Jan, 15

Hello 2015!


Where does the time go?!  I mean, seriously?  Last year was busy, really really busy.  I didn’t get to do half of what I had set out to do, so 2015 is the year to revisit my list of goals.  And with a vengeance!

I’ve never tried a New Years Resolution, because I honestly don’t think that I’d stick to it.  I personally do better with small, attainable goals, with an end in sight (and a reward never hurts).  So, I keep my calendar close by to fill with my goals, track them and most importantly, check them off.  I love the feeling of checking something off of my list, because that means that I’ve accomplished something.  And that’s a reward in and of itself!  Amiright?!

I prefer to write on a paper calendar because I love the way the ink flows across each page AND I get to actually put a big X next to each completed goal.  *sigh*  Last year I found my 2014 spiral and desktop calendars at Target via Sugar•Paper Los Angeles.  I instantly fell in love with the look, feel and function of these beauties.  So, last November I set out on the hunt for a 2015 set.  To my surprise, Target had them in stock, again.  Yay!!!  It really is the little things that I look forward to each and every day. The spiral calendar that I like is 8 1/2 x 11 in., so I carry it in my Nixon bag, which I also loooooove very much!  Basically, it’s a mini system that works perfectly in my life.  I can never find the calendars that I like on the Sugar•Paper website, but they do have some other really nice items on there.  High quality stuff.  But check your local Target to see if they’re in stock.

So, I’m going to finish writing in the rest of my 2015 goals and hope that your year is off to a great start!  Here’s to New beginnings!

Apr, 14

Happy 101st Birthday, Great-Grandpa Riley!!!


Today may be April Fool’s, but this is no joke.  My amazing Great-grandpa, Riley, is 101 years old today!!! He’s definitely one of the most incredible people that I’ve ever known, and I’m proud to call him grandpa.  He’s smart, strong, kind, warm, and loving.  I truly admire him and hope to be as great as he is one day.  His smile, laugh and love are genuine and you feel it as soon as you see him.  Happy 101st Birthday, Grandpa!!!

Robert Riley moved from Thornton, CO to Paducah, KY in 2009 to be closer to his son and daughter-in-law.  He’s been living in an independent living facility which provides a private apartment, meals, housekeeping, and activities.  Fortunately, [my aunt Jan + uncle Bob] were able to hire people to help with his personal needs and washing clothes to avoid the nursing home thus far.  My aunt and uncle also have a good home health provider to provide physical & occupational therapy, and professional nursing, as needed.  My aunt Janice keeps him supplied with snacks, juice, Gatorade, and does his other personal shopping for him, so he’s surrounded by love and care.  I also hear that he’s quite popular!

Jackson Oaks

When I think of my grandpa Riley, I think of all that he’s seen and accomplished so far in his 101 years!  He makes me want to be a better person and to strive to be the best that I can be with no excuses.  In fact, I often think of him, particularly in times of self-doubt, and quickly snap out it.  I think of how happy he’s always been and what a go-getter he’s been throughout his whole life.  He truthfully has to be the most physically active person that I’ve ever known.  He inspires me to keep my mind, spirit and body active and healthy.  I know that I can speak for my whole family when I say that we have such good memories of him and all that he’s done.  Honestly, my youngest brother, Michael, summed it up best in a school report that he did about 6 years ago, when he was about 14 or 15:

 “Air Corps

In March of 1942, my great-grandfather, Robert Wesley Riley, joined the Air Corps. Robert was supposed to go to Aircraft Engine School, but at the time, there were no openings. He had to wait five months to get into the school. During those five months, he had to take five exams, one every month. After the five months were up, the aircraft engine school let him in without a history of any college. This aircraft school was called Hendricks Field. It was in Sebring, Florida. Everyone in the school was either a mechanic or an engineer. My grandfather stayed at this school for three years. He became a flight engineer. What he did was test the planes to see if they were in flying conditions. For five to ten hours a day, he would test take-offs and landings. After his training at Hendricks Field, he went to Chanute Field in Illinois for one month. He worked on gyro instruments. Gyro instruments are engines that spin. Some examples of gyro instruments are automatic pilots and field indicators. After that, Robert went over seas for twelve months as a replacement. Later my grandfather was stationed in India to work on humidity and temperature control in a factory. He inspected the work of twenty-eight Indian workers who worked on assembly lines. He had to have two interpreters because the twenty-eight men didn’t speak English. He stayed there for one year after the Indian war was ended.


