Touched.


I woke up, scrambled to the kitchen to brew coffee (my "brewer" is out of town), & before I even filled my cup, I filled my brain with the dread of all that needs to be done today... After a weekend of camping, & a Monday spent starting (and finishing) a book for tonight's book club, a LOT has to be done.

Then I watched this.



And suddenly, my to-do list felt much more doable.
   

{On} Civetta.

                                                          
image via
                                                                                                                           
As more time goes by, the more I realize that the days I dedicated to writing, reading, commenting, & best of all~ connecting with new friends- beyond my own four walls- will always remain some of the best days of my life. 

That said, I plan on getting back to it... or better stated~ making time for it. 

Thanks to my beautiful, hilarious, soulful {#505} friend (&, like most of my 'blogger friends'~ we have never met. in person that is. but we will! beer/wine/coffee/green chili aplenty), I have an ENTRYWAY:).

She asked if I would fill out one of those questionnaires that I (apparently, we!) love so much. They are without-a-doubt the first pages that catch my eye in a magazine... Wasn't Real Simple the first to feature the ones with 'real' [non-famous or high-profile] people? Well, those were definitely my favorites. The ones I could relate to. I was honored that she asked me, & was overly excited to participate.

Thought I'd share it with you... & more importantly, share her, & her creative space so that you could get to know this lovely soul for yourself. {Here you go!}
  
 http://photos-d.ak.instagram.com/hphotos-ak-xfp1/10474923_682948561753043_632860156_n.jpg
{how can you not love a person who takes a picture like this??} 
 

Making {salad} out of nothing at all...


image via
                                    
Taking the 'minimalist approach' to stocking our pantry/fridge as of late, & deciding {in light of open-house} we needed to not cook/clean grab takeout for dinner~ the leftovers that were to be today's lunch were nonexistent ... & the 'minimalist shelves' weren't overflowing with options.

 ...a bunch of baby kale, a basket of lemons, an almost-to-down-to-the-rind piece of Parmigiano Reggiano, and of course~ garlic...

Dr. Weil came to the rescue. Tuscan Kale Salad. "...the sunny taste of Italy to your table." So simple. SO good.
                                                                
Speaking of Italy-- now to figure out how to manifest part two^.
   
 
{p.s.  Pine nuts are a nice addition :).}
                                               

Me before you.



This book is painfully good.

...and I mean that in the best possible way.

It is tugging at my heartstrings in all the right places.
  

That luminous part of you.



"Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial.  That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality – your soul, if you will – is as bright and shining as any that has ever been.  Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Teresa’s.  Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place.  Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly."

{an excerpt from George Saunders’s Advice to Graduates}

The language of flowers.


I just finished The Language of Flowers yesterday. I loved the idea of being so utterly knowledgeable/mesmerized by flowers… by the meaning behind each one… and the emotions that they induce... the sentiments they express.

Acacia (Acacia) . . .Secret love
Baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata) . . . Everlasting love
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) . . .Hate
Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spectabilis) . . .Passion
Camellia (Camellia) . . .My destiny is in your hands
Carnation, pink (Dianthuscaryophyllus) . . .I will never forget  you
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) . . .Energy in adversity
Cherry blossom (Prunus cerasus) . . .Impermanence
Chervil (Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) . . .I haveloved you and you have not known it
Daffodil (Narcissus) . . .New beginnings
Dahlia (Dahlia) . . .Dignity
Daisy (Bellis) . . .Innocence
Magnolia (Magnolia) . . .Dignity
Moss (Bryopsida) . . .Maternal love
Olive (Olea europaea) . . .Peace
Orchid (Orchidaceae) . . . Refined beauty
Oregano (Origanum vulgare) . . . Joy
Peony (Paeonia) . . .Anger
Peppermint (Mentha) . . .Warmth of  feeling
Ranunculus (Ranunculus asiaticus) . . .You are radiant with charms
Raspberry (Rubus) . . .Remorse
Rose, red (Rosa) . . .Love
Rose, yellow (Rosa) . . .Infidelity
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) . . .Remembrance
Saffron (Crocus sativus) . . .Beware of excess
Sage (Salvia officinalis) . . .Good health and long life
Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) . . .Change
Strawberry (Fragaria) . . .Perfection
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) . . .False riches
Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa) . . .Dangerous pleasures
Tulip (Tulipa) . . .Declaration of love
Water lily (Nymphaea) . . .Purity of heart
Wheat (Triticum) . . .Prosperity
Wisteria (Wisteria) . . .Welcome
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) . . .Cure for a broken heart
Zinnia (Zinnia) . . .I mourn your absence
{a portion of the flower dictionary}



 


 I want to... and will learn this language.
 
Images via (top to bottom) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  

Hello.


                             

Tear it up.


image via


we went to an 80's party a couple of months ago. i stole one of ryan's shirts & transformed it into this {flashdance style}.
      
i never want to take it off. in fact, this weekend, i don't believe i will.
                    

