Everyday Inspirations

 
 

~ special father's day edition ~


{from angie}
Walking down the aisle
Dear Dad,

Every little girl dreams of being dressed in white and having her daddy walk her down the aisle. Last year I got to live this dream. Why is it, I wonder, that this rite of passage, this symbolic giving away, is every girl's dream with her dad? 

That being said, there have been so many things you have taught me to prepare me for that rite of passage. You taught me how to question, analyze and study the world around me, to cook and experiment with recipes, to love the outdoors and take care of mother earth by the choices I make, and to embrace learning and always strive for more. You gave me your witty sense of humor, your love of reading, your affection for science and the arts, and your passion for discovering new things in our world.

When I was little, every morning I would get up, sit on your lap and eat your cereal. You'll be glad to know I regularly eat Nate's food too (I'm sure he appreciates it as much as you did). Some things never change.

Last September, all dressed in white, I leaned on your arm as you walked me to a new beginning. In that rite of passage your strength carried me to live out my dream. I have started a new life with my husband, but despite the symbolic giving away, I will always be daddy's little girl. Happy Father's Day Dad.

Love,
Angie

{from ash}
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Dad's girl for life. We go way back.
Dear Dad,

I write a lot but can never seem to find the most appropriate words to use when talking about how much you've touched my life. It is difficult to accurately express how grateful I am to be your daughter. I thank God every day for you and your selfless dedication to our family--even before I was around. You sacrificed for us, always with a smile on your face. I know is not always an easy thing to do, but I'm so glad you did.

When I look back, I see that important lessons along the way came from you -- among them, the value of lifelong learning, how to respect others (especially those you love most), and what it means to be honest and patient. You also taught me many essential skills: to ski everything from homemade snow hills in our backyard to "Ted's Chutes"; to try and appreciate delicious food; to fall in love with the outdoors; and, of course, to properly train for and rock a half marathon.

(For the record, one of the most inspiring moments of my life was holding your hand as we crossed through the finish line of our first half. I'll remember it forever.)

Mom always tells me how much you loved being a daddy, how excited you were to have a girl, how we were best friends. She says I used to wait for you to come home each day, thrilled I'd be spending the evening with one of my most favorite people in the world. I hear these stories and my heart fills with love for that little girl and her daddy. I'm thankful that little girl is me, that I was blessed with a loving home and a father who not only stuck around, but also was thrilled to be there (even during the dramatic teenage years). I know not every kid gets that. Thank you.

I love you, Dad. I can't wait to see what adventures await us.

Ash
 

~ small inspiration ~


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{angie}
Recently a group of my old ice skating friends reformed our synchronized skating team, this time as an adult team. It has a little different dynamic now--we're all a little older, many of us are married, a couple have kids, the youngest ones are now in college. What hasn't changed is our ability to rock the cheesy smiles and goof off like we're still 15, the way we can cross, turn and twizzle in synchronicity, and of course, how much we love the sport. There's nothing like being with old friends, especially the ones that have known you since before you had braces. Today was our first exhibition and I think it went pretty well considering we've only had a few practices. Afterward a judge even told us we had to keep doing it so we could compete at nationals (I guess those cheesy smiles paid off). After our old team disbanded we all expressed our love for skating differently--coaching, ice dance, competitive singles, judging, collegiate synchronized skating, and gold medal tests-- but there's something about this team sport that we all still have a heart for. Nothing quite replaces the feeling of performing with 15 girlfriends who you know you can't count on to entertain an audience with you. These girls are my teammates and I'm so happy to have them all back in my life.
 

~ our world ~


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{ash}

Moab, Utah, is home to incredible red rock formations, two national parks (Arches and Canyonlands), slickrock trails, and breathtaking views. The first time I visited I was 20 years old. I now try to visit at least once a year. Last year I was lucky enough to visit twice--in August for camping trip and in December for a 10K (yes, it was freezing).

My must-sees while in Moab include hiking to Delicate Arch (you really should see it in person) or exploring Fiery Furnace at Arches National Park, enjoying lunch and a beverage at Eddie McStiff's or The Moab Brewery, and playing in the Colorado River. Take a walk down Main Street, check out the shops and museum, or try biking the slickrock. Every time I visit I find another reason to love this place.
 

~ food ~


Grilled Anaheim Peppers
{angie}
These peppers are great alongside your favorite grilled steak or chicken recipe or Mexican food dish. Anaheim peppers only have a slight spice, and grilled have a delicious smoky flavor.

Grilled Anaheim Peppers Stuffed with Cheese

Ingredients
2-3 Anaheim peppers
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1 cup pepper jack cheese, grated
1 4 ounce can of green chiles (or give it extra spice with jalapenos)
olive oil
toothpicks

Directions
Cut off the tops of the peppers and hollow out seeds. In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, pepper jack cheese and chiles. Scoop cheese mixture into hollowed out Anaheim peppers and stuff to the bottom using a butter knife and/or your fingers. Once they are all filled, attach the top using tooth picks and brush with olive oil. Grill on medium heat for about 7 minutes or until pepper skin begins to brown and cheese has melted.
 

~ a better you ~


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Me (left) and my friend Sarah in Puerto Vallarta.
{ash}

Does that title sound too cheesy? Too after-school special? Sorry, but I feel this is a lesson we still need as adults.

Let me give you an example.

When I was a kid, I didn't like my freckles. They really bugged me, especially in the summer when I'd play outside and they would suddenly emerge, those little, uninvited guests. My family adored them. I remember my grandfather once telling me how cute he thought they were and how much he missed them in the winter when they would fade off my face. I knew people who wished for freckles. I still didn't want them.

