9.22.2010

Letter to No One in Particular

The following is an excerpt from Geneen Roth's book, Women, Food and God. You can read more about Geneen Roth here:

"It seems as if you chose this career and therefore this career arc. Can you accept that? Not as resignation, which is how people define acceptance. Not as a sense of victimhood: 'Poor me, I can't do anything but accept the situation.' But as the willingness to stop defining your tasks as a means to an end and instead inhabit what you yourself have chosen. What if this is exactly what you are supposed to be doing because it is what you are doing? What if each nitty-gritty task is perfection itself and you keep missing it because you're looking for something else?

Even when you become Something because they were right, you really were Going Places -- even when you arrive at being Someone because you are where you were going -- your life may not be any better if you haven't learned to be awake, alive, now. To take this moment for what it is. It's just as easy to be miserable when you are Someone Special as when you are No One In Particular. Because even Someone Special still has to live in her own skin and deal with boredom, rejection, loneliness, disappointment. Even Someone Special comes home at night and does what the Nobodies do: falls asleep alone. You might as well learn how to pay attention now. How to inhabit the life you've chosen. How to take up every inch of your skin. Occupy the space in this body you were given. It's your place. Only yours.

The writer Annie Dillard says, 'How you spend your days is how you spend your life.' Be unwaveringly honest. Ask yourself how you want to spend your days.

Come back. Break the trance. Pay attention to your breath. Your arms. Your legs. Listen to sounds. The scrape of a chair. The whirr of the copy machine. Notice colors. The royal blue of a coworker's dress. The coffee stain on your boss's tie. Wake up to the riot of life around you every second. The singer Pearl Bailey said, 'People see God every day; they just don't recognize Him.'What if every day what a change to see a new version of God? What if what you needed was right in front of you and you were not recognizing it?

You already have everything you need to be content. Your real work, despite the corporate ladder you are climbing, is to do whatever it takes to realize that. And then it won't matter if you're Someone Special or No One in Particular because you'll be fully alive in every moment -- which is, I imagine, all you ever wanted from Going Places to be Someone." (60-62).

9.08.2010

A little story.

Once upon a time there was a girl. She was curious and lively and she really didn’t give a rat’s ass what others thought. She climbed trees and ran with boys and was also kind and sensitive and let herself cry…even without having a good reason.

As the girl grew up, it became harder and harder to be that way. The tiny Voice that once whispered to her as a child – the Voice that sang to her,

“You can be anything or nothing at all. Whatever you choose to be you’ll be.”

That Voice grew smaller and smaller and smaller, until it almost f a d e d a w a y.

So the girl replaced the Voice with boys and worry and doubt and an endless search for the perfect job. She obsessed over money and calories [how easily we seek perfection when our Voice isn't there to guide us] ... and she all but fell a-p-a-r-t.

Then one day over lunch with her boyfriend, she felt a tug. A strange feeling in the bottom of her GUT that said,

“You’re not who I thought you were. I’m not who I thought I was.”

She shrugged it off and ignored it and shut that door (tight!).

“But we’re so right for each other" she cried, "and what about X, Y and Z?”

“What about our future together?”

“No,” the Voice said, “it’s not for you.”

And the girl began to listen as the Voice grew louder and louder, until one day the boyfriend was no longer her boyfriend. And the Voice said,

“You may rest.”

Months later she heard it again – telling her another thing she was reluctant to hear:

"YOU ARE GOING DOWN THE WRONG PATH!” it cried.

“But how?”

“LISTEN”

“But what if?”

“LISTEN”

“But why me?”

“LISTEN”

“But…what now?”

“….LISTEN…” it begged.

This time instead of turning her back on love she turned away from money, security, a definite direction. She turned away from everything she’d come to expect of her life. And there was pain and fear and

an ocean of

ANXIETY.

And it was very hard. It rained tears and the ocean grew bigger and scarier and the girl felt like she’d just float away – like there’d be nothing to keep her tethered to the ground, to the life she’d come to know. Yet in the midst of the storm and the noise the girl still heard the Voice. This time it wouldn’t tell her

“Yes” or

“No”

“Go this way” or

“Go that way.”

This time, as the girl strained to hear the tiny whisper deep within her she heard a new song:

LET GO

“Say what?” the girl asked from the middle of her ocean of fear and grief and loneliness.

LET GO!! the voice screamed again.

