Friday, July 27, 2012

On repeat

I've been listening to "Heartbeats" by The Knife on repeat for many days. (See YouTube clip from last post to hear it). This rarely happens to me, but when it does I really don't hold back. When I say repeat, I mean repeat - over and over and over and over... Even when I try to move onto another song, I can't! It's compulsive!

But it feels so good to be SO into something that you can't get sick of it. It's such a pure, un-jaded feeling - like how kids are happy to have the same book read to them a million times. They get pure joy out of it every time and want to do it again as soon as they are done. What is that? And why does it go away as we get older?

There are very few things that I can do on repeat like that. One of them is watching the movie Dirty Dancing. I love that movie - really, any dance movie does it for me. There's something about that formulaic movie arc that gets me every time. Anyway, I can and have watched Dirty Dancing multiple times. One of the my favorite memories was after the 36-hour trip home from our honeymoon in Thailand. We were jet-lagged and exhausted. We woke up up early and turned on the TV to find Dirty Dancing playing. We ate frozen pizza in a daze and watched Patrick Swayze do his thing at 10am. It was awesome.

So I am in it with this song right now and loving every minute. Because eventually I know I'm going to be sick of it. The grown-up inside me will finally say, "Enough! Pick another song!" Until then me and my kiddo self are going to keep up this dance party.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I have a seriously embarrassing confession to make. I am by no means a reality television fan. In fact, I find it mostly gross and feel icky when I watch it. Somehow, T and I got hooked on The Bachelorette this season. I know, I know - judge away! I'm not proud. However, the guy that won this season is so freakin' cool and adorable and awesome that I've had a silly grin on my face for two days now.

And, honestly, I love that silly grin, and I love the feeling I have because of that silly grin. Yes, The Bachelorette is mostly a ridiculous and brainless show, but thank goodness for the ridiculous sometimes. Last week I had been feeling heavy. There were a lot of heavy things happening around me and in the world and I was feeling it.

So I watch this funny guy charm this beautiful girl and it gives me a little bit of lightness.

I think part of my giddiness is just feeling gratitude, in general. I was single for a long time. If I had watched this show when I was single I would have felt that sad ache of wanting, so badly, to find someone that charming and fun. What makes me all the more giddy watching this show is that all the things I find so attractive and fun about this guy, I have in my husband. Instead of feeling sad about wanting something or someone like that, I feel blissed out because I have my dreamy hunk right here in my house. I already chose him and I got him!!

There's nothing like the feeling of gratitude to make you feel high, to lift you out of that heaviness and make you glow.

Plus there's this awesome YouTube clip of Jef (the winner) with his friends long before being on The Bachelorette. I mean, come on, this has to make you feel good!

Monday, July 23, 2012


My sewing class in fantastic! The woman is a Russian seamstress with a heavy accent. She has all of these intricate stories to help you remember how to do things on the sewing machine. For example, there is an odd story of Pete who lives in the basement and never comes out because he's eating pecans and peanut butter and doing other P things. You have to go down into the basement and ask him to come out and when he doesn't you have to yank him out. In case it's not clear, that's how to thread a bobbin!

Stories like this really help me. It's very childlike, but amazingly clear and simple.

We learned to pivot the fabric to turn corners this week. She described it as planting your tree (the needle) and then dancing around it (pivoting the fabric around the needle). Lovely! At one point my fabric was getting stuck when I was trying to pivot so I raised my hand and said, "I'm having trouble dancing around my tree!"

She also teaches kids to sew, so I think that is where these stories are born. But it just goes to show that what works to engage the minds and imaginations of kids can work the same for adults! Stories add an element of fun and simplicity to our lives.

If only businesses operated in this way - by breaking down the be picture into playful stories that everyone can understand. Life would be so much more fun and clear! My company recently reorganized for the third or fourth time since I've been there. It's never really clear to my why they do these things or what the thought process is. Imagine if the CEO stood up there and explained, "You see, it's like we're planting seeds for a farm. In order for our corn to grow big and tall every year, we need to rotate our crops so that they get new soil."

That's not even that kid-like, but honestly re-orgs suddenly make so much more sense to me!!

