February 10, 2014

He Offered Her The World And She Said She Had Her Own

TJ's arena was in use the entire month of January, so I hadn't stepped foot inside of it since late December. For the first time in a long time, I was actually excited this past weekend to watch a game.

I know that sounds bitchy of me ... but after spending approximately 10% of the last seven seasons freezing my ass off in rinks and waiting for what feels like hours for TJ to emerge from locker rooms ... it sort of just becomes a routine, you know? 

I don't walk into the arena and watch the same game that the regular spectator does. I watch my husband at work ... and I watch the game from a very different pair of eyes - ones that fear the worst every time he's slammed into the boards and down onto the ice because I immediately think that he's got a concussion ... and ones that fear the worst when he misses a pass or the net and I envision him meeting me after the game with his bag thrown over his shoulder telling me that it's time to go home.
 
Because that's hockey for us. It's not just a Friday or Saturday night out.

Snuggled up warm and cozy at the rink with my cowl from HappyKnits
Use promo code HAPI14 for 14% off your purchase

TJ is turning thirty in June ... and I've recently found myself thinking about what life after hockey will be like. He's not a spring chicken anymore ... I know, I know, every time I try to explain this to someone who isn't familiar with how hockey works, they just laugh at me ... but now that he's played X-amount of games and he's considered a "veteran", there are only four spots on every team here in the States for him to play on ... and the true reality is that he is becoming old balls when there are 18, 19 ... 23, 24, 25 year olds who are trying to find their place in the hockey world, too. 

When TJ and I met with the man who married us a year and a half ago, he asked us many questions to learn more about us both individually and as a couple. We found ourselves explaining how we met, where we've lived, our accomplishments, our goals ... and when we were finished, the man said something so poignant that has stuck with me word for word ever since: "So much of the dynamics of your relationship have revolved around hockey, what will become of it once hockey is over?"
 
TJ and I both looked at one another and we couldn't find an answer. 

Don't get me wrong, our relationship is built on a solid foundation of friendship, love and respect ... but the structure, the floors, and the walls ... many of them have been built around hockey seasons and schedules and moves and navigating together through the highs and lows of "living the hockey life" ... so much so, that it's difficult to imagine what our life will be like once this chapter of our lives is closed.

Cheering on #13 this weekend with my ring from Gem & Blue
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No one probably noticed this except for me, but after our meeting with the JP, things within me and around here started to change. I no longer promoted myself as a "hockey wife" which was a "title" that I had embraced and that had worked for so long for both me and one of my best friends when we began marketing ourselves in an uncharted "hockey wife blogger" territory for over two years.

You see ... I no longer felt like being a "hockey wife" was an honor or a privilege or a title.

Because, I mean really ... what does "hockey wife" even mean? I'm not married to the game of hockey. I'm married to a man who just so happens to play professional hockey. And one day, it's all going to end. What will that make me? An ex-hockey wife? Ew. No thanks.

After we were married TJ went on to play for a team where everyone from a few of his teammates to the fans to the front office addressed me as "Mrs. Fox" - thumbs up for the respect and pseudo-acknowledgement ... but not one person ever bothered to get to know me as more than "Mrs. Fox." I was just TJ's sidekick ... his behind the scenes counterpart ... his "hockey wife" ... and it was suddenly beyond irritating.

And that was the year that sealed the deal, where I relinquished the "title", and when I decided that I never, ever want to be known as a "hockey wife" ever again.

I am the wife to a man whom I love "to the moon and back times infinity" ... and this blog is simply where I share our story.


xo,
Kym

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February 7, 2014

20 (More) Things You Should Know About Me

For someone who sits and talks about herself here 99% of the time, I find a fun challenge in coming up with a list of things that I have never shared here before. Well, don't quote me on that ... I talk/type a whole lot...

See version 1.0 of 20 Things You Should Know About Me by clicking here, and read the next 20 down below:

Oatmeal Boot Cuffs (or boot decorations, as TJ calls them...) c/o RubyBlueKnits
Use code REPEAT10PERCENT for 10% off!

