30 May 2013

Biggity, Big Days

image via

Goodness there has been a lot of big stuff going on in my little world the past four weeks. And none of it I can talk about here unfortunately. That makes it hard to talk at all, you know. I dislike talking with vagueness to you. What fun it would be to sit and have a cup of tea with you and be able to really talk. Everything is going well, we've been making very surprising decisions and having some monumental days. There's been lots of happiness, tiredness and adaptation to change. I'm happy to see everyone growing and learning.

I am looking forward to sharing new adventures with you soon. Our little family has been on quite the adventurous path and we will see a lot of change coming in the next few weeks. The Man and I have been having some pretty incredible and impactful conversations about where we want to go as a family in the coming year and beyond.

It is amazing the hours and hours and hours we have spent going back and forth discussing things. One hour we would feel our decisions were made, then as soon as we attempted to move the chess piece forward we would feel a sense of hesitation and reopen the debate yet again. This went on for a couple of days. I had no idea we were capable of carrying something on like that for so long. I guess this was actually the first time in our life together that we've had that luxury - and we've probably never had to make such big decisions so quickly about our family life yet.

Pros and Cons conversations where both sides are arguably valid and emotionally charged are not easy. I was totally exhausted once we finalized our decisions and made the resulting commitments. But best of all as time went on I felt better and better about our decision. The very best part was looking at The Man and with big smiles on our faces saying we were ready to make the decisions, as a team, totally unified. It felt so good to come to that realization and promise each other that as we move forward we'll do it united, at peace and with courage together. Very inspiring, so energizing. It got me excited about the future.

Now that we've made our decisions, my mind has started wandering towards all the creative opportunities that will be a part of new changes. I'm looking forward to new adventures and relationships that will come too. I'm feeling inspired by these things and learning to let go of things that need to be let go of. Sounds so easy and yet is not so easy. But I think once we're able to look back we see it was never as hard as we expected. Looking forward to summer 2013.

How about you? What kind of summer do you have ahead of you? Lots of travel? Busy-ness? Vacations? Weddings? Camp?

27 May 2013

A Greater Appreciation For Memorial Day

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This Memorial Day Weekend I have a very special and somewhat unique appreciation for the sacrifices made by those who have paid the ultimate price for my and every American's freedom. They have also died attempting to establish and preserve the freedom of many millions of people all around the world. They do not fight to make the world into America, they fight to give every man the chance to choose his own life and how he will live it without oppression and tyranny.

I have become well acquainted this year with military families who have sent their loved ones to war. And I have watched loved ones return from war. To send someone you love to war and have them return safely to you brings great reverence. My heart breaks for those who were lost and did not come home and the families who suffer that loss. I will be forever grateful for their sacrifices and prayerful for blessings upon them. I will do everything I can to support those families and show thanks and tribute to their lives.

23 May 2013

Favorite Things To Do Around The World

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Yesterday on Facebook there was a conversation about favorite things to do in Denmark, which is of course one of my favorite places on earth. I lived there, I love it there and I speak Danish. That got me thinking about favorite things to do in places I've been around the world and I thought I would share some here today.

Denmark: Karen Blixen Museum. Watch Out of Africa first. Skagen is a lovely city to visit as well. Bike riding in Scandinavia is a must.

Norway: Bergen. The Funicular takes you to an amazing forest and view of the city. Old Town there is fantastic as well. The train ride from Oslo to Bergen is unbelievably beautiful.

Sweden: Downtown Stockholm is incredibly gorgeous. Walking there is heavenly. Seeing the many small islands near Stockholm is lovely from the water as well. 

Bangkok: The street markets and tour of the waterways.

England: In London I loved going to a concert at St. Martin-of-the-Field church. Bread pudding served downstairs during intermission.

Scotland: Take a walk up in the hills of Holyrood Park. One of the most amazingly, refreshing days of my life. The tall grasses, the ocean winds and views of Edinburgh are fantastic.

Wales: St. Fagens National History Museum was a lovely day in the sun. Everywhere I turned was an amazing opportunity to take a gorgeous photo. The wandering was lovely too.

Baja Mexico: Todos Santos, Hotel California. So many gorgeous details to take in.

The Netherlands: Amsterdam walking is amazing. So much to see and take in. Bring your camera.

Tahiti: Papeete downtown market. Great place to buy beautiful handmade items and sweet smelling scents. And...I never saw a bad beach view in French Polynesia. Best tan I've ever had in my life. Lasted me all summer and into fall.

These are a few of my favorite experiences and sites around the world. How about you? A favorite day in a favorite place far away you can share with us?

