yesterday was one of those amazing days in which you have not a worry in the world or a care for your hair. i was lucky enough to not have any plans for the day and simply went where the wind took me.

and thankfully, it lead me right where i needed to be- outside. sounds simple enough. like that place a few steps beyond my front door. but unfortunately, i realized that it has been MONTHS since i have really taken the time to enjoy mother nature and feel the wind in my hair, the sun on my face. and it was AMAZING.

i've been feeling this crazy, overwhelming, life-crisis situation going on inside of me for the past few weeks. nothing out of the ordinary for a 26 year-old girl who's entire facebook wall is filled with wedding pics, engagement pics, proposal stories, sonogram pics, status updates on all things wedding and baby. just typing that out makes me want to vom : ) you know, THOSE type of things... and feeling like i am behind. when i KNOW in my heart i am not and as my mother reminds me, we all have our own timeline in life and i cannot compare my life and journey to anyone else's. ok. done with that vent session.

back to why yesterday was so perfect. i got to sit outside, write in my journal, and enjoy life in those still, quiet moments. my soul was so content. my heart happy. i was living my day and my life, just how i wanted it. i joked that i am really some tree-hugging, hippie nature girl with a bird soul that is meant to live in a tree somewhere. because THAT is when i am most alive, me, refreshed, and happy. when i am outside.

thankful for the beauty of yesterday. for girlfriends. for laughs. for the reminder that each day is a new day and all will simply be, OK.


home. decor.

it's an understatement to say that i live, breath, eat, dream....all things home decor. i fantasize about the home i will one day own and decorate to my heart's desire. even for the apartment that I currently live in with my roommate Christy, i am constantly on the prowl for just one more pillow, or frame, or lamp. (LOVE lamps.)

with a trip to IKEA this past Saturday, I was on the hunt for a large piece of art for above the TV. well, i found something!
DALLAS to be exact. a giant, beautiful shot of downtown Dallas is now decorating that big wall above the TV.

AND i found two lamps. at $9.99 each, i couldn't resist. so, i put together the lamps and hung the art and wa-laa!

the living room is now complete. (i think : )


2012. welcome back.

today I sat at a local coffee shop and wrote in my journal. something i have failed to do for FAR to long.

while detailing my day today to Geno in one of our, er MY, overly detailed phone conversations, he then suggested that I start blogging again. so, here i go....

twenty-twelve. I have this really awesome feeling that this is going to be a crazy-great year. nothing stands out in particular. oh wait, did i mention that 2012 is the year Geno McNeil MOVES TO DALLAS! for real. for permanent. not just for the summer. in 2009, the year we met, 2012 felt like light-years away. and now,only a few months stand between he and I and his move southward to the great state of Texas. oh yes, that could be why i think 2012 will be a crazy-great year : )

aside from that, my lovely Cor Jesu/St. Louis friend, Sarah, has recently moved to Dallas as well! one by one I am wrangling my closest friends to this great state. it truly is so wonderful to have close friends, especially from home, within a 10 minute drive. good for those rainy day afternoons to watch movies and chat, as well as to run to Target with on a Wednesday night. SO happy and excited Sarah has chosen to move to Dallas and for a dear friend to make lots more memories with.

2012. thanks for welcoming me back dear blog of mine. thanks for waiting patiently for the day i would return, and blab and blab and blab on and on about the most random of adventures and thoughts and feelings. i think i have already settled back in nicely : )



a fresh start.

i have never been more thankful for a fresh start. a new beginning. another time to step up to the starting line, and move forward in the journey of life.

last monday, i received just that. the first day of a new school year, the first day of the second year of geno and myself dating apart, and the first day of a new me.

and funny thing is, just the day before, was an ending day. a good-bye day. a sort of sad day. it was the last day of summer, the last day of one of the best summer's of my life, the day my sweet guy drove back to kansas. i felt how i felt, fully and completely, and thanked God for the many amazing memories, blessings, and people He has placed in my life.

i went to bed, and woke up...to a new day.

i felt ready. alive. like "this next year i am going to kick ass in this game called life!!!" pardon my french. but that's how i felt : ) i felt energized for the week ahead. balanced. and calm. calm in a comforted by God sense, calm in a there is no need to worry and stress sense. and BOY, did it feel good!

last week God provided me with a great deal of busyness, wonderful friend moments, good phone calls, yoga class and long walks, a lot of energy, a new favorite spot, and peace in my soul. for each of these things i am VERY grateful. i have learned not to expect anything, to appreciate the little things, and to let go. it's funny how for this worry-wart, over thinking, detail orientated, thousand of question asking girl....that when i stop asking questions. listen. and let go. i can see things just as i think i am meant to be seeing them.

here's to another week! in which i will continue to be still, and listen for the Lord's whisper.

.to a beautiful day.



great song. and it seems rather appropriate for the direction i THINK my life may be headed. not in any BIG ways, per se. more like small little changes that i am seeking out/doing/pursuing.

1) i cut SEVEN inches off my hair today! not any new crazy hair-do, but it's amazing how much lighter i felt when those inches hit the floor!! i just needed a change. something new. it's hair. it grows. and it felt quite liberating to just go in there and chop-it-OFF!!! a small change. but an exciting and big one in terms of just DOING it!

