31 December 2012

balanced goals.

what a boring blog post title, right?

last year i mentioned that i don't do new year's resolutions.  thanks to my mom, i do something called balanced goals and objectives for the coming year.  they are so much better than resolutions, because they aren't big pie-in-the-sky unachievable wishlist type of goals.  they have to follow a certain criteria.

S - they must be specific
M - measurable, so you know if you've achieved it
A - they have to be achievable, not too out-there
R - realistic [see above]
T - time-based for quantifiable results

there are six different categories plus three additional categories that may not fit other goals.  there should be at least one goal for each category, or as many as you want.  

career/financial - can be both business + personal
relationships - family, friends
well-being - health + physical condition
spiritual - spiritual + intellectual growth
personal - what are you going to do for yourself

what am i going to STOP doing this year?
what am i going to START doing this year?
what am i going to CONTINUE doing this year?

so they sound kind of labor intensive, but it's not that hard.  i mean, think about a typical resolution: 'i want to lose weight,' or 'i want to cook more.'  what is more?  what is exactly losing weight?  making goals that are specific and measurable are so much easier to achieve. 

this will be my third year of making these goals.  and to help keep myself on track, i thought i would share some with you [but some i am keeping to myself ;) ]

career: find a fulfilling, meaningful career using my new degree
relationships: see my brother at least once a week, trip out to nyc at least once per quarter
well-being: run a 5k
spiritual: find an organization to volunteer with in boston within my first three months here
personal: cook at least 3x a week
wild card: make photo albums of all our trips [carried over from 2011 's goals!!!]

what am i going to STOP doing: stress eating [big vice of mine]
what am i going to START doing this year: surprise pi at least 2x a month with something special
what am i going to CONTINUE doing this year: blogging - upping it to at least 3x a week

hopefully this will help keep me on track.  i have a lot of things i want to do this year, and i want 2013 to be MY year.  now that school, the election and everything else has settled down i am so looking forward to a fresh clean slate.

feel free to take the SMART criteria and make your own goals + objectives... and stick to them.

have a happy and safe new years eve all!  see you in 2013!

til next year...

30 December 2012

christmas on the farm

there is not nearly enough space to share all the photos i have from christmas... but here are a few.  it was such a lovely [and freezing] holiday.

our holiday farmhouse

my handsome husband


nanny + i

ollie + his love, uncle joe

laughter at our table

no plans for new years tomorrow night just yet... maybe just a nice dinner out and some champagne at home.  it is icy and freezing here, and our tradition is twilight zone marathon and champagne.  sounds pretty good right about now :)

29 December 2012

starting over [kind of].

one of the things i am super excited about with our new apartment is kind of starting over, design and decor wise.  we are moving from our 100+ year old four bedroom single home [which i miss so much] to a one bedroom loft in the heart of boston.  it's a big change, obviously. 

most of our furniture and decor is obviously the same - but there are a good amount of things that we left back in denver, simply because we won't have the room.  which means there is room for new stuff, reinvention of old stuff, and new decor ideas.  so i did what any girl would do... i raided my pinterest board for inspiraiton.

i started a new board for our new apartment with all my new ideas... i can't wait to move in and start decorating!  here's a few ideas i have...

 would this be absurd in my living room? 

lovely in my living room! 
eclectic rooms 

til next time...!

28 December 2012

the hunt is on.

so, here we go, apartment hunting.  while i loved house hunting soooo much, our house was the third house we saw on the first day of hunting.  so that was pretty fast.

but here we are in boston, and since we just got here, all the apartment hunting i have been doing until now has been online.  it's not very helpful.  so since the day we got here (2 days ago) we have been on the hunt.  we saw once place on the 26th, one place this morning... and then we stopped at a building in the south end that i have been emailing for two months.  and you know what?


we just put the application in today... so i don't want to say much else until we get the approval.  but it's gorgeous, and i can't wait to share pictures.  so now, it's just about waiting!

hopefully i'll have news to share soon, but in the meantime... stay warm :)


