Language Barrier Monday

LBM returns for a surprise visit, because well, this one was just too good to let it go unspoken.

Sunday morning, I came out of our bedroom and stood at the top of the stairs, to see Chris sitting cross-legged on our front room sofa.  It sounds so cheesy now that I think back on it, but instinctively I said, "well don't you look cute, sitting criss-cross apple sauce."  And instantly, I got the heartiest laugh I had heard from Chris in a long while.  Which then, of course, made me laugh in response.  

So a few hours later, we were still kind of laughing about it whenever one of us reminded the other about it. And Chris said, "you should put that one on your blog, about how hard I guffawed at your little country saying."  

Little did he know that his saying would be the one I would be posting about.  Who says guffaw?  Is this a common British thing?  Either way, I was laughing pretty hard at his use of such an antiquated (in my opinion!) word.  Ha.  Love unexpected moments like that that have the ability to make us laugh so hard our stomachs hurt.  And it did.  Deep belly laughs.  

It was a good weekend.  Feeling grateful.

Poetry Contest - ONE MORE WEEK!

Only one more week to get your poetry submissions in!  Take a chance and try something new by submitting a poem to an international greeting card publisher!  You never know unless you try!

{ a fitting picture to inspire you. the lake behind our house. lovely. }

A reminder on the rules for the contest...

1.  You can submit anywhere from 1-10 different poems for consideration.
2.  Poems should be written from personal experience that reflect the thoughts and feelings people today want to communicate to one another, but don't always know how to put into words.
3.  The poem length does not matter, so long as it can fit on a card.  We publish both long and short pieces.
4.  NO rhyming poetry, religious verse, one-liners. 
5. Try to avoid frequently overused words and phrases such as "special," "you were always there for me," "birthday wishes for you," etc.  Consider writings that are refreshing and unique or that express age-old sentiments in new and different ways.
6.  Popular themes include: love, birthday, thanks, motto/reach for your dreams, anniversary, congratulations, new baby, sympathy, get well, etc.
7.  DEADLINE: October 4th, 2013.
8.  Residents of any country can participate, we have authors all over the world!

Please include your poems in the body of your email (no attachments!), with a title and clear definition between each poem.  Email to me at

I will feature the top 5 poems right here on my blog, and they will also be printed for a market review test alongside other potential greeting cards.

Feel free to pass on to anyone you think might be interested in submitting their work for possible publication.

Happy Friday!

Turning Thirty

Okay, so I celebrated one of my best friend's ("twenty ninth," wink, wink) birthday last night, letting loose with a whole two glasses of wine with dinner.  Fun, right?  Well, um, I feel like I partied all night last night.  Is this what happens when you are approaching your own "twenty ninth" birthday?!?!  Because if so, I might have to stick to mocktails in the future. ;)

The restaurant we went to was really great.  It has a rooftop bar that serves drinks out of an RV (amazing, right?), and you get amazing views of downtown Denver.  And "normal" size dinner portions, of even more amazing food.  We will definitely be going back again.  And on a random plus side, we found a view point to take visitors.  Not what I had in mind when I put that one on my list, but I actually think it's better!

{ the only photo I took all night. not even one of the birthday girl. fail. }

On a complete side note, I LOVE birthdays.  Like, seriously love them.  Who wouldn't?  It's a day to just celebrate YOU, and the day you came into this world.  I say embrace it.  Even if you have that pesky "getting older" anxiety.  Live your life to the fullest, and make every year in between these celebrations really count.

Birthday party, take two is next weekend, so hopefully I can actually remember to take some photos this time around.  And avoid a college hangover the next day.  Ha.  Unlikely, but a girl can wish.

Operation: Get Visitors

A few years ago, Chris and I decided that we needed to actively try to get more people to visit us.  We were living in San Francisco, the perfect location for our tourism-loving family and friends. 

So we started mentioning it to all of our friends and family whenever we spoke to them, and for a period of about 8-10 months, we averaged about a visitor (couple/family) per month!  We had the best time seeing everyone, and loved showing them around a cool city.

