer at Fortober Fest and shopped for the grandkids. That evening we tasted cheese at The Welsh Rabbit and grabbed tapas at Jay's Bistro.


More than all of the fun things we did though, it was so nice to spend quality time with someone we love so much.

Sometimes I feel a little lost in the world. Like, who am I? What am I doing here? Does any of it really matter? And then I get to spend a weekend re-connecting with my grandma and am reminded where and who I come from. I tend to make life way more complicated than it needs to be and I realize that some things are just really simple.

I have love and I am loved. And there's nothing more important than that.


So thanks, Grandma, for reminding me of this simple truth this weekend. Love you!

September 20, 2013

Life Begins Again in the Fall

I recently heard this saying and believe that it is oh-so-true. Fall has always been my favorite season and I'm so excited that this Sunday marks the first official day of it. I plan on marking the occasion with a good deep of our place, pumpkin candles ablaze, of course.


There's just something about a new season that brings new hope and determination. This fall I plan to refocus myself to the goals I've made for 2013. That and enjoy all of my favorite fall indulgences:

Football
Pumpkin EVERYTHING
Fall Fashion: boots, fur vests & layers
Hot Drinks
Pumpkin Patch
 Halloween and Thanksgiving
And much, much more...

But back to the goals. The last full season of the year is the perfect time to finish what I've started. I hope you'll join me in ending the year strong.

Have a fabulous half summer, half fall weekend!

September 19, 2013

Current Read

Since we don't have any international trips on the books right now, I'm keeping my love for travel alive by diving into this beauty. New to paperback this summer, Beautiful Ruins caught my eye as soon as it hit the shelves. I had seen a magazine feature or two on it and knew it would be just what I needed to kick my last trip of the year blues. 



Tell me, what are you reading right now?

September 17, 2013

Fall Fashion Cravings

I don't know about you, but I've been dreaming of my fall wardrobe for quite some time now. Here are the top five things I'm craving:

1. Transition Looks


There's only so many days in the year when you can get away w/a little summer & a little fall. Love this look.

2. Sexing up jeans & a sweater with cuffs, heels and a little attitude.


3. A good leather jacket. Enough said.


4. Layers, layers, layers and booties.


Gingham + a nice, thick scarf + fur vest + cuffed jeans + booties = Fall Perfection

5. Leather panel leggings, the perfect compromise.


Tell me, what are you dreaming of this season?