Tag Archives | Goals & Intentions

2017 Was a Good Year

2017 Was a Good Year - Get To Work Book | kaileenelise.com

“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”
(Meister Eckhart)

Without giving it much thought, I would say 2017 was a good year. The details blur together, but we found our groove as a family of three. As January approached, I found myself craving more clarity on what happened last year. So I went a cute cafe, ordered a matcha latte, and looked through my planner to examine how I spent my time in 2017.

I have tweaked and toyed with this post for weeks. Despite being extremely late to the “year recap” game, it feels luxurious to take a slow approach to reflection. Sifting through everything that makes up a year, I uncovered three themes for 2017: body + babies, travel, and creativity.

Body + Babies

2017 Was a Good Year - Bodies & Babies | kaileenelise.com

In the first half of the year, I completed a round of Whole30, returned to yoga, and found a Pilates teacher to help me rehab a severe diastasis recti (abdominal muscle separation that did not heal after my first pregnancy).

The early days of motherhood are so all-consuming that I didn’t realize how disconnected I was from my body. When my son turned 6 months in January, I was ready to focus on building strength in my new postpartum body.

In the second half of the year, I became pregnant with Baby Sues #2(!!) and my relationship with my body shifted again. This season of babies is a season of bodies. From newly pregnant to postpartum, nursing and weaning, there is a continuous flow of expansion and contraction, of miracles and magic. I am learning to trust my evolving body and appreciate all that she does.


2017 Was a Good Year - Travel | kaileenelise.com

In February we took our 8-month old to Japan. While we were there I learned a valuable lesson in perspective that I thought was about the contrast between life before and after baby. Now I see it was really about the importance of getting out and doing things… even with a little one in tow.

We applied that lesson to an extreme with family-related travel in 2017. We visited Arizona three times, North Carolina twice, and Ohio three times to see parents, grandparents, and siblings. While I’m grateful for the time with loved ones, the total volume of our travels surprised me.

I’m craving a balance between experience and stillness, tradition and adventure. Being everywhere for everyone is an easy trap. Trying to do all the things is tempting. There’s an appeal to proving that having a baby hasn’t changed the adventurous, go-anywhere people we used to be. The truth is: children change a lot. Better to cultivate those changes in the direction we want to go.


2017 Was a Good Year - Creativity | kaileenelise.com

I spent more time writing in 2017 than in the past several years. While there’s a tendency to feel like we’re not doing enough, I want to celebrate the effort I put in last year.

I published 13 new posts, an increase from zero in 2015 and one in 2016. I participated in The Year of Creativity, a writing workshop from Ashlee Gadd and the team at Coffee & Crumbs. With encouragement, prompting, and peer editing, I finally shared my son’s birth story and wrote an essay about the exhaustion of motherhood that was picked up by Scary Mommy: At The End Of The Day, I’m Too Tired For Anything But ‘Real Housewives’.

As a stay at home mama, writing is one of the rare things from my pre-baby life that I’ve kept doing. This website has been my space to share inspiration and ideas since 2009. I used to sneak away to coffee shops before work and on my lunch breaks… now I go in the evenings and the mornings we have childcare. Some things change, some things stay the same.

Writing slows me down, smoothes me out, and connects me to my inner self. It’s something I hope to do forever.

2017 Was a Good Year

2017 Was a Good Year | kaileenelise.com

This past year helped me see the love and beauty in my everyday. More and more, I’m realizing my biggest job is to sink into the wonder of this life and appreciate everything it has to offer. Thank you for being part of this journey, wishing you a calm, magical and uplifting 2018!







2017 Goals: January Reviewed

Magic Afternoon Light | kaileenelise.com

“As time ticked by and an impassioned idea still had not ignited me, I didn’t panic. Instead, I did what I have done so many times before. I turned my attention away from passion and toward curiosity.”
(Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic)

2016 was all about pregnancy and baby. I am dedicating this year to the pursuit of simple joys. In January, I did this by lighting candles, savoring my favorite tea, and watching The Bachelor.