Friday, July 20, 2012


We have booked a trip to Italy! I am super excited. We have all of our accommodations booked as well.  We are using for everything. The places look adorable and interesting, and they are significantly cheaper than most hotels. I'm hoping they all work out. I suppose it's a bit more of a risk doing it this way, but could be a huge pay off.

We are flying into Rome and will spend about 3-4 days there. Then we take the train to Florence where we'll only spend a couple of nights. Then we'll rent a car and drive to a Tuscan farmhouse outside of Florence where we'll take a cooking class, explore and relax!

Here are some pics of the places we are staying.

Rome studio

Florence apartment

Tuscan Farmhouse

I'm really excited. Europe means so much to me. I spent a lot of time there in my early 20's and it's a magical place for me. My husband has never been and I can't wait to be there with him and create more magical memories!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I have my first sewing class tonight. I've been curious about learning to sew for a while now. I love to knit, so I figure this is right up my alley. A friend of mine was interested too so we are taking it together. Our projects will be: a pair of pajama pants and two pillows - one with a zipper. I'm really excited. I would love to be able to make simple skirts for myself or dresses.

My aunt sewed her own dress for our wedding and it was stunning. She used a raw silk material. The color was a light minty green. She looked incredible.

She made this dress. Gorgeous.

She was actually the person that married us. I loved that the time she spent sewing that dress together was full of thoughts of our wedding. Like our marriage is sewn right into the fabric of that lovely dress. I feel that way about knitting. I have a friend who is expecting a baby next month, and I just knit her a baby sweater. Really, every stitch of the way you have that new little person in mind. Even if it isn't forefront in your mind, you know that whole time I'm knitting Baby XO a sweater right now. So many things about knitting feel like a meditation to me, I'm curious to see if sewing feels that same way.

That being said, I'm sure my first project, Fashion-Forward Pajama Pants, will not be a practice in meditation. It has the potential to be a practice in hair pulling. But greatness takes time my friends!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


In an effort to wake my sleepy head up with words this morning, I attempted to free write for 10 minutes straight just like we used to have to do in school. In free writing you were supposed to simply write non-stop no matter what. You aren't supposed to stop to correct typos (whoops!) or fix punctuation (come on, it only takes a second!) Even if your mind goes blank you are supposed to write something like My mind is blank. My mind is blank. My mind is blank. over and over.

I have always liked this activity and found it challenging at the same time. My brain tends to be in thinking overdrive most of the time. Doing anything without really putting excessive amount of thought/analysis into it kind of blows my mind. Of course, if something is difficult for you, that's usually an indicator that it's good for you, right? Here are some excerpts from my free writing this morning:

Mind is blank. Mind is blank. I love writing. At least I used to love to write. When I was a kid I re-wrote the story of Cinderella. I bound the book (with scotch tape no less). The best part is on the very last page I had an "About the Author" page with a little drawing of my author photo. I think my mom still has that book. My major rewrite is that Cinderella's father wasn't dead. He had just gone away, but she didn't know it and at the end he comes back realizes what nasty bitches his wife and step-daughters are and gets rid of them. Cinderella and dad live happily ever after! I'm pretty sure I wrote this esteemed novel when my parents were going through their split. What an obvious coping mechanism! Mind is blank. Mind is blank. Mind is blank. Oh! I'm at 9 minutes already! 

I can't tell you the last time I thought of that little book. Another good thing, in theory, about free writing is stuff just comes up which can be very interesting.

In high school, I was the editor of the school newspaper. I was obsessed with my composition class and my composition teacher. In college, I studied journalism and worked on the college paper. I wrote all the time. I think I miss the structure that school or an activity like the newspaper brings. I always had something to write about handed to me or an assignment carefully crafted that I needed to respond to. In the real world, in order to write, you need to pluck something interesting out of thin air! Then you need to write about it in an insightful, intelligent and interesting way that no one else has ever done before. It's daunting.

In some ways, writing is like going to the gym for me. It's hard to get myself there, but once I'm there it's alright. So, I want to get back to the proverbial writing gym. I need to practice and keep it up and create structure for myself. This blog is a good start, but I want to continue to explore.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Clean Simply

One of my living simply goals was to figure out how to clean my house without drenching it in toxic chemicals. Most of the time after I clean my bathroom, I've got a headache and my skin smells heavily of bleach which I can't help but think is NOT GOOD! Our forefathers (or more like foremothers) cleaned house without 409, so why can't I? Plus buying cleaning product for the kitchen, bathroom, windows, and dusting can add up at $3-4 a bottle.