20 May 2013

Treats From Victoria's Secret

images via Victoria's Secret

As part of my Spring Sabrina project, I wanted to find a new self-tanner and related skin products and really wanted to find some girly cute sleepwear. Wondering what a Sabrina project is? You can read about it here and here.

I found everything I needed at Victoria's Secret. Now it's no secret to anyone I've ever discussed lingerie with that I have never been able to find one bra at Victoria's Secret that fit me right. I just gave up on the place for the most part. So I decided to venture in again to find some fun sleepwear and then at about the same time a military associate mentioned Victoria's Secret's self-tanner was great too. So I decided to check it out.

I went to one of the biggie department stores first and tried on a bunch of sleepwear with no success. Then I headed to Victoria's Secret and found these darling pajamas. I love a pair of 100% cotton pajamas and they had so many cute, feminine styles that fit me well. Finally, something there that fits me. I snagged this white with black polka dot pair. I like the little girly details, the leopard print trim and the white & pink buttons. Super cute and they are so comfortable.

Then I checked out the Beach Sexy Self-tanning Tinted Lotion. Lucky for me one of the girls that works there had been experimenting with it that day so I could see what it looked like on. I picked up a bottle but also picked up a travel kit that had a smaller tube of the self-tanner plus Beach Wave Hair Spray and Instant Bronzing Shimmer Dry Oil.

I haven't had much chance to actually use the tanner and bronzing oil yet. It seemed like every time I wanted to try it I was a couple of hours away from taking a shower, getting all sweaty or was wearing a new white shirt or something. I'm looking forward to checking it out more this coming week. I did fall in love with the Beach Wave Hair Spray. It worked great. I loved it. I had amazing wavy hair that lasted a couple of days. I just put it up in a messy bun at night and in the morning it would look great again with a few spritzes of the BWHS. Good stuff.

Here are the links to all the products I purchased:

Do you have a self-tanner you love? A "go to" spot for great pajamas? Do you have a favorite sea salt beach hair product? I'd love to hear about them. Passing on recommendations has been an extremely successful way for me to find products that I really like. I'd love to hear what you're using or what you're looking for.

17 May 2013

The Makings of A Good Week

It's been an action packed week to say the least. This week has been about crazy house cleaning, receiving lots of boxes, dealing with cars, lots of communications with friends and family and happily a good amount of time outdoors. It's also gone unbelievably fast. I'm actually quite sad it Friday already.

I'm happy to have a little sun on my cheeks and to have spent time with my feet in the ocean a couple of times this week. It's the time of year to start taking full advantage of summer and start making the most of it now. I am looking forward to this summer for bike rides, picnics, hikes, walks on the beach, collecting shells, naps on the sand and hopefully a little camping with the family.

I am feeling so grateful for all our blessings this summer and all the nice things we  have to look forward to. It's a time to count of all the things we have to be thankful for from life itself, every moment we get to spend with people we love and treasure and everything beyond that. The blessings we take most for granted it seems. 

The major life lesson I've learned this week is the value of communication within our families. When we really take the time to talk to each other we sure understand each other a lot better and can alleviate hurt feelings, frustrations and the little things that break down our relationships. It's been fun to watch and participate in little bits of communications this week that have benefited my relationships. I like seeing us work through things and being kinder and gentler with each other.

15 May 2013

Old Navy Summer 2013

image 1 and  image 2 via Old Navy

My theory that you find the best clothes when you aren't really looking and don't want to spend money continues to be true. Last week I ran to the bookstore to pick up a new journal and decided to just pop into Old Navy next door to see if they had any good shirts for The Bug who has suddenly gone through another growth spurt. I a found three cute shirts for her and then I made the "mistake" of venturing into the women's department.

I walked out with two new tunics, a swim cover-up and a new fedora. I picked up this tunic, a navy blue and white one too. Then I chose this cover-up in Navy blue, but I am showing you the white one because you just can't see the detail in the navy blue image. I thought all of the things I found would be so cute for beach days in San Diego this summer. I have never really owned a swim cover up before. I guess I've always just worn shorts and a tee shirt but I thought it would be fun to have a more girly look this summer.

I was pretty impressed with what I saw at Old Navy for Summer 2013. The collection definitely had a BoHo feel to it but there were colors and styles that would work for every personality and body type. You never know what you'll find when you pop into a shop with no intent to buy. It's always a jackpot when you're not seriously looking for clothes. This tells me that if I want to continue to upgrade my wardrobe I should start shopping with no intention to buy more often. Haha.

13 May 2013

Home Reorganization Project Week #12 - The End

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Great progress this past week in the Home Reorganization Project, even though I was on light duty only. It was technically the last week of the project and I have to move on to other things for a while. Of course the need to continue to reorganize and tidy up will never end, but the major Spring 2013 push needs to end.

