Perfectly Imperfect

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It seems like every blogger out there has to declare at some point or another that she’s a perfectionist.

It’s not enough that we see all these perfectly curated collections of photos and Instagram feeds and Pinterest worthy DIY projects and expertly created graphics. It’s just not really perfect until someone has stood there and declared to the world, “Well, I’m a perfectionist.”

I look over at that from my little corner of the world and shrug, because I am not a perfectionist.

I’m a high-achiever. I’m a detailed planner. But I am not by any means a perfectionist. I will use the best of my knowledge to create a solution, and then take that seventy or eighty percent solution and run with it. And I will get the job done. It won’t be perfect, but it’ll be done, and we can move on to the next project.

Are there things that I want to get done in the best way possible? Sure. But that just means engineering a better solution and fine-tuning to me, not achieving a perfect solution.

I’ve been through the “perfectionist” phase, and I have to say, it’s no fun. You ruin everything for yourself. You won’t let yourself fail. What happens if you try something and it doesn’t come out perfectly? What happens if you create something for that perfect post and it is absolutely, totally unblogworthy? If you’re a perfectionist, not only are you disappointing yourself for not only screwing something up, but not living up to your best parts.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. We all have boundaries somewhere. But the thing is, until we push the envelope, we just don’t know where those boundaries lie, how strong our strengths are, and we don’t understand our weaknesses. Labeling yourself a perfectionist, not allowing yourself to test those failures, ultimately robs you of the chance to understand yourself and what you can really achieve.

Half of the time, when I try new things, when I set crazy goals, when I pull a recipe out of a complicated cookbook full of ingredients and techniques I haven’t worked with, I have no freaking idea if it’s going to work or not.

Sometimes, I try things that scare me. A lot. Sometimes, I try things that take a lot of faith. Sometimes the results are abysmal and I get a lesson in what not to do. But a lot of the time, most of the time actually, trying new things doesn’t result in a perfect result, but results in a perfectly beautiful moment where I realize that, even if I didn’t do something perfectly, I smashed right through a barrier I thought stood between me and what I wanted to achieve.

We should all learn to appreciate the successes we achieve, to shrug off the failures and learn from them, and to just be happy on those days when we can see and love ourselves for what we are – perfectly imperfect.

KCS

 

September Goals

Life moves really, really fast sometimes. Anyone else blinking in shock that it’s September? I know we kind of go through this routine at the end of every summer, wondering how the heck it could possibly be over already, but it’s still shocking.

I have to admit, I’m kind of glad to be moving into a new month. We had some great times in August, but it was stressful. There’s a lot of nastiness going on in the world and we can’t discount how much that nastiness permeates our lives. It’s impossible to go on social media without seeing flying headlines sculpted for shock value or shaking our heads at senseless and ignorant commentary, or looking at a world environment that we’re trying to bring together but really can’t figure out how to keep up with.

We shouldn’t despair, not by a long shot. But sometimes we need our stress-busting mechanisms better primed for the challenge than others.

Moving into the new month, I like to take stock of my goals and what I thought I’d accomplish in the past month, and make some plans for the new one. So here goes!

