Monthly Archives: March 2013

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it’s the last day of March. Oh, and Happy Easter.

Whoa man, it’s April tomorrow. How did we make it to the end of March already? This month began with a huge inspirational epiphany for me which I shared in this post. I really feel like March COUNTED, you know. So let’s keep moving forward. I want April to count  too. PS, I know, I’m a little dramatic.

Hey, and it’s Easter today. So Happy Easter, friends! We never celebrated holidays as kids so I feel like I’m making it all up as we go along. Sometimes I wish we had old family traditions to share with Mateo, but then again, we get to take a little bit of this and a little bit of that and make it all our OWN. It’s kinda fun that way. We’re free of tradition in that sense. Hmm, possibly why my Easter eggs were LEOPARD this year, ha. And whoa…you guys love leopard. Who knew? It’s been so fun having so many (obviously cool) people from around the world stop in just to check out that sillyness.

toddler easter outfitYou KNOW we don’t miss an opportunity to find a rocking outfit to match the occasion, so Happy Easter from THIS GUY. ^^

Please excuse Mateo’s rudeness. He was too busy checking out his POCKETS to look up and wish you a happy holiday himself. He means it though.

Hope you’re all eating well, hanging out with good people, and hopefully getting outside wherever you are!

See you in APRIL!


the calm to my crazy

Henna & AkiLast night, Aki and I watched a movie called “Friends With Kids.” Quick synopsis — Two BFFs (a girl & a guy) watch their friends’ marriages drown in chaos & bitterness after having children. The tagline for the film is: Love. Happiness. Kids. Pick two. The BFFs don’t want to pick just two. (me neither). In a “brilliant” epiphany they come up with the idea to have a baby together. Certainly they can keep it simple. Baby? CHECK. Now they can go out into the world and find their “person,” and true life romances. Okay, you’re caught up. This post is not about them. Who cares about them.

So we’re watching this movie and at some point, I turn to Aki and say: What if this isn’t my “real” life? What if we aren’t even in our “real lives” yet? Like, what if my “real” life is going to be with someone else?

You should know, when I bring up things like this (not an isolated incident), it’s not because I have anxiety. It’s just an interesting thought. I like interesting thoughts. ‘Cause they’re interesting, right? Although sincerely, should I be wondering out loud to my HUSBAND about who I’m really going to spend the rest of my life with?

And then there’s Aki. He takes nothing I say personally. It really is hard to pierce the confidence of that man. He calmly looked at me and said, “How about we don’t copy the movie.”

Touché Aki, touché. Who knew that was an option? He’s pretty sure that this is our real life. The rest is decidedly uninteresting to him.

So we’re different. I could go on and on about it but the more you hang out with us, the more it’ll be obvious. That’s our life. For us different works. It’s both practical and entertaining to have people with such different talents, abilities, backgrounds, thoughts, and brains on the same team. (that’s Aki’s analogy. “Team” comes up a lot in his world).

I read this post on Jeremy and Kathleen (a blog I have a serious crush on) that said it perfectly. Kathleen is a creative firecracker and Jeremy is this zen engineer. I wonder what that’s like. :) She spelled out their relationship so well, I’m going to just give you her words.  (Just replace “Jeremy” with “Aki”). “So pretty much Jeremy is the left brain to my right. The Greg to my Dharma. The calm to my crazy. The engineer to my artist. He’s the grid to all my crazy colorful wires.”


my go to: the sink

Last night, after my long, bum day of accomplishing nothing, I couldn’t handle the thought of cooking dinner so I planned on getting take-out. I surprised myself and I’m happy to report that I did whip up a nice, nutritious meal of sorts. I did something.

Some tricks of the trade. This is how you keep a toddler busy when you need to cook. THE SINK. the magic sink. Mateo is obsessed.

sinks & toddlerssinks and toddlerstoddlers and sinksYes, the child is wearing a backpack. As per his own request. He’s a funny little man.