2) this weekend i literally brought a third of my entire wardrobe and spread it out onto my back patio, (that's what has to happen when you live in a teensy house and need a space larger than 5x5) I made a give-away/garage sale/donate pile. that's all one pile- don't be confused. hey, i had to start somewhere! and a "keep it because even though you haven't worn it since high-school there may be that ONE theme party or day when it is absolutely necessary to bring out the camo capri pants." oh lord, did i just admit that i own those??? I haven't EVER (pinkie promise) worn them, but for some strange reason i can not rationalize throwing them out. hmmmm...ok, i sound like a crazy! might have to go move those to the give-away pile.

again, this isn't a huge, life-improving change...but it's something i have yet to do in the almost three years since i've called dallas home, and it just feels GOOD to de-clutter. and clean out the closets. and hopefully give them to someone who needs them a lot more than i do. and hey, let's be honest, it will make some space for something....dare i say....new. : )

3) have you heard of Groupon? Well, I bought my first groupon the other day. it's for a month of yoga at a studio near my home. I LOVE yoga. and just feel soooo much better when i am practicing it. however, with my crazy schedule it gets hard to add to my everyday life and is also quite expensive at most places in dallas. so when i saw this awesome deal, i hit "buy buy buy" right away! I am waiting to go until i know i have a month of time in which my days are a littttttle more predictable (aka- September sounds good : ) i am very much looking forward to trying a new studio, new teachers, as well as adding some ommmmmmmm back into my daily life. a small change, or rather addition, to my life- but i think it will be really quite rewarding!

so those are just a few of the small changes in the life of me. nothing big. nothing major. but just the perfect amount of spicing up and pizazz that we often forget to add to our daily lives! and for me, these little things are what keep me going, keep life interesting, and best of all...help me continue to grow as an individual.

.to a beautiful life.


my life through the lens.

i love taking pictures. i love looking at photographs. i love capturing a moment in time and being able to hold on to it forever. i love the nostalgia and memories that a certain photo can stir up. just thought i'd share with you a few photographs from my summer....


a good conversation. listening. learning.

for as much as i love words, and writing, and can sure as heck blab with the best of those chatty-kathy's out there.....i much prefer to listen.

this week i have been blessed with some really great conversations. i have learned not to take a deep, meaningful, full of thinking and asking and understanding....but most importantly, LISTENING, conversation - for granted.

i've talked with anna about family and dreams and the daily episodes that come with babysitting and working with children. we laughed and cried a little, we smiled when we knew EXACTLY what the other person was thinking without even having to finish the sentence. we understood one another and let a few open and honest conversations become the glue to our friendship that i know will last a long time.

i've talked with sweet little kiddos about legos, and fast cars, about how yeast helps to make bread rise and how belly-flops REALLY do hurt your belly. i've listened to them sing songs on the radio about love and life events they have yet experience, but with passion and strong-lungs, they belt out those words like tina turner.

i've listened to rachel talk about her pediatrics rotation in medical school and how she witnessed the birth of a 23 week old baby. i immediately thought of how thankful i am for my health and can only pray that a few years down the road when i have children, they are healthy little rascals as well.

i've talked with geno about this summer and the great memories we've had. about past life events that have deeply shaped who we are today, yet know without a doubt they are all a part of god's plan for our lives. we've laughed and made fun of each other. we talked about what-ifs and the future - yet i can't help but just stop and remember to live in THIS moment, the present, and take in each second that we have together, as well as each second i spend with another person.

i've learned that special moments, simple moments, often come when you least expect it....and for those moments, especially this week, i am thankful.

hope you are having a wonderful weekend! i know i am : ) and when it gets a little hectic or stressful or busy, remember to just stop and listen. you never know what you may hear. and if nothing else, that quiet moment could be exactly what you need.

.to a beautiful life.



hello blog world! it's me again. i would attempt to "look back" and try my very best to capture what the past four-or-so months have held...but then i get really overwhelmed when trying to remember every single 'what i ate for breakfast/lunch/dinner' detail, so i decided against it, and will instead just look forward! (i know what you're thinking...."thank the LORD she spared us the details!! - you're welcome : )

therefore, after watching previews for this movie.....i thought it would be most appropriate to start blogging again (did i mention that i have been computer-less for the past 6 months?!? really makes blogging difficult. i do apologize. but now i'm back in business....so i hope you're ready to read my crazy, often impulsive, silly, somewhat deep thoughts. wow- that sounds intense. i promise to keep it light.ish.)

anywho....back to the movie i can't wait to see. i DO know for certain that the past four months have involved a LOT of eating (more than i'd like to admit but mmmmm so good), many prayers sent upward, and a whole lotta love <3 three of my favorite things, which is why i am super excited to see the movie!

more of those details that i mentioned i would refrain from sharing will probably be shared in the next few posts....but until then....i will leave you with this quote that perfectly captures the thoughts swirling around in my head....

"I want to go someplace where i can MARVEL at something....."


smile : )

one of my favorite new songs. "smile" by uncle kracker. anything involving a smile...seems to really connect with me : )

this song makes me want to fast forward to summer, grilling on the patio, laying out, with that carefree sort of summer attitude....

until then....send the world your smile!



love these letters. never quite knew what they stood for when i was younger, but BOY do i understand (and very much appreciate!) them now.

thank GOODNESS it's FRIDAY....ya'll : )

have a happy weekend!



do you ever have those days.......

in which you think "what the heck am i doing with my life, there are too many things i have on my mind, i wish people would just be nice all the time, my laundry is piling up, and i think it may rain two fridays from now (i don't do rain on fridays.)" well- that's been my week. and rain on friday is ok, in fact, it will help create the perfect environment for me to curl up on my couch with my box of reduced-fat cheez-its and watch all my shows from the week. bring on the rain!

not complaining. simply letting out a little steam. er, fire?

so to combat these before mentioned feelings, i ran for the first time in oh....about 5 months. it felt great! brought back lots of memories of hitting the pavement last summer. let's see, what else did i do? i have also tried on a bridesmaid dress, helped an elderly lady driving an escalade (that gets a WTF?!?) remove the 200 pound trashcan that she was dragging from the front grill of her car, fed, changed, and put to sleep a baby I barely know (don't ask...please), driven through a monsoon with faulty windshield wipers which led me to pull over in the Jack in the Box parking lot to wait for the storm to pass only to sit there for 45 minutes, order some curly fries, and head back home....and that's just the beginning of my week on top of the normal teach classes at the studio and day school sort of events. i just grew a gray hair typing all this : )

sometimes I feel like superwoman. all in a days work. no big deal at all. or so i tell myself. cheers!


a shoe-worthy cause

TOMS. i love them. i got them on sunday and have proudly worn them every day since.

best christmas present ever from my awesome boyfriend. SO comfy. not to expensive. relatively stylish. and the BEST part....when you buy a pair, you are really purchasing two!