One of my goals is to get rid of things I no longer want, use or need. This month I tackled my closet, packing up maternity clothes and donating/thredUP-ing a big pile of things I wouldn’t buy if I tried them on in a store. Dressing a postpartum body feels a lot like trying to hit a moving target and I’m still breastfeeding, so I’ve been learning what works as I go.

I started the year off strong with a mini Whole30 and a handful of workouts. When it comes to my physical body, the aim is to cultivate habits that make me feel nourished and to occasionally indulge with purpose. We traveled and I got sick this month, but that’s ok. I am learning to work on these things even when the conditions aren’t perfect.

Creatively, I am content. And excited. (AND HERE. BLOGGING AGAIN. WHAAAT!?) I joined The Year of Creativity (a 12-month, self-paced course on creativity) and have been thrilled with the experience so far. The focus of January was “Inspiration” and it was just what I needed to get started. I read Big Magic, snuck away to a coffee shop to write, and submitted my first essay for peer feedback. It was more creative work than I’ve done in over a year… and the surface is just getting scratched.

My mister and I set a goal of hiring a sitter once a month for date nights. We interviewed someone for semi-regular childcare, but I realized that maybe I’m not quite ready for that step. So, we have another recommended sitter coming by on Friday for a meet & greet. Here’s hoping we can achieve our date night goals in February.

Documenting the daily life of our little, growing family is another focus for 2017. Taking videos for our 1 Second Everyday project and snapping pictures of Baby O to text to family are things I’ve been good about doing. Digitally speaking, I have memory keeping on lock. But I haven’t ordered prints of our professional photos or done much in O’s baby book since he was a month old. When things have been on your to-do list for 6 months, it’s time to take action. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

My word of the year is SIMPLE and as I shared on Instagram,

Last year my husband & I bought a new car and moved into a new home, I quit my full time job and became a mother. My whole world & identity shifted through these changes… and as I continue to define who I am in this new existence, I am dedicating 2017 to the pursuit of simple joys. SIMPLE is gentle, but firm. SIMPLE is straightforward & uncomplicated. SIMPLE is intentional action. I know raising a little babe will bring plenty of messy, unsure, and crazy moments, but even in those times I hope to remember the power of taking a SIMPLE pause to breathe.

One of my goals for January was to think about creating a daily routine for me and Baby O. Now on February 1st, I think that’s one of my bigger accomplishments for the past month. We do not follow a strict schedule or do the same thing every day, but our days have settled, shifted, sunk into a very nice rhythm. We take walks, we play and read, we meet up with other mamas and babies, we enjoy mealtime and bath time, and we share lots of cuddles. Our days are simple, but full. January has been a wonderful start to 2017 and I’m looking forward to what this next month has in store.


Whole30 Round 2 – Recap + Recipes

Whole30 Round 2 - Recap + Recipes | kaileenelise.com

Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.
(Peter F. Drucker)

Happy Tuesday, lovelies. How was your weekend? We stayed close to home and opted-out of the whole Halloween thing. Instead, we went for a long run on Saturday morning, visited our friends who just had a baby (so many tiny snuggles!), completed the first draft of our ceremony, and crossed a few more things off our wedding to-do list!

Today I am finishing my Whole30 Round 2. That means, over the course of this summer/fall I have followed these rules for 30 days straight, twice:

  • Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial
  • Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking
  • Do not eat grains
  • Do not eat legumes
  • Do not eat dairy
  • Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites
  • Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients
  • Do not step on the scale or take body measurements during the program

In some ways, my Whole30 Round 2 was more difficult than the first. There were several occasions, especially during the last two weeks, when I wanted to give up. The second round felt less “special” and more like everyday life. The newness wore off and sticking to the rules felt more rigorous. That said, I am incredibly happy that I did not give up.

My original inspiration for starting Whole30 was to slim down for my wedding, but I also wanted to investigate this way of eating for the long-term. In my dream scenario, I hoped to discover a set of rules that I could follow every day that would help make my body feel good without squandering my love for food. And that’s what I found!

Will I stick with this 100% everyday moving forward? No, not totally. But, I do want to remain primarily grain-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, legume-free, and processed-foods-free. I have naturally settled into a preference for eating paleo (here’s what that means).