And this time instead of waiting and questioning and wondering about 1-2 -3 and X-Y-Z and money and calories and direction and fame and all of those other people in the peanut gallery, she did just that.

She jumped in the water.

And miracle of miracles, she didn’t sink or get swept away (at least not too far) because suddenly she was that girl again. The girl who wasn’t afraid to get her feet wet, to climb trees and to ignore what other people thought. Soon she felt her feet hit solid ground. The tide descended and the sand felt warm between her toes.

And the voice said

“Well done. You may rest.”

9.07.2010

rest.



After a late night spent nursing a migraine, I just want to curl up in this bed and take a midday nap. It looks so cozy and I love the airy, natural feel of the ceiling and fan.

(Photo via Design*Sponge).

8.23.2010

enough.

In the waiting room of the health department today a family of five lingered before their youngest son’s shots. They placed their son on the floor and gathered around him, guessing to whom he would crawl. “Quiere su mama,” I said. Because little kids always choose their mother. I watched the six-month old as he began to crawl towards his mother, much to the chagrin of the other family members. I felt so lucky to be observing that moment. I felt the same pride, awe and humility that I feel whenever a client asks for my advice in court. Or when a women cries to me after her husband has been deported by INS. Or when I listen to the heartbeats of a baby still in its mother’s womb. As an interpreter, my words are not just words. They are a wholehearted attempt to bridge the gap. To say, “I don’t know your past but your future is here, and I welcome you.” My words are my way of providing comfort, empathy and support, my own way to bring clarity to a difficult situation.

And while I love those moments, I sometimes feel like it’s not a “real job”. After all, what is it that I’m actually DOING? During the work week I sit in a lot of waiting rooms, I stand awkwardly like a fly on the wall in court and am a necessary interloper in the most private of affairs. I inject myself into touchy situations and personal moments and sometimes I wonder: “For what?” To change words from one language to the next? I often feel like an automated language service, not unlike the phone lines the hospitals dial for emergency situations.

On days like this I know deep down that this job isn’t for the long term. That it doesn’t meet my very human need to be an active participant in my life. It doesn’t offer health insurance or benefits or security. But then I remember that little boy crawling towards his mother and the woman who, last Tuesday, waited anxiously, desperately, for proof that her late-in-life pregnancy was there, alive and growing inside of her. And I remember that often our role in life isn’t to be the star of the show, the most obvious character in the play. And then I think, Enough. This is enough for now. I am enough.

8.12.2010

someday.



I stumbled on this photo today and it perfectly reflects my yearning for fall on this 95 degree summer night-- I can't wait for sweater weather, cool breezes, soy lattes and crunchy leaves. This little girl is so darling and of course I absolutely love her flower headband.

(Photo via A Stylish Design).

2.25.2010

a little announcement 2.



Sometimes we try things.. sometimes those things work. Other times, not so much. This is a little post to say, I'm not feelin' the whole blogging thing. I do realize that I'm the most fickle person in the world. Noted, okay? But the thing I've been realizing as of late is that I've been spending a lot of time and energy on things that don't really affect my real life. My little I-live-in-a-vintage-apartment-in-your-average-midwest-town life. I've been spacing out, reading tons of blogs and like my job (simply repeating words given to me), this blog has just become another space to recycle information.

So! Since it's the season of giving up things I'm giving up blogging, for now. Life is a little trial and a little error and constantly changing. For now I'm going to focus less on my online life and more on my real life. I've also deleted a lot of blogs in my google reader because creating > consumption. Bye for now, you've all been great!

(Photo via vrno).

2.21.2010

2.19.2010

for leah 2.



(Photo via Mandr).

happy weekend.



Good news: it's the weekend! Other good news: Only 22 days until daylight savings . . . spring is on its way! xo.

(Photo via Freya Art & Design).

the new bouquet.

Have you seen this doorknob bouquet? I love the idea of using regular household items in the place of flowers.



If I were to make a doorknob bouquet I'd probably move away from the turquoise and purple look and create one using more traditional floral hues instead:


Aren't these Anthropologie doorknobs are amazing? Another option for creative brides: hand-stitched flowers.


To learn how to make your own fabric mums check out Natalie Chanin's Alabama Stitch Book.

These photos go to show that you don't need to use flowers to create a wedding look that is elegant and charming. xo.

(Photo 1 via 100 Layer Cake); (Doorknob Photos via Anthopologie); (Photo 3 via The Purl Bee).