25 December 2012

24 December 2012

welcome to massachusetts

well, we finally made it to massachusetts.

we live here now.

but we are up in the most adorable town you've never heard of - great barrington.  we are holed up in a little farmhouse for christmas, watching movies, catching up, drinking and laughing.

this is the best pic i could get as we blew past the NY border into MA
here's a few quick pics to catch you up on the last few weeks since i've blogged:

my sister anne came out from tennessee for graduation
I GRADUATED.       :)

my parents threw a brunch for me at my fave restaurant after graduation
we threw our annual christmas party/goodbye party for all our friends

goodbye dinner with my best girlfriends all together [almost]

we had a very tearful goodbye with our house...

and we packed up our cats and drove from denver to mass.

since i am now not working or attending school lots of updates will be coming... but for now i am putting on love actually, wrapping gifts, and drinking champagne.

merry christmas to all!

13 December 2012

so much to look forward to!

hey all!

so here is my first blog post post-school.  it feels pretty good.  today was absolutely insane, as all my days are, even though i am done with school.  i anticipate all of my days to be like this, at least until we move to boston - if not until we actually move into an apartment.  school is just one less thing i have to worry about now.

i worked all day yesterday and today is my last day.  i am not going to lie - it is actually really stressing me out that tomorrow is my last day.  i am having a hard time relinquishing control of some things, and i am really worried about what is going to happen after i leave.  but i know most people who leave their jobs feel like this [so says one of my girlfriends, j, who is an hr expert anyway].  so it will be interesting to see how it goes, because right now i just feel kind of anxious.  we had a team outing yesterday afternoon for the holiday and we did a cocktails and canvas event - and i totally loved it!  painting was such a great way to relieve stress... wish i could do it more often (and be good at it). 

my first painting!

after my work outing, i stopped for happy our with j at el camino.  it felt so great to just sit, drink, talk, and not worry that i was blowing off homework or something else super important.  i am really going to miss our random but always much-needed happy hours...

i am starting to get super excited for this weekend.  in less than 12 hours my sis anne will be here - i can't wait for another visit with her!  my brother aj also arrives in just a few hours... before you know it the rest of my family will be in tomorrow and it will be time for graduation on saturday morning.  saturday night is our annual christmas cocktail bash so anne and i have a million things to do to get ready.  but this is the good kind of busy - not writing term papers and reading til 1am kind of busy.  i like this kind of busy :)

i don't know if i'll have time to blog again til after the crazy weekend - but stay tuned!  lots more coming up!

til next time...

12 December 2012



i am done with school. forever.

i turned my paper in today after spending over an hour editing it.  i can hardly believe it - i kind of feel like i am in shock or something.  i was hoping that it would feel like all my stress just melted away... but with the move and the party coming up there is just no chance of that happening.  but i do feel less stressed.  i don't think it's really going to hit me until graduation on saturday, to be totally honest.

i want to say so many things to all the people who helped me.  but right now i am so tired i can hardly type this... so we'll save it for another day :)

finally.  goodnight all!

11 December 2012

thanks, robert ingersoll!

i was hard at work on my political philosophy paper last night, and i wanted to share this beautiful quote from robert ingersoll.

while i am opposed to all orthodox creeds, i have a creed myself; and my creed is this.  happiness is the only good.  the time to be happy is now.  the place to be happy is here.  the way to be happy is to make others so.  this creed is somewhat short, but it is long enough for this life, strong enough for this world.  if there is another world, when we get there we can make another creed.  but this creed certainly will do for this life. 

awesome.  i can't believe that i went to school to study stuff like that.

and no, i didn't finish my paper yet.  the writing stage is totally done - but it just has to be edited tomorrow before i turn it in.  then i will truly breathe my huge sigh of relief.

