Monday, March 30, 2015

52 Hand Lettered Project – March Recap

“How do you like your coffee”
Piping hot with French vanilla creamer! 
I’m such a sucker for my coffee creamer. As much as I would love being awesome and drinking it black I just love the creamy taste! Thanks to Emily, I tried this (or Taylor actually) homemade creamer recipe and am IN LOVE! It is absolutely amazing and so much cleaner than the store bought French vanilla creamer I've grown accustomed too! Not gonna lie, I’m still not opposed to the other creamer, but given my 3 cups a day at work and two on the weekends, if feels good to be putting less chemicals in my body! NOTE: This is my go-to. In the summer I’m a total iced coffee with hazelnut syrup for road trips!!

“on a day off”
Coffee in Bed, Wander w/ Him, Cocktails
I love everything this represents. Starting my day off cuddling in bed with coffee is PERFECT. Especially since our room lets in so much light and it beautifully bounces off our crisp white linens, how can you not like starting your day off there? Once we get up and going I love to “wander” with Max. Whether that be flea market hopping, bar hopping, boat hopping or exploring, we are always on the move (excluding Sunday's... DUH!). Even if it's wandering around our house! 
And, let's be honest, cocktails are just a must!

“home is…”
…where we make it…
I know it’s so cliche, but as long as Max and I are together, I am home. 
End of story.

“song lyrics I love”
I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind, I feel free now
Do you have ANY idea how hard this was to narrow down?!? I ended up choosing my favorite line from my favorite song, Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve. Something about this line has always spoke to me. Music always speaks to me. It can be the most powerful and impactful thing in my day.

“words to motivate”
This means everything to me. It was the first tattoo I ever got many years ago and has sorta been the mantra of my life. I’m a dreamer. A daydreamer. A daydream believer if you will. I always have fantasies about life. I dream about my life and what I imagine for my life to come. Current, future, or otherwise. I love thinking about these things. They are constantly entering my mind and making me smile. No matter how radical they seem. 

Monday Motivators: New Beginnings

At my core, I am a ridiculously corny, sappy romantic that loves to find meaning in every symbol and event in my life. Acting on these feelings-- finding ways to bring them to life in some material or behaviorial way--now that can be exhausing.  Which is why I save that energy for times when it feels really natural to do so. 

Enter Alex & Ani

Our close family friend, Liz, was recently showing off this gorgeous bracelet her husband bought for her. "It's from this great spot called Alex & Ani. All of their products are made in the USA, they're reasonably priced and you get the same sentimental intentions of a Pandora bracelet without having to wear a Pandora bracelet!"  (Sorry, folks...I'm not a fan).  After more talk about the jewelry (and between wiping the jealous drool from my chin), I also learned that part of the profits go right to charity! I had to jump on board. 

So, after some obessive searching for not just the bangles I found lovely, but the perfect starter bracelet that I could anchor myself to, that I could wear as a true representation of who I was... I found this gem. 

I now get to wear this beautiful daily reminder of my successes.

Here's the little blurb that the creators so cleverly composed to snag hungry consumers like myself: 

"A perfectly crafted, 8-sided sun represents the universal law that life's outcomes are a reflectoin of your efforts. You have limitless opportunity to positively lead and affect others. Empower yourself to shine brighter than yesterday, to let your passoins spark actoin. Astound yourself and those around you with your abilities. Embrace the energy of this powerful charm and create your own new beginning." 

I know, right? They sure hooked me! 

Whatever. I took the bait. Here's why this charm is perfect for me: 

New relationship. This was actually the first picture taken of us as a couple. It was on my very first night in New Orleans, when I came down to visit and interview for jobs. The face was all smiles, but I had a storm of butterflies inside. This was no run-of-the-mill new beginning. This was a new life. 

After living in Kalamazoo, Michigan the entire 27 years of my life, I was leaving to move 1000 miles away to New Orleans. New city. No more safety and comfort of sister and parents and childhood friends. We lived in a tiny apartment at the bottom of this house. I lived in a town where the bells of streetcars and 99% humidity were the norm. 

Being a fur mama. I had a short stint while in Michigan, but was not the sort of mother I should have been. I had a chance to do right this time. I would be the best mom to this pup possible. And the shared responsibility with my husband was a new and refreshing experience as well. It is one of the many ways we make such a great team.

