From Sand to Pearl

big dreams. big heart. big world. little me.

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After what feels like one of the longest winter’s in my adult life, spring is here.  There isn’t anymore snow on the ground, and it’s been above 60 degrees for a whole week.  I haven’t had to wear a coat, bring extra shoes to work to change into when I take boots off, and my car looks like a car again instead of a giant mobile piece of salt. 

Not only is spring exciting because of the change in the weather and more sun, but this year it means that the wedding is getting closer!  We are just 2.5 months out now.  At this point I’m very much looking forward to being married and starting to plan for new adventures post-wedding day.  The wedding has been all-consuming of both our budgets and our sanity.

It’s definitely time for me to amp up my workout efforts.  The winter definitely left me a little sluggish and lack-luster.  However, I have had a workout buddy in the morning.  A mouse.  The tricky little bugger!  The other morning led to an exciting scene of seeing my future husband with only his jeans on, holding a hockey stick, and telling me to flush the mouse out to him.  I asked why I couldn’t use the stick to flush the mouse and his response was, “are you going to slapshot the mouse?”… um no.  So, he kept the stick and I kept moving furniture around.  The mouse still lives, and I’m a little more alert during my morning workouts.

I’ve taken on the challenge of creating a space for me in the spare room upstairs.  An office/craft room.  Strickly girly.  All things happy and color coordinating.  I love my fiance, but not one penguins piece of memorablia will end up in that room.  I’m very excited and Pinterested has been helping me obsess plan for all the little details I’d like to include.  Like a chandelier.  That was another moment where Jason couldn’t tell if I was joking or not.  Every good office needs a chandelier.  Pinterest made that clear :)  Thank you, pinterest.

My nieces are now old enough to remember me, and demand remember the things that makes “Aunt Ingrid’s House” special.  Like Lily who will walk in at any time of the day, sit on our dining room table and declare that she wants waffles.  So, we keep a steady supply of eggo waffles in the freezer.  Evelyn has her ticks as well, she likes string cheese, and the bean bag from Vince’s room.  She likes to pull up the bean bag to the tv and relax.  I’ve really been enjoying seeing their personalities shine.  Being an Aunt is one of my favorite things to be.

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Book-it, Just book-it!

So, in local news… our flights to Italy are booked!  Four months from now we will be into our international flight to wonderful Italy!  We have a quick layover in Ireland… just long enough for us to stretch, do some jumping jacks, drink a guiness and board the next plane to Rome!  It’s make it very real, and very cool!

In health news, just when I thought life was getting better because my throat wasn’t hurting… I’m now coughing, sneezing and blowing out of my nose more snot than a person knows what to do with.  The sneezes are the worst. One minute you’re all talking on the phone, the next WHAM… ACHOOOOOO! 

The nightlife scene is hot, hot, hot!  Friday evening so far has consisted of a hot batch of fresh cookies, a hot loaf of cinnamon bread and one hot mess hanging on the couch all day.  I did take a hot shower this morning (my fiance was very grateful).  And I’m spending this evening taking in the hotties on COPS.  Ever need a better perspective on your life?  Cuddle up to this show.

Wedding news has really slowed down lately.  Our next hurdle is starting to collect the bottles of adult beverages needed for the reception.  We need to find a reasonably priced store willing to part with bottles of booze that will be used by our guests to make amazing decisions in regards to crowd-pleasing dance moves.

Wedding news part 2: I had my dress fitting on wednesday, that made it real…ly real.  Pretty cool to stand in front of a mirror and get all pinned up!  So, that means I get to maintain all my dimensions for the next 4 months… seems hard at the moment when I feel weighed down by pounds of snot.

Crafting has taken a sad, sad back seat lately.  I moved the craft area to the basement thinking it would be great because there was so much room, but I really don’t like spending all that time locked away in the basement.  Maybe one day I’ll be begging for a room of my own, perhaps padded.  But for now, I really enjoy being able to do my hobbies near the same space where everyone else is hanging out.