After seeing these photos, my dad reminded me of a video he caught of my brother Seth playing at the kitchen sink when he was one. My dad was taping him for a whole minute before realizing it was a BOOK that Seth was dunking in the soapy sink water. The fascination with water lives on another generation. Feel free to flash back and watch that “excitement” here.

i hope

I shoulda read this yesterday. I came across this quote around the New Year and thought, “yeah.” Good mantra, don’t you think? Be a little braver, dream a little bigger…

source: The Virtual Typewriter via Tumblr

source: The Virtual Typewriter via Tumblr

Yesterday I wasn’t worth much of anything.

I was lethargic, tired, down, and defeated.  For. No. Good. Reason. At. All.  Not even a bad reason. I used to have a lot more days like yesterday, but thankfully I don’t go there so often anymore. Tired, sure. I have a toddler.

I had to sit down in the evening and think about it. Actually, I had to write. That old, familiar sinking feeling was making me nervous. Those negative feelings invading. I emailed a friend, my penpal for the last fifteen years. I’m lucky to have someone like her. Someone I can “figure my brain out” with, and someone who has known me for FIFTEEN years.

The funny thing is, I am in a place in my life that I can look at negative thoughts (somewhat) objectively. I don’t throw myself  into them right away. They don’t *POOF, disappear* but I can look at them as a curiosity. What funny creatures we are, all chemicals and hormones. (and other stuff).

I’ve been so happy, so What the MOLY is this? Nothing has happened. Nothing.

Friends you can “journal” out-loud with are a blessing. I have a small, wonderful few. As soon as I started typing I realized the old pattern. How typical. An oldie but a goodie. I have (or had) this tendancy of blowing up, sabotaging, or leaving anything that I felt good about, even passionate about. Usually right at that spot where I could feel proud that I was going somewhere and building something. Projects, education, friendships, relationships, that ceramic pot I was working on that one time. I’m not really a very destructive person to the world outside, I tend to keep the mess to myself. Yes, I used to be rather self-destructive.

So here we are, I’ve been really happy lately. And you know what, a lot of it has had to do with this place. This blog. I’ve had such a need for a creative project. Not just an outlet, but somewhere that I could grow. This is a place where I can think out loud, where I have a reason to look up all of those tutorials on photography and typography and photoshop that I’ve been saving. I can be serious and silly and it all makes sense because it’s my own space. I’ve had ideas coming to me left and right lately and I’ve started carrying a little idea notebook around again. This is me.

The thing I’m most proud of is that I am PUBLISHING. More than the writing, the photographing, or the editing, it’s the fact that I am pressing that “publish” button. Hey, I’m ME, and there are always so many things I want to change in every post, but I get over it and publish anyway. This may be the first time in my LIFE that I am okay not “being there” yet. I’ll get there. I just keep thinking of the Ira Glass quote that I “taped” to my blog last month. Those words are so encouraging to me. It makes me fight through. It’s just a process. I’ll only get better by doing.

I’m still not sure exactly what this blog is ABOUT but I feel good about it. I’m setting myself up to grow. I really want to grow. I like this place.

It’s amazing to me that just today people from 17 countries have stopped by. In the month and 1/2 of this blog’s existence, lovely people from 68 countries and all 50 states have dropped in. I think half of them came for the leopard print egg silly-ness, which I love, ha. For a girl like me those stats are so fun. One of my favorite possessions is my passport. All of those stamps on every page make me happy. My prized collection as a girl was my foreign currency collection. I still have it all in a shoe box. I have a fascination with “the world.”

Where am I going with this? I am finally working on something that I love. Most days I could actually work on the blog ALL day if I was able to. Not yesterday. Yesterday, I was a useless human being. After giving my brain a little look-see, yep, it’s all related. Today is a new day and one throw-away day is enough. Some days you feel defeated and lack inspiration. Some days you just feel intimidated and fear rules. That’s no reason to throw anything away. No more throw-away days. I have so much more to learn and so much more to sort out before I move on.

Or maybe it’s those chemicals and hormones after all. Oh chemistry.

*image source above via The Virtual Typewriter

…and sometimes you just don’t want your picture taken.