We were able to get into a storage unit last week. That was a huge success. It was amazing how tidily everything fit in because it was well packed in bins, boxes and bags. It looks pristine and perfect, everything is well marked and easy to find and there is still room for more. Next trip we will take a few very small pieces of furniture, some art and a couple more boxes. But for the most part, everything is there now and my dining room actually has space to use the other half of the table now. Quite exciting.

Because of all the craziness of the past couple of weeks, the house looked a bit like a tornado had hit it by Friday. So the weekend was dedicated to whipping things back into shape. Lots more work than I wanted it to be, but that's life.

As I wrap up this big project, that has lasted exactly three months, I am so glad I did it. It evolved a lot through the process and that is something I am learning to be okay with. Progress rather than perfection is the name of the game. You can read about how it all got started here. The other big lesson I learned it to pace myself. You can read more about that here.

I am looking forward to enjoying a quieter, more peaceful home now that there will be less chaos and more open space and room for everyone. That was the goal of the project, so I'm pleased to say it was a success.

10 May 2013

May Birthday Fun

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One of my favorite things about having a May birthday is that it kicks off the summer season just before Memorial Day. Some years my birthday is attached to Memorial Day weekend so it's fun to get an extended holiday for celebrating. Even though getting a year older every twelve months can be a little depressing, I've decided to not waste a moment being unhappy about a birthday. Instead I have tried to make my birthday the most fun day of the year for me and fill it with lots of things I enjoy, thoughtful activities, time with my favorite people, in my favorite places and in complete happiness.

It's always fun to start getting little birthday treats in the mail from some of my favorite retailers whose mailing lists I have joined. Each year I get a free "create your own perfume" mailer from one company where you can go in and have a sensory experience with an associate and create your own special scent. Today I got another little mailer for some free makeup samples from another favorite retailer. Others send special discounts or offer a free meal at a favorite cafe on my birthday.

This year I am making a special effort to make a list of all these little ways to celebrate and I'm calendaring them all in. It seems like if I wait until after my birthday I forget and lose out, so this year I'm planning it all out with intention to take advantage of every fun little opportunity to celebrate I have. It gives me the chance to spread little celebrations over several days or to set aside one or two grand days to do them all. 

I'm already looking forward to breakfast at a favorite cafe. I might even go by myself with a book or magazine or my laptop for a while. Sounds heavenly. I could totally use some new perfume so I'll do that too. I'm already getting excited for my birthday and it's still a few days off. One of the best parts of getting older is learning to appreciate all the good moments in life. I'm looking forward to quite a lot of those in the next few weeks. Yay!

09 May 2013

Inspiring Posts In Other Places

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I thought I would share some posts that I have written which have appeared on other blogs. These posts are about life-changing lessons in peace, happiness and even anger. It's so interesting to go back and read them and see how many of the same issues I continue to think about, see the places where I have grown and how my life has changed over the years. Maybe there is something here that will inspire you too for your heart and home.

I Am Enough. I loved this project from the moment I first heard about it. Created by photographer and all around gracious and fun woman Tracey Clark, it is a collection of writings by women seeking to remember that they are enough just as they are. Here's the link to the piece I wrote about learning to speak kindly to myself.

Finding Your Joy. I wrote this post for the blog Re:find Joy. You can find a lot of inspiration at Re:find Joy for weddings, design and daily living. There are lots of posts on finding joy in life which I love. My post is all about actualizing your dream life now and living in joy every day. My heart still warms when I read this post. Good memories and good reminders to myself. It also makes me grateful for homegrown tomatoes. I don't like tomatoes but my people LOVE them, which makes me so happy.

Ten Steps To More HappinessSeven Cherubs is a blog from Australia written by Naomi, mom of seven. She has quite an adventurous life. I wrote for her blog about ways to bring more happiness to life. I think I really write most of my posts for me because they are things I need to learn but they seem to resonate with others too. That gives me a chance to learn amazing lessons from others too.

Getting To Know Agitated Me. Writing this post gave me a chance to strike up a new friendship with Creative Soul In Motion blog founder Erin. I am looking forward to talking to her about Reiki soon. This post is about learning what your anger and frustration are telling you are how to act more quickly to resolve the things that are causing them.

I 'll share some creative projects of mine that have appeared on other blogs sometime soon. Hope you find something inspiring here. Warmest wishes.

08 May 2013

The Summer of Red, White & Blue

bottom left image via Reuters, all other by kalanicut

I took down the few Spring decorations we had up a couple of weeks ago then decided that now that it's early May it's the prefect time to decorate for a full summer of patriotic living. We have a lot to wave the flag about this summer including homecoming in the next few weeks. Hooray!

