the next adventure

February 6th, 2018 — 12:24pm

I’ve found that there are times in life that we let life happen to us and there are times that we make our lives happen. Lately, I’ve been choosing to make my life happen.

Here’s to knowing that when you can’t see the forest for the trees, once you’ve made your way through, all those trees make so much sense. And it suddenly becomes very clear that the path you’ve blazed was exactly the path that you needed.

We’re on to the next adventure here at the Blevins/Hudnall household. I’m leaving my Downtown job at the end of this month and I get to go work with Josh and a fantastic team at the startup that he co-founded. We are so excited to get to work together to accomplish huge goals and so very thankful and ready for what’s to come!

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gluten free biscuits rolled in “Everything”

January 13th, 2018 — 1:57pm

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I’ve been loving cooking through Smitten Kitchen’s Every Day book. Here’s my gluten-free take on her everything drop biscuits.

Smitten Kitchen Everything mix, tweaked slightly.

1 TBS toasted sesame seeds
1 TBS black sesame seeds
2 TBS poppy seeds
1 TBS minced dried onions
2 tsp minced dried garlic
1 tsp coarse kosher salt

Mix together well and set aside in a small bowl. (I fully plan to make more of this and eat it on buttered popcorn.)

my GF biscuits

2 cups Cup4Cup baking mix
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup cold salted butter, cut up into small pieces
slightly less than 1 cup buttermilk (I’ve easily substituted milk when I’m out of buttermilk – I just add in a splash of lemon juice.)

Preheat oven to 450º.  Mix the Cup4Cup, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until nothing is bigger than a pea. Stir in the milk and mix until it just comes together.

Drop 10 similar sized rough mounds of dough, one at a time, into the Everything mixture and roll to coat. Transfer to a lined baking sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown. When you remove them from the oven, there will be extra butter pooling around the biscuits. This is what makes them so good! Just let the biscuits cool on the baking sheet slightly and they will reabsorb most of the butter.

 

*Note: If you want to roll these biscuits out and cut into circles, decrease the milk to 2/3 cup.

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2017 Year in Review

December 29th, 2017 — 4:49pm

This is my 13th annual Year in Review. To read past reviews, click here.

2017 in a nutshell: so, so busy. Or the year we bought our house.

I’m of double mind about 2017. There was both so much bitterness and so much sweetness, as life always is. On one hand it was the year that I saw the culmination of years of my own personal growth. On the other hand it was such a stressful year, especially for Josh. There were so, so many challenges and stressors and there were times that I wasn’t sure how we were going to get through it. Josh found himself with three thriving businesses and not nearly enough time to make them all work. In the midst of it all he moved his mother here from Austin, TX and she ended up living in our house much longer than we had originally planned.

We also embarked on the super-stressful process of purchasing the Mid Century house that we’ve been living in for the past two years. Let me tell you, getting a mortgage when you’re self-employed is no joke. On the other hand the kids nothing short of blossomed. They are thriving more than ever and are both just coming into their real selves, unashamed of, and confident in, who they are. Josh merged FACTORY with the coworking space in Montrose, Proximity Space, taking on the role of Chief Creative Officer in a startup that has every chance of becoming something huge. He’s doing work that he’s excited to do every, single day and it’s so fun to watch.

Year three was a hard year for our marriage. I feel like our newlywed bubble finally popped. Some days, and nights, were so hard. But in the end, we’re getting past the butterflies and heart-eyes and into the grit and heart and sweat and tears that make a real marriage. It has been so amazing to be with someone who is dedicated to fighting through whatever comes our way. And it means more than I can say that there is someone who loves me so much that he will do everything he can to never leave my side. We find ourselves at the end of 2017 stronger than ever and with a little more of that all-knowing wisdom behind our eyes that only comes from having walked through fire.

The best word that I can use to describe myself this year would be Solid. Sometimes we grow in inches, or even millimeters, and sometimes we grow in leaps and bounds. This year was leaps and bounds and it happened in ways that seemed so easy, like the final pieces of a puzzle clicking into place. Some of the experiences that I had, I’d still rather not have had, but I was able to use them to connect the lines to lessons I’ve been learning over these past several years. I’ve come to really know that the only way any of us truly fill the holes in ourselves is only with ourselves. That no one else can do that for us and we will always be needy and searching until we understand that. This year I learned to stand up for myself, to have confrontation (so much confrontation thanks to my job) and to trust myself. I just really do feel so solid. I’ve found that there are times in life that we let life happen to us and there are times what we make our lives happen. This year I chose to make my life happen.

