Happy New Year!

I just accidentally stuck my finger in my eye. It didn't hurt as much as expected, but I thought it was noteworthy enough to share. And that up there is how Hank chose to sleep this afternoon.

2013 has been a good year for us Clarks. I always feel at a loss when people ask what's new with us. "Ummm...nothing?" is usually what I come up with. But looking back on the year, it has been filled with lots and lots of good. I ran Ragnar. I hosted a summer camp for the youth girls at my church. I designed a children's book. Hank turned 2 (only 1 more year of puppyhood!). Ty finished a whole nother year (I've always loved that grammatically incorrect phrase) of school -- only two more years to go; good work, sweetie. We visited Hawaii, and I saw sea turtles for the first time. Portland became more of a home away from home for me. My best friend got married. I learned to say no to freelance work I didn't want to do. Running and hiking got easier on my lungs. I excelled at work. Learned to cable knit. Made biscuits for the first time. And became much more comfortable in the kitchen. And overall I feel like a better person than I was last year. Happier. More able to be kind. More aware of my small little part in making this world a better place. And more comfortable and capable-feeling in my skin than I have ever been before.

The other day in the car ride home, I jotted down some new years goals. They aren't exactly measurable, but I have been focusing on aligning my actions with my beliefs lately, so I tried hard to make my goals match. Here we go:

1. Share my faith and beliefs more
2. Study the scriptures
3. Live with less -- buy less clothes & goods
4. Eat meat sparingly, and only eat ethically treated and killed animals/animal products
5. Run 3 times a week
6. Write a journal entry at least once a week

So here's to 2014! It's gonna be a goodie.

A condo at Snowbird

Earlier in December, Ty and I spent a week at a condo up at Snowird. We grabbed our mittens, warmest jackets, and coziest pajamas, and we headed up the canyon to lounge next to the fireplace as it snowed and snowed and snowed and snowed the entire week. It was heaven. Until I had to venture out into the storm to drive to and from work everyday :) I guess that's the drawback of taking a staycation. Or bonus, I suppose, since I get to vacation without taking vacation time AND the commute from Snowbird is shorter than from my home. So bonus bonus. It was a treat to return each night to our cozy getaway in the mountains.

Besides doing a whole lot of lounging and hot tubbing, I hit the slopes for a few hours one of the days. White-out conditions and single digit temperatures brought me back indoors pretty quick. But it's just as well -- my excitement for the fireplace in the suite pretty much superseded my excitement for the slopes anyway (I honestly pine for a fireplace every. single. winter. day.). I was happy to just sip tea and cozy up with my husband to watch episodes of the office. Highlights from the week also included hosting our annual friends christmas party, making a bajillion gift tags to sell at a Christmas boutique, and getting completely rocked by Ty at ping pong. Also, eating a persimmon.

Don't forget to check your mail

I am not the best at checking my mail. Sometimes I go...two? Three weeks in between? I know I know. This is not my proudest moment. But when you have a locked mail box, it just doesn't seem as urgent. Until you go out of town for a week and come home only to discover the mailman has deemed your home vacant. And rather than being greeted by a bulging mailbox last night, I was left a singular bright orange piece of paper with the word "VACANT" (all caps) printed across the top and a request that I, the new tenant, please write my name on the slip so the mail man would know who's mail would now be coming to my mail box. Nuts.

It was all cleared up after a quick call this morning and Ty agreeing to drive to the post office to pick up our bin (yes, entire bin) of mail waiting for us. The kind woman on the phone, who turned slightly irritated when she realized just how much mail I had been neglecting, informed me I should be checking the mail at least every 3 days. I agreed I would. I may have to set a reminder on my phone or something.

In other news, Ty and I spent this last week at a condo at Snowbird. It was snowy and freezing, but our condo was cozy and wonderful. Pics and post to come.

Apple with PB to go

It's kind of a simple little trick (technique? method?) I came up with in high school, but it's one of my favorites so I thought I should share. When I need a quick breakfast to go (like this morning), this is my go to.

Apple and Peanut Butter to go

1. Slice the apple in half.
2. Remove cores with a melon baller.
3. Fill each hole with a spoonful of natural peanut butter.
4. Stick apple halves back together.
5. GO.