I’m FINALLY sorting through photos from our mini vacation in Florida. After being back home for a week it already feels like ages ago. I think the weather gap makes it even more so.

One of the funny things about going through (my) photos is how many “outtakes” there are. I thought I’d share a couple since I get so many comments about Mateo in his photos. People think that he just hams it up for the camera. Nah, he’s a normal toddler. He’d much rather be playing.


Oh, we have plenty of these too. ^^ Just because mama sees a photo-op doesn’t mean that Mateo is in the mood. Usually he’s not. I kinda love Aki’s expressions in these, haha. He’s definitely giving off the “Are you serious, Henna?” vibe. I’m almost certainly pushing, “just one more” and “maybe could you move a little to the left?” Thanks darling for playing along.

Don’t worry guys, the baby is okay. Toddlers are moody creatures and easily distracted. The photo below was taken just minutes after the misery above on the right. What turned that frown upside down, you ask? This my friends is what happens when you ask Mateo if he wants to go on a slide. yay sliiiiide! We were on our way to a playground. Gets him every time. That or a pile of sand. Or a stick.


This photo is an example of rolling with it. Aki was actually making a weird look so {CHOP}, half his face was cropped out. ;) The focus is soft (it’s a bit blurry) and it was underexposed. I’m still learning all the technical stuff  so I get lots of photos like this. And you know what, we’re gonna remember this moment and I’m going to smile every time I see it. Just take photos. But maybe don’t be all annoying about it. ;)

On with the sorting and I’ll have more warm weather photos coming this way soon.

it’s going to be a vampire weekend

Oh you guys, I’m stuck in a loop and I can’t get out. Not yet. I’ve been sitting here listening to Vampire Weekend‘s new song, “Step” on repeat. To that point, before I started typing this I hit “replay” (again) and heard an “Oh my God” from the other side of the office. Sorry Aki. :)

I don’t know what it is, but this song just makes me feel so melancholy in such a wonderful way. Is that a thing? And then I just feel hopeful and happy. The video makes it even better, it’s a perfect match. I’m smiling and I want you to feel the same.

I wonder if you do  feel the same. Sometimes it just feels so personal when I connect to a song. It reminds me of when I read a book and connect so deeply that I am somehow surprised that someone else “knows” the same characters. How do they know? (about our relationship). Does that ever happen to you?

I’m feeling that I need more music in my life. And probably a good book. I really don’t want this feeling to wear off. Hurry up, someone line up another song for me!

Have a great weekend everyone! I’m hoping to have some time to go through photos and show you what we’ve been up to lately. I’m so behind.

So glad I stumbled across the video on the Love Taza blog. I’m always happy after visiting them.

If you still want more CITY after watching, I’ve got you. Here’s a collection of photographs I’ve collected called “At Home in the City.” Collected a collection. You heard me right. ;)

let’s leopard: easter egg edition

leopard print easter eggsWhoa now. Did someone say leopard print Easter eggs? Yeah, totally did. I’m going there. After my last “crafty” post, I realized that quite honestly, I have a LOT of fun making silly things. SO let’s make it a regular happening around here.

Easter is coming up and I’ve been seeing a ton of fun ideas popping up on the Pinterest machine. I thought I’d join in and somehow my brain ended at leopard. Nothing says Easter like a little bit of animal print, right? Whatever. You know you love it. ;)

The BEST part is that these are SUPER easy and you probably have all of the supplies already. I know it looks complicated, but I’m telling you — leopard print, cheetah print, jaguar…that whole family of prints = E A S Y. Easy because the sloppier and more haphazardly you draw, the better. I know this because I painted half of my face “leopard” for Halloween in under five minutes last season.

If you want to make these, read on. If not, you can scroll down for proof of my leopard face and an added bonus of Mateo in his Halloween costume.

On we go with the tutorial! I made you a lil info-graphic:


leopard print easter egg tutorial



1. boil your eggs in coffee to dye them. (or just start with a brown egg).

2. take a yellow highlighter and draw different size “spots” all over. don’t think about it. be sloppy.

