So many new things

So I am excited to announce that on August 30th I will officially be unemployed. Well sort of. It’s more like, I will be self-employed! Turns out – there’s a great possibility that I will be busier in my new rolls then I was when I was employed full-time!

I’m sure I have mentioned it before, but I have an amazing life partner. The hubs is not only one of the hardest working people I have ever met, but he has a great passion for his work and his family (and his Tigers). I know that he would be over the moon happy if I was working for someone and happy. It would settle him, if I was… settled. But that’s just not ever happened for me. I am a bit of a dreamer (no, really.. !!), and probably a tad unrealistic about somethings – but when I am happy and feeling challenged and in an environment that is healthy and creative – I am also a hard worker with great passion. The Hubs has noticed how unhappy I have been – and has simply said, “make a plan, and do it… just do it”

So.. 2 years after he started saying that – I am happy to announce that I have done it.

Made a plan.

And did it!

I will get to spend more time with my Captain. He is my world – and watching him discover his world is the most inspiring thing of all time. I have so many plans! I can’t hardly wait.

I have been working with a good friend on a design business, we call it jo&co designs, and hope that our website will up and running in a matter of time! We have been so busy designing lots of pretty things for weddings and baby showers, that we have not had the time to finish our site!

I also have had this amazing opportunity to work with and learn from one of the best photographers in the city. If you don’t know Nicki Griffith and her amazing skill – you need to. I am getting the opportunity to work for her and help her with marketing and selling – and learn a ton! I so so love it!

The best news of all I will have more time to dedicate to you all too!!

“Love, like everything else in life, should be a discovery, an adventure, and like most adventures, you don’t know you’re having one until you’re right in the middle of it.”  ― E.A. Bucchianeri

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Being artfully inspired

I go to Dean and Deluca once or twice a month… always in the morning, when it’s not busy, there’s a hum of people preparing for the day. Today, I stood and waited for my coffee – and took in the sites and smells. From the white subway tiled walls to the beautifully designed desserts and packages all around, and the giant photos of the most amazing looking cheeses and breads — I was artfully inspired.

Olive and Sinclair ChocolateThe store at Town Center Plaza is never terribly busy in the morning hours before I have to be in the office – it’s the perfect time to go, and today, a Monday, it was a nice beginning to my week. I decided while standing there that a beautiful box of artisan chocolates would be the perfect gift for me.. someone tell the hubs please! Dark Chocolate with sea salt.. sounds heavingly (why isn’t that a word?).. but more so – the packaging was awesome! It’s like a designers porn.. I swear!

Right then and there I decided I needed more of that in my life. I needed to be inspired by the beauty around me, taking trips to World Market and Paper Source, not to buy something but to be inspired by the everyday. I don’t need special trips to the museums, although I would love a few of those as well.

For years I have heard about the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden, seen hundreds of images from inside the gardens – and have never been. I recently decided to focus more on passions and picked up my camera again, and chose the Kauffman Gardens as my first spot for portraits. It’s such a lovely place. I absolutely LOVE the grounds, the fountains — even the bathrooms were super clean!

Even if you are not a “designer” or think you are creative, I challenge each of my readers to look around and see inspiration in the everyday. Inspire yourself to do, see, create or just be. Inspiration can come from just about anything — just open yourself up to it!

xoxo

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Mindy’s cause..

Ray and Mindy ClarkeWe recently had our family pictures taken.. and although I totally hated my hair in them – I loved the pictures so much. This one, of the hubs and I makes me smile, ear to ear.

If you are needing someone to take pics of you or your littles, you should check out Nicki Griffith. She’s a doll. Seriously, coolest lady, coolest job, mega talent!  There are LOTS of amazing ladies (and some gents) right here in KC that do amazing work… we are so fortunate to have so much talent in our little cow town.

I have really started trying to make more of an effort to support local businesses. I feel like it’s so important to help our community thrive. I pledged to help our community by eating local as much as possible this holiday season. There is a great website, Eat Local KC, that can lead you in the direction of great local Farmer’s Markets, Grocery and Healthy Food Stores, Meat Purveyors, and my personal favorite – Kansas City Restaurants! 2 of my favorite restaurants in KC are listed, Aixios and Blue Bird Bistro.. but sooo many are not…  Do you have favorite local hangouts? Beers? Wines? Meats? We would love to hear what your favorite businesses and restaurants in Kansas City are.

Here is a short list of some of my favorites!