Then there's Memorial Day weekend, Flag Day, Independence Day, Pioneer Day if you grew up in Utah like me and lastly Labor Day. I have always been so glad that our city does patriotic fireworks the week before July 4th so we can celebrate here at home and then again July 4th at home with my family. My parents will also be leaving their 18-month stint here in California to return to Utah that same week. There will be a lot going on for the family.

So I pulled out all the festive decorations and have started fixing up the mantle for the summer. Nothing too crazy, just a few little cheery red white and blue touches. I decided I can also leave up our big wood star for Stars and Stripes season. I also want to make a homecoming bunting of some sort to hang up to welcome our Daddy home. We definitely need some yellow ribbons somewhere. Maybe on the tree on our front entryway.

This week is really the last quiet week I will have for a while and it's not really quiet, it's more of a panicked scramble to get lots done, especially since nothing got down last week. Boy am I glad I started organizing projects in February, especially since I'm not supposed to do any heavy lifting right now. Ergh. But I'm going to get all I can done this week and then just let things ride and try not to be too busy. Life will be busy enough.

How is your summer shaping up? Is it already action packed or are you still thinking about what you want to do this year?

07 May 2013

A Pin Test #13: Paper Butterflies

I found a great Pin Test I could do while resting in bed this weekend. I needed a mandatory rest weekend based on last week. So I decided to try making these Paper Craft Butterflies from Bastel Blog. I thought they would look really cute hanging in front of the window in The Bug's room. She has white curtains and I thought these would look charming floating in front of them.

It was fun to try to check out the instructions in German. At first no translation option appeared. I wouldn't have made it in German, that's for sure. But once the instructions were in English things moved along pretty quickly.

Here's the link to the original tutorial along with the instructions and photos from their projects. I made mine quite a bit larger than described in the original post  I just tried to keep the sizes in the same proportions as the original measurements and it worked out quite well.

Made very small these would be pretty framed in a collection, like you would see real butterflies framed in a museum. In large sizes they are fun decorations for a nursery or little girl's room,or as decorations for a baby shower or birthday party hanging from the ceiling. They would also be pretty strewn down the center of a table runner with candles for a lovely centerpiece. Darling strung together as a garland too. There are definitely lots of pretty options and these don't cost a cent if you already have thread and old magazines.

My one tip for you would be chose pages with lots of big bold color and not a lot of small text. My favorites are the ones with the most intense color contrasts and darker colors since they will pop up against white curtains and a white wall. But you can experiment and see what you like best.

So that was a great Pin Test for me. Only took about an hour, no cost and success at the end. If you try them, let me know how it goes.

images by kalanicut

06 May 2013

Home Reorganization Project: Week 11

image via

I almost have to laugh at how perfectly this image explains what happened with the Home Reorganization Project last week. Stopped, flat on my back. I was hurt last week which left me sore from the top of my head on down. Looks like it's all just soreness and everything will be on the mend soon but last week the only time I was even mildly pain-free was lying on a bed of ice packs. So absolutely nothing was accomplished last week except a ton of phone calls, keeping us fed with take out and taking care of the little one (getting her up, to school, home from school, fed, homework, etc. -- a full time job in itself).

So here is my lesson for the week regarding this project. Always, always plan in more time than you anticipate for out of the blue situations that come up. The more you plan, it seems, the more likely things are to happen to mess up your plan. But it's still great to plan because you make way more progress that way than by just letting things roll.

I need to have my home in tip top shape by the beginning of next week for sure. I lost a full week just before my deadline. Thank goodness I started in February and have slowly but surely been accomplishing things! I still have quite a few things to do to wrap it all up this week, including doing a quick last clean of each room. Always plan more time than you would normally expect for any project. That's my reminder lesson this week.

03 May 2013

Learning To Thrive on Life's Roller Coaster

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I knew this month was going to be a roller coaster ride just from looking at our calendar. But I had no idea that life would throw us some big surprises in too. The surprises have not been good ones, but we're just going to count our blessings that things aren't worse. (She says with a smile.)

This is where I feel like I'm supposed to play the good little blogger and pretend that life is always a bowl of cherries, we have all the money in the world and never have a moment of discord in our relationships. We smile, treat others well and nothing bad ever dares enter our perfect little sphere. Oh, if only life were so. If only I could will only good things to our life by the sheer energy of having a positive attitude, counting my blessings and smiling.