So I set out to learn the secrets of my ancestors - a clean house without killing myself (perhaps literally). 

Turns out, this is really the easiest thing ever. I did a quick Google search and found a zillion websites with a zillion different formulas. I picked the All-Purpose cleaner and whipped it up using ingredients I already had in the house in about 5 minutes. No big secret here, no ancient ancestral recipe - just stuff around the house.

Here's what I did and the website I used:

All-Purpose Cleaner Formula
1/2 cup of vinegar
1/4 cup of baking soda
1/2 gallon of water

Instructions: Mix together.

Brilliant, huh? To top it off, baking soda is about $1 and vinegar $2, and you can get multiple batches out of one purchase of these ingredients. Read - CHEAP!

Once I had my new fandangled cleaner, I was inspired to clean my refrigerator (hurrah another benefit of homemade cleaner!). I wish I had taken a picture of the fridge because it was gleaming - sparkling! Since then, I've cleaned the entire stove (pulled off knobs and all). I have to admit when you look closely on the glass front of the oven, there are some streaks, but nothing life-threatening.

 I also don't worry about kneading or rolling out pizza dough directly on my counter since I know there aren't any toxic chemicals that will get absorbed. Some of you might be concerned about germs or, not so much. I'm of the general mind that germs only make your immune system stronger. (Granted, we don't cook meat at our house, and I haven't used the home-cleaner in the bathroom yet. Those bacteria scare me more!)

 All to say that taking a step back and discovering a simple new answer to a daily task feels good. It feels empowering to choose your own method, even if it's as small of a decision as how you will clean your house. When I pull out that spray bottle to wipe down my counter after washing the dishes, I give myself a teeny little pat on the back and feel a bit of pride.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Land of Domestica

I think I'm in a major nesting phase right now. Honestly, it may not be a "phase" so much as a part of me I'm discovering as I enter into my 30's.

I recently read the book Radical Homemakers and was riveted and inspired. I love the idea of simplifying life and really taking joy in the everyday tasks of running a house.

As a life-long learner (a.k.a, uber-geek), I'm finding this new world fascinating. I don't know squat about how to maintain my own indoor herb garden (more on that fiasco another time), or making my own cleaning products or making bread, but I'm learning. And I'm enjoying it! Yes, I know I can go to Trader Joe's and get a perfectly lovely loaf of bread, but what a challenge to try to work it out yourself (still working on it...). And what a thrill it is when you succeed! It really can be the smallest things that give you that feeling of accomplishment.

When I was in my 20's I lived in a small town in France for a year. When I first arrived, I spoke textbook French, which is to say not much. If I had a successful transaction at the bank, then at the post office and then at the grocery, I would come home feeling as if I had conquered the world! I'm finding this new foreign land of domestic skills just as intriguing, challenging and rewarding.

Stay tuned for my most successful project yet later this week.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Bandwagon

I have fallen off the Morning Lemon bandwagon - both the idea of a blog and the actual act of having my lemon water in the morning. This is telling of where I am at this particular moment in my life - that is to say feeling a bit lost. Don't get me wrong. I love my life. I have a fantastic, funny and adorable husband. My friends are incredible people who lift me up and make me laugh. My family inspires me on a daily basis. So what's wrong? Simply put - I still haven't found my path. What am I supposed to be doing with my life? Who will I become, and how do I get there?

 The practice of my morning lemon was so helpful in centering me before my day. Setting aside a few moments in the morning to check-in with me helped get closer to answering these questions. I'm missing that time. I'm noticing that it isn't there, and I'm feeling lost.

 So, time to jump back on the bandwagon. I want to write and this gives me a focus and a forum to write. I want to move forward in my search and this gives me a plan of action. I'm going to begin the morning routine again and keep tabs on my dreaming self and see where she wants to go!

p.s. I made a freudian typo above when typing out "What am I supposed to be doing with my life?" I accidentally wrote "What am I supposed to be doing with my laugh?" and thought it was actually quite profound.