It's perfect for those mornings I am in a rush. Or even just for any old morning, really. I especially love this because everything is 100% edible; no having to cart around an apple core until I can find a trash can.

A close second to this is a baggie full of a 50/50 split of walnuts and raisins. It's delicious, trust me (hello Omega 3's!). And if you swap the walnuts for peanuts, it tastes like a PB&J sandwich.

He thinks he's a lap dog

I call this Bored Puppy Crawls On Lap To Command Attention.

Ty and Nicki go to the museum

Over the weekend we got to attend the opening of the Sacred Gifts exhibit at the BYU Museum of Art.  We were invited along by two of our close friends, and it was such a fantastic experience. I am typically not a stare-at-paintings-for-hours-and-get-lost-in-them type of person, but there was just something to this exhibit that really had me a bit awe struck. I left feeling overwhelmingly grateful for my Savior and the kind people who let these amazing works leave their churches and castles so I could experience them first hand.

The two images above were my favorites; Agony in the Garden by Frans Schwartz and Healing the Blind Man by Carl Bloch. I stood in front of both longer than my fellow viewers probably appreciated, but man, I couldn't seem to tear myself away. You know how good, live music is unarguably, indelibly, and without question better than listening to it on CD? I've realized art is the same way. Especially for me with those two pieces. They were completely encompassing.

Honestly, all the art was pretty incredible (they've made a pinterest board featuring some of the pieces if you wanted a looksy). If you are in the Utah area, go go go. It is definitely worth the trip. One woman we met at the exhibit had traveled from Arizona just for it! How about them apples? It is certainly closer, cheaper, and easier than traveling around Europe and NY, thats for sure. Plus, fun fact, 8 of the pieces shown in the exhibit were loaned from Frederiksborg castle in Demark; this is the first time they have ever been loaned (they were commissioned for the palace in 1860-1870), and they will never be loaned again. Holy smokes, right?

Happy weekend

Happy weekend, all! And day after Halloween! This has to be the prettiest Nov. 1 of all the Nov. 1 in history. The sun is shining. The air only has the slightest hint of crisp. And I am absolutely loving it.

This past week has been quite the doozey though. Compounding on the food poisoning Monday, I also sprained my ankle, nursed a sore neck, and had some serious sleeping issues the last few days. What the? It hasn't been pretty. I feel like my body is on the revolution or something. Thankfully last night I got a solid 9 hours sleep without moving a single muscle the entire night. It was heaven. And a great way to start off Friday for sure. Plus my ankle is feeling MUCH better today, thank you very much body. Being hurt is seriously the pits.

Ty has some arduously long work hours this weekend, so I'll be planning some good girl time. And Hank time. He's been giving me the "I need to play" eyes all day, so I'm thinking he may need a sizely hike tomorrow. And me too if we are honest -- who doesn't need one of those? I hear they are good for sprained ankles anyway.

Hope you all have something fantastic planned! Here are a few links to kick it off.

What a lovely idea this mom had.
A lady and her cat. The last pic is my favorite.
I don't have babies, but if I did...
A new take on no bakes. Must try.
The cutest (largest) fur ball ever.
A great little sick-time recipe.
Such a pretty up-do.
Gold trimmed mugs: DIY.

And we sold our car

Hey friends. Sorry for going missing on Friday. I made an unexpected trip to Colorado to sell our car. Then I got food poisoning yesterday, which is a whole different story. But, back to the car. We've had it listed for the last bit, so it was exciting to find the perfect buyer, even if they were one state away.

I am usually not so keen on driving. Ty drives us everywhere. Which I love. Not that I'm not capable of driving, it's just nicer to sit in the passenger seat and knit or read, you know? So I was as surprised as anybody when I was actually excited to make the drive to Colorado on my own Friday. "This will be fun," I thought as I plopped myself and my small carry-on into the car. Wha? But it's true. So armed with a book on CD and a mound of podcasts, I was off. And in my family, making good time is a big deal, so I am also proud to announce I made excellent time. 6 hours and 45 minutes, and I even took time to stop for a sandwich. Not too shabby.