3. while the highlighter is still wet, rub an orange or gold eye shadow over the highlighted “spots.” the highlighter will dry immediately and the eyeshadow will set. (like magic)! I used a “colour me glow” palette which I believe I bought at the drug store for $1.99 years ago. possibly for $0.99. guessing you have some junk like that lying around. And if you don’t, you use such a small amount, go ahead and use your fancy stuff. it’s for such a good cause. ;)

4. take liquid eyeliner (again, if you have SUPER cheap or old stuff like me). if not, use a sharpie marker. either will do perfectly. again, be sloppy and irregular. outline some spots, outline half of others, make random marks. oh, and feel free to google “leopard print” for an example if you need one.

TA-DAA. Told you it was easy. And fun.

Seriously, I had way too much fun. I literally had a moment where I thought to myself, “THIS is what I am supposed to be doing with my life.” Yes, I had my “moment” while leopard printing Easter eggs. Oh dear. Whatever that means. :)

**please note, these eggs are for meant as decoration. for fun, ya know.

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My first run-in with “leopard printing.” (Halloween 2012). We don’t really celebrate every  holiday with leopard print. Promise. I used about the same method as today’s tutorial on my face (but no highlighter or sharpie!). Mateo was an Ewok. I’ve wanted to hug an Ewok ever since I was a child. Dreams do come true. ;)

leopard face paint

PS  It’s my father-in-law’s birthday today. I’d like to say “Sretan Rođendan” all the way to him in Croatia! My own dear dad’s birthday just passed on St. Patricks day so I’d like to also send a belated “Happy Birthday” to him (from the blog). Don’t worry, I called him in “real life” on the actual day. :) Maybe ONE year we can all celebrate the birthdays together in the same city. That would be nice.


into the wind

Oh man oh man, we’re back in the “Windy City.” Look, I love my city (Chicago) and I can (totally) handle the weather…buuut, when you march off a plane at 10 pm wearing sandals and a bright pink shirt dress it’s like a slap in the face to hit temps in the high 20s (fahrenheit) and wind that wants to knock you down. I should know better. We have definitely left the “Sunshine State.”

But let’s go with it. The wind is howling and we’re going with it!

This morning I thought of a few images that I love from one of my favorite little Pinterest boards I call, “Into the Wind.” It’s a small collection of images that capture the feeling of facing the wind, sometimes fighting a storm, other times submitting to the universe, laughing into the air, simply stopping for the moment, or just feeling the wind in your hair.

You’re probably noticing that I like to feel  things. Images make me feel. I thought I’d share a couple with you today, and we can discover a couple photographers while we’re at it.


top: Wind by Kate Toluzakova
bottom: After the Water by Daria Dorofeeva

If I could, I’d bring back the sun and warm us up a bit over here. Since I can’t, let’s (try to) appreciate that variety makes us feel something different. I don’t think that I’d like to feel happy and sunny all day every day.

I have lots of photos to sort through from our recent trip to Florida. And yeah, pretty sure everyone just wants to see what Mateo wore. I swear, walking around with that kid is like walking around with a celebrity. I also have a few other posts up my sleeve that I didn’t get to finish before we skipped out of town. Now that we’re back, I’ll get on all of that!

In the meantime, does anyone else have a random Pinterest board they’d like to share? Anyone else collect photos of girls standing in the wind? haha.

source: Flickr: Kate Toluzakova, 500px: Daria Dorofeeva, found via: Pinterest (HENNA BLOSSOM)

en vacances

Sorry we’ve been MIA for a few days. We slipped away from chilly Chicago to visit Oh SO sunny Florida. Nothing like a little natural vitamin D + family to reset and relax. We’re here with Mateo’s adorable little cousins. Oh man, if you think he’s cute…


Silly us, we woke up 1.5 hours before we needed to leave for our flight. That would have been no problem if we’d had enough forethought to, ya know…PACK. Any-thing. Luckily we made it out of the house and onto our plane on time. Whew! We did lose one of Mateo’s little shoes SOMEWHERE along the way (boo), but we’re still calling it a success.