Their website says.....


TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what we're all about.

buy some. give some. i promise your feet will thank you (as will someone millions of miles away who is maybe getting a pair of shoes for the first time. pretty amazing if you ask me!)

my first pair......of many : )


aRt. ArT. i WanT yOu

good morning! i saw this a couple of days ago and it made me smile in appreciation of art. art is now my life. it fills my days. inspires me. teaches me. helps me to teach. fulfills me.

so in honor of this wonderful gift.....art, art, i want you....


amen to that.

i have had this wonderful sense of peace, and calm, and gratitude the past few days, especially today.

in this great big, beautiful world of ours....i am so small. so much is going on around us, as well as within each of us. we all have our own struggles and challenges, and during these times i find the simplest of phrases often help to keep things in perspective.

my grandma gave me something many years ago with the following quote on it, that for some odd reason i've memorized and kept in my "save for a rainy day" brain file. it goes:

Yesterday is gone,

tomorrow may never come.

But always there is today.

And today is an ever-present opportunity

to make ourselves and those around us

truly happy.

so simple. yet, so true.

thankful for this day. this life. and everything that makes it so great.

p.s. my fortune cookie just told me this...

Amen to that : )


hello blog. it's me. hydrated and ready for what's in store

yes yes. i haven't been the, shall i say, BEST, blogger. lately. er, actually...in a while. and you know what - instead of reprimanding myself (which i'm not really sure what sort of punishment that would entail....) i am going to simply just accept it. i blog when i feel like blogging. and i live in between. this blog is more or less for me to get my silly, rambling, sometimes serious thoughts out of my head and onto paper. and i like to think that if i'm to busy to actually sit in front of my computer (and let me tell you with an iphone, SITTING in front of my computer or giving my computer any attention at all now-a-days is a rare occurrence. what did i do before this technological genius?!? THANK YOU Jo Ellen! You truly are tecnho savvy : ) and Frankmas is the best holiday idea ever : )

so yes, i believe if i am too busy to sit down and turn the computer on, and pull up the Internet, and write a post...then i must be doing some whole-heck-of-a-lotta good livin! yep. that's exactly what i've been doing.

more on those juicy details later. (not really juicy at all. just seeing what sort of responses i'd get for saying that....)

so in honor 0f 2010...i am going to start with a good dose of honesty. i admit. i am a water snob. so much so that i know which restaurants, fast food chains, bottles, taps, rivers, and oceans have the best water. i LOVE drinking water. however, not just any water will do.

favorite bottled water : FIJI.
i truly believe there is something BETTER about it. i mean, it's FIJIAN water. that just sounds purer and more sophisticated. gosh i sound rediculous. but a bottle of fiji at the frugal price of $5.00 a pop will be sure to hydrate my each and every pore. at least that's what i tell myself.

favorite water to-go: Starbucks.
Is it wrong to like the water at starbucks better than the oh so caffeinated product that keeps many people in this world awake and going? well i do. and i'll tell you why. i even have a valid reason for this one. it's TRIPLE, yes, TRIPLE filtered. ask any starbucks barista and they will tell you that in fact their water is sought out, refilled, and enjoyed by many a customer. myself included. "i'd like an iced tall, soy, white chocolate mocha, no whip, and a VENTI ICED WATER. please?" that is my order. and with not only one, but two drinks in hand, my day just got a little better.

favorite water presentation at a restaurant: this way.
that my friend, is this water lovers idea of perfection. this picture doesn't do it justice, so let me explain. just enough ice cubes. a red straw with the paper left on the top (i'm not a freak of a germ phobe, but the paper-left-on-the-straw touch is always an appreciated one.) add a nice yellow lemon slice to top it off and i am good to go! i also have this theory that lemon water somehow promotes weight loss, but it could just be that tricky thing called...WATER. weight. darn. : )

so yes, i'm a water snob. there's good water. gross water. aka - the water that comes out of my kitchen faucet. and water that fits somewhere in-between. good ol' H.2.O.

you are one of earth's most beloved resources. and you are certainly one of mine.


what's your light style?

i love christmas lights. a huge fan of those big bright bulbs strung all over the house and tree and heck every shrub too, while you're at it. but i have to wonder WHAT in the heck some people are thinking when they envision just the way they will decorate their home for the holidays. to me, it's sort of like when you get dressed in the morning...what will i wear today to represent myself and walk out into the world for everyone to see? except in this case, you'd be wearing it for about a month. point in case - choose wisely. so i thought i'd drive around my neighborhood and share with you exhibit A-E of the many different "ways" per se to show your personal light style.

the ever so simple, hanging icicle lights. the basic cardigan sweater if you will, with some bidazzle beads or sequins for a little extra flare. but come on, at least buy a second package for that other lonely side of the house.

orrrrrrrrrrr.....kick it up a notch with an awesome, GINORMOUS blow-up santa. it's as tall as the house. perfect.

my personal favorite. classic white lights strung along the gutter, with a simple, beautiful, similarly clad christmas tree shining through the front window. love it.

never quite understood the giant blow up balls (gerbil ball style) with santa spinning around or snow falling on the dry snowman. cute? maybe. just never got this one : )

and now for the prize-winning, best in show, very creative and the Lord only knows how long it took to put up...exhibit E. icicle lights. santa and his flying reindeer ready to touch down on the front lawn. trees, sidewalks, and bushes all aglow. an enlarged photo in the front window. this would be classified as a mix between a tacky christmas sweater, and your best sunday outfit. hard to imagine? well, this is it : )

happy holidays! what's your light style?


a beautiful disaster

i love analogies. especially when they sort of just appear right smack in front of my face without even having to come up with them myself. i.e. the state of my classroom when i walked in this morning perfectly reflects how i feel about the current state of my life in general. a little messy (paint splattered all over the place from the cabinets falling off the wall), a lotta colorful (i mean, it's an art room), seemingly no sense of order, but it makes sense to me, and the need for a little rearranging and organization. if you just look, sometimes out of a mini disaster comes something beautiful. in this case, peace of mind that all is always ok : )

btw....it feels good to be back in this blogger world. and i've added it to my list to not sneak away for so long : )

.to a beautiful life.


dAnCiNg tHrOuGh LiFe

thanks to a beautiful start to the morning, and the sweet sound of the wicked soundtrack echoing through my home....I really am dancing through life...