Two rounds of Whole30 have helped me build an arsenal of delicious recipes. I no longer feel like a dinner with just veggies and meat is incomplete. Here are some favorites:

In terms of alcohol, I learned that I’m perfectly fine with going out and not drinking, even to a three-day music festival. I will go back to enjoying wine and cocktails here and there, but I doubt I’ll ever be much of a beer drinker. My Whole30 weekend mornings have been a lot more pleasant without that fuzzy feeling of an almost-hangover!

Now would be the time to establish a new daily routine, but that’s not going to happen… after my first Whole30, I dove into indulgence with a 3-week trip to Europe. It was an incredible adventure, but tough on my body after eating so clean for the previous month.

This time, I am facing another uncommon situation: there’s just 18 days until our wedding! The next few weeks are going to be a far cry from ordinary, but they will be wonderful. In the midst of all the celebrations, I hope to follow this advice to myself:

  • Plan ahead. When eating out, review the menu in advance and commit to your food selection before sitting down at the restaurant. When going out for drinks, hydrate with water and switch to club soda after a few.
  • Stay active. When you exercise, it helps you maintain the motivation to make healthy choices. Remember that practicing yoga always makes you feel strong and happy, and running makes you feel accomplished. You have the time to work out every day, even if it’s just for 20 minutes.
  • Be kind. Part of this is doing what feels good. That will be staying “compliant” sometimes and “indulging” other times.  Either way, being kind means not judging yourself harshly. And on judging, watch your negativity. Wrap your gremlins and nasty thoughts with a warm blanket of love and kindness.

If you would like to learn more about my Whole30 journey, check out my recaps from round 1 day 12, round 1 day 26, and round 2 day 11. You can also follow me on Instagram where I’ve been posting a lot of food pics: @kaileenelise.

Are you thinking this might be something you want to try? I say, go for it! You can do anything for 30 days, especially if it makes you feel good. I highly recommend visiting the Whole30 website and reading It Starts With Food for more information.


Thirty Before Thirty 1/2 Birthday Check-In

Thirty Before Thirty 1/2 Birthday Check-In  | kaileenelise.com - image via Death to the Stock Photo

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
(Henry David Thoreau)

My half-birthday was last Monday, September 29. I didn’t do anything specific to celebrate, although we did arrive in Paris that day and ended up with some great memories to mark the occasion! When I created my thirty before thirty list 3 months ago, I only included things that were exciting, possible, and felt like a celebration. Now that I have reached the half-way mark, I am more excited than ever about this project.

Thirty Before Thirty 1/2 Birthday Check-In

Here are the items I have crossed off my thirty before thirty list so far:

  • Plan a great 30th birthday for my Mister – We had a wonderful time celebrating in Charlotte with his buddies from college.
  • Have a picnic in the park – We went to Blues on the Green in Zilker Park earlier this summer with my Mister and a group of our friends. We packed a picnic dinner and sat under the Austin sky hanging out and listening to music.
  • Buy a pair of designer jeans – Before we left for Europe, I went to Nordstrom and picked up a pair of Paige Denim jeans along with a few other items for our trip. Love the way these feel!
  • Travel to at least 1 new country – With our Europe trip, I was able to check Germany and Austria off the list!
  • Run in a race – I ran a 10K last month, and finished much quicker than I was expecting! While I would love to set my sights on another half marathon, I’m sticking with shorter races for now. I just registered for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K in Austin the weekend before our wedding.
  • Go paddle boarding – My friend Jen took me out on Town Lake for my first paddle boarding experience this summer. I also went out a few times on Lake Norman when we were visiting family in Charlotte. I was always nervous about paddle boarding, but it’s much less scary and way more relaxing than I thought it would be!
  • Have a makeover for the first time – When I went to Nordstrom for the shopping trip mentioned earlier, I also booked a makeup lesson at the Bobbi Brown counter. It was a great experience! Special thanks to Chelsea Bea for encouraging me to give this a try.
  • Drink all of my tea before buying more – I’m going to consider this done even though I didn’t technically drink all of my tea. Instead, I gave some away and threw the rest out. Many of the teas I owned had sugar and other ingredients that are not Whole30 approved. Instead of forcing myself to drink them, I have decided to start with a clean slate and be more conscious about the teas I buy moving forward.
  • Learn how to curl my hair – I purchased my first curling iron and brought it with me to Europe. Forcing myself into the new habit while on our trip turned out to be a great plan (since it was my only hair styling option). It took some practice, but it was was easier than I thought it would be to style and I love the way it looks curled!

