Monday, January 15, 2018

Deep Thoughts: Working on Balance...again

Are you like me where you wake up and find yourself reaching for your phone and looking at instagram or facebook before anything else? And like me have you wondered at how this is serving you but kept doing it in a mindless manner because it just happens? 

Though I have said that I don't really make resolutions, thru my work on my '52 Lists for Happiness' book I finally started to question myself and make a change. I still reach for my phone as it has my alarm, but I now pull up my pandora account and search for a playlist to start my day. It seems to help me as I can have a problem with wanting to be someone else/somewhere else. 

This doesn't mean I am swearing off either of those sites! Far from it. I'm just trying to be intentional about where and when. I'm trying to not be on my computer when Steve gets home from work so that I'm not distracted when he is ready to connect. There is plenty of time for me to look at that stuff later! 

Another thing I am hoping to need to buy a latte...every, single day. It's nice when it's a treat. It's another thing when I think I need to buy one every day. I own a perfectly good machine at home, just waiting for me to use it. And it would be great to save that $5 up for something of use! Or to at least wait to spend it when I can sit down and really enjoy it. Preferably with a friend. And an extra long chat. 

I know these are small things, but they can really trip me up. Are you working on any small steps these days to get things back under control? Do you have any tricks to making things go smoother for you? I would love any hints! 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Deep Thoughts: Steps to Self Care

So we are into the beginning of the New Year. Are you a keeper of resolutions? Are you feeling the need for change? Or are you someone that feels they would go off by the wayside to quickly to bother? 

I'm a bit in-between. I like to resolve to make small changes to make my life a bit better going forward. I feel like if I make small changes they will amount to bigger changes as time go on. So these are a bit of the changes to start and we'll see where they take me. 

1. Exercise  This is something I would have scoffed in the past. I truly would have. But I have found that the best way to deal with my emotional life is in a physical way. If I can get two (working on three!) workouts in a week I feel so much better. And since we are entering into the grey winter my emotional state is something I really need to work on! Depression is something that can rear it's ugly head this time of year and this is just the thing to help combat it. 

2. Introspection  A little journaling helps me to really sit down and take a moment to focus on my life and where I am now. And guided journaling seems to help with focus. I have had these two journals for some time and this year a friend and I have challenged one another to work on 52 Lists of Happiness and then compare notes weekly. I seem to work best if I have an accountability partner so this is working out well. And talking through the topics will help us dig even deeper. This is something I am really looking forward to this year. These books are by Moorea Seal and can be found online here, or in her Seattle store. 

3. Connect & Disconnect This sounds like a contradiction but it truly isn't. I find when I am feeling a bit depressed I pull away from friends. And getting together with others is usually just the thing I need to contract the blues. 

What doesn't help is social media. This is where the disconnect needs to happen. I am working on having electronic free Sundays. It feels like a baby step but I think it will make a big difference in how I feel.

4. Read  One thing I have a lot more time for when I put down my phone is reading. I love reading and spending time lost in a book. Our library is one of my favorite places, and I find myself using the online program all the time. This combined with the goodreads app and I am a happy camper. I have made a goal this year to read 100 books and hope to do that and maybe more. 

5. Good eating My family loves to eat. We find ourselves talking about the next meal when we have finished a meal. And when we vacation a big part of planning is researching new places to eat. That said we know we feel better when we eat better. More veggies, lots of water drinking, and organic when we can. I won't say we are going to diet, just hopefully make some better choices. 

6. Body care   I'm hoping with all the free time on Sundays (due to no distractions from electronics!) I will have time to create some spa like evenings. I have a good stash of face mask and my favorite herbivore botanicals coconut milk bath all of which equals happiness. My hope is this will send me into a new week with a good attitude ready to face the week and ready to create even more good routines. 

Are you creating new routines in the new year? I would love to hear if you have any ideas or steps you are taking to make life better for yourself! 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Deep Thoughts: The Crazy Ride that was 2017

I think we can all agree that 2017 wasn't the best year when it comes to the bigger things in life. It was a time of anxiety, upset and serious disappointment in so many things happening in our world. 

But those feelings led to things like marching for what one believes in, investing in small business and slow fashion that one feels good about, and having experiences that reminded us about all the best things about life. So I decided it was important to remember these things and go over them. Care to take a walk thru 2017 with me? 

This year seemed to be one of music which makes me incredibly happy. I had the pleasure of treating Steve to seeing one of his favorite bands, The Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was not only an incredible show music wise, it included an amazing light show. 

Thanks to my incredible friend Pam, I was treated to a show at the Neptune of the Poptones. Then we headed cross-country in August to see (and meet Garbage!) Garbage and all time music idol Debbie Harry leading up Blondie! Life changing. 

Having a teenager can kill you and/or keep you young. Sam has been great at keeping me young for the most part, and introducing me to new music. One of her favorites is NSP, and we had the greatest time singing and dancing at their show. Thankfully they do a bunch of covers from my era so I wasn't too far out of my comfort zone!