Robert W. Riley had many odd jobs before and after the war. He worked for Arkansas and Louisiana Gas Company right out of high school. He was making nine cents an hour and got a ten-cent per hour promotion for digging ditches. Then he got into trucking companies. He drove trucks for a box factory in Pittsburg, Texas. They would cut down gum trees on the river bottoms and make would make boxes out of these trees. Then he moved on to hauling produce around. He would haul yams out of Texas to Denver, potatoes from Denver to Texas, then he would go down to South Texas to get watermelons and grapefruits to haul them to Denver. The watermelons made good sales. Before my grandfather went into the service, he laid pipeline. It was construction work, but my grandpa hauled and strung oil pipe all over. His boss knew that he was strong, so he took him off of driving trucks and moved him to working the sledgehammer. The unfortunate side of him being strong was that he had to break concrete in order to put in the pipes for ten hours a day with only a sledgehammer.

Fishing and Hunting

When my grandfather got older, he would go fishing every weekend, rain or shine, with his wife, Helen Riley. He would fish all over Colorado and many other places like Canada. When he went to Canada, he flew in at six in the morning and caught one hundred and forty pounds of fish. It didn’t get dark until midnight. The lake was called Otto Lake and the Indians helped them cook the fish that they caught. They would fillet the fish and quick dry them so he was able to take the fish home. He makes his own flies for fishing and uses different types of feathers. My grandfather also loves to hunt. He’s been hunting since 1952 and has been ever since. In the fifty-six years that he has been hunting, he has only missed one season. He has shot thirty-two elk, many birds, and a few moose.

Great Depression

The year he left home on his own was 1929. He left with what clothes he had on his back and the change in his pocket. ($1.25) Luckily for him, he worked in Texas and could get about any job, which was a plus except for the fact that he worked ten hours a day and only made one dollar. My grandfather was one of the lucky ones to get a job and live through the depression.


My grandfather, Robert Wesley Riley, was born on April 1st, 1913. He was raised on a farm and took up farming until he graduated high school. On the farm they raised their own mules and used them to plow. He had eight brothers and sisters to help him with the farm work. He started school when he was seven years old. He walked to school everyday, which was 6 miles to and from school. He went to a consolidated school and only wore shoes when at school. He didn’t have much homework, but if you didn’t pay attention in class, the teacher would not re-teach the lesson. When he was ten years old, he was driving his model T around on the dirt roads.

Brittany Spaniels

My grandfather raised and showed Brittany Spaniels. He had two dogs of his own; their names were Mutt and Jeff. Their registered names for shows were Denver Skyline Rocket and Prince Jeffery of Rocket. They were registered with an AKC book. On November 7th, 1966, Jeff won a certificate for best in show. The dogs would also go out-of-state with my grandpa and help him in hunting birds. He trained Jeff and Mutt by taking pheasant wings and putting them on fishing rods and reeling them in and casting them, making the dogs chase the wings. He also had many training tactics. These dogs were also trained by whistle and were hunting at five months of age. They would stalk and also retrieve the birds.

Today (written 6 years ago)

Today my grandpa is ninety-five years old and lives on his own. He continues to hunt, fish, and walk three miles a day. When the weather is not it’s best outside, he jumps on the treadmill and does his walking there. He has so much spirit, which keeps him going everyday. My grandpa Riley means a lot me. I love him and his great laugh so much.”

Below is an article in the Jackson Oaks Newsletter that was written for him last year to celebrate my grandpa’s 100th Birthday:

Jackson Oaks 100 Birthday-Riley

And this isn’t even half of what my grandpa has seen and accomplished!  He’s living proof that living a good and healthy lifestyle goes a long way.  I’m proud and blessed to have him as my grandpa!  I love you so much grandpa Riley – we all do.  Thank you for being true to yourself and for being such an amazing role model to us all.  I wish we were there with you today.  We all miss you very much and want you to know that we think about you.  You’re an amazing man and we hope you have a wonderful 101st Birthday!  We love you tremendously!!!

