Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Skating on Thin Ice

Ice skating is my favorite sport to watch during the Winter Olympics. I love the grace and athleticism.

I don't remember going ice skating as a kid. In my adult life, I've skated only once - and it was for work. (If you call going around the outdoor rink twice with my right hand glued to the wall "skating.")

So, the idea of going to a year-round indoor rink and trying my hand at ice skating seemed like a good task for my 26 while 26 list.

I had Monday off from work due to President's Day - and after waking up to ice and snow on the ground - it seemed like a good day to go skate on the ice inside.

I was highly skeptical that I would have any fun (this was mostly my fear talking because I didn't want to fall and embarrass myself and be bad at skating) but by golly I was going to skate because it was on my list of things to do.

After two times around the rink - tentatively resting my hand on the wall - I finally had to let go and skate around a young girl in front of me who was doing the same.

Suddenly, skating became a lot more fun!

(This is my "I really hope I don't fall right now while the picture is being taken" face)

The best thing about creating my 26 while 26 list is the new experiences I "force" myself into. Turns out I have a lot more fun when I get out of my routine! (Blurry photo due to the fact that I'm now a speed skater, obvs)

(Clearly, I'm ready to go pro with this stellar technique... on dry land!)

I might not be the next Michele Kwan - but I'm no longer the kid who's glued to the wall. I'd call that an ice skating success!

xoxo, E

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Adventures In Skydiving

I'm a scaredy cat.

I think it's only fair to start this post that way.

I am really confident in the things that I'm good at... and really scared when it comes to trying new things.

I'll never forget the time I gave myself a bloody lip in the 6th grade at our annual camp retreat. I was literally frozen in fear - and apparently biting my lip - as I stood trying to muster the courage to jump off the ledge and onto "the blob" in the lake. I didn't do it that day -- and I didn't even come close to trying again during the next 6 years of going to Windy Gap.

When I was making my 26 while 26 list, I included a few things that sounded super fun and exciting, without even considering that I might be terrified to try them when the time actually came.

For instance, the zip line adventure.

I. Was. Terrified.

There were tears - my neck got red and splotchy from the stress - and my legs were shaking. (Let me tell you, I looked cute!)

Up next, this month's indoor skydiving feat...

This was a goal that I knew I wanted to accomplish ever since my mom went a few years ago with her friends, so it seemed like a natural fit for the 26 while 26 list. I also knew that I wanted to have this experience with my mom.

So, when I went home to North Carolina 2 weeks ago, she made an appointment for us to go fly!

I was so excited to go indoor skydiving. And my excitement was pretty steady until we took the elevator up to the third floor of the building and I heard exactly what 150mph wind sounds like.

::Gulp:: "Ummmm, I'm not sure I can do this."

My mom is a born encourager. With a huge, reassuring smile on her face she said, "Yes you can honey! I've done it. It's totally safe. You'll have so much fun!"

::Gulp:: "I definitely don't think I can do this."

Enter, Dustin. (The same instructor that my mom had on her first flying adventure)

Dustin took us down to the classroom and gave a quick overview on how the tunnel works, the proper posture to have in the tunnel, what the different hand signals mean for when we're in there and he's guiding us, as well as some things to remember to be safe in there.

::deep breath:: "Okay, maybe I can do this."

As I started making self-deprecating jokes about how nervous I was, I noticed that my legs were shaking. No time to think about that... we were off to get suited up.

By this time, a few "expert flyers" had arrived for their time in the tunnel. Dustin told them he was going to take us in first, then they could go.

Awesome. Now if I cry or chicken out, I'll be making a fool of myself in front of these guys who think this is no big deal.


Momma and I stood in the waiting area and they ramped up the speed in the wind tunnel. You guys, I'm not even kidding, my whole body started to vibrate under the force.

"Yep, there's no way I'm doing this."

Naturally, Momma offered to go first -- and of course, she rocked it!

How is she so photogenic in 100mph winds?! Also, in that last photo, she is 50ft. up in the air. Go Momma!

Once she came out of the tunnel, I froze in panic...

Dustin was saying "Come on girl! Let's do this!" and I tearfully admitted to my mom, "I can't do this. Seriously. I can't do it."

Again, Momma is a phenomenal cheerleader and I found a way to step towards the entrance to the tunnel. I love it that the photographer happened to capture the moment after I found the courage to try.