That’s all she wrote folks. I know I have often shared my favorites with you. But I would LOVE to hear some of yours. Won’t you please share them with me!
One place, I’d really love to go is up to Smithville to The Justice Drugstore, I have heard it’s so good.

Here’s a little picture that Nicki let Alex take of his mom and dad.. it’s not the best picture of me.. but I think it’s so cute. I am having one printed and put on a shelf in his room!
Mommy and Daddy by Alex

Toddlerville and other stuff

We've entered Toddlerville (cue horror film music)

Cue horror film (or Jaws) music..
Captain A is growing up so quick. It’s crazy to think that he’s almost 2. Toddlerville so far has been the hardest stage- I know, I know, wait until he’s 16.. but seriously. He is in and out of EVERYTHING. He loves to try and take nose dives off the couch because he is not afraid of ANYTHING. He smacks me like he’s a soap opera diva on a pretty regular basis and says NO and MINE thousands of times a day. He used to get so happy to see me at the end of the day when I pick him up from daycare, but that stopped last week. He sees me, smiles and then runs away and says no. I think he wants me to leave him there (tear).

This time of his life is terrifying for me, it’s so hard to communicate with him, and he gets so frustrated because he can’t communicate. He stomps his little feet and fists and screams. Man there are days that I wish I could get away with that – I think it would make me feel so much better. He won’t eat dinner, all of the sudden, and loves loves loves to throw his food. By the time I put him to bed, I am so worn out (and hungry) that I just want to go to bed… but as any working parent knows – that is not possible. There is laundry to be done, dishes to be done, dogs to pay attention to, floors to swiffer.. so much to do.

But then, there’s the times when I hand him his milk, and he says, tinktao.. that means thank you.. and it makes me smile, because I taught him that. Or today, when I left him at daycare – he ran over and kissed me good bye – that warmed my heart a bit. He got up, made a kissy face and ran from the back wall to where I was with his little lips puckered.. seriously the cutest. I have to remember these times, the times when he is sweet and cute, when he dances to P!nk or Lady Gaga or anything that sounds like rap music – cutest.. these are the times I should dwell on, not the tantrums and the tears – but man, it’s so hard.

Daycare lady told me his favorite book was Brown Bear by Eric Carle, and considering how I am so sick of all of the books at our house  – I think I will invest in some Eric Carle books. He loves to read. If you have kiddos, and have an ipad – they have turned “The Monster at the End of this Book” into an interactive book, it really this the cutest thing to watch them get so excited about the talking Grover.

Here are some typical Captain A photos. Notice the first one is him coming out of the pantry!

 

In other fun news, I get to work at a the Kyle Barker Memorial golf tournament this weekend. Hubs the great is playing in it – and I am working the mulligan table with a good friend. I am super excited. The Captain will be with a babysitter and then with his Nonnie, whom he loves to dance with,


it should be a fun day with a bunch of our friends – one that I have really been looking forward to.

At lunch the other day, I received this fortune.. let’s hope this is true!

xoxo,
Mindy
stills needs a sign off…

Mommy Conflict

Sometimes when I start to think about having a second child.. I enter into this inter-turmoil of conflicting thoughts. Should I become a stay at home mom, it would save so much money on daycare – but is that too much pressure on hubs to be the “bread” winner. Do I even want to STAY AT HOME? Could I freelance as a designer/writer from the comfort of my home, make money and be the primary caregiver for my children (rather then a daycare woman)? How would I “find” clients? I would need more then my 10 a year – that I do right now. But what about that corner office Marketing job that I have always dreamed of having, should I not be dreaming of that anymore? Shouldn’t I be dreaming about staying home and having all this time with the littles in my life – and loving every second of it?What if I didn’t love every second of it? Would that make me a horrible mom?

There are message board after message board on the subject. There are millions of blogs with women having these same struggles, so why is this so hard. Leslie Morgan Steiner wrote a book called Mommy Wars that debates this very subject – it’s a nice read and shares the opinions of 26 different people. But still it’s just a debate. It didn’t really help me with any sort of decision. A decision I would like to make prior to the appearance of that second line (plus mark or PREGNANT statement on the stick!).

Also, it took us 2.5 years to get pregnant with Captain A. Therefore, do we hold off trying until we make said decisions.. all the questions, and all the worries. I get so frustrated and just want to sit and cry. I enjoy the people I work with so much – and with a husband who travels, I need that adult interaction. But if I stayed home with 2, I could join a club or group – go to the gym with the littles in tow.. have play dates with my other stay at homes – and then I would have adult interaction, right? Would it be enough?