If I look a little bit tired on the plane, it’s ’cause I was. Traveling with a toddler isn’t the most relaxing experience, but no big stories to relay this trip. Mateo flew like a champ. We weren’t too worried. These little 2.5 hour flights are no biggie. Good practice for our big trips this summer. (Italy and Croatia, whohoo).

Mateo’s outside enjoying his nap al fresco. When he wakes up, we’re off to the beach!




whoa baby, i’ve been nominated for an award!


Okay, maybe I should back it up a liiiittle bit. A Lobster WHAT? No guys, a “Liebster,” which apparently means “dearest, beloved” in German. And to my German speaking friends, if I’m off, don’t burst my bubble until tomorrow. I didn’t “check my sources” because it all just sounded so lovely. Hey, I’d happily take a Lobster Award. ;)

The backstory is this — I woke up on Monday with a sweet note from This Little House, a lovely little blog in the UK, saying that they’d nominated me for this Liebster thing. Guys, I was super flattered. And confused. I’m still amazed to find that someone who DOESN’T know me is reading this blog…and that they enjoyed it enough to want to share. Thank you, thank you! I’m starting to feel legit and part of a community.

The Liebster is apparently a little award that is passed around to small, upcoming blogs to help new “talent” get discovered. Totally my word. :) Sounds like a good idea to me! Hey, if no one else knows we’re here, let’s give each other awards!

In all seriousness, it was a WONDERFUL way to start my Monday and I knew it was going to be a great week!

SO HERE’s THE DEAL: I was asked a series of questions (eleven), I answered below, and at the end, I’ll nominate my own blog discoveries (eleven) and create my own series of questions (eleven) to pass on. Hope you enjoy and ya just might get to know a little bit more about me.


if you were stranded on a deserted island what would be your ‘must have’ item?

My iphone. I’m (mainly) kidding about that. :/ Hmmm, probably would have to be a notebook. I don’t think that I could make it on an island alone if I couldn’t write or draw or document. I’d probably have a lot to process, being stranded and all. I guess I’d fashion a writing utensil with my island skills?


what is your biggest fear?

That’s easy. I really am afraid of not reaching my potential. A wasted potential is a rather sad affair. And I want to live an extraordinary life. My idea of extra-ordinary is just that….beyond ordinary. I want to experience what life has to offer and I want to enjoy it and notice it. That’s extraordinary. Being tired and scared and forgetting to dream and be silly and connect — Ordinary. I’m pretty ordinary a lot of the time…but with extraordinary potential. ;) You too.


what is your earliest memory?

I remember being terrified at my 2nd birthday party because I was afraid of the FIRE candles. :) I wasn’t sure when this was so I checked the family albums. Sure enough, that’s photo proof up there. (scroll up). Little Henna terrified of a pink cake in 1984. Don’t worry, it ended well. I also remember the GIGANTIC presents that followed. That was the year I was given a beautiful, bright red little chair of my own. Imagine how gigantic presents are when you are two and 1/2 feet tall. :)


if you could live in any era what would it be?

Oh I donno, but it would definitely be an era that wore hats. Hats every day. New hat every season. Hats.


what is your biggest vice?

Well this is going to sound rather tame in the grand scheme of the true definition of the word. [Vice: Immoral or wicked behavior]. My biggest “vice” is foreign gummy candy. Luckily I don’t care much for most of what I can get my hands on in these united states, but truly, when I find my favorites (usually in duty free shops in airports) or when I am in Scandinavia, I must buy an obscene amount of it and I have NO idea how to ration the stuff out. It’s a child’s habit, but it’s mine.


what would be your dream home?

My dream home would be a self-cleaning home, ha. But really, my dream home would probably be a fairly small (or smaller than my current house) apartment in the center of a faraway bustling city. (I have a long list of cities). The main requirements would be a lovely bathroom and a large terrace. Or maybe I would like a house on the beach. I don’t know, I guess I don’t have a dream home really. If I REALLY dream, I wouldn’t choose. I’d have small (gorgeous) apartments in five different cities around the world. Some would be super modern, one an industrial loft, others ancient and every beam oozing with character. Then again, it might be a pain to own all that and you can always rent apartments by the month. But then you couldn’t decorate them… What was the question again?


what fact would people be surprised to learn about you?

