Currently.

Oh Lawdy – it’s been a bit. With that said, here’s a shot at what my life looks like, currently:

Currently

Currently Reading: I’m going back and forth between “The 19th Wife” by David Ebershoff (Whoa, roller coaster of emotions) and “A Thousand Acres” by Jane Smiley — both of which, at this point, I highly recommend.

Currently Listening: Technically I’m listening to “The 19th Wife” — via Overdrive & my local library. Have you heard of Overdrive… because if not, look into it RIGHT NOW. Free audio books directly on my phone? Yes, please.

Currently Indulgence: It’s my birthday this weekend and I’ve had a very real craving for Funfetti cake (which I haven’t had in years).  I might also have some ice cream cake at some point… probably, certainly, definitely.

Current Nail Color: None — my sister-in-law and I invested in a gel nail system which has been fun, but I’ve let my nails “air out” for the last month or so!

Current Drink: Mostly water and green tea with jasmine. I’ve been addicted to this green tea, specifically, and could drink unlimited cups.

Current Food: We had stir-fry for dinner. Brown rice, bok choy, bell pepper, onions, steak + sauce for dinner. My impromptu, throw it together, meals have been top-notch lately.

Current Favorite TV Show: It seems like Christian and I go through phases with shows. We started the summer out binge watching New Girl and now we’ve killed three seasons of Fringe (we just started season four and I’m already sad knowing that it ends after season 5).

Current Wish List: New shoes. I’ve worn the same style of nude, Steve Madden flats (these, actually) for the past two years. I’ve gone through 4 pairs because I wear them everyday. I’m thinking that I probably need to mix it up, but sticking with my tried and true pair just seems easier. (Plus, they go with everything — or at least I think they go with everything.)

Current Needs: More time — isn’t this what everyone says? Working out, prepping meals, writing, cleaning the house, walking the dogs, spending time with Christian, spending time with family and friends, trying to make our house (with ugly blue carpet) a home… you get the picture. It’s busy and I could use a couple more hours a day.

Current Thoughts: That this has been a pretty crappy summer — which I might go into a later date. Due to a semi-crappy June and completely awful July, I feel like 2/3’s of the summer have just slipped through my fingers and I can feel the frigid temperatures from the season that shall not be mentioned inching their way closer to reality. Does that sound dramatic? It feels dramatic, but also true.

Currently Anticipating: Crossfit. I’ve been going pretty religiously, three times a week, since February (whoop, whoop – 6 month mark). On the days I go, I either dread or excitedly await the 5:30 start time. On the days I don’t go, I sort of (sickly) wish I did or could. Also, we’re having a birthday WOD tomorrow… I have no idea what’s in store (just praying, hoping, pleading that there aren’t any double unders).

Current Blessing: That we have a home. We moved in July 4 – which was one of the most supremely miserable weeks of my entire life, thus far. I was hoping that moving into our new home would be fun and exciting, instead it was draining, stressful and couldn’t have happened at a rougher time.

Current Bummer: That summer is going so quickly — whaaaa. <—- for the record, that’s my crying big, pathetic tears of sadness for the quick passing of my favorite time of year.

Current Outfit: Nothing attractive. A black running skort, pink sports bra and forest green ribbed tank top. Bare feet. A fashionista, this summer, I am not.

That’s it — I can’t say that I’m pulling out all the exciting stops or doing anything CRAZY. Frankly, I’m taking it day-by-day knowing that things will eventually get better.

Let’s chat, over a cup of tea.

Things have been changing in casa de Stecker and we’ve been busy bees the past couple months.

So, I thought, instead of keeping all this business to myself,  I’d rather make myself a cup of tea (you should make yourself one too), curl up on the couch with a blanket (because it actually snowed – A LOT – here this week) and have a little girl to girl chat.

On The House:

We worked our tails off this past year to get our house just where we want it (beautiful backyard, new granite counters, painted cabinets, fresh paint (almost everywhere), newly tiled bathrooms, new vanities, new hardwood floors/stairs….. the list could go on). And then, about a two months ago, we decided to sell. The housing market in south Denver is really hot right now (I’m talking really hot) and we would be able to get much more than we bought it for. I’ve never loved our house and even though we’d put hours upon hours (and lots of $$$) into this little abode, it felt right to try to find a place that truly felt like home.