There was some travel this year, mostly related to California. During a trip to San Diego we snuck away for a visit to spend some time in Springfield and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. They were both so much fun and an instagram dream! On that trip we also wandered into the Flower fields of Carlsbad, another photographers dream. And truly a gorgeous sight in real life. 

Another trip took Steve and I back to Palm Spring where we spent some time at the relaxing Sparrow Lodge and found ourselves wandering around looking at the amazing architecture and ran across the famous pink door! 

We continued to explore small business and found ourselves falling in love with the people behind them. Apse Adorn opened a storefront which is quickly becoming a regular stop on our stops downtown, especially with all they have planned for the future. 

We were lucky enough to get a tour of Moorea Seal's new store by Moorea herself and snap some quick pictures with her on her gorgeous couch. Steve and I found ourselves back at Christmas doing some fun shopping at one of her Happy Hours, picking out treats and sipping champagne! 

Sam and I found ourselves helping Spruce with the undertaking of bedecking the Downtown Parkade with a balloon garland that made us all amazed once again at the creativity of Brittney. And her store continues to be one that hosts and draws interesting and makers of Bellingham. 

Renegade Craft this past summer was full of new faces and new friends to make. We found ourselves meeting the people behind Apartment on Belmont and loving their product even more. And we brought home many more handmade items that we continue to fall in love with. 

And experiences! There were so many fun ones that we could attribute to the blog! Steve would often ask me if I needed content and off he would search for something to do. It's been a great motivator. 

We spent a magical night in the trees at Treehouse Point in which it magically snowed. We hope to be able to take the girls back at some point to experience it. 

 We ate our way thru the Night Market in Richmond, BC. We were overwhelmed by the variety of food and hope to go back during another time of year (it's open May-October).

 We were ably guided by Kristi of Moondance Kayak on a daytime kayak trip exploring the gorgeous waters of the area. And we took another trip with Moondance at night to experience a trip thru waters that were illuminated by bioluminescence. A truly magical night.

 Steve and I spent a restful couple of hours soaking in the float tanks at Still Life Massage and Float and hope to make it a part of our routine in the New Year. It's an incredible way to treat stress and anxiety. 

And words escape me when trying to describe the experience of the Infinity Rooms of Yayoi Kusama at the Seattle Art Museum. It was by turns lighthearted, deep, and incredibly meaningful. Experiencing it with close friends made it even that much better. 

We expect the New Year to hold even more adventure, hopefully travel and more friends. This blog has become what I had hoped, a place to talk, share and hopefully encourage. Please come along for the ride and let's see what 2018 holds! 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Christmas Memories Book

Early in our marriage my Mother in Law gave us a Christmas Memories Book. It was before I ever got into Scrapbooking but I had been keeping journals since my teenage years. Though I haven't kept it up every year it's been a treasure of things I would forget from all the years of the girls growing up.

The first entry pre-dates Samantha even joining our family! It records our visits to a tree farm on Whidbey Island with Steve's mom from when she lived in Oak Harbor and reading the entry brings it all back. The fire where you could drink cider, the pony dressed as a reindeer and Steve's Mom grumbling about the weather. 

The next year Samantha joined us at the tree farm as a newborn (at about a month old) and the grumbling from Grandma Thiele was at a max as to why we would drag a newborn around a windy tree farm! But traditions were kept and everyone lived thru it! And the whole thing was recorded in our book

In the year 2000 nothing was recorded, but our family photo and favorite card made it into the book. In our photo I think everyone was sick. Poor Kate had a rash, I think I was running a high temp and sweet baby Sam had just recovered. I think the only way Steve stayed well was working all the time! As I remember it, it was a tricky year. Too bad I didn't record it! 

2002 was a much better can tell by the smiles...and by Kate's thumbs up that we missed in editing! (and I'm glad we did!) According to the book my parents gifted us with a new dishwasher and tv so that would account for our smiles! Steve had nine days off of work and we had lots of time with extended family which made for a fun, chaotic Christmas. 

This is one of my favorite entries. Due to a pretty big snowstorm things got crazy trying to get to church so we decided to hold our own candlelight service. Kate made the handouts, and we had our service. It was sweet and heartfelt. And still remains one of my favorite Christmas memories. 

In 2014 we decided to highlight our sweet addition Boston on our Christmas card. A couple of christmas lights were broken in the making of the card before we decided on an easier option for the photo. We brought Boston home in January of the year and thought he was a perfect stand in for one of our favorite Christmas stories Olive The other Reindeer. 

This year the entry will talk about our grown daughter and her boyfriend being here for Christmas eve. That we went to Candlelight service as a family and it was as magic as ever. And that caroling with friends on Fairhaven green was a great lead-in to Christmas day. I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and send you the peace and joy that this season can bring. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

On My Radar: Experiences as Gifts

Are you all finished with your Christmas shopping? Or are you looking for one last special gift that will make things feel just right this year? I have a couple of last minute thoughts for you that might do the trick. 

A couple of years ago when I realized just how old the girls were getting I realized it would make more sense to make their big gift one of an experience rather than a thing. And most of the time it was something we could do together! 