So, that’s 9 things down and 21 to go in these last six months before my 30th birthday. Looking at the items that are complete, it’s interesting that several of them were things that I was nervous about, but really wanted to do. The lesson here is that I need to go for it more often… no matter what “it” is!

Looking ahead, there are a few items already in the works, like a mini-moon in Vegas just after our wedding and a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras! There are also other items like cultivating a daily meditation practice that I need to spend some time on. I’m excited about what’s left on the list, and I am looking forward to sharing another update in 3 months!

Image via Death to the Stock Photo


September Recap + October Intentions

September Recap + October Intentions | kaileenelise.com - image via Death to the Stock Photo

You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings.
(Elizabeth Gilbert)

Hello, friends. I hope you are having a very happy start to October. It really does not feel like a new month since I’m in a travel time warp. We’re traveling from Paris to Edinburgh today, then home to Austin on Sunday. When we step back into our apartment, things will start feeling a bit more real.

Similar to how the start of October has been eclipsed by our travels, September was magical, strange, disorganized, and amazing. Everything considered, I am quite pleased with how my intentions for the month turned out.

To review, my intentions for September:

  • Make two playlists – Easy, fun, and done! I put together this playlist for my 10K and another for our travels (that I’ll share in an upcoming post).
  • Run in my first race since back surgery two years ago – Yes! I ran faster than planned and had a blast with my Mister.
  • Buy some new art and finishing touches for our bathroom – No progress. Preparing for our travels took priority, so I’m planning to revisit this in October.
  • Read one fiction book – I went on a bit of a fiction binge this month, reading: Big Little LiesThe Husband’s Secret, and Me Before You. All three were great.
  • Read one non-fiction book – I am still working on Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism
  • Finish my Whole30 with total commitment – Done! I am really happy with how this went and I’m planning to start another Whole30 when we get back from our trip.
  • Go on our 21-day trip with 2 pieces of luggage + 2 carry-ons – Did it! Here’s how.
  • Write & pre-schedule some blog posts to go live during our travels – Sorta, not really.
  • Take at least one solo-trip during our Europe adventure – Nope. Our travels have been busy and I’ve dedicated my solo time to working, resting, exercising, and reading.

Since it feels like the stakes are high, I am trying to keep my October intentions realistic. I want to use the next few weeks to become reacquainted with our normal, non-travel routine. I want to do what I can to be proactive and strategic with my time.

Here are my October intentions — what are yours?

decorate the “empty corners” of the apartment
eat clean and exercise often because there’s just 7 weeks until the wedding now!
put together weekly meal plans + make some freezer meals
work on our wedding to-do list: vows, songs, gifts, seating arrangements, etc.
post the remaining Europe trip recaps (like these highlights from London)
order photo books from our last 2 international trips
finish Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism and Daring Greatly before starting another book
share a thirty before thirty check-in

Image via Death to the Stock Photo

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click + purchase I will receive a small commission. Thank you for reading & supporting An Extraordinary Adventure!


August Recap + September Intentions

August Recap + September Intentions | kaileenelise.com - image via Unsplash

One new perception, one fresh thought, one act of surrender, one change of heart, one leap of faith, can change your life forever.
(Robert Holden)

Another month down, another fresh page on the calendar. August came in like a drippy popsicle, then washed away like a quick summer rain. Our wedding is in less than 3 months, and I’m trying not to wish the days away. I want to savor these moments. The final weeks of our engagement, the wedding planning, the last days of summer, and the first hints of fall.

I was thinking that my goals for August were a complete disaster. In my mind, I failed at every last one of them. This is definitely not the case, and I’m grateful to have these monthly posts to remind me that I’m doing just fine.