Jason and I started pre-marital counseling.  So far, so good.  It’s all good stuff to talk about.  Expectations and what not.  It sparks conversations that normally you wouldn’t have unless something was wrong or you were fighting.  So, it’s really nice to talk about that stuff on even ground when we are both in a positive frame of mind!  I didn’t get to the chapter yet where he worships me, brings me grapes (in a glass, after stomping and fermenting them) and fanning me with palm trees… I’m sure that’s coming though.  How could it not?

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Leadership Seminar – Knowledge Sharing

I spent the morning in downtown Madison attending a seminar on Leadership and Emotional Intelligence.  The presenter was Darcy Louma ( I really enjoyed it and had a lot of notes that resonated with me and that I wanted to remember.  I wanted to share some of the highlights/notes/phrases that really had me thinking once the seminar was over.  She has 3 more seminars coming up this year in this leadership series, if you’re in the Madison area, I’d highly recommend them! 

Highlights form the Leadership Series today:


Academic Intelligence (IQ) only contributes 10-25% of a person’s chance of being successful in life.  The emotional intelligence, or their ability to react to what happens in life, is a far greater predictor of success.


Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

  1. Self-awareness
    1. How aware am I?
  2. Self-leadership
    1. How well do I control my emotions and impulses
  3. Social awareness
    1. How aware am I to the needs of others?
  4. Relationship management
    1. How well do I build and maintain relationships

4 factors that get in the way of relationship managment:

  1. Blaming/Criticism
  2. Defensiveness
  3. Stone Walling
  4. Contempt



  •          The action of taking myself from where you am to where you want to be
  •          Recognizing who you are (values)
  •          Recognizing what you can do (strengths)
  •          Recognizing where you are (vision)
  •          The ability to intentionally influence thinking, feeling and behavior to meet your goals.


Ways to increase your emotional intelligence:

  •          Active Listening
  •          Asking Empowered Questions
    •    Empowered Questions are 5-7 words long
    •    Starting the questions with “what” and “how”, they are more powerful questions and don’t evoke defensiveness like starting a question with “why” does.
    •    Looking for resonance in what your are asking.
      • If what you are asking does not resonate with them, move on.
    •    Focus on the person talking, not on who they are talking about.
      • If someone is talking about how they feel about their ex-wife/husband, don’t start asking how the wife/husband feels about everything. This conversation isn’t about the ex and their feelings aren’t in your control.
    •    Curiosity and Self-Management.


The freedom to choose how you respond to stimulus in your life can be empowering, bu tit also takes courage because it means acknowledging that you are responsible for your own life.

  •          Self-awareness
  •          Imagination
  •          Conscience
  •          Independent will


Circle of control – things you have control over in your own life

Circle of concern – external factors that you have no control over (war, weather, etc)


Great one-liners to remember:


  •          Don’t be a victim of external factors.
  •          Seek first to understand, then be understood.
  •          The last of the human freedoms. To choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances. To choose one’s own way. – Viktor Frankl
  •          The ability to remove ones-self from a situation and think about what they are thinking about is a uniquely human trait.
  •          You have to lead yourself before you can lead others.

 Suggested books to read:


1.       Man’s Search for Meaning

By: Viktor Frankl

2.       Daring Greatly

3.       The Gifts of Imperfection

Both By: Brene Brown

4.       The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

By: Stephen Covey

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You’re doing a great job!

Thank you!

I appreciate you!

______ is working great!

That’s a great idea!

That’s good insight!


Have any of you heard any of those things lately?  I know this has been written about, spoken about, blogged about and lectured about… but people who look for the bad, broken, sad, missing things… find them.  And that’s all they find.  They glimpse over the 99 things that are working exactly as expected, and then with a triumphant yell and beating of their bare chest, they rip that bad thing out of its place and wave it around like a hunting trophy for everyone to see.  Good job!  They just ignored, downplayed and pishawed the 99 right things that someone worked on, sweat over and/or created to find the one flaw.  And they are fulfilled with a feeling of righteousness, because they found what they were looking for!

