Thursday, December 1, 2016

Volunteer Of The Year

Last night was so special for me.  My dad was honored for his big heart and tireless volunteer efforts for the city of Troy, NY.

Dad is quiet.  Hates to be the center of attention.  Content to stand in the back of the room.  He works hard and gives everything to his community.  But quiet kids are rarely seen in life.

No one was more surprised than he was when the BID told him they were honoring him {plus one business and one organization} at this annual event.  I'm not sure either of us knew what to expect but it ended up being an amazing evening.  I'm the proudest daughter ever!

My father volunteers a lot.  He was raised that way and raised me to do the same.  I remember being really young and my dad talking to me about giving your time and shopping local to support your community.  Those were two of my moral foundations I suppose.  

So many of my dad's friends came and it was just so lovely to see his circle of support.  He was so humbled and appreciative and I just know he left feeling loved.

It's not at all news to me that my father loves his community.  But it was such sweet news to realize that this community loves him right back!




My heart is beaming with pride over my kind, loving, and dedicated father being honored in such a big way last night!

XOKK

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

12 New Puppies For Christmas

Recent conversation with my father...

Dad: I've been searching for part of your Christmas gift for a long time and finally just found it online!

Me: You can find everything online.  

{In my head thinking...I gave you a list...with every item hyperlinked for your convenience...not to sound ungrateful but please don't go rogue on me...let's just keep it simple and buy the shirt I requested from Old Navy that's on sale for like $15 right now and call it a holiday...}

Dad: I know, I found it online.  But I had trouble because I could only find it in huge quantities and only needed 12.

Me: Oh good.

{In my head...12??...12!!!...12 of what??!!...Please say he at least got the shirt...also please let it be 12 new puppies...or bunnies...I'm allergic to bunnies but who cares....please let it be 12 new puppies or bunnies...plus the shirt...it's a cute shirt!}




It's probably something simple like pens, but let's all collectively cross our fingers I'm Instagramming your face off on Christmas morning with my collection of new puppies!

XOKK

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Finding Gratitude


Today will include yoga, cooking a delicious meal, and going to the movies.  It's going to be a long but great day...I just know it!  

This year hasn't been easy.  Actually...it's been one of my worst years.  Just no way to sugar coat things.  But that doesn't mean I can't find plenty for which I am exceedingly grateful in my life...




My friends are my chosen family.  And holy smokes do I owe them big time after all the tears they've mopped up this past year.  They are pillars in my life who don't judge or walk away.  These amazing women just love and laugh and love some more.  I don't know how I ever got so lucky.  

My garden is my sanity saver.  I've always had an interest in gardening and plants, but it wasn't until I got my own community garden plot several years ago that I realized what a mental health benefit gardening cloud be in my life.  It gives me focus and a goal.  It requires me to problem solve {which feels a heck of a lot less lovely in the moment, but give me a bit of liberty today} and continue to learn. It gets me out in the sunshine and fresh air for hours on end.  I meditate and talk to my plants and then come home and make some incredibly delicious meals.  Gardening is delicious!  I feel truly lucky to have such a great Community Garden program in my city so that I have the space to play in the dirt!

My dad is my dad but also my good friend.  We all have complicated family relationships.  I don't have a relationship with my mother...so there's that.  And my dad and I are far from perfect.  But we are incredibly close and just as it has been for my entire life, we are happy as a little family of two.  I wouldn't be who I am without all the love and support from my dad over the years.  He fought for me and raised me and protected me in a way that would still be considered unusual by today's standards. I'm so lucky to spend my holiday with him this year!

My yoga mat is my health saver. I'm still learning and I still have periods when I don't get on the mat. But then I have weeks when I get on at least five times and those are the weeks when my world just works better.  Both my physical and mental health are so much better for every minute I am on that mat.  Even on off days when I take extra child's poses or days when I fall out of every other position.  I'm still better off than when I started.  

My Sadie is my heartbeat.  Forever.  I am so grateful that we had the most amazing 14 years together.  Every single thing in the world was better for me because of her.  Always, always, always...nothing but gratitude and love!

I hope everyone is having a kind holiday.  Today is a hard day for a lot of people, for a lot of reasons.  So I simply wish you a day where you feel kindness.  Anything more than that can just be a bonus!

Big hugs and love,
XOKK 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Finding Happy: Texts With Friends, Home Tours, And Snowy Barns

Ever on a quest to find my happy, I've been trying to be better about engaging in conversations and activities that bring a smile to my face.  Despite struggling with all things election, I managed to have a pretty great weekend!

Friday night was brought to me by the letter T.  For text.  I had three great conversations with three old friends, one of whom I've just recently reconnected with after more than a decade.  It was so amazing to talk and laugh with these amazing humans.  I truly felt like a lucky soul as I tucked into bed that night!

Saturday morning I went on a tour of a once beautiful home.  It sits up on a hill and overlooks all of Troy, NY and the Hudson River.  For the past 40+ years it's been owned and occupied by the local housing authority.  So the bad is that it's long ceased to be the beautiful home surrounded by beautiful gardens that it once was.  Instead it's offices for the housing authority and surrounded by public housing.  The good is that given it's current use and what I'm sure is a microscopic budget, it's maintained many of the amazing details.







I should have taken more photos of the fireplaces but this one below was hands down my favorite.  The marble, Italian, is not my personal favorite but was frequently used here in Troy 150 years ago.  It's all original.  The fireplace insert though, is what set my heart a flutter!  I've never seen anything like it and would venture it's the only one like it in the city.  

Troy, NY, was once the third wealthiest city in the Nation, in great part due to the iron work production. So it's likely this insert was made locally.  If you zoom in, you'll notice that the top of the insert has a spot for a tea kettle.  This fireplace is in what was once the lady's parlor {because lawd knows men and women shouldn't sit in the same room...faint!} and I just can't get over how beautiful it is!




Saturday was stunning.  So warm that I didn't need a coat and the sun was shining brightly.  Just the happiest of happy days!  

There's so much that I miss about Sadie, but topping that list is our long evening walk.  Knowing the weather was about to change, I got out to do my favorite Sadie walk in the late afternoon.  It felt so perfect.  And for the first time since she died, I didn't cry on the walk.  

This is one of my favorite views in the entire city.  And one that I bet most locals have never seen.  It just always feels like a step back in time to me.  Something about it has always felt a wee bit magical!




Again...Troy is known for architecture and iron work.  Please notice the elaborate iron railings with the pineapple toppers.  There are a few homes in the city that have these pineapples and I swoon over all of them.  




Brick and brownstone.  I personally have three {all very different} favorite styles of architecture.  You're looking at one of them.  Old {like 200+ year old} Dutch farmhouses and old FL or CA Spanish homes are the other two.  The running theme is OLD.  It tickles me to no end imagining all the lives and moments that have happened in these homes and on old cobblestone streets.  I love being part of a city and home's history, rather than the other way around.  




Do you see the Labrador?  Isn't it adorable?  I'd love to know the story behind adding a matching pair of dogs to your front stoop.    




The weather completely changed on Sunday.  I woke up to snow.  It snowed about a month ago, but it all melted quickly and we've had really nice fall weather for the most part this year.  This though, is the real deal.  The snow will come and go over the coming months, but winter is definitely here for the long haul now.  

Determined to stay on top of my happy, I picked up a Starbucks treat, turned on some Christmas music, and went snowy barn peeping for a bit.  Hard to argue with a view so charming.




So that was my weekend.  Low key and lovely.  Now tell me about yours.  Did winter find her way to your neck of the woods?  What's your favorite style of architecture- are you into old homes or new homes?

XOKK

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