To review, my intentions for August:

  • Go on a date night with my Mister – Complete! I surprised him with dinner & a movie.
  • Exercise daily (even if just for a short while) – Not even close. I’m starting to think that I should do away with “daily” goals for now. It seems like those are too far out of reach.
  • Plan out editorial calendars for the rest of 2014 – Nope, but I have been thinking about this. I want to get on it because these next few months are going to fly by.
  • Make a dent in our wedding plans – 100% yes. Our wedding planners have everything on track and we’re thrilled with how it’s turning out.
  • Finish reading one fiction book – Yep! I finished The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. This was the first fiction book I’ve read in awhile… my last one was Twilight or Fifty Shades (same thing, right?). More thoughts to come in a book review.
  • Read one non-fiction book – Yep! I finished It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig yesterday, but since it was a holiday I’m counting this for August.
  • Start my Whole 30 on Sunday, August 17th – Yes… today is day #17 and I’m feeling good! Read my recap of the first 12 days here.
  • Hang our engagement pictures over the bed – Yep! Here’s a picture of how they turned out. Our photographer, Taylor Lord, is super talented. We know she’s going to do such an amazing job documenting our wedding day!
  • Make time to do absolutely nothing – I did not do this as intentionally as I would have liked to, but our trip to North Carolina had some lake-side “nothing” moments.
  • Ask my two little sisters if they will be my flower girls / junior bridesmaids – Yes! I went with a ring pop proposal and we spent the day shopping for their dresses.
  • Celebrate my Mister’s 30th birthday with friends – Done! He has some amazing college buddies in Charlotte who hosted us for a special two-part celebration. On the first night we hung out, ate ice-cream cake, and played Cards Against Humanity. On the second night we enjoyed a fancy dinner at 5Church (I really wanted to go after reading this review on Peanut Butter Fingers). We finished the night at a 90s dance club. Yes, there is such a thing. Yes, it was amazing and it made us feel old.

September is sure to be a full month. I have a few thirty before thirty things planned, my first dress fitting, and my Mister and I will be in Europe for the last 2 weeks. He’s going for work, and I’m tagging along. We are so excited about the adventures ahead, but we also have to be super productive before we take off.

Here are my September intentions — what are yours?

make two playlists: one for running & one for travel
run in my first race since back surgery two years ago
buy some new art and finishing touches for our bathroom
read one fiction book – title TBD
read one non-fiction book – Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism
finish my Whole30 with total commitment
go on our 21-day trip with just these 2 pieces of luggage + 2 carry-ons
write & pre-schedule some blog posts to go live during our travels
take at least one solo-trip during our Europe adventure

Image via Unsplash

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click + purchase I will receive a small commission. Thank you for reading & supporting An Extraordinary Adventure!


July Recap + August Intentions

July Recap + August Intentions  - image via Unsplash | kaileenelise.com

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.
(Sam Keen)

The final day of July is here, yet it feels as though the month just arrived. Our July began and ended with weekends full of friends, great food, and a few too many drinks! Last week, we went on a quick trip to NYC + Philadelphia for my Mister’s work and to visit friends. We had the most delightful time in both cities.

My intentions for July were motivating, but perhaps a bit too ambitious:

  • Have a fun + relaxing 4th of July – Complete! The weather and water were perfect. We had an amazing time with great friends.
  • Go to 15 yoga classes – Complete! After being in a yoga funk for years, I’m finding my groove.
  • Try 3 more Barre3 classes – Just one, but I purchased a 3-class pack so I’ll try again in August.
  • Make 4 new recipes – Just two. These fish tacos + this Mexican zucchini dish are both weeknight winners.
  • Meditate daily – not a daily habit yet, but I am still loving LucentApp.
  • Journal often – more often than never, but I would like to keep working on this.
  • Finish The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg – Complete! Highly recommend giving it a try. I’m planning to share a book report next month.
  • Run/walk a total of 50 miles – Complete! My Fitbit motivated me to pick walking over riding in cabs while in NYC and Philly. Plus, we got to run up the “Rocky steps” which was really awesome.
  • Give #30EarlyMornings an honest try – Not even close. Attempting this did help me realize I’m much better at life when I get an early start.
  • Spend time by water – Complete! Our 4th of July was spent on Lake Austin + I went paddle boarding with my friend Jen on Ladybird Lake.

