Create a Life You Love #treatyoself

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“I’m going to make everything around me beautiful, and that will be my life.”Elsie de Wolfe

So how does one “Create a life you love” you ask? Well, by actively surrounding yourself with things and experiences you love, duh.

But I’m totally not talking about going broke buying shoes…

Here, maybe this will help:

Imagine you’re on a desert island. Alone. After combing through the island looking for resources, you’ve discovered an ancient cave, full of ancient markings. And in this cave, you find a smooth stone on a pedestal with clear instructions to turn it 3 times in your hand, and it will manifest ANYTHING you want. Except escape from the island. What do you do? What do you wish for? What do you surround yourself with? No, stop trying to escape the damn island!! It’s an exercise. Go with it.

The point is, there is nobody there to judge you. What do you wish was there to pass the time? How do you choose to spend your time when you have endless resources but no commitments or expectations?

Back in the real world, it may seem like you have the exact opposite: no resources and endless commitments (usually to others). We don’t even realize we’re not incorporating any of the FUN stuff. The stuff that makes our soul sigh with relief and joy. The stuff that makes you feel safe and happy and cared for.

The beauty of this though, is that it doesn’t have to be anything crazy or huge or consequential. Just incorporate delightful things into your life. Period. And not just stuff you think is acceptable or “trendy.” For example, I love Harry Potter. When we were buying a new water bottle for my son for school, I spotted a covered Harry Potter mug – in the kids section – and totally bought it for myself. I know this is not “cool,” but I’ve been happily sipping away for the past month. It makes me unexplainably happy and who am I to argue 🤷🏼‍♀️ Are your feet always cold? Go get you some seriously cozy slippers. Do fresh flowers make you smile? Buy yourself some! Make your daily life slightly more comfortable, delicious and special.

I will say this though, it totally can be bigger than just flowers. Earlier this year, I realized I actually REALLY do like photography. I’ve had a DSLR camera for about 6 years now and have more or less just functioned with it over those years. Well, like I said, a few months ago I said to myself that I’m going to give photography a good ole college try and get GOOD at it. I wanted more of it in my life. I could literally spend HOURS taking, uploading and editing pictures. I get completely lost in it. Sooooo, I started to put more of it in my life. I got a nice lens (or two), subscribed to Adobe editing software and soak up tutorials, and make an effort to bring my camera out at least once every weekend. I’m definitely not the best photographer that ever was. I’m still a beginner, but I’ve seen my photography & editing improve immensely over the past few months and it’s made me SO HAPPY to have more of this hobby in my life! BOOM.

I’ve also been sooooo guilty of blaming my house for not being “sanctuary-esque” enough. Like, damnit house! Why don’t I feel calm when I walk in your door?? Then I look around, and realize hmmmm…if I were to just figure out a solution for that shoe clutter by the door, I wouldn’t be greeted by something that makes me angry when I walk in. And how about working on de-cluttering relentlessly so I can actually find things I’m looking for, rather than losing my freaking mind every time I need something? And what about a nice, glow-y salt lamp instead of harsh lighting when we’re relaxing as a family in the living room? And slippers. I highly recommend slippers.

And one last thing. Please don’t suffer needlessly. Fix things that just aren’t working. Cracked phone screen slicing your finger every time you try to text? Get. it. fixed. I firmly believe that having broken and sad things around you is bad juju. Just get your shit fixed or throw it away (I mean, probably don’t throw away your phone, but you get it).

These are essentially no-brainers. Make your life more comfortable. Fix your broken shit. Get a hobby. But, sometimes you (and I) just need a little more permission to breathe, rest and indulge.

Meditation (#notmyjam)

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I kinda hate meditation. Well, to be more specific, I guess I hate seated meditation. It makes me super cranky for the rest of the day. And hot. And while that probably means I’m an EXTRA good candidate for it, I just can’t.

Enter, photography. I realized the other day, that photography is actually a sort of meditation. You must focus on what’s in front of you. You must pay attention! Like, real, intense attention to the here and now. Don’t look away! Don’t think about your to-do list. You might miss a moment! That sunset? Gone in 5 minutes. Those sweet, smiling, angelic children? Fighting again in 2 minutes flat.

“Everything looks different with a camera in your hand” – My cool uncle

And how true that is! There are beautiful things to capture all around, you just have to pay attention. Look at the geometry of that flower! The joy in your child’s face and their gorgeous lashes (jealous)!! The boats all lined up in the harbor! Literally stop and smell the roses.

With a camera in hand, you are truly HERE. NOW.

My challenge to you: The next time you are out and about, try and take 3 pictures of things that look interesting. That’s it. Going for a walk? Get that iPhone ready. Kids playing with legos? Snap snap snap. Once you set the intention, it’s really hard to stop noticing the beautiful and captivating scenes unfolding all around you.

Now think about what would happen if we set the intention in life to just notice the beauty. To LOOK for the beauty. You may start noticing things you didn’t notice before. Beautiful things. All around you.

This is technically meditation! Well, technically mindfulness, but a form of meditation. Think of it as calming your screeching, jumping monkey mind with less of a “full Nelson” and more of a “giving the monkey a puzzle and a snack” approach.

I’m going to give seated meditation another try. In the meantime I’m going to grab my camera and go for a walk.

Look at the world through the lens of documenting its intrigue. Breathe. Repeat.

Oh the Hygge!

Blog, Nature

“Hygge (/ˈhjuːɡə/ HEW-gə) is a Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.”

In a merciful turn of events, the weather has gone from 95 degrees with 96% humidity here on the East Coast, to a dreary and WONDERFUL 55 degrees! I’m wearing socks. And a cozy sweatshirt. I haven’t sweat the makeup off my face once today. It. Is. Amazing.