Hmmm, I think there would be quite a few things but I’ll stick to something simple and a daily part of my life. I have to listen to a story in order to fall asleep. Have to. I can be so tired that I’m nauseous and I will still fumble to find a story. These days they are podcasts, but this stems from the days of cassettes. As soon as the story starts, my brain relaxes and I can let go. There are many reasons but we’ll save that for another post. Ooooh, enthralling stuff. Stay tuned! ha.

bonus surprise — OH, also, it would probably be surprising to find out that I haven’t had my hair cut in a salon since I was 18 years old. I chop it myself. Yes, I chose the right word. CHOP. I guess I’m cheap? And maybe a little embarrassed to let a professional see my years of “work”? When I got to be around 25 years old and realized that, WOW, it had been seven years since I’d paid for a haircut — I thought to myself, “might as well hold out and make it an even decade.” But here we are and I’m 30 and it’s been 12 years. Not sure what’s going on now.


what is relaxation to you?

SO oddly, relaxation is not something that I seek out. It makes me a little uncomfortable. I prefer stimulation although honestly, I can be quite lazy. I’m not one who seeks out relaxing vacations; I want to experience new things and go to new places and try new things. I will say, the most relaxed that I have been in years has been the times that I’ve been on Hvar, a Croatian island about an hour away (by speed boat) from my husband’s hometown. I’m not sure what it is about Hvar. It’s not a secluded, quiet island. It’s a very international island with lots of yachts docked, but for some reason when I get to the beach there, I just relax and let go. Oh, I also enjoy a glass of wine. THAT is relaxation to me.


biggest regret?

You’d think that I’d have a lot because I have such a jumpy past but all those mistakes and trials make sense to me now. There’s nothing that really haunts me. If I had to choose a regret though, it would be that I am 30 years old and without any true expertise in one area. I have never stayed committed to one thing for long enough that I could qualify as an expert. I really respect people who dedicate and develop themselves in a focused area. I’m a little late to the game but I’m working on it.


favourite all time film?

Oh man, I don’t know. Truly, I don’t know. I just don’t really ever make a mental list that I’d remember. The only thing that is jumping out right now is what I would have answered if you asked me when I was nine or 11. I’d say “Captain Blood” which is a 1935 adventure/romance film starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. I just loved the sword fights and the beautiful heroine and I could still squeal when I think about them kissing at the end. I honestly don’t even know if it’s a “good” film or not, it’s not the type of film I watch these days…but it definitely was one of my top three requested movies when I was a girl. I’m smiling just typing this.


if you could be anyone for a day who would it be?

I donno. Mateo? I feel like he has it pretty good. HE might beg to differ, but the life of an 18 month old seems pretty sweet. Just for a day anyway.

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Enough about ME.

Nomination time! (Sorry not quite eleven. I fibbed). Some of these don’t quite qualify as being tiny blogs but I’m new to blogging and these are the ones that have caught my attention this month for good or honest writing, or for lovely photography which I’m always a sucker for.

Let’s pass on this Liebster:

casual friday

violet lulu

lo and behold

this little mum

my suitcase heart

one claire day

hello sisilia

soph & lulu


Hope you’ll join in and have as much fun as I did, and please visit This Little House of Ours for all of the details.


My questions for you are:

Did you collect anything as a child? What?

If you had the time/money to take any class and learn any skill, what would it be?

What is your idea of a dream vacation?

What is the best costume you’ve ever worn?

What story does your family always tell about you, whether you like it or not.

At what age did you feel that you’d become an adult?

If you could speak any language what would it be?

In what unexpected ways have you found that you are becoming your mother or father?

What’s the most used paint color in your home?

What’s your favorite book, or at least up there?

What’s your favorite quote?

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And to my readers — I’d LOVE to see some of YOUR answers in the comments! Join in!