Please note: All images on this blog (except where noted) are original works of Miki Baxter and cannot be duplicated without permission. Also, if you're inspired by a project featured on here, then please link back to me and give proper credit. Thank you!!!


Ballast Overboard!

Days 10-14

Something uniquely wonderful about living in Colorado 
is looking out of the window some mornings and seeing a hot air balloon 
lifting off from a field not too far away.

Like a hot air balloon, 
I've been in the process of slowly ascending by releasing ballast, 
those weights than hinder upward progress.

Physically, I've lost about 20 pounds since January.
I'm dreaming of dressing this soon-to-be 40 year old body
in all of the vintage treasures too-long stored away in my closet.

I'll post many more photos of the After.


Dance. Delight. Risk. Love. Celebrate.

Days 8-9

 Starting this year,
'cause 40 is the start of a new adventure in oh so many ways,
I will...

Dance more often.
I love to dance.
Disco, salsa, merengue, goofball moves in my kitchen with my Ipod.
Don't get me started about the joys of Just Dance for the Wii.

Be delighted.
There are so many things in the course of the every day that are delightful.
Giggling. The sweetness of an orange. A scented candle.
Breathing in and out.

Share my heart. Try. Look deeper.
Face instead of turning away.
Really feel the emotions.

Freely. Wholeheartedly. Extravagantly.
Basking in the way He loves me so very, very much.
Receive love.

Celebrate Life.


Moving Right Along

Days 5-7

The last three days have been spent huddled up in the living room 
with the children,
fighting fevers and coughs and feeling yucky.
But we're better now, thank God.

The reflective journey towards 40 continues.
Stay tuned!


The Wisdom of Madame Roosevelt

 Day 4

Quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt:

Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.  

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.  

The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.



Day 3 

I like numbers and patterns. Never had a favorite color but like color combinations. And I enjoy recalling significant moments:

Age 0 - I was born in a bright pink hospital on top of a hill in Hawaii. If that isn't an auspicious start, I don't know what is!

Age 10 - Rode my 1st roller coaster with my dad and received several significant books from a family friend, including Mandy by Julie (Andrews) Edwards. This story of a 10 year old orphan longing for a place of her own resonated with my heart and gave me a sense of calling in life. 

Age 20 - I committed my life to God. Numerous tragedies had taken place leading up to this year, but He picked me up out of the mess, cleaned me up, and reminded me of His love and purpose. 

Age 30 - Just had my 1st baby and shaved my head bald. The two events are very loosely related, story for another post. 

Age 40 - A new beginning, feeling the most comfortable in my skin. Lots of adventure, "can't" has been erased from my vocabulary. 

Age 50 - The fabulousness continues. Watch out world! Reinvention, the fulfillment of grander dreams. Left my mark in Paris, Venice, and London. 

Age 60 - Dress totally inappropriately for my age, but since 60 is the new 40, I'm reliving my peak all over again. Wear too many rings at one time, just like my Mama did. And what's with the bright lipstick and big hair??? 

Age 70 - I've always wanted to be an eccentric. Another dream realized. Still love loud polyester pants but enjoy throwing Chanel into the mix too. Have to get more pages for the passport. 

Age 80 - No plastic surgery, thank God for great genes and an Asian mother. Decide to take up the Tango, a dance I've not mastered yet. May compete in an Amateur Ballroom Contest - love wearing the dresses. Still look great in them. 

Age 90 - Climbing mountains, maybe literally, definitely figuratively. 

Age 100 - It's been a Beautiful Century (the meaning of my name). It's up to God if He wants me here or there. I'm willing either way. My intention is as this poem describes: 
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave 
with the intention of arriving safely
in an attractive and well preserved body,
But rather to skid into Heaven sideways,
chocolate in one hand,
champagne in the other,
body thoroughly used up,
totally worn out and screaming
"WOO HOO what a ride!"
Author Unknown 
(I tried to discover the author and searched for it - if anyone knows, please let me know!)


Thoughts and Dreams

Day 2

Oprah sharing a conversation: "And as I sat there crying, he (Sidney Poitier) said, 'You have to remember you are carrying people's dreams, and when you are carrying people's dreams, oftentimes they put burdens on you that are not yours to bear. You have to decide what your dream is for yourself.'"

That statement hits home - so many things happened last year, including the passing of my mother. 39 was rough. But those challenges have also served as a catalyst for a deeper examination of myself.

The last decade was spent moving around, re-creating a home multiple times, for the dreams of a spouse. Staying at home with the children and homeschooling. Serving my church and community in a number of areas. And I've done it all gladly. No complaints...well, except for the moving around (a woman can pack and unpack boxes only so many times before going completely mad.) 

Prior to getting married, I worked with an international humanitarian organization and lived in Ethiopia for a year. I also spent a few months traveling around Bulgaria for that organization. It was life-changing and exciting.  One dream fulfilled.