We listed it on a Friday, had 40 showings in 36 hours, received 8 offers and after 7 hours sitting at a table evaluating all the options, we went with one that was significantly over the asking price with no closing costs, no contingencies and they even agreed to pay the difference if the appraisal came in under the purchase price. Talk about a dream scenario, right?

It all closed 3 weeks ago and we still don’t have a new place to land, which means we’re living with parents. The benefits are pretty great — dinner at night, no yard work and always having someone to watch movies with. Turns out that it is weird to not have all your stuff and to feel a bit like you’re on vacation – or a guest – all the time.

We’re extremely thankful that we have family to stay with and are doing just about everything, including crossing fingers, praying, and non-stop refreshing the search screen in hopes that we’ll find our new home soon.

Boston:

The last week of April/First Week of May we went to Boston and Newport, Rhode Island for a wedding. I’d never been before and the overall verdict (and probably predictable answer from me) is that they have delicious food. I mean, really, what were you expecting me to say? Lobster rolls, clam chowder, entire Italian neighborhoods, restaurants dedicated to chocolate alone — must a say more? I’m gaining weight just thinking about it.

If the food was the highlight (which it was) then I’d have to say that the weather was the overall bummer. I was wearing 4 layers and was still fighting to stay warm — hello humid, windy, frigid weather. I’d say that Boston was about a month behind Denver as far as their “spring” was concerned and I’m now in desperate need of a HOT, beach vacation.

In Boston we toured Fenway, walked the freedom trail (and stopped for a tour of the bell tower and, get this, the crypt of the Old North Church), completed the fastest ever run through tour of Harvard, meandered through Beacon Hill and spent the rest of the time just taking it all in. And, eating. Ahem.

In Rhode Island we toured 5 of the BIG, BIG, BIG summer cottages (re: built by the Vanderbilts and other high society folks before there was income or property tax) — one of them was 138,000 square feet. Think about that for a minute. I’ll wait.

We, also, did a tour of “servant life” which made my Downton Abbey loving soul so happy. Our tour guide was up on the Downton Abbey lingo & characters which made the tour even more fun — highly recommended.

At the end of the trip we attended the wedding we went out there for, it was beautiful (albeit cold) and we were so glad we got to be there!

Queen Bed: 

As I mentioned above, we’re living with parents (currently Christian’s parents). In our home, we have a King Bed. We’re both 6′ and over, which means we (and by we I mean “I”) prefer to have more room to thrash around in attempts at falling asleep.

When we moved in with the parentals, we shifted to a Queen size. It’s been an adjustment and I’m proud to announce that I’ve only hit Christian in the face one. He may or may not complain that I leave him only six inches of room, but I say that without proof he doesn’t have a case.

Summer:

I hesitate to even talk about this. Because, you see, I’ve been trying to slow down time… and the very mention of the word summer might speed things up to a pace that it will pass and I won’t even have had time to enjoy it. KnowwhatImean?

Warm spring days/Summer/Warm fall days are my favorite and I’m doing my very best to savor each and every second… I might even have to make a summer bucket list to make sure that I cross of all the “must-do” items for the next three months? Anything in particular I should add to the hypothetical list?

Sigh, tell me that I’m not the only one willing pool days, sun tea and flip-flops to linger as long as possible this year.

What’s going on with you these days? What would you tell me over a cup of tea?

Currently.

I want to be better at having regular posts. I’ve gotten semi-good at my Finally Friday posts and I’ve followed through with posting my whole 30 meal plans so I thought I would challenge myself one step further and give a monthly update for each month of 2014. A currently update.

With that said, here’s a shot at what my life looks like, currently:

Currently

Currently Reading: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Have you heard her TED talks? If not, please pause and go get yo self caught up by clicking here and here. The premise of the book is learning to be more comfortable with vulnerability, denouncing shame and leading an authentic life. She’s amazing and I find myself underlining page after page after page — this is one of those books that you could read more than once and still not absorb all there is to learn. Also, I’ve thought (more than once), “how does she know me so well?” — that’s the makings of a great book.

Currently Listening: Nothing new on the music front this month, but  I have been listening to Body Double by Tess Gerritsen in the car. I downloaded (via the library) for my weekend drive to the mountains and still have several more hours to finish up. If you’re ever looking for a good mystery to listen to in the car… I can’t recommend Tess Gerritsen’s books enough.