I was an adult by the time I learned to appreciate my freckles (I will admit, though, there are still moments I want to cover up some of them so I no longer look like I'm in junior high, but that's another issue). I understand those freckles are me. And since I love me, I love my freckles (we're kind of a package deal). There are even times I think they're the cutest things ever--especially the little ones that dot my hairline after a day at the beach. They make me stand apart and bring something unique to my face.

Today, I can look at the freckles that dot the noses of my beautiful younger cousins and finally see what I could never understand when I was 12. I used to get too caught up in what I thought was beautiful. I didn't see the natural beauty that was a part of my features. Once I did, I forgot about what I thought I should look like.

We all have something we fixate on. Maybe it's not freckles for you. Maybe it's an extra-long middle toe or that you're super tall. The thing that strikes me as interesting, though, is that those little details that cause such grief are what make you unique. Also of note: the times you feel inadequate are usually when you're trying to fit into a mold that was never meant for you. Break away. Fall in love with your "flaws" and make them your assets. Don't waste another day wishing to be someone you're not.

 

~ home ~


Save energy this summer
{angie}
This is my first summer as a homeowner and with energy prices going up for the summer, my husband and I are definitely looking for ways to save. The key is to keep the heat down and the power off where possible. Here are some at-home energy saving tips.
  • Turn down or turn off your air conditioning during the day when you're not home. Many thermostats are programmable so you can set times for it to be turned on or off.
  • Check your home for air leaks around door frames and windows to make sure you have a proper seal.
  • Avoid using the oven (except for our Mixer Mixer next Tuesday of course). Cook meals in the microwave, on the grill or choose dishes that don't require cooking.
  • Only wash full loads of dishes and clothes. Wash clothes in cold water and air dry. Use the air dry option on your dishwasher if it has one.
  • Turn down the thermostat in your water heater to 120 or 115 degrees rather than up to 140 degrees.
  • Turn off computers, electronics and lights when they are not in use. They generate heat and electricity.
  • Keep windows closed during the day to keep heat down.
  • Keep appliances or heat generating devices away from your thermostat so it doesn't misread the temperature and over cool your house.
  • Use ceiling or floor fans instead of blasting your A/C. Sometimes it helps to simply keep air circulating.
Keep it cool friends! Have more tips? Please share!
 

~ fashion ~


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{ash}

The color orange has stolen my heart.

Seriously, how beautiful is orange during summer? It's such a welcome change from the blah, boring blacks and grays that dominated my wardrobe over the winter. I love when a simple accessory, like this orange necklace (a steal--under $10 at Old Navy!), inspires an entire outfit--and an entire day.
 

~ how to ~


{angie}
Save Your Slingbacks
I bought these cute floral slingbacks last year and just loved them--until after a few wears they broke! I was sad. I tried looping the buckle and the strap together. I tried tying them. But they just weren't the same. This isn't the first time this fate has come to a pair of my slingbacks. I have another pair of cute black heels that I wore all the time because they were so comfortable--until the elastic in the back got so stretched out that they were hard to walk in. Both pairs of these shoes sat in my closet in the hopes that one day they would magically be fixed and I could wear them again. Strangely that never happened! That is, until I took matters into my own hands. When spring sprung this year and I looked at that sad, cute pair of shoes, pining to wear them with a flowy skirt or jeans, I vowed to myself I would fix them. And I did! No longer will they live only on my shoe rack. Here is your how to on fixing your slingbacks and giving them the life they deserve.

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Here are your supplies.

  • A needle (preferably the thinnest one you have since you'll be pushing it through thick straps)
  • Thread that matches your shoes
  • Ribbon (make sure it is strong and the same width as your shoe straps)

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Here is the sad broken end. To prep your shoes, pull the straps back towards each other and cut off the ends so the length matches.

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Match up the ribbon end with the inside of the strap, ribbon streaming down.

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Stitch the ends together

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Fold the strap over and stitch it again to make sure it is extra strong.

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Fold the ribbon back up and stitch it to your folded end so it can be tied in a bow in the back. Repeat on all four straps. Cut the ends so the bow ties at the proper length. Voila! Your slingbacks walk again!

 

~ small inspiration ~


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{ash}

How beautiful are summer storms? I find them so peaceful and love the colors they paint in the sky (not to mention how green they make everything). Soak it all in, because it's about to get hot, folks.

Hope your weekends are going well. Make sure you're taking time to get rejuvenated.
 

~ our world ~


{angie}
Everywhere you look there are photos, videos, news reports, articles and posts on the BP oil spill. The Associated Press is now saying the spill may be twice as big as they thought. The estimates for how much oil has been leaked keeps getting bigger and the damage just continues to get worse.

Some say it will take years to repair the damage to wildlife and the environment. Some say it will never be the same. People are angry, sad and dissatisfied. They want BP to clean it up. They want the government to take care of it. They don't care who does it as long as it's done. Everyone has an opinion, and rightly so. Something horrible happened to our planet and it needs to be fixed. Yes, that's right--our planet. Because no matter where you are in this world, damage of this magnitude will affect us all.

I know this isn't the most inspirational post so far, so let me try to make it so. The damage is done in this situation, but how can you use the emotions you're feeling to help better our world today? We all have a carbon footprint. Everyday companies like BP make choices that have environmental impacts. Like it or not, humanity has an effect on our precious, beautiful, gorgeous mother earth. I don't know about you, but I want to enjoy the world in which we live and as your fellow human, I want to afford that right to you by the decisions I make. We are upset about this situation, so let's keep this in mind as we vote, live, drive, and make choices. Are you with me?