1. I went to Catholic school from grades K-12.
2. My middle name is Elizabeth.
3. I am the oldest of four children - I have a 23 year old sister, a 22 year old sister, and an 11 year old brother.
4. I firmly believe that either me or the 11 year old was a surprise. It's still TBD. (spill it, Dad!)
5. My parents are still married.
6. I have a tattoo of a dancer on my lower back.
7. I was senior editor of the yearbook committee in high school.
8. I broke my left cheek bone last year when I blacked out in a hospital hallway.
9. I'm very self conscious about my smile now because I can totally see that it's crooked.
10. I am Polish and Native American.
11. I started my first "real job" at a restaurant when I was 14. I worked there for 10 years. Tip your waitress.
12. I'm a big sap and routinely cry during the sad parts of TV dramas and commercials.
13. I brush my teeth in the shower.
14. I wish that normal working hours were 7pm-3am because that's when my productivity kicks in.
15. In high school I took a Psychology of Serial Killers class and it continues to fascinate me today.
16. The original Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is my absolute favorite movie.
17. When I was little I was split between wanting to be a dancer and wanting to be a racecar driver when I grew up.
18. I was lactose intolerant as a child and now I think that milk smells like vomit.
19. If you stopped by my apartment unannounced, I'd likely be wearing a tee-shirt and sweatpants. Or no pants.
20. I'm thankful that blogs are typed, because my handwriting is seriously atrocious.

What are some random things about YOU?
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Is there anything you've ever wanted to know about me that I've never talked about here?

xo,
Kym

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February 5, 2014

I Won The Hostess With The Mostest Award Because of TGI Friday's

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.


TJ came home this past Sunday around 1pm after a week long roadtrip. He wasn't sure when he got in if we were going out or staying in to watch the Big Game, but together we decided to just stay at our apartment and invite a few of his teammates over since he was so exhausted after a week of traveling. This was a great game plan until I realized that I had absolutely nothing prepared for party guests, our fridge was bare, and the game was starting in three hours. We quickly zipped over to Walmart and headed straight to the freezer section where we picked up a couple of packages of TGI Friday's Loaded Cheddar & Bacon Potato Skins, Honey BBQ Chicken, and Mozzarella Sticks to try out.


TGI Friday's appetizers are restaurant quality snacks and require zero prep work ... which basically means they saved our Game Day party along with my sanity while getting ready for our fiesta.

#TGIFGameDay #CollectiveBias

While I had the hot appetizers cooking in the oven, I quickly threw together some simple finger foods like cheese and pepperoni, fruit, pickles, crackers and chips. The potato skins, chicken and mozzarella sticks came out of the oven in less than twenty minutes, and all I had to do was place everything on cute football themed platters and set it out on our table. Our spread was quite lovely (and delish!), if I do say so myself.


You guys. This fruit dip? It's amazing. Mix together one block of cream cheese, 7oz of marshmallow fluff, one container of pineapple Greek yogurt, and a small can of (drained) crushed pineapple. You can thank me later.

And wham, bam, thank 'ya ma'am, this concludes the blog post in which I accept my Hostess With The Mostest Award, all thanks to TGI Friday's. 

(I'm not sure how many people were actually in the running for the award ... but I have heard that it was a very tight race.)

Do you have a go-to appetizer for parties and get togethers?
Please share it in a comment below!

xo,
Kym

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February 4, 2014

Ten Reasons Why I'm Jealous Of My Dog


1. He is told that he is beautiful/cute/handsome everyday by e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e he meets. Even when he's told he's ugly, it's a backhanded compliment: "Oh, he's so ugly he's cute!" When I look ugly, I just look ugly.
 2. He has an expensive fur coat. I don't have a fur coat. And the zipper on my winter coat is currently jacked up and broken. So that's that for that.
3. He never finds my hair allllllll over him.
4. He sleeps and lounges for 85% of the day. I love sleep. Love it, I tell ya. Brutus doesn't have to go grocery shopping or work or cook dinner or do the dishes. He just sleeps and lounges all day. And no one judges him.
5. He has never once said something stupid out loud that he can't take back.
6. He gets to be naked all day, every day. I hate wearing clothes. Specifically, pants. Brutus never has to put pants on to go outside. 
7. He isn't self conscious about his body. Every time we go to the vet I'm sent home with paperwork about how obese he is ... but he just brushes it off and rocks his bod with killer confidence. 
8. He never has to return emails or answer phone calls.
9. He eats expensive, grain free and organic food every day.
10. He goes to the dog spa at least five times per year. I can't even tell you the last time that I had a mani or pedi.

When we live in a world where doubletaps on Instagram are like social currency, and my phone explodes with "hearts" every time I post a photo of Brutty on there - it's safe to say that I'm jealous of him. But he also keeps us 'pup'ular, so I guess I'll keep him ;)

Are you jealous of your dog, too? 

xo,
Kym
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February 3, 2014

Because This Blogging Thing That I Do Here Is Weird


Last weekend I was up in Vail and I didn't take a single picture of myself or the people that I was with. When I'm with my family or friends, taking photos of us to post here is a complete afterthought because I'm not really comfortable with posting their photos on the internet for the entire world to see.

