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January 03, 2012

This Year | Let Your Heart Be Light | Healthy Mind & Body

Resolutions are funny things.  Most people have already fallen off of the resolution bandwagon by this point.  After a couple of days of relaxing and reflection, I have thoughtfully decided to take mine seriously this year.  Yes, I'm putting them out there - for everyone one to see.  This blog will be directly effected by my resolutions - as an effort to get more fulfillment out of my blogging, it is my goal for this forum to be a truer, more genuine reflection of myself, my life and my ideas.

The following is a little insight of what I hope to bring to the blog (and my life...) in the upcoming year.  What are your goals and resolutions?  No weight-loss goals, please.*  

I love this light-hearted moment - true bliss

Let Your Heart Be Light... we only do this once, people

This year, I'm going to make an effort to remind myself to let my heart be light - to live with enthusiasm, leaving fear behind.  Life is to be lived and felt - richly and abundantly.  We are all so blessed - stop worrying and live happily.  After all, we only do this once.  

Last week I was talking to a friend that was having a hard time - she is at a crossroads of what to do next.  Through our conversation, I remembered a similar time in my life.  The advice I gave to her was the same I had given to myself.  Make yourself happy.  Whatever it takes.  Just do whatever it is you need to do to be happy...  Not empty happiness and not happiness in a selfish way, but true, solid, sturdy, genuine happiness.  Years ago, when deciding what direction my life would take, I spent a great deal of time defining that elusive "happiness" for myself in an honest way - which you must be willing to do.  It is a process that you must invest yourself in - it takes time to discover and to decide what it means for you.

At the end of my process, I was able to find a clarity of what I wanted my life to feel like - not look like from the outside, but feel like from the inside.  I let go of short-term goals and of what I believed to be what a picture perfect life looked like.  I looked beyond them and tried to uncover the emotions that were attached to happiness - why those goals seemed so appealing.  What I discovered were the root emotions that I wanted to feel.  I set those feeling as my goals instead of the postcard view.  I didn't want the picture perfect life from someone else's point of view - I wanted to be sure that I was really living a life of genuine happiness and fulfillment.  I still need to remind myself of this sometimes what I forget what "it's" all about and need to check myself and my goals.   We only do this once, people. 

An attempt at a Christmas card photo... out of focus, trying to beat the camera's timer...
Give it up... Let it go

As an event planner, wedding designer and food photographer, I have spent the last 6+ years producing picture perfect events and blog posts that represent life at its best.  Painstakingly tedious, designing perfection takes time, effort, patience and obsessiveness.  Sometimes I find myself 'producing' my own life instead of living it.  I want every dinner, family gathering, trip, and occasion to be perfect.  My career of designing these perfect events and blog posts has crept into my real life, sometimes prohibiting me from enjoying life as it comes and living in the moment.

In just the first few weeks of motherhood, I have discovered that I'm going to have to give up the idea that great moments and experiences are created and methodically designed.  As we were (attempting) to pose for a family photo complete with newborn and dog, after a half hour of frustration and not being able to capture it just as I had planned - I said to myself (and out loud), Give it up.  The shot wasn't perfect.  Don't obsess.  Let it go.  After all, a real photo is much better than a perfect one, right?  Right.

While I don't intend to "Give Up" trying to do my best, I am going to give up trying to make every project and occasion perfect.  It will be perfect just as it is.  For the blog, this might mean more photos taken of our dinner just before we eat it instead of earlier in the day when I've had time to style it and shoot it in natural light... which takes hours, by the way.  It might not look as perfect, but it will be real.

Be Open... I'm open and ready to take in what the world brings to me.

I tend to be a bit of a closed person.  I'm introverted, private, a bit of a home-body... perhaps borderline recluse?   No, I don't think it is that bad!   Yet.  Everyone asks me if I get lonely working at home by myself.  Nope.  I love it.  I enjoy my quiet days of projects and writing all by myself - it is very comforting for me.  I'm very content with my lifestyle.  With that being said, I realize that I need to step outside of my comfort zone to grow and push myself.  Contentment can be comforting, but it can be debilitating!  This year I look forward to being more open.  Open to everything - people, experiences, business ventures... even new foods, style choices, decorating inspiration.  I'm opening my heart, mind and eyes so I am ready to take (and run with!) what the world brings to me.