So everything went off without a hitch. Even buying an airplane ticket mere hours before my flight back to Utah. Which I have never done, but was actually kind of fun. And now I am back in Utah, one car lighter. Hope you all had non-whirlwind kind of weekends.

Anniversary weekend and Utah is beautiful

The blogpost wherein I declare Utah is just about the prettiest place you can be in the fall. Unequivocally, of course. I am sure there is a close second somewhere (Vermont maybe?), but Utah definitely takes the cake/ribbon/podium/cup on this one. These hues would floor you. Hunter orange, people. Bright fuchsia. The most vibrant of tennis ball yellows that, if you stare at it long enough, might even blind you. Pantone would kill for these colors.

The anniversary weekend was the perfect little getaway. Shopping was done. Golf was played. We stayed at a cute little bed and breakfast. We slept in. We went on the most incredible drive in the mountains (which is the most appropriate of fall activities, don't you think?). And I didn't have to cook a single meal. Or do a single dish for that matter (double bonus for Nicki!) 

And I realized on this weekend away that one day, I want to live in a  hotel. I mean, not literally, but, when Ty and I have a real house with a real master bedroom, it must without a doubt include a sitting area with a couch and a TV as well as an attached master bath. Cause it would feel just like living in a hotel. And that, friends, would feel great.

So here's to two years of Nicki and Ty! With an eternity to come. 

Happy weekend

Happy fall weekend, all! I would like to announce that we have had the air and heat off in the Clark house for 4 weeks now, and it's working out like peach pie. There's something about not paying to keep your house the right temperature that makes the world feel right, you know?

I'm fighting the dregs of a cold this weekend, so it looks like we are staying in most of our Friday and Saturday. I want to finish knitting up this cute hedgehog pattern I started a while back. How about you, anything fun? Hope it's a great one. Here are some things from around the web that caught my eye this week.

This woman recreated 15th century Flemish style portraits in an airplane lavatory. The neck pillow hat is my favorite.
Toast art.
The perfect subtle Halloween nails.
And some pretty foliaged pumpkins.
On my "to make" list for Christmas decor.
What a great way to top a pie.
In love with Jordan Ferney's Style Icon Halloween costumes.
Must try this one day.
Hammock bunk bed.
PS -- Jcrew is having an additional 30% off their Fall sale right now.

Happy weekend

Happy weekend, all! This weekend marks two years(!) since Ty and I tied the knot, so we are heading up to a bed and breakfast in the mountains to celebrate. Since, afterall, the mountains are where it's at in the fall. I think we might throw a little freezing golf and some shopping in there too. I hope you all have some great plans with loved ones going on.

Here are some links I put together for your perusing pleasure. Let the party begin!

Pride and Prejudice cookie cutters :)
Loving these stone soaps.
10 tips for managing noise in urban homes.
Creepy, old, homemade Halloween costumes.
This expedition looks incredible.
Holy cabbage.
Hah. My favorite wedding card.
Beautiful family trees.

Just look at those fall colors

Living in Utah comes with a lot of perks, not the least of which are the fall colors. Oh these fall colors, I tell you what. It's like the mountains just decide to up and put on a show for us every year. They pull out all the stops. Brilliant reds. Flaming yellows. Bursting oranges. And this weekend nature decided to add a little bit of snow frosting to top it all off. Well now, why don't you just go ahead and outdo yourself, Utah?

Ty and I make it a point every year to get up the canyon to enjoy the changing of the trees and bushes and whatnot. So, friday night we decided to have an impromptu bonfire up the canyon for date night. We grabbed the bundle of wood sitting in the garage, the hatchet, matches, camping chairs, jetboil and some soup+bread, then we plus Hank hightailed our way up the canyon. It was pretty spectacular. And we might have scored that absolute best bonfire spot up Provo Canyon.

Happy weekend

Hey friends. It's a quiet Friday over here at our house. Poor Hank has an ear infection, but we are giving him some home remedies and hoping he is on the mend. This weekend Ty and I will be watching our church's General Conference and doing a whole lotta lounging in between. I think I may whip up this for breakfast tomorrow to get us all snuggly and hunkered down to listen to our church leaders. I love being be buoyed up and directed by them.