In 2017 I learned to Look Up. It started with a phrase that continually rolled through my head. And every time I heeded it I was astonished. Sometimes all we need is just to interrupt ourselves, to see, actually see, where we are. Sometimes the only solution is to get some perspective and to practice thankfulness. And sometimes those astonishing things are just there as a gift. Reminding myself to be thankful and to take in this gift that is the earth beneath my feet has been transformational. Seeing that everyone and every situation in my life is there to be my teacher has changed my whole perspective. When I remember this, when I practice this, I get to live in the fullness of who I truly am. And that makes life, even when things are bitter, so very sweet too.

Travel:
We didn’t stray quite as far from home as we usually do but we did take a few trips over the mountains to Boulder and Denver for GoCode’s Mentor Weekend. We camped in Moab during spring break and spent a day exploring Arches National Park. (For as close as we live to Arches, I’m ashamed to say this was everyone’s first time.) I joined a group of our friends to float Ruby Horsethief in May while Josh took some needed downtime and the kids went to Mexico with their dad. We camped and floated on the Moab Daily section of the Colorado River outside of Moab, Utah in June for our 5th annual Riverpalooza (rPal) with our dear friends. And we only camped once more on the Grand Mesa before school started. Josh and I travelled to San Diego for my birthday in September where we spent everyday laying on the beach and got the chance to snorkel with sea lions after climbing cliffs in La Jolla. We took a day trip to Aspen so Eden could attend the college fair (yes, we’re already at THAT life stage). Aside from that we managed to sneak away into a mountain town or two a few times throughout the year.

Me
• My job continues to keep me on my toes with big challenges and successes, especially in the area of Downtown’s public parking system (aka the “P” word). I saw a lot of successes in my marketing efforts and saw our district thriving more than it has in years. I struggled to not take criticism and crazy people personally but learned to hold things loosely and focus on the good work that I’m doing and the ways that I can make things better. Public service continues to be of constant fascination to me and I am never, ever bored.
• Turned 36.
• Had an op-ed published in the newspaper.
• Started hosting my own monthly radio show on our community radio station.
• Hiked the lower and upper monument trail (12 miles) with my workout girls in May.
Lost my grandmother – my dad’s mom in February.
• Made some dear new friends after reaching out over Instagram to some like-minded ladies. We now get together monthly in my kitchen to create.
• Got to pet TWO Great Danes. (life dream)

Eden
• Participated with 5,000 other people in the Women’s March down our Main Street.
• Turned 15.
• Went to her first Winter Formal and homecoming.
• Performed a solo during the Solo/Small Ensemble week the school district hosts.
• Played golf on her high school golf team.
• Got her permit.
• Got her braces off.
• Finished 9th grade and started 10th.
• Got accepted into the Show Choir along with continuing in the advanced women’s choir.
• Busked for the first time on Main Street.
• Performed 18 days in a row during Christmas with her two choirs.
• Wrote a book.
• Posted her first video on YouTube
• Got a new cat named Leo.

Josh
• Saw his coworking space, FACTORY, really thrive after their soft opening in December 2016. The grand opening party saw hundreds of people. It has been so cool to see how this community has embraced this new (to us) concept.
• Josh and his partner, Brian, merged FACTORY with Proximity Space with it bringing them 5 new business partners, two more coworking spaces, new friends, and a kick-ass company that provides hardware and software for managing coworking spaces and communities all over the world.
• Hosted the Western Colorado portion of the Colorado Secretary of State’s coding competition, called Go Code, at Factory in the spring. We sent two teams to compete in the finals in Denver.
• Turned 36.
• Started winding down his company, FastPXL.
• Perfected his smoked brisket recipe.
• Built an amazing wood plank wall at FACTORY.
• Started going to Montrose once a week so he could work in-person with the Prox team.

Honor
• Continued to spend a lot of time honing his card game playing skills at our local game shop. His new favorite game is called Star Wars Destiny.
• Took over running the after-school D&D group at his school.
• Anchored the weather on his school’s news channel.
• Turned 14.
• Grew taller first than his sister and then taller than his mom too.
• Got braces.
• Finished 7th grade and started 8th.
• Really turned into a hard worker, helping his mom a lot during Downtown Events.
• Started a political satire blog. SassyFashion.horse
• Learned to solve a rubix cube in about 4 minutes.

We
• Celebrated my Grandma’s 90th birthday and my family reunion (mom’s side) this year at our house. We had so much fun with cousins and aunts and uncles playing in the pool and lounging in the back yard.
• Added a new honorary member to the family when my event coordinator, Caitlyn, lived with us for a couple of weeks while she found a new place to live. She’s become like a little sister to Josh and I and a big sister to Eden and Honor.
• Celebrated a pool party with all the Proximity business partners, a back-to-school pool party with the kid’s friends, pumpkin carving, Thanksgiving (including Pie for Breakfast™), THE Christmas Party, and Christmas Day at our house.
• Participated in the Inside-Out Project, taking poster-sized pictures of ourselves and pasting them up, along with 250 other community members, on the outside of FACTORY in support of the Dream Act and all of the Dreamers in our country.
• Voted in two local elections, losing the first and winning the second. Feeling hope start to seep into this community that has historically said NO to everything.

