When I used to swim competitively, my coaches would always say that 80% was mental, while only 20% of swimming was physical. I never really believed it. But recently, like past five months recently, I've seen how much this is true. Not just in swimming but in life. So much of what we do is motivated and conquered by mental focus, the stripping of the unnecessary -- thinking power. I hadn't really realized how much of my thoughts were being consumed by things, one of them being technology and unneeded stress.
Since I've decided to step back from blogging, and unplug (I deleted my personal Facebook, gasp!), the clearer my mind has felt and the less distracted I've found myself. I am better able to be the woman I want to be, much in part due to simplifying to gain focus. I trained and swam at the Colorado Masters Swimming State Championships, we've found a church, I've read books, cooked meals, mended clothing, rode bikes, tackled house projects, and grown in relationships with friends and coworkers. I feel strong in my relationship with Jesus and my marriage hasn't felt this right in a long time. 
It all sounds so simple, but that's the point, right? Simplifying has shown me a slower pace and a new sense of comfort and joy. I'm still saying au revoir for the time, but know you can still see what life is like for us in our Colorado home by following me on Instagram, @lauren_tien - yes, I did keep one form of social media ;)


Very Merry Christmas!

I know I said I would be taking a break from blogging, but it feels like a season missed without stopping in to wish you a merry Christmas and joyful start to the New Year. This break has been good. You know how hard things sometimes turn into the best decisions? Slowing down and living simpler, and being more in the moment, has been good for my soul. I didn't realize how often I was so "go-go-go", and taking one little thing like blogging out of the picture for now has made me just "go-go". (And maybe this break has been detrimental to my writing, but hey, there could be worse things.)  
We've had time for coffee dates and reading books, spending time with close friends and babysitting little ones. There have been house guests and sitting around tables, games of gin rummy and talks of the future. There has been the busiest time at work, but also the most whimsical. First winter snowfalls and night strolls through our neighborhood. Slowing down has made this season brighter. 
We are still in search of a home church, so the meaning of Christmas and the celebration of Jesus has been one that's required me digging into my Bible and being disciplined to not overlook or get distracted by everything else that can easily take time from the true focus of this time of year. My hope is that believer or not, you find meaning in this season. May it be merry and filled with a time to slow down and reflect. See you in 2015!


Au Revoir, for now.

Let's be honest. I haven't been completely present when it comes to blogging consistently this fall. Here it is November 11th, and my most recent posts said au revoir to summer.  (And it's snowing. It is most definitely waaaay past a good-bye to summer.) Yesterday was my birthday, and two of the things I've set myself out to do better this last year of my twenties is to be more present and more disciplined in my daily living. I've been thinking a lot about how this little blog fits into that. When my schedule is so diverse each week and Matt and I grasp every moment of time together we have to actually spend together, the blog tends to fade into the bottom of the pile. I think for right now I need to just press pause, and tell you I'll be back here soon. I know this blog fits in some how, but right now I need to be present in the other things - you know? 

I'm so thankful for those of you who stop in a read what's on my heart and see what projects we've been up to. Can you believe its been three years that this blog has come to be? So this isn't goodbye (although it is clear goodbye to summer….), its just a be back soon! xo, Lauren.


Hello, Fall.

Hello, fall. What a pleasure to be greeted by you. Your mustard yellow ignites the hillsides and steep mountain slopes that meet the bluest sky. Your breezy air, campfire smell, and glistening gold take my breathe away. And truly, truly, in Colorado, you do it best of all. Fall, I'm glad you're here. I think I'll keep you for as long snowy days stay far away and your aspen leaves glisten in the sun.
Three weeks ago we ventured through Western Colorado. Each night we camped, each day we explored. It was wonderful. And now, life is busy again in the very best way, with a trip to California this past weekend, house projects crammed in on days off and between rain, and quality down time when swimming, or cooking, or working doesn't take up the majority. So, here's just a snapshot from our trip, with a promise (to myself, really) to share my favorites from Salida, the brewery's in Ouray and Durango, and the hikes to waterfalls and ghost-homes that filled those days out west. 
Oh, and in case you've ever wondered if I can do a cartwheel. I can't. But, this picture might make you believe I darn well tried.


Good Bye, Summer.

It feels necessary to officially say good bye to summer. To make this line in the sand, and cross over to fall. Last night I found myself in flip flops and freezing while hurrying across the Target parking lot to get into my warm car, away from the wind that often shows up with October. And it was in this moment I realized how I have been holding onto summer for as long as I could. Holding onto it even though night starts at 6:30 now, and yellow leaves scatter the ground, and window frost greets me in the morning. The reality is that this has been the hardest summer to say good bye to. Spring was cold and long, with traces of winter still, and summer was wet and mild. I feel like summer was never truly here. I guess I'm just still holding onto the idea of pool side, popsicle full, and bike ride weekends in the hot sun… so officially, this is where you and I part ways, Summer. Or at least the idea of you must go. But first, one last moment from this past August, when the concrete was hot and the nights long - from the biggest rodeo in Kansas and a parade to go with it.

A few more posts with photographs scattered from our trip to Kansas: here and here


The Shed and Porch Dreaming

There used to be a rickety shed in our backyard, among other things like random ceramic statues, overgrown weeds, railroad tie garden beds, and cracked concrete. And now, it's been two weeks since the shed has been demolished, weeds pulled, garden beds renovated, and a new home found for the ceramic cat and frog. But tomorrow, tomorrow is a big day.
Tomorrow the jackhammers arrive. The concrete will be broken up, hauled out, and see-ya-latered. The front porch will be poured and the front steps smoothed out, all ready for stoop sitting and late night talking and beer front sipping - all out in the from and back yards of our Tieny home.
So with concrete tomorrow, a new roof two days later, and flower beds and no more shed - I'd have to say our little house is coming along. This time next year I dream of patio parties, wildflower perimeters and finely tailored garden beds; with a big open umbrella over a table where meals are shared and food baskets passed with bare feet in the grass; mowers and laughter and crickets sounding in the far and wide - on our back and front yard porches.

p.s. I can't wait to show you the transformation of our yard - these photos are bits and pieces from the before to after story of our yard progress. top: the very beginning full of the old shed and weedy beds, middle: the newly fixed up garden beds, bottom: getting there with the shed removed.


Autumn Caps

Me in Free People & Anne wearing Madewell's quilted baseball cap in navy. (I love her silly guts.)

A lot of you have asked about my new favorite plaid cap from Free People. I am pretty excited that we might bump into each other in town and be twins. But with that said, in case you want a different version but the same kind of look, here is a round up with a few of my favorite baseball caps for autumn. I love that a plaid or wool cap is a cold weather option, but its not as cozy and warm as a knit beanie (read: you will not be sweating with 5 minutes of indoor wear). I'm not quite ready for knit hats, so the baseball cap in darker hues (navy, grey, olive green, brown) and autumnal fabrics is perfection for the season right now.