There is nothing better than a beautiful, crisp, fall, morning, blue skies, the warm sunshine streaming through the windows...nothing better to start my day off just right!

After two months of literally wondering if I needed to build an ark, I am SO thankful for the sunshine and happy weather.

Just wanted to share that for the moment. And also write to say, that I am so incredibly blessed and thankful for everyone in my life, for the many wonderful places I get to "work", for my family and silly siblings who make me laugh (mom and dad, you do too : ) and especially for the little things that add spice to each day, which make life so special!

to a beautiful day and dancing through life!


i'm sorry i can't go out tonight....

So I think I should inform ya'll of my new neighbors! Yes, neighbors. with an "s". they are a family of four. they are all IDENTICAL. kids look just like they're mother in fact. really unusual sleeping patters, they tend to be extra rambunctious at night, when I am trying to sleep, and/or thinking of possssssssibly going out to do something (a rare event. but sometimes I do go out at night : )

Well, let me share a little secret. These "neighbors" of mine. Not so much the average bear. Er, well, they are actually raccoons. YES...RACCOONS! FOUR of them. Four annoying, creepy, climbing, omnivorous, did I say annoying, raccoons!

Every night for the past month or so, without fail, they quietly prowl (or at least I swear they are out to get me) across my patio, climb up the gate, onto the overhead deck, sometimes up onto the roof, maybe even into the attic (or my poor neighbor's chimney and into her living room - talk about a PAN-IC attack!), or who knows where really. But the point is, that they are beginning to get a little to close for comfort.

The people who work next door leave out cans of cat food for the ten or so feral cats that also make their home in the near vicinity of my living quarters. (i dispise cats. WHERE am I living? A frickin zoo : ) NO. DALLAS. hellllllo raccoons, please leave me alone and go find your dinner somewhere else!

So at first I just saw one raccoon, and then one lovely, memorable night, my friend Mandy was over, and the motion sensor light when on. She commented, "Oh wow, look at that cat climb." Oh no no friend, I had to calmly inform her that that was not a cat.

BUT WAIT?!?! Even I was a bit startled at what I continued to see. Not one, but two....and three...and oh there's another...four! Yes a mother and her three babies had just finished their meal and were descending back down the fence and across my patio two feet on the other side of my glass door. Needless to say, we were SCREAMING, total girl style!

And that was just the beginning. The past couple times I have had friends over, I have to stop them before they leave, to do raccoon reconnaissance. No lie, I get out my heavy duty flashlight, scan the premises, and if I see one, I bang on the glass and yell at them. Classy. But hey, a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do to protect her friends! And then I hope and pray, as they SPRINT out with all of their belongings, that a furry friend doesn't pounce on top of their head or chase them down the street.

So, in case you're reading this and you ask for my presence after, oh sunset, and I am a little hesitant to say yes, please don't take it personally.

I mean...I'm really sorry...but I MIGHT just have to stay in for the night. It's not you. It's the raccoons.

: )


the power of words. actions. love.

I finished a book today. And although I'd like to pretend that this is a normal, no-big-deal feat, well, it really is just that. A feat.

I am the girl who wrote 15-page papers in college on a book or assignment that I barely read the first three pages of, or, at best, the cliff notes. I wish I could say that reading was one of my hobbies (although I am consciously working on adding it to my top 10 list of favorite things to do) but I have this problem, well, let's not call it a problem, that sounds a little to negative, it's more of...I have this "personality trait" where I like answers right away. (Patience is a virtue right? : ) I need to know the ending before "Once upon a time," and really just want to know that everyone lived and ended up happily ever after....

Probably why movies and I have some issues too. But the first step to any problem is admitting that you have one, so I guess I'm on my way to possibly becoming the next speed-reading-marathon-movie-watching girl. we'll see : )

So back to the book I finished today. It's called "The Geography of Love." It is a memoir, written in very much the same style and tone as the way in which I imagine myself as a writer to be (like novel, published book writer...not this sort of...you know what I mean.) It made me smile, cry (multiple times), view the power of unconditional love in a way I have yet to experience, feel gratitude and appreciation for those I love most in a deeper way, and ultimately helped me realize just how precious our time here on earth really is.

I won't go into more detail about the book itself...but I do want to write a little more about the concept of not taking for granted the people who are in our lives. It is often those people who know our every quirk, weakness, strength, eye color, the way we brush our teeth, those who have raised us, grown up with us in the same household, those whom we have chosen to love for a moment in time, or for forever, our best friends, children, family, spouses, co-workers...

THOSE are the people who we hold closest to our hearts, but often treat the worst. I ask myself, "Why is this?" Myself included, I think if we all woke up every day and decided to treat everyone with the same love, respect, kindness, warmth, genuine spirit and honesty, I think the world would smile, and we would all be a little happier.

Unconditional love. That is what we are meant to show and express to those special few who make up our human life force.
Love offered without any condition of reciprocation or merit. No quid pro quo, the presence of genuine love defined by nothing more than value. -The Geography of Love

Maybe this is again just one of those Caitlin wishful thinking perfect world scenarios...But I have to believe, that if through good times and bad, through ups and downs, through frustrations and celebrations, through growth and growing up, if we always acted out of love, we would look back with less regret, fuller hearts, deeper bonds, and a strong understanding of those very two words. unconditional love.

