welcome ... enjoy yourself

Friday, November 29, 2013

happy thanksgiving!

Hope your day was filled with lots of wonderful people, food, pie and just a moderate amount of football!   Off to help my sister prepare for her housewarming party and enjoy some more time with friends and family.  Hope you have a fabulous holiday weekend. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

apple pear juice

With the fall season quickly coming to an end (poor fall always getting shortened by Christmas season explosion!), I wanted to make sure I shared the delicious juice I've been drinking for the past few months while the ingredients were still in grocery stores.  

I received a beautiful juicer as a gift last year but have been slow to really get into the juicing scene.  But after trying the Pear Chai juice at the Green Kitchen in the Milwaukee Public Market - and realizing I had all I needed to make my own - I decided it was time to give juicing a go. 

This juice captures some of my favorite fall flavors and is sweet with a little bit of a kick.  It's also healthy and can be made with local, seasonal ingredients.  And it's perfect for when I need a little something to get me from lunch to dinner or need something sweet after dinner but don't have any dessert on hand (a true travesty).  

2 pears
1 apple
1 square inch ginger
1 tablespoon honey
pinch cinnamon 

Chop your fruit and add to the juicer with the ginger.  Sprinkle your glass with cinnamon.  Pour apple/pear/ginger juice into cup and stir in your honey.  Garnish to your heart's content and enjoy!  -- Sometimes I like to water this down a bit because it's so sweet, but I've also enjoyed it plenty just as is.  Cheers to fall!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

fall paintings

One of my 101 goals was to make a painting every month for a year.  I've done ok, but I fell behind a bit during the summer.  So I'm making an effort close to the end of 2013 to catch up.  Here's my latest creations: a couple of fall paintings to decorate our apartment.  Paul and I both love the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song, so it seemed like a good fit for these simple paintings - though I don't think they will be on display too much longer with the Christmas season right around the corner.  Poor fall always gets gipped with the Christmas season starting 21 days before fall really comes to an end.  I think Christmas should start in January when everything is cold and depressing and spring is still a few months away.  Right?    

You can see more of my paintings here.  And please try to ignore the ugly background.  Still trying to figure out set up spots with good lighting in this apartment.

Monday, November 25, 2013

today i'm thankful for

this pup ... even when he eats our pumpkin pie

steps towards peace 
when the heat comes on right as I'm getting out of the shower

three Friendsgivings in two days

this Celine Dion classic that gave me a great excuse to car karaoke

having a quality car that drives well in the snow

having shelter in winter

a three day work week

three days away from family thanksgiving

a weekend at home with Paul

making time to paint

Friday, November 22, 2013

artistic inspiration: jane heinrichs

I've caught the painting bug again recently and wanted to share more of my inspiration with you.  I'll be sharing the work of artists who inspire me semi regularly with you.  There is so much joy to be found in beautiful artwork!

I chose Jane Heinrichs as the first artist to share here.  I found her work after she commented on one of my posts (hello blogging highlight!).  Her illustrations have such a lovely touch of whimsy and all would look perfect included in my favorite childhood stories.  Jane also writes an inspired blog where she reflects on life, dreams and goals, her career as an artist, and travelling.  I find it fascinating that she's lived all over - Swaziland, Canada, South Africa, and England to be exact.  Makes moving around the states seem a little calmer :)

My favorite work of Jane's is her illustrated children's book Magic at the Museum.  Seeing it for the first time felt like seeing a dream come to life.  Her book tells the story of a little girl who visits the Courtauld Gallery at night and sees paintings like Cezanne's come to life!  Amazing!  Can I be that girl?  Please?  (This was even cooler since Paul and I visited the museum during our trip to London over the summer.) 

You can see more of Jane's work here and order prints of her work from her Etsy shop here.  Order before November 29th to have your print arrive by Christmas!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

remembering to be thankful

Sometimes I can act a little bratty and forget how many wonderful things I have in my life.  I think most of us have been there: seeing our lives with a negative lens instead of a gratitude one.  I see the big hole Diego chewed in my favorite coat -- instead of Paul's reaction to Diego: saying Diego sees himself as "Diego unchained" (inspired by Django Unchained).

There's plenty of other things in my life that I easily overlook because other things get in the way.  Like the bright colors of our dishes and that no matter what combination they're in, they always look great.  Like going to basketball games with Paul and finding free parking three blocks from the arena.  Like talking Thanksgiving menus with my mom (we're in charge of pie!).  Like the little measuring cups from my sister that make baking feel a little whimsical.  Like how easily my social calendar fills up now that we've been in Milwaukee a few years.  Like how lucky I am to go to a great job everyday.  Some things may seem silly or insignificant, but they're the things that make my life unique and mine

I feel more and more that practicing gratitude and culativating an attitude of joy can help reveal all the magic and beauty in everyday life.  It goes a long way to making an average life feel extraordinary.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

falling in love

Nothing is more practical than finding God,
that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.
Pedro Arrupe

Monday, November 18, 2013

today i'm thankful for

beautiful night views of our city
when Paul takes the dogs for walks (when it's my turn)
paid sick time
the approaching holiday season
candles that make our house smell comfy and cozy
new warm and fluffy socks
community field trips to Costco
making plans for 12 dates of Christmas
rockstar yoga classes
lavender scented bubble baths

Friday, November 15, 2013

life is good

Check out all those beautiful smiles!  And check out that strange rabbi puppet!  That may be what happens when I get together with my awesomely amazing friends.   

