What is that one thing that inspires you to create? You know…that one thing that gets you out of bed in the morning and gives you, well… something to look forward to and keeps you inspired?
I wanted to share with you my top 5 inspirational favorites that keep me going and get me out of bed in the morning. Because lets face it, some day’s I need all the help I can get!
1. Light. This is HUGE for me! We have very large windows in our home facing South, so I love opening the curtains every morning and watching the sunrise while drinking my coffee and talking with my kids.
2. My children. For me this is a no brainier. Having 4 minds constantly asking questions and throwing ideas my way everyday, how can I not say my children inspire me?
3. Decorating. I do love decorating and shopping for the current holiday season. I don’t go overboard (at least I don’t think so) but I like finding new things cute and small.
4. Hobby Lobby. Yeah…that’s right, a big box store! When we moved to Eau Claire in 2000 I was extremely disappointed to know the closest Hobby Lobby was almost 2 hours away in Onalaska. Albuquerque had 5 stores I could pop into anytime, so you can image my depression when moving up North and my favorite store was NO where to be found! I had no problem loading up Mallory in the family van and enjoying the countryside views just to shop in a Hobby Lobby! Today I count my lucky stars there’s a store in Woodbury, MN and find myself there almost once a week. I just love wandering their aisles looking at everything pretty and eye catching. But my favorite is reading those inspirational signs that can be found in almost every aisle! You gotta go!
5. Long drives. I’ve traveled enough to know I do my best thinking in the car listening to music, driving country roads and finding random antique shops or unique cafes to visit. A change of scenery is ALWAYS a good idea!
I hope with these warm temps and the sun waking up earlier you feel some new inspiration for you to create something awesome for yourself!
Thanks for stopping by!
If it were up to Hallmark, Valentine’s Day would be a month-long celebration of romance, adoration, and gushy, mushy love love love. I don’t have a problem with it. I LOVE love. And I want to take this opportunity to cyber-shout from the mountaintops that my husband and kids are the absolute cherry on my sundae! Sauce on my spaghetti! The jiggle in my Jello! The chocolate chips in my cookies! The apple in my pie! (I think you get it!) I can’t begin to explain how simply impossible my life would be without them. They have loved me at my brutal worst and pushed me to be so much more than I ever thought I could. So here’s to them and thank you for loving me so much!
Thanks for stopping by!
Happy Valentines Day to you!
My girls. Emily was recovering from surgery and Mallory would lovingly braid her hair nightly. (captured 1/2017)
She paced along the kitchen floor between the table and counter trying to push off and address the feelings that were building inside her. I broke the silence and questioned “if this was truly what she wanted?” She could tell by my voice I was on the edge of starting one of my famous “coming to Jesus” talks. It was inevitable because the fear and dread crept in and she was hesitating and second guessing herself. If you’re a parent you know what I’m talking about when you see your child suddenly standing still almost paralyzed not wanting to move forward and accepting a complaisant reality.
I reminded her that half the battle is showing up.
So we loaded up the car and drove 2 hours for her to play.
This weekend marked a HUGE moment in our household. Emily, our baby girl, played in her first soccer game after recovering from an ACL tear that required surgery and a long road of rehabilitation. To say that we haven’t ridden on waves of emotions over the past year would be an understatement. All the extra practices and long training sessions at the gym seemed worth it to her once she took the field. You know… it was one of those awesome moments where I was happy that Bryan and I were there to support and watch her prove it to herself that she could AND did do it!
I think we all need reminders no mater what the age….half the battle is showing up!
Hey. Hey. Hey! Let’s talk about one of my favorite places in the good ol’ USA….CHICAGO!
I LOVE everything about this cultural diverse city that I HAVE to visit at least once a year and sometimes even more! Our family takes off every year after Thanksgiving for a week to enjoy this amazing city blanketed with Christmas decorations every where you look. I affectionately call this vacation “Our Gross Family Holiday Kick Off” as said in my best Clark Griswold voice. Our Chicago tradition started in 2000 when Mallory was the cutest one-year-old alive and we had just moved to Eau Claire, WI October 2000! Even though we’ve missed a few years due to births or lack of funds in the bank account our Chicago vacation has made our family yearly “budget list” lately and is something we will not give up. After all it’s become tradition and anyone knows…you don’t monkey with tradition! I secretly hope that my own children, once grown, will take time from their busy adult schedules and continue this beloved yearly tradition with each other or their own families. ( I can dream right? )
Alrighty then…let’s get to it. Here are my absolute favorite places and traditions that I make sure we visit and experience every year.
Lincoln Park Zoo Lights – We always go opening night and the crowd is HUGH but so worth it!
We always find a new place to eat after visiting the zoo and put a LOT of thought into this dinner.
Our place of choice was Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. This place is a MUST when visiting the Windy City, but you gotta know how to go about getting a table like a true local. My tip and what worked for me…I showed up at 3:30pm and put my name on the list and was told it was a 3 hour wait. I didn’t mind AND you don’t have to stay there the entire time. So we checked into the hotel and toured the zoo lights, then walked over to the restaurant only to wait another 2 hours outside! It was a warm night so we didn’t mind and I had snacks for the kids and charged phone batteries for them to watch videos or play video games. You can also go inside and order drinks and bring them outside since there is no room to wait inside for your table.
