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The pursuit of happiness

snv6JG6YTuK3Nu2VOFdrxwNow that the stress of moving back from Japan is long in the rearview mirror and we are settled into our Denver lives, I have found that it’s far too easy to come home from work, whip up a decadent dinner, pour a glass (or 2) of wine and veg on the couch. As much as we strive for comfort in our lives, it rarely contributes to growth or learning.

Starting in January, I have decided to try a few new hobbies. I was looking for activities with minimal cost, fuss, or commuting time and things I could easily incorporate into my travel schedule. I thought back to an article I once read outlining Benjamin Franklin’s strict daily regimen that helped him to stay focused throughout his day. Since most of my day is spent working, I adapted the idea to a weekly schedule of things I had always wanted to try.

Starting off, my evening routine will include 10-15 minutes of French lessons (getting the basics using DuoLingo for now), 30 minutes of exercise, and 10 minutes of stretching or meditation as well as wrapping up any unfinished work or household needs.

Following that, I plan to follow a weekly schedule which will include approximately one hour per evening spent on a hobby of choice:

  • Sundays: Music (starting with a simple recorder or thumb piano)
  • Mondays: Ballet workout (using Ballet Beautiful videos or recorded live ballet classes on YouTube)
  • Tuesdays: Draw or paint (using Craftsy)
  • Wednesdays: Read
  • Thursdays: Calligraphy (using Craftsy or YouTube videos)
  • Fridays: Write (hence this blog post today)
  • Saturdays: Intense yoga or running

What I love about this is it keeps me from getting bored with any one particular activity and allows me to simply explore without a lot of commitment. If I find that one pursuit isn’t all that interesting to me, I can always switch it up for another or I can add a second day of something I’m really into.

What I need to be especially cognizant of while diving into these new areas is to make certain that my perspective remains one of exploration and growth, not of accomplishment. I find I can get discouraged when new hobbies fall so short of those who do this for a living or have been practicing for years. (And for that reason, I am not likely to post any of my artwork or recorded concerts on my thumb piano!) I need to keep the mindset that this is for fun, health, opening new doors – the pursuit of happiness.

Any new areas of interest you’re planning to explore in 2018?


Mirror, mirror

Was anyone else as smitten by Veranda’s Jan/Feb 2016 cover as I was? That stunning mirrored china cabinet instantly grabbed my attention, as did the owner’s shared love of blue.


I have a couple of Ikea pieces that, while functional, certainly don’t win any design awards. I’ve already changed out the hardware, but the mirrored cabinet got me to thinking. Could I paint it silver-leaf and get a similar effect? Maybe even do a little gold-leaf mercury-glass effect?

LiveLoveDIY has a great post on how she transformed a standard wooden vanity into a beautiful silver piece. Her result is gorgeous!


I also like how DIY & Crafts combined flat grey paint with silver leaf for the details.


So…when the weather warms up, looks like I’ll be experimenting with silver paint and silver leaf on my china cabinet & dresser. I’ll let you know how it goes!


I’m back!


While our year in Tokyo was exciting, it was actually a pretty tough year. We are thrilled to be back in the States and jobs we love. I’m also having a blast decorating our new space.

I plan on picking up this blog again, but in the meantime, you can follow my Instagram feed for random pictures as we enjoy this Colorado autumn.



Happy Easter!

ImageHope you are enjoying a pleasant Sunday! This seemed like a good day to post my favorite deviled egg recipe, a modified version of Southern Living’s Triple Pickle. I especially love serving these on a classic Fire King milk glass deviled egg platter.

Boil a dozen (plus a couple extra) eggs for ten minutes. Put into cold water and peel immediately. Cut the eggs in half and remove the yolks, putting them into a bowl. To the bowl, add:

  • 2-3 heaping spoonfuls mayonnaise
  • 2 T Dijon mustard (I prefer Maille Old Style Whole Grain)
  • Salt & pepper
  • finely chopped cornichons
  • capers
  • dash of cayenne pepper

Mix together in a bowl, adjusting the mustard & mayonnaise until the consistency is creamy and to taste. With a spoon, dallop the mixture onto the egg whites. Top with a dash of paprika and garnish with a slice of pickled okra. Enjoy!

Concerts at Cherokee Castle

cherokeeIf you’ve been pining for dinner and music in a castle (and really…who hasn’t?) but find the commute to Scotland rather arduous, I highly recommend checking out the events at Cherokee Castle in Douglas County, CO. Last night’s jazz piano concert by Henry Butler was divine!

(Picture from

I have also attended teas (excellent treats for visiting relatives & friends), tours, and tastings here…the staff is always welcoming and excited to show off this unusual Colorado gem.

cherokee ranch

(Picture that I took last night before dinner. The castle is on the far right.)