Till Death Do Us Part

(Aaron Snow Photography)
To celebrate the season of Valentine's Day, I'm savoring the most significant commitment I've ever made & received, the exchange of wedding vows with my forever Valentine.

PatI remember the first time I met you, I was instantly attracted to you. But it wouldn’t be until one year later that I would find myself running alongside you on those early Tulsa mornings, hoping you wouldn’t notice how red my face gets when I run, or how out-out-of-breath I become after attempting to keep up with you and talk at the same time. I knew it then as I know it now- you are my match. You are the most incredible human I know. Your passion for life, selfless heart, ability to bring sunshine with you everywhere you go, never-ending pursuit of adventure, humble brilliance, and love for animals and people make you the only man that is meant for me. 

You make me smile every day. You make me never want to be anywhere else but with you. You bring out the best in me and understand me in a way that I never thought I could be understood. Since our very first moments together there was an intangible synchronization between us that has only become stronger with time and will continue to evolve with our marriage. You’re the cat to my meow, the Thunder to my Up, the chips to my salsa, the filter to my picture, and the pulse to my heart.

I am eager to start our lives together as one from this moment forward. You can count on me to be your adventure co-pilot, your partner in parenthood, your Sunday football rally-mate, your ally in conflict, your honest fashion consultant, your toughest challenger, and the greatest fan of your life. I will grow, learn, and become the partner you deserve forever leaning on love, honesty, and joy as my backbone.

Pat- my best friend, my sous-chef, my role model, my puzzle piece, my better half, I take you to be my husband, till death do us part and beyond. The life we lead together is going to be the most beautiful life I could have ever imagined. 

BrittanyI could never convey how much I love you in a one minute - thirty second speech. Actually I could probably never fully express the extent of my love for you in our entire lifetime, even though I do promise to try my very best every single day of our lives. 
And so when words can’t truly explain how I feel, I hope you know that every large and little thing I do is an expression of my forever love for you. And I mean everything: 
From bringing you flowers when I pick you up at the airport, because I’m so thrilled to have you back.
Or when I call you “dude” or “bro”, I want you to know that it’s because you are forever my best friend in the whole world. 
When we long board together, know that there is nobody else in the universe I would ever want as my long board partner.
And when you put up with football season, and then basketball season, and then hockey season, which leads into the world cup, which becomes Frisbee season…I want you to know how forever appreciative I am of you. 
When things are challenging, for whatever reason (Or when you’ve had a rough day at work, or the cats keep you up all night), I am forever here to listen, and support you. 
And in adventures that are yet to come, like buying our first home, or starting a family…I am forever with you and by your side in all things.  
Brittany, I can’t even tell you how happy I am right now and how happy you make me all the time. I promise to do everything in my power to make you equally as happy.
I am forever in love with you. I am forever yours. I am so excited for the rest of our lives together. 

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Taking Action


My Etsy site is officially up and started. As of now I started with my font- but will soon have custom and hand crafted couple art, invitation designs, wedding goods and branding materials.

I have been knee deep in online Etsy learning modules, Esty ins-and-outs books and resources, and soaking up knowledge from existing Etsy rockstars. I am so thankful for a community of creative souls who share, support and inspire.

You can access my Etsy site by visiting the "SHOP" tab at the top. I hope to get to work with you soon (or again if I already have!).

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Another new name. "Bow and Ink" just wasn't connecting so hello brittanyviklund.com. I'm slowly but surely getting things up and running, but I am so very excited for what is in store.

Speaking of store, soon when you click "shop" there will be an actually "shop" for you to, you guessed it, shop.

Thanks for the encouragement, requests, & plain ole' LOVE-


proactive gratitude

Long have I been a champion of capturing the blessings in my life each evening in my journal. There is much evidence to suggest that simple actions of gratitude lead to greater happiness (cc:Shawn Achnor's TED Talk: The Happy Secret to Better Work). Listing the plentiful elements of my life that I am grateful for ensures that I end my day reflecting on what matters most & that the things that matter least do not interfere with the abundance of joy my life possesses.

I have contemplated this act to serve as an additional bookend to my day, at the beginning of it. Some days (err.... most days...) I wind up jumping right into the daily grind & do not take the time to set my day up & build my consciousness for gratitude. I have actively been trying to get around this, to boost my energy for the moments ahead of me & essentially embrace gratefulness at the beginning of my day. I have found this endeavor to be relatively simple. As I'm eating my breakfast I keep a journal at my desk & within it, in a few lines, I write out all of the wonderful anticipated moments ahead. I have found that as a result I look at my daily schedule less as a transactional to do list & more as an opportunity for joy, adventure, & blessings. I have also found greater awareness for opportunities that aren't explicitly on my agenda that otherwise may have gone overlooked. Some of the most mundane & repetitive tasks have felt much more exciting when I do this & I cannot help but find myself approaching the day ahead with a positive perspective.

