Everyday Inspirations


~ home ~


You want to know what I really, really like about my new place?
Mmm, brand-spankin'-new hardwood floors. Yum.

Kinda makes up for that whole grease-saturated kitchen.

Since I love keeping things nice, I've been doing research on caring for hardwood floors. Not surprising, the top advice is to not use anything harsh on your floors. I've found that the best thing you can do is sweep or dust mop to get rid of everyday dirt, grime, and dust. You should never use ammonia cleaners or oil soaps on a hardwood floor, and, of course, should take care to keep them dry (water is an obvious enemy of hardwood floors--just ask my parents about their experience a few years back).

In case you're interested, this is an easy step-by-step guide from one of my favorite sites, Real Simple. Treat those floors with love on a regular basis and you'll enjoy them for years to come.

I got a lot of my information from here and here (if you're wondering).

~ fashion ~

fall leaf earrings
Between today's chilly thunderstorm and the Foodies Night In (#fni) chat involving everything from pumpkin bread to pumpkin ice cream (check out these recipes), it's official--I'm excited for autumn. When my mom told me she'd like to do our family dinner tonight up the canyon at Silver Fork Lodge I got excited at the thought of putting on long sleeves and a scarf. And what completes my fall ensemble better than my leaf earrings? These are made from real leaves and are plated with 24 carat gold. I bought them at the Gem Fair from Realm of the Goddess last year and I love the delicate look of the veins and stems of the leaves. Perfect for a chilly night at dinner up the canyon.

~ etiquette ~


There may come a time in your life where you become a landlord. Ah, what a blessed life is that of the landlord! Extra income, helpful use of your extra rooms.... Of course, I know that landlords also have to put up with a LOT of pain-in-the-butt stuff they really can't get around. For that, I have a lot of respect for the work it takes to manage renters, collect money, follow up on repairs, etc. However, I also think it's important to note a few details that all landlords should be aware of. Attention paid to such details may result in a happier experience between you and your renter (particularly if said renter happens to be a blogger).

(Note: The following list may or may not have been inspired by personal experience.)
  • Some people are pigs. I know this. I was a resident adviser for two years during college and saw some truly horrendous sights. Sadly, the laziness of college students is just a precursor for what's to come as adults. Therefore, as a landlord, you should be ready to SEVERELY PUNISH people who leave a kitchen in the state of NEVER CLEANED IT ONCE DURING TEN YEARS OF RENTING. Particularly if a previous renter appears to have cooked only with grease, resulting in layer upon layer of grime on every surface. Shudder.
  • Sinks that don't drain are gross. Sinks that don't drain after a severe dose of Foaming Pipe Snake* are just plain awful. Please make sure all sinks drain.
  • Um, seriously? Did the person before me NEVER clean anything? Not even wipe down, say, the fridge or the blinds or the sink? Please hunt down and fine this person. She owes me hours of sanity. She also owes me for the what I had to endure when the smell of OxyClean-enhanced Brillo pads* hit the biggest pile of oven grease in Salt Lake City.
  • Please be nice and approachable in case any of the above incidents happen to your renters. Lucky for me, I like my landlord a lot.
Many thanks in advance,

Your renter (who promises to clean the apartment weekly, take out the trash, care for your home, and generally be a pretty awesome person)

*These just happen to be the cleaning products I used, nothing I was asked to write about.
boxer puppy
Daisy girl sitting pretty
I am doing my best to not be the crazy lady that only ever writes about her dog--how cute she is, how funny she is, how I love watching her nap, how fast she learns, how much I love her every little whisker. I apologize if any of you have seen too many of my obsessed mommy tweets about my boxer puppy. But have you SEEN her? She is so stinking cute I can't handle it.

What has truly surprised me most though is how much getting a puppy has made my maternal instincts kick in. I was expecting it a little, but not like this. I know, I'm in my mid 20s, fully into my childbearing years. It shouldn't be a surprise. Suddenly I worry about her when I'm gone, watch her every move, could tell you her pooping, peeing, feeding and playing schedule no problem, can't stand how fast she is growing, and find myself giving my husband instructions on how to take care of her (even though he totally knows how). I even find treats and toys stashed in my purse. I'm pretty sure I need a diaper bag for Daisy. Oh and have I mentioned I can't stop talking about her? I sometimes have to hold myself back because I sound like one of those moms that thinks their children are the only topic worth discussing. I tell myself maybe it's because I now work for BabySteals and KidSteals and spend all day talking with mommies. Whatever it is, the maternal instinct has been awakened (don't get any ideas Ashley).

As a note, whoever says puppy parenthood is good training for having kids is brilliant. I knew how much work goes into it, but I think it has given me a better perspective on the emotional, instinctual side of motherhood. And one day I will have my own baby and then I will really pine for her when I'm gone. All in due time.