A losing battle.


we've made the 'chia seed pudding' twice, and it's already a favorite, that will be on the weekly rotation  
{& it needs to sit overnight... so when you wake up all tired & groggy on a monday morning, breakfast is served :)}
  
For Christmas, I was gifted with Giada's newest cookbook~ Giada's Feel Good Food. Although- at this point- I've only made a few recipes, I really like it. It includes lots of lifestyle tips, a huge focus on flavor/texture/balance, small portion, high-energy, low-sugar (all-in-moderation-philosophy) foods/recipes as opposed to low-fat/sugar-free/artificial/deprivation.

This line in the introduction sums it up... 
This is not a diet book. I don't live my life on a diet; I just don't believe in them for me. They are tough to stick to and encourage a sense of deprivation or missing out, resulting in roller-coaster weight loss and gain--and the mood swings that come along with that. I'm not a yo-yo and I can't put my mind or body through that. Instead, I have adopted a balanced way of cooking, eating, and living that works for me and my family. This didn't happen overnight, or by sitting down and scribbling a bunch of rules to follow, but rather over time, by tuning in to my body and what makes me run the smoothest and tuning out what doesn't.

I'm (finally) realizing that this is the route for me. 

While I want positive results (when it comes to weight-management, house-management, etc...), I am tired trying to WIN THE BATTLE (whatever it may be), while losing myself in the process. A battle in which I am my own component... in which success is ONLY achieved at the end of each day if the house is spotlessly clean... every last drop of laundry tucked neatly away... every calorie accounted for... A battle that I fail to win. Daily.

Sustainability. Energy. Health. Gratitude. Intention. Peace. Compassion. Love. Intuition. Abundance. 

This is the place I want to begin & and end each day. Each battle.
  

Relax.


image via

I had planned on posting a few pictures... Christmas-tree shopping, mulled cider mulling...

I planned to do this last Sunday for Monday's post. 

Didn't happen. 

But decorating did happen- prior to '10:00pm'! (we intend to start everything early, but we tend to run behind)... drama-free! {SUCCESS!!}

Planned again to do it last night. A few more pictures to add to the mix... light-hanging, letter-writing (yep... those santa letters still happen!)...

Didn't happen.

But shopping did happen... and not only did it happen- it doesn't have to happen any longer, cause it's DONE. Hours and hours and days and HOURS later, but it. is. done. And wrapping did happen... prior to the usual hell that is us buried in unwrapped presents at the very, very last minute (Christmas eve)... cursing our way through... all the while trying to make them look festive... unique... creative... cute...

And this movie happened too. 

And arguments were forgotten...  undone tasks forgiven... 

Unshared pictures filed.
              

Wish.



{my birthday is march 30th. fyi.}

{...& card available here. fyi.}
  

Advent.



After seeing this simple brown-bagged advent calendar on one of my favorite blogs last year, I stored it away in the overflowing "next year" file. Thankfully, a year much less hectic than the past, in which one could find me scrambling to Party City to pick up a boxed chocolate-filled calendar (post December 1st), after finding that Trader Joes' were long gone (as they should be, because who would still be in need of one?).

We've gone through several 'calendars'... rustic & wooden... build-a-lego-a-day... but in the past few years, as life got a bit chaotic, we've resorted to paper-box-+-chocolate (usually generously gifted from grandma). 

And who am I kidding? As long as the kids get candy (their main mission in life, as rightly stated by Jerry Seinfeld... so funny), they could care less where it came from, & how 'Santa' delivered it.  

But this was really fun to shop for & simple to create (simple, as in- Ryan & I quickly painting, filling, & hanging on Sunday morning... thank God the kids sleep in!)... mostly filled with lots of little cheap goodies (not only candy).

Day #1 was Baci chocolate... others are Candy Cane ChapStick, gold coins, striped straws, hot chocolate packs, a red lifesaver... and a green in another bag... jingle bells to hang on their back packs...

But by far, the best part is seeing the huge amount of anticipation & JOY that such a tiny treat can create. 
{even in a teenager :)}.



{day 1~ reading their Baci messages}

{day 2~ very early on a Monday morning, after having been off of school for a week... & very blurry~ but it made me laugh- in the midst of major grogginess... holding up their bells}

{day 3~ this time we waited till after school (Jacob leaves at 6:50am for zero period, when Hailey is still sound asleep!)}

{day 4~ a little bit of cheer, in the midst of a whole lotta' homework}

{day 5~ wanna kiss?}


If you've read my blog for a while, you may notice a theme complaint of wanting-to-do instead of doing. It's my biggest 'area of opportunity' (as they'd say in the corporate world)... an area in which I'm working hard to surpass. So it feels nice to have a 'next year' item moved to 'this year'.
                
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