The first time we tried this was for Sam's birthday. We gifted her a trip on the zip-lines at Canopy Tours NW and of course we all went with her! It was amazing and would make an incredible Christmas gift. And right now they have a special where if you buy three gift certificates you get one free making it feel a bit more reasonable for a family! It was so much fun and truly an unforgettable experience. 

The great thing about this area is there is so much available to do outside. The Gato Verde is one way to explore our lovely waters, a gorgeous catamaran that you can book for a sunset cruise, overnight trips, or more. It's a relaxing beautiful way to experience the bay or further. 

If you prefer to explore under your own power you can go out with Moondance Sea Kayak Adventures. It feels like there is no end to the kind of trips you can take with them. You can take a day trip to explore the tide pools, to learn about seaweed foraging or a night trip to experience the bioluminescence (which we did and it was magic!). They offer short trips or overnight or multi-day trips which we may try when we feel strong enough! You truly experience the beauty of the area. 

If the weather is just not cooperating and you prefer to give a gift for inside there are options for that too. One that is especially perfect for the cold days ahead is a float at Still Life Massage and Float. A pod full of water at skin temperature and 1200 pounds of Epson salts feels incredible and leaves you feeling like a different person once you step out. There are two pods in rooms next to one another so Steve and I have done this like a date which was incredible! 

If you are looking to give someone the gift of ease, Salt+Pepper+Oil for fresh, ready to cook meals. What I love about them is that they are local, delicious and the owner is a great guy. And did I say local? That makes us feel even better when we order from them. 

Then there are memberships. We love The Pickford and find ourselves buying each other memberships for various reasons (Anniversaries, birthdays). It would be a perfect gift for a family as they have such an incredible mix of movies for all ages and tastes. 

We have also been considering buying a membership to The Whatcom Museum. Every time we visit we are incredibly impressed by the shows they bring in. When you become a member you are given admission to all the buildings which all have very different shows. I especially love the heritage shows where they bring out the classic photographs from their collections. And they other shows they bring in are amazing. 

Hopefully these gave you some ideas if they were needed! If not for Christmas, maybe for other occasions! Cheers! 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Gifts, Expectations and Wish Lists

Ah, Christmas. Visions of sugarplums and trips to the mall? We have been having a lot of conversations at work around gifting and how everyone handles it. One thing comes up again and again is how to deal with expectations and also how to make gifting easy and fun! 

 One would like to think that their significant other would just "know" them and what they love. But there are times when it helps to have hints. Our daughter Sam came to the rescue one year after many years of Steve making the late dash to the mall and not really having any idea of what gifts to get for me or them.Thats when google came in handy! 

If you have a google account it's easy to make a sharable document in google drive. Sam prefers to use spreadsheets, while Kate goes with a document. You can provide links in either. This is my list here. This has made it easy for us to email the lists with all the family and make them accessible on phones. And setting them up on google drive with the link makes things even easier! It also makes sticking to a budget much more reasonable! 

Having the list which feels like a registry gives us so much freedom. We usually do a lot of online shopping, with as much shopping local as possible mixed in. With the list you know you won't disappoint yet there is still the surprise in what is picked out. Surprisingly anticipation is almost heightened and everyone seems excited for the big day! And of course you can always go off it! 

I think the reason this has become a saver for us is that while I enjoy gifting and love receiving gifts, for Steve it's not a big deal. So he is able to hit a home run while not being stressed out of his mind! And it leaves room for casual and fun shopping trips that are more of a date than a stressful run thru a mall. 

Do you think you would give something like this a try? Or do you have something that works well for your family that you could share? I love hearing how everyone manages to make the holidays their own! 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Set The Scene: Mixing up the Christmas Decor

Do you keep things traditional with your decorations every year? Or do you mix things up? Last year after we put the lights up on our tree we almost left it at that. This year we decided to do it. We placed a total of three ornaments on it and it feels perfect. 

This year we decided to keep it simple. We are after a feeling of peace. Of calm. We have a lot of things to focus on with Sam in her senior year looking at colleges and Kate living away from us. It feels like a time to mix things up and make them work for us. (kind of like we are with our other traditions!) 

Trust me there is still a party going on in our living room! Somehow there is neon and disco lights and vintage trees and houses and garland and glassy babies. But I hope somehow it works. And I love making things feel fresh by changing things up.I do know of some families where there would be some protest. Thankfully my family is used to me messing around with things so they are good with it. 

There is something comforting pulling the boxes and bringing out the decorations year after year.  I love the idea that the white church and some of the other small houses have been in my family since my Dad was small. And adding to the village has been so much fun for me over the years. 

There is also something to be said for letting things rest for a year. I have boxes of vintage ornamants that I have distilled down to whats in the lamp base for this year. Just some favorites. And it feels like what this Christmas needs. 

And that leaves room for some touches in the guest bedroom that is waiting in the hopes that Kate and her boyfriend Nick will be staying over Christmas Eve. And that is what these decorations are here for. To set the scene for the important things. Time with my friends and family. How about you? Do you mix it up?