At that time, I condensed my life into two suitcases, sold my car and gave away prized possessions (including my favorite pair of orange, red and black polyester bellbottom pants.) Disposed of anything that didn't fit into my new responsibilities as a representative of God and the organization overseas.  

And I've used that same approach ever since.  Though I haven't "lacked in personality" the last 10 years, I want to play the role of ME more too. I am no longer apologetic for loving psychedelic polyester bellbottom pants and plan to wear them more often.  (I've picked up a pair here and there.) 

The dreams of my heart that I will embrace as a 40 year old aka what will make me look more like me...
Drawing.  I stopped when I had babies because of the time and messiness.

Piercing my nose (and I'm gonna do it too in 39 days!)  When I was little, no one looked like me because I am a blend of two distinctive, culturally different parents.  The first time I saw a picture of woman in a sari, I screamed, "There's my people!" I had never seen someone that looked like me until then.  Inside, I am an Indian-Pakistani princess mixed with Diana Ross and her hair.

Writing a book.  I've had the idea for a biographical compilation for a few years now and have started conversations with several individuals.  Stories about people's lives are fascinating to me.

Collecting vintage gowns and using them in my photography.  My love of costumes and dresses began when I was around 3, with an aunt who used to make me hundreds of intricate paper dolls with hats, purses and fancy dresses.

Other passions and intentions...going to Paris, running a race, establishing a tea shop/photography studio/eclectic treasures shop, swimming again in the freezing cold beaches in Maine, dancing, studying design, renovating homes, poking about the whole country, taking my kids to Ethiopia, doing a photo shoot in both a bikini and my red satin gown.

What are your dreams and passions?  Though every day may not be a party, how do you celebrate life?  


40 Until 40

I'm counting down the 40 days until I turn 40,
and today is day one.

I've eagerly anticipated turning 40 for as long as I can remember.

Ever since I was a child, 
my heroines have always been elegant and sophisticated
with a decided air about them.

Women who knew their minds,
were decisive and sure.

I admired their confidence.

I think a woman just starts being 
truly beautiful at 40.
She's set in who she is,
no longer experimenting or trying to please everyone else.

I love the delicate lines that appear on the face,
the more hollow neck and collar bone areas.
The graceful hands.
Eyes that sparkle with wisdom and knowledge.
All of the ladies I've looked up to have increased in loveliness after age 40.
My mom.  
Benazir Bhutto, one of the ladies I most admire in the world.
Audrey Hepburn 
(more beautiful as she worked with UNICEP than in her younger years, to me.)  
Elizabeth Dole. Sophia Loren. Jane Fonda. Oprah Winfrey.
And many ladies over 40 who are not famous but are so very lovely to me!
40 days until 40...
to me this is where life begins to happen!


What To Do If

Thanks to the wisdom and answers found in 
The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Life
I am prepared for whatever comes my way.

A bird gets caught in my hair?
No problem.
Use one arm to shield the face 
and the other to grab the bird's legs to remove it.

If I ever fall through a floor,
I need to spread my arms wide,
put my palms down and push up.
Don't kick my legs.

For a guest who overstays their welcome,
declare a household emergency 
(like asbestos or mold removal)
or decide to paint that room and remove all the furniture.
Don't say "I'm going on vacation" as the guest may offer to housesit.

Advice I found to be invaluable:
If I trip on a red carpet, 
turn it into the Running Man 
or a breakdancing lock and pop.
I think it'd work if I'm walking into my kids' school too.

Other handy tips include:
fending off a pack of wolves, dealing with a cruise ship crew mutiny,
cooking catastrophes, handling difficult family members...

But the #1 solution (as I approach my 40th birthday):
If you're going gray,
get the hippest, most avant-garde hair cut.  
Take on an air of sophistication by wearing fashionable black ensembles 
with dark capes, dark-rimmed glasses,
and laugh vigorously while drinking elegant flutes of wine in public.
I recently chopped of my hair and colored it red.
Gotta go get some capes and glasses, hmmm.
Starting Saturday, I'm going to be celebrating:
I've waited my whole life to turn 40
(explanation in a later post.)


Shoe Blessings!

 There's something wonderfully decadent about getting two pairs of new shoes. Especially when they're both 75% off!
Yes, you are seeing correctly...the boots are size 11.  Sigh.
These boots make me feel elegant.

And raspberry is my favorite pink.
I adore the whimsical rosette and ruched detail. 

This blessing of new footwear helps me go forth into the new year 
with added confidence and style.
Besides my birthday's around the corner...I deserve it, right?


A Few Of My Favorite Photos

The sweetest baby ever (this little guy's my youngest!)
Gorgeous ladies that I styled for the photo shoot
Darling Girl with lots of personality
And moments from a sacred day...
These are a few of my favorite photos.