Our move to Chicago. New set of friends. New shifts in education that would challenge me in big ways. An hour commute one way that would challenge my innate road rage. Big skyscrapers became a part of my every day backdrop. New Orleans was nothing. I was really in the big city and had to learn how to fit in--and keep up. Did I mention all of the buildings? 

Speaking of being a great chance at being a wife! New marriage.  These past 4 1/2 years have been some of the very best of my life. Love this guy.

After all of this newness, I was pretty mentally exhausted. Becomming a runner has been one of the best new things I've added to my life. It follows me wherever I am. It will never leave me. It never lets me down. Running is a lifestyle and I'm so glad to have it as a companion. I'm glad it's part of who I am.

It's fun to reminice. It's fun to pat yourself on the back for making it through some difficult but important changes. 

What's even more fun is when it gives you an excuse to buy a new bracelet! 

March Wine Club – Michigan Madness

{swag bag!}

March Wine Club might have been my favorite so far. Every month I get to know the girls a little better and every month the FOOD gets even better! This month was no exception. Not to mention we’re all ecstatic that we get the event overlaps with some daylight! Its springtime and oh how glorious it is!!

The theme this month was “Michigan Madness”. Each person was required to bring a made-in-Michigan wine. This theme was a lot of fun (and delicious) to say the least. Michigan has some good stuff!

I realize as I type this that I never seem to actually document the winning and the losing wine each month. Fail. This would probably be very helpful to our readers ;) I shall start that next month!

In the meantime, enjoy the pics of delicious food! Maybe next month we’ll actually take a group photo! Or you know, just people in general... 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Little of this...little of that...

Well, March came and went, didn't it? I was just looking at pictures of the family in Florida, longing to be with my sis again, and I realized that it's been over a month since my parents had to pry us free from the death grip that held us together so I could get on the plane back home. That part never gets easier. (Some day sis...some day...).

So, I landed back in NOLA and was off, once again, resuming the daily rush that makes my weeks merrily fly by.

Here's what I've been up to in my absence.

-A little decorating...We had protraits made of the pups. Cutsom framing job and strategically hung over the new vintage French bar cart in the dining room. Plus, bonus, we found an antique market poster from India one day while walking through the French Quarter. One look at this print and you'll know why we had to get it.

-A little winning...The Whole Life Challenge wrapped up in mid March and my husband and I tied for the WIN! The visit to Florida did sent me back a few nutritiional points, but other things held hubby back, which helped me catch up to his lead. People at work now know not to mess with The U's.

-A little induldging...Now having free reign over whatever I want to consume, I headed to Starbucks and ordered a cappuccino...milk and all. Followed by a cafe au lait. My two favorite coffee bevs aside from my usual black. Frothy & filling & delicious. And then let's not forget the wine. My wine is what I missed the most those long 8 weeks.

-A little gardening...Warm weather is finally here to stay. We've spent nearly every weekend in our backyard plucking, pruning and planning for this spring's improvements. I can't wait to share more of what we've started.

-A little parading...St. Patrick's Day comes just in time to catch the falling spirits of New Orleanians who can't accept that Mardi Gras is over. In the Irish Channel (our old neighborhood), locals can enjoy one last parade. the floats are nothing like Carnival season, but the scene is the same: Magazine Street lines with tailgating chairs, blankets & ladders...coolers brimming with booze, barbeque sizzling, crawfish boiling and more unnecessary junk flying through the air toward anyone who's begging for it ("Throw me something, mister!!"]. It's beautiful. Many people who live here prefer this parade to the large scale MG. Personally I'm indifferent. As long as the weather is nice and my friends are there, it's all the same to me.

-A little [more] running...There's been some very interesting weather patterns, causing me to pause and take snapshots of the scenery on my runs. I'm not currently registered for any races, but do plan to fit in at least two 5Ks before the season is over. For now, I'm really enjoying my own flexible agenda.

-A little reading...Thanks to the New York Times bestsellers list, I've discovered a new author I like. I've finished her newest one and am now ready to dig into another.

-A little QT with my babies [outside of course]...I can never get enough of these faces. They love their backyard!