I feel like I'm finally getting back on track with feeling genuinely happy.  I've been spending some great time with friends (see above) and have been noticing a little spark entering its way back in my life.  

There has been a lot of laughter around the apartment lately, and I didn't even realize it was missing until it reappeared.  Paul and I are slowly making our way through grieving the loss of a good friend, and though the grief is still present, it doesn't feel quite as heavy as it did a few months ago.  And now that we're living on our own, it feels like we're rediscovering how much we enjoy being together.  Hello second honeymoon!  In the future we'll call this phase in our lives "how Mary and Paul got their groove back." 

We've been sticking to our weekly date nights, hanging out with local friends, making future travel plans, and watching a lot of comedies.  It's been fantastic.  I've said no to watching almost anything that's not a comedy, because there will be plenty of time for watching serious and sad things, but now is not that time.  The happiness and laughter we're sharing are the exact medicine we need right now, and I'm embracing them for all their worth.  Isn't it great how laughing with people you love can make everything feel better?  

Hope you have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

a letter to my love

Dear Paul, 

You love me when I take goofy pictures of myself wearing my favorite winter hat.  You love me when I leave dirty dishes and tupperware in the kitchen sink.  You love me when I'm too lazy to take the dogs for a walk.  You love me when I take over our book shelves with the dozens of books I borrow from the library.  You love me when I steal the covers.  You love me when I decide to use our extra bedroom as an art room and then take four months to set it up.  You love me when I dedicate a significant portion of our grocery budget to ice cream and desserts.  You love me when I'm running late, yet again.  You love me when I'm anxious, sad, angry, upset, tired, and hungry.    

You usually show me you love me with patience, hugs, and sighs accompanied by an "oh Mary..."  Thank you for making me feel so loved - for all of who I am.

Monday, November 11, 2013

today i'm thankful for

big, beautiful autumn skies

waking up to leaves falling like snow last week

the first day of actual snow falling

reuniting with good friends

croissant french toast (I have no idea how to recreate this, but it needs to happen)

starting back up with these five questions with Paul

enjoying my walks with the pups

carpooling to work with Paul

having a job I enjoy

great coworkers

taking time to enjoy all the details that make my life mine

Thursday, November 7, 2013

hi from pedro and diego

This is Pedro.  I get to talk first because I am the alpha dog even though Diego is bigger than me.  Lately, I have been spending a lot of time cuddling with my humans.  They let me sleep on the couch with them, and it is the third best part of the day (first is EATING and second is WALKING).  I love my humans because they feed me and love me and let me sleep on the couch and give me more treats than Diego.  We watched the Great Pumpkin for Halloween, and I decided I want to be the Flying Ace next year.  But I will not wear a costume because I am a nudist.  So instead I will just be a beagle.  Time to guard the house and steal my bone back from Diego. 

Hi!  I'm Diego, and I'm a dog!  I love you!  Do you have any food?!  Will you take me outside so I can pee on things?!  I'm Diego, and I'm a dog, and I love you!  Did I ask if you have any food? 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

project gratitude

If you're on Facebook you've probably noticed people starting to share daily gratitude posts for the month of November.  I think it's a really beautiful exercise, so last year I did Project Gratitude - 22 posts on things and people I'm thankful for.  The project turned out to be an excellent experience, and it's really nice to look back at all those posts this year.  

I've decided not to do a full gratitude series this year, because with all the other goal lists I'm working on (my 101 listmy 29 list, and my 4 simple goals list), I thought it would be better if I just did a simple gratitude exercise on my own outside of the blogging world.  I don't have the time to do a full blogging series, but there's something really powerful and transformational about paying attention to the small details of your life and remembering to be grateful for them.  So I'll be doing that behind the scenes :) 

Here's a few of my favorite posts from last year's Project Gratitude:

1. Inherited skillz

2. My parents

3. The Jesuit martyrs and my experience painting them.

Monday, November 4, 2013

today i'm thankful for

a successful garden clean up day
a surprise appearance from an old garden friend
a night out with a great Chicago friend
having a whole day to do absolutely nothing
slippers that keep my feet so warm
photo album sales
rediscovering our engagement photos
savings seeds from my garden for the first time
wrapping up another garden season
baked pumpkin oatmeal from here
plans to see more long-distance friends very soon
holiday travel plans coming together
motivation to eat healthier and exercise more regularly
laughing at this show with Paul
seeing beautiful colors all over our neighborhood

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, November 1, 2013

community night and cupcakes

First, I want to say how thankful I am for so many things in my life.  That's basically what this post was going to be about.  Except I was going to say it without using those exact words by talking about how happy I was at the community night Paul and I hosted Wednesday, and how proud Paul was to share his homemade Pancit, and how much I love the Great Pumpkin, and how delicious and beautiful cupcakes are.  So I think that says it all.  Community nights (with flowers, good food, good people, and good wine) + the Great Pumpkin + homemade cupcakes I was really proud of = lots and lots of gratitude.  Happy Friday :)