January 8, 2012


I am crazy obsessed with the idea of taking a Roadmonkey trip to Patagonia in March.  I want to go so badly I can’t even articulate it.

The trip is 5 days of hiking and kayaking over glaciers and through lakes and fjords, and then 3 days building a community guarden in Buenos Aires.  I spoke with the founder of Roadmonkey on the phone last night and I am giddy.  Simply giddy.

I hope I can swing this…and get in shape.  5 days of hiking and kayaking, me?

January 4, 2012


I turned 40 a few months ago, and it’s also the new year.  That’s probably as good a reason as any to take a moment for introspection.  My friend Katrina has been gently suggesting that I get back into blogging, so I’ll start by making a list of random reflections (since I’m not a big maker of resolutions).

1. For me, life really has gotten better as I’ve aged. I’m as happy now as I’ve ever been.

2. I really need to develop an exercise routine.  Almost probably for certain.  Definitely maybe.

3. My life and my choices revolve around my son.

4. I am not the hard-charging career woman I thought I was in my 20’s.

5. I am a homebody.  I am absolutely the happiest at home and I am a “nester.”

6. I love the idea of romantic love but I’m not sure I’ll experience it again personally.

7. I believe in saving (spending less than I make) as a lifestyle choice.

8. Less is usually more.

9. Spend money on experiences, not stuff.

10. Kindness matters, a lot.

11. I will never be truly happy if I try to please others at the cost of being true to myself.

12. Coffee is the nectar of the gods.

13. Sometimes you have to slow down and listen to the spaces between things.

14. Lots can be made better with a good snuggle.

15. Sometimes things can’t be made better, and you need to leave.

16. Every woman should own a nice handbag and a good cordless drill.  And she should know how to use the drill.

17. Worry is a wasted emotion.  It cripples, is counterproductive, and produces no value.  Don’t do it.  Take action, make a plan, or let it go.

18.Cats are cool.

19. I should either learn to cook better or find a good man to cook for me. Since the latter isn’t likely I guess I need to get working on the former.

20. Life is about the journey, not the destination.  If you are waiting for things to “get better” they probably won’t.  Make things better now, or figure out a way to be happy in your current circumstances.

21. I am in charge of my happiness.  No one else.

I had originally hoped to come up with 40 things, but hey, 21 isn’t bad.

March 19, 2011

My Personal Manifesto

Since the new year I’ve been thinking about what I want out of life.  It’s one of the reasons I started this blog, as a place to keep track of my thoughts.  The OLW project has helped refine my thinking, as has my reading.  Finally in the last few weeks disparate thoughts have come together and I’ve created what I call my Personal Manifesto.

Live Intentionally – consistent with my Life’s Purpose.

Live Simply – free of clutter and “stuff”

Be Authentic – be myself, follow my heart, and don’t make choices according to what others expect or think I should do.

Be Mindful – Be in the present

Live by example – Practice what I preach, be a role model, be the person I want Matthew to learn how to be.  Act ethically and the way I would want to be treated.

Love – Actively demonstrate my love for Matthew and others in my life through my actions.

This list feels really good to me – something I can use as a roadmap when I am faced with a choice or decision – I can just decide which path best fits with the items I’ve outlined above.

A big part of this Manifesto is living consistently with my Life’s Purpose.  This is huge – wouldn’t it be great if we all lived in concert with our most cherished goals?  The hardest part for me is defining what it is my life’s purpose is all about.  That’s coming in a later post…I’m almost done articulating and refining what I think is a fair representation of it at this point in my life.

March 1, 2011

OLW Blog Hop

Today I join the OLW Blog Hop for Ali Edwards’ One Little Word class.  After loving the January assignment I really struggled with February’s.  It might be because my word, renew, means a whole bunch of different things to me.  Or maybe that it’s hard to take literal pictures of “renew” in the dead of a Chicago winter.  Plus a bout with the flu in my house and major work challenges meant I was unfocused and not taking photos like usual.

