Be Here

"Stress is caused by being here
but wanting to be there."
-Eckhart Tolle

I found this quote the other day while browsing on Pinterest--there was just something about it that really resonated with me. Too often, I find myself caught up in the planning, controlling, and analyzing rather than just being present in the moment.

I crafted this simple handlettering project as a reminder of how wonderful it truly is when we finally let go of the to-do lists and running in circles to just simply let ourselves be here, right now--enjoying the moment for what it is.

Cozy Faves for Chilly Days

If you live in an area that involves frigid temps and snowy days, you know how important it is to have the right gear. Over the past few years, our Minnesota winters have been even more brutal than usual (is that even possible?)--I remember last year there was one day in January where the high was -19*--so cold that it literally hurts to be out in the elements for more than a mere second.

Although our temps haven't been that brutally cold yet this winter, we have had a few chilly days that make you want to stay inside curled up underneath a blanket. For the days that I do venture out, I always make sure I'm all bundled up to stay as warm as possible. Some of my favorite winter items include:

1. Nike Pro Hyperwarm Tights. I purchased these a couple years ago right before we went on an anniversary trip up north. Not only are they flattering and comfortable, they're also a great base layer since they have a fleece lining on the inside. They're perfect for lounging around in on a cold day or for layering up before heading outside. Last winter, I accidentally tossed these into my gym bag instead of my regular tights and let's just say that was one sweaty workout--definitely not recommended for indoor training. Check them out here.

2. The North Face Guardian Gloves. Last year I invested in a warmer pair of gloves but they ended up not making the cut on those horribly cold days. This year I purchased the heavy duty waterproof and windproof gloves to keep my hands toasty warm--no more chilly fingers while trying to fill my vehicle with gas! Check them out here

3. Archer Farms Sea Salt Caramel Hot Cocoa. We stocked up on a variety of k-cups in preparation for hosing both family Christmases this year and this ended up being everyone's favorite. Since then, we've purchased multiple boxes of this delicious hot chocolate that has a salty-sweet flavor thanks to the sea salt and caramel/toffee flavors. It's the perfect little treat to enjoy on a winter evening or to fill your travel tumbler with to enjoy during your snowy commute. Check it out here.

4. The North Face Fuzzy Earflap Beanie. This hat is a definite must for me on days when the windchill is terribly cold--it keeps my head and ears toasty warm. Bonus, I can still put my hood up while sporting this cute purple hat. Check it out here.

5. Sorel Joan of Arctic Boots. These are my favorite boots, ever. Waterproof, comfortable, and cute--what more could you want? They keep my toes warm and dry no matter what the conditions are like outside. Perfect for commuting on blizzardy days. Check them out here.

My Essential Apps

We're all pretty much glued to our phones these days, right? Ironically, one of my new year's resolutions of living more intentionally involves less phone time. That being said, there are a handful of useful apps that I use on a daily/weekly basis that make my life a little more streamlined (I swear, that's my word of the year). I'm going to share some of my favorite apps (most aren't automatically installed on the iPhone), and hopefully they are helpful to you as well!*

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Waze: I use this app on a regular basis since I'm a bit directionally-challenged. I used to use the basic maps app that is the iPhone default navigation app but found that it led me to the wrong location on multiple locations. Andy recommended this app to me a couple of years ago and I've been using it ever since. I love how it lets me know when there are any types of delays--construction, stalled vehicles, traffic, etc. so that I can plan my commute accordingly.

Starbucks: This app is used more than I'd like to admit. I love linking my gold card to the app so that I can automatically reload my card, earn bonus drinks, and receive special coupons.

Candy Crush: I downloaded this on a whim a couple years ago and I am hooked. Andy and I are in an on-going competition to see who can reach the highest level. This is such a time-suck, but I love playing whenever we're on a long car trip, if I'm stuck waiting, and while I'm on the treadmill at the gym.

Macros: "Athletes don't diet and exercise, they eat and train." This is the motto that I live my life by and I love using this app to track my macronutrients. Nutrition is 80% of making progress in terms of fitness so this app is helpful to make sure I eat enough protein and other nutrients each day. I've noticed a significant increase in muscle gain since tracking my macros and that is so motivating to me!

Lifetime: My gym's app that lets me view fitness class schedules, check to see how many times I've visited the club that month, and check holiday gym hours.