I want to thank my Uncle Bob for providing me with the latest photo and details on my Grandpa.  I also want to thank my brother, Michael, for letting me share his piece on my grandpa’s life.  And Thank you to Jackson Oaks for writing such a beautiful piece on him.  So much love!


Mar, 14

Manzanita Calligraphy Workshop #1

Calligraphy1 Calligraphy2

This past Saturday I was a student in Rebecca Caridad’s very first Calligraphy Workshop in Boulder, CO.  There were only 7 of us and we had a fun time learning the basics of Calligraphy.  I’ve only practiced once since the class, due to my studio currently being re-done.  Once I get it all in order, I plan to put my pen to paper and really get to know my style of writing.  That’s the beauty of it – just because you learn something, doesn’t mean that you can’t bend, or even break, the rules.  I’m pretty good at breaking rules… so, stay tuned for that.  Until then, check out a few snapshots that Rebecca’s younger sister took of our workshop here.

Library Catalog 1
Library Catalog 2
Library Catalog 3

I’ve put a hold on making anything this week, so that I can focus on getting my new studio all sorted out.  I really have to have a clean, bright and inspiring place to create.  Otherwise, I find it difficult to stay focused.  Anyone else have this problem?  Anyhoo, the most challenging part of the studio will be getting my 120-drawer Library Catalog, that my dad gave me, out of the garage and up the staircase.  I dusted and cleaned it really well, so it’s ready to be moved in.  Wish me luck!

Dec, 13

8th Annual Cookie Swap


Another wonderful Cookie Swap wrapped up today.  I’m so thankful for all of the wonderful ladies in my life that make this event happen each year.  We had a solid 12 participants this year, can you believe it?!  Since there were so many, we decided to make a 1/2 dozen for each person, rather than a full dozen.  That seemed to work out nicely.  My mom was so sweet and surprised me with a cookie recipe book for my hostess gift.  I’ve already started browsing through the pages in search of next years recipe.  I can’t wait!



Now I’m going to go and eat one of every cookie, so if you’ll excuse me… haha!

Nov, 13

How to Care for Your Purple Hair


I finally did it!  I finally dyed the lower-half of my hair dark purple, and I love it so much!  The whole process, with a cut and style, took about 3 1/2 hours.  And it was totally worth it!  I’ve had my hair a couple of colors in the past, but never purple until now.  Although lovely in every way, having purple hair (or any bright color) takes a lot of care and it can fade fast.  And even though it’s a permanent dye, it won’t last forever.  Natural dyes tend to adhere better to the hair and last longer, but unnatural dyes like purple, pink, red, blue, green, etc. just don’t.

Other than my new purple hair, I’m thrilled to have Ms. Twinkie Chan as a guest today!  I mean, who knows more about bright and fun hair color than her?!  So, here are a few tips from Twinkie and my stylist/colorist to ensure that your purple/colored hair stays glamorous until your next tone session.

Twinkie Chan Colored Hair

Twinkie says:  When you’re starting to experiment with bright colors in your hair, you’ll probably need to bleach your hair out first, unless your are a blonde. While a lot of my friends DIY their own hair to save on the expense, I would still highly recommend that you go to a professional. I know people who have accidentally burned patches of hair off of their heads, and while hair always grows back, it’s nice to avoid that situation! I have heard of people getting their hair ruined at salons as well, but my colorist is really bleach-conservative, and I have never experienced any breakage.

One thing I remember back when I had some purple in my hair, is that I felt like I also had to change my make-up a little bit to accommodate the bluer tones. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself in Sephora, cruising some pinky blushes and blue-based lippies! It can be a fun excuse to experiment with different make-up. When I went to the mall for some make-up help, I ended up at Stila and bonding with the gal who worked there. Incidentally, we got our hair colored by the same person!

But when I had teal-green streaks, I realized that greenish hair was not for me, and not even makeup could save me! I think it picked up too much on the yellow tones of my skin, and I just felt like an alien. I couldn’t wait to change the teal out! So if you want to experiment with bright hair, just remember, that some bright colors may work for your skin tone and some may not, but don’t get discouraged if you feel like an alien, because there could be another color that’s great for you!

