Wow guys, it’s been a while. I’ve been meaning to post the after photos of our bedroom, but with my training for the Leadville 100 taking precedence, the blog had been put on the back burner way longer than I imagined. Now that my training is over for the year, it’s time for more blogging! If you remember this post about my inspiration and our before photos of our bedroom, I talked about how I had envisioned a very minimal bedroom for us… well it has been done for many months and I’m excited to finally share the after photos with ya’ll. I love how the acacia floors we put in are almost the exact match to the rest of the living room floors that were installed by the prior owners. I now feel like the main living space has a more cohesive look with the same flooring throughout and not chopped up by the dirty carpet. We finally bit the bullet and purchased a real bed frame after we moved in last year. Such an adult purchase, but one I hope will last years! I repurposed our old side tables and painted them black to match our other accents like our amazing ceiling fan and sconces. We had kept some left over wood from when Zach had built our dining room table and I felt like our bedroom needed that touch of rusticness to it, so I put together this simple DIY table that helps bring together our small mountain gallery wall. With the bed centered under the window, I always felt like the space on either side was super awkward when it was left bare, so I found these beautiful lanterns and bought some brass chain from Ace Hardware to hang them from the ceiling. One has a huge air plant in it from Ironwood, and the other has a white candle in it. Since the lanterns were a little pricey and I wanted to depart from my need to have symmetry in every room, I ended up doing another DIY inspired from this post on the right side of the bed. So easy and cheap! Of all the design elements in this room, I had the hardest time picking out a rug, which shouldn’t surprise me by now since almost every room that I’ve decorated in this house or in our Michigan home, finding the “right” rug always stumps me. I wanted to bring in more color, but didn’t want it overly loud, so I decided to go more the “traditional” route with this navy rug that coordinated with our our navy linen duvet. Overall, the design is relatively simple and clean, which creates a very stress free atmosphere. What do you guys think? This was one of the first rooms we had officially finished this year, so I’m stoked to share how the rest of our house is progressing as we’ve come a long way since February!
Despite all the hard, long hours that go into renovating a home, I truly love the process. From seeing the hidden potential, culling Pinterest for inspiration, to getting your hands dirty and body aching from a weekend of putting in new floors… I delight in seeing our hard work come to life. I’ve always viewed the bedroom as a place that would put me at ease at night, that didn’t contain the distractions the kitchen or living room might. A place that was beautiful, yet very simple and clean. The above images were my source for that look I wanted – an organic modern bedroom. The previous owners took great care of the house, but had filled it with too much “stuff.” I knew the bedroom would feel bigger and updated once we had less furniture and a fresh coat of white paint on the walls.
Our bedroom has good bones, but until you start diving into the projects, you never know what you get into. Within the first month, we ripped out the carpet, lament, old lighting, and started taking down some panelling. The goal was to put in acacia hardwood flooring so all the bedrooms would match the living room and hallways, while removing any panelling and poorly spackled walls. During this reno, we ran into a bit of a problem with the panelling on the south wall, which caused us to have to re-drywall the entire section… it wasn’t pretty under the panelling, but glad we were able to fix it, instead of just “living with it.” Below are just a few images of the bedroom “in progress.”
Once the drywall was up, walls painted (in my favorite Super White by Benjamin Moore), floors put in, and trim installed, we slowly started to figure out what the heck we were going to do with our awkward closets. Looking at closet systems, I just couldn’t justify the price and hassle to install them. After seeing several cool IKEA hacks for the Tarva dressers, we opted to go this route since we want to eventually put in french doors to hid our messy wardrobes.
With the Tarva dressers to work on, doors to install, and just a few more minor decorations to add, it’s almost complete. Stay tune for the after photos of the bedroom and more house progress posts soon!