10 December 2012

christmas shopping!

due to my absolutely absurd lack of time this holiday season, i have done nearly all of my holiday shopping online.  this is fantastic for a few reasons:
  1. i am lazy.
  2. i can shop with a glass of wine and in my underwear.
  3. there is a much bigger selection of shops and items!
so this year i wanted to try to do like 90% - if not all - of my christmas shopping from non-profits and local and/or small businesses.  so i thought i would share a few of my favorite cites to shop from so far.

punjammies - amazing pajames made by the international princess project, which helps women from lives of forced prostitution.

invisible children - fantastic jewelry, bags, scarves and more made from east african citizens directly affected by joseph kony and the lra's evil presence

etsy - this one is obviously not a non-profit, but it is a great way to support people who aren't necessarily professionals but who create things they love, which is awesome.  check out one of my favorite shops, a salvaged home, for unique pillow covers and gorgeous one-of-a-kind vintage finds.

i am heading out to a mission supports christmas shopping event at the merc wednesday night and hope to find some fabulous and helpful christmas gifts - so i'll update this list if i find new great places to shop for a purpose. 

what are you favorite non-profits to shop from this holiday season?

day of firsts and lasts.

 upside down

well, it is finally over.  i finished my LAST CLASS EVER today.  it felt really good, and it was a really great class too actually.  we had a mock-constitutional convention, which i felt was a great way to end my adventure back to school.  it was sort of anti-climactic though, since i still have a term paper to write this week.  and get this:

my term paper is on my own personal political philosophy.  i think that is such a fitting way not only to wrap up the class or the semester, but the perfect way to sum up before graduation on saturday.  it will require me to really reflect on everything i've learned this past year and decide what i really stand for, and hopefully might help me prioritize in searching for jobs out in boston.

it was also a little anti-climactic because i couldn't go celebrate with my favorite carpool/study group buddies, lp + cw, but instead had to rush home to sign the lease for our house!  yup - the isbouts home is now officially going to be occupied by someone else come january 1st.  it's bittersweet, because i really am still super nervous about having someone else live in the house - but this also means it's one less thing that i have to worry about now.

after the lease was taken care of, pi and i rushed out to get him to the airport.  another first today - he left for his first business trip for his new company.  even though he started his job officially on the 26th of november, tomorrow is really his first day.  he hasn't had to go into an office or even really meet anyone from his company yet, so tomorrow is a big day for him!  he's gone all week - won't be back til friday afternoon - but it gives me lots of time to finish up my final paper, pack, and prep for the party this weekend.  i better get used to him being out of town, so i am keeping myself super busy this time around.

i am still kind of in shock about being done with class.  i don't think it will really hit me until i finish my term paper this week - but i am hoping i can actually knock it all out tomorrow evening so i can get on with all the stuff i have to do.

goodnight all!

til next time...

05 December 2012

a christmas memory.

this song came on my iPod this evening as i was driving home and i thought i'd share it with you all, along with a little special memory i have of it.  i love it :)

back during my prague days, we took a little road trip over thanksgiving break.  now, of course they don't celebrate thanksgiving in the czech republic, but american students still do.  so basically we skipped class on thursday and friday.  we rented a little car and left prague on thursday afternoon, and then drove to vienna.  it was awesome for so many different reasons - one of which was road trips are just a little more interesting when you are trying to drive your way around europe.  also, PI and i were just becoming an item at this time, so it was a special time for us. 

but best of all, it was christmastime.  and christmas time in vienna is something very special.  we were all on a very tight budget, so we found a nice hotel and shared a room with two twin beds between five of us.  but during the day we would wander around the city and spend time in the amazing christmas village in the city square.  now i am really huge into christmas carols during the holiday season, and one day while we were walking around the christmas village, i found this old frank sinatra christmas album and just had to buy it for our car trip.

well, that night we were all going to bed in our cramped little hotel room and we decided to put on some christmas carols as we went to bed (yes, we were kind of strange college students i guess).  the first some on the album is this one below - which just happens to be my favorite christmas carol of all time.  no joke. 

