Comparison: The Thief of Simplicity

IMG_5415*Please know that what I am about to write is not a criticism of anyone else. It is instead a personal evaluation and reflection of things in my own heart and mind.

When I woke up this morning, I did the thing that I do every morning: I scrolled through my Instagram feed. It has become more habit than desire to see what is going on in the social media world around me. However, like often, I saw these perfectly bright bedrooms with happy children dressed for the day frolicking and it made me feel (for an instant) discontent with my dimly lit bedroom in my jammies sprawled on my bed. Though I quickly catch these thoughts and remember how amazing and fun it is that i get to be a part of my own life, it doesn’t stop that little thought stream that lingers.

I have heard my whole life that “comparison is the thief of joy” and i completely agree. But I would go one step further and say that it is also the thief of simplicity. Maybe this is just me, but “social media lives” (what i lovingly call the strangers’ well photographed lives that i follow on Instagram) make me want to lug my Nikon and all my fancy lenses to the market and playground and splash pad if only to capture the perfect example of all the fun that we also have on a daily basis. As I was examining my thoughts, it seemed as if I didn’t post a picture on social media for people to see then it was like our little adventure wasn’t as fun. How crazy is that logic (I am still half grimacing and half laughing at myself)? Is this just me or is this the problem with social media? Seriously, it is like that saying “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” That is how I started to view our days. Play time then is no longer messy, silly, imaginative spontaneity. It becomes perfect placement, cutest clothing, clean surroundings and  biggest smile in the light time. And that to me is exhausting and complicated and everything that isn’t simple.

Therefore, I will gladly continue to look and smile at those social media lives, but only to appreciate the beauty  and unique talents that surround us. Those thoughts might still come to mind, but I will address them for the silly complicated nonsense that they are and continue on with my simple daily activities.

Approaching The First Bday

1296I Just cannot believe that it has been almost one year (Next Tuesday) since Byron was born (Insert ultimate shocked face emoji). I have not LOVED every minute of it, but these days I am having the best time of my life. I am the first to tell anyone who asks (or doesn’t) that the first 6-10 weeks were super difficult for me804

I remember thinking several times during those first few weeks: “why would anyone have more than 1 kid? This is just miserable” Jason would constantly remark that he just didnt feel like Byron was that hard of a baby. However, his comments would just upset me even more. I felt like i was drowning in lack of sleep and hormones. 1050My gasping  breathes were taken in the form of reading everything I could google or grab. I was attempting to do everything that every blog and book was telling me. I was overwhelming myself with contradicting thoughts and practices. Although this seems like common sense, I wasnt able to stop my mind until I stepped back and realized that Byron was not my newest hobby. He is a little version of Jason or myself. He isn;t going to be the same day to day and he is going to have little feelings and experiences. Moreover, he had only been a part of our world for 6-10 weeks prior. It wasnt until I remembered those things (and reminded myself) that I was able to sit back and actually smile and laugh and RELAX.1094

Now, almost a year in, I barely remember that debilitating feeling. I find myself jokingly (sorta) positing the idea of having our next baby or even 10.  This has been the most messy, emotional and increasingly beautiful year that I have ever experienced. Though I still have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy my day to day with my little baby boy, I am overwhelmed with excitement of all that is to come. I had NO idea what this first year would/could hold that Sunday in the hospital.1P7A5050

Having a Backyard

It has been amazing to me to be able to sit outside at night. We try to eat outdoors as much as possible. The weather is beautiful and it stays light late into the evening. Luckily we moved into a home with an amazing yard already. There is a giant apple tree, roses, and wild  flowers. We have just added a small grill, a few lights and the garden. It is a great place to celebrate the 4th of July. backyard backyard-001 backyard-003 backyard-004 backyard-002 insta-005

5 Names, 5 Times the Fun

instaGrowing up when asked who my role model was, I would typically answer Mia Hamm (I played soccer at the time) or my grandmom. Now the only constant answer is Tirzah Glonda Marie Claiborne Counts (aka Gmom). I grew up in the same town as my grandparents. They were constant fixtures in almost any major or minor event.  I like to joke that we grew up together because she exuded youth. My Grandmom would host birthdays, slumber parties and just about any other gathering she could. She was and is the life of the party (though I cringe using such a common phrase to describe her…she was the definition of that phrase). It became my goal to get her to laugh so hard she cried. I always wanted my friends to partake in the joy that consumed her when she was “tickled”.  If my siblings or I were ever in trouble, she would scold us by saying “if you don’t stop, I am going to paddle your canoe” or “I am going to clean your plow.” <– I asked her often what those phrases meant, but she would always respond with a sly grin and say that she would tell me when I got older…I still don’t know. DSCF1074As she gracefully ages, I hear more and more stories about the fire cracker she was growing up…which just serves to shed more light on her feisty personality now. Shortly after college, I lived with her for about a year. She was my roommate. Needless to say, we share a special bond. 2-1825

Therefore, I am so thrilled to be visiting this beautiful woman this weekend. Though she is recovering from an injury, I know that I will be the one constantly reminded to have joy in every experience.