Our Sunday routine is always the same from year to year and it’s something the kids look forward to and talk about throughout the year in anticipation. First off we sleep in until 9am and then dress in our best for brunch at Shaw’s Crab House at 11am. We usually stay at Shaw’s for about 2 hours then take our time walking over to the Cadillac Palace to take in the matinee musical show that’s currently playing. This year we saw White Christmas and it was absolutely fabulous complete with a few Tony award winning actors.
After the theater performance, we always walk down to Daley Plaza and visit the Christkindlmarket to purchase our souvenir mug (it’s a different design every year) filled with tasty hot chocolate, and purchase other goodies such as candied almonds and pretzels, then we stroll along looking at the decorative merchant stalls and shop for our advent calendars.
We then take our time walking over to Macy’s Department store to view their seasonal windows.
After taking in the Macy’s windows we head into Macy’s and start our escalator climb. Escalators are hard to find in Eau Claire so this is a HUGE treat for the kids as we climb up to the 7th floor to write our Letter’s to Santa! They love cheap thrills what can I say? heehee
We usually head back to the hotel by 5pm, talk about dinner choices (always Chicago Pizza!), relax, let the kids swim, then head out again for dinner that’s normally somewhere we’ve eaten before but can’t get in Eau Claire.
Kids choice. Meaning all
four (Mallory didn’t join us this year) three kids have to decide together on our destination for the day and lunch place. They chose to return to one of their favorite places: The Science and Industry Museum. As a family…we absolutely love this place and always find something new we’ve never seen before. Plus we visit the museums when attendance is low. It’s almost comparable to a private showing!
Our dinner that night was our traditional “Totally Chocolate Dinner” at the Grand Lux Cafe. What the hell is that you ask? Well…we basically order all or almost all desserts offered on the menu as dinner. Ok…Ok…we do actually order a few dinner plates to share after we’ve had dessert first. This tradition started for us in 2003 when Mallory was 4 and Em was 2. Story goes…the server showed up with a tray of desserts after our meal, asked if we would like to order anything and Mallory pointed to and asked for every single dessert on the tray including the baked to order! I gotta tell you…in that moment time stood still for me and I made a conscientious decision to be that parent that said YES! Ever sense that one chilly evening back in 2003 the Grand Lux along with the Downtowner in St. Paul are THE only restaurants we order the entire dessert menu for our children! It’s a beloved tradition that’s talked about frequently in our family and we even ask friends we love to join us sometime to share in the experience.
After our dessert overload we love walking the Chicago streets taking in the architecture and twinkling Christmas lights.
Was spent sleeping in, watching Food Network, breakfast at the hotel, then heading to the Field Museum to experience Jurassic World. Which by the way…was amaze-BALLS!!
We stopped over at Millennium Park and tootled around there for a bit then decided to walk down to the Congress Hotel and have a look around. This hotel has so much history to it and one amazing doorman named Jose`.
Our dinner choice for our last night was Giordano’s! Like duh!?
Can’t wait to make more memories this November!
Thanks for stopping by!
My studio opened on Tuesday, and I’m trying to ease into my grove again. My hope is to continue blogging. Actually…I’ll make it a priority.
Enjoy your weekend!
Being brave isn’t about grand gestures and shinning armor.
Being brave is about facing your fears, and sometimes just getting out of bed to face the day.
If you’ve been with me on my blogging journey these past years, you know well enough that I’m not a fan of the long snowy cold month of January. One may even say I act like a grizzly bear and do my best to hibernate. I rarely leave my house which means, I leave all the shopping to my husband. He’s a fan of my January reclusive slumber due to the fact it’s the ONE month out of twelve, I truly spend NO money!
My long “To Do” list that I love creating towards the end of December and have every hope to complete by February 1st didn’t…ummm…. really get complete at all. You know what? I’m ok with that and I owned my actions every. single. day. Granted there were a few days that one might say extreme laziness took over (hey no judging!)….like when I kept my 10 year old home from school and we celebrated by watching Scooby Doo and Looney Tunes all. day. long. …and that time I think I was having a mental break down in Culver’s with my 10 year old when I miss-placed my car key and kindly asked the restaurant staff to help me look. They graciously looked through the trash, all over the floor, and even reviewed their surveillance tape and came to the conclusion that I did not walk in with my key! (Say-What?) Gratefully, my daughter came to the rescue with an extra key. There were many days with girlfriends sitting on my couch enjoying hot tea and deep conversations (best kinda therapy out there), lunches with best friends so incredibly long the server stops waiting on you ( I’m sure you know what I’m talking about), lingering (I mean would 2 hours be called lingering…really?) in the the massage chair after a pedicure because let’s just face it… those massage chairs feel so incredibly good! And that time Mallory asked to escape to Maui for 10 days with my beloved sister-in-law and saying “SURE, WHY NOT!” with seven day advance notice. Hosting my youngest daughters friends for breakfast when school was cancelled along with many sleepovers, and late nite Fortnite parties!
When I think about January and someone asks how I’ve been I’ll reply, busy. I’ve been busy living with intention. I’ve been busy owning my actions. I’ve been busy finding my happiness. I hope when our paths cross you’ll tell me about how busy you’ve been.
February is upon us, and my creative break is coming to an end. I feel ready to greet 2018 and give it all I’ve got!
Oh….I did find my car key tucked away neatly in a pocket of my purse! (Gheez!) But I have now miss-placed my bank card! I know there’s hope for me.
Thanks for stopping by!