2.18.2010

oklahoma wedding.

This Oklahoma wedding makes my heart sing -- it's exactly my idea of a great wedding: simple and rustic, yet elegant too.





The bride grew up on the farm where the wedding was held -- isn't that sweet?

(Photos via StyleMePretty).

fleur de sel.

As it turns out, I'm having trouble staying away. And, as it turns out, figuring things out is slightly overrated. Something that's not overrated: fleur de sel sea salt. Dorie swears by it and David's a fan. I'm sure there are the doubters among you who think: 20 bucks for some salt? You see, fleur de sel sea salt is a whole different story:


"Fleur de Sel is an all-natural sea salt from Guerande in Brittany France. Unprocessed, unrefined, unadulterated. This salt is unlike any you've ever tasted, more like a condiment than a spice, it highlights food flavors and is never too salty, in fact it is almost impossible to overdo it. That is the simple and delicious truth. In Brittany near the town of Guerande are marshes and low lying areas suitable for salt fields. There is a mini climate that is much milder that the rest of Brittany. The currents of the Atlantic run cleaner there than many salt harvesting locations. This confluence of nature makes for an ideal area for a salt farm region."

This salt would be perfect sprinkled over tomatoes with olive oil:


Or paired with Valrhona chocolate in Dorie's tried and true World Peace Cookies:


Or you could sprinkle it on top of these bite sized truffles from The Pioneer Woman:


The possibilities are pretty much endless. As it turns out, nothing is ever going to be entirely figured out and nothing is for sure, except maybe for the fact that I'm the kind of person who thinks about sea salt. And I'm okay with that. ("Don't compromise yourself, you're all you've got" -- Thanks Janis Joplin).

Want to hear more about fleur de sel's many uses? Listen to this NPR broadcast.

(Photo 1 via Amazon); (Photo 2 via Smitten Kitchen); (Photo 3 via Smitten Kitchen); (Photo 4 via The Pioneer Woman).

2.17.2010

some bread and a little hope.



I've been in a bit of a rut as of late -- first came the cold of the century, then some startling realizations about my job (despite the fact that I enjoy interpreting it's. going. absolutely. nowhere.), and now I have some heavy decisions to make. What's a girl to do? I decided to make bread. A little yeast, flour, an egg, salt, some honey -- turns out a few simple ingredients and some muscle are all it takes. Now my apartment is all doughy smelling and warm from the oven and I've saved myself a trip to the grocery store for breakfast supplies.

More than nourishment, making bread today gave me time to think. And then some time to not think at all. Just to listen. It can be so hard to hear that little voice when we're busy and the world is just so darn loud. I hope you have time in your day to eat something yummy, sit in silence and listen.

I'm going to be taking the rest of the week off to work things out. Be back soon. xo.

(Photo and recipe via Cooking Light). <---- I didn't use the Caraway and Anise seeds. Obviously. Who wants bread to taste like licorice? I don't even want licorice to taste like licorice.

2.16.2010

good design.






I'm feeling a little bluesy today -- this is my second week with a cold and I'm feeling a lot of qualms about my life's direction. But! I'd rather not spread that negative energy. So instead, here are three design pictures that I totally love. Who wouldn't want an orange tree growing in his or her house?

(Photos 1 and 3 via Design*Sponge); (Photo 2 via Peacock Feathers).

2.12.2010

happy weekend.


Sigh, the weekend. This weekend I'm taking a trip to Chicago to hang out with my family. Road trips are the best, especially with some good tunes and a good sister-friend along for the ride.

(Photo via Chloe Aftel Studio)

v-day for the single ladies.

I was just told that I'd have no material to blog about after Valentine's day. Point taken. I've posted a LOT about the "big day" so I promise this will be the last time! Valentine's Day for people in a relationship is another chance to have a fun night out and exchange cute presents...but what does that leave for the single ladies? Helpful hints for V-day:



Buy yourself flowers, nothing looks prettier or serves as a better reminder of spring:


Live it up, be as girlie as you choose to be:


Indulge a little:


Or a lot:


That's pistachio gelato ya'll. Doesn't it look amazing? xo.

(Photo 1 via Coco + Kelly); (Photo 2 via Design*Sponge); (Photo 3 via Peacock Feathers); (Photos 4 and 5 via David Lebovitz).

v-day dessert tables.