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Not that I’m wishing summer away, but the coziness of a sweatshirt and lack of blazing heat is making us all want to slooooow down and rest this weekend and I for one, am loving every minute.

Rewind to a week ago…So it’s obviously been quite a while since I attended any form of school. And therefore quite a while since my whole life revolved around the seasons (now it’s work in the summer, work in the spring, and oh! work in the fall and winter too…sweet). But a crazy thing happened this week with my oldest starting kindergarten… all of a sudden we’re thrown back into this school year rhythm.

We enjoyed the last licks of summer with a sweltering visit to a local, historical farm and general wandering about town. I took a vacation day from work and it ended up being a perfectly summer vacation-esque mom and son day (we failed to coordinate daycare for the couple of the days in September before school started and it worked out awesomely). We wandered around the farm, met a one-eyed horse named Hobbes, sweat our asses off in the 97 degree heat, wondered how hot the animals must be with all their fur, ate ice cream cones, ducked into the happily air-conditioned library to read a quick book and just generally hung out.

Having that day of pure, unplanned wandering in the blistering heat makes me feel even less bad about sitting around basking in this wonderful feeling of hygge today. Lanterns are flickering in the living room and the soft sound of rain outside is making me irrationally & excessively grateful for the simple blessing of having a sturdy little house to hang out in.

Welcome to hygge season. Welcome to Kindergarten, dear boy. Change is constant and fantastic.

Forest Bathing

3 minute read, Blog, Healthy Habits, Nature

“The Earth has music for those who listen” – Shakespeare

St. Mary’s Glacier

Oh man, Colorado! We went early for a wedding and forest-bathed our asses off (it’s hard not to, really) for 4 days. It was one of the most rejuvenating trips I’ve taken in a while and I know I need to incorporate more of that in my everyday life. And oh! The pictures!! Snapped a super-wide angle lens on my trusty little Canon Rebel and away we went.

Loveland Pass

Forest Bathing is a Japanese concept from the 80’s. It’s more or less taking a mindful stroll through the woods and soaking in all that nature-y goodness. Or as I helpfully described to a friend who brought up this concept on this trip…”Oh! I think it has to do with some sort of compound the trees secrete.” Uh, yeah. Something like that.

Reservoir Trail Indian Peaks Wilderness

Anyway, the benefits have been proven again and again. Being in nature reduces anxiety, calms the mind and generally makes you feel like less of a hamster on a wheel. Also, that “secretion?” Apparently that’s phytoncides and it turns out, I pretty much nailed it. They’re released into the air by trees and when inhaled, are thought to reduce stress hormones and increase white blood cell function. I mean…hell yeah?

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Loveland Pass

The other forest bath ingredient, present in ESPECIALLY high quantities in mountains (and beaches, waterfalls and thunderstorms), are negative ions. These little puppies “create positive vibes” as WebMD puts it.

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Copper Mountain Alpine Coaster

So yeah…that, combined with the ~1,260ft of elevation we hiked over the course of 2 days, plus picking excellent traveling companions and approaching every day with the spirit of adventure, meant we came home from Colorado feeling pretty damn refreshed.

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Lake Dillon

The Corporate Hippie

About Me, Blog

The simplest answer, is action.

– A Fortune Cookie

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Hello! I’m new here. You too? Cool. Let me introduce myself. My name is Kim. Most visibly, I have a couple of kids, a husband, and a dog. I’m a “corporate chick,” as my husband likes to put it. And I’m preeeetty “normal” in just about every way. Little bit of drama here and there, a lot of non-dramatic days, just enough adventure and very first-world problems.

The reason I’m here, is that the more I reflect on interests, passions and general behaviors, I’ve come to realize that there is a little hippie artist photographer in here *points to self* and being a type A corporate chick, it made sense to give myself a place to organize that and let the creative energy out. And let’s be honest, contradictions make the BEST stuff (leather moto jacket + gauzy skirt, feathers + blazers, dark + light, sweet + fierce, corporate + artist). Contradictions add depth and interest to just about anything, amiright??

I want to focus this blog firstly on capturing and sharing beauty via photography. You are beautiful. We’re all beautiful. As I work on building a portfolio I’m trying to take every chance I can get to be behind the lens, capturing this wide open, fabulous life and also sharing it with y’all. This definitely includes harassing my friends and family into photo shoots for now.

I also listen to A LOT of podcasts. Like ah-lot. Ted talks get me through my morning getting ready routine (“omg these people are SO amazing/inspiring, how can I help save the planet? Educate more girls? Combat poverty? Why am I crying RIGHT at the mascara step AGAIN??). I also listen to 1-2 podcasts each day during my commute to/from work… and those range from girl-boss-what-are-you-waiting-for-reach-your-true-potential type podcasts to health and wellness focused podcasts to hilarious storytelling podcasts. I’m a bit all over the map (hiiiii corporate hippie photographer chick 👋🏼). And all this stuff gets me thinking…so…also look for positive-themed posts here that have likely been spurred by my absolutely insatiable consumption of podcast content.

And finally, I went to college for VERY HEAVY communications/mass communications subjects. I love writing. I’ve always loved it. And aside from some well written emails, and kick ass PowerPoint presentations, I barely use this skill in real life anymore. It’s been YEARS since I’ve written anything for fun.

So, long story short, I’m just a corporate chick, who pairs feather earrings with blazers, who can design the hell out of a PowerPoint slide and write the hell out of an email (and likes it 🤭), but who also wants to let her inner little hippie artist photographer spread her beautiful wings.

Stay contradictory, my friends.