Friday, December 31, 2010

Five Things

It's hard to believe 2010 is coming to a close. On the last day of the year, it's nice to look back at the past twelve months -- and also ahead at the year to come. I'm not really the new year's resolution type, but here are a few things I'm happy to have done this year and a few I hope to accomplish in the new year.

Five Things I Got Right in 2010

1. I traveled a lot. I started the year with a vacation to the Dominican Republic with my family and ended it with an amazing trip to London with my husband. And in between were smaller adventures to Chicago, San Francisco and many destinations closer to home.

2. I gave up sweets. The day after Christmas last year I stopped eating cookies, cake, ice cream, candy and other sugary goodies. It was really hard pretty much every minute for the first few months. But then I stopped missing junk food (for the most part) and found new appreciation for fruit and healthier fare. I feel great now!

3. I learned to judge less. I'm by no means in a perfect place with this, but I had a realization that the things other people do that annoy me are not necessarily flaws in a right-versus-wrong way. Rather, they're things that are simply different from what I tend to do, and that's okay --good, in fact. This might sound obvious but it's made a difference to me. I'm now trying to approach these situations in a new light and learn from them.

4. I got a great haircut. Finally, I think I've found a style that suits my fine, straight hair. It's a shorter cut, like this one, and I love it. It looks chic, if I do say so myself, and since I no longer need to use a straightening iron and it saves me a lot of time getting ready. Hooray!

5. I took time to appreciate. I've made a conscious effort to take note of how great things are. Even the small moments. Especially the small moments. Sitting at home with my husband and our dog, for instance, I'll think about how wonderful that is and how many blessings I have in my life. Appreciating something good sort of doubles the gift of it, no?

Five Things I Want to Do in 2011

1. Make more time for art. Drawing, painting, sculpting, designing, doodling, tinkering -- these are among my favorite things to do and yet I rarely fit them into my day. I want to change this and I hope I do.

2. Tackle big projects at home. I finally want to get our living room looking and feeling right, and I'd love to update our kitchen. I have ideas in my mind for both rooms and with a little luck I'll make them a reality this year.

3. Move more. I don't want to make this the typical "work out more" resolution. I hope I do exercise a lot in the new year but more so I want to make time for the things I enjoy, like talking walks with friends, practicing yoga and dancing. Definitely dancing.

4. Show my love. I want to be a better wife, friend, family member and doggy owner by doing things daily to express my love for them and my gratefulness that they're in my life. How wonderful it would be to do something nice every day for them.

5. Maybe start a family. My husband and I have been talking about of having kids for years -- with varying degrees of readiness. It was more of a concept for a long time, a discussion that typically ended with a declaration of "yes, someday" or "for sure, in a couple years." But we're in a new place now and excited for what might come.

Happy new year to all! I hope 2011 is full of joy, surprise, gratitude and love.

Photo from here.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Just Enough Sparkle

For the first time in longer than I can remember, I'm planning a low-key New Year's Eve. And I'm really looking forward to it. Instead of hitting the town or a friend's party, my husband and I are going out to a nice dinner with my sister and her husband. And we'll have champagne waiting at home to ring in the new year later with our little pup.

Even though it should be a pretty relaxed night, I still want to wear something a bit sparkly. This shoe should do the trick!

Photo from here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

California Dreaming

One of the things I miss most about living in California is the lack of separation between indoor and outdoor spaces. Living rooms open effortlessly to back patios and you can spend time in one just as easily and enjoyably as in the other. You certainly can't say that about Wisconsin this time of year!

When I saw this San Francisco house on Apartment Therapy, it brought me back to the days when I'd wander outside on my lunch hour and spend my free time reading, painting or lounging around in the open air. The charm, greenery, sleek kitchen and cute archways of this house help, too.

Photos from here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


There's an incredible stillness to this week. We're past the excitement of Christmas yet not quite to the fun of New Year's. Streets are emptier than usual since so many people are at home, and work is very quiet, as about half my coworkers are on vacation. It's a little gift, really, this time to reset and contemplate. I want to sit somewhere lonely and beautiful and just think. Maybe someplace like this gorgeous coastline, captured by photographer Jennifer Squires.

Photos from here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pillow Talk

Sometimes you stumble across something pretty awesome, and these pillows by Alexandra Ferguson are my dose of that for the day. The advice stitched across some pillows are quite practical (No Whining and Clean Your Room), but my favorites are the ones that are just plain fun. I mean, who wouldn't benefit from a pillow offering the suggestion Let's Make Out?

Photos from here.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Chill Out

Up through Christmas and New Year's, I'm all for cold and snow. It sets the scene for the holidays, I think. But come mid-January, I start to resent the ice and slush and frigid temps. I'm going to do my best this year to not let that happen -- to embrace the chilliness that is so much a part of where I live. And perhaps this will be more fun if I focus on how to look chic in arctic conditions. These looks, highlighted on Refinery 29, are a great place to start. I'll try to keep visions of camel scarves, cape coats, faux-fur collars, colorful gloves and killer boots dancing through my head!

Photos from here.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a holiday filled with love, happiness, peace and everything your heart desires!

Photo from here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Spirit

Earlier this week I attended the wake of a lovely man who lived a very full life. As I looked at boards of photos from his eighty-plus years, I was struck with how familiar the images were, even though I was not related to him. Family get-togethers, football games, birthday dinners, backyard grill-outs, children on Christmas morning, pool parties, new cars, babies and grandkids, weddings -- all these absolutely normal and profoundly wonderful events that make up a life.

As we enter into a holiday weekend that's bound to include ups and downs and family craziness, I hope we can all take time to appreciate that it's exactly these moments that, at the end of the day and the end of our lives, really matter.

Photo from here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

White Out

After a very full and hectic week, it's quite nice to be forced to stay in this weekend. A big storm rolled through, canceling plans and keeping everyone in their homes. Outside, a thick blanket of snow is making everything brilliantly bright, and inside we're staying warm and not doing much at all.

The bright outdoor light brought to mind this fantastic Victorian, featured in Living Etc. White materials and simple-lined furniture seem the perfect counterparts to all the natural light this home gets. It's just lovely.

Photos from here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Short and Sweet

There are a lot of cute booties out there, lovely little things with embellishments and peep-toes. And they're great if you live in a place where winter doesn't involve snow, ice and slush. But these short, neutral-hued boots, found on Piperlime, might hold up to the realities of my life -- and look pretty darn chic in the process.

I'm digging boots ...

with a little bow.

that have a sassy fold-over.

with a smart buckle.

that are slightly boyish.

with cozy knit detail.

Photos from here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Now's the Time

Happy December! We got the first teensiest snow of the season today, and the temperature didn't pass thirty degrees. But it feels like time for this. I like winter weather in the days leading up to Christmas. I like how frigid air and snow set the tone for twinkling lights outside and warm get-togethers inside. It's a special time of year and I want to feel it all.

I find this photograph by Raceytay completely magical. Wouldn't Montreal be a lovely place to spend the holidays?

Photo from here.