When I first went 100% pink, I really looked like I was wearing a wig, like I didn’t belong to my hair. I now have  a few panels or pieces of black in my pink, and the black really helps add dimension and break up the color a little bit. If you find yourself feeling too odd with your new hair, trying adding some darker pieces back in.

When washing freshly-dyed hair, you also want to make sure you didn’t just get a fancy manicure, because your hair color will definitely dye your polish a little bit!

If you decide to freshen up your color at home, and you accidentally get dye all over your shower, I have found that some spray bleach really goes a long way. Just spritz some on, open a window, and let it soak in for a while. Don’t freak out, especially if you’re a renter!


Okay, so here are the basics:

1. Don’t wear light colors like white or pastels, at least in the beginning, because it will rub off!  This is no joke for those of you with long locks.  I tested it on an old white tee the night I got it done, and again after the first wash (four days later); it does rub off.

2. Try sleeping with a black pillowcase or an old towel over your pillow, as well.  Also, be careful when leaning back on your couch, car seats, and especially other peoples furniture!  Eep!  I bet you never thought of this, but be sure that your seat-belt doesn’t rub on your hair, because that will stain, as well!

3. Wash your purple/colored tendrils as little as possible and when you do, wash in cold (burrr) water using a color protecting shampoo and conditioner.  Chose a product with no parabens or sulfates.  Some colorists will also recommend finding vinegar-based shampoos that don’t foam up very much.  You don’t want to strip your color.  Instead, between washes, use dry shampoo to hold off your natural oils.  For me, I can usually get away with wearing my hair down for the first two days, anything beyond that, I put it up in a bun or pony.  Then I wash it every fourth day.

Note: Hot water does fade your color faster, so I like to wash my hair separately in the stainless steel kitchen sink using cold water and the awesome sprayer on our faucet.  I use the sink for two reasons, first, I’m a chicken and don’t want to be standing in a cold shower, ever.  Second, our new shower is white and I don’t want to risk staining it with purple.  I think Ron would kill me!  If you’re brave or crunched for time, you can shower.  Wash your hair in cold water (fast!) and then pin it up.  Now, you can shower your body in cozy warm water!  Be aware that the purple does run off in the shower and sink, so be sure to rise it away as soon as possible.  And like Twinkie mentioned above, bleach spray can go a long way if water alone doesn’t cut it.  Also, black or old towels are are great idea, because it will absorb into the towels.


Twinkie says:  We pink-haired girls often also boost our color a bit with each hair wash by putting a little hair-dye into our conditioner.

4. Be gentle with heat styling, as well.  The more heat you apply, the more your color will break down and fade.  This is difficult for me because I love to curl, dry and straighten my hair.  I try to heat style only once between washes, unless I’m headed to a Ball or something super fancy!  Ha, if only!  Make sure that you don’t care about your straightener and curling iron getting stained purple (or any color), either, because they will.  You might also notice that your hands will be tinted as well.  The heat pulls the color out as you’re handling your hair.  It usually washed right off.

5. Avoid too many hair products.  If you can, don’t use hair spray, palmades, etc., because it will contribute to the fading.  Plus, it takes a lot more effort to scrub those product out when you do shampoo.

Basically, you want to baby your colored hair if you want it to stay vibrant longer.  In the beginning, it seems like a lot to think about, but it eventually becomes second nature and part of your everyday (or every third or fourth day) routine.  Until the pros master a way to make purples, pinks, reds and blues permanent-permanent, this is what we have to do.  The price of beauty, eh?!  Anyhoo, have fun with it and don’t be afraid to add a little bit of color to your hair.

Hopefully these tips will help you maintain your color longer!  I want to give a big thanks to Twinkie for sharing her tips with us.  She’s a hair-colored icon in my book!  Oh, and did I mention that she’s the absolute sweetest?!  If you haven’t already, be sure to check out her website and say hello!  If you have any hair color tips, tricks and stories, we want to hear them in the comments below!