I ended up with fewer than the 9 pictures suggested, so I made a photoshop collage with what I had.  I use Photoshop CS3 and since I am still a total amateur my layout is very basic.

I put the photo of the textbook in the middle of the layout because its going to be a huge focus in my life over the next 3 months.  I’ve worked in HR for 6 years with no formal HR training or background – I moved into an HR role with my current firm after being in client service for years.  I’ve known that I needed to study for and get my SPHR certification (Senior Professional in Human Resources) but haven’t wanted to invest the months to study.  Well, as part of my commitment this year to self-renewal I’m finally doing it.  I just signed up (and paid the $425 registration fee) and will take the test in May.  Yikes!

Thanks for stopping by! Your next stop on the OLW Blog Hop is Tere at http://terecontodomicorazon.blogspot.com.

Here is a complete list of blogs participating in this month’s blog hop! (The blog hop will go live by all participants no later than 8 AM PST).

  1. Margie               http://xnomads.typepad.com
  2. Monica B           http://scraplifters.blogspot.com/
  3. Jill                     http://jillconyers.typepad.com/
  4. Miranda             http://mirandasscrapsite.blogspot.com
  5. Donna               http://www.donnabryantdurand.blogspot.com
  6. Lynn                 www.crafty-creativity.blogspot.com
  7. Stacey               http://www.TheAcornGarden.com/blog
  8. Lisa                   http://backtoallen.com/writers_blog
  9. Cassie               http://craftycassiescorner.blogspot.com
  10. Abbey                http://athomewiththerichardsfamily.blogspot.com/
  11. Nicky                 http://seejanebake.blogspot.com
  12. Holly                 http://lovingrobots.blogspot.com
  13. Karen                http://breathenowsmile.blogspot.com
  14. Claudia              http://creative-moms.com
  15. Rebekah            http://istampscrapcraft.blogspot.com
  16. Kimberly            http://foreverdaisies.blogspot.com
  17. Kat                   www.katswonderings.blogspot.com
  18. Kristina             http://ciqis.blogspot.com
  19. Jan                   http://mysimplelittlelife.typepad.com
  20. Nikki                 http://www.inkyart.com.au/
  21. Amanda            www.scrappnbee.blogspot.com
  22. Lisa                  http://luluoz.typepad.com
  23. Sam                  http://learncreatedo.wordpress.com
  24. Maureen            http://cookingmylife.blogspot.com
  25. Kristi                 https://theprojectofme.wordpress.com
  26. Tere                 http://terecontodomicorazon.blogspot.com
  27. Karen                http://womenontractors.blogspot.com
  28. Katrina              http://k84mansramblings.blogspot.com
  29. Monica Bergler   http://questtoperfectimperfection.blogspot.com
  30. Mandy               http://captureandcreate.wordpress.com
  31. Lisa                   http://makeyourownescape.blogspot.com
  32. Chrissy              http://getcraftywithchrissy.blogspot.com
  33. Lee                   http://linarstudio.typepad.com/
  34. Jen                   www.byjen.com
  35. Sylvia                http://baxtersmom1.blogspot.com/
  36. Christianne        http://christiannemarra.blogspot.com/
  37. Cheri                 http://cheriandrews.blogspot.com
  38. Joy                   www.undiscoveredjoy.blogspot.com
  39. Beth                 http://justbebeth.wordpress.com/
  40. Jennifer L          www.studiojenn.blogspot.com
  41. Kathryn            www.katlodesigns.com
  42. Heather            www.scrappyhare.blogspot.com
  43. Cindy               http://seriousplay.typepad.com

February 19, 2011

Saturday randomness

Matthew is at his dad’s for the weekend and I am enjoying a slow and relaxing morning alone.  I slept in (my once every two week indulgence!) and sipped coffee while listening to Car Talk in the kitchen on NPR.  And I took pictures.  I have no specific plan for the day which is fabulous.

