surviving or thriving?

there are so many words that this title brings to my mind right now.  it is a question that i have been asking myself on a daily basis for the past couple weeks.  am i just surviving or am i thriving?  last week there were a couple days where i am pretty sure i was just surviving.  but the goal is that when i feel that way... to thrive.


our lives are busy.  that is just the way our culture rolls.  ask people how they are doing and you will generally get one of two answers.  the standard "good/fine" or "busy/crazy."

when someone asks me how i am doing, i want to be able to replace my standard "fine/busy" with "amazing" or some other fabulous adjective.  

our pastor had us take a little stress test this last week.  christmas is worth a lot of stress points.  

my life is busy -- however, it is a life that i have created that way.  i could go to work and then come home.  i could eat my dinner and go to bed.  that's not too busy.  i could choose to celebrate holidays by buying a present and calling it good.  maybe putting up a christmas tree.

that isn't what i choose.

i choose to make an advent calendar with fun holiday activities that i probably won't complete more than half way.
i choose to pull out boxes of christmas decoration to make my house festive.
i choose to send a ridiculous amount of christmas cards.
i choose to spend an entire day baking christmas cookies.
i choose to go to parties and get togethers and socialize with people i care about even though i feel exhausted, my dishes aren't done, i'm still doing laundry from my trip i returned from weeks ago, and my office looks like a black hole.
i choose to make a december daily book (which i may or may not finish in december)
i choose to try and watch all the christmas movies ever made.

my life is what i make it.  

i am choosing to look for more ways to serve others this holiday season.
i am choosing to try and embrace the "busy" of the season instead of spending it "stressed out"

i am choosing the reality of my life (messy bedroom, dirty dishes, too many undone projects) and loving it instead of wishing it looked like something out of christmas catalog.

my life is what i make it.  holiday or not.  each day is a gift.  everyday a friday.

my day tomorrow is looking kind of long. i feel tired already...  but -- i have two things i am going to look forward to.  

1. i want to make someone else's day bright and cheery
2. the eggnog/silk nog we are going to drink while decorating our christmas tree.  

what will make your tomorrow be a great day? 

tonight we bought our tree.
we picked it out in record time.
not too much twirl and whirl this year.
our house smells like the woods. 
it's great.


thankful: days 3-11

since i haven't been on a computer for the past week, i didn't post my thankful thoughts...but tonight, i have a few minutes -- jon said i couldn't go to sleep at 7pm...

11.  salsa - we had tacos tonight from a little place - tacos with pineapple salsa.  i love love love salsa.  so amazing.
10.  a safe helicopter ride.  on monday we took a helicopter tour of kauai.  it was amazing.  so amazing that i wasn't even scared because it was beyond breathtakingly beautiful.  i figured if we crashed that at least it would be in happiness.  i was still thankful when we landed safe and sound as the weather was a little crazy this last week.  yesterday a helicopter crashed off of the island of maui (well molokai to be exact) killing 4 tourists and the pilot.  they are still determining the cause, though it is likely that a sudden downpour had an effect.  i was thankful before...but last night i was extra thankful when my sweet dad called to make sure we were ok and told me about what he had heard on the news.  crazy to know that just a few days before it could have easily been you.  anytime, anyone, any place.  i am thankful for each day. each moment. 
9. starbucks pumpkin spice latte's -- especially when they are calming my soul
8. the best gluten free bread i have ever had made into a delicious supper sandwich - freshly made from the living foods market on kauai.
7.little coffee shops that make me happy - little fish coffee in  hanapepe. - your homemade chai and delicious musabi warmed my soul.
6. outdoor dining - especially when you can hear and see the ocean - but my patio at home is just as fabulous
5. nature. beautiful canyons.  fresh pineapple, papaya, and apple bananas
4. macadamia nuts - oh my goodness.  i am an addict.
3. airport staff who go the extra mile to make sure you get on your plane and your bags follow.

we are having a lovely time on our trip.  i don't think i have ever ate so much dessert in a one week period. period.


thankful: day 1 + day 2

1.  lady bugs - i love them -  a couple weeks ago we went hiking and i saw more lady bugs than i have ever seen in all my life - clumps of them (like below)  every where, for miles.  wow.

