peace and love. (or listening to your soul).

I recently read an article in September's O magazine by Martha Beck, life coach extraordinaire. The article, "How to Tune In to the Voice Within" talks about the two voices that most commonly represent our inner dialogue:
This very day, two individuals are vying to be your personal adviser. The first, whose name is Fang, dresses in immaculate business attire, carries a briefcase full of neatly organized folders, and answers all e-mails instantly, via BlackBerry. In a loud, clear, authoritative voice, Fang delivers strong opinions about how you should manage your time. Fang's résumé is impressive: fantastic education, experience to burn.

The other candidate, Buddy, wears shorts, a tank top, and a rose tattoo. If you question the professionalism of this attire, Buddy just smiles. When you ask advice on a pressing matter, Buddy hugs you. There are almost no words on Buddy's résumé (the few that do appear are jokes and song lyrics), and in the margins, Buddy has doodled pictures of chipmunks.

Who will you hire to advise you?
Beck goes on to explain that FANG represents one's social conscious and echoes the voices of those around us. I call my own FANG my "should". As in, "I should work out every day," "I should get up early and be productive, even on my day off" or "I should go out to lunch with this person even though he/she is an energy drain." FANG could also be my eating disorder mindset. (A quick background: I had long suffered from the starvation/binge eating cycle, my weight fluctuating from 104-130 until in 2009 I wizened up, sought therapy with an eating disorder specialist and have embraced intuitive eating. Since then my weight has settled in at a very happy 120. Moving on.) My FANG often says stuff like, "If you don't hate your body or are constantly working to change it you are slowly turning into a 1,000 pound marshmallow." FANG has also been known to talk me into new and ridiculously challenging work out programs, especially when I'm changing jobs or relationships. FANG tends to tell me I should eat a 100% vegan/vegetarian/Paleo/South Beach/Weight Watchers diet or I'm definitely not healthy/beautiful/thin/attractive. You get the idea. FANG, while the seemingly perfect voice of reason, the compliment of my already Type A personality can get ugly.

And then there's my Buddy. My Buddy is my 4-yr-old self, the wild, curly haired and little pink glasses wearing me. The girl who loves animals and art and could sit for hours coloring without fear of being unproductive. My 4-yr-old self also offers advice as to what I should eat. She tells me to be curious about my food. To examine each bite for it's texture and flavor and to decide whether or not I really love something before eating more of it. Four year old Laura is excited about seasons and the different foods they bring. She is more excited about how her body feels than how it looks, about what her body can do than how others respond to it.

Beck's article talks about discerning between FANG and Buddy. She writes that Buddy doesn't speak in words, but that his/her true wisdom is sensory. Whereas FANG has A LOT to say about a myriad of subjects (Can't you hear her when you look in the mirror? Or when you compare yourself to other people?), Buddy communicates through feelings of peace and moments of calm.

Beck advises us to feel our decisions, rather than waiting for a loud, verbal answer. I've found that the right decision is always a feeling, one of pleasant submission, of either saying, "Okay, I give up. Let's try a new route" or "I don't need to try anymore, I've done everything I need to do."

The other day I found a letter that I'd written in January 2010, and it perfectly describes this feeling of letting go and saying yes to the Buddy way of things. For months I was hemming and hawing over the difficult decision to end a relationship. All signs were pointing to a breakup: sleepless nights, ulcer like stomach aches and an awful feeling of "this is not right". The letter reads:


I hereby surrender myself to you. I'm tired of fighting your will - only to feel completely anxious with no peace. I know that there were a LOT of stubborn characters in the Bible, and look what happened to them. I don't want to turn into a pillar of salt. And I don't want to be swallowed up by a whale (as big as this anxious feeling). If this anxious feeling isn't a burning bush, I'm not sure how else you'll ever get through to me. So here goes: I GIVE UP. I SURRENDER. I'm renewing my commitment to YOU and to MYSELF. You are my God. Yoke me to you and to all the good, loving, encouraging people in this world. I have no idea where you'll lead me, but I do know this: I'm willing to go.