at the end of the song frank says 'merry christmas.'  and as we all laid in the dark, PI and i cuddled in a twin bed together with some of our best friends, we all at the same time said 'merry christmas frank.'  it was such a weird thing, as soon as we all said it we all just busted out laughing.

it is such a random memory but one of my favorite holiday memories.  just wanted to share that :)

03 December 2012

holy panic attack, batman!

happy day - first post of december, the month i have been waiting for all year! holidays, graduation, family gatherings, graduation, new job for PI, leaving my job, packing up the house and moving... oh wait, that's too many things.

but that's right.  those are all of the things happening this month in the next few weeks. 

my school countdown today is down to
10 days
that's right.  only 10 more days of schoolwork. but what gave me the real panic attack today was that i gave my official last-day-of-work notice to my job!  my last day is now december 13th.  which means that the 13th i will have my last day of work, my annie and my brother get in thursday night, PI comes home from his first business trip, my dad and his wife will arrive.  craziness.
it all just is starting to seem so real now that i picked my last day of work.  stupid, i know - we've been talking about this move for over a month.  but it's all really happening now.  we'll have our house rented by the end of the week i hope, and by sunday night all my classes will be over.
it's all really starting to happen, and i am really starting to panic.
going to go find a glass of wine... til next time! 

30 November 2012

holiday blanks!

hi friends!  i’ve been taking a break from blanking, but since these are holiday themed i just couldn’t say no :) 

1. "the best way to spread christmas cheer is..." being cheery! i am always so happy around the holidays, and i think the best way to make other people cheery is being cheerful yourself.

2. the holiday season is  definitely my favorite time of the year.  this year is a little weird with graduation and the move, but we are making the best of it.

3. when it comes to holiday decorating...  i go all out! our décor is a little bit more wintery – lots of golds and silvers.  but there are some wreaths and red and green candles and things we put out. i love it all.

4. the thing i look forward to most about the holidays is  family, gift giving and christmas caroling.  i know that’s three things, but i could never just pick one!

5. my favorite holiday tradition is  probably our christmas cocktail party.  this year is our 6th, and each year it gets a little bit bigger and a little more fun.  my family has a lot of great traditions, but they have been changing over the past few years with the death of my great-grandmother (she was our family matriarch), so we are trying to come up with new family traditions.  with four sets of parents, we don’t have too many traditions that we do year after year besides our own christmas cocktail party.

6. this year my christmas plans include
 moving.  yeah.  we are kind of up in the air on what to do for the actual holiday, but it sounds like we will be out east somewhere.  my dad is big on wanting to rent a house on the cape, but if that doesn’t work out we will all be in ny.  like i mentioned, my family is trying to come up with some new traditions…
7. my favorite holiday food is champagne.

29 November 2012

high high #27

every year, PI and i go to the nutcracker before christmas.  it's one of our traditions, and we usually go all out.  there's a fancy dinner beforehand and sometimes cocktails after the show.  but one of my favorite traditions of ours.

and today, we got our nutcracker tickets! and, of course, we are having dinner before at our favorite place ever.

the denver ballet does an amazing job. can't wait for our holiday themed date among the insanity occurring in my life right now.  i have a serious case of senioritis.  i can't concentrate on any homework and can only think about the move, christmas, shopping, our party, and christmas themed cocktails.  true story.

ok, gotta try to get back to reading about american political thought.  boo.

28 November 2012

downstairs bathroom update!

hey all.

so i don’t even know if you remember this, but a looooong while ago i mentioned how we were going to have to re-do the downstairs bathroom. well fast forward practically a year, and we are finally underway with bathroom renovation #2! of course we have tons of great reasons why this didn’t happen until now… but the important thing is we are getting it taken care of. it’s funny – there is always this huge wish list of things we want to get done in the house someday when we have time. but now that we are renting it out, we have a fire lit under us to start working through this list.

there are a ton of smaller things we have done, but the biggest project by far is finishing up the bathroom. so, the first step: new tile in the shower!