Baby Life... Welcome, Baby Emma

As this blog is a reflection of my life, I will be introducing a new blog topic... Baby.  I'm sorry if you are not a baby person and you don't have any need to read about baby things - I am and I do!  So there.  I'll try not to post too many baby photos (how many is too many...?) and gush over how beautiful she is constantly... but no promises.  As I said before, it is my goal for this forum to be an honest reflection of my life - and Miss Emma is a (very) big part of that.  If I didn't include baby references, then I would be selling myself and the blog short.  With that being said, I do not plan on offering (or taking...) parenting advice or theories.  I will be including some of my favorite baby things, moments and occasions.  Hopefully you'll find our new addition an inspiring new addition to the blog.  Photos of her nursery are coming soon!

Music... Getting back into the swing

This may seem a little 'light' compared to my other goals and resolutions, but that is the whole idea.  A couple of years ago when Mike and I were dating, I had a ton of music that I loved and a playlist for every occasion - working, sleeping, spiritual, dinner parties, late night, old school... somehow I fell off the music wagon.  Music can be so magical - I miss it!  Maybe it is that I only listen to NPR in the car, or maybe it is just an age thing...  Well, I'm ready to hop back on.  Feel free to recommend your favorite artists and songs... please.  I'm desperate.  I'm still listening to Regina Spektor and Joshua Radin, people.

Misty morning walk with Mr. Darcy last January in Fairway
 *Mind & Body... Enjoy yourself

Notice you won't see weight-loss goals resolutions here.  I don't get motivated by short-term goals - I need real meaning behind everything I do.  I workout only to feel good and to clear my head, not to lose weight.  I eat things I enjoy and that make my body feel good.  Sometimes I will forget to eat until 2pm... because I'm so busy doing something I enjoy.  Basically, get busy doing something that you love (for me, that means working) and that makes you feel good (for me, walking Mr. Darcy!).  These are the only slim-down tips I have - they are the only things that have worked for me.  Perhaps they'll bring some clarity to your weight-loss goals.  For me, in my post-baby body, this Mind & Body post will help remind me not to get in a hurry - it will happen in time if I do things that make me feel good!


  1. I'm so happy that you'll be adding in some baby posts to your blog. I know for me, I don't even have a baby (hope to someday soon) but I don't mind baby talk at all. It would seem a little weird for you to ignore that aspect of your life altogether. And maybe you could talk a little about your pregnancy as well? Products you loved, tips or advice for other expectant moms, Emma's birth story, etc.? I love your recipes and party planning tips, but have to admit I always found myself curious about how far along you were, how the pregnancy was going, a peek at the nursery, etc. Best wishes on all your 2012 goals and I'll be right here reading along!

  2. Love this open, honest, and real. Btw my babies are 16 and 13 (it happens fast) and I am looking forward to seeing pictures and hearing about that darling little girl of yours. Have you shown us her nursery? I don't think I missed it. My favorite is getting peeks inside your beautiful home. I love your decorating and how everything is so organized.
    Chandler, az

  3. Hi Jenny. This is one of the best things I have ever read on your blog and I have been following it for well over a year. Whilst I adore how perfectly styled everything always seemed and it is a joy to be able to view your work, home and family, I often think I cannot ever obtain this perfection in my everyday life. I have two children, a wonderful husband and a busy family life and things aren't always exactly the way you would like them to be. You just have to try your best and enjoy the ride. Just enjoy motherhood and don't worry about making everthing look perfect. You will do a great job with your blog and everyone will welcome whatever you are able to share. Baby Emma is beautiful by the way. Congratulations to you and Mike.

  4. Kelly in Georgia5:38 PM

    Fantastic post - probably your best in my mind! Loved your statement about "producing your own life instead of living it." That alone is a BIG thought - and one that is so quickly brought to mind when a baby enters the picture. Enjoy that sweet child of yours. Those years will fly by way too quickly - and those years SHOULD be documented on your blog. You have big resolutions...mine are small ones - except for my goal of starting a blog. Best wishes for the new year ahead.

