one little word 2017

Well… Happy New Year! Gosh, the end of 2016 was a real doozy. Of course, I voted for Hillary Clinton in November, and as we all know, someone shockingly unqualified and extremely offensive is our president instead. I am scared. But that brings me to my word for 2017:

COURAGE

Instead of setting New Year’s resolutions, I pick a word to focus on for each new year. It gives me focus and a broad goal to set my sights on. In 2017, I am going to try to live with courage. It means facing challenges with calm determination. Not giving into despair. Keeping the hope alive that good will prevail. It definitely applies to our political climate — I hope to be much more politically active and engaged this year — but it also applies to my personal life. Travis and I have some big decisions to make this year and some big adventures to tackle. It will probably include a move… and I already know it includes big surprises. I will try to approach it all with courage.

When I find myself in a doubting place, wondering if I can handle it all, I have a new defiant mantra: “You have no idea how strong I am!”

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My past words:

2016: balance
2015: love
2014: optimism
2013: sweetness
2012: explore
2011: peace
2010: wonder
2009: busy
2008: hope

What is your one little word for 2017?

one little word 2016

balancesmall

Happy 2016! My New Year’s tradition has been to NOT make any resolutions, but instead to pick a word to focus on for the year.

My word for 2016 is balance.

Reading over my post about my word pick last year (love) was enlightening and uplifting. It is nice to be reminded that I’ve set good, positive intentions for myself… even if I sometimes lose sight of them.

This year, I want to continue to carry love and gratitude in my heart while also seeking BALANCE. It would be easy to relate my one little word to the work/life balance that so many people are constantly striving for, but I want my balance to go deeper. I want to approach everything in my life in a mindful and peaceful way. I want to listen closely to my body and find balance in my fitness attempts and eating habits. I want to respect my emotions and allow myself to feel what I feel without guilt or second guessing. I want to balance my extreme love for my baby boy with his growing need for independence. I want to find the sweet spot between work, activity, and rest that will allow for a clear mind and light spirit.

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My past words:

2015: love
2014: optimism
2013: sweetness
2012: explore
2011: peace
2010: wonder
2009: busy
2008: hope

What is your one little word for 2016?

Introducing…


Kenneth Gunner Johnson!

January 8th, 2015 – 6:41 pm

7 pounds, 8.6 ounces

20 inches long

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Wow. We are in love. Ken is already five days old an we’ve been having a magical time with him. (It is going too fast!) His birth was early, fast, and intense, but I’ll save that story for a future post. He is healthy and sweet and adorable. We are amazed and thrilled that he is ours.

If you want even more photos, you can see LOTS in Ken’s Flickr album.

one little word 2015

love

Happy 2015! My New Year’s tradition has been to NOT make any resolutions, but instead to pick a word to focus on for the year.

My word for 2015 is love.

Yes, it is a common word and maybe too obvious of a pick, but it encapsulates three major themes I want to keep in the front of my mind during 2015:

#1 – Love for this little baby inside my belly who will be here before we know it. I want to cherish and appreciate my time with him while he is little and shower him with love.

#2 – Love for life and gratitude for what Travis and I have built and for our many blessings. I want to stay positive and enjoy every day. Even the tough ones.

#3 – Love for self. Body image, productivity, accomplishments – I want to have patience and give myself a break in all of these areas.

Love = filling my heart and mind with gratitude + peace.

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My past words:

2014: optimism
2013: sweetness
2012: explore
2011: peace
2010: wonder
2009: busy
2008: hope

What is your one little word for 2015?

Merry Christmas 2014

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the soon-to-be FOUR Johnsons! (Rachel, Travis, Crusher, and BabyJ)

We are laying low this year in Brooklyn, just patiently waiting for our little New Year’s gift to arrive in a few weeks. 2015 should be the best year yet!

xoxo

I love Lago di Como

Lago di Como

We booked our three-night stay in Varenna on Lake Como as a planned vacation from our vacation… and it worked out exactly as planned. We had a wonderful, relaxing time!

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We had originally planned to go to Cinque Terre instead of Lake Como, but it turned out to be an Italian holiday weekend and all of the hotels there were already booked. Usually, Lake Como wouldn’t have great weather this time of year (which means hotels were available) but we lucked out and had two perfect days of sun and amazing views.

Varenna, Italy

Varenna was definitely one of my favorite stops of the whole trip. It was quiet, with no tourist crowds, which had gotten very exhausting in the bigger cities. We stayed at a wonderful, small hotel in a room with our own terrace with stunning views of the lake and mountains. Plus, we had my favorite meals of the trip there at Restaurant La Vista.