2.   a friend who help you pack - it went much faster with your help.  thank you thank you kim!

jon and i are going on vacation.
it's going to be good.

i'm not planning on being near the computer,
though thoughts of posting my thankful thoughts are spinning in my head...

until then

chat when we get back??


in my make up bag

(check out this ny times article on their latest campaign: Beauty Might Not Be Blind, but the Casting Call Was)

for the past few years i have used Bare Escentuals/Bare Minerals products.  i just love them and continue to love them even more.  i have never really been one for "make up" other than using it to liven up my "morning" look ... i don't really "play"  and i've had the same routine for the past -- forever...

i was introduced to the line when my sister-in-law started carrying it in her salon, MisBehaven.  i went to a salon event where a company rep gave me a mini make up make over and an introduction to the products and i decided i was in love.

*the products are easy to use
*possibly more or less than you usually spend, but a quality product
*long lasting
*most have an amazing rating with the Environmental Working Group's Cosmetic Database
*fun - i heart the kits + brushes (the cheapest way to buy brushes is through a kit - double goodness)


the reason it's on my mind is because kim and i went to a make up party at the salon on sunday evening.  we had an amazing time.  two wonderful estheticians/make up artists (kael and ciara) , a talented hair stylist (brittany), girls, pizza, and great make up made for a fabulous evening.   we cleansed, we had our make-up done, we had our hair done, we ate, we chatted, we shopped... and then kim and i left for a night out-- at wal mart (yes, we are a little lame and didn't stay out late).

i learned how to back-comb, how to put my hair in a side bun, and how to use some new bare minerals products and several make-up techniques.  fabulous.



i was so very proud of myself - because the next day, after a little trial and error, i recreated my look...
this was an unheard of feat in my book

thank you thank you Misbehaven team + our sweet hostess!

p.s.  we had so much fun we've decided to host our own party later this season - if you live near to us and our interested let me know and i'll make sure you get an invite



May your weekend be as lovely + relaxed as Winter's

...expecting a call from my mother right.  about.  now.


one saturday afternoon

we took some hot chocolate.  we took a camera.  we took some photos. 

embrace the season


hello wednesday

so awhile back i used to blog a lot
those would be those good ole' summer days

the days before my iphoto crashed and i thought i had lost all my photos and it was horrible
beyond horrible

then it was almost fixed for a few weeks
now - as of this weekend
 it is fixed


i have pictures again
i can share my pictures again

it is good.

3 links for you tonight

1. We Can All Become Job Creators - helping create jobs one coffee cup at a time.  love it.  i will support it.

2. Amazima  - a friend shared this tonight - i added it to my list of favorites

3. Notes from a Dragon Momma  - this is sad, but i also find it inspirational


finding our rhythm again

i love fall.
it's my favorite.

coming home after four months away

i finally put all my food away that i brought home
i only have three boxes left to unpack
i dusted my bedroom

progress is being made


the fall decorations aren't out yet 
and it's the middle of october.


we are enjoying the season
caught up or not

the sight of holiday magazine covers make me oh so happy

we had pumpkin pancakes for breakfast yesterday
(they are a gluten-free recipe - i added an extra egg + water, i did not add the sugar)

we had pumpkin spice latte's this morning.

we played in the leaves while drinking hot chocolate yesterday.



enjoy it!

enjoying this playlist this morning: elsie's autumn playlist



a song for your weekend

tonight as i was driving home this song came on the radio - it was just what i needed...

"I know the weight of this world can take you down like gravity and I know the current of yourself can take you out, out to sea but hold on, hold on 

                                                                      And he'll break 
open the skies to save 
those who cry out his name 
the One the wind and waves obey
is strong enough to save you"

Tenth Avenue North - "Strong Enough to Save" 


a reminder + a song

i was checking in with one of my favorite blogs and this was the post:   what i want women to know

women - check it out - it's a good reminder

we have been so busy for the past couple weeks and my computer has been on the blitz and still isn't 100%  so... hopefully back to good soon

until then - enjoy one of my favorite songs: (don't forget to turn off the sidebar music first)


when we eat out in the summer...