Currently Indulgence: Since I’ve been rocking Whole 30, I don’t have a big indulgence to report. I have had a few glasses of wine (with friends) and I’ve also snuck a few glasses of fruit juice (oh the shame!) at night after dinner.

Current Nail Color: Some sort of grey — I got my nails painted last weekend in Vail and I’m doing my very best to keep them “nice” for as long as possible.

Current Drink: Mostly water and green tea with jasmine. Though, I’ve also added hot water with lemon to the repertoire!

Current Food: Salmon cakes with sautéed kale! I actually can’t wait to eat this — who am I?

Current Favorite TV Show: Oh man… how do I pick. Can I have a top 3? If so, they would be (in no particular order): Blacklist, White Collar and Grimm.

Current Wish List: A new pair of jeans that fit well and make my butt look like a million bucks – what, is that asking too much?

Current Needs: Probably some sleep. I got hit with the nasty cold of the season a couple of weeks ago and I still feel like I can’t get enough zzz’s. This nightowl starts fighting the need to collapse into bed around 7:30 — hmmm, maybe I should apply for my AARP card.

Current Thoughts: I can’t wait for President’s Day weekend — three-day weekend, here I come! Also, I need to get some vacations scheduled and planned… having trips to look forward to is high on my list of priorities.

Currently Anticipating: I have a doctor appointment on Monday to review how I’m doing with PCOS, my hormone levels and probably going on medication. There’s been a lot of thought, discussion and prayer (not to mention a crazy restrictive diet) regarding what my next steps will be so I’m anxious to talk it all through with my doctor.

Current Blessing: Feeling happy and thankful. PCOS has been a big-time roller coaster of hormonal swings while trying to get things balanced out over the past six months and after 3 weeks of feeling nothing short of grinch-like, I’m so glad to be feeling back to my old self. Hormones, you’re a real kick in the pants.

Current Bummer: The snow + cold. On days where you’ve got nothing to do but sit at home, in your sweats, and watch a movie — I really dig the snow + cold. On days where I have to get up at the butt crack of dawn to make it ANYWHERE on time due to said snow + cold, I do not dig it. Come on winter… make way for warmer days!

Current Outfit: Banana Republic Outlet jeans (similar here) + this top. All Banana Republic – my one true shopping love.

Finally Friday.

Love

Tomorrow’s my birthday. I’m turning 27. And, for the record I have a freaking awesome feeling about this coming year. I don’t even know what’s ahead, but I’ve got this internal vibe telling me that it’s going to be packed with good things. Let’s cheers to that, shall we?

[clink imaginary champagne glasses, here]

I’m planning on just taking it easy, nothing too crazy. On the books is a massage, maybe a pedicure, maybe a yoga class, maybe a movie and most definitely something delicious for dinner. The older I get the more I just want to surround myself with the people I care about, and celebrate in a low-key, just what I want, sort of way.

On Sunday we’re venturing downtown to Denver Beer Company to spend some time with my friend Liz and her boyfriend Brenden who are on a cross country road trip after taking their bar exam — I’m so excited.

In other news, the weather around here has been completely dreary – which is wonderful for the beginning of October, but less so when it’s the start of August. It should also be noted that there are yellow leaves on one of the trees in my backyard. Yellow. This is NOT OK when summer still, technically, has another almost 1.5 months to go. If anyone knows where I can file that complaint, feel free to let me know.

Here are my finds from around the interwebs for this week:

Did you know, in Chrome, that pressing CTRL+SHIFT+T will bring back the tab you accidentally closed? My online life was drastically improved with that little tip and the other 14 useful internet tricks were pretty good as well!

Oh, sugar. Why is does it have to be so all or nothing? I either want to eat that entire chocolate cake or not have any of it. Turns out on top of being delicious and bad for you — sugar could also be dangerous?

There’s something about the smell of lavender that instantly relaxes me — plus the tiny, purple flowers are just so sweet. In an effort to get more Lavender in my life I tried to grow some of it this year and while I haven’t killed it, it’s also not thriving. Maybe I should have read this post on growing and caring for lavender plants before I got started?

When it comes to talking about your marriage, it seems like there are all these unspoken rules about what is and isn’t appropriate to share with others — it’s a fine line and I often find myself unsure of which side I fall on. It’s good to know that if it’s part of being authentic and real, that it may be worthwhile to break the marriage talk rules.