La Vista octopus salad

14107056093_eed9cff719_bIf you are ever in Lake Como, you must go to La Vista! The food was amazing (the octopus salad was my favorite) and the staff were so very nice and welcoming. It was fancy, but totally comfortable. It is also located basically IN the water of Lake Como and has spectacular views. We ate inside on our first night and then went back on our third night in Varenna and sat on their terrace. It was so beautiful and fun! They bring out blankets for you when it gets cold after the sun goes down so that you can stay and take your time enjoying dessert. So cute! Travis and I joke that La Vista is now my most favorite restaurant in the world… but it isn’t really a joke. I think it is the truth! We had such wonderful, romantic, three-hour dinners there — it was perfect.

Lake Como sunset

Hitting up so many amazing, but crowded tourist sites all over Italy was tiring, and we knew we wanted to relax in Varenna, but we couldn’t pass up hiking in the Alps and checking out the local castle, Castello di Vezio. It was a very small castle compared to many we visited, but you could tell that it was cared for well. There was a falconry at the castle and they let the birds out for us to see. I fell in love with a cute, white owl. There was also a reptile exhibit, a sculpture garden, and strange chalk ghosts that are made each year and then slowly deteriorate. Odd, but definitely a really unique and special place. We had fun exploring the grounds.

Castello di Vezio

We continued hiking to find a nearby waterfall. It was very impressive. So loud and fast! The water was very cold since it was coming down from the Alps. It acted as a type of air conditioner and cooled the surrounding area. I drank some of the water out of a spout that was set up — it was refreshing! Then, we hiked back to town and bought lunch at the local farmer’s market. For dinner we had simple pizza and gelato. Then we turned in early and enjoyed our hotel room balcony.

Varenna, Lake Como

On our second full day we took the water ferry to Bellagio across the lake. It is a bigger town. It was more crowded, with more shops and restaurants. I liked Varenna better, so after some gelato and a rest at a water side cafe, we headed back “home.” We decided spur of the moment to go back to La Vista for dinner… and I am so glad we did! Such a great night!

ferry to Bellagio

Our entire stay in Varenna was relaxing and magical. I had been cranky while we were traveling there, but the beautiful views turned my mood around as soon as we got off the train. I had a wonderful time. I doubt it will actually happen, but we are already talking about returning someday…

Castello di Vezio

Funny Side Note: We relied heavily on Rick Steves’ guidebooks and therefore ended up surrounded by other tourists who did the same. We joked that whenever we heard someone speaking English, they were talking about Rick Steves… well, in Varenna we actually ran into one of his tour groups!! He wasn’t leading it, but it was definitely his program. We overheard a few couples talking about it at dinner… they had all been on multiple Rick Steves tours! Biggest revelation: Rick Steves’ son doesn’t wear a money belt!! The tour participants really though that was wild. haha!

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We are still working on uploading and organizing our insane amount of photos. I plan to curate a much more manageable “highlight reel,” but for now you can view them all in my Europe 2014 Flickr Album. Travis and I took more than 2,000 photos EACH. Gah!

Read Travis’ posts about Varenna HERE and HERE.

Eiffel Tower – wow!

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We made it to Paris! Our final travel destination.

I’m still working on my blog posts about Florence, Lake Como, and Switzerland, but I just couldn’t wait to share these quick photos of the Eiffel Tower as seen from our hotel room.

It is so exciting to be here! (Even if we are a little exhausted from all the travel.)

one little word 2014

optimism

My word for 2014 is optimism.

Officially defined as “hopefulness and confidence about the future,” I am going to define it even more generally… as in, everything will be ok. Trust that everything will be ok. Why think differently?

I will admit that I am an unrelenting, unapologetic optimist, especially when it comes to the wider world. But that doesn’t mean I am always feeling positive, especially when it comes to myself. I accomplished some big things in 2013 — I gave up coffee, completed a 101-day run streak, and ran my fastest ever marathon — measurable things that should make me feel good. And yet… I don’t think absolute/quantifiable goals are the key to my happiness and inner peace.

So… I refuse to make any resolutions for 2014. My resolution is to NOT hold myself to any absolutes. No numbers, no measuring, no specific goals. Just day-to-day optimism. Faith in myself and my ability to do what is right for me and my own happiness. That is a big step! We’ll see where it takes me…

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My past words:

2013: sweetness
2012: explore
2011: peace
2010: wonder
2009: busy
2008: hope

What is your one little word for 2014?

love + light + peace

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Merry Christmas!!

Travis and I are in Brooklyn this year. We are missing our families, but we are very thankful that we get to spend so much fun time together. …and with Crusher, of course!

We’ve tried our best to have a NYC Christmas this year. We went to a Broadway play, saw the Rockefeller Christmas tree, bought our own real tree for our apartment, went shopping and to see Santa at Bloomingdales, and went to a joy and peace-filled Christmas Eve service last night. It has been a good, quiet season.

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We hope you have a wonderful holiday and beautiful end to 2013. Crusher hopes he doesn’t have to wear anymore Christmas jammies!

xoxo