~ our world ~


The other day we looked out the window to see this little guy (and two others) scurrying across the roof:
Don't those little feet just kill you? So cute!

This is one of approximately eleven zillion reasons I love my new neighborhood. To me, this little guy represents just one of about a million little miracles that occur around me every day. Yes, miracles. Don't you think the gorgeous diversity and small details that surround us are miracles? Moments like this make me stop and realize how simply beautiful our world is and help me put my small day-to-day problems into perspective.

Have a beautiful weekend, inspirational readers!

~ food ~

After a long day at work sometimes I don't feel like cooking anything too labor intensive. This lasagna will have you saying yum without the hours of preparation or overheating the house.

{Spinach and Sausage Lasagna}

1 box no-boil lasagna noodles (I like the brand Barilla)
2 tbl. olive oil
1 lb. Spicy Italian sausage
1 bundle of fresh spinach
1/2 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
16 oz. ricotta cheese
4 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Oregano, basil, ground pepper
2 eggs
2 26 1/2 oz cans of tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour olive oil in a frying pan and saute onions until translucent. Add in sausage and cook until brown. Stir in spinach, add garlic and saute until spinach is cooked. Remove from heat and pour out excess grease. In a bowl add the ricotta, Parmesan and 2 cups of mozzarella. three cheeses, eggs and oregano, basil and ground pepper and stir. Coat a 13" x 9" x 3" pan with olive oil. Spread one cup of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Layer noodles, slightly overlapping. Spread on a layer 1/3 of the cheese mixture, half the meat and spinach and a sauce. For the second layer, spread 1/3 cheese on noodles followed by the sauce. Add next layer of noodles. Then add the remaining cheese, meat and spinach and then sauce. Put one more layer of noodles followed by the remaining sauce and 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Bake for 50-60 minutes.   

~ a better you ~

Me, dad, Jeff. Four attempts and not a single picture of all of us acting normal. Perhaps this is our normal.

Today we celebrated my brother's 22nd birthday, officially making him my little-brother-who's-not-so-little-anymore. The kids (including Dan) gathered at my parents' house for a BBQ, birthday tiramisu, and laughter.

I've been reflecting on families a lot lately. My parents and brother are three of my very best friends. I adore my extended family and gain strength from being near them. I am in love with an amazing man who has been welcomed into my family with open arms. And, last but not least, I am surrounded by warm, incredibly inspiring friends who feel like family members.

Some people are born into families they stay close to their entire lives. Others create families out of friends and loved ones they meet along the way. Many of us have a mix of both. It's really a beautiful thing. In my opinion, it doesn't matter what it looks like or who it's made out of. It's yours. It's love.

Life as a family certainly isn't always easy. All human relationships include some conflict that, when understood and used in the right way, can help grow stronger, closer ties. Take a step back today and realize how challenges have helped you grow closer to your loved ones. Realize how lucky you are to have them. I guarantee your heart will be lighter and you'll feel blessed. Keep this feeling tucked away, refer to it often, and remember that this life is all about love.
Happy birthday, silly brother! We're all proud of you.

~ home ~

For our home, this wine rack represents more than just a love of wine. The rack itself was purchased as a wedding gift from one of my favorite stores, World Market. We chose it both for an attractive place to store our wine, but also for the horizontal decor space it provided since that seems to be scarce in our house. Beyond that it brings different elements of us and our wedding day. Many of the bottles and beautiful wine glasses were given to us as wedding gifts and we use to display our couples photos in our specially engraved frames. With a central location between the dining room, kitchen and living room it represents the heart of our home.

~ fashion ~


Today I'm wearing a big necklace with my hair pulled up. It didn't feel right to have large earrings, but I didn't want my lobes to be left out. Luckily I had these teeny gold earrings from my beautiful fashionista aunt Colleen. I've had them for years and rediscovered them them while organizing jewelry last weekend (along with a lovely, delicate necklace to go with them).

These earrings are a perfect subtle compliment to my wardrobe. And best of all, they have a special place in my heart because they were given to me with love. Nothing can beat that.

What pieces of jewelry are most special to you? Who gave them to you?
text etiquette
Texting has completely transformed the world communicates today. It is a great way to communicate fast and simple messages. That being said, you should be careful and take the time to read through your messages. Here are some quick tips for better texting.
  • Keep your message short. If it's going to be a long conversation you should call. Be considerate of the other person's text plan. Only text a lot if you know they have unlimited texting.
  • Don’t text anything confidential, private or embarrassing. You never know who might be looking over their shoulder.
  • Don't text messaging when sharing bad news or important business matters.
  • Be clear with your intended message. Read through it and determine if anything could be misconstrued or taken offensively. 
  • Proofread your text. Texting may be an informal form of communication but you still want to look intelligent and be sure your message is clear.