Bags Packed

SFO by Håkan Dahlström

I always dreamed of being a traveler.

Every time we pack our bags for a big adventure, I know how lucky we are.  I feel how lucky we are.  It’s not lost on me.

Every time we enter the airy, beautiful international terminal at SFO, I get so excited.  I grin when we go through security.  It never ever gets old.

I carry my passport like I have a backstage pass to Alice Cooper.  It’s the ultimate accessory, really.  Would you like to see my passport??  I have a passport and I’m using it to go somewhere cool!  Are you sure you don’t need to see it, Mr. TSA guy?

My bags are packed, I’m clutching my passport, and this time none of the trip includes work.

Wheels up and away we go.  We’re so lucky.

Follow along on Instagram.

Image by Håkan Dahlström via Creative Commons license.


On Being Decluttered

Marie Kondo Book

Some people spring clean.  We usually January-clean.  Or get-home-from-international-travel-clean.

Coming home from a trip that makes us realize we don’t need a lot of possessions (or, if you’re Mr. P, that you have to start making your own baked goods).  When we came home from Christmas in Europe, I started reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  Enter a recipe for us getting rid of a ton of our stuff.

This book is serious business.  I thought I was a decluttering pro already, but I was shocked at how much we got rid of.

There is a great review and synopsis of Kondo’s method here in the New York Times.

Every space in our home has been decluttered and organized.  Every closet, every shelf, every drawer.  Our clothes, food, kitchen, craft supplies, desk, bathroom, under the bed, movie and music collection, cleaning supplies, papers & bills, everything!

Lessons We Learned

Keep only what makes you happy and let go of the rest.  I used to keep things based on usefulness.  But why bother keeping something I just kind of like?  If you worry about getting rid of a perfectly good thing, Kondo has an answer for that in the book.

Take everything out.  Kondo says bringing items together in one space is the only way that you get a true sense of how much you have.  For example, we took every book we owned and put them in the living room together.

This is why moving sucks.  I kept saying that over and over.  Moving already sucks.  But moving really really sucks when you have to transport so much stuff.  Seeing possessions out in the living room made me realize how much we didn’t need.

What’s left over makes us happier.  I was a little skeptical, but Kondo is right.  My clothes closet only contains items I really love.  There are no “meh” outfits anymore.

Everything has a place!  This was earth-shattering.  After getting rid of stuff, there was space.  Space to grow, breathe, and homes for our things!  When I get home from work, my laptop bag has a space in the closet.  All of my craft supplies have neat shelf space and are not piled on top of each other.

We did a bit each Saturday and it took a little over a month.  We started with clothes and books, then moved to papers, then all 3 of our non-clothes closets, then the kitchen.

I wish I’d taken photos of the living room mid-purge.  I had no idea we’d get rid of so much!

On the Road to Tomorrowland

Disneyland Tomorrowland by Natalie Parker

Ten years ago today, on a beautiful February afternoon in Disneyland, he asked me to marry him.

We were in one of the passages of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, the one that leads from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland.

When I look back on it now, I smile and think about how appropriate it was, on the road to Tomorrowland.  We ended up in that exact spot because he knew the castle was my favorite and the passages were the only areas where he could do it without a bunch of people staring — he was pretty nervous.

I smile every time I think of it.  That and how I couldn’t figure out why he had to go to the bathroom so often that day (he was checking for the ring in his pocket after every ride).

See how I scrapbooked our proposal story here in my wedding scrapbook.

Picture Story: Leftover Wine

Picture Story by Natalie Parker

After several hours of traveling we were finally home.


After several months of feverish wedding planning, deciding to change jobs a month before the wedding, making all of our favors, decorations, and playlists, welcoming our family to town, having a rehearsal, getting ready, getting married, having a reception, dancing, late night hot dog run, up early the next morning, on a flight to Hawaii, checking out volcanoes, having a little beach time, taking a boat tour, going out to dinner, looking at the stars, hiking on the coast, trying to figure out where to return the rental car, back through security, back on planes, shuttle to the parking lot, in the car, Mr. P deciding at the last minute to carry me inside, we were finally home.  Exhausted.

After so much happening, it was peaceful to be home in the quiet.  Together.

We came home to find out parents had hung up leftover flowers to dry, stacked leftover wine in the garage, put leftover wedding cake in the fridge, and stacked our gifts and leftover favors nicely in the living room.  As orderly as anything could have been.

And so, on our first night of married life finally home, we popped open some leftover wine from the reception, curled up on the couch, and tucked into some KFC we picked up on the way home.

Sometimes you just need popcorn chicken.  Sometimes that’s just about perfect.

Picture Story is a new feature where I take a picture from an upcoming layout and tell its story.  Stay tuned for the layout featuring this story.  

Merry Christmas

Christmas 2013 by Natalie ParkerMerry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!  Peace on Earth!

This is easily my favorite part of the year and not just because it gives me an excuse to watch A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation as much as I want.

I wish you the happiest of holidays no matter what you celebrate or when you celebrate it.

Happy Thanksgiving

ThanksgivingI have so much to be thankful for this year I cannot begin to enumerate it.  And I’m thankful for the opportunity to take the step back and appreciate the good in life.

Whether you are in the US or not, I hope you have the chance today or sometime soon to spend time with loved ones and I hope the coming season and the coming year bring nothing but good things to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving, readers!  I’m very thankful for all of you!