Nicely done, jackass.  

Being frequently on the end of the whipping stick of the nay-sayer… I find it exasperating to defend the 1% that isn’t quite what someone expected.  Yes, it is flawed.  Yes, you found it.  Yes, you have now let EVERYONE know that it is wrong.  Yes, I will fix it.  And NO… you will not wave it around weeping with gratitude.. you will have already heaped up the next 1%’ers that you found.. proudly showing your can-do attitude when it comes to uncovering issues!

Do you know what the difference is between a jackass and a human being?  The ability to feel gratitude, to see the light in the dark, to praise the good while honoring that we are all flawed, can do better, and there is always something to be learned.  The ability to look at the 1% like an opportunity to improve a process.  A chance to let someone fix an error.  A “phew, glad we found that out before it became a real problem”.  The high-five when it is fixed.  The “attaboy” email that follows the “oopsy daisy” email.

I am definitely guilty of having days where the bad or broken seem to be dancing in front of me… with not an end in sight.  But it is up to me to pull my head out of that jack-assy place and realize that not only are there so many things going right today, but I’m alive, slept inside where it is warm, have good friends and family and this is ONLY A JOB.  A job that other people have to spend 8 hours a day at with me… and that maybe we should all try a little harder to be kinder to each other.

If you look for the good, when you find the bad… you are able to accurately see the severity of the problem… or lack there of.

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A year and a half engagement…


Is just enough time to do things like add to your color palate 13 months into said engagement. Mostly I’ve been leaning and purchasing some brighter colors like blue (see above hobby lobby purchase) and brighter coral and maybe some lilac/lavender (possible bridesmaid dresses).

At first I felt guilty, like I couldn’t change my colors because I already made a decision. Then I realized I was only going to get married once and if I wanted to change my mind, at the last minute it was my right as a soon to be bridezilla to do so. And I’m not changing any of my colors, just adding like bonus round colors.

Going with the flow is much less stressful. I’m also very excited that I’m starting to round up dessert minions. We’ve got a couple cake makers and a couple cup cake makers. I also think I found my wedding shoes. And maybe my wedding earrings (neither of which I can show you because Jason wants to be surprised from head to toe with my ensemble).

Phew. Getting stuff done :)

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What’s your dream…

Job/Location/Spice of Life?

A coworker asked a group of us recently what our dream job would be.  I found that since I spend so much time concentrating on how to get ahead at my current job and how to make money, etc… that I forget what it’s like to dream about a career.  I went from someone who had time to dream, to someone who dreamed about having time.  Without taking the time to dream, you can’t stretch your dreaming wings.  You forget what it’s like to think and think and think about something until you’ve lost time and space to an idea that will likely never come to fruition. Thinking about something so wonderful and close to your heart that the thought of it never coming true is actually more scary than the thought of never trying it at all.

Sure, sometimes I feel breathless from what I’m working on.  Sometimes I feel exhillerated.  Mostly I think it’s lack of oxygen from hyperventilating, overworking, underdreaming and mostly just because I am anxious.  I’d like to feel breathless because I didn’t know what was coming next, because my dreams were so big and so awesome and because small steps towards that dream were coming true. 

The crux of it all is that in order for any of those dreams or breathless things to happen, you need to start dreaming and plotting again.  So, I dream of living on a beach somewhere that classifies winter as soemthing slightly uncomfortable, not horrendously uncomfortable and below freezing.  I dream of crafting, writing, sea shell collecting, evenings with my (future) husband, fine cheeses, fine chocolates, sand blasted siding on a house, fireplaces, big (i mean huge) wall paintings, that big round thing in kitchens that you hang your pots and pans from int he kitchen, a old bath tub (you know with the claw feet), lots of white (walls, ceiling, natural light), giant bookshelves (GIANT), wood floors, puppies, and nieces, family, step family and other company galore!

So think about your dreams, in detail, write them out.  It’s very satisfying in a day-dreaming sort of way.


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