Though I’m a day late I decided to join Household 6 Diva’s Foto Friday.  This week’s theme is love.  I saw the below idea on a blog that was linked up to Shoot and Edit a few weeks ago and thought it was terrific and wanted to try it.  I went back to try to find the blog today so I could credit it and couldn’t find it.  So a shout out and apology to the creative soul who did this first.

I wonder how many neighbors saw me in my backyard in my bathrobe this morning and wondered what the heck I was doing?

I also got a yummy package in the mail this week.  My new Cheeky Lime camera bag!  Since I’ve made a commitment to take more pictures I’ve found it a challenge to carry my camera with me everywhere I go.  I am a huge fan of handbags and hate the idea of carrying a separate camera bag or of combining the contents of my purse with my camera in some ugly carry-all.  Problem solved!

Is this seriously not the cutest camera bag ever?  It’s stylish enough to satisfy my need for a nice handbag, and has room for my DSLR, separate lenses, and all my purse contents.  Check out the darling inside:

Though I didn’t take a picture of it, it has a detachable pouch inside that can act as a wallet.  And that little pink charm hanging from the hardware outside is a tiny camera.  I’m in love!

February 17, 2011

Shoot and edit: love/romance, the edit

Things are starting to click….maybe.  I finally figured out how to do a layer mask, it was like the lightbulb went on.  And I actually understood most of Ashley’s tutorial today.  Progress!

Here is my edited shot:

Steps using Photoshop CS3:

  • Opened image as Camera Raw and adjusted white balance
  • Applied high pass filter with soft light blending mode
  • Performed curves adjustment (still not sure what I’m doing here but I darkened the darks and lightened the lights a bit)
  • Used Paint the Moon’s Whiten your Whites action and a layer mask to lighten the yellow cast that was on the wall behind the bookshelf

This was my SOOC shot:

Overall I think I’m pleased.  Any constructive criticism would be welcome!

February 14, 2011

Shoot and edit: Love/Romance

Blech!  As a chronically single person I have an involuntary gag reflex over the Valentine’s holiday.  Since I have no romantic “other” in my life I puzzled for a bit over this week’s shoot and edit prompt.  Then realized I had the perfect shot.


I have “romance” in my life…in the form of my gigantic collection of cheezy romance novels.  No, they don’t buy me roses on Valentine’s Day.  But they make me smile.

February 12, 2011

One Little Word | Captured

Week 7

The past year or so I’ve been thinking about self-discovery.  Of “figuring myself out” and who I want to be post-divorce.  Being a single mom wasn’t part of my life plan and its taken me awhile to decide that it’s OK to be somewhere unexpected.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading.  And OLW has helped focus my thinking too as I look forward.  As I spend this month creating pictures that capture what my word (renew) means to me, this is one of them – these books have, each in some measure, helped me in my path towards getting there:

February 10, 2011

Shoot and edit: Hearts, the edit

So my Photoshop books arrived today.  Photoshop CS3 for Dummies by Barbara Obermeier and Teach Yourself Visually Photoshop CS3 by Mike Wooldridge.  I figured since I don’t know what I’m doing I’d better start learning fast.  There’s only so much I can pick up by reading blog posts (though it is amazing what I’ve learned so far, I have to admit).  If anyone else has suggestions for great Photoshop resources for beginners I’d love to hear some suggestions.

Here is my edited shot for shoot and edit this week.  Any and all suggestions and constructive criticisms are welcome, because really, let me be perfectly honest here – I have no idea what I’m doing.

I now have 4″ of Photoshop manuals however and plenty of willingness to use trial and error.  There’s only up from here.

February 10, 2011

Love Letter to Kitty Paw

Max has a crush on Kitty Paw.  So when he saw this photo challenge he begged me to join.  He whined, licked my hand, and purred in my ear until I agreed.  Here is his love letter:

To see more love letters to Kitty Paw (the second cutest black and white cat I’ve seen lately), check out: