Life in pieces makes a whole |

This has unexpectedly been a summer of change you guys.

In June it became clear I needed to leave my budget-strapped nonprofit and I began a serious job search. To say the environment was toxic is an understatement and the last few months only became worse. And let me tell you! Job hunting takes so much time it’s a job in itself – while still working full-time, the relaxed and adventurous summer we had planned went up in flames.

Through the process and despite problems in the office, I realized how spoiled I’ve been. I worked a 20-minute walk from my house, my yoga studio is in the same building and my favorite local coffee shop is right there.

I’ll have to commute now? Join the rush-hour crush on public transit? My commute time quadruples?? I’ve managed to retain small-city work habits in DC. Remarkable, really.

The good news is I’m now a week into a new job! My commute isn’t the worst – I’m able to catch a limited-stop bus and avoid the metro trains all together. It’s a nice salary increase. The staff are spunky and friendly.

I’ll give a little more detail when I get my new office arranged and decorated and can also post photos.

In other summer news!

We went on vacation! Finally. And it coincided with our 3-year anniversary! We camped for 5 days in a Maryland State Park, turned off phones, didn’t check times, went exploring and generally just breathed. In perfect timing, I accepted my new position the night before we left, so we really were able to fully relax.

Life in pieces makes a whole | Life in pieces makes a whole | Life in pieces makes a whole |
Life in pieces makes a whole | Life in pieces makes a whole | Life in pieces makes a whole |

I ran a 10-mile trail race with some good friends:

Life in pieces makes a whole |

I’ve been much more consistent with runs and workouts:

Life in pieces makes a whole |

Life in pieces makes a whole |

We’ve spent time around the city and had family visit:

Life in pieces makes a whole |

Life in pieces makes a whole |

Cassie and I took advantage our last weeks working together (she started a new job too!):

Life in pieces makes a whole |

Life in pieces makes a whole |

Life in pieces makes a whole |

I’ve enjoyed my home. A peaceful home space is so important when outside the doors is crazy:

Life in pieces makes a whole |

Life in pieces makes a whole |

Now I can settle into a new space and new routine. I can work with freelance clients again. And because I work in the city now, I can be cool and have lunch dates with fellow downtown employee friends.

Thanks for sticking with me!


Since I’ve been mostly absent, how have your summers been??
How do you handle transition periods?

The Ultimate Coffee Date, lunch date

Apartment dwellers workout { |} creative workouts

Since I missed National Donut Day yesterday (gasp! I know, it was hard) let’s meet for brunch at a favorite little bakery for coffee, bagels and donuts. I want it all, right now. Fair warning, I haven’t eaten yet, so you may want to let me take a few bites before we can really visit.

Apartment dwellers workout { |} creative workouts• Apartment Dwellers Workout. My friend and all around sustainability nerd Elizabeth featured the first installment of this series on her website The Note Passer. She’s one of the coolest people I know. From her site: “my aim is to be a comprehensive resource for ethical alternatives that benefit both people and the environment. The Note Passer is inspiration for better, sustainable future; one that’s full of more meaning and less waste.”

The workout is all about limited equipment, limited space and a general inability to jump over your neighbors’ heads. It’s a tough life, staying fit in an apartment. So here’s a low impact, bodyweight cardio workout. Cheers, apartment dwellers.

• DeskCycle verses standing desk? I’m all about the standing desk. Unfortunately I don’t have one now, but I make-shifted (a word?) one at my previous job. Lately the stationary sedentary work life has really bothered me and I’m brainstorming ways to raise my workspace again.

But wait! How about trying something new??

I’vApartment dwellers workout { |} creative workoutse had this for two days, pedaled for 6 hours total and burned over 1000 extra calories. It looks silly, I know. It’s worth it. The best part? I haven’t been cold in my arctic office.

Back to the standing verses pedaling question. From the DeskCycle website: Sitting on an exercise ball while working, raises your energy expenditure by 6% over sitting at your chair. Standing at your desk raises your energy expenditure by 30%. Pedaling the DeskCycle at only 1 revolution per second, at resistance level 3, raises your energy expenditure by 100%.

More detailed thoughts later after I use it more.

• I’m a little crazy. But really. This is the busiest period of my work year and I’m turning 30 in not very many days and the summer had an identity crisis of 60ºs with rain for 5 days straight and I’m suddenly training for a 10 miles trail race in not very many weeks. Hello summer.

OK I’m done rambling. Your turn.


What’s new for you?
Do you like standing desks?
What are your creative workouts?

The Ultimate Coffee Date, lunch date
lunch date, coffee date, sunny, saturday {}
lunch date, coffee date, sunny, saturday {}

It’s a sunny day above freezing. Let’s meet for a lunch date.

• We’re moving! In one week to be exact. This weekend starts the packing and cleaning. We’re not moving far; just into a two-bedroom in the next building. It will be the easiest move Jon or I have ever done. Then, in a couple of weeks, my youngest brother moves down here from Upstate NY.

• I’m adding a new yoga class. It’s a “yoga fit” type class and the first time offered at my studio (which tends to be more formal yoga and pilates training, not much of the trendier styles).