Today I am excited to... work from home in the morning at my freshly cleaned & organized desk, sip warm green coconut tea, share a rare workday lunch with Pat, engage in early childhood education dialogue during the evening's book conversation, pack & prepare for an exciting week in Birmingham, smile at strangers, tackle small tasks & celebrate productivity, continue my exercise routine, respond to emails with delight, scratch the back of Penny's ear, eat yummy leftover pizza for dinner & fall asleep in Pat's arms.

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)


a break up with clutter

My Dearest Clutter-

I need to be frank with you- things just aren't working out. I know this may have caught you off guard, especially considering how much I have loved & adored you over the years, invited you into my life & even let you move into my home, head & heart. I want to be honest with you because after all we have been through the least you deserve is honesty. Here goes....

I need my own space & less stuff. I have created an outbox thanks to the encouragement of Apartment Therapy's January Cure & I want you to know  that through the outbox process I have given "us" an honest consideration. I have been putting pieces of our relationship into the outbox & have realized that the emotional attachment I once had to you is now gone, I'm sorry. I've even been doing this alongside a dear friend. She's been very supportive with my decision, we check in with each other & talk about our coping process frequently. Maybe you can find support from her clutter since she's letting it go too?

I'm feeling smothered by your words. Every day with you is information overload. I've slowly but surely unsubscribed from all of the emails you send me. Please stop contacting me with your tempting sales to buy more stuff & your unnecessary updates on matters that I am not interested in. It's been somewhat grueling to go through this process, but with every email you send that does not add value to my life I'm actively disconnecting.

I have to admit, I'm feeling sluggish from your grub. I've lost touch with the nourishing foods & cuisine that bring me energy & make me feel healthy. I've stuffed every space I can find in my home with processed, sugar & fat loaded snacks that have ingredients I can't even pronounce. I carry the weight of this with me everyday, I feel less productive because of it's presence & I am unable to think as critically & creatively as I know I can. I'm choosing to rise above.

I can't let you keep taking over my "to do" list either. As a result I never feel like I get anything done & at the end of the day it just feels that there is always more & more to do. I'm going to get concrete, be more purposeful with my time, more thoughtful about my actions & develop the art of prioritizing. There just isn't any room in my day for you anymore. 

Finally, & perhaps the worst of it all, I want you to know that I am stifled by your gossip & negativity. You hold my growth back & make me think less about myself by exposing the flaws of others through gossip columns, tabloids, broadcasts & other sources of unnecessary communication. I'm choosing to liberate myself from the negativity this has induced in my life. I want to set my own definitions & lift up others around me in an effort to lift myself & grow collectively. Your senseless words do not promote my ambitions & therefore I must cut myself off. 

While all of this may feel somewhat harsh I want you to know that I don't resent you (that would only occupy more space in my heart). I'm simply choosing to peacefully detach from you. I hope you understand. 

It's not you, it's me.


happiness is routine

(source: Pinterest) 

Ever feel like your life is a broken record of mindless & predictable routines? I do. Frequently. This year, in an effort to attend to the pursuit of mindfulness I'm being more intentional about ways to infuse happiness mindfully into my days. 

First day's moments: Before reaching for my iPhone to read emails, check Instagram, or whatever my typical groggy morning habits are I try pausing & treating my first morning moments to myself. By my bed I hang a bright pink sticky note that reads "Quiet your mind before starting your day" it's my simple reminder to pause & pay attention to the way I feel, the morning sounds outside my window, the glow of early sunshine & all other features of a fresh new day. I've found it much more peaceful to wake-up this way than immediately rushed by action items & the hustle to get to my first assignment. 

Experiencing everyday tasks: Pat has a philosophy he calls "wash the dishes" meaning that since we are often so hasty to get through our tasks & begin the next one we end up spending our time just going through the motions- rather than focusing on the present mission, like washing the dishes. How often do we really wash the dishes to wash the dishes? I know anytime I wash the dishes all I can think about is clearing out the sink & getting to my next action item. Next time, truly wash the dishes- embrace the aroma of the dish soap, feel the smooth textures of the dishes on your finger tips, create gratitude in each new dish as it become cleansed & ready for another blessed meal to rest upon it. Focus on the senses & the gratitude of the chore rather than just plowing through it. 

Smile: Smiling is an instant mood booster for me. I've made it my commitment to smile in the times when I typically wouldn't- like making the bed, or driving my morning commute. It's even a way to share happiness with others, like when you're on the phone with a customer service representative or in line at the bank- when others see a smile (or even hear it, yes when you smile & talk your voice rings of happiness) it's contagious & spreading happiness is a reciprocated gift to yourself as well.