Hard? Definitely. Something to work towards? It certainly can't hurt. : )

.to a beautiful life.


and these are a few of my favorite things...

happy monday! i hope this day finds you happy, stress free, and appreciating the simple things in life.

the weather here in TX is PER-FECT! not a cloud in this big blue sky, a cool breeze mixed with the warm sun. I am such a nature lover...I think I was meant to be an animal. (in case you were wondering, I'd definitely be a bird. So I could look over the rest of the world below (i.e the picture above), fly wherever the wind took me, and be sure to get in lots of beach/ocean time while diving for fish in every lake, river, body of water I flew across. But I would try not to poop on any cars. That always puts a damper on my day : )

So, yes! I hope this day, in this moment, you are able to reflect on all the good things that are going on in your life, and FULFILLING (rather than filling) your deepest desires and heart.

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things...a few of the websites that I like to check on daily (and some that I remember to look at every once in a while)...as well as just a few of my other random, favorite things.

I love a great day!...and this simple website...www.greatday.com....is perfect for a little start-your-day motivational thought, or a mid-day pick me up. Whether the message is serious or a little more light-hearted, I enjoy reading whatever it may be, and often find that is it JUST the thing I needed to hear. (or read). Check it out!

To satisfy the inner designer/interior decorator/martha stewart that resides within me and would love to come out (thankfully, they are patiently waiting for the funds to do so) this website rocks the creative side of my brain. www.designspongeonline.com Always good for home decor ideas as well as out-of-the box gift ideas!

Ok, so I am little ashamed to add this to the list. But I have a very strong affinity for shopping (shoes in particular) and the lay-out, friendly employees, shoe department alone, and return policy (it's ridiculous. literally I think you can return anything, at any time. crazy!) of this place just makes me want to shop til I drop! www.nordstroms.com

And one more fun one...dad, I know you'll especially love this one : ) www.opi.com After discovering the beautiful (and much cheaper than getting acrylics put on) accessory of painting my nails...I love covering my pretty little nails with the newest colors, (click on the TRY IT ON box on the right of the screen...love it) and even changing them every few days to match my outfit. Hey, it's the little things in life : )

Like I always say, to a beautiful life. Breath in the fresh air and enjoy your day!


sushi guac and carrot cake

yes. that is in fact the dinner I am currently eating. please don't ask : )

but if you're thinking "that sounds disgusting," it's ok...my friend amelia just gave me those exact words. personally, it tasted great.

on the eve of the start of a whole new year of life (I realized I like the beginning of things MUCH better than the end of things. I mean, who doesn't? i.e. the midnight of the start of a birthday is WAY more meaningful than the midnight of the end of your special day)....ok ok ok

anywho....I find it fitting to recap this crazy, beautiful, random, maybe the biggest year of my life thus far....these 365 past days...so here we go...

This exact day last year...this very moment in fact...I was at the D Fall Fashion show event at One Arts Plaza on the 20-somethingth floor, sipping champagne and living the fast-paced, exciting, magazine girl sort of life. Two months later, I packed up my cube, and drove home jobless. Little did I know what this thing called life had in store for me.

Thanksgiving and Christmas allowed me to spend lots of time at home with my family, watch my sweet little Krueger girls here in Dallas, and send my resume out to any...well, really just ANYONE, and hope and pray that someone would respond.

January came and went...I spent many a days at Starbucks attempting to feel "cool" with all the other Starbucks regulars, when really I was trying to dodge the creepers and drinking way to much coffee : )

A little trip home to St. Louis in February gave me some words, encouragement, and just the motivation I needed to return to Dallas, and get scrappy. Which meant, drive around Dallas, knock on doors (or rather walk in and introduce myself) to whichever storefronts struck my fancy (unfortunately i am one to judge a book by it's cover. terrible i know.) but in this case...the two places i emailed turned out to be SUCCESS and SUCCESS...and i went from having no job, to three.

To be honest, I can't even tell you who or why or what made me walk into A Little Artsy or email the special events company. well, actually i do know who. because it can't be explained any other way. God. He lead me right into that special place, and not only did I get a job, I made an incredible friend, get to spend time with her precious family, and then got another job. When something is meant to be, it is so very clear to see.

So that brings us to March (quite the "star friend" adventure to Mexico with my bestest friend...oh how i love the ocean), April and May...nannying and lots of teaching the kiddos how to draw fishies and peacocks, while I snuck in some J-Lo wedding planner action (read past entry for complete breakdown of this night. words do not even begin to describe...yes, just read)

May...a quick trip home to celebrate my sister's high school graduation and heading off to college (so proud of you sis!), and the month I met someone very special. Basketball is his game, and geno is his name. He's the oldest of nine, and I think he's fine. (ok...good-looking. handsome. yes, those sound much better and way more sophisticated. but hey, they didn't rhyme : )

June, July, and August...hot hot and hot. Good ol' Texas summer in full force. Basically all I remember is sweating a lot, and yep, sweating a lot.

This summer was one of the best summers of my life. For lots of reasons, but it was one of those "seasons" if you will, in my life, when everything just fit. Each day flowed to the next, with the right amount of curiosity as to what each new day would hold and a perfect pinch of stability and comfort.

After searching for something a little more "permanent," a very clear, in your face reason to stay in Dallas, Casey (A Little Artsy owner and sweet sweet friend) called me one random Friday and said..."I know this is crazy and so out there, but would you want to teach?"

I think I laughed and/or choked on my Starbucks...TEACH?!? ME?!?

Well, again, shows how much control we have over own lives. I am now Ms. Baker. In fact, this is so unfamiliar to me, when the kids say "Hi Miss Baker" or "Good Morning Miss Baker" in the halls, I walk right past them. Who is Miss Baker? oh wait. that's me.