It’s listed as a regular yoga opening and closing of the class and strength training workout stuff in the middle. With pop music and I’ve heard rumors of some free dance. The teacher isn’t my regular but I know her well enough to know I’m gonna get my ass kicked. Should be fun.

Stephanoff Media, website, graphic design, quote {}• Jon and I are combining our side businesses. Between the two of us, we build websites, design brand identity pieces, setup and manage social media communities, shoot photo and video projects, and more. We’ve each done our own thing for a long time and finally decided to bring it all together under Stephanoff Media.

• On that note, I have openings for new design clients! Smaller work I can take right away. A blog or website build can start in April. If you’ve considered revamping your brand, maybe now is the time. Spring is the season for fresh and new! Head over here for details.

Now I’m off to manage the laundry and pack up our books! Which really means toss them into bins so they can be carried across the parking lot and put away again. There will be very little formal packing going on.

Thanks for the lunch date!

Tell me your best or worst moving story.
Tell me about your favorite group fitness class.
What is your favorite lunch or coffee spot?

The Ultimate Coffee Date, lunch date
{} lunch date, coffee date,
{} lunch date, coffee date, home purchases

If we met for a lunch date this weekend, I would tell you…


• About my bum foot. It’s finally starting to feel better but I’ve been hobbling around all week. No swelling, no bruising, just severe pain and dramatic loss of motion on my left big toe and ball of my foot. Killer you guys.

I haven’t worked out or yoga’d in a week because I simply couldn’t put much pressure on it. Just the thought of a high lunge was excruciating. Walking to work took ages. The pain is lessened enough that I’m going to try my regular yoga class tomorrow, but I’m trying really hard not to push it. I want it to heal up all the way.

• About my sugar detox. I’m ditching the treats and deserts and sugar in my tea this month. The cravings started to feel controlling and I need to break the habit. Days 1 – 5 were great. I didn’t have any strong cravings at all. Now, though, it’s getting hard.

• About changing apartments. Next month we’re moving into a two bedroom in our complex because my youngest brother is coming to live with us. We don’t have to move far, but we will lose a storage space in the new apartment layout. We’re brainstorming ways to work around that.

It means another round of downsizing! Even in just 700 square feet there are things we can clear out. I don’t like clutter and I’m not a sentimental collector of stuff AND I’m a type A organizer so I already have plans to repack some belongings more efficiently. A donation trip is in our near future.

Oh, also? We finally purchased a living room rug. I love it! It took us over a year on wood floors to make the decision. We just couldn’t find one we liked enough for a low price. Rugs are expensive! We didn’t want a long-term piece in our little apartment and this is the perfect balance of quality and price.

• About my teeny tiny baby appliance food processor. I laughed when I pulled it out of the box. We don’t need a fancy or large one. I just wanted a basic food processor to make falafel, a fairly regular favorite of ours, and hide in a cupboard when not in use. My 1950’s vintage blender doesn’t do that so well (Jon also ordered new blades for that guy. Is it strange that new blender blades make me so happy?)

And if I start talking about falafel, I have to tell you our newest habit. I make a big batch, split it into 2 or 3 meal servings and freeze them. De-thawing the mix and frying it up is super easy for a mid-week meal. And yes, we do fry it on the stove top. Someday I’ll go healthier and bake the falafel but it’s just too darn tasty.

Also on the horizon? Homemade hummus. My baby food processor and chick peas are going to be great friends.

Thanks for reading!

What would you tell me on a lunch date?

The Ultimate Coffee Date, lunch date
{} Own it, Be a little wild, Henry David Thoreau, sunrise, sunset

{} Own it, Be a little wild, Henry David Thoreau, sunrise, sunset

If we met for lunch today, I would tell you…

I am a planner and a dreamer. Though sometimes at odds, the two characteristics keep me balanced between structure and spontaneity. My practical goals mix with out-there ideas, and paired with right people, they create something amazing.

Make it look pretty and you have me hook, line and sinker.

{The image above is the front and back cover I created for my 2015 planner. Check out You can customize just about everything in these gems. Not an affiliate link, FYI.}

This is year three using Susannah Conway’s Unraveling the year ahead workbook. It is the perfect blend of planning and dreaming all in a pretty package. First you’ll reflect on the year past then make plans for the year ahead, all guided by simple questions and lots of space to jot notes.

P.S. Keep the workbooks year to year. After reflecting on the year past, it’s fun to look at what you wrote last year.

My favorite part? Choosing a single word – or in my case this time, a phrase – to guide the year. I’ve chosen own it.

For me this means:

• own my decisions without excuses {less unnecessary apologies}
• own my mistakes {more necessary apologies}
• own my personality quirks {embarrassment takes a lot of energy}
• own my current situations {change what I can, work with what I can’t, less complaining}
• own my work-in-progress gorgeous self {embrace it all}

The workbook then guides you to select four companion words to flesh out your intention a bit more. This little word tree sets the foundation for goals, dreams and ideas in the year to come. It’s a fabulous process to help you be purposeful in 2015.

 Thanks for reading, friends!


Do you have a word or intention for 2015?
What would you tell me at lunch today?