I hope you all have some great plans of your own. If you wanted to give General Conference a listen, I highly recommend it.

Here are some fun links to start us all off.

What a cutie.
What a tasty looking fall salad.
And how about this mac and cheese, huh? Wowza.
Perfect jeans.
What a pretty fall nail color.
I have loved reading Sherlock Holmes in my down time.
Would love to give this a read. Have you ever seen Mr. Rogers' fantastic acceptance speech?
Arial view of Versaille.
In love with these moody photos.

The cutest prints from The Painted Arrow

The other night, my friend Angela introduced me to the cutest prints and card shop. The Painted Arrow is (wo)manned by a hairstylst/artist named Hillary who lives in Arizona with her husband and pup. I absolutely love the styling and messages of her prints, and I am not-so-secretly hoping to get this print for Christmas. I think any of the prints or cards could be great holiday gifts. And bonus, right now these four different prints are on sale for only $5.

Hillary also has a pretty cute blog if you wanted to take a looksy.

Fall wardrobe

Fall is here! Which means the AC is off and we get to sleep with the windows open. And isn't sleeping with the windows open just about one of the best joys in life? I mean honestly. Thank you fall for that little blessing.

Layering is a close second in the list of gifts fall so graciously bestows on us. It seems a bit backwards, but there really is just something about putting more clothes on that makes getting dressed in the morning a whole lot easier. The third gift of fall is apple cider just in case you were wondering.

With fall wardrobing in full swing, here are a few fall-flavored things that have caught my eye lately. I may have already bought that striped skirt from Target; purchases of cute affordable skirts really can't be helped.

1. Faux leather baseball cap | Target
2. Flannel Boyshirt in Fence Plaid | Madewell
3. Knitted Tube Scarf and Patterned Scarf | H&M
4. Anouk Dress | Boden
5. St. Germain Coat | Boden
6. The Billie Boot in Suede | Madewell
7. CIAO Pullover Sweatshirt | Urban Outfitters
8. Wrapper Clutch | Stitch & Hammer
9. Striped skirt | Target

Happy weekend

Happy Friday all. I am kind of loving this gloomy glorious start to our weekend, even if it did cancel our camping plans for tonight. I have a hard time really picking a favorite season (summer=sandals, salads and outside, winter=snowshoeing and fireplaces, spring=new life and being outside after being inside for so long) -- they are all kinda great. But I swear there is just something about fall that really makes my soul sing. Now let's just hope it lasts more than 2 weeks this year.

In lieu of camping, we are planning on some good family time this weekend. Probably a puzzle or two. Most definitely some good Indian buffet. And a whole lot of just soaking in this moody goodness outside -- do I sense a bundled up walk coming on? I think so. Hope you all have something great planned. Let's get this started with a few links, hmmmm?

Loving these adorable illustrations.
Haha. Poor guys. Not even close.
Best of National Geographic 2013.
Tips to make cut flowers last.
Architect top 10 grey paints for houses.
I wanna give this no-knead bread a try.
Toying with the idea of a haircut.
Step-by-step of one of my favorite easy hairstyles.
Imma make a slew of these. (you can buy them here)
Tips to stocking a whole-foods pantry.


Miracle grout cleaner

You expect to come home from Maui with a lot of things -- a tan, a new beach towel, some great photos. But one thing you don't expect to come home with is the world best grout cleaner recipe. Thankfully, however, I did come home from Hawaii with the world's greatest grout cleaner recipe, and it worked so dreamily for me I thought I needed to share it with you. You know, in case your grout is as embarrassingly dirty as mine. Grout can be so embarrassing sometimes.

I inherited the recipe from a woman I will call The Cleaning Sage during a game of Zilch (oh the wonders of game nights). She had inherited it from a friend, who had inherited it from pinterest. And I would just like to say that I swear pinterest is like the ladies league of modern days, and I am totally okay with that.

The Cleaning Sage raved to me about the wonders this miracle cleaner had done for her. She recounted how she stayed up until 2am cleaning every grouted surface in her house because she was so excited with the results. And after trying it myself, I could see why. I was up until 12:30am. In short, just make sure you plan out sufficient time when giving this a go yourself, or you may miss your bedtime. The formula is 100% natural, so no need to worry in that area.