Spotify: This app has changed my life--seriously. For $10/month, it allows me to have access to SO many great songs, lets me create custom playlists, and listen to songs on repeat (c'mon, we all do it when we find a new favorite). I used to use Pandora but found myself annoyed when an ad would pop up while I was running sprints on the treadmill or when the same overplayed songs kept being played.

Billings Pro: As a freelancer, I often have random expenses such as mileage, ramp parking fees, etc. This handy little app makes it easy to track my expenses based on the date and the client, which is really handy when you have a few reoccurring clients--it keeps me from having to manually enter everything in every time I work in their office.

Evernote: My friend, Bethany, actually turned me on to this app and I use it for both business and personal lists. It keeps all of my ideas, projects, and notes all in one handy place that automatically syncs with my MacBook Pro. All my ideas and notes all in one place all of the time--perfect.

Reminders: This is an app that comes installed on the iPhone and I use it on a daily basis. Andy synced our calendars and reminders lists so that we can add events and to-do items to each other's lists. It's basically the digital version of a honey-do list and it's so nice to be able to see everything without worrying about keeping track of little paper to-do lists all of the time.

iBooks: Another pre-installed app but I've found that I read SO many more books since I can purchase digital versions on my phone. This was especially helpful during my trip to Oahu last spring, since I could bring multiple books without having to lug them all around in my carry-on bag.

Bible: An essential app that makes it easier to read scripture on-the-go. Andy and I made a pact to read through the entire Bible in 2015 so we're both using one of their yearly plans to achieve this goal. I love that I can easily switch back and forth between different versions and translations for clarification and personal preference.

Calm: With my new focus/mindset of "nourish" for 2015, I've been making the attempt to be more intentional about relaxing my mind and body. This app has different guided meditations and relaxing scenes/sounds to listen to that help with sleep, easing tension, creativity, etc. I downloaded it right before the new year and am enjoying starting my day in a peaceful mindset and wrapping up each evening by embracing the theme that "my day is done" and now I can rest and relax.

Netflix: Whenever I can't sleep, sometimes just watching/listening to an episode of one of my favorite shows. I've also been known to watch shows/movies while doing cardio at the gym--it definitely makes the time fly by. Some of my favorite shows include Private Practice, Prison Break, and Pretty Little Liars.

*iPhone wallpaper is from the lovely collection of Emily Ley

A Different Kind of Christmas

This year's Christmas celebrations were a bit different than years' past. First of all, we didn't have any snow--I couldn't even tell you the last time that we didn't have a fluffy covering of snow for the holidays! Sure enough, we got plastered with the white stuff the day after Christmas.

Meeting baby Becca for the first time!

Meeting baby Becca for the first time!

Secondly, our celebrations were a little out of the ordinary since my sister had her baby just before Christmas! Our new little niece, Rebecca "Becca" Lianne was born the week before Christmas and we are just gushing over having a little girl in the family. 

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Since things were up in the air with not knowing when the baby would arrive, we ended up hosting a casual get-together with my immediate family on Christmas Eve. My parents brought wine and Italian takeout and we put out a spread of appetizers for everyone to enjoy throughout the evening. 

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The evening pretty much consisted of an ongoing game of "pass the baby around," which we all truly enjoyed--nothing like holding and snuggling an adorable little newborn baby. I feel like it still hasn't sunk in that my sister is a MOM, but nonetheless, she is super calm and doing an amazing job! 

Andy and I opened our gifts from each other later that evening after my family left--we were originally going to wait until Christmas morning but we decided we couldn't contain our excitement any longer. My favorite gift this year was a bunch of dumbbells so that I can do some of my workouts at home--score! 

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The next day, we hosted the Kaupang Christmas celebration and enjoyed lots of good food, treats, and each other's company. Our little nephews are getting bigger every time we see them and they bring so much joy to our family gatherings. 

I ended up catching the respiratory flu that's been going around, so the remainder of my Christmas break was spent on the couch, reading/watching marathons of tv shows on Netflix, and drinking lots of fluids. 

It's hard to believe that another new year is upon us, but I am so ready for the clean slate of a new year. Bring it on, 2015! 

Hello!

This is my brand new blog!

I've strayed away for quite some time but this little space of mine has always been in the back of my mind as I've gone about my life. I miss the creative outlet of recapping bits and pieces of my day-to-day life and my work and am planning on popping in every now and then with random tidbits and projects.

Enjoy!