2016/2017 :: Looking Back, looking ahead

What makes life really matter? Over the holidays I read a book that addressed this question in a beautiful, heartbreaking way: I gulped down When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi in one night and one morning: I can't remember the last time a book gripped me so fiercely, or stayed with me so indelibly. Diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon and writer, passed away while working on this book, and each page feels like a little gift to us, the ones still here. It's sad, yes, but sad in a way that breaks you open and allows a new space to be filled.

This year I'm not making resolutions in the typical sense of the word, but I am aiming to be more present in each moment. I want to remind myself to breathe and accept whatever small task I am working on with full attention. I want to allow myself (and my family!) to be a little bored now and then, to discover the joy that comes from sinking into an afternoon of doing 'nothing'.

And now, on to a few favorites from the year we are leaving behind...

Favorite new beginning:

Mindful Clutter Clearing
Mindful Clutter Clearing

2016 was the year I finally (after years of thinking, plotting, and planning) launched the Mindful Clutter Clearing e-course. This is my baby, and each sweet little note, message, and email I receive from students letting my know how taking this course has helped them make a positive change in their life makes me feel all of the hard work is worth it. (p.s., the new session of Mindful Clutter Clearing is enrolling now!)

Favorite places:

October

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, formerly known as The Ahwahnee. I hadn't been to Yosemite since I was a teen, and my husband and son had never been before, so I was thrilled when we were invited to go with Ben's family to Yosemite valley this fall. A highlight for all (aside from the hikes, of course!) was a special dinner in The Majestic...it felt like dining in Hogwart's!

Cat Town

Cat Town Cafe, Oakland. It's been two years since our much-loved kitty passed away, and we may be ready to adopt a new furry friend. Thankfully, we can visit with adoptable kitties (and sip coffee) here whenever we like!

Outer Banks

The Outer Banks, North Carolina. Beach for miles, wild dolphins, organic juices, and loads of cousins running around...if I could have stayed a month, I surely would have.

Favorite bakes...

Apple pie

We made our first ever from-scratch apple pie on Thanksgiving, and I'm hooked! I highly recommend looking up the standing mixer pie dough recipe in The Homemade Kitchen by Alana Chernila, it worked like a charm and her clear instructions inspire confidence.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Also from The Homemade Kitchen, cinnamon swirl bread was a big hit: my little guy really loved punching (ahem, kneading) the dough. The loaves were fully enjoyed...plain, toasted with butter, and (my favorite) made into french toast for a special weekend breakfast.

Favorite moments...

December
Winter woods
December

Cocktail hour on the deck of the beach house, hiking in the big redwoods, playing in the winter woods...one thing all of our favorite moments had in common was time spent with family, deliciously unplugged.

Happy new year, friends!

xo Laura