Recently, we started thinking about this again.  We now live somewhere new.  A place that has magical landscaping and offers a very different experience than a visit to San Francisco.  So we figured, why not try again? We finally have a house that we can actually properly host visitors now, and we want to take advantage of that.

{ the sunrise that greeted me on my way to work earlier this week }

So all of this talk of visitors has reminded me that I still don't know my way around Colorado all that well. Even the areas surrounding my house and work.  What better reason to reignite the Dora the Explorer in me, than to be able to better entertain visitors while playing tour guide?  

{ where else can you hike a rock staircase into the mountain and end up with views like this? }

As we enter our 2nd Fall (that's Autumn, for you Brits) here in Colorado I decided to create my top ten list of things to explore here in Colorado.

They are (in no particular order, I'm not playing favorites!)...
  1. Visit the Royal Gorge (I am told I have visited here when I was really little, but I don't remember it. Only the photos I've seen of me feeding deer crackers that were stuck between my toes.  No really, I'm sure my parents knew they wouldn't bite me... I'm sure it was perfectly safe. ;)
  2. Test out our new-to-us ($10 used!) kayak on a lake we haven't been to yet.
  3. Go for a walk at the Garden of the Gods (the photos look seriously beautiful).
  4. Check out the changing of the leaves on the famous Aspen trees in Estes Park (assuming the road reopens from the flood in time to do so).
  5. Observe the elk rut in Estes Park (if possible. see above) that happens every Fall.
  6. Find a good viewpoint to take visitors to.
  7. Explore and try out more hiking trails.
  8. Find our favorite restaurants in Denver (I love this kind of research!).
  9. Visit some of the museums in Denver.
  10. Check out the local theater in Denver.
So... who's coming to visit?!

Sneak Peek!

A quick sneak peek at what I've been working on this weekend. What do you think it's going to be?

Stay tuned for more hints...

Poetry Submission Contest!

I am excited to announce a contest EXCLUSIVELY here on my blog.  A poetry contest, to be more specific!

As many of you know, I am an Editor for a greeting card company called Blue Mountain Arts (BMA).  We are a small organization located in Boulder, CO that has been dedicated to helping people communicate for over forty years.  How, you ask? Well, our cards are written by people who do not work for BMA.  Our writers are mothers, business professionals, grandfathers, students and daughters.  Because our cards capture genuine emotions on topics such as love, friendship, family, birthday, and other real-life subjects, we suggest that you have a friend or relative in mind as you write.

Why should you participate in this contest?  Because if your poem is chosen for publication into our line, not only will you have your name published on the card with your poem (which will be distributed across the country, and even internationally!)... you will also get PAID! ($300 for your first poem, and the rate increases with each poem that is published!)

Do you have a poem that you have already written for someone special in your life?  Great, submit it!  Don't have one written yet?  No problem, take time to write a heartfelt poem to someone in your life TODAY!

Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?


1.  You can submit anywhere from 1-10 different poems for consideration.
2.  Poems should be written from personal experience that reflect the thoughts and feelings people today want to communicate to one another, but don't always know how to put into words.
3.  The poem length does not matter, so long as it can fit on a card.  We publish both long and short pieces.
4.  NO rhyming poetry, religious verse, one-liners. 
5.  Try to avoid frequently overused words and phrases such as "special," "you were always there for me," "birthday wishes for you," etc.  Consider writings that are refreshing and unique or that express age-old sentiments in new and different ways.
6.  Popular themes include: love, birthday, thanks, motto/reach for your dreams, anniversary, congratulations, new baby, sympathy, get well, etc.
7.  DEADLINE: October 4th, 2013.
8.  Residents of any country can participate, we have authors all over the world!

Please submit your poems to: with the subject: Poetry Submission Contest


Please include your poems in the body of the email (no attachments, please!), with a clear title and separation between each poem.


The top 5 poems will be included in our October Market Review Test, and put into test stores.  If it does well in the test stores, it will be published into our line and you will get paid for your work.  I will also feature the top five poems here on my blog.

Feel free to visit our website to get a feel for what our unique cards and products are like:

I really look forward to reading your submissions!  Please share this post with your friends and family!