Check out these two very different but equally cool dessert tables. The first is by the ever-inspiring Amy Atlas and the second comes from Beka of Innove Events.





I like how the second takes a nontraditional approach to the glitz and glamour of Valentine's Day. It's a little darker, a little more rock-and-roll than the bubble gum pink design of the first table.

(Photos 1 and 2 via Style Me Pretty); (Photo 3 via Style Me Pretty).

crochetdermy.





How neat are these crochet animals? It sure beats taxidermy in my book.

(Photos via Apartment Therapy.)

2.11.2010

succulents



It's hard for me to admit when I don't know about something -- especially if that something is a flower or plant. I mean, come on! I knew the name of every wildflower in Iowa by age 6. Still, I have my moments. I'm not sure how succulents flew under my radar for so long -- but I find them absolutely stunning, in their own earthy, green sort of way. Wouldn't these make the best Valentine's Day gift? xo.

(Photo 1 via Design*Sponge); (Photo 2 via Martha Stewart); (Photo 3 via Martha Stewart).

let's talk about: energy.



Today I got to thinking about ENERGY: how we spend it, where we get it and how best to use it. At this point in my life I feel like I have a lot of energy (and time) to devote to my own pursuits. Still, there a few things in all of our lives that threaten to drain our energy:

The energy drainers:

  1. Lifestyle Choices: We all require energy to live but some lifestyles (being overly busy, focusing on consumption or mindless activities) require much more energy than we should be spending day in and day out.
  2. Physical activity: We often over-exert ourselves during a workout or over-extend ourselves with commitments, leading to a hurried life and physical exhaustion.
  3. Relationships: Often a relationship can demand more energy than the amount of positive energy we receive from the relationship. We can also waste energy by focusing on past relationships or relationships that need repair (without taking action).
  4. Work that is not meaningful: Each day we are given energy to put towards a meaningful endeavor, but some jobs or work environments can use up that energy before we’re able to put it to good use.

Here are some changes that we can all make to spend energy in a way that gives back (to ourselves and others):

  1. Figure out whether you gain more energy from internal or external sources. If it’s internal, schedule alone time. If it’s external, call up a friend for coffee.
  2. Examine your day to day activities and reevaluate what really matters. Do you really need to watch that late night t.v. show, or would an extra hour of sleep be more beneficial? Do you need to spend hours shopping for a new item, or could the one you already have be good enough?
  3. Focus on the types of exercise that leave you feeling more energetic, instead of worn out. Do you dread running? Try yoga or taking long walks.
  4. Take a closer look at the relationships in your life: Which ones are draining? Which ones give you positive energy to carry you throughout your day? Consider which relationships need mending and which ones need ending.
  5. Think of the moments when you lose track of time because you’re fully engaged in an activity. Carve time out of your day to do more of that thing.

By taking starting with a few small steps, we can regain energy and put it towards more enriching activities.

(Photo via vrno.)

mixing it up.

I know we've seen a lot of white interiors as of late, so here's a little color to brighten you day:



I think I could have a room like that in my home, as long as I had one like this too:


(Photos via Peacock Feathers.)

doilies.



Isn't this doily runner amazing? What a great idea for a wedding -- it'd be a cheap yet chic alternative to renting costly table runners. I also like it for every day use as shown in this amazing kitchen (check out the globe collection above the cabinets!).

Eddie Ross also has some fabulous uses for doilies . . . including step-by-step instructions for dying doilies. Pretty smart, right?

(Photos via Style Me Pretty.)

2.10.2010

coffee cup men.


carnation love.

The other day I stumbled upon this photo of peonies and carnations:


It got me thinking about the carnation, the floral equivalent of "always a bridesmaid never the bride," the flower that Charlotte from Sex and the City deemed "a filler flower." I have to admit, I've had my doubts. Probably because carnations remind me of marigolds which remind me of crickets (long story there). But maybe we've over looked something here, like the fact that carnations are super cheap, long lasting and look great in monochromatic bunches:


Carnations also look classy in all white bouquets, for a holiday party or wedding:



This couple even made an entire elephant out of the flowers:




Have I convinced you yet?

(Photo 1 via Flickr); (Photo 2 via Martha Stewart); (Photo 3 via Apartment Therapy); (Photo 4 via Martha Stewart); (Photo 5 via Martha Stewart). <---- What can I say, the lady knows her stuff.