But it has been such a gift to be able to teach these kids art and help them release all their creativity into a beautiful masterpiece.

A vacation here, a surprise there, lots of visitors to my BNB (Bed and Breakfast...synonym for my home : ) and many "firsts."

This year has been really incredible. I look back to a year ago and the same bright-eyed 22, soon to be 23, year old girl, is not nearly the person she is today. So much growth, and discovery, and new experiences, and the realization, that even when life throws you lemons, with a little hard work and determination, lemonade is really quite easy to make. I've learned to let love in, and show love to people, strangers, and myself in a new and fulfilling way. I've learned more of who I am as a person, where I want to go, and what I want in life. I know that I can do it. I did do it. I am doing it.

Yep. That's been me wrapped up in the past 365 days of living life. A nice little smorgasbord of days and moments that in retrospect, leave me with lots of smiles and wonderful memories.

: ) p.s. if you're reading this, thank you. You are a true blessing in my life.

p.p.s. i think a party is going on in my stomach.

p.p.p.s. (what do all the p p p's even stand for? idk. so p.p.p.s. 24...here we come!!!!)

.to a beautiful life.


my sister is hilarious. almost as funny as ellen

i would like to introduce to you, a very special person in my life. my sister. my hilarious-soon-to-be-19-year-old sister.

i have never known a sillier, more carefree, happy-go-lucky, doesn't give a care in the world about what anyone thinks of her (however, she often tells me to stop acting silly when we are in wal mart. hmmm...i think there's something wrong with that, but oh well.) no matter what...even in the most serious, or light-hearted of times, even miles apart, from her dorm room in Mobile, Alabama. my sister can make me laugh.

and to me, laughing is the ONE thing a day i absolutely CANNOT live without. literally. i live and love to laugh. laughing so hard until your stomach hurts. laughing alone in your house (oh wait...or am i just describing my latest laugh scenario?) laughter. i love it.

so for those of you know don't know...i love ellen too. i tivo her show every day, and enjoy curling up on my couch after a long day, laughing so hard i can't breath at her sumo like people sprinting full speed ahead just to grab a pineapple...and watch them roll over and over without either of them successfully grabbing it. or watching dennis quaid "order" coffee from starbucks...with the help of ellen...in a very interesting fashion. (i love it so much i'm sharing the clip. please watch)

AND, i also love my sister. today she took the time to take a video of her dorm room (probably just showing off her cool new mac. whatever, i like my toshiba) with play-by-play of every square inch of it (and herself). she then sent me a message with the minute-by-minute breakdown of her weekend trip to New Orleans (note: she didn't know, nor did she understand WHY it is called NOLA. i'll let her figure that one out : ) and i was literally CRYING in laughter with myself.

point being. laughing. laughter. laughs. some of the best things that people can share. no matter what mood you are in, or what sort of crappy day you've had...having someone (or the TV) around to make you laugh is one of the best gifts you could be given. or give. thanks sis. i love you!

so sit back, laugh, and then laugh some more!


a lucky girl i am

you know...i am one lucky girl. it may sound a little selfish, but my life is filled with so many incredible blessings - i literally don't know what i did to deserve them. and after watching a few sappy movies (or really just the endings...you know, the most emotional part) and reading a sad novel, and having to say good-bye to people i love, i realize how important it is to NEVER take these people, places, or things for granted.

i feel like sometimes i sit upon my happy-high-horse (great mental picture. wait, actually that would be nice. in the middle of nowhere...a beach maybe...on a horse...around sunset...SEE i'm getting carried away already : )

so back to my analogous high-horse....i've been told once or twice that i am quite a happy person. and i would agree...on most days : ) but i think it stems from the fact that i realize that everything, every day, every person, is a blessing. and in times of being selfish and complaining and ungrateful, if i step back, i quickly come to my senses and remember that these things are put into my life for a reason, and as a great gift, to be cherished and appreciated.

not an easy task. but let's take ONE day for example. every day, from sun-up to sun-down, there are thousands of things that fill my life for which i should be grateful. i am healthy, and able to wake up each day in my beautiful, humble abode (ok..i may complain about the cats...but really...well, ok i can't deny it, i'd really be thankful for the absence of the cats...but it could be worse...say, for example...raccoons? oh wait- have those too!) and i get to be around children and teach them. TEACH them. what an amazing gift. and i get to go outside whenever i feel like it and enjoy the sunshine. and meet friends for dinner and enjoy a delicious meal. and talk to my family and friends who make me smile. and LISTEN and LOVE and LEARN on a daily basis. THOSE are the simple, incredible, wonderful things that make life go round. and for that...i am eternally grateful. because of those things, i am one lucky girl.


words strung together

happy monday! this is a big week. not that every other week isn't a big week, but this is a bigger week. My sister (and every other 18 year old) starts college! I will have my first week as a teacher, teaching art to actual kids in a CLASSROOM! And I am also going to teach a few middle-aged women how to paint. on canvas. as in they intend to go home and hang it over the mantel. let me remind you...i've never painted a THING in my entire life, much less taught an "adult" anything. i maybe painted something back in 8th grade...and if i remember correctly i believe it was some sort of "abstract" art. heck, everything i've ever done has been abstract. but it should be a really wonderful week of "firsts!" I'm super excited for new beginnings and all that is in store. (don't worry case...i have full confidence in my abilities to teach...i just have to write out my mini worries : )

that's a great segue in fact. writing. my release. i write to get these silly, random, hot, cold, zillions of ideas, out of my head, and onto paper. or into the cyber world (that's actually sort of scary when you think about it. ANYONE could be reading what i write. crazy.) so before this blog, i captured everything i would write in my journal. those pages have been filled since i was in 2nd grade. clearly, i started this deep thinking situation at a very young age. anywho- i also would sometimes type out these "poem-esque" thoughts in a word document, whenever i didn't feel like using a pen i guess???

i was just going through my old documents on my laptop...and came across these words strung together, and figured i'd add it to the blog menu. not really sure what spurred these thoughts. i actually forgot i wrote this, but I'm glad i found and re-read it. here tis...