shower all ripped out - notice the basement behind?
in my fantasies [yes, as a grown woman i know fantasize about things like this] we got a new shower pan, but hey, we are on a time and budget crunch now. i was at least able to get the shiny white subway tile i wanted – we are going for a subway look. now i know what you are thinking – dirt and grime and rats in the bathroom? we are going to somewhat model it after our old F stop in brooklyn – carroll street. so we [this is the royal ‘we’, not the literal ‘we’, because of course PI is doing all the heavy lifting while i finish up school] left the top few rows of blue tile that were not damaged by the moisture of the shower, and the subway tile will be underneath.

subway tile with original tile above

looking great!

our old subway stop in brooklyn
so the sign won’t actually be in tile, but the decals go over the tile, and with the border… well, it will look pretty damn awesome. it’s definitely a change of pace from my typical eclectic, mixed bag, morrocan-french-bohemian décor look the rest of the house is. the new sink should arrive in the next week and i’ll change up the décor in there a bit before the holiday party.

besides the bathroom… it’s been pretty busy but pretty much the same. lots of homework, but i have another class wrapped up now so just two more to go. they are slowly dwindling – and it’s just over two weeks until graduation. it can’t come soon enough!

as soon as i have a little more time i will catch everyone up on our trip to LA for thanksgiving – maybe this weekend?

til next time!

17 November 2012

i think i'm going to boston.

so as soon as i got home from class i put on pandora for some background study music.  (fyi: my go-to station is 'early jazz radio.'  it's amazing.) 

anywho, this is the first song that came on:

if you can't see it, that would be 'boston' by augustana (don't judge; it came up on she & him radio).  so, the song may be a little a little depressing, but it was just a good sign for me.  all the time i kind of go back and forth on this whole move to boston thing, but i have been pretty optimistic and excited lately.  and i love finding little signs from the universe that my life is headed in the right direction - especially in times of change.

high high #26

guys, this was in my email in box this afternoon.

WHAT?!  i am graduating with honors.  i can't even begin to say how actually happy this makes me.  when i think about when i first was going back to school how impossible it all seemed, i never even thought about honors.  i actually said i wouldn't walk in my graduation ceremony because, 'it would be different if i were graduating with honors,' i justified.  and now that i am, i am going to walk in my graduation ceremony.

which means i get to go buy a new dress :)

and, in case you were wondering, graduation is now less than a month away. 

12 November 2012

BIG changes coming.

so for a little while now, i've been hinting at some major news coming.  and the day is finally here where i can share it!  it's been so hard keeping this a secret for some time, but now that we have told our close family and friends i can finally share with you all our BIG secret!

the next chapter of our lives is about to start...  
we are moving to boston! 

ok, pick your jaws up from the coffee table.  i know.  it all just kind of happened over the past few weeks - but we are starting to get incredibly excited about our new adventure.  now you can see why things have been so quiet around the blog - i am not exactly known for my secret-keeping skills.  PI got an amazing job offer that would have been crazy to turn down.  so off we go - leaving our jobs and renting the house we have spent the last two and a half years turning into our home.  it is bittersweet - i love our home, our neighborhood and our family [mom] and friends [girlfriends!] here, but it's just time for something new.  and we have never been ones to turn down a new adventure.  

we are listing the house for rent because we just couldn't bear the thought of selling it.  it makes me pretty nervous, but i am trying to keep a very positive mindset - this is just our path right now and everything is going to work out lovely.  it always does.

life is just amazing.  just like eighteen months ago i wrote about how my life was going to change because i was going to make some big changes in it by going back to school.  well, school is over in exactly 35 days, so it's time for me to start the next chapter in my life after i am done.  forcing me to quit my job, leave my home, move to a new place - all just after i graduated and the election finished up.  it's a sign of something new to come and i can't wait to see what it is.

but for now, i have to go back to the poster which changed my life -

'open your mind, arms and heart to new things and people.  some opportunities only come once - seize them'

til next time...    