I feel like that's asking to be on the next episode of Catfish, or that it requires a consent form or something.

Because you see ... the internet is weird. And this blogging thing that I do here is weird. 

When I first started writing, my only loyal readers were my dad and my grandmother. But then my target audience changed. And I found my voice. And now I write, and I write, and I write some more, but I'm writing for strangers. Yes, I write for myself ... but I can honestly say that if no one read my blog I probably wouldn't continue to write like I do here. I'd keep a paper journal or something.

I like to pretend that no one I know "in real life" reads my blog because it keeps me vulnerable and open and honest and real, until the censor button starts blinking in my head and I start sweating and thinking and worrying and wondering and telling myself things like, "Well shit, I don't want my dad to know that I'm having baby sex. I'm supposed to be the next Mary Immaculate ... I hope that post didn't show up in his inbox this morning." Hi dad.

It's weird when my blog comes up in conversation with "real people" because the people who know me in "real life" know that I'm fairly simple and basic and actually pretty flipping boring ... so the fact that I can turn something and craft it into a five hundred+ word blog post is ... well, weird of me.

So basically, I sit here and I publish big pieces of my life and my heart, and my personal thoughts and ideas and experiences onto the interwebs ... and yet I don't want anyone that I know "in real life" to actually read it. Because that makes all kinds of sense, doesn't it? 

For some reason, I just feel much more comfortable with the stranger in Zimbabwe having the key to my (online) diary than I do sharing even a half of a page of it with my "real" family and friends. And I have no scientific explanation for it other than: Blogging is weird.

And I guess since I'm a blogger that means that I'm weird. And I guess since you're reading this, you're weird too. So thank you for that.

Do you feel awkward posting photos of your family and friends on your blog?
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If no one read your blog would you continue to write?

xo,
Kym

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January 29, 2014

The Man With No Shoes + $2 Portraits

I was outside with Brutus a couple of days ago, bent over and picking up his business while trying to activate the eyes on the back of my head as he pulled my arm behind me and tried to keep trucking down the street, when I saw a pair of feet walking towards us.

Feet. Toes. Was I seeing this right? 

Where was this guys shoes? 

I scanned up, and his eyes met mine. The man quickly explained to me that his work boots were digging into his feet and he had to go to the hospital, but that he had accidentally left his boots at the hospital, and he was trying to find another pair of boots. 

This man was clearly homeless, and my head simply wasn't in the right place as I was trying to process the situation while trying to hold back tears and keep all 80 pounds of Brutus out of oncoming traffic ... and the only response that I could muster out was "That's super unfortunate, it looks painful! I'm so sorry!" 

He told me Brutus was beautiful, and I thanked him and told him that I hope that he has a nice day. 

I. Feel. Like. Such. An. Ass. 

And this man has been weighing so heavy on my heart and in my thoughts ever since. 

I've been replaying this scenario over and over again in my head - I had Brutty's leash in one hand and my keys and poop bags in the other. I mean, reflecting back, I certainly could have asked the man right then and there if he needed shoes and I could have turned back to the apartment to grab a pair of TJ's ... but would that have been safe? Would it have been the right thing to do? I just don't know. 

What I do know is that I need to get involved. Someway, somehow ... I need to. I wrote about this a couple of months ago, but then I flew home twice and the holidays happened, and the days just seem to go by too fast to figure it all out. 

I called the church around the corner to inquire about their volunteer opportunities ... but honestly? Honestly, I'm afraid. I'm afraid that my heart is too big, and that I'm not emotionally strong enough to volunteer it. 
  
I understand the importance of volunteerism, I really, truly do ... I know that we're called to serve ... I'm just so scared that I would be overcome with emotion and cry the entire time due to the harsh reality of other's misfortune. I mean, sometimes when I'm simply walking the streets of Denver tears start creeping into my eyes and the feelings overwhelm me. 
  
I want to help, I want to make a positive impact in the community and in someone else's life ... I just don't know how or where to start. Or if I'm even physically or emotionally able to.

Does this make me a terrible person? Because it makes me feel like one.

////////////////////

While researching the statistics of homelessness here in Denver, I happened to find Thomas Hawk's $2 Portraits Project. Mr. Hawk is an established photographer in San Francisco - another city with an overwhelming number of homeless individuals - and his project is simple: For every person who asks him for money, he offers them $2 for their portrait and a few minutes of their time.