You know those places, those special spots that you get so fired up about that no matter the distance, you’d go there in a heart beat. The San Juan Mountain ranges are one of those precious areas for me. It is a remote craggy perfection, so different than the ranges near Denver. So when a few of our friends invited us out to Ouray, we knew regardless of the leering house projects we had going on, we had to go visit this quaint “Switzerland of America” again. The awesome thing about traveling with new friends that love the outdoors as much as you, is that they are usually up for anything. Each day we all split off to play in the mountains however we deemed fit. From backcountry skiing, running, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, to ice climbing – there was no reason any of us would have been bored on this trip. Honestly, it’s hard for me to loosen up and “be me” around people until I’ve known them for a while, but there is something about being in the mountains and sharing in that beauty with others that helps make that transition a little easier. Driving into Telluride to go on an “extreme snowshoe adventure” was probably the highlight of the trip for me. Not only did we get a great workout in, but the VIEWS had me wishing for a little house in Telluride. Snowshoeing towards the epic Bridal Veil Falls, I couldn’t help wondering what the trails would be like in the summer and when we could come back so I could run close enough to the falls to be enclosed by it’s mist.After long days of being out in the snow, we spent each evening cooking family dinners and soaking in the local hot springs. Ouray has several places to go: Ouray Hot Springs, Orivis Hot Springs, and our personal favorite, the Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodging. Sitting in a dark cave that was a mix between an intense sauna and a hot tub, I wondered how they came across this and whose crazy idea was to turn it into a spa and hotel? The morning before we left, I had my first amazing experience ice climbing in Ouray’s Ice Park. This man-made park touts over 200 climbing routes and is one of the world’s premier ice climbing venues in the world. I never really enjoyed rock climbing because of my fear of heights and falling, but for some reason I didn’t think it was near as scary and I loved that I could decide where to put my hands and feet. The ice that wrapped around the rock in this valley was an intense shade of blue and bright white, with a variety of huge ice pillars to delicate chandeliers. Vacations always make me feel so torn. As much as I didn’t want to leave Ouray and the amazing people we stayed with, I craved to get home to sleep in my own bed and see my puppy. Nothing like a wonderful adventure to remind you of the simpleness of home.
There is something about the fresh starts that come with a new year that undoubtably reinvigorates my drive. What is it about the New Year that makes all of us want to be our best, to start new projects, and kick those bad habits? Is it that we feel like our slates are clean, that this year will be different than the last? Or is it the need to jump on the bandwagon and make some sort of improvement to our selves like everyone else? I’d like to believe we all innately want to make improvements and the New Year allows us that chance to jump start those goals.
My theme to begin this year is driven by the Busy Boycott, a challenge to eliminate the overwhelming need to “be busy.” I’m optimist that by joining this 21 day challenge, a year of stress free living will hopefully ensue, allowing my true passions to come to life.Experimenting with cooking has always been one of those favorite passions. After receiving the Homemade Vegan Pantry cookbook for my birthday, I knew I wanted to test out every recipe for those essential staples. First up, cashew cream! This versatile staple can be used for savory or sweet dishes. I’ve used the base of this recipe in different ratios to make cashew “cheese” for nachos, mac ‘n cheese, and cheesecake. It’s perfect for any pasta dish or soups calling for heavy cream as well. Obviously this cream doesn’t taste exactly like it’s dairy brother, but it has it’s own richness and creaminess, along with added benefits of healthy fats, magnesium, and other key minerals.
Cashew Cream – recipe from Homemade Vegan Pantry
3 cups water
1 cup cashew
Place water and cashews and in high speed blender – blend until creamy and smooth!
Do you feel the same way for the start of a new year? Shout out your top goal // bad habit to kick for 2016!
The journey towards “finding home” translates very differently for all folks. For me, I’ve come to the terms that home is sacred; I have to have a place of my own that equates stability, quietude, and overall relaxation. As we have slowly settled into our new place (only to rip it all up again a week later) I couldn’t help thinking that after three years in our last home in Michigan, I had never felt as comfortable as I did that first week in our Colorado home. Maybe it had something to do with the size (this new place is about half the square footage and much cozier), that the projects will not take us three years to accomplish, or the fact that I don’t have to try to bend this house to match my taste… looking past all that, I really think it’s about a new perspective. We are putting down these roots that we hope will last a long time, that this place will be here for us as basecamp while we spend time outside of it going on grand adventures.
Below are photos of our new place prior to closing with the previous owner’s belongings. It’s already been well over month, but it’s already been transformed quite a bit. Can’t wait to share more soon!