As it turns out, it was so much fun!

This is (yet another) one of those times when I'm so glad that I didn't let fear control me and I stepped up to the plate -- or the 100mph winds.

And just for fun, here are a few photos of those expert flyers!

Consider this item checked off my 26 while 26 list!

xoxo, E

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Passing It Down

I'm really excited to share a custom project that I worked on for a client who wants to teach her granddaughters the value and importance of writing thank you notes.

The client said that one of the girls is super girlie and loves pink & flowers - the other is a bit more of a tomboy who loves science & robots and the color purple.

I am absolutely in love with how the girl robot turned out. I'm trying to find ways to include her in other pieces too. She just makes me smile!


It was so much fun to work on these cards and create something specifically designed for each girl!

xoxo, E

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bragging on a Friend

I feel unbelievably blessed to call Kelly my friend. You might remember me bragging on her here, but today I'm going to UBER brag!

Kelly is a seriously talented artist, like unbelievably so. (If you follow her on Instagram or Facebook, you already know just how true this statement is.)

Last year, she started her business - Pet Portraits by Kelly. She has the ability to capture the personality of people's pets from a photo and create a beautifully hand-drawn piece of art.

I love it that Kelly shows the process of working on the drawings. It's so fun to see how they come together!

There's no denying this girl's talent - especially when she does a side-by-side of the pet photo and her drawing.

I mean, right?!

Kelly has tried to convince me, on multiple occasions, that I need to get a puppy. However, I'm pretty sure my allergies and my desire to keep my furniture in its current condition will prohibit this purchase. In the meantime, I'll just continue to ooh and aah over her work.

I've shared a few of my favorites below, but I strongly suggest you scroll through her site and see the rest.

Kelly has been such a huge source of support for me as I've developed and launched Loops & Belles. It's so wonderful to have such great community, and I couldn't be prouder of all that she has accomplished!

Here's to a 2015 filled with more beautiful Pet Portraits by Kelly!

xoxo, E

Monday, February 2, 2015

Guthrie Adventures

If I can help it, I like to have something planned every weekend.

Don't get me wrong, I love a Saturday spent watching too many episodes on Netflix. (I'm getting caught up on Parenthood!) But most weekends, I like to have a few things planned to occupy my time.

Confession: I spent some time on Friday planning quite a few of my weekends throughout 2015. It's no wonder that my professional life involves so much planning - it's a big part of who I am.

However, I'm just going to chalk Friday night's behavior up to my goal of being more intentional in 2015.

So, this past weekend... the plan was Guthrie. And that had been the plan for well over a month. The fact that the forecast was calling for cold and rainy (after two days of 70+ and sunny) did not deter us from this mission.

Aside from going to Guthrie when I was in college to see a friend in a show at The Pollard Theatre, I'd never ventured the 30 minutes north to visit the original state capital of Oklahoma. I figured it'd be a pretty good place for my 26 while 26 goal of spending time in 5 new cities.

The cold weather was actually perfect for the first stop on the adventure: Hoboken Coffee Roasters.

Armed with a warm beverage, it was time to start exploring the historic downtown area.

This was one of those times that I was actually dressed appropriately for the weather to be walking around. (Let's not talk about the number of times that I've worn uncomfortable shoes or left my coat at home.)

There are so many great old buildings, brick walkways, and beautiful ghost signs on the sides of the buildings in Guthrie. This Coca-Cola one got me tickled!

It was so funny to notice how many of the doors had a "1/2" as a part of their address. Made me think of Harry Potter. Oooh, that might be my next binge-watch on Netflix.

I'm such a sucker for an exposed brick wall. When I peeked through the window of the door above, there was a beautiful brick wall and an old stairwell with a funny little message, "Don't spit on the stairs." I'd say that's a good life lesson for all of us, no?

The plan was to hit up Union Tacos for lunch. Sadly, we were met with an empty storefront and no sign that UT had ever been there... so, I'm guessing they're closed? Bummer.

We ended up heading south to Norman to have lunch at Chuy's, and I was able to add the 10th and final "new restaurant" to my 26 while 26 list. Victory!!

I feel like I've made a lot of progress on my list in the last month, and I'll make even more this weekend when I go indoor skydiving with Momma in North Carolina!

Happy Monday! Here's to a great week.

xoxo, E