welcome ... enjoy yourself

Monday, June 30, 2014

today i'm thankful for

French inspired picnics at German inspired beer gardens

a visit from one of my favorite curly haired friends

being told by Lady Gaga to show off my monster paws

enjoying a Sage Wisdom cocktail in a snazzy bar with snazzy folks

a great weekend talk with the 'rents

watching the transformation of our porch garden

catching up with an old friend at dinner on a second floor patio overlooking downtown 

getting a glimpse of how rockin my new job will be

having a full, wonderful life

my husband who finds us good deals on new cars, gets our laundry done for trips, 
and encourages me to follow my dreams

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

the national aquarium

A few weeks ago during a work trip to Baltimore, I checked out the National Aquarium in Baltimore's inner harbor.  I was a little disappointed I didn't get to touch any sharks or sting rays, but otherwise I loved it.  The all windows entrance was pretty stellar.  And a few of the exhibits lended themselves to some pretty cool photographs - especially the tanks of jelly fish.

I remember visiting the Florida Aquarium as a teenager and loving the aquarium so much I decided to be a marine biologist.  And then I realized I was scared of the deep ocean, didn't really like salt water or getting stung by jelly fish.  So the whole marine biologist thing didn't happen.  

But I sure do love aquariums.

Monday, June 23, 2014

today i'm thankful for

receiving a call offering me my dream job

being blessed with the most supportive, inspirational coworkers

having time to slow down and relax (on the porch of course!)

community transitions

date day with paul

going to a movie theater that delivers hot pizza right to your seat

riding bikes through our neighborhood )and not feeling like I was going to pass out)

strawberries and rhubarb bought fresh from the farmers market

seeing our porch garden take shape

feeling stronger and stronger at roller derby practice

twinkle lights, colorful tomato cages, and hanging flower baskets

Friday, June 20, 2014

this week in the garden

The past couple of weeks have been excellent for my garden full of green plants.  Things are growing so well, and I've been doing better about actually harvesting and eating them - not letting them stay in the garden thinking of that magical "someday" I want to save them for.  Gardening is really ripe with life metaphors.  See what I did there? 

Not much more explanation needed: the pictures capture all the little growings on happening.  But I will say that I especially loved the strawberry.  Nothing like the first strawberry of the season.



...rainbow chard


...soup peas


...white pea flowers

...purple pea flower

...strawberry :) 


...my 4 x 8 piece of heaven. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

a relaxing sunday

I've become a person who has a hard time slowing down and relaxing.  I'm almost constantly on the move (usually doing awesome things), and when I have a weekend off I usually fill it with chores, home improvement, and checking goals off lists.  

When a friend suggested spending a whole day (a.whole.day!) porch sitting, I thought it sounded fantastic, but I was also anxious.  Anxious!  About taking time to relax and do nothing!  It was like I thought all the things I had to do were more important than just being present, living and enjoying life.  So I took up the challenge (if you can call it that), and spent most of a day just hanging out.  And what a day it was. 

We allowed ourselves a few hours of productivity in the morning to get necessary things (like laundry) done and off our check lists.  Because the weather is beautiful, the laundry went outside to air dry.  Mmm.  Nothing like air dried, warm weather laundry. 

We chatted, enjoyed some lunch (with lettuce from the garden), ate homemade popsicles, read books, and took naps.  And wouldn't you know it?  The world didn't fall apart because we took several hours to just do things that made us happy.  In fact, I could feel myself slowly easing into the day and less and less worried about the responsibilities I was letting go of for the day.  And it was so nice and so necessary. 

We decided we couldn't change the flow of the day by cooking dinner, so went out to County Claire, one of my favorite restaurants in Milwaukee.

After dinner, we stopped by the community garden and harvested lettuce, baby kale, dill, and other herbs.  I swear the lettuce in this garden is like the loaves and fishes.  We've eaten bags and bags worth of lettuce, and there always seems like there's more left!

I completed my relaxing Sunday with having the first strawberry of the season.  It was perfectly sour and sweet and hit the spot.  

Ironically one of my four simple goals for June was to be present.  So technically I did check a goal off my list this Sunday.  Woops. 

What do you like to do to relax? 