Always faithful,

The thing about giving in, about accepting the wisdom of your soul, is that once you do, everything falls into place. FANG settles down until the next big scuffle, and you're finally able to catch a glimpse of your 4-yr-old self, or rather, your best future self. xoxo.


No. 2 desk

I'm in love with the color blocking technique used on this desk makeover. While the "before" is serene and simple, the "after" boasts classic lines and reminds me of sharpened No. 2 pencils. The hint of wood left on the desk's legs is both surprising and eye-catching.


truth be told.

Today as I was cleaning out my giant box of keepsakes, throwing out old letters and pictures that I no longer needed to hold onto, I came upon this letter that I'd written well over a year ago. It's funny how true it is... how the things I never believed possible then, after going through a rough breakup have come true today.

Sunday, April 4, 2010
Dear Laura,

Someday when you're holding your husband's hand, or strolling alone through a farmer's market in a new city or in a job where you feel passionate about the work you do every single day, someday all of this will make sense to you. All of the pain of breaking up (over and over again) will seem like the rain that helped the new flowers of your life grow. Just as you've found career direction after wandering in the proverbial desert, you'll figure out all of this relationship stuff in time and appreciate it all the more. Then you won't seek any approval other than God's, you'll trust your gut completely and you'll surround yourself with people who'll make you feel the most YOU you've ever felt. So be done with doubting, with the people who make you feel unsteady and uncertain. Learn the Grey on your own terms instead of being pulled into it by someone else. And above all else, BE GENTLE with yourself. Allow yourself to grieve and cry and feel. Refuse to be numb to pain, to your life. Know that I love you and will never, ever leave you. You are mine and I have called you by name.

I feel so grateful to have made it through that difficult time in my life and appreciate the relationship I have today one million times more than had I not gone through that time. I'm still slowly plodding through all of the grey in life but I'm having a grand old time doing just that. xo.


changes (for the best).

Things are changing. And I so totally do not do change. Lord help everyone around me when I'm going through a transition! I'm starting a new job on Monday. A consistent, fancy, comes with benefits job at the Children's Discovery Museum. I'll be planning all of their community and fundraising events and trying to maintain my sanity all the while. I'm terribly excited. I worked my last day as an interpreter yesterday and nothing felt better then walking out of the health department for the last time. I've been hoping for a career change for some time and things are finally falling into place! I'm so happy to have four days off before I start -- to have time to digest the change before jumping in, the Devil Wears Prada style. Here are some things I'm looking forward to in the next few months:

Power Suit (metallic)

The planner I ordered last week. I'm praying it'll arrive before I start. I love crisp white pages, just waiting to be filled in. Office supplies remind me of the feeling I used to get when going back to school: full of hope and potential.

The vacation M and I have planned for our anniversary. M makes me laugh every. single. day. and nugs me all night long. I love our life together and am excited to get away for a while.

The fact that my new job will allow me to save more money and yet still have extra funds for my growing shoe collection.

That the dog days of summer are upon us ... meaning fall is just around the corner. I can't wait for skinny jeans tucked into boots, chai lattes and cool nights.

Here's to new jobs, to change (even when it's scary) and to all of the things that make life worth living. xoxo.


for tommy.

This is Tommy. Tommy is M's youngest brother. He has down syndrome and is non-verbal. He is also one of the sweetest people I have ever met. He is always smiling, especially with his eyes and he always takes my side over M's. The first day I met Tommy, M was teasing me about something or another and Tommy wagged his finger at M and said, "NO!" Tommy takes care of his pets, Spot (a super energetic English Springer Spaniel) and Norah (a striped grey cat). He lent me a sweatshirt last night when I was cold. Tommy bought me some homemade chex mix from the cafe that he goes to with his parents, then gave me a wide-eyed surprised expression when I showed him how fast I'd downed the bag. Tommy is the best person to go grocery shopping with (besides M that is). He pushes the cart, picks out good cantaloupes and lets out an exasperated sigh when he finally finds the peanut butter aisle. Tommy loves pictures; his bedroom walls are covered with pictures of his favorite people. Tommy loves NCIS and has the same Kermit stuffed animal I did when I was little. Tommy loves pizza and chicken nuggets. He thinks his big brothers are the coolest people on earth, but he's just as welcoming to new friends like me. Tommy is visiting us this week and I couldn't be happier about it. xoxo.