Embrace nature: Even though I live in a metropolitan area there are so many opportunities to appreciate & be mindful of what's around. When I'm walking somewhere I like to notice the ground below my feet, admire the big fluffy clouds above & the colors of the sky, listen to the chirps of birds or the rustle of tree leaves and fill my lungs with the air all around me. This awareness makes me happy & it also makes the walk through the parking lot or a trip to the dumpster significantly more enjoyable. 

Attitude of gratitude: At the restroom in my office there are no paper towels & only a very old & very slow hand dryer. At first I was so frustrated & impatient with the hand dryer that I finally gave up drying my hands & went back to work with wet paws. One day I finally became fed up with my cold & drippy fingers that I decided to use the opportunity to amp up my current attitude. Now every time I visit the hand dryer I make it a point to think of five specific things I am currently grateful for, it's made my experiences so wonderful that I have even stuck around for a second push of the button to continue counting my blessings. 

Are there mundane tasks that are taking the joy out of life or pushing pause on your day? Do you often feel like you move from task to task without any real joy until you can do something for yourself? Think of one or two moments or activities in your day that you can make joyful to boost happiness & mindfulness. Once you start with simple awareness I promise you will begin to uncover many more opportunities to make happiness your routine. 

Happy dish washing-


happy 20 fourteen

Oh how energizing the start of a new year can feel. Setting goals, committing to projects & preparing for the adventures ahead always seem to stimulate my spirit. One thing I'm working to be more mindful of this go-around is less time thinking about what's coming & more focus on the present moments. This realization has come so blatantly to me through the process of planning a wedding- too often I have found myself caught up in the end result that I have missed opportunities to savor the sweet moments along the way. To me, it's the genuine, surprising, and simple moments along the way that make the larger occasions what they are.

To slow down & embrace the stepping stones of the exciting things in store I'm being more intentional about journaling, reflecting, meditating, connecting with others, and blogging. For the moments when I'm tired, or feel that my plate is spilling over, I am slowly building my consciousness & holding on to my personal commitments- even if it means two sentences in a notebook to capture my thoughts at the end of a very long day, or a small chat with an old friend between meetings. I'm striving to ensure that the most important things to me remain my top priorities. 

Wherever the black & white text of this simple little "blog" end up my hope is to continue to capture & share my "ah-ha" moments, honest sentiments, small & large victories, & general thoughts about life, love & the pursuit of happiness. 

right now & today-


My Bedroom Retreat

A Tuesday favor for you- my bedroom has been selected for Apartment Therapy's "My Bedroom Retreat" contest, but I need your help! The 4 bedrooms with the most "likes" will advance to the finals. It takes 1 minute to "like" my bedroom entry (complete with TWO cameo appearances by Penelope and detail pics of my sleeping quarters!) and 30 seconds to Tweet the link or share it on Facebook. Could you help me out? 

Penelope says: 
Oh! Won't you like me? And tell your friends about how cute I am? ;)

bedroom bliss & blessings-


Apple Cinnamon Protein Pancakes

Good morning sunshine! My favorite meal of the day is breakfast and one of my go to breakfast options for a busy week is the apple cinnamon protein pancake. One serving has only 22g carbs, 135 calories plus 9g of protein and 4g of fiber. It's a SUPER easy recipe and makes 4-5 servings so you can store it in a mason jar in your fridge for 3-4 days.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Protein Pancake

1 cup of quick oats
4 egg whites
1/4 cup unflavored whey protein powder (I use the GNC brand)
1/4 cup low fat milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Fuji apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into medium size pieces

  1. Mix all ingredients together in blender (I use the Ninja, which gets the job done!) until the mixture is the consistency of batter. You may need to add more milk depending on your oats, add a few splashes if it is too dry. 
  2. Heat up a small frying pan on med-low, add coconut oil or cooking oil spray so that the pancake doesn't stick. Pour batter into a ~4 in round pancake and heat for roughly 2 minutes, keep an eye on the edges, once they start to brown you'll know it's time to flip. Flip pancake until the other side is cooked as well. You can also heat up a few slices of apple on the pan with cinnamon sprinkled on them as toppings for the pancake. 
  3. Top with honey, sugar-free syrup, fruit, or ground cinnamon to taste. Enjoy!
You can save the remaining batter in your fridge for 3-4 days, you may need to add more milk if the consistency becomes too thick. 

Sweet Green Drink

I also love to start my morning with fresh juice, and one of my favorites is a mixture of sweet green fruits and green veggies. 

If you have a juicer my favorite *blend is...
1 green apple
1 pear
1 Fuji apple
2 celery stalks
1 large handful parsley
4 large romaine lettuce leaves
2 handfuls spinach
slice of ginger root
1/2 or 1/4 peeled lemon
*makes two glasses

breakfast, blue-grass & bedroom-slippers,