Goals for August

  1. Rock our webinars with Firestorm and Hootsuite. I’ve been beyond excited that our collaboration with these social media and crisis management rock stars has been as successful as it has! We’ve got one more webinar and a couple other collaborative projects coming up this month, too!
  2. Make my travel schedule and budget for the next fiscal yearI finished this one and it scares me. I have a lot of work travel coming up and while I’m excited for it and my work does cover most of it, it always ends up being expensive. And I’m hoping to be able to finish our kitchen this year. My bank account and credit card are already huddled together in the corner, crying quietly.
  3. Do those interview spotlights! I have some awesome people I want to introduce you to, but just haven’t been able to wrap my brain around how I want to do these spotlights.
  4. Try to find time for that jetpack. I can’t do this one for a couple months due to a torn deltoid muscle, which also took me out of my Spartan Race this month. Boo.
  5. Get the house all set up for my mom’s visit. The house still needs a lot of work, but we had everything cleaned up and organized for Mom, and she loved it. She’s been looking forward to seeing our renovations and decorating, and she really loved what we’d done so far.
  6. Replace Scott’s vanity upstairs. Our fix for the upstairs bathrooms is going to be a little more involved than we thought, so I’m waiting on this until we can really scope our design.
  7. Get the stair nosing in and finish replacing the awful carpet on the stairs with bamboo. The stair nosing is still, for some reason, stuck in California. We’ll get it eventually, but this is just part of living on a tiny island in the middle of a great big ocean - nothing gets out here quickly.
  8. Try a no-spend challenge. Planning this in a month where we had family visiting and where we had a lot of projects going on was not my smartest moment. Might have to kick this until after the holidays.
  9. Read the Fifth Discipline. I read it, finally, and while I’m glad I did, I have no idea how to implement any of the management and organizational change fixes in there from my level. It’s one of those things I think is helpful if you’re managing your own business and objectives, but if you’re where I am…nope.
  10. Slipcover the sofa. I really need to do this soon. The cat is trying to dig through it, little brat.
  11. Try to stop saying “seriously” all the time. Tried. Failed. Counting it as attempted.
  12. Maintain the scuba gear. Um…
  13. USE the scuba gear. See above. We live in an ocean paradise, but…nope.
  14. Ballroom dancing. I’m not finding the event that was recommended to me – might have to start scouring Groupon.
  15. One appetizer, one drink, one dessert, one restaurant. Dessert. Restaurant. Breakfast one. Breakfast two. I’m not organized when it comes to planning out the recipes I share. It’s more about what I’m inspired to make and photograph on a particular day.
  16. Kick butt on the Spartan Race. Torn deltoid means no climbing ropes. I sadly had to sit this one out, but fortunately I’ve been able to keep running, so I won’t have any issues participating in the race series I’ve signed up for leading up to my half-marathon in November!
  17. See “The Hundred Foot Journey.” My inner foodie is in love with this one, and I love the soundtrack, too. I’ve been more and more interested lately in traditional Indian cuisine, and really want to start playing with more of these flavors. I have a spice collection to add to!
  18. Chart out my work-out plan on my calendar. I’ve made the plan and I’m doing a decent job of sticking to it! Yay!
  19. The stick to it part should be a separate goal all by itself. And I kicked its butt!
  20. Smile. Life is too short to be serious all the time. I’m deliberately embracing my less serious side more and more. Who wants the pressure of trying to be perfectly serious and professional all the time when you’re really not?

I always post more goals than I know I’m going to get done – that way, I have options. But I’m going to start limiting the number of big things I put on there and focusing more on the little pieces that build to bigger things.

Goals for September

  1. Survive the mega-exercise my office is supposed to go through this month. Oy!
  2. Enjoy – and get some good coverage of – the Hawaii Food + Wine Festival going on this month! We’re attending a couple of events, but I’m really, really excited for “It’s A Food World After All” at Ko Olina!
  3. Accept my upcoming birthday gracefully. It’s not a big one that ends in 0, but it’s a milestone into serious adulthood and I have some mixed feelings about it.
  4. Interview spotlights!
  5. Lock down all our travel. The business travel has a way of taking care of itself, but the personal travel needs to be bought and paid for ASAP!
  6. What about maintaining and using that scuba gear?
  7. I’m not giving up on ballroom dancing.
  8. One appetizer, one drink, one side dish, one restaurant, one technique, one gadget. Yes, six food posts. I’m letting myself post more about my passion for food and cooking lately, if you hadn’t noticed!
  9. Replace Scott’s vanity upstairs.
  10. Slipcover the sofa.
  11. Try a no-spend challenge, the downsizing challenge, or the 3×33 challenge I discovered on Esther + Jacob! Even though we have cut back so much on stuff, there’s always…well…less room for more.
  12. Get our home garden started if the maintenance crew finishes our fence this month!
  13. Visit the Sand Island Fish Market.
  14. Take my husband on at least one date night, even though I have a crazy exercise going on.
  15. Set aside at least fifteen minutes per day for yoga, stretching, or just plain meditation.
  16. Try a new hike – friends have shared several fun waterfall hikes we should try in our area!
  17. Find and read a book about someone from history who inspires me.
  18. Get the stair nosing in and replace the awful carpet in the stairs. Oh, and paint the stairs, scrape and paint the ceiling, trim and frame the window, and replace the window treatment. It’s awful.
  19. Keep finding ways to work out, even with that dang exercise going on.
  20. Smile. Life is too short to be serious all the time.