"In the midst of confusion...lies order.
In the midst of darkness, somewhere there lies light.
Before peace, comes disorder.
Before the end, lies the beginning.
Before understanding, comes confusion.
At each moment in time, someone or something, is somewhere along the journey of reaching each of these concepts. Life is one big circle, one continuous realm of ups and downs. But it is what we decide to choose to do within each of our circles that ultimately brings about order, creates light, peace, and understanding, and unites the beginning with the end."

funny how i wrote, just this last entry, about life...and searching for things, and looking for answers, and going places. i guess i've thought about this once before. it really is one big circle : )


life: a work in progess

hi. i'm back. just for a quick little thought. life. such an amazing sequence of days, hours, people, moments, experiences, letters, lessons, numbers, questions (sometime answers), laughs, cries, opportunities, sunrises, and sunsets. and each day, well- maybe not EACH day, but most days, whether we know it or not, we are trying to figure something out. how to do this better, or make that easier, or love deeper, or understand why, or fix this, or be a better person. it's constant. and sometimes yes, a little overwhelming, but we are given SO SO much, that i think that it is our duty to make the best out of everything we are given. in order to build incredible and amazing relationships. and dig deep inside and take a look at ourselves, in order to be our very best self. and to love deeply with an open heart. and to live a life that sets an example through one's actions that you have taken responsibility and ownership of the precious moments and people you have been given, and do everything you can to learn from these things, grow because of these things, and understand their true purpose in this thing we call life: a work in progress.

sleepy girl. hope your day was filled with lots of sunshine. oh how i miss the cool(er) st. louis days of fall. oh wait, it's still august : ) yey for fridays....cheers!


right where i'm meant to be

hola! so in true random caitlin fashion, this little update is going to be a bit all over the place. like a grab-bag of likes, loves, jobs, discoveries, passions, concerts, family and friends...if you will.

where to begin? similarly to how i read magazines (weird tidbit about myself- i'll admit) let's start from the back and work towards the front. in other words, we'll begin with this weekend...

10:30 A.M. last Thursday, while sitting on my couch, checking my email, watching the Today show, the most random of thoughts somehow made its way to the front of my brain. hard task for that little idea.

"what if i FLY home this weekend???? as in TOMORROW?? and maybe SURPRISE my family??? and buy tickets to the edwin mccain concert? and just SHOW UP?"

yes. that was the thought. and it only cost me a few HUNDRED dollars...my mother making a scene in the middle of the restaurant, and a few minor spaz moments trying to think EVERY detail through just to make sure the surprise went off without a hitch. and it did!

point in case- do something random, totally unplanned, crazy, out of this world sort of thing every once in a while. my family was so happy to see me, edwin played the best i've ever seen him play (out of all SIX times i've seen him-yes, i'm obsessed), and i got to see my Boston and St. Louie loves. you never know what the outcome will be, but you have to first do it to find out : )

oh- i forgot to mention, or maybe my brain is trying to not focus on this fact....i also flew home because it was my little sister's LAST weekend at home before she heads off to college. sweet home alabama here she comes! (Lord please keep my family and the entire car filled with sheets, pillows, room decor, socks, clothes, hangers, a fridge, and small TV all safe as they drive south. thank you.) my little sister is about to begin the next chapter of her life, and i am so excited to see where life leads her. in the meantime, i need to google just what exactly a "badger" is. i mean, i know the horned frog is not that popular of a mascot species, but the badger...yes, googleing that now : ) love you tandis reigh. oh and if you get hungry...eat some pasta no con broccoli!

p.s. the pic is just the three of us this weekend at home. or really four. if you count beckham. sibling love. priceless.

hmmmmm.....it's past 9. oh my, actually past 10. ok- i can do this. i can write at this late of an hour. (yes, i know. this is late for me.) OH! it's official. i (re)signed the contract, turned in my W4, and made my door sign - I. am. a teacher. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Two signs hang on my door welcoming the children to "ART: Miss Baker." now THAT will make a 23 year old girl feel old. being called by my last name all day? this will take some getting used to.

i can already tell how wonderful and positive this teaching experience will be. the day school is an incredible place, with loving people, a true sense of discipleship and faith that is felt the minute you walk into the building, and a whole set of blessings that have yet to be discovered. all i can say for SURE right now is, i am right where i am meant to be. and that feeling is one of the most comforting feelings i think anyone can feel. from losing my job, to RANDOMLY walking into A Little Artsy one February day, to an interview and job offer all in the same day at the day school, and now i have an entire classroom to myself?!? life. i love it. when it's meant to be, it's meant to be.

sorry, but that's all my cheez-it feeding fingers can type right now. part three will be coming soon. promise. until then, do something crazy. feel like flying to cali (or costa rica) next week? do it. (or maybe just drive to austin-that's a little more practical : )

all my love and happiness.


a very special summer (part one)

well, i guess you could say that i have somewhat failed at "blogging" successfully....but you know what....that just means that i can write for days now....and have nearly enough blog material to fill an entire almanac.

so.....here we go friends!

first of all....in THREE days, I have my first meeting at the day school, in which I will be orientated on all things artsy, grade school, and child-like...(do they have a school uniform guideline for teachers? i sure do hope so) I am so incredibly excited to be diving, headfirst, into this next adventure in my life, with only a pair of floaties in the form of art books, paint brushes, hours of time spent with kids, and the mantra " i cannot control everything and everyone in this room, i cannot control everything and everyone in this room." I have come to this conclusion after teaching art all summer long, and quickly finding out that 15, five to nine year olds have a way of helping you realize that no matter how much you plan for a class or their art to go one way, sometimes you just have to let go, let flow, and let them help you discover something that wasn't necessarily on the "lesson plan." (don't worry though....if I will be teaching your child art- I won't let them eat paper and glue...I do have SOME control. : )

let's see what else....weddings!!! how could i forget?! I feel as if I have a ginormous checklist, with each of my girlfriends' name on it, and one-by-one, am checking them off to new last names and newlywed bliss.