Thomas didn't create the project to exploit the homeless - rather, he started it to connect with and interact with them on a human level. He created a group Flickr account and photographers from all over the world participate. Their work is so humbling and beautiful ... and I hope that your day/perspective/life has been changed as much as mine has by viewing these photos and reading each persons story:


"John has been a homeless heroin addict for 19 years and has been clean for 19 months. I asked him how hard it was coming off it and he told me it was the second hardest thing he has ever done. I asked him what was the hardest and he said coming off the drink as every time he did he started heroin again. 

He was reading a novel and asking folk for change when they went by. I gave him a fiver and asked what he would do with it and he said it would go towards his £30 per night bed and breakfast. He goes to a B&B every night so that he doesn't have to sleep in homeless shelters as they are full of addicts and they would just end getting him back on the drug.

I asked if I could take his photo and he said fire away. Nice guy dealt a bad hand."


"Steve is 45 years old from San Jose. He lost his right leg in a work accident a few years back. Since then, he has not been able to find a job and has been living in a homeless shelter and sometimes outdoors. He is very soft spoken with a positive outlook about life."

John in Oakland, CA  |  Photo Credit: Greg Jordan

"Jon was born in Marin County. He was interested in theater in high school, so he went on to take theater and design courses in college. His college major was journalism, and he also studied photography. I knew he was familiar with photography because of the questions he asked about my camera and lens.

A few years after college, Jon scored what he characterized as a "very rewarding job" with the San Francisco Ballet. He was a set designer for years. He said working on the Nutcracker ballet set was the best, and he still loves remembering his years there.

But Jon's battle with manic depression and bipolar disorder was too much. Along with important parts of his mind, Jon lost his job, his bank account, many of his friends, and his coveted carpenter tools."

xo,
Kym

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January 27, 2014

Get The Puck Out Of Here

Fact: I have no idea where TJ slept last night. And I have no idea where he's sleeping for the next seven nights, either.

I'm often asked by family and friends who live outside of our hockey bubble if I'm lonely when TJ is traveling for hockey, or if I'm sad when he's on the road.

The honest answer? No.

After seven years of "living the hockey life" I've learned to like when TJ's gone. I actually look forward to roadtrips, and I enjoy spending time apart.

You see ... call me a little bit selfish, but I appreciate quality time with myself. I look forward to sitting on the couch in my underwear, watching six episodes in a row of Glee, and enjoying a well balanced meal of wine, cheese and pepperoni for dinner in a judgement free zone.

When TJ is gone we usually talk on the phone for five minutes after a game or before bed, and we'll text random updates or "I miss you"s a couple of times throughout the day.

When he comes home I've found that I am more tolerant of the little things that he does that drives me bat shit crazy, like when he puts a cereal bowl in the sink instead of the dishwasher, or when he peels his clothes off and piles them on the floor instead of in the laundry basket that is two feet away, because I'm not dealing with it on a daily basis (Teej - I know you are reading this. This is like the equivalent of that time that I "dog shamed" Brutus on Instagram. Get it together, bud.) 

But most importantly, I'm not lonely and I'm not sad when TJ is on the road because #1. I know that he's coming home, and #2. I know that as soon as he walks in the door, the moments that we get to spend together will be quality ones. 

Granted, sometimes we are both so tired and zoned out that we sit on the couch together in complete silence and binge on Netflix ... but I always make sure that the apartment is clean, and that he gets a "homecooked meal" after seven days of eating in restaurants, gas stations and hotels, and that he feels loved and appreciated when he's home. 

These roadtrips and time apart have truly strengthened our relationship over the past seven years ... so no, I am not sad when TJ is gone ... but I will be sad when we're no longer living the hockey life and when these roadtrips are over... 

How do you let your significant other know that s/he's loved and appreciated?

xo,
Kym
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January 24, 2014

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To Vail We Go

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I am heading to Vail this weekend with one of the other wives to explore the quaint town and watch a couple of the guys hockey games. I'm so looking forward to 48 hours of internet free relaxation, a hot sauna, and breathing in the fresh air at 8,000+ feet above sea level. 

I've left you in good hands for the weekend with my sweet friend Melissa from Blush & Jelly Design Studio. Melissa is a super talented web and blog designer, and her Etsy shop has a variety of pre-made templates that are only $30! If you're looking to update your site from BLAAAAAHG to BLOG, make sure you head on over to Melissa's shop and check out her lovely options.