Monday, June 16, 2014

today i'm thankful for

a whole afternoon spent relaxing on the porch

homemade popsicles

the beginnings of my summer porch garden

finally having water access at the community garden

a whole week of salads grown from seed that I planted

our first CSA box of the season

friends who encourage me to relax and take time for myself

ending the weekend on the front porch with Paul and the pups

warm chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven

flowy skirts

having my work office to myself all week

Saturday, June 14, 2014

101 goals in 1001 days

I'm working on a blog update so I'm rearranging a few things.  I want to hold on to my 101 in 1001 days list, so I'm transferring the list into a blog post.  Look for a fancy schmancy update soon :) 

Start Date: May 9, 2011

End Date: February 4, 2014

I'm a sucker for a list that outlines my goals over a set period of time.  My completed goals are in italics.  Interested in starting your own list? Visit the official site for more information and inspiration.  Please share if you are starting your own list so we can be 101 buddies! 

UPDATE: My challenge is now complete, and I finished with 82% of my goals met.  

I revised and updated my list from time to time as I went along to reflect my developing goals.  I believe goals are only as effective so far as they push you to where you want to be.  Read my reflections on the 101 goals and 1001 days challenge here.  
Athletic/Active Goals: 

1.   Run a 5K with JVC roommates
2.   Take a cycling class
3.   Go snowshoeing 
4.   Go camping
5.   Go dancing
6.   Complete idle ironman challenge
7.   Lose ten pounds and keep it off for 4 months
8.   Buy a bike
9.   Hike the Ice Age Trail
10. Join a roller derby league

  Travel goals: 
11.    Visit another continent
12.    Visit another country (CanadaEnglandFranceIceland)
13.    Visit a new state
14.   Go to a music festival
15.    Visit a new city
16.   Go to Mike’s college graduation 
17.   Go to Pat’s graduation
18.   Plan a girls’ weekend trip with friends
19.   Plan a girls’ weekend trip with family
20.   Take an anniversary trip with Paul 
21.   Visit Eiffel Tower
22.   Visit the Louvre
23.   Visit Versailles
24.   Visit the Blue Lagoon
25.   Visit London

  Continuing Education: 
26.   Read a book in French
27.    Take an art class 
28.   Take a cooking class
29.   Read 50 books (50/50)
30.   Read the news every day for a month

31.   Consolidate my student loans
32.   Stay current on my student loan payments for 1 year
33.   Start saving for retirement 
34.   Keep a spending diary for one month
35.   Increase monthly student loan payment

36.    Make list of friends’/family’s birthdays
37.   Write 40 letters in 40 days
38.   Call/email Mom once a week for six months
39.   Make a birthday cake for someone
40.   Throw a holiday party for friends
41.    Send a letter to an old teacher
42.    Send out Christmas cards

43.   Meditate, pray or journal daily for one month
44.   Read a spiritual book

45.   Make gifts for wedding party 
46.   Create wedding invitations and save the dates
47.   Write wedding thank you cards

48.   Take steps to make/sell prints of Jesuit paintings
49.   Make painting gifts for 5 people 
50.   Make a painting for our room51.   Paint a new collection
52.   Create a studio space 
53.   Make a photo album from San Francisco trip 
54.   Make a photo album from Europe trip
55.   Make a photo album from our engagement pictures
56.   Create a photo wall
57.   Learn to knit in round
58.   Sell a painting

59.   Start my own vegetable garden
60.   Make a compost bin
61.   Keep a garden journal for one growing season
62.   Make a fancy dessert
63.   Make homemade ice cream
64.    Learn to make sushi
65.   Try 25 new recipes (25/25)
66.   Create a community garden
67.   Blog regularly for 6 months
68.   Take a canning class
69.   Cook an Indian meal from scratch
70.   Plant flower cutting garden
71.   Make juice