10 November 2012

high high #25

it was a pretty amazing day.

it started out with work, but it got kind of amazing afterwards.  PI & i went to pick out or christmas party invitations from our favorite stationary shop [i CAN NOT believe that it's already time for christmas party invitations!].  they are amazing - can/t wait to share pics!

but after, mom and i had an amazing spa day at  izba.  we had body masques, beating with banya leaves, and an amazing rubdown by a man named dimitri.  after we were sufficiently relaxed, we went for wine and cheese at cellar.  i would highly recommend it :) 

it was an amazing relaxing mother-daughter day... and we don't do it often enough.  it was pretty awesome.

hope you enjoyed your saturday!


06 November 2012

election day = happy day.

if you are reading this, i hope you have already voted.  if not, stop reading this, go vote, and then come back.

ok, much better.  i hate to be so negative on election day, but i'm a little frustrated.  today people are a little happier, talking about how amazing our country is because, unlike MANY other nations in the world, we still have elections that are [for the most part anyway] pretty fair, and we still have the right to vote and elect our leaders.  but up until today, i have heard and seen online many, many negative comments about the sad state of our electorate. 

they get too much political junk mail. they don't want to live in a swing state and see all political ads.  they are tired of polling questions and robocalls.  they say they aren't going to vote because they don't like either candidate, or they say they are voting for the 'lesser of two evils.'

 it drives me crazy. 

because you know what people?  this is what a democracy is.  you get those calls and you see those ads because you have a right to choose.  and i feel liek a lot of people don't know this... but if you don't like either candidate, you can actually do something about it.  vote for a third party candidate.  we have those, you know.  make your voice heard.  volunteer for a third party candidate.  sign a petition for campaign finance reform and laws against citizens united.  don't just complain.

yes, our system is not proportional representation.  but if you don't like that, guess what?  make your voice heard.  our democracy hinges on participation, and complaining doesn't count.

i can't help but wonder friends...

how different would our political culture look if people spent as much time participating and making changes as they did complaining?

all right, i'll get off my soap box now.  i just want to encourage everyone to go vote.  and if you aren't voting because you don't like the candidates or our system, then do something.  get involved, make your voice heard, and enact some change.

happy election night :) 

04 November 2012

weekend with our favorite couple

hey friends! i don't know about you, but we had an awesome weekend.  we drove up to glenwood springs to hang out with one of our favorite couples ever.

it was a nice little getaway.  it has been so unbelievably busy around here that i can't even explain - or share just yet - everything that's been going on!  but all in good time my friends.  a great way to pass the time from homework and other stresses is drinking with friends i learned.

you know you get along too well when you both make goofy faces at the same time
the boys strutting

hope your weekend was as awesome as mine :)

we finished the weekend off with some tacos and mojitos with momma at a local el camino.  lots of big changes to discuss.  wish i could say more now... but it will have to wait just one more week folks!

happy sunday evening and i'll be back again soon!

30 October 2012

october catch-up

well, i promised a blog post before the end of the month - so i guess i'm getting it in just in time!  it's been a crazy month, with finishing up one weekend class, starting a new weekend class, celebrating PI's birthday, and dealing with something new i am not at liberty to discuss just yet...

blowing out 28 candles
for PI's birthday, i booked a weekend getaway at the stanley hotel up in estes park.  it was perfect - from the halloween-esque atmosphere of the hotel.  it was the only weekend i had off between my two classes, so it was the perfect time for a little mountain escape.

it was such a relaxing time, and with fall the colors changing were gorgeous.  we got some pretty good pictures too.

elk just in front of the hotel our first afternoon

my shadow and the elk - soooo close!
maybe one of my favorite pictures of PI ever
evening at the state's biggest whiskey bar at the stanley

driving through the mountains on the way home
mountain goats in the way home

stopped for pumpkins on our way home
it was a lovely weekend.  i'll post some pics of our halloween costume tomorrow, and this weekend we are headed BACK up to the mountains to visit some friends of ours.

hope you are enjoying your fall as much as i am, and stay tuned friends...!

48 more days
til graduation!