I’ve always said that if I could have a job where I get to spend time learning about different people and different cultures, I would a very happy person. However, I don’t even know if that job exists or what it would be called or how to go about starting that. With that said, it’s easy to see why I got completely sucked into this video on the world’s tallest slum – it’s fascinating to hear all the difference perspectives.

Tell me that you’ve tried Biscoff spread — I could literally eat it by the spoonful out of the jar. What’s not to love about a spread made out of amazing cookies? Maybe, just maybe this Biscoff Spread Gooey Butter Cake, that’s what.

Hope you have an amazing weekend!

Finally Friday.

It's Friday. Finally.

This week was a good week. I spent last weekend in Vail with my friend Jacqui — summers in Colorado are awesome, but summers in the Colorado mountains are the absolute best. The rest of the week was pretty good as well: got some recipes in the works, cleaned out some drawers and closests and just relaxed. I’m having a little bit of nervous energy around picking a vacation spot, which I’ve already alluded to. However, just when I think I’ve got it all figured out, I’ll read a bad review and end up doubting everything and ending back at square one. Vacations are so expensive and time off is so rare that I want it to be just perfect. Do you have any suggestions? 

Tonight I’m going to look at paint and a back splash for our kitchen. I’ve already have a few samples lying around the house, but nothing has felt like the right fit. Cross your fingers for me, will ya? Tomorrow I’m hitting the outlets with my mom (and baby Evan) then the rest of the time is excitedly plan free!

Here are my favorites from around the web:

Macaroni and cheese has been one of my favorite foods since I was a little kid. My family would eat steamed crab and artichokes for my sister’s birthday and I’d settle myself into a big ‘ol bowl of kraft mac ‘n cheese (and the bonus was, on those night, I didn’t have to share with anyone). This recipe for mac ‘n cheese with sweet corn and bacon (bacon!) had me at hello. I love bacon, as overdone as it’s been as of late. I also love pasta + cheese + corn. I would leave out the tomatoes, if I’m being honest.

This story about a youth run supper club in San Fransisco has been weighing heavily on my heart (in a good way). It feels like a really practical (not to mention inspiring) vehicle for change + just think of how big the impact is on the kids that are involved. Their realities of not finishing high school and selling drugs to support their families gets completely transformed in a way that allows for a life of possibility.

It’s no big secret that I’m something of a people pleaser and big time avoider of  un-necessary confrontation. And, I know I end up apologizing for a lot throughout the week — whether it was in my control, worth apologizing for, just filling empty space or not. With that said, these 12 things you never need to apologize for are a good reminder of what we can own without any reason to feel guilty.

This hello banner needs to find it’s way to my front door. Isn’t it cute?

I have a friend, Katrine, that is from (and lives in) Norway. She lived in Colorado for a year during 7th grade and we simultaneously tried to teach each other Norwegian and Spanish (of which I’m still not fluent in either). Anyways. This post by an American raising children in Norway was a must read – it makes Norwegians sound like they’ve totally got it together in compared to the multitudes of child raising philosophies here in the US. Other cultures will never cease to fascinate me.

During the warmer months I live in tennis shoes, flats for work or reef flip flops. No matter how hard I look, I can never seem to commit to a “grown-up” or fancier type of sandal. They’re either too embellished, not comfortable or out of my price range. However, if I saw these shoes Happy Cage Sandals on a shelf, I’d buy them in a heart beat. They’re perfect.

Lastly, don’t forget to enter the Iced Hot Giveaway over here… you have until next Wednesday, and I’d say the odds of winning are pretty good! Have a great weekend!

Currently.

Sometimes I wish I could just take a snapshot of my life. Something that would capture exactly what it’s like in this moment with a husband, puppies, a house, a job, an amazing family, fabulous friends, wonderful weather and more joy that I’ve felt in a really, really long time. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time that my life just felt good. I’m not saying every moment is good. There are cranky days and disappointments, but they are far outweighed by the hope and blissfully everyday occurrences I’m trying to get better at appreciating.

With that said, here’s a shot at what my life looks like, currently:

Currently

Currently Reading: Wheat Belly + Bible. Christian and I committed to reading the bible in a year. I’m totally caught up on it too — if you don’t count the fact that I gave up on part of Leviticus and still have to go back and read the Psalms/Proverbs and haven’t started the month of June, yet. Progress, right? The actual bible we’re reading lays it all out in chronological order, which makes it even more interesting to see how different events and people led to the famous stories we all remember from Sunday School.

