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September 2012
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November 2012

a twenty-twelve gratitude practice.

Let me get a few disclaimers out of the way...

1. This is not an original idea. It has been promoted all over the interwebs, by bloggers more notable than I. 

2. I realize that there is something a bit cliched about a gratitude practice in November. 

3. My incredible friends have done variations of this theme already (see Barb, circa 2010 and Em)

4. I am wicked ambitious when I start something....not so ambitious with the finishing.

Okay...ready? I've decided that a gratitude practice is in order for the month of November. I pondered several variations on the theme (and gave serious thought to just eating pumpkin pie everyday while feeling grateful) and settled on this: 

Every day in November, I will *mail a thank you card to someone. 

I don't have any tragic childhood memories of being forced to write out thank you cards. I know all the Emily Post rules around what is polite & appropriate. Still...I suck at written thank yous. I've been reprimanded (more than once) for not sending thank-yous in a prescribed amount of time and/or not making my kids send thank-yous in a prescribed amount of time. I/my kids always/often EXPRESS my thanks - just not always in writing. 

So. For the month of November, I am going to make a conscious, daily practice of sending out thank you cards. I do reserve the right to resort to *email in the event that it's the ONLY way to keep up with that day's thank you. I also reserve the right to buy thank you cards (gasp!!) if making them proves to be prohibitive. 

Wish me luck (or better along!)....

ventage tuesday : in my bag.

It's Tuesday again - so it's time for a Ventage girls post. This week is inspired by Em - she's encouraging us to dump out our pocketbooks and confess to our hoarding sins. Or something like that. Here's a look at the treasures lurking in my laptop bag...


1. a Loving Kindness Mediation - copied from Being Zen. I really need to just buy that book.

2. my new Moo cards

3. one dollar. I never carry cash. 

4. bandaids from TD Bank - random. 

5. lip glosses - like, duh. MF Polished, VS Duos, Dazzlelicious, and Cashmere Glow.

Be sure to visit the other Ventage Girls to see what they're toting around! Barb, Em, Angie, and Steph...

hello monday : october 29


hello storm watch. We're on alert here - expecting high winds later today through tomorrow. I'm grateful for my new roof...the old one wouldn't have survived.

hello financial stresses. My least favorite kind of stress. I'm grateful for the resources that will allow me to do what needs to be done.

hello Halloween week. My least favorite holiday. Let's get this over with. I'm grateful that Halloween candy won't be hanging around my house much longer.

hello creative blogs. I'm grateful for online inspiration.

hello housework. How do 2 people create so much laundry? I'm grateful for being okay with leaving piles of clean clothes waiting to be folded. 

What are you saying hello to today? 

Hello Monday is a Lisa Leonard inspired practice.


sunday ramblings.

*Austin & I went downtown for brunch on Saturday, and as we walked past the bus station, I finally paused to take a picture of the "3" on the concrete. I've thought about it many times, but I'm usually intimidated by a long line of people waiting for the bus, or unsavory characters lingering by the curb. I'm going to use this in the cover page of volume 3 of Project Life, and I've already had it printed at 12x12 for the family room. A wee bit obsessed with the number 3 these days. 

*As October winds down, I'm feeling hopeful about the winter. This is a definite shift for me - I normally greet the colder days with overwhelming dread. I'll still complain about bitter cold and whine about crazy snowstorms, I'm sure, but the dark days won't get the best of me. 

*I'm working on a book review blog. Nothing fancy. Just a dedicated place to talk about the books that I read. I'm still very much a self-help junkie, so don't be shocked by my choice of reading material. I figure that if all of that self-help info sinks in, one day I'll be nothing short of amazing

*I made black rice & sweet potatoes for dinner last night. Black rice is kinda awesome. 

*As much as I don't want to like Taylor Swift, I do. I blame the fact that I've listened to 22 approximately 2200 times this weekend on Barb. She made me download it. Totally not my fault.




project life : volume 2, the end.

As I mentioned before, I decided to end this album with August. I like the consistency of having 4 months per album, and I'm totally okay with the fact that this album is a bit thinner than the last. You might remember that I created an infographic page for the end of volume 1. I wanted the end of this album to be simple, and clean. I've been doing A LOT of "clearing" work...and it seemed fitting to end volume 2 with some white space. So...I chose a piece of 12x12 MME paper, and simply cut it to fit the pockets. I added journaling by running one 4x6 card through my printer. Simple. Done.

On to volume 3! 

project life : week thirty-five

Chugging right along...

Wk35fullw35: otherwise known as "Hopey's last week @ home before year 3 at University."

W35leftw35 left: really? This is all about the Monday. I took the day off to spend with the kiddos. We brunched. We walked. We took some photos. Then we met up with Rob for dinner & ice cream.

W35rightw35 right w/insert from Barb.