Habits are a tricky thing.  Why is it so easy to create a habit, yet so hard to break it?  I tend to have better success if I start small with habits.  

How so?  Well, over the years, I have had lofty goals of wanting to work out every day, or lose ten pounds, or keep a spotless house.  The way I approach these things has historically set me up for failure.  Assuming that I will go from a messy ("well-loved") house to a spotless one (and keep it that way!) overnight, is unrealistic.  Or that I will suddenly exercise every single day.  So I decided to start smaller, and give myself a better chance of success.  

The result?  It works!  Slowly but surely.  In today's world, we can have virtually whatever we want at the drop of a hat, so this slow approach was not my preference.  But I did recognize that it was the approach that yielded the best results.  

For instance, a few years ago, in an effort to be healthy and avoid illnesses down the road, I started buying organic fruit, and doing more research when it came to GMOs and doing my best to avoid them.  I didn't say, okay no more sweets, fried food, meat, soda, processed food, non-organic foods, etc.  I started small.  I was already buying fruit and vegetables, so I started to change until I bought almost exclusively organic.

Then, about a year and a half ago, I eliminated meat from my diet.  And I haven't looked back. Most recently? I gave up soda 4 or 5 months ago, and it didn't feel that difficult.  Because I was doing one thing at a time.  The most difficult part was not that I missed the actual soda, just that it was an automatic habit to order it out at restaurants.  My best advice?  Find drink alternatives that you can fall back on that are healthier.  Water is the obvious choice, but a small fruit juice, healthy lemonade or tea are all great alternatives.

I really want giving up sugar to be my next goal, but having a sweet tooth like I do, I know this one will be much more difficult.  But I know that as long as I take a slowly but surely approach, and forgive myself when I crack and give in to my sweet cravings, that I will get there eventually.  Luckily, I have a really supportive (and healthy!) husband to help me when I need it.  

Now if only I could get better at the whole messy house "habit."  Hey, some things are just better left alone. Or to a house cleaning service.  No one's perfect, right?

What habits have you successfully kicked?  What tips can you share to help me on my journey?

Colorado Floods

As most of you know, Colorado suffered a pretty severe storm last week which resulted in unprecedented flooding.  While my office was affected, Chris and I feel especially grateful that the area around our house weathered the storm just fine.  We were a bit soggy for a while from the rain, but there was no signs of flooding in our neighborhood.  We were a bit worried there for a bit, as we live near a lake and stream that we thought could breech if the rain continued coming down at such a rapid rate.  But thankfully, that nightmare never came true for us.

I work just a few blocks from the mouth of Boulder Canyon, and two blocks over from Boulder Creek, where so much of the flooding came from.  To give you a bit of perspective on how fast the creek (which for all intents and purposes became a roaring river) was moving, it normally flows around 200 cubic feet per second at this time of year.  It peaked at over 5,000cfs, with what the USGS called 'water walls' up to 20' high at times.  Roadways completely washed out, bridges demolished, and sadly, too many lives lost.

 { Boulder Creek as it normally is. }

{ Boulder Creek during the flood, though I am pretty sure this was not at the peak, as it would not have been very safe to be near the creek during the flash flooding. }

So what did we do?  We hunkered down for 4-5 days, I worked from home, which Chris enjoyed, and waited for the sunshine to reemerge and dry everything out a bit.

They have been discouraging volunteer efforts just yet, instead asking for donations to the Red Cross.  But as the sun returns, and folks start to understand the damage and devastation that occurred, I am really keen to help those who were not as lucky as us.  People whose homes were badly damaged, some even completely destroyed.  The initial estimates say that 19,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed. I can't imagine being in their shoes, and hope that I can find a way to be helpful in putting the pieces back together again.

The local search and rescue operations, as well as the National Guard, Coast Guard, etc. have done a great job of keeping order, as well as rescuing those who have been stranded in the mountains or in their homes.  I have no idea how they managed to do it, but they deserve all of our gratitude for what they have done.

Looking back at all of these images the news has been showing, it still shocks me that water can do so much damage.  I really never understood the power it could have until last week.