But alas it is not so. Roller coasters have amazingly intense ups and terrifying downs. Bad stuff happens and it happened this week and it's terrible timing for it. (Now I'm imaging anyone reading this feeling like they must write an obligatory "I'm so sorry you're going through a hard time, sending you XOXOs that things get better soon." comment below. I promise you I'm not pressuring you into that either.)

Despite a junky week to say the least, I'm happy, have had moments of joy, have enjoyed my few moments of resting and have not freaked out too much considering the circumstances. This, my friends, appears to be life as it's intended. We get tried with hard, frustrating, painful and sometimes devastating things and our test is to find or return to our peace, to see the good, and find and love the daily bits of joy that come to us.

That's life. Work through the bad and find and devour every bit of good. When I look at some of my best mentors this was not only their survival tool, but their tool to THRIVE! This is one of the qualities that makes them amazing and inspiring. This is what seems to have made them such happy, blessed people. That's my life goal, not to merely SURVIVE but to THRIVE. So on I go to thriving.

Hope you find some moments of THRIVE in your coming days. I'm praying for it for you.

02 May 2013

They're Called Uggs But I Call Them Fabulous!

I love these sandals so much that I can barely look at this photo without gushing. And happily they are mine and for $75 below retail price. Yay! I think it's pretty well established that I love clogs and wood soled shoes. If there were any question about that I think we could refer to posts titled Dansko Clogs, Swedish Hasbeens, Dinosaur Clogs, Uggs Clogs, Cape Clogs, Green Sanita Clogs, and Sundance Catalog Embroidered Clogs. I'm still wearing a pair of black professional clogs I picked up in a thrift store in 1998 in New York City. Sometimes The Man even wears them. I'm sure they're unisex clogs. Did you know that when I lived in Denmark, all the workmen wore clogs. They are truly a shoe for every day and lots of standing up.

These are the Uggs Nadia and the leather is absolutely gorgeous and I love the nailheads around the base. Natural wood soles are just dreamy to me and these pretty ladies will be great with a dress, skirt or pants for summer 2013. And still after writing this entire post, just looking at these shoes makes me giddy. It's good to feel silly enthusiasm for things in life isn't it. It sure feels good to me. It's great to have something fun to be happy about.

Anything making you silly giddy these days? I love hearing about those things. Have you found any killer sandals that have you totally excited for summer 2013? I am seeing some fun stuff out there including some awesome Espadrilles - check out this pretty post from Camille Styles. Espadrilles are another favorite shoe of mine -- again that comes with very fond memories from my childhood! I do love shoes.

01 May 2013

Am I Looking At It or Am I Living It

Every once in a while I have a Saturday totally and completely to myself with no obligations or engagements. This happened recently much to my glee. My first goal was to let myself sleep in as long as I could. I was wide away at 8:30. Yep, that's two hours later than normal, but still I don't consider that a respectable "sleep in as late as possible." A college girl would shake her head in true disappointment at my poor effort. Haha.

On these kick back days I will often recharge my batteries by getting caught up with some favorite bloggers, spending a little time on Pinterest and writing some blog posts of my own. I stayed in bed, in my pjs, viewing some delicious homes, reading some very inspiring wisdom about marriage, chatting with some fellow military girlfriends and spouses and catching up with what the friends were up to on Facebook.

After a few hours of lounging, I start getting very itchy to get out and get some sun on my cheeks and experience life outside of the computer and other people's words and pictures. The thought above came to my mind on this particular Saturday.

It's easy to get caught up online, looking at other people's versions of our dream life. Yes, it's great to get inspiration and enjoy beautiful words and images, it's perfect to then take those pretty things and go forward and focus on living your own best life. It's the most energizing and exciting. I had all sorts of fun things in my mind after that restful morning. But most importantly I wanted to remember to focus on my own life and making it as beautiful to me at the words and images I found online. In fact it will be more beautiful because it will be my heart and soul and I will feel more connected to it than anything else I see.

Here are a few things I am thinking about that help me live that life of my that I do love so much and sometimes forget to nourish.

1) Put music on in the house.
2) Light candles at night.
3) Turn off the electronics.
4) Ride my bike.
5) Spend time with friends.
6) Make time for museums, flea markets, thrift stores, etc.
7) Buy a few new clothes. I did this yesterday & already feel refreshed.
8) Buying fresh flowers. I have neglected to do this lately. But have added a lot of house plants.
9) Enjoying my home. I don't just sit in my home and enjoy it enough.
10) Rather than rushing around, slow down and take time to live my days more.

Do you ever find yourself living in a magazine or on your Pinterest boards rather than really living? Do you have any tricks to get you out of that? Please share them. I think in this digital crazy age we could all pull out of our phones and computers a little more and enjoy our real worlds.
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