W35right2w35 right w/o insert: taking Hope to Montreal for her flight back to school, a tag from Barb, and random photos. Oh, and me...with wine. :)

W35closeI adore Barb (obvi), and I adore this tag...and the fact that it shows the patterned paper in the card behind. It's the little things, people.


project life : week thirty-four

Catching up is serious business, y'all! 

W34full            W34 : a travel week!

W34autumnharpA w34 milestone - I celebrated 14 years at my job. 

W34leftw34 left: coffee, a big daily reminder, new MF nail polish...little details. Also a photo of the house from the appraisal report.

W34pranaRemember that Prana advertisement from last week? This is the back side. I really liked it, so I decided to just add some handwritten (gasp!) journaling. Super simple.

W34insertA yogurt shop menu from Ohio.

W34rightw34 right: a quick trip to Ohio, and Hope's last week at work with me. She made a lot of lipgloss batches at that bench!

W34bradOn the way back from Ohio, we had a long layover in LaGuardia. The restaurant that we had dinner at had ipads at every seat. After ordering my meal & drink on it, I googled a pic of my boy Bradley. He was a handsome, albeit quiet, dinner companion!


project life : week thirty-three

I've got more catch-up weeks to share! I also wanted to answer Louise's excellent question. She asked,

"do you think you will do this again next year and will you change your approach at all?"

Without a doubt, YES, I will do this project again in 2013. I've been thinking a bit about what I'll change about my approach. I'm going to save that insight for a separate blog post. Great question! Week 33*...

W33fullw33: full. A little lighter & brighter this week.

Wk33leftJust random stuff, really. W33 left: veggies, coffee, flowers, Hopey finalizing some University details, and Austin pitching in with yard work.

W33rightw33 right: an ad from a magazine (you'll see the flip side in the following week), a blog post, Hope's beauty haul from another friend in the biz, a visit to the new Chipotle, my DIY "stainless" range hood, and 2 goofy kids (Burton sale + Chillzone)

*Note: Those closest to me might remember/recognize that this was also the week that we became a household of 3. I don't feel the need to go into great detail about that transition. I prefer the subtle reminders - in this case, the "3" tile - rather than a play-by-play. It's a part of my story, not the core of my story.

ventage tuesday : fall foods to try

Happy (really late) Tuesday! I really need to learn to write these posts ahead of time. Sigh. Before I jump into today's Ventage Tuesday topic, let me say CONGRATS! to Dianne for winning the I AM giveaway. Please email your addy to me - katrina(at)katrinasimeck(dot)com. Thank you!! 

Today's Ventage Tuesday post is about a subject that we Ventage Girls hold near & dear....FOOD! I'm constantly on the lookout for new recipes to try (I subscribe to an obscene amount of cooking blogs), so I surfed my Pinterest "dine" board and Google Reader starred items to come up with five recipes that I'm looking forward to making this fall - 

Roasted Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas by Yummy Mummy: due to the fact that this summer's sweet potato & black bean tacos were a fast favorite, I'm thinking that this adaptation could be a fall winner. (note: there will be no sour cream happening here. Em, how are we friends??)

Black Rice w/Sweet Potatoes & Scallions from Emily Levenson: super simple, but really interesting...and colorful! This is actually on the menu for this week.

Chickpea & Rosemary Frittata from Stone Soup: I love frittatas for dinner. I never would have thought of eggs & chickpeas - but I enjoy both, so why not?

Shredded Brussels Sprouts & Apples from 101 Cookbooks: I feel like I should like brussels sprouts. I'm often surprised when I have them in restaurants and I actually like I'm convinced that it's merely a flaw in the way that I've cooked them. I'd like to try again - although I'll likely sub tempeh for tofu b/c I like the texture better.

Creamy Lumaconi w/Sausage & Spinach: I've made this one a couple of times, and it's a fave. I substitute veg sausage (favorite: Field Roast Apple Sage), and use whatever shape of pasta I happen to have on hand. 

Cooking/eating notes: I'm pescetarian (veg & fish), and I only cook pescetarian. Austin eats pescetarian at home, and sometimes chooses to eat meat at restaurants & friend's houses. Ditto for Hope (who also cooks for herself at university). I don't eat most condiments, so I work around them when recipes call for them. Austin and I (+ Hope when she's home) sit down at table every night (with few exceptions) with real plates, cloth napkins, and proper glasses (stemless red for me). Having interesting recipes makes mealtime more fun. I totally get the challenges of dinnertime with little ones....b/c my children weren't born 16 and 20. Trust me, I get it

Be sure to check out the other Ventage Girls! - Barb, Em, Stephanie, and Angie

project life : week thirty-two

W32fullw32full - It's interesting how some weeks lend themselves to neutrals - and match the mood of the week.

W32leftw32left - I adore the chalk drawing that Sarah left on the kitchen chalkboard. She is so talented!

W32bakeoffI won our company bake-off this week - I'm told by a landslide. :)

W32insertI also rec'd some very happy mail from Barb & Lauren.

W32rightThe X and O were on the gift from Lauren - sparkley love!