**warning -- the following has absolutely nothing to do with healthy food - unless you count the delicious factor (which you may not believe unless you tried it as it doesn't really seem appealing in the pictures)...**  

...it looks something like this:

tuesday is tomato soup day at the cafe
jon orders it with two grilled cheese, i order it with egg salad (and a few potato chips for crunch)
the picture is not a lovely one and the plate doesn't come fancy
we love the soup - it's creamy, full fat, homemade yum that i'm glad i don't have access to most of the year 

dinner salad at the bar
(yes, we eat out at the bar back here-- it's just about the only place you go for dinner and they are family friendly)
now i consider this particular salad to basically be junk food
 my-oh-my do i love it

 shredded ice berg lettuce, chopped onion, tomato and cheese with crushed saltine crackers
ranch dressing
(jon adds thousand island too)
(the boys get it with chicken -- you can get it grilled or "****" style (little fried pieces) -- it really does say that on the menu too -- i still blink (or maybe suppress a laugh) every time hear it ordered that way

see that big white bottle of ranch
that's how it comes back here
they don't ask you if you want it
they just bring it to you
in a squeeze bottle
to eat with everything

oh yes, it is very dangerous

nobody does ranch dressing like montana 
- except maybe jode's homemade -

these are my vegetarian options (almost always) back here (within an 1-3 hour radius) - with the addition of a baked potato or grilled cheese, and sometimes pizza 
 (there is a mexican place 90 minutes away that is delicious when we get over there)
there is always 

ranch dressing
ice cream 
(and potatoes- deep fried any way you can think of...but that's a whole other post)

who really needs anything else to eat in the summer?

don't answer that
-and if you do-
--remember i really like to cook--


pictures: anniversary jaunt

we only had about 24 hours, but decided to make the most of it and take a quick trip over to red lodge, montana and the beartooth highway  -

 "It is one of the highest and most rugged areas in the lower 48 states, with 20 peaks reaching over 12,000 feet in elevation. In the surrounding mountains, glaciers are found on the north flank of nearly every mountain peak over 11,500 feet high. The Road itself is the highest elevation highway in Wyoming (10,947 feet) and Montana (10,350 feet), and is the highest elevation highway in the Northern Rockies." 
-- quote + more info can be found here --

breakfast at red lodge: we walked around downtown and our noses found fresh, delicious doughnuts...

 our hotel clerk advised two breakfast spots: Prindy's Place (for bacon+eggs at a good price)  and Cafe Regis (if you like granola and bagels) -- our hungry bodies found Prindy's first, a cute green and yellow diner - we sat at the bar and had sweet cream pancakes+ a veggie omelet -- it was delicious and gave us our fill of butter for the day)  -- funny breakfast moment - i am thinking it was the owner-- was telling a customer (in my non-remembering exactly words) that they were the basic bacon+eggs kinda place and if you wanted something healthy and fancy that you'd have to go around the corner to Cafe Regis -- jon and i had to smile, and we had to go around the corner to satisfy our curiosity... we found a cute cafe, shelves of natural products lining the perimeter, with a lot of charm and what looked like a good menu - as we were stuffed with our good pancakes+eggs breakfast from our cute diner - we opted for some drinks+danishes to-go.

beartooth highway:
at the bottom

almost at the top

the top- that pole (jon and i estimate they are about 20 ft) is for measuring the snow and marking where the road is so the snow plows don't go off the edge - yes - the snow gets that high

 so beautiful

this was our blackberry+cheese danish from cafe regis
to was the best i can remember having
which is why jon is giving me the - "you really think i'm sharing" look
but he did
because he loves me

at the top - too bad it doesn't factor in the wind chill
(we started out in the high 60's at the bottom)

coming down the other side

we went everywhere, but cody 
we even went a few miles into yellowstone
until we got to the pay booth
--no time for that park jaunt today--

we're obsessed with these little things

amazing water, rushing so fast

they had a huge landslide a few years ago - 
i told jon to drive quick over that section of the road...

candy store in red lodge - this is only part of the taffy section 
and doesn't show the hundred other baskets they have of hard candy or the fudge section

downtown and where we ate dinner - which was warm comfort food - wild mushroom lasagna, shepherds pie, and a shared beet salad...  it was pretty tasty.  our waitress had had a long day i think.  she wasn't very friendly - she was trying, but it just wasn't working well...it's ok, the lady in the next shop we went to made up for it - she was very perky and very friendly and i bought pink striped, knee high, smart wool socks for $5 (super duper deal)...   and then we drove home.  the end.

happy weekend-ing to you!


thursday thanks

for family:  my parents were able to spend a day with us awhile back.  it was wonderful to have them back here - to take my dad and andrew to mount rushmore for the first time (and fuddruckers too), to see my mom.  it was short, but oh so sweet.  

jon's parent's came too -- it was great to have both sets of mom+pop with us for the day!