Oct, 13

Temporarily Without Internet

I have so much to share on the last and final week of the building process, but we won’t be able to get internet, cable or phone until Oct. 30th.  That was the soonest that Comcast could get us in.  So, I will be sharing the {Life Lately} Week 25 post next week when I can upload my photos to the blog.  Until then, I’ll be busy unpacking and trying to get settled.  I can’t wait to get my studio space in working condition.  Especially since my mom and I have a craft show coming up in about two weeks!  After I get the kitchen and our closet situated, I’ll focus on my studio so that I can get in there and work, work, work.  I have so many fun DIY projects and posts to share once most things are in order.  Have a great week and I’ll see you on Instagram, Twitter, FB and Pinterest (through my iPhone – since I’ll have no internet) until then!

Jul, 13

30-Day Self-Portrait Challenge // No.4, 5, 6, + 7


So, I slacked on posting these selfies this weekend, but I did take a photo each day – yay!  I’m sticking to this.  This past weekend was a fun one.  Friday afternoon, Ron surprised me with flowers and a date night!  We went to eat at HuHut, which is a local Mongolian BBQ place where you fill up your bowl and they cook it for you.  We sipped on Cherry and Vanilla Sprites while we chatted some, and them we grabbed som Froyo and watch a local bad play in an out-door concert.  It was the most wonderful date night.  Ron’s really great at doing things “just because.”  He doesn’t wait for a reason to celebrate – I love that about him.

Then, Saturday Ron and I had another date-night and went to the local drive-in.  He made us cheesy-hotdogs with chips, and he packed popcorn, tea and all of the wonderful candies that you could think of.  We made it through all three movies!  I admit, we both dozed a few times, but never enough to miss what was happening.  I’m usually lucky if I make it half way through the second movie.  Getting to the drive-in was crazy this time.  Usually we drive right in, set up and wait for the show.  This time, we waited in line for over an hour and when we got to the gate, we were the first of the last three cars that they were letting in.  Sold out!  We were lucky to get in and find a great parking spot, and we were thrilled to see the drive doing so well.

Sunday, I went to Ikea with a lovely friend and her daughter, ran some errands and then finished off the day with some shopping and peeking at the progress of the house.  Oh!  Ron treated me to a new pair of the Nike+ 5.0 running shoes.  I’m so excited to lace ’em up and hit the pavement!  Anyone else have a pair?

Jul, 13

One Lucky Gal

Ron 7-7-13

I really am one lucky gal.  Ron is an amazing person; so strong, loyal, and loving.  It’s the little things that he does that makes me fall in love with him more each day.  He sees my family as his family and is always there to help them with whatever it might be.  From mowing the lawn to painting the house, you name it and he does it.  I can’t express how much this means to me.  He’s a blessing in my daily life and I’m pleased to call myself his wife.  It’s fitting that I share this on the 10th of the month, because Ron and I became “official” on April 10th, 2003.  So, on the 10th of each month we take a moment to look back on what we’ve accomplished together, as well as look forward to what’s next.  I love you!


Jul, 13

Girls Day


This past Sunday my mom and I had another one of our girl days.  We started off by browsing the Firefly Handmade Market in Boulder, then peeked into a few other lovely stores, like Anthropologie, Arhaus, World Market and Barnes&Noble.  Then we finished off with an amazing lunch at the Native Foods Cafe.  We love this place.  It’s an all vegan restaurant with the best lavender lemonade and hot chai tea – ever!  This time we tried the Portobello and Sausage Burger, and it was amazingly good!  Oh, and we bought some Denver Blended teas from Zanitea, and I can’t wait to brew some more this summer.  Yum!  P.S. Isn’t my mom the absolute cutest?!  That sure is a HUGE time-out chair that we found at Arhaus! haha  Needless to say, it was a lovely day with a lovely lady.

Jul, 13

Playhouse Restoration Project


Yesterday my brother, mom, hubby and I all pitched in to start on restoring my childhood playhouse.  We were chatting about it last night and we think we bought it in the summer of 1992.  That summer was an expensive summer for me.  With the help of my mom and my savings we bought the Tuff Shed playhouse, paint, carpet and my dog China!  That’s a lot for an 8-year-old!  I’ll share the before and after photos when we’re done – hopefully sometime next week.  This playhouse went through me and my friends and then was passed down to my brother and his friends, so it’s seen some better days.  We’re thrilled to be restoring it to its former glory.  It’s getting a good scrub down, a fresh coat of paint and new furniture.  The painting should be wrapped up next week sometime and then we plan to take on the inside little by little.  I’m so excited that we’re making this a family project!