Category Archives: Daily Sass

Creative Time

May 2016 domestic life

I’ve talked about this before, but finding time to be creative is essential to my joy. And by “joy,” I mean “not screaming my head off and breaking things like the Hulk.”  When life gets busy, especially at the end of the school year, the schedule leaves little space for new recipes — much less time to just sit in the garden and talk to the plants.

What? You don’t talk to your vegetables? You should. 

I’m slowly and painfully learning to let go of the picture of what life should look like. Do you trip over this too? That all the beds should be made daily (Reality: once every 2-3 weeks when I get sheets changed), that the catch-all basket on the kitchen counter is organized and the mail and bills are caught up (Reality: more mail shows up daily), that I’ll get caught up at work (Reality: never. This is absolutely never going to happen), that I’ll feel like I’m getting enough exercise/sleep/sex and not worried about too many glasses of wine/calories/gray hair (Reality: are you kidding me?)

Letting the house remain dusty, the weeds grow one more day and junk mail unsorted gives me the time to sit down with a cup of coffee for a few minutes in the morning, cuddle the pups and knit a couple rows. Or embroider. Or practice the piano in the evenings. And making the time to do these things makes everyone in my family happier. I’m a resentful grouch if I spend all my time cleaning. This house is never, ever going to be wholly clean and organized. I’m working against two teenagers, three dogs, a bunny and the open, beautiful desert nearby — which is also REALLY dusty. And no one in this house needs to be nagged about being tidy. What we do need is to be regularly reminded we are loved.

There is no perfection. This life is messy and busy and absolutely wonderful as is, which I can see more clearly when I have time for the hobbies I love.





This Week

The making of an arts + crafts loft


I’m reading Phoenix Noir and All the Light We Cannot See.  I recently finished Wild and Freedom. I loved Wild. Cheryl Strayed’s Dear Sugar saved my life once. (That’s a story for another day. Thank you Juliann!) Her podcast “Dear Sugars” is also great.

Freedom was a beast, and I’m glad I read it. I’m more interested in Franzen’s new book Purity than I thought I would be. His books are a commitment. The character development is so thoughtful, but the lack of dialog can make the story slower than it should be at points. That said, I think he is the best author of our time to capture middle class America living and somehow make it interesting.

Side note: I stood in front of the “new in paperback” section at Target this week and drooled. I have a cornucopia of books to read; I’m making a sincere effort to read what I have and pass them on. But oh, the bright and shiny happiness of the new $12 paperbacks that I could inhale in 2 days is delirious. Instead, I’m fighting the urge to buy new when that same delirious feeling came over me every time I bought the 400 or so books collecting dust in our office.


I’m back to hot yoga. I’ve been taking 4-5 classes a week for the last few, and have joined the little studio in our neighborhood. The timing of their morning classes works out great; I can get a butt-busting workout in before work and make it to my desk with a hot cup of coffee by 8 am. All this exercise and the waning summer heat has me looking at my wardrobe with disgust. I’m tired of the same look, the same things, and the same soccer-mom Gap sense of style. I want to dress more like this and less like this. I’m in a rut.

I need to mix it up. I’m just not sure where to start. Conceptually, I like the idea of these for fall, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going from cotton capris to leather leggings and tennis shoes. There has to be a more gentle move toward being on fleek, right?

Louise. On fleek. Am I even using that right?



Side of turkey, hold the resentment

Thanksgiving 2014

A girlfriend sent an email this week detailing the reasons she no longer loves the holidays. And boy, did those reasons resonate. Namely, she feels like no matter how much she does, someone will be disappointed.  Someone will think she hasn’t done enough. She’ll end up having her turkey with a side of guilt and resentment.

And — this may also resonate for many of you — she described how she worries about each gift for their families and children, making sure they are just right and wrapped and ready and her husband is responsible solely for her. The division of labor during the holidays is often completely off kilter.

It makes me crazy to watch women migrate toward the kitchen after a big family meal, while the men* head to the couch. Like these are our normal, engrained transitory patterns.

Women: Kitchen! Men: Football.

I’m calling bullshit.

Ladies, put down that wine glass, wipe the mascara off from beneath your tired, beautiful eyes, raise your right hand and repeat after me:

“I love Thanksgiving. When I was a kid, it was all about the time off, the extra time under the covers to read, sitting in my grandma’s lap, eating pie and running around afterward with a belly so full I thought I was going to perpetually fall forward. This year, I’m taking that innocent, happiness back. I’m going to spend the extra time with friends and family. I’m going to ignore my phone and the dirty dishes and instead play. I’m going to ask for help. I’m going to accept compliments. I’m going to hit the snooze button. I’m going to take long walks and pour another glass of whatever is my fancy and feel zero guilt. I’m going to realize that come January 1, there will still be chores to do and calories to burn and there will likely be someone in my life who isn’t happy no matter what I did or didn’t do. But, I won’t have this holiday season again to spend with those I love.

As such, I will not beat myself up, compare myself to others, try to put on my “skinny pants” or worry about that one damn gray hair that will not go away no matter how many times I try to pluck it. I will pull out my fanciest stretchy pants, hug my family a little more and sit my own butt on the couch when I feel like it. I will not feel compelled to watch football just because it is on. I will not allow cell phones at my dinner table. I will create a line of happy soldiers to help with the dishes and trash and foot rubs.

Amen and Amen.”


*Dear men: this is my family to a Thanksgiving T. This may not be YOU. Please do not send me angry email. I love you.


Today’s Joy

I can’t read another story that includes the word, “beheading.” I’m recovering from a nasty bug and have far too little patience at the moment to deal with heavy worldly topics that actually matter.