I know that last one is a repeat, but it’s too important to NOT add!

So how about you, friends? What’s on your life to-do list for this month?

KCS

P.S. Linking up this week with awesome Melyssa at the Nectar Collective:

The Nectar Collective

Sunday Currently, vol. 29

Just on a whim, I started a Pinterest board to collect my Sunday Currently posts. I liked the idea of being able to see them all in one place and wander my way through the progression of time. It blends the snapshots into a story, and triggers new memories. I can see our trips and travels, adventures and competitions, stages of renovating the house, things I’ve cooked, Scott’s lovely grandfather who passed recently, date nights out on the town, gorgeous Hawaiian sunsets, and all the little bits that come together as threads in our overall tapestry.

I love the Sunday Currently, and that’s the biggest reason why – just because it captures those little moments in time, things that aren’t important to other stories and other posts but are important in their own right, and weaves them into a larger story of life, love, and adventure.

Lauren at Siddathornton hosted the Sunday Currently for 100 iterations, and she’s now passed the baton to me. I’m hugely grateful to be able to continue this little link-up. For those of you who, like me, love to capture these little snapshots in time, please feel free to link up below. I’ll continue Lauren’s practice of sharing these links via social media shout-outs, too.

So without any further ado…

Currently…

Reading. Here are some of my favorite reads from this week:

Listening…to some pretty amazing a capella collaborations. Hunter Hayes Medley has a fun take on classic barbershop here, and then there’s Peter Hollens who does an absolutely epic a capella choir – all by himself. How did we discover talented people before YouTube anyway?

Smelling…the best thing in the world, a freshly brewed cup of coffee from freshly ground beans. What the heck am I going to do when I don’t have a coffee farm right up the road? Follow it up with the next best smell, I guess – sautéing shallots in butter – but that doesn’t have the same lovely warm morning feel to it.

Thinking…about a couple of creative photoshoot ideas to better tell the stories behind dishes I’ve made. I’m always up for looking at beautiful food, but I’ve been really inspired by some of the folks out there who really work wonders {for example} in creating photo stories around their food.

Cooking…or not cooking, as the case may be, ceviche! I’ve always been fascinated by traditional Peruvian ceviche and it’s the perfect starter or happy hour treat for the last of these long hot summer days. I’m playing with a couple right now – a tasty and rich salmon ceviche and my own version of the scallop ceviche treat from BLT.

Writing. A quick catch up on posts from this week:

  • The Other Side of Waimea – there’s more to Waimea than just the world-famous beach. Here, I take you on a little walking tour of what else there is to explore.
  • A Luxurious Evening with BLT Steak – getting inspired by beautiful menu items from BLT Steak. I’m desperately working on reverse engineering the scallop ceviche starter!
  • Fruity Nutella Granola Breakfast Parfait – a cheerful and tasty treat for your morning. Who says you can’t have dessert for breakfast?
  • Finding Balance – yoga plays a big role in my life, and I share a little bit of why here – along with a great summer discount for yoga clothes and gear :)
  • One Year in the Aloha House – taking a look at the befores and afters, and sometimes the befores and current progress, of the efforts we’ve made in the past year to spruce up our house. Have we been here a year already? Yikes!

Feeling…relaxed. We have a four day weekend for Labor Day and it couldn’t have come at a better time. So far it’s been low key for us, but there have been little bits of wonderful. Sourcing new reclaimed wood project material. Visiting the fish market for inspiration and fresh ingredients. Spending a warm breezy morning sitting on the couch with the doors and windows open. Running on the beach. Sometimes life feels like a meal you grab in a hurry, something where all these things happen but you just don’t have time to appreciate them. This weekend has reminded me to sit and savor, and to make time to taste all the little bits of wonderful that happen.

What’s on your mind, currently? Link up below and share!

One Year in the Aloha House

Around the middle of August last year, we moved – by way of a lot of summer travel – from New York back to Hawaii, kicked out our renters, and set about assessing what five years of renters had done to the place. I shared a lot of the “before” pictures and a sad attempt to cover despair with humor when we first moved in and nicknamed this place “The Aloha House Project.”

Since that time, a year has passed and we’ve been busily working on turning this place around. Here’s a look at what we’ve been up to over the past year!

Dining “Room”

Before

I can’t even tell you what’s going on with this room, except there are a lot of colors, it’s small, there’s no storage, and there’s a weed-whacker in the middle of it.