(more) short dress love.

Spun Sugar Shift
Carnaby Crochet Mini

Okay so I STILL have wedding on the brain (oh wait, when I do not?) . . . but when I stumbled upon these dresses from BHLDN, Anthropologie's amazing wedding line, I knew I had to do a post about them. I would eagerly walk down the aisle in either one of these dresses (and M's face when I showed him these pictures said all I needed to hear about them). Pair either one of these dresses with a pair of these fabulous shoes and you're good to go:


Or bold and colorful:

Done and done. xo.


from M, with love.

by genevieve bjargardottir

On Friday night M and I had friends over for dinner (chicken and shrimp on the grill, sweet corn, roasted red potatoes & onions and a spinach salad) and for whatever reason the men got to talking about what it takes to woo a girl. Katie asked me if M had ever brought me flowers (no) or had taken care of me when hungover (definitely no). The thing is, I may never get flowers from M or over-the-top date nights or rides in a fancy car. But M will always rub my feet after a day in 3-inch heels. M will always tell me I'm beautiful, even when I look a hott mess. M will always brag about my cooking to his coworkers. M will always help me calm down after a rough day at work and give me perspective when I can't seem to find it. M may not think to buy me random presents, but M will always call me to ask me what I need from the store before coming home and he'll always murmur "i love you's" when he's half asleep. And really, I'll take that over flowers any day. xo.


swimsuits w/class.

Close this windowClose this windowClose this window

I love these modest swimsuit options from Shabby Apple. They offer more coverage than the average triangle bikini, but are still super sexy.


a country wedding.

Yesterday I ate dinner at a friend's house out in the country and then watched fireworks with friends downtown. Everything from the cornfields I passed on my way into town to the lemon shake-up I drank while watching fireworks made me dream about a good ol' fashioned country wedding. Clearly I have wedding on the brain. But that's beside the point.

I love how messy this bouquet is. It makes it look like it was just plucked out of the garden and tied up with twine.

The most perfect centerpiece. I love the varied textures and shapes, colors and patterns.

A sweet (and edible) centerpiece idea.

This cheerful display of colored glasses is a great example of diy style. This same (homemade) white stand would work for dessert, candies, or favors.

And last but not least, I love the idea of having pie instead of cake. I'm not a big cake person to begin with but I can bake a mean peach pie. There's also something really sweet about asking your grandma, aunt or mother-in-law to bring her signature pie. xo.


open me up.

I love the light and airy look of this Swedish apartment. Even though it's an open floor plan, there are designated areas for each "room" and the design elements flow easily from space to space. xo.


a vintage update.

Mid Century Modern Wood & Green Upholstery Arm Chair | Furnish Me...

I currently have a chair just like this one sitting in my apartment. I bought it at a very over-priced mid-century furniture store in downtown Champaign, IL. I still love it just as much as the day I bought it . . . but I'm getting ready to do a little diy makeover, so that I can continue to love it even in my next place, you know, that apartment that will include my vintage chic accessories and items from m's ikea filled bachelor pad.

I stumbled upon this chair re-do over on Little Green Notebook and am smitten:

From classic lines and faded white fabric to fresh and modern:

I'm definitely feeling inspired. And with Jenny's helpful step-by-step instructions I'm now fully educated on how to do it to my own.

Here are some of the combinations I'm considering:

Quadrille's Island Ikat in Navy w/ Sherwin William's High Reflectance White

Schumacher/Decorator's walk's chevron w/Sherwin William's Cheerful

Victoria Hagan's early spring in Chocolate Brown and White w/ Sherwin William's Offbeat Green

or . . . Windsor Smith's Pelagos in Lime w/ Sherwin William's Naval or Needlepoint Navy

I can't wait to get started. Happy fourth. xo.