Miracle Grout Cleaner
7 c. water
1/2 c. baking soda
1/3 c. lemon juice (squeezed fresh or from a bottle)
1/4 c. vinegar

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl (you'll need extra room for fizzing), then pour combined ingredients into a spray bottle.

2. Start with a small section of grout, and spray copious amounts of the solution into the grout crevices (it makes a mini flood). Let sit for 10-15 minutes.

3. Scrub with a steel bristled brush until clean (it doesn't take much).

4. Dilute formula with water and then mop up with a towel.

Step 4 is just the method I followed for clean up. You can do whatever works best for your space. Happy grout cleaning!

Happy weekend

The weekend is here! Everyone shout for joy! Not to mention fall is here. Did anyone else notice that? It started taking over the mornings last week, and it keeps lasting a few more hours every day. Come Monday I think we will be in all out fall mode -- boots, tights and apple cider included.

This weekend is honestly the weekend of attending parties for us in the Clark home -- two birthdays and a marriage celebration will encompass the entirety of our weekend. We are hoping to squeeze in some end-of-the-season golf and a Sundance full moon ride too (my favorite). What are you up to? Anything fun? Here are some links to get the party started:

It's like magic.
I want this for my birthday cake next year.
And I want to make this flourless cake this weekend.
Cute phone wallpaper.
Total beauty.
A liiiiitttttttle too close for comfort.
Love this picture of Maddie.
Chipper desktop wallpapers.
So sad these rings are out of stock.
Adorable illustrated gifs.

Zion kind of weekend

First, quick note: I have changed up the format of the blog -- there are more pictures below for your perusing. Okay, on with the regular blogging.

My friend Robbie was born 29 years ago last Friday, so to celebrate, we (sans Ty since he had to work all weekend -- whaw whaw) went to Zion National Park. I almost feel a little like I won the lottery having this mecca of red rock just sitting in my proverbial back yard. Just look at it! I just wanna hug it it's so beautiful. And while it is actually 4 hours from my actual back yard (which is technically a communal park in my condo complex), I will still count it as long as I live in Utah. Makes me kinda proud to live in this great state.

The number of tourists you run into in Zion is astonishing. I sat next to a little French speaking family on the tram ride back from one of our hikes, and it never ceases to enthrall me when when I hear cute little toddlers speaking foreign languages (lisps and all). I had to consciously keep myself from staring too often. I have a bit of a staring problem just in case you didn't know. Cute kids? Great outfits? Foreign speakers? Beautiful houses? You better believe you will find me staring in the most polite and fascinated way possible. Anyway, I am sure I heard no less than 5 languages while I was there. Along with a group of tourists listening to what sounded like an Asian Nora Jones blasting out of their iPhone atop Angels Landing. I mean, why not listen to a beautiful song while admiring a beautiful vista, right? Why the heck not? That's what I say.

The weekend included 2.5 hikes, the first of which I have been excited to do for years now -- Angel's Landing. It ended up being a lot of things that people told me it would be -- beautiful, strenuous, steep, sweaty, wigglychainy and totally worth it. But it was not (and this might be the mighty, zealous adventurer in me), but it was not as death defying as people made it out to be. Really. So let that be known to the blogging universe -- if you don't suffer from vertigo or acrophobia, and you are comfortable doing rock scrambling, you will be A-okay. 

We also hit up the mile-long Canyon Overlook Trail. It's those pictures I posted at the top of this post, and the view at the end is out of this world. We got there just as the sun was setting -- slightly overcast and stormy in the distance. As I sat on a large red rock, gazing at the vista, my friend Lance asked "Can you think of someplace you've seen more beautiful than this?" I racked my brain. Somewhere in India? no. Ireland? no. Hawaii? no. Iceland, Italy, France? no. no. no. Grand Canyon? Havasupai? nope. It was decidedly the most beautiful place I had ever seen. Took my breath right away, I tell you. But in that content, I-could-sit-here-for-hours kind of way. Get yourselves to Zion, people. You won't be sad, I promise.

And now a teaser load of photos to help you get on that future vacation planning.
PS -- Thank you Robbie Preece for providing photos 1, 2, 7, and 8