The Work in Progress

What’s Been Done

  • Painted all the walls – from mixed blue and white to Pale Palomino
  • New window treatments and removed window unit
  • Added table, chairs, and restored wine and coffee bar unit
  • Built shelving

Still Needs Doing

  • Scrape and paint popcorn ceiling
  • Replace awful light
  • Replace flooring with hand-scraped bamboo being used throughout house
  • Relocate keg fridge and recycling bin
  • Trim and sill window

Kitchen

Nothing has been done in the kitchen except replacing the refrigerator for a newer bigger one and giving the whole place a deep cleaning. I mean sanitizing everything. It definitely needed it. It still needs a lot of work and is probably the biggest project we’re facing in the house.

Still Needs Doing

  • Paint and reface cabinets, replace as needed
  • Relocate pantry cabinet
  • Replace countertops
  • Replace sink
  • Replace appliances
  • Replace tile
  • Replace backsplash
  • Install shelving

Living “Room”

Before

This is a snapshot taken when we first moved in. Again, the wall is blue, the door is white, and there are wires everywhere from cable splitters that make us wonder if the tenants did anything but watch TV. In every room.

Living_Before

The Work In Progress

The result is very comfortable – comfortable enough to sit and watch DIY Network with our morning coffee – but it’s far from being done. We’re not even at the point where we can think about decorating anything but the walls, although we’ve tried to create a few little vignettes in the space.

What’s Been Done

  • Painted all the walls in Pale Palomino
  • Installed faux shiplap feature wall
  • New window treatments
  • TV, sound system, and furniture
  • Added decor

Still Needs Doing

  • Scrape and paint popcorn ceiling
  • Replace flooring with hand-scraped bamboo being used throughout house
  • Cover couch
  • Build shelving over couch
  • Install ceiling fan
  • Declutter shelves and coffee table

Downstairs Powder Room

Before and After

And More After

Before, the downstairs powder and laundry room was a decorating project gone very wrong, and made even more wrong by renters. So we set about fixing it and used it as the testing ground for the decorating style we hoped to use throughout the house, to see if the fusion of colors and materials would work as planned.

What’s Been Done

  • Full 100% gut job
  • Installed new slate tile flooring
  • Installed new vanity, sink, and fixtures
  • Installed reclaimed mahogany chair rail
  • Installed new toilet
  • Built laundry cabinet
  • Built tiled niche
  • Installed new light fixture

Since this picture was taken, we replaced the green mat with a slate gray one, and the laundry cabinet open shelf holds a laundry basket. We’ve left room for eventual replacement of the laundry center with stacked high-end units so that we can either upgrade them at some point, or the new owners can.

Stairway

We haven’t done much in the stairway at all except to make a bit of a gallery wall on the one wall we’ve gotten around to painting. We still have a lot of work to do here, but we’re waiting on most of it until we pull the carpet – then we’ll scrape, paint, and clean up before installing treads, risers, and trim. That method has worked for us for the upstairs and we’re hoping it works for the rest as well!

Master Bedroom

Before

I honestly don’t have any good before pictures of this room because it was just too depressing, with carpet that had seen much better days, dull walls, and a popcorn ceiling. Well, we fixed that.

After

Even in a dull iPhone photo, it looks and feels like a whole different room. I still remember my husband walking into the room after we finished it and moved all the furniture back in, and exclaiming, “We have a grown up room!”

What’s Been Done

  • Scraped and painted popcorn ceiling
  • Patched and painted walls
  • Replaced window treatments
  • Scrubbed and repaired windows
  • Framed and silled windows
  • Removed carpeting
  • Installed hand-scraped bamboo and baseboard
  • Furnished and decorated

Still Needs Doing

This is a wish-list item, but before we get out of here, we want to install an overhead light and ceiling fan.

Office

Before

Dark, dingy, and depressing, with ancient window treatments and carpet that had definitely seen better days, and windows that looked like they could definitely use some love. Fortunately, we were able to provide that love.

After

It’s safe to say that this is still my favorite room in the house, and that this one is as close to done as we can get – except, like the bedroom, we want to install an overhead light and ceiling fan.