Our plans for this month include a lot more summer fun. My Mister and I are heading to North Carolina next week for 11 days to work and play, to visit friends and family.

Here are my August intentions — what are yours?

go on a date night with my Mister
exercise daily (even if just for a short while)
plan out editorial calendars for the rest of 2014
make a dent in our wedding plans
finish reading one fiction book – The Signature of All Things
read one non-fiction book – It Starts With Food
start my Whole 30 on Sunday, August 17th
hang our engagement pictures over the bed
make time to do absolutely nothing
ask my two little sisters if they will be my flower girls / junior bridesmaids
celebrate my Mister’s 30th birthday with friends

Image via Unsplash

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click + purchase I will receive a small commission. Thank you for reading & supporting An Extraordinary Adventure!


June Recap + July Intentions

July Intentions - Sunset in Austin, TX | kaileenelise.com

Life is available only in the present moment.
(Thich Nhat Hanh)

Hello, lovelies. I hope you are well and enjoying a great start to July! The turning of a new month always delights me. A fresh page on the calendar, the completion of 4 weeks, and the beginning of something new.

But first, I have to say that June was a total blast! My blogging bestie visited and we finally shared stories face-to-face. The next weekend, we drove up to Dallas to see some friends and I ate my bodyweight in queso. Perhaps as a reaction to over-eating chips, My Mister and I started going on long Saturday morning runs.

We went tux shopping and found a band that matches my engagement ring! I started wearing a Fitbit, took my first Barre3 class, and went to rooftop yoga. We enjoyed happy hours, brunches, dinners, and soccer games with friends… and we even went tubing down a river one Saturday.

June was also my “testing ground” to decide if I wanted to start blogging again. I posted every Thursday for 5 weeks, and really loved it. Thanks to all of you who shared support in the comments, on Twitter, and by email. Posting my 30 before 30 list gave me a fresh feeling of commitment and excitement about blogging, which is all I can ask for!

In July, I am looking forward to staying put. We don’t have any travel on the calendar (at the moment) and I have my sights on enjoying weekends around town. Austin is such a fun and active city. There are tons of sporty things to do, and just as many delicious restaurants to try. And staying in is fun too. This past weekend confirmed that my Mister & I are very content on our balcony with some margaritas, chips, and salsa. Yum!

This month I want to continue focusing on gratitude and the things that make me happy. I have been eating healthier, working out more often, and (trying) to sleep more. Ultimately, my goal is to have fun this summer while still pursuing a healthy, active lifestyle.

Here are my July intentions — what are yours?

Have a fun + relaxing 4th of July
Go to 15 yoga classes
Try 3 more Barre3 classes
Make 4 new recipes
Meditate daily
Journal often
Finish The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Run/walk a total of 50 miles this month
Give #30EarlyMornings an honest try
Spend time by water

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thank you for reading & supporting my business!


My Thirty Before Thirty List

Thirty Before Thirty List | kaileenelise.com - image via unsplash.com

When you arise in the morning,
think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive:
to breathe, think, enjoy, and to love.
(Marcus Aurelius)

This Sunday is my 1/4 birthday! I had to visit timeanddate.com to know for sure, but now that I do it feels like something worth celebrating. My 29th year is nearly a quarter complete, and there’s a lot of exciting times ahead.

Whenever I come across a thirty before thirty list on the web, I think about how fun it would be to have one. (Check out this one from my blogging bestie, Chelsa Bea.) A countdown to my 30th birthday + a list of fun things to do? Yes, I want in!

Thirty Before Thirty List | kaileenelise.com

I’ve been collecting ideas since my 29th birthday on March 29th. Before putting together the final list, I looked through each item and asked myself three questions:

Is this exciting? Is this possible? Is this a celebration?

Each item that got yes yes yes, stayed. Anything that got a no had to go.

There are things I’m pretty certain will happen. Getting married!!! Relaxing honeymoon!

There are other items that might be a challenge. Learning Photoshop has been a back-burner goal of mine for 10 years (seriously). So, that would be an accomplishment.

There are travel-related things. I have a serious case of wanderlust… what can I say!?