Tips for Mixing Patterns

I love color and patterns. There is something about vibrant clothing that just makes me excited. Because of this, I like to take a few chances with the clothing that I wear. One of my favorite things to do is mix patterns. Although there aren’t any  rules for what you can and cant try, I have compiled a few tips to make it easy (listed them in least frightening to more frightening order).

Tips for mixing patternstips for mixing patterns-001Tip 1: Same pattern different colors- I just blew my title with the first tip. I know that using the same pattern shouldn’t qualify as mixing patterns, but it feels like it when those patterns are different colors or size. Try, for example,  2 polka dots or stripe patterns. It is especially easy when one of the patterns is more subtle.  tips for mixing patterns-002

tips for mixing patterns-003Tip 2: Same color different patterns- Hold on, this is where it gets wild :) Honestly, this is easier than you think. Like me, most people tend to gravitate towards certain colors. If you were to survey your closet you would probably find many “like” colors in your tops, pants and skirts. One thing to remember when mixing these is the fewer “extra colors” the less you’ll look like a walking eye bender. Also, repeating prints work great with this; they function like classic pieces and seem normal.

 

tips for mixing patterns-004 tips for mixing patterns-005Tip 3: Play with geometry- I have mentioned how I love floral prints and would wear them everyday if I could, but they are very difficult to mix. However, geometric patterns with their lines and well… geometry, are great to mix. Like tip 2, try to stick within the same color schemes with  few extra colors. You are free to try triangles, circles, stripes, diamonds, and squares. Example 1, 2

 

If these seem scary to you, start with tip 1. Try more subtle patterns and then move down the list. The more you try it the mor confident you will be.

Happy mixing.

Bike to Work Day Denver

Hitting you twice this week with Commonwealth updates, but I just want to share all the fun. The “ups” are definitely worth sharing to remind us of all the fun this is and can be. Denver celebrated “Bike to Work” day on Wednesday. Jason, Ryan and I woke up at 5 am to serve coffee to bikes on their way into work. There were stations all over the city and we were happy to serve coffee at ours. There were pancakes, smoothies, sausages, and even a bike mechanic at our station. I forget how much I love mornings in the summertime.bike 2 work-005 bike 2 work-003 bike 2 work-004 bike 2 work-006 bike 2 work -001 bike 2 work day bike 2 work-007 bike to work bike 2 work-002 bike 2 work-001 bike 2 work bike 2 work-008

I also love getting to see Jason and Ryan interact with people. They do primarily wholesale right now, but both of them long for the coffee shop atmosphere. Jason comes alive when there are people around to share his product and hard work with. I can’t wait until they are able to open an espresso bar in the front of their roastery.

Etsy Finds: Looming Realities and Handmade Beauties

As a point of update, I realize that it is not possible for me to ride my bike in a dress. I wasn’t the only one who thought the straight across bar on my bike was a “man bar.” After being backed in my suspicions, I broke down to Jason. He explained that it is just part of suitable and practical road bikes. Because that is so, it would be highly impractical and very impossible for me to wear a dress or skirt while biking. I have had a week now to deal with that fact and I am fine.

etsyfinds3 1. One of my favorite things about our whimsical home is that there is so much…SO MUCH storage. One of the things that bugs me the most now is that I don’t have enough fancy organizers to make the spaces actually useful. 2. Thinking outside the box completely, but I would use this crate in aforementioned storage as sleek, low shelves…for the little things. 3. These hooks are just too cool. 4. I absolutely love kilim and have a growing little collection, this large, bright pillow would fit perfectly in the wall benches/beds…<– they don’t have an appropriate name or purpose yet. 5. Our garden is growing and we have been able to eat things from it. I have never had a successful garden…nor air plant for that matter and now I want tons of growing things in our home and this is perfect to set them on. 6. I am a big fan of handmade textiles. I love this bag.