  5. I normally don't comment on blogs. I never know what to say, but I was so moved by your blog today that I just had to let you know. It was such a good reminder for my own life. I am newly married and I love to cook for my husband and we love entertaining for our friends and family. I am a perfectionist by nature and like you, my favorite place to be is my home. I have found your blog so inspiring and so helpful! Thank you for all the posts you have written, but especially this one! I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to share your journey with your readers. Some soothing music suggestions that you might enjoy include: My Morning Jacket's song "Welcome Home," Yo La Tengo's song "I Feel Like Going Home," and Monsters of Folk is a good band, too especially their song "The Sandman, the Brakeman, and Me." Hope that helps! Congratulations on the birth of your daughter! All the best for a happy, healthy new year with your new family!

  6. I love reading baby posts, I know not everyone does but I will have a ton on my blog. You can't help it when you have kids, they make you who you are and are the biggest part of your life.
    My only resolution/goal this year is to make a little time to meditate every day. I used to do this but fell out of habit. When I did it before everything else was brighter, easier and everything that could have set me in a bad mood wasn't important anymore.
    A still mind makes my whole world right.

  7. Kate Gibbs9:41 PM

    Jenny, love this post - so real and honest, and so you! I am proud of you and can't wait to see Emma and some imperfect photos on the blog this year! Can't wait to visit in a few weeks!! xoxo, Katie

  8. wow. i'm impressed you had the time to write this, let alone organize your thoughts with a newborn in your life! your blog is quickly becoming one of my favorites. i'm quite certain we'd be friends in real life too if we happened to be neighbors. good luck with your resolutions. i feel like a party pooper not making any, but I tend to do them on a daily basis. Motherhood will change you in ways you have yet to discover and I look forward to seeing that reflected in your blog. My babes are 9 and 3. And they are officially obsessed with your monkey bread and cinnamon rolls.
    All the best in 2012! Tessa

  9. These are great goals especially the "give it up, let it go." Life isn't going to be perfect but that doesn't mean it won't be fabulous!! Jesus said He came so we could have life and have it more abundantly. It sounds like you have realistic expectations and that will make you happy. :) I am looking forward to posts about your new baby. Who doesn't love a baby? ;)

  10. Really loved hearing YOU in this post. I agree with you, we need to find meaning in the resolutions we make in order to fully commit to them and succeed. I wish you the best of luck in all you want to feel and accomplish this year and going forward. Enjoy your lovely little Emma (I adore that name, my middle child was almost Emma, but is Maya :)). Happy New Year!

  11. I adore the blog and especially your baby photos and comments. Thank you for being open and real with us - I know that had to be a stretch of some sort. We never really know how long our life here on earth will be, so savor each and every moment, especially with your baby. She will be grown in no time flat having her own children. Thank you again! You are a blessing to many!!

  12. Jenny, I loved that you opened up and let us see the real you in this post! Real life is so much better. I especially loved the pic of Mr. Darcy in Fairview (I live in Lees Summit!). Amazing how an addition to the family can suddenly bring you incredible clarity. Happy New Year!

  13. Alison10:42 AM

    Jenny, I found your blog through searching about Martha and have come to enjoy reading your posts. I made your cookies with my two girls and it was easy and they loved them. Thanks for the inspiration. Love where you are going with the blog and totally agree with your mind & body comments. Stay busy and exercise to feel good - great advice!

  14. I think we are kindred spirits of some sort....I'm in not near as talented as you are or at the same level, but I strive to be! As a party planner myself, I can totally relate to wanting "life moments" perfect as the parties I plan. It's quite exhausting at times, isn't it? I think parenthood has helped with that some because everything is so spontaneous with a child, especially a newborn! I look forward to reading your blog daily and I can't wait to see baby Emma's nursery!

  15. My favorite post! Love every single resolution and the direction you are taking your blog. So excited to continue reading. Emma is so precious!

  16. What a wonderful post! Your insight is so true! I love your New Year's resolutions, and baby Emma is precious! Congratulations!!

  17. What a wonderful and inspiring post. I love the part about finding out what you trully want out of life and setting those feelings as a goal. Thank you and congratulations on your beautiful baby!

  18. Wow! Just somehow stumbled upon your blog tonight (think I was looking for Valentine inspirations?) and I was just thinking this entire blog today! Really, it's scary how a lot of the things you wrote I literally told myself today!

    I love your photographs (one of the things I, for one, have had little time to focus on for my own website although it's a necessity in my business). Thanks for the great blog and wonderful pics...especially the family Christmas pic because with kids, that's REAL! :) And please blog away about the stage of life you are in right now...your baby is precious and you will have this as a memento to reflect back on over the years. A true gift indeed!


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