The Bold & Beautiful Blog Review

Greetings!  I'm participating in a very unique blog hop. Gail @My Repurposed Life and MeganDVD @ Beauty in the Attempt are hosting “The Bold and the Beautiful-your blog reviewed."

Please take a look around my blog, check out the layout, pages, buttons,  sidebar and gadgets. I'd greatly appreciate it if you would gently critique my blog as well as leave me some positive feedback. It would be great if you could give me constructive criticism but be sure to tell me what you like about my blog too! Do you like my pictures? Does my blog load quickly for you? How about the font?  All tips and tidbits welcome!

Join the party!  It starts Thursday night and is open for one week.


Valentine's Mantel Linky Party

Party?  Did someone say Party???
Beth of The Stories of A2Z is hosting a Valentine's Mantel Party!!! My daughter's Alice In The Wonderland birthday party was this weekend, and I transitioned many of the decorations to Valentine's Day (totally had it planned to have the decorations multi-task...just like Mama!)
Though I don't have a fireplace mantel, I use this narrow table in front of a window for the purpose of displaying pretty vignettes.  My Coffee Filter-Doily Wreath is dressed up for the occasion with sequin hearts that I was inspired to make here from Kathleen at Grosgrain.

The large rose tree and fluffy iridescent white trees were created from rolled up poster board wrapped with tinsel garlands (Christmas mega clearance.)  I may be obsessed with cone trees... 
 This sweet bird is perched in a cupcake liner nest embellished with more tinsel garland and a sequin heart.  Such a cutie!
Red and white crepe paper with their heads!!!   (The cards had to paint the white roses red for the Queen of Hearts.)  They're so versatile and realisitic and would look amazing in bouquets of every color!
A Hobby Lobby steal for a little over a dollar!  I bought this pink tree to dress up my daughter's room next Christmas but couldn't resist using it for her birthday party and Valentine's.  Along with a butterfly and dragonfly, it holds a sparkly boot, birds, and heart ornaments filled with ribbons.  I adore splashes of color!
 Mix cupcake liner flowers, feathers, pearls and a sequin heart for this arrangement - perfect!
Thank you for visiting my Valentine's vignette/mantel!  For more inspiration and fabulous ideas, go take a look at the other lovelies linked up to the party!


No Red Today = Grumpy

After three days of bright and beautiful lips, I fell off the (red) wagon and decided to not put forth the effort today.  And I was grumpy.  

I didn't put forth effort for myself today.  And at the end of the day, I felt frustrated and put out and yucky.  

So the moral of the story and the reason for the red take time for myself first thing, make the effort to feel prepared for the day, even a bit glamorous so that the day is off to a better start.  That's the outside - spending time with God in prayer and reading the Bible gets the inside ready...and I must make that a priority too, daily.     

What do you do to start your day off successfully?


Using Red to Combat the Blues

This year has started off kind of rough for me. 
After wallowing for a few days, 
I kicked myself in the pants and decided to fight the blues. 
With some red.
Red lipstick, or some shade/variation of it, 
every day for a few weeks to see how it impacts my life. 
See, the thing with red is that it's a bold, in-your-face color.
Especially on your lips.
It's an "I am woman, hear me roar" kind of statement.

Elegant, but fierce.
 And I need some of that fierceness right now,
to help combat the rising tide of blues that overwhelm me at times.
I'll take fiery passion and attitude over shrinking violet any day.
And part of that stance involves looking the part.
Hence the Red.

What are some of your strategies to stir things up in your life 
and combat the threatening grays and weepy blues?


My Boys' Birthday Parties

My sons share a birthday, though they are five years apart. 
 Barnabas turned 8
Unknown to me at the time, 
my older son had prayed that his brother would be born on his birthday,
and my labor kicked in right after midnight on December 29th.
 Keizo turned 3
Because it's right after Christmas,
I make a special effort to separate the holiday from the birthdays.
The boys have an obsession a love of football, 
so the theme of this year's birthday celebration was:
"Brothers United In Their Love Of The Game." 
I decorated with the colors from The Colts and Giants,
who happen to have quarterbacks who are also brothers!
One of the most inexpensive ways to make a huge impact
and fill up a room with decor is with paper streamers.
The ceiling was covered with blue and white twisted loops and multiple pennants - 
some bought from the store and some homemade.
 An apothecary jar filled with footballs.
And a football to serve napkins. 
Football cakes for the birthday boys!
Big sister, Mireille, with a party guest 
More party guests enjoying the treats! 
Keizo had a preschool party in the morning,
and Barnabas went swimming at the Recreation Center with his friends
in the afternoon before coming back to the house for an evening tailgate party:
homemade chili, nachos with cheese, chicken nuggets, hotdogs.
We capped the evening off with competitive dancing
via Just Dance 2 for the Wii.
Our new family obsession!!!