little love notes

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I’ve been busy in the studio lately, working on some new designs for Valentine’s Day. Two new collections have been added to the shop, all ready for you to purchase, print and share. The Love Notes collection features six designs on small cards, perfect for slipping in a lunchbox, or trading with your BFF’s. The Creature Affections collection is one I’ve had bouncing around in my mind for awhile. The flat notecards each feature a different animal, and a clever play on words. The best part is, these two printable collections are only $5.75 each. So head on over to the shop today to purchase yours!

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For those unfamiliar with the process of printable papergoods, learn more here.

All photos by Emily Steffen Photography.

more cross country

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Sunday morning dawned bright and brisk, and temps in the teens had us feeling like a heat wave was rolling through central Minnesota. We decided to hit the trails again. With our skis strapped on, we ventured forth into a forest heavily laden with snow. It was nothing short of stunning. Prior to this weekend, I hadn’t been on a pair of cross country skis in what feels like eons. I think I was a mere child last time I tagged along with my mom. But just like riding a bike, the skills necessary to complete the task came back quickly. I began to feel the rhythm of the sport, and the give and take of the skis and poles working together to propel me forward.

I wouldn’t describe cross county skiing as a rush, but I will say that something about it leaves you feeling invigorated. There is no heart pounding adrenaline involved, but an hour on the trail, listening only to the sound of the skis, the birds, the breeze and the breath escaping your lungs is enough to leave you with a natural high that lasts throughout the day. Like every other winter sport I’ve done this year, this is one I would love to do more of.

As I looked at the calendar yesterday, I realized that only a couple months of winter remain. For the first time in a long time, I was disappointed to see the days in this season dwindling. Which must mean that I am finally making my peace with winter

strap on some x-country skis and explore the winter landscape

awake and alive :: my subzero adventure

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The temperature read -9˚, without the windchill. As we drove through the darkness towards our destination, she looked at me and asked, “What are we doing??”

I replied with a grin, “LIVING!

It was Saturday night, and we were 150 miles from home, getting ready to go for a candlelight ski in subzero temps. Ice candles lined the groomed cross country ski trails at Carlos State Park, and the moon was casting shadows from above. The cold bit at my fingertips and burned in my lungs, but as we wound our way along the shoreline, our skis swishing across the snow underfoot, I felt entirely alive and awake. We approached the warming house, where a bonfire crackled and spit sparks into the night sky. Conversations swirled around us as friends and families shared stories and jokes. The camaraderie among this group of hearty Minnesotans was undeniable. There was no doubt that this frigid night on the trail was cause for celebration. And in that instant, I found myself filled with a strong sense of admiration for the vitality of our state and those who call it home.

Hours later, after the skis were off and the color had returned to our cheeks, we sat in a corner table at our favorite wine bar with another friend. We shared snippets of our lives, a plate of bruschetta and sips from each others glasses. The warmth of the moment contrasted sharply with our earlier adventure. For the second time that night, a wave of awareness rolled through my mind. I felt awake, and entirely alive.

Sometimes, all it takes is willingness to jump in the car for a last minute road trip with your best friend and hit trails on a freezing cold night to realize that life is at your front door, knocking. This winter, get out of your comfort zone. Leave what you know. Be willing to take a risk. Do what you’re afraid. Get cold. Then warm up. Be uncomfortable. LIVE!

Cheers to the Winter Bucket List, and another item crossed off of it…

go for a candlelit ski at a local park

best shoes ever

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About these shoes… they were a Christmas gift from my best friend. She knows me so well. I have been living in them for a couple weeks now, and it’s miraculous how many things they go with. Could be because they are the perfect shade of gray. And because most of my wardrobe is gray or black or navy or some shade in between. Or because they have little animals roaming around in them.

In case you are wondering, they are the canvas classic TOMS in Ash. You probably already know the TOMS philosophy, but in case you don’t… TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair you buy. How’s that for a guilt free purchase? Did I mention that they are super comfy? They are. Which makes me think I need a second pair. Like maybe these?

in my windows

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The windows in the cottage are original, which makes them 73 years old. They are still in pretty decent shape for their age, but when the temps really plummet, some of them become glazed with a thin layer of frost or ice. I know that technically this is not a good thing, but I don’t mind the frost… especially when it looks like this.

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