*Photos by Cherry Creek Properties LLC
A couple weeks ago I went to a seminar about resilient people; the speaker discussed what makes a person resilient and the levels of that trait within us all. As she pointed out the attributes of those who can bounce back after dealing with difficult situations, my mind instantly went to those in my life who I would put into the resilient “bucket.” My father starting his own business, friends who made the touch decision to move to new cities or to start a new job, and then there is my husband…These loved ones all struggled in the last year to move closer to an ultimate goal, one with several unforeseen hurdles to cross in order to get there. But they bounced back, they pushed onward, and they stayed hardy.
Zach is by nature a “hardy” person. And I guess you’d have to be in order to train and run a 100 miles. No softy is going to survive the physical, emotional, and psychological damage that occurs over a course of 20+ hours of running through the mountains. Adaptability is his strong suit, one that I admire him greatly for. So when he decided this year to attempt his third 100 miler, I knew he’d do whatever it took to cross that finish line. Getting into the Leadville 100 Trail Run in itself is no easy feat. The months of training, hours and weekends of pure mileage were just the foundation. After not getting into the lottery, Zach flew down to Austin, TX to attempt to “win” his way into Leadville by racing the Austin Rattler 75k. Only a few spots were guaranteed and Zach ended up walking away with a third place finish and his ticket into Leadville!As race day came closer and Zach without a second pacer, he reached out to our buddy Rob. Without any hesitation, Rob flew all the way from Chicago – with little sleep and no acclamation to the mountains – just to pace Zach and assist me in crewing. Pure resilience. Robbie is probably one of the most loyal friends we have and one that understands the reasons why we put ourselves through these taxing races. As we chatted non-stop from Denver to Leadville, I felt like I was in college again; there were no cares, no adult things to worry about, just a lady and her friend picking apart old stories and catching up on each others lives. That night as we walked through the race strategy and aid stations, the peaceful feeling I had slowly waned. Sleep didn’t happen that night and with a 4 am race start, we all appeared a little hazing that morning. Rushing out the door with our burritos and stale hotel danishes, Zach was oddly calm and quiet. We drove in silence to the start of the race – where we were greeted by over 600 other participates. You couldn’t help but be overwhelmed and in awe as guys and gals of all ages toed up to the starting line. Ken Chlouber’s words kept running through my head as the gun went off and the runners causally passed by, “You’re better than you think you are. You can do more than you think you can.” With coffee in tow, Rob and I headed to fulfill our crew duties and wait for Zach as he passed through several aid stations. Around mile 50, Rob geared up to pace Zach for a grueling climb over Hope’s Pass. With several river crossings, long climbs,and a steep decent, I knew once I picked Zachary up at mile 75, he was going to be wasted. Anxiety can’t help but creep in when I’m waiting for hours at these aid stations. As soon as he ran into mile 75, all anxiety left as I took the reins and we worked our way towards the next drawn out climb. We didn’t talk much those 25 miles. I pushed gels and chews on him, he told me how much he was hurting, and we tediously made it through the miles. I remember selfishly thinking to myself about how much my feet hurt and how I wish we could just run faster to get the race over with, only to kick myself for thinking my pain would be anything near the feelings Zach was enduring at the time. These races tend to push you to your brink. You second guess your capabilities, you tell yourself you want to quit, or you start hating the whole experience. But then you find yourself a few miles from the finish. It’s distant at first, but a soft cheer can be heard. With lights in the distance growing stronger, we hit the downtown roads only to hear a familiar voice. A mile to go, Rob had patiently waited for us in the cold to help pace the last leg. I gulped down the thick rise of emotions as Zach grabbed our hands as we ran through the finish line. With a finish time of 22 hours and 36 minutes, Zach ended up 28th runner overall, and third in his age group. It’s difficult to comprehend such a feat, but know this – it takes guts, grit, and determination to finish a 100 miles. Frankly, it has me scared shitless as I’ll be tackling this race next year, but I know I have an amazing training partner who will drag me across the finish line if need be. He’ll teach me the tricks, tell me to suck it up, and show me what it means to truly be resilient.
