Archive of ‘So Grateful’ category

Antelope Canyon // Page, AZ

Visiting Antelope Canyon has been on my life list for ages. The photos I’ve seen are surreal and I always thought they were photoshopped to look so, well, amazing. I’m here to say it’s all natural. The photos practically take themselves.

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We started the tour with Lynette, who was amazing. She was super knowledgeable about how the canyons were created, discovered, and even the best way to shoot inside them. She had all the photographers set their cameras to the right ISO and shutter speed before we went in. I was giddy with excitement and words cannot explain how breathtaking the interior is. I teared up a little bit as I walked through the orange glow and almost really cried when we spotted a sunbeam later in the tour. After walking through with our group for about 30 minutes, we were given about 20 minutes to spend some time exploring on our own before meeting the group back at the entrance. Overall, a dream come true. Check out some of the snaps I took with my new Nikon 1 camera. With the exception of the black & white shots, these are straight out of the camera.

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39th Birthday Party

Last night, I hosted a small cocktail party for my AZ friends to celebrate my birthday. It was nice to spend the day preparing small bites for everyone to enjoy. Here are a few pictures from the evening.


Devil’s Food Cake cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting (tinted yellow).


Olives, Melon Wrapped in Prosicutto


Cheese Plate


Caprese Salad Bites


Peach Hazelnut Bruchetta


Deviled Eggs and Sliders


Watermelon Hearts


Stuffed Mushrooms


Presents!

To see more pictures from the evening, you can click over to the photoset on Flickr.

100 days until Jan 1, 2012

Today marks 100 days left in the year 2011. How is that possible? It feels like we just took down the Christmas tree and sipped champagne in anticipation of 2011!

Realizing that there are only 100 days left in 2011 got me thinking about all the things I want to do, how I want to make every day, actually every moment, count. One hundred days will slip by like the blink of an eye. So what can we do to savor the time? Here are some ways I’m going to stretch out these last days of 2011. Care to join me?

Focus On Details
Sometimes, as we live each day so busy with our obligations and deadlines, we forget to stop and enjoy the little things. It’s so easy to go through an entire day worried about the future, but by doing that, you’re never really seizing the moment and noticing all the details of what is happening right now. You could also be passing up great opportunities you just aren’t noticing. So, take a deep breath and  savor the moment. As you do this, notice the little things that can make a day special — the smile of a friend, the kindness of a stranger, the beauty of a sunset. If you take the time to notice and enjoy what’s around you, each moment at a time, it becomes nearly impossible to stress. Right now, I’m enjoying the taste of my iced coffee, the two new blooms on the African violet plant on my desk, and the fact that the phone is not ringing.

Focus on Sensations
As you experience your day, take notice of the details and etch them into your memory.  Notice especially the positive details of what is happening around you. There’s a great scene in the original version of The Parent Trap where Susan, posing as Sharon, meets her grandfather for the first time. She hugs him and then starts to smell his tweet jacket. Surprised by this, he asks her what she is doing and she responds, “Making a memory.” Creating memories, especially of positive events, will help you recall them when you need slow down and take a moment for yourself. To create a memory, notice the sounds you hear, maybe it’s children laughing or birds calling to each other. Notice the smells, like the scent of a fresh sea breeze, someone’s lovely perfume or the impending rainstorm. What are you feeling- literally? Is there a breeze in your hair? Is the sun shining on your skin?  Noticing sensory details helps you live fully in the moment.

Focus On The Positive
Do you ever notice that it’s so much easier to find the negative in a situation but when pressed to find positives, it’s a lot more difficult? As humans, we’re naturally wired to notice the negative events in life more than the positive. This is how we keep ourselves safe- if we’re aware of threats around us, it’s easier for us to to launch a defense. However, let’s try to actively focus on the positive, so that we enjoy life with an optimistic point-of-view. To savor the moment, put the negative aside for a moment and notice what’s happening that’s right. Then, appreciate it. Remember, you’re not trying to pretend you’re happy when you’re not… it’s more of an exercise about noticing the things that can lead to greater happiness.

Express Gratitude
Feeling gratitude goes along with noticing the positive. This is an excellent way to savor the moment. Take time to notice all the nice things that people do for you. Then take a moment to thank them whenever possible. Or simply notice what you enjoy about people when they’re just being themselves. It’s ok to tell them that, too. Appreciate what goes right in your day as it happens. If you want to make a more permanent record of what you are grateful for, spend a few quiet moments at the end of the day and write it down in a gratitude journal. This is a surprisingly effective way to both raise your level of daily gratitude, and build a record of all the things in your life that can make you happy, which you can look back on when you’re having a bad day. To take it to the next level, photograph who or what you are grateful for and start a gratitude blog or weekly gratitude blog post on your existing blog.

Do What You Enjoy
Life is meant to be enjoyed and savored. If you find yourself going through a full day without experiencing anything you want to savor, try to add activities into your schedule that you enjoy.  Savor them as you’re doing them. You may feel like there’s no time for fun, but consider how much extra energy and motivation you’ll get from pursuing things that you love to do. That energy transfers to your daily responsibilities and recharges your work. If you find you cannot add any time for yourself or what you love to do, you may want to find a way to reset your priorities.

Go ahead. You have 100 days to make the most of 2011 and start 2012 with an amazing toolbox of ways to enjoy every moment.

Whirlwind.

Last Tuesday at work, one of the big bosses came into my office, closed the door, and sat down. I gulped and said “uh oh” in my head. (I might have even said it out loud!)

He looked at me and said, “I have potentially good news for you.”
Immediately my heart rate returned to normal as I nodded for him to continue.

He asked if my passport was in order and if I had any weekend plans that could be rescheduled.
I started to get a little excited. “Yes!” and “Not real plans…” were my answers.

He then told me that our company just won a new project for MINI and I needed to be in Munich on Thursday and Friday for the agency briefing meetings. That meant I had to fly Wednesday, which, if you are keeping score, was the next day! He briefed me quickly on the agenda and let me know that the schedule was set so that I would fly home on Sunday in order to save some money on the last-minute airfare. That meant Saturday was a free day in Munich!

Of course I said yes immediately and began making arrangements to do laundry, pack, and get prepped for the meetings. My flight was at 9am the next day!

The trip was everything a 3-day whirlwind work tour could be: meetings, food, beverages, colleague dinners, and shopping… especially at the Christmas Markets! I haven’t uploaded my pictures from the trip yet, but here are a few I took with my iPhone.

Marienplatz Christmas Market in Munich, Germany

Gothic in Munich

Fountain in Marienplatz, Munich

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