What’s Been Done

  • Scraped and painted popcorn ceiling
  • Patched and painted walls
  • Replaced window treatments
  • Scrubbed and repaired windows
  • Framed and silled windows
  • Removed carpeting
  • Installed hand-scraped bamboo and baseboard
  • Furnished and decorated

Upstairs Bathrooms

Again, one of the areas we haven’t touched except to give a deep cleaning, and these spaces need a solid gut job. We’ve got a lot of work to do here, and these are likely to be our major focus areas over the next year.

Still Needs Doing

  • Replace vanities, sinks, and fixtures
  • Reframe mirrors
  • Replace vent fans
  • Replace light fixtures
  • Replace tile and backsplash
  • Replace medicine cabinets
  • Add storage
  • Retile shower

Backyard

The backyard needs a lot of love, but right now it’s in the middle of being pulled up, along with the back fence, by our association’s maintenance crew. This is a really good news story for us, because we’re getting all new fences on top of a new cement and block retaining wall, a whole new drainage system, and new grass. Once they’re done working out there, we’ll reassess what needs to be done!

Still a lot of projects to go, but we’re making progress! It’s been actually pretty satisfying looking back at those awful Day One pictures I took and posted and seeing what we’ve been able to do. I can’t wait to see where we are with the place by Year Two!

KCS

Finding Balance

I received a gift card to source items for this post from Yoga Outlet. All opinions and content are my own.

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 Mat | Bracelet | Mandala Pants 

The more balanced I try to keep my life, the better I feel. I think that’s true for everyone – we’re all seeking that elusive thing called balance, whether it’s work + life balance or something else.

In our minds, we want to find the balance between challenging ourselves and finding the right opportunities to relax, play, or daydream. In our hearts, we want to find the balance between giving the right amount of love and being open to it as well. In our bodies, we want the release of exercise and exertion and the taste of good food but not overdoing or underdoing either of those. And those are just the things that pull at us internally! When we add the external pulls – work, social relationships, and the rest – it’s not surprising we’re all trying to juggle A LOT.

As with anything, the best balance comes when it’s not a trade-off. When it really is that sweet spot where you have a handle on things so that your heart and mind aren’t being pulled in too many directions at once. Where you can have your metaphorical cake and eat it, too.

Does such a place really exist?

The answer is often, surprisingly, yes – but not the way we think.

Yoga is a huge balancing influence in my life. It helps me relax and exercise at the same time, and helps me be mindful while it’s distracting me from what’s going on, but that’s not the biggest way it balances things out for me.

A few years ago, I took a hard landing while skydiving that compressed a disc in my back and did some nerve damage. That, on top of other injuries, left me facing the uncomfortable option of extensive surgery. While I was doing physical therapy leading up to that option, I asked my physical therapist if there was anything I could do.

She nodded and said, “You can take up yoga.”

I did. And the results amazed me. I went to a yoga class I really enjoyed twice a week and did stretching exercises at home, and slowly I felt the poses, the control, the knowledge of body positions having an effect on me. The movement strengthened auxiliary muscles and tendons I didn’t normally use and lengthened the others through stretching. My range of motion slowly started to return, and that opened the door for other exercises. I’m really working on getting back into running in a big way now, and thanks to yoga, I’ve managed to knock out three half-marathons since my accident. I’m really hoping I can knock out a full marathon, too.

Yoga allowed me to be able to do the exercises I enjoy without submitting to surgery. On top of that, practicing taught me how to be self-aware in a way I wasn’t before, and taught me how to focus on my thoughts while tuning out the rest of the world and the things that stress me. Add to it the sound of the Pacific while I practice, and life is very, very good.

The fine folks at Yoga Outlet added to my joy by offering me a chance to try their gear and upgrade my yoga mat. I did, and picked up these outstanding mandala print yoga pants in the bargain! They’ve got every outstanding brand I love, from Jade to Prana to Merrell and even Funky Yoga! I will definitely be shopping again!

If you practice yoga or if you’re just looking for some great style ideas, meditation essentials, or even inspirations on ways to find your balance in yoga – including stand-up paddle board yoga, which I absolutely have to try – check out their end of summer sale and stock up on your yoga essentials!

How do you find your balance? Yoga? Running? Meditation? I’d love to hear!

KCS

P.S. I was provided a gift card to try products from Yoga Outlet. I chose products from the site I absolutely love and brands I would have purchased normally, and am really excited to have found a place I can get these products at a discount!

 

 

 

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