We go into next year with a plan to rest more, to focus in on the few things we know we’re supposed to be doing so we can leave behind some of the frantic and stress from 2017. We will keep remembering to #lookup and take a minute to learn the lesson and see the gift that is before us. We’ll paint some walls and change some things in our new house now that we own it. And we’ll focus in on the teenagers because we are realizing just how little time we have with them before they embark on adventures of their own. And we’ll continue to always, always be thankful for this life – this redemption – that we have, knowing just how precious it and just how lucky we are that we get to live it together.

Au Revoir 2017!

Every pic I posted to Instagram in 2017:

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Net Neutrality

December 14th, 2017 — 10:19am

Both of the children texted Josh and I today worrying about Net Neutrality. They both also have Net Neutrality written on their Christmas lists (really). I can’t say it better than Honor, who is 14, so I’ll leave you with his words:

“Net neutrality is gone, this is a very scary reminder of the state of our country, something that will affect (almost) every single person in America negatively was passed without anyone wanting it. The only people this benefits are pre-existing internet service providers, things like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast. (FREAKING COMCAST) This is a very big issue that we need to fix. Please inform yourselves and use common sense, it’s really not that hard.”

1 comment » | Honor

Happy Holidays 2017

December 10th, 2017 — 10:43am

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homeownership

December 6th, 2017 — 10:24am

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Sometimes I am amazed when I pause for a minute to look back at where I’ve come from. I lost so very much when my first marriage fell apart but every single bit has been redeemed and is now better than it was before. Today we bought the mid century house that we’ve been living in for the last two years and we couldn’t be happier. Life is good.

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Dreamers

November 28th, 2017 — 10:26am

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Today we’re pasting our photos on the side of FACTORY in support of the Dreamers. I believe that American Values are that we care for each other and kids who were raised in these United States are certainly our own. #loveyourneighbor #westslopebestslope

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community

November 24th, 2017 — 10:28am

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This seems to be like a good time for me to give my shopping local speech. What shopping local really boils down to is shopping with intention. Sometimes that takes more time and sometimes that takes a little bit more money. But it also means so much for your community.

Shopping small, at locally owned shores, means that 68% of each dollar you spend stays right in your community. Our city is primarily funded by sales tax so those dollars go to provide roads, sewer, police, fire, EMS, parks and so much more. This process is something I get to see happening close up everyday. Perhaps more importantly, that 68% staying in our community means that our friends and neighbors who own local businesses get to continue to do what they love, providing great service and unique products. Being a former retailer I can promise you that every single person who shopped at my store really did matter and really did make a difference to my business.

When you shop at a local chain store, 43% of every dollar you spend stays in the community. So it’s not as much as shopping at a locally owned store, but it’s still significant.

Sometimes it’s a necessity to shop online and there are wonderful things about this age of the internet that we live in but there are also ways that it ads another barrier to human connection. We don’t get to see the shop owner face to face when we shop online. We don’t get to know their stories and that they just had a new grand baby and that they’ve been running this business for 30 years or that they had to learn how to run the whole thing when their husband suddenly died. We don’t get to get out of the house and interact with members of our community and connect in ways that would never happen with a screen between us and everyone else.

It’s my job to promote local business but it’s also a way of life that I deeply believe in. My commitment is to shop small and local whenever I can and I hope it’s yours too!

#shoplocal #westslopebestslope

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teacher

November 1st, 2017 — 10:31am

Here’s the work that I’m practicing right now:
I’m remembering that everyone is my teacher. I’m taking the longer view. I’m learning what I can from everyone, even when it’s hard. Even when they complain to me about parking.

I’m sitting down every morning before I start my day to write three things I’m thankful for about my job. I’m focusing on three things I’m thankful for about my life, too. It’s a really good life.

I’m learning how to protect my little, empathic self from feeling all of the things so I can focus on what’s important and feel what’s important.


What is the work you’re doing right now?
#lookup
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five years

October 28th, 2017 — 10:32am

It’s been five years since Josh and I met. Gosh, how lucky I feel that Seth and Carrie talked him into driving over the mountains to carve pumpkins that day. It was only a couple weeks later that we started dating and he kept driving over the mountains to see me.

I’m so thankful for these memories to look back on and measure the way life changes. I could not have imagined then how good life would be now. This man would go on show me how very real redemption is and what it’s like to be loved unconditionally. I really am so lucky.

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