Also on my nightstand is Wheat Belly. One of my very best friends (and lobster) Jacqui loaned it to me after she finished reading it. As I may have mentioned, recently, I’m a little obsessed with the breakdown of nutrition, different evolutions of food and the science behind what we should be eating. This book is fascinating and learning how wheat and our relationship with it has changed over time keeps my mind reeling long after I’ve set the book down for the night.

Currently Listening: Pretty much anything country with the occasional hip hop tossed in for workouts. I just like the stories behind country music and the fact that I can understand the words (and not be offended if I listen too closely).

Currently Indulgence: A warm Ghirardelli brownie with ice cream. We don’t have it often, but when we do it is absolute heaven.

Current Nail Color: Mod in Manhattan by Color Club. It came in my June Birchbox and while the color wasn’t my favorite at first, it has a peachy hue and has held up really well. Considering buying the entire Birchbox collection.

Current Drink: Mostly water. I’m boring and I like it that way.

Current Food: A big bowl of organic strawberries. These are the first organic strawberries I’ve ever bought and they are D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S… are all organic strawberries this way? If so, I’m a total convert.

Current Favorite TV Show: Burn Notice (the last season). It took Christian approximately 3 years to get me to sit down and watch an episode… but, boy, when he did, I quickly watched the entire Netflix collection in the matter of a couple weeks. I can honestly say that Michael Weston is my one and only TV crush of the moment. He’s kind of self involved, but I love him. Also, my heart breaks with each new episode simply because I know they’re counting down to the end.

Current Wish List: A fun vacation to look forward to. I can’t make up my mind, though, about what I want in my next vacation… a relaxing week at a mountain cabin, beach palooza and lots of sunshine, saving up for something in Europe? Most of the time I’ve already got my heart set on my next travel locale, but this year, it’s a total toss up.

Current Needs: A good haircut. It’s been at least 4 months since I had my hair cut and the ends are crispy, it’s tangling easily and needs re-shaping. About once a year I’ll have the urge to cut it all off (which I did with several inches back in February), then the rest of the year will be spent trying to grow it back out.

Current Thoughts: I’m taking this Friday off, so my 4th of July weekend is turning into 4 days off. It will be so nice to get things done, relax and just enjoy some time at home! With that said… I can’t stop thinking about it.

Currently Anticipating: A girl’s trip to Austin. This September my three best girlfriends from college are all convening in Austin for a long weekend. I. Cannot. Wait. Also, I hear they have tacos there. I can’t wait for those.

Current Blessing: Life. Christian and I’s first year of marriage was hard. I don’t think I realized how hard it was until things started to get better and life got good again. Maybe it’s a survival instinct, maybe it’s avoidance… I’m not sure. Either way, life is good (knock on wood) and I’m hoping it will stay that way.

Current Bummer: Somehow, somewhere I ripped a big hole in my favorite jeans. I’ve had them almost 2 years and have worn them multiple times a week (if not more) the entire time. Buying jeans is one big #tallgirlproblem, so having to retire a pair is always sad… plus, the prospect of having to shop for more jeans is always a little daunting.

Current Outfit: These jeans + this top. All Banana Republic – my one true shopping love.

Remembering I’m lucky.

My View - I'm so Lucky!

Sometimes I find myself getting caught up the what if’s of life or the comparison game or the ‘wish I had’ thought process. I’m working on it… some days it’s more of a struggle than others.

But, last night I had this ‘aha’ moment of sorts. There wasn’t anything flashy going on, it was completely devoid of romantic gestures and frankly to anyone else it would have been overly ordinary. But, it was exactly what I’ve needed.

Christian and I were out back, the lawn was freshly cut. We were working together to plant our vegetable and flower haul from Home Depot before it got too dark. While he was digging holes, I walked back to the deck to grab a few seed packets. Once the seeds were firmly in my grasp, I turned around to head back over. It’s then that it hit me. I’m so lucky.

The sun was shinning in a way that only mid-evening sun can, casting shadows and rays of light perfectly across the lawn. Christian was hunched over the garden, looking ruggedly handsome and our two ridiculous dogs were in an all out wrestle in the grass. It was pure perfection, almost like a shot straight from a movie.

When I take the time to remember and pause for a moment to notice, my life is overflowing with goodness. No matter where I am, who I wish I was or what I think I’m missing, I need to remember that…. truly, truly, truly I’m so very blessed and so very lucky.