Feeling lucky and grateful today...

Dining Room: Curtains are Finished!

Okay, so I am not about to pretend that they look professionally made, but I do have to say I am still quite happy with how they turned out.  Being a newbie at this whole DIY thing, next time I would make sure that the fabric doesn't wrinkle super easily (this fabric does, boo!), but other than that they turned out just fine!

Don't mind the mess on the table, and that half of the dining room chairs are missing (they still need to be painted!)  The focus here my friends, is the curtains.  :)

I am not going to pretend that this project went off without a hitch, however.  I was meticulous with ironing and hemming the fabric (face down on the living room carpet), even attaching blackout fabric (fancy, I know! ha!).  When I finished the first panel, I threaded the curtain rod through it, pulled it upright, and realized that I had sewn it upside down!  The anchors were upside down, and just looked silly.  So I gave up on Monday night, vowing never to do a DIY project again.  Dramatic, I know, but I can never seem to get my DIY projects just the way I want them.  Chris was supportive and said that he was sure I could easily fix it another day, and that he thought even upside down, that they really warmed up the room.  And you know what?  He was right.  (Not that I told him so at the time)  So last night as he was out at a networking event for work, I tackled fixing the first panel, and finished the second panel.  And I felt such a sense of accomplishment!

Next dining room project?  The chandelier!  It's hard to tell in this photo, but the finish is a weird burgundy with black splatters.  Can we say dated?!  I have a few ideas rolling around in my imagination for what I want this chandelier to look like when I am finished.  We will see how it turns out!

Oh, and I really need to tackle more of the chairs.  Maybe this weekend?  Chris has to work, so it should be the perfect opportunity... should being the operative word here.  We'll see how motivated and patient I am feeling...

Dining Room: DIY Curtains

Okay, so after weeks of scouring the internet, and coming up empty-handed for dining room curtains, I decided to make my own!  Eek!

I found  lovely fabric on clearance (love it when that happens!), and found what sounds like an easy tutorial to follow on Pinterest (where else?!).  Fingers crossed that they turn out -- I am hoping to start them tonight!

Here is a little sneak peek at the fabric I am using...

And the curtain rod that I snagged on Amazon...

So excited to finish another piece of the dining room DIY puzzle!  Stay tuned...

Breaking the Rules

I realized this morning that I completely missed my regular Sustenance Sunday and Language Barrier Monday posts again this week.  I had plenty of time to write over the weekend, but decided to spend my time doing other things.  And you know what?  I'm okay with that.  It is, after all, my blog.  I'm allowed to break the rules every once in a while, right?  

My regular posts will be back next week, but today I am happy to find myself okay with not doing things the way they are supposed to be done.  I am finding this so much more important the older I get, and this quote sums up my feelings on the subject of perfection, well, perfectly.

I think growing up, I always assumed I would reach a point where I had it all figured out.  As many before me have done, I have realized through many ups and downs, that that is not the case.  That likely (hopefully!) I never will have it all figured out.  And being okay with that is another one of those growth opportunities.

For so long, I invested so much energy in making sure things turned out the way that I wanted them to.  Even for something as asinine as the dining room table not having any visible mistakes.  I had to stop myself as I was reviewing my paint job of our dining room table, when I found myself disappointed to find some obvious places that I had messed up (i.e. it didn't look perfect).  I realized that I had the expectation that it would look flawless, as though it had been purchased white, instead of being an old wooden table that we decided to transform with white paint.  It sounds silly, but I really had to make a conscious effort to stop myself and be like, "who cares?! you still accomplished the task of brightening up the dining room with a bright white table.  and those signs that you see as blemishes or mistakes, will only point out to friends and family that dine at the table, just how hard you worked to make this table look beautiful."  

Cheesy?  Absolutely, but sometimes we need to give ourselves a good-old-fashioned pep talk and remind ourselves what is really important.  So the table doesn't look perfect, sue me.  :)  I'm cool with it now.

Repeating my mantra (learned from a meditation/breathing course a few years ago): Expectations reduce the joy in life.