72.   Take clothes/coats to the dry cleaners
73.   Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years 
74.   Watch 26 movies I’ve never seen starting with each letter of the alphabet (22/26 Need: N, Q, Y, Z)
75.   Get a piercing
76.   Go skinny dipping
77.   Make a wish at 11:11 on November 11, 2011
78.   Identify 100 things that make me happy
79.   Finish decorating office
80.   Get a dog
81.   Learn to drive a stick shift
82.   Make a pie on pi day
83.   Dress up for Halloween
84.   Start an intentional community and live there for at least a year
85.   Get a new job
86.   Dye my hair red
87.   Learn how to put on eyeliner
88.   Change my name
89.   Make a list of my top ten favorite movies
90.   Make a list of my top twenty-five favorite books
91.   Join a book club

92.   Visit Mitchell Domes
93.   Attend high tea
94.   Buy season tickets/membership

  Goals over period of time: 
95.  Create a painting once a month for 1 year
96.  Complete a photo challenge
97.  Thankfulness exercise every month for one year
98.   Complete a gratitude project

End goals:  
99.  Donate $5 to charity for every item not completed on this list.
100. Save $1 for every item completed on list
101. Make a 30 before 30 list

Friday, June 13, 2014

oh hello there

Oh hey, remember me?  I'm the person who used to blog at Finding Joy in all Things.  I've been a little absent lately, but I have so many fun pictures of recent travels and adventures to share with you.  Ironically, it's all the travel and adventures that are keeping me super busy and unable to keep up with blogging.  This weekend things are finally slowing down so I'll be able to just live regular life.  My only plans are to roller skate, garden, and read on my porch.  Isn't it great how wonderful regular life feels after being away for a while?  

Do you have any fun plans this weekend?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

ithica and new york

A few weeks ago, I travelled to New York with Paul for the wedding of one of my old Jesuit Volunteer Corps roommates.  Her wedding was in Rochester, and since we aren't able to go the East Coast as often as we'd like, we decided to extend our trip to visit New York City and Hartford to visit friends.  On our road trip down to NYC, we stopped for lunch in Ithica, one of my favorite upstate New York cities.  The day was so perfectly sunny, and my heart was so happy to be amongst rolling New York hills. 

Ithica is great for hippy restaurants and shops.  I had the best veggie avocado wrap and stole some inspiration from a local green living shop.  Check out that gorgeous Kinfolk Table book!

During our extremely-quick-less-than-24-hour-trip to NYC, we did a LOT of walking and managed to see six friends (five adults + one toddler).  We took approximately as many photos with our camera, but I luckily snapped a few more with my iphone.  

Something clicked between me and NYC this trip.  I have to confess that in the past I didn't get what the big deal was with NYC.  But during this trip, I just loved all the sites, all the people, all the diversity.  If it wasn't so far away and wasn't so expensive, I would definitely consider a move to the Big Apple.  

One of my favorite parts of our trip was our visit to High Line Park (with Stumptown tea in hand) and our dash through Chelsea Market.  I was trying to find People's Pops to get a popsicle.  We ended up finding their stand, but they only accepted cash, and we were so short on time with needing to catch our train that I had to skip it!  What a travesty!  Guess it means I'll just have to make my own from their fantastic book until I can visit NYC again. 

High Line Park is a new attraction in NYC and is pretty much what it sounds like: a park on old raised train tracks.  Walking through the blocks long park you're surrounded by plants and trees and can feel the city quiet.  Seeing so much green in the city might have been partly responsible for my new found love of NYC. 

(One of the only pictures Paul took during our night time walk around the Times Square/Central Park area.  Obviously this man has his priorities.)

Monday, June 9, 2014

today i'm thankful for

safe travels

coming home from adventures with renewed appreciation for my home and routines

spending time with my family two weekends in a row

work opportunities to travel and learn new skills

time with coworkers outside the office

a chance to explore a new city

being a bridesmaid in a good friend's wedding

dancing and catching up with friends

being passed by tornadoes so that the wedding ceremony could go on as planned

a breakfast double date with my sister and her boyfriend

an uneventful, relaxing road trip with Paul and the pups

beautiful, sunny, warm weather

Friday, June 6, 2014

this week in the garden

Happy Friday! IVe been traveling this week so I haven't had much time to post.  Today I wanted to share a few photos from our community garden work day last weekend. My family came to help out and it was so special working in the garden with them! Check out the before and after photos - I was amazed at how much we accomplished in just a few hours.  Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!