Probably one of the top things that a lady in her late twenties never wants to think about or even consider having is a heart problem. For someone who is extremely active, eats a mostly plant based diet, and takes exceptional pride in my health in general, having to see a cardiologist was something that I thought I’d never have to do. About a month ago I started experiencing pretty intense heart palpitations. I’d try to go to sleep or be working and I’d feel a fluttery feeling slowly start to come on, followed by a heavy irregular heart beat. It freaked me out. After this continued for about two weeks, I realized it wasn’t just going to go away and needed to see a doctor stat. On my mother’s side mitral valve prolapse and Wolf-Parkinson-White conditions are prevalent, so I was extremely nervous that I was just now experiencing some symptoms of these, but in the back of my mind I kept telling myself, “Kate, you are way to freaking stressed, it has to be just that.” So after many vials of blood drawn, having an EKG & echocardiogram performed, and wearing a heart monitor for a few days, the doctors ruled out any problems associated with my blood tests and my heart… leaving, as I had guessed, a major stress and anxiety problem. I was floored to realize how much stress & anxiety had taken a toll physically on my body, that it had literally created irregular heart beats which had in turn stressed me out even more! Over the course of that week I thought about myself more, trying to figure out when and why I had become this stressed. I had seen fragments of stress/anxiety that usually resulted from my perfectionism earlier in my life, but nothing ever this severe. It didn’t take long for me to basically boil it down to coming out to Colorado, a place where we had dreams of “slowing down” and enjoying the mountains. For as much as we have taken advantage of those mountains, it all has seem to come at a compromise to what I had envisioned our life being like out here. I don’t want to say I’m thankful I’ve had these heart palpitations, because I’m not, but I am grateful for the lessons it so quickly shared with me. When compromising my life, my goals, and my dreams creates added stress – enough is enough. I’ve decided it’s time to reclaim my life. It’s time for me to be a little selfish, to put my foot down, and to say “NO.” It’s time for a lesson on self love and making time for myself. I’ve spent time thinking about what I need to de-stress and manage my anxiety, most of which means taking more “me time” seriously. Below is stress management tips and how I like to practice some self love.
1. Quiet Time: As an introvert, having that space or quiet time to myself is extremely important and it’s something I have neglected immensely. For me, it’s decompressing after work for a solo run, cooking by myself, reading before bed, crafting, or just walking our dog.
2. Spoil Yourself: Retail therapy is really a thing people. For me, I love window shopping, not necessarily spending lots of money. It seems to provide sources of inspiration, relaxation, and just a way to zone out for me. Treating yourself to a spa day (either professionally or just at home) is a easy way to refocus on yourself. The above DIY scrub is one of my many handmade body products I love using.
3. Meditate: Whether it’s thru yoga, praying, or breathing techniques, I always feel mentally rejuvenated after a mindful meditation session. My co-worker recently recommended the Headspace app, which walks you thru how to mediate anywhere, anytime.
4. Quality Sleep: I’m a huge proponent of sleep – quality sleep, and lots of it! I know without a doubt my career, health, and running would suffer immensely if I didn’t get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Whenever I’ve been sick, stressed, or just overworked, getting a few 10 hour nights of sleep on the weekends does wonders for my body and soul.
5. Less Stimulus: This is probably the hardest for me, but I’m actively trying to step away from my computer and phone – to leave work at work, to stop wasting time browsing the internet, and not giving two shits about social media. Work is probably the most arduous, but if it comes between a promotion and my physical well being, the body is always going to come first. I think half of the battle is knowing and understanding that I’ll always tend to be an anxious person, and that I don’t handle stress the same way others do. This is the game of life, trying to figure out yourself and how to make it all “work.” So how do you handle stress? I’d love to hear other ways I can practice self love and stress management. DIY Body Scrub
– ½ cup coconut oil
– ½ cup turbinado sugar
-Zest of half an orange & half a lemon
-Touch of juice from zested orange
– 4 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
Whip coconut oil and sugar together in a mixer, until light a fluffy. Stir in zest and add essential oil. Keep in fridge to prevent from melting.