MEET MELISSA from BLUSH & JELLY

Q. You left your office job about six months ago to pursue your love of designing blogs and websites. Where you terrified at the time? And how have the past six months been for you?
A. Leaving my 9-5 cubicle job was one of the most exciting/terrifying things I've ever done. The last day at my job I started to second guess myself but I knew it was the right thing to do - my design work was growing and I was extremely miserable sitting at a cubicle all day pretending to be interested in crazy spreadsheets. Working for myself these past couple of months has been crazy stressful and filled with lots of ups and downs - but I finally love my job and Mondays no longer suck. :)


Q. How did you discover your love for web and blog design? 
A. Before I really got into web design I started my blog, Blush + Jelly. I always loved customizing and updating the look of my blog. My little hobby little by little became something that I was so passionate about. I would spend hours reading and learning new things. Eventually I designed a few blogs for some blog friends and this made me realize how much I loved working with other bloggers to create a fun and unique space for them to blog away. I then opened an Etsy shop just to see what would come out of it - few years later I am so happy that I made that move. :)
 Q. What is your favorite part about what you do? 
A. I honestly love just about everything that has to do with my business (except bookkeeping!) - but I think the best part is my clients. I honestly feel so fortunate to be given the opportunity to work with so many talented bloggers and business ladies. Many of clients have inspired me in so many ways and if it weren't for this amazing online community I would have never had the chance to meet them. 

Q. Tell me a little about your creative process ... 
A. My creative process is totally random. Sometimes I am stuck for days on a logo or mood board that I am working on - and then one night while watching a commercial for toothpaste some colors jump out at me and next thing you know I am back on my computer designing away for hours. It doesn't make sense to me but it's usually how it works. Also, I've been learning that I am more creative late at night. So I have learned to stick to emails, shop updates, and social media during the day - and save the design part of my work for the nighttime. 

Q. Do you have a favorite design that you've created? 
A. I love all the sites that I've created because by the end of the project I feel like I have a special connection to it. Of course there are always a few that stick out in my mind because of how much fun it was to work with that client. One project that I feel I will always love is a site that I created for a small town coffee shop owned by the 2 sweetest sisters, Lyn Marie's Coffee on Main. I love how everything turned out on their site - plus I now only purchase their coffee to brew at home, it's the best! ;) 

Q. Do you see blog designs changing at all this year? 
A. Lately I've been getting lots of request for very minimal and clean blog designs. I feel like people are moving away from cluttered and colorful designs and keep things a little more monochromatic. Also, black and white seems to be the color scheme that many people are requesting. 

Q. What is your advice for the perfect blog design? 
A. Every blog is different because no 2 bloggers are alike. That's what makes blogging and blog design so much fun. I feel like there isn't one specific blog design that can work for everyone - it all depends on your mission. Of course a few of the standard tips are: have a header that makes an impression, make navigation throughout your site easy for readers, don't use tiny fonts, and make sure your readers can spot your social media icons. 

Q. I'm very jealous of all of your Instagram photos that show you galavanting around Disney. What is your favorite park, ride, and princess? 
A. I always get people asking me "Aren't you tired of going to Disney all the time?", which honestly just makes me laugh. The parks have soooo much to do and they are always changing. The Hubby and I go at least once a week to the parks - it's really the best part about living just 10 minutes away from the theme parks. It's always so much fun to head on over to one of the parks for dinner or just to watch fireworks, sorta feels like a mini vacation. My favorite park always changes, but at the moment I really love going to Magic Kingdom. Mainly because of the new "Fantasyland" area and because they have an area dedicated to Rapunzel - my all time favorite princess.

Q. What are your hobbies outside of web/blog design? 
A. My hobbies are always changing but the main ones that stick around are blogging, baking, and reading. I always complain about not having enough time for any of these things - but I am working hard to create a healthy balance between my work and my favorite hobbies.

Q. Do you have any advice for someone who has been wanting to quit their job and follow their dream? 
A. Lots of planning! Before I left my job I had already been planning on making this move - make sure your business is providing enough income, have enough savings that can get your through a couple rough months (just in case!), and have a back up plan. And one of the most important things to keep in mind - working for yourself is NOT easy. Never in my life have I worked so many hours a day and answered so many emails. I wear so many hats: customer service, designer, developer, problem solver, marketing department, bookkeeping and finance, tech support, and the list goes on. It's hard but I promise if you put in the work it's definitely worth it.

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