I had the honor to be in two of my beautiful friends' weddings, and both of them were absolutely wonderful. SO much planning and thinking (and money!) goes into this one day, and I can't even imagine how perfect every bride wants it to be. But if there is one thing I have learned through osmosis on weddings, it's that once the day comes, you just have to let it unfold. (is there a theme I'm beginning to see here...hmmmmmmm : )

"I do" and dancing and eating and bouquets, something blue, and lots and lots of l.o.v.e. A wedding really is an incredibly special day....and I have loved to be able to witness such a BIG moment in my friends' lives. Cheers to enjoying the beautiful roller coaster of life together...with ups, downs, twists, turns, loops, and laughs!

What else, what else......(recapping two months is a LOT harder to do than you'd think...i mean, that's nearly 60 days, which is 1,440 hours, or 86,400 minutes, or.....ok- I'll stop. basically- it's a long time : )

Well, true to life, I am being summoned to the patio to dig my hands in some hot pink playdoh with little miss birthday t-shirt wearing, Jourdan and so-super-excited-to-start-school-i-can-hardly-control-myself, Ryan! Man, sometimes, or really quite often these days, I have these moments when I am covered in paint, or building snowmen (yes, in the middle of 105 degree Texas summers, kids, and myself included, do remember the good ol' snowmen : ) and I think "THIS is my life?" and I can't help but smile, feel nothing but gratitude and thanks, and then roll up my sleeves and hope to create my very own masterpiece.

More to follow. "I"m commmmmmmmmming girls!" : )

.to a beautiful life.


dOn't wOrRy, bE hApPy

do you ever just have that feeling when you are happy, just for the sake of being, happy??? (i truly believe that being happy is a choice, and well, choosing to be happy just makes life better. at least, it does mine)

i sure hope your answer is YES, and if not- then go do what makes you happiest RIGHT now! teachers orders (ooooh la la, i can actually say that now with some authority and half-way seriousness : )

This week has been a lot less crazy busy than last week....which I am very thankful for; I don't know if I could handle more late-night swamp painting or wedding reception debacles (although I apparently passed the test for assuming JLO responsibility and making sure everyone had a great time. i even told the valet when they could go home, helped David pick up the generator for the band, and confidently calmed down the owner of the venue when he asked why there were still guests inside at such a late hour. no worries pal, i'll have them out in ten. and i did.)

I think I'll recap some of the little things that have made this week so great, so full of life, made me oh so happy. Think about yours, write them down, tell a friend, smile just because, laugh a little too hard, soak up some sun, and rock out to your favorite song (so maybe i just suggested to you some of my favorite things, but i promise- they'll brighten your day. even for just a moment!)

i lOvE....

1. the word amazing
2. meeting new people
3. listening to stories and sharing in another person's life
4. buying tickets to concerts and listening to their music all week long
5. writing.
6. painting funky fishes and flowers
7. mapquest
8. realizing that your past is preparing you for your future
9. best friends
10. mascara
11. fresh flowers
12. love in my heart, peace in my soul
13. edwin
14. sitting outside on summer nights
15. reading a magazine back to front
16. hugs (and kisses too)
17. old t-shirts
18. country songs about your chicken fried, cold beer on a Friday night, and a pair of jeans that fit JUST right

and the list could go on and on...

dream big, do what you love, open your heart to the world, and see what fills it <3

happy weekend!


me? a teacher? why not!

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. ~Pablo Picasso

Pablo says it all.

And this quote couldn't more perfectly capture the connection between children and art and me - at this moment in my life - any better.

Today, I signed the contract that entitles me to my very own classroom, my first smock (how's THAT for a uniform), the joy of children, and a new title: miss caitlin.

This isn't a joke (for those of you who know know me....I can see why you could think i'm joking) but yes, I, in fact, can check off "impact the little childrens of the world by becoming an art teacher" on my life's list of things to do (ok, so I just added it to the list yesterday. i like to check things off of lists, OK!) and boy is this one very RANDOM, UNEXPECTED, EXCITING, WONDERFUL thing to add to my list.

Through the incredible chain of events in life, of one person, place, and thing leading to another....I called, interviewed, prayed, talked it out, and accepted the position of being the one and only (scary) art teacher at a day school about five miles away. Do I have any teaching experience? NO. (i write. and advertise. and publicly relate.) Where did I student teach? Well, um, I didn't. And what is your teaching style? Gosh, let's see....finger painting, does that count?!

You get the picture. And so do I. This funny, ironic story totally proves that even though you THINK you may like or dislike something or have this path planned for yourself, if you step back, and let life unfold as it's supposed to, then the farthest thing from your imagination can walk right up in front of your face, greet you with a brief hello, and welcome you into its' home (or school, in this case.) But I couldn't be more thrilled to be surrounded by the sweet, simple, innocence of children this coming school year (oh and it's only 2 days a week...so I will still have plenty of entertaining stories from the other 400 areas of my life), to learn and grow as a person, and to help both them, and myself, remain an artist as we grow up.

From nannying, to teaching summer art camp classes at A Little Artsy (see pictures below), to now being responsible for a few hundred kids weekly art experience...the progression of children entering into my life, I think (i KNOW) has definitely crescendoed into something that has yet to reveal it's true purpose and fulfillment in my life. I can only imagine what is in store : )

Another random day in the life of caitlin. with blessings beyond belief and my power flickering on and off...this is one happy girl.

Hmmmm...."Cats. Kids. Construction paper."...I think I'll have quite the material to write a few more chapters with this new occupation of mine: )