Time. Isn’t that always the number one topic floating around the office? Conversations over dinner about which person has less of it, texts to friends describing how busy one’s life is, hurried phone calls because you only have 10 minutes to chat. Time seems to rank pretty high in our daily stressors and concerns, right up there next to money. Don’t get me wrong, I totally get it as I struggle daily trying to push my time boundaries, but at some point it’s up to us to decide when enough is enough. No one is getting more hours in the day and no one is getting less busy, so wouldn’t you think we’d try to do something about our lack of this precious commodity?
A part of our lives that I typically hear touted as the most “time suck” is cooking and food preparation. For someone who loves to cook and truly considers that we should let “food be thy medicine,” this is a priority in my life and something I make time for. But I get it, not everyone has this same priority and wants to spend more than 30 minutes a night making dinner. I’ve come to a point in my career where time is far more scare than it used to be and I just don’t have the luxury of spending as much time in the kitchen as I used too. But as soon as this realization hit, I started to analyze my life. What was I doing wrong? Where was I spending too much time? How could I make my daily routine more efficient?
There was a lot of factors that I wasn’t going to be able to change immediately; my long commute being at the top of the list, but I could change the way I was planning and cooking our meals. As much as I love the spontaneity I associate with cooking, I knew I would have to become more diligent with prepping and actually plan out my weekly meals. Through some trial and error, here is “the plan” that I came up with.
*Plan a weekly budget
*Decide on a day to meal plan, grocery shop, and meal prep.
*Choose 5-7 meals you want to cook for that week.
*Draft a grocery list based upon the ingredients needed for those meals and any other staples you might need (ie breakfast/snacks)
*Go grocery shop – but ONLY buy what is on your list. Be conscious of your budget
*Start meal prepping for items that will not go bad on your meal list. Make rice, mix up marinades and sauces, chop up veggies, or cook meals that can be frozen.
*If you prep enough, each meal should be less stress free and take way less time to cook each night.
It’s a simple meal planning system, but it has worked incredibly well for the past couple of weeks. For two runners who eat a ton, we’ve set a modest weekly budget. Each Sunday (or Monday if we are out for the weekend) I set time aside to pick each meal, draft a grocery list, go grocery shopping, and meal prep that day. This takes time upfront, but makes up for it throughout the week. In the past, I’d scramble and stress over what to make each night, but since meal planning I spend about half the time grocery shopping and I know exactly what I’ll be eating for dinner every night I come home. Finding that I have more time each night to spend with my husband, dog, or time running and cooking is like uncovering a hidden treasure. It’s like eating fresh homemade ravioli for the first time, exceptional and worth every second put into it.
Kale + Sunflower Seed Ravioli – adapted from Thug Kitchen
2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
pinch of salt
¾ to 1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 block tofu
2 cups kale
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 cup nutritional yeast
In a large bowl, mix the flours and salt until well combined. Add 3/4 cup water and oil to dry ingredients. Mix until dough comes together. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes then place in a covered bowl and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
While the dough rests, take the time to make the tofu ricotta.
Mix the sunflower seeds in a food processor until they are in very tiny pieces. Add in rest of Tofu Ricotta ingredients and mix until smooth.
Take dough and cut in half. Roll out one piece until it’s pretty thin (less than 1/8″ thick) and in rectangle form. Using a spoon, scoop about a tablespoon of ricotta a place on the dough forming a line until you are at the end of the rectangle. Using a pastry brush, wet with water and brush a square around each ricotta. Roll out the other piece of dough and then place over the initial dough rectangle. I usually press my fingers around each piece insuring the dough is sticking to each side. If you have a ravioli stamp, this will make the actual creation of the ravioli a lot easier, but I don’t, so just use a knife to cute out around each ricotta piece. Any remaining dough can be rolled out again to make more ravioli pieces.
Boil a pot of water and add finished ravioli for about 5 minutes or until chewy.
Serve with marina and sprinkled with nutritional yeast and oregano.