And there are items just for fun! Like getting a makeover and buying designer jeans.

This list has me smiling from ear to ear. It will take effort and time to accomplish, but that’s ok! I love lists — and this one will add some focus + fun to my 29th year.

On my 30th birthday, I want to look through my thirty before thirty list with gratitude for all that’s behind — and excitement for all that’s ahead.


Images via Unsplash + Kaileen Elise


Two Words for 2012 – Comfortable Boldness

image :: Open your heart.

My whole life, I’ve wanted to feel comfortable in my skin.
It’s the most liberating thing in the world.
(Drew Barrymore)

Image :: Day 78 / Ready for take-off

Fortune befriends the bold.
(Emily Dickinson)

image :: 200.365

Comfortable: relaxed, secure, and in content…
It’s funny how even the word brings some comfort.
We’ve all experienced it.
It’s a safe feeling, pure happiness, or emptiness.
It’s hard to find the right medium & how long you can sustain
being uncomfortable. I am a firm believer though that
until you let yourself be truly uncomfortable,
you can’t reap the joys of being truly comfortable.
(Shayna Sandlan)

image :: laughing

Laugh at yourself,
but don’t ever aim your doubt at yourself.
Be bold.
When you embark for strange places,
don’t leave any of yourself safely on shore.
Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory.
(Alan Alda )

image :: westelm.capiz

A comfortable house is a great source of happiness.
It ranks immediately after health and a good conscience.
(Sydney Smith)

There are many bloggers who name a word for their year. When I created my 12 Intentions for 2012, I was seeking something similar — a focus, a thread, a theme, to weave in and out and through my year.

In 2010, my word was nurture. It was serendipity in 2011. I found the words uplifting, but the overall idea didn’t stick. Maybe that’s why I struggled to find my word for 2012? As the new year approached, my mind went blank and I almost gave up on the idea altogether.

Then I started reading Style Statement by  Carrie McCarthy and Danielle LaPorte. As I worked through the stories and prompts, I came upon two words: my foundation and my creative edge. As the book explains, “Your foundation word represents your being. Your creative edge is how you express and distinguish your being.”

Determining my style statement was like recognizing an old friend. I began to see myself in a new light. Asking myself questions like, “does this represent comfortable? Am I embodying boldness?” helped reveal inner motivations and  began to shed light on why I do what I do.

My words are Comfortable Boldness, for this year and beyond. Using these words as my touchstone, I hope to make decisions and attract opportunities that align with my style statement —with my foundation and creative edge.

Style Statement defines Comfortable Boldness:

Comfortable is the consummate pleasure seeker… In their best form, Comfortable is easygoing, sincerely cheerful, and free from doubt. They can be highly sensitive, and when they feel something in their bones, they will operate with steady determination… Comfortable is body centered, so the priority with fashion and furnishing is comfort.

Boldness has a strong warrior spirit that can translate into risk-taking, maverick ideas, and lively adventures… Do it right, or don’t do it at all… They are quite comfortable with uncertainty because they know they can draw on their own daring and multiple resources to fully embrace any situation… They focus forward.

What Comfortable Boldness means to me:

Comfortable is the space between smooth sailing and working to my edge. Comfortable is leaning into my dreams while maintaining a sense of groundedness. Comfortable is carefree and cozy. Boldness is passionate, spicy. Boldness has the guts to follow through. Firm, steady and strong, Boldness leaps fearlessly and loves deeply.

My recommendation on Style Statement:

Read the book from cover to cover, or skip ahead to the exercises in the back. The stories and photos read like a magazine with journal prompts and excises mixed in throughout. This book is most enjoyable when read with a big mug of tea, cozy blankets and the Amelie soundtrack playing in the background.

Image Credits:
Open your heart. via lululemon athletica
Day 78 / Ready for take-off via Noukka Signe
200.365 – City Love via Jos Liba
laughing via lululemon athletica
westelm.capiz via coco+kelly

Would you like to receive these posts & my monthly newsletter directly to your inbox? Sign up today to let the magic of Inbox Inspiration and Muse Memos begin!


© 2009 - 2017 The Pursuit of Simple Joys / An Extraordinary Adventure. All Rights Reserved.