{I know. I should be stronger. This week I just can’t. My heart is hurting for everyone and my nose is running and I just need a bit of mindless fluff to get through.}

Instead, may I present you with a few things currently making me very happy. Including:

Random IGs

A furry baby donkey. OMGTHECUTE

Random IGs

Random childhood photos my aunt found and keeps texting me. Check out those sideburns. Wow.

Random IGs

Lovely typography! I have been keeping examples of typography design I love and this is at the top of the list. So well done.

Random IGs

And I am on a “best of” hunt concerning carne asada burritos in the greater Phoenix area. What’s your favorite burrito?



The little things

Just because he's good to me


I have a stack of ironing to finish. Knitting to complete. A book that is two-thirds read. Hundreds of pages of edits on a novel to make. A book proposal half completed. And I’m going to Vegas this weekend with a childhood friend to see Britney Spears for our 35th birthdays.

Guess which one is getting the most attention?

I’ll be back soon, and will post for Friday’s Writer School. Otherwise, just trying to manage one hot day of summer at a time — and thankful we are nearing September, with cooler, darker mornings.


100 Foot Journey

Grand Canyon trip prep

We are preparing for a multi-day trip in the Grand Canyon. I’ve never done such an extensive hike (17 miles the first day) and I’m a little nervous.

Grand Canyon Trip Prep

Good, good Lord are hiking shoes ugly.

(More importantly — if you haven’t seen 100 Foot Journey, do! It is delightful.)



Spring in Phoenix this year means a new sunscreen that is fantastic, orange, turquoise, lots of white, lots of eyelets, sandals and mixing in thrift store scarf finds to add pops of color:

Spring style

Spring style


I’m also loving this dress, with the belt and shoes– but with any luck it will be 60% off come May. And this bag. Oh, how I love a pretty bag.

And… I’m tempted to go back for this ridiculous all-sequined peach shirt that I talked myself out of. Frankly, I have yet to require an all sequin peach shirt in the last 34 years, but you just never know. It is kinda crazy-pretty.

probably crazy

(Pay no mind to the sports bra or yoga pants. I was multitasking between errands. You know how it goes: gym, wash car, pink sequin top shopping, grocery…)

What are you wearing this season?


The Frugal Fashionista


La vie en rose

Baby hat for Layla

Baby hat for Layla

Baby hat for Layla

I started this post a few days ago to talk about how sweet babies are and how much I love knitting and now it is late Friday and I’m exhausted and ready for a “Holy-shit-we-made-it-a-year-cocktail!!” with the Mr. Yeah. I know. That went by fast for me too, never mind it also involved two cross country moves, three states, far too many moving boxes, two new careers and one very annoyed, pampered pooch.


Mazel tov, salud and cheers to all,


Sass and Vigor

On the road

I’ve had occasional bouts with insomnia in the last few years. I’ll go four or five days a month with 2-3 hours of sleep in a row. The first night of more than 6 hours of sleep after such a restless time feels like I’ve won life’s lottery. Colors are brighter. The weather is perfect.  Any of the world’s problems is just a matter of a good conversation away from being solved.

This sort of insomnia is only made worse when it isn’t in my own bed. Dealing with hyper-sensitive emotions in the middle of the night is torture. I remember a series of nights I managed this alone in a hotel room in Mozambique, where the TV station was stuck on a Portuguese cooking show. I was soon a zombie, and fairly certain I was never going to cook with salted fish.

I’m on the road this week for work, thoroughly enjoying the warmer ways of Southern California. Palm trees, a Pacific breeze and Mexican food that is just so, so good, and a weekend planned with some of my closest friends. Thankfully, today after more than a full week of this utter misery, I’m back on track and full of sass and vigor. Last night was interrupted only by the sound of the person (or bear) in the next room who snored so loudly, I awoke at 2 am. Note to self: time to upgrade hotels.

Now, give me more coffee, and get out of my way.












Fashionistas: Sole Mates

Oh Kara,

When you suggested this month we cover our favorite summer footwear, I jumped with glee. As my mother can tell you, I have always had “a thing for shoes and bags.”

So, you know. I’m a woman.

Since moving to Colorado, I have a new appreciate for footwear. There is no need for the winter pedicure and peek-a-boo conservative flat. Instead, my tootsies are bundled up in wool socks and boots, or my Ugg slippers, for months at a time. Come just about now, it’s time to break out the sandals. The flats. The shoes that don’t require socks but do require a new razor to show some leg.

Say it with me: YAHOOOO!

A few of my now “summer” shoe faves:

Fashionistas: May

Fashionistas: May

Birk flip flops, Giza style. I LOVE these. You know I don’t mind a good heel, but dating a man who is my same height means I have a new appreciation for flats too. I’ve got these in a couple colors and wear them with skirts and jeans.

Fashionistas: May

Tarjay heels. Thank you, thank you Target buyers for selling size 11s. You have made my wardrobe and pocketbook so very happy.

Fashionistas: May

Clark heels that were new when I bought them at a local thrift for $8. And oh, more Tarjay shoes. I love wild flats. With bright tops, black pants and a bunch of silver jewelry. I also wear these with maxi dresses, or with a-line dresses for work. They are comfy and add just enough color to be sassy.

Fashionistas: May

And of course, my very favorite summer sandal. Still love these. Still wear them whenever I get a chance. Wedge + espadrille = my favorite. That said, I’m about 6 foot a billion in these.

Fashionistas: May

Fashionistas: May

And let’s be honest. These are the summer kicks that get the most wear. A good pair of trail runners for the summer ahead in Colorado and I’m set.

Now, what are you wearing? Favorite place to find shoes?