Hot & tired I stop in the shade of an overhanging ledge and take a drink from my canteen. Resting, I listen to the deep dead stillness of the canyon. No wind or breeze, no birds, no running water, no sound of any kind but the stir of my own breathing. Alone in the silence, I understand for a moment the dread which many feel in the presence of primeval desert, the unconscious fear which compels them to tame, alter or destroy what they cannot understand, to reduce the wild and prehuman to human dimensions. Anything rather than confront directly the antehuman, that other world which frightens not through danger or hostility but in something far worse—its implacable indifference. // Edward Abbey Driving our way west through Colorado, I thought about the miles that were ahead of us for the long journey to the arid desert south of Moab. Southern Utah was uncharted territory for Zach and I, a place that until coming to Colorado I had scarcely considered adding to our long list of “must sees.” With the journey being less than 7 hours away, it seemed wasteful not to at least take a weekend to see what the fuss was all about. As the sun parted ways for the night, the mountains and enormous rock cliffs seemed to grow, the moon illuminating their scale and ambiguity. The last hour before arriving at our campsite was spent staring out into the night trying to grasp and visualize what was exactly outside the window – these massive crags that had no resemblance to the mountains I had come to be familiar with, jutted from the earth in every which way. It was almost like the night had transformed the world around us, as everything felt foreign and exotic in the moonlight. It made me anxious to see what this rugged rock jungle would look like come daybreak. That next morning didn’t disappoint as I woke surrounded by red earth, ruddy cliffs, and lush shrubs. The earth here felt so dry and dead, yet life seemed to still be abundant as small lizards scurried past and rabbits teased Toby on our hike that morning. Our campsite at Indian Creek is a popular destination for crack climbing so I spent my afternoon staring up into air, yelling words of affirmation at my husband as he attempted to handjam his way up a route. The views from the crag were breathtaking; the flat terrain flaked with towering flat cliffs and spiky peaks held no other sole for miles, blue sky met red earth, and it was dead silent except for the occasional grunts from our fellow climbers.Night came on fast and the cold set in. The elderly ladies camping near us kindly offered me a seat around their campfire and I soon fell into an easy conversation as guitars were strummed, folky voices filling the air, while the spunky one of the group twirled a hula hoop through the frigid air. I sat as close as possible to the fire and watched the colored lights on the hula hoop blend together. I thought about how this is what it’s like to relax, not have an agenda, shooting the shit with strangers and taking in the moment. I thought about how this is what I need to do more often, what I need to embrace. As the sun slowly came up that next morning, I eagerly woke up knowing today would be the day we’d explore renowned pieces of wilderness. If you ever get a chance to visit Canyonlands National Park and take the south entrance in, you will be floored how it creeps up on you out of nowhere. We ventured into the Needles district where rock spires and deep canyons stretched out in every which way. With the La Sal Mountains in the background, the scenery was staggering and almost impossible to take in. I almost felt bad for leaving so early as we had barely seen a quarter of the park, but I knew I’d want to spend the rest of our day in Arches. We took the opportunity to knock out our run through the park and I couldn’t have asked for a more stunning place to jog through. Heading up to the north side of the park through Devil’s Garden I kept asking Zach to stop so I could take pictures. The dramatic fin canyon, fragile arches, and fiery towers were mind blowing, yet these photos don’t do any of it justice. Years of wear and tear to get to this state made me wonder how this land will look thousands of years from now. Exhausted we started our drive back home. As i drifted in and out of sleep, my legs slightly twitched with fatigue and my face flushed from the heat. Good weekends do that to you and this was one helluva weekend. continue reading
You know you have a good thing going when you make the same dish three times in one week…and your husband can master it in one try! I’ve been obsessed with the Veganomicon’s Vegan Skillet Cornbread for a couple years, but it has only been recently that I’ve actually made it in a real cast iron skillet.Zachary definitely is to blame for my current obsession with anything cast iron. We are so hooked that we’ve stopped using our non-stick skillets altogether. I don’t know why we hadn’t tossed those suckers years ago considering how horrible they are! I can confidently say this vegan cornbread trumps all others (non vegan included). Aside from being uber easy to make, it’s super moist, which we all know makes or breaks a cornbread recipe. Nothing makes me wanna toss a cornbread aside when it tastes as dry as cardboard. This guy pairs perfectly with any stew or soup. But what I’m really digging right now is my latest breakfast creation – cornbread topped with sautéed kale, roasted potatoes, fried tempeh sticks, with a dash of maple syrup over it ALL. Comfort food at it’s best! What would you pair it with?