method to the madness

I did it. I pulled the trigger and enrolled in NYIAD's online Interior Design program. It's time I put some method behind this madness I've been obsessing over since I was a kid. I don't really know what's to come after it's all said and done, but I'm excited to have the credentials to justify the sleepless nights I spend rearranging the living room a thousand different ways in my head.

Apart from arranging beautiful spaces for myself and for others, I'm excited to create spaces that make people feel. I'm a firm believer that our home is the place we go to be reminded of who we are. It's the place to let it all go, to find respite, to surround ourselves with people and things we love and that make us feel loved. 

It's not about nice furniture or meticulously curated shelves of books and chachkies (though these things are important). It's about walking into the kitchen and feeling like there are endless possibilities. It's about crawling into bed at night knowing you can let it all go, sleep it all off. It's about walking into the office or the studio knowing you're in a judgment-free space to create your best work.

Well, you get the point. I'm excited. I'm so, so excited. :)

Beautiful tulips from my parents. There are few things more lovely than fresh flowers.

Beautiful tulips from my parents. There are few things more lovely than fresh flowers.

what being an adult looks like

Melissa, affectionately referred to as "my other whole," recently wrote a post for her gym's blog on being an adult. She talks about the very moment when she realized she had somehow transitioned from a dirtbag adolescent into a functioning adult (it involves Tupperware and is worth the read). It got me thinking about what being grown up really looks like and if there are specific rites of passage one must experience before entering the big world of paying taxes, acquiring furniture from places other than IKEA, and developing an affinity for digestifs and neatly organizing them on a bar cart you DIY'ed to look more "rustic." 

Though adulthood can look very different depending on who you ask, there were a few defining moments in my life that made me certain I'd made it relatively unscathed. They go a little something like...

  • Not only did I buy a car, but I bought a car because of the exceptional gas mileage it gets as well as the opportunity it afforded me to build credit. 
  • I started buying organic, non-GMO, grass-fed, local, etc. food whenever possible because for the first time in my life, I don't feel invincible anymore (unless I'm drinking Fireball and well that, folks, is full of antifreeze).
  • I asked for chef knives last Christmas and I'm asking for an accent chair for my birthday. In the same vain, I now frequent West Elm more than Ben & Jerry's (and I love ice cream, people).
  • I broke up with a handful of "friends" because I realized we had nothing in common other than the drama we caused while out partying. And our love for horror-themed dance bars.
  • Not only do I have health insurance for myself, but I even got pet insurance for my dogs because you really never know.
  • I started booking real vacations - like, to Iceland - instead of saving all my adult dollars to fly home for the holidays or across the country for a wedding. 
  • I realized that they weren't kidding when they said "life is short" and we only have one shot to do the thing(s) we love every single day. So I'm working on doing that as much as possible.

Maybe you started going to the dentist for the first time since high school because you know how important dental health is or maybe you even have a real-life guest room in your house. What moments defined adulthood for you?

THE THING i'm most proud of

"What are you proud of?" That's the question I'm tasked with answering today as part of an exercise for a 9-week course I'm taking. The course is all about how to "live out your passion" and frankly, it's been one of the most enlightening things I've done in my adult life. Who knew that a lifelong obsession could actually make me money? More on that another time.

I first thought of a few accomplishments - landing a job at one of the top advertising agencies (still don't know how that one happened other than by my charm alone), *finally* paying off my debt, and redesigning my website. Though I'm glad I did those things, I'm not necessarily proud of least not enough to dedicate an entire blog post to them. The more I thought about what makes me proud, the more I kept going back to the thing that makes me the happiest: my home.

Seems like an obvious thing, but of course we'd be proud of the things that bring us the most joy and fulfillment. My home - from how it's decorated to who spends time in it - is what I'm most proud of. Decorating that house is a labor of love and is something that makes me so giddy with excitement I can't sleep. The relationships I've cultivated with the humans and the creatures that live there or are just stopping by bring me immense amounts of happiness. From the food that's cooked in the kitchen to the good night's sleep I get there each night, my home is a place where I'm reminded of who I am. 

What are you proudest of? 

super fun 2016

This New Year's wasn't about finding the best party or the rowdiest crowd. It was the opposite, actually. A few close friends and I rented a quiet house in Hood River to celebrate with board games, snow activities, and some good wine. It was such a relaxing alternative to getting dressed up and paying too much for a silly party with too many people. I spent the weekend doing exactly what I want the rest of the year to look like: eating good food with good people, playing outside, and not taking life too seriously.

There's nothing better than a fresh start, amen? I love the beginning of the year because it inspires me to think about the coming year and everything I hope to accomplish. New Year's resolutions, or a firm decision to do or not something, are hardly my strong suit. (I'm still biting my nails and eating all the ice cream.) So I decided to focus on my intentions this year and crafted them in a way that makes them almost impossible to totally fail at. After all, this should be an exciting time for planning and manifesting and hardly a time to get down on yourself for what you might or might not achieve.

So here's to a more fulfilling, productive, and SUPER FUN 2016.

  1. Do more meaningful work ("great work" instead of just "good work") with people who inspire me.
  2. Say "yes" to things that force me outside of my comfort zone.
  3. Recommit to my health through more exercise, meditation, and better food choices.
  4. Take a class - furniture building, ceramics, graphic design...anything!
  5. Read as many books as possible, but start with the ones sitting on my dresser.
  6. Commit to blogging a few times a month.
  7. Demonstrate gratitude whenever possible through words, letters, gifts, and so on.
  8. Invest in my relationships on a deeper level through conversations, challenges, and new experiences.
  9. Ask for help when I need it. I spend minutes, hours and sometimes days spinning my wheels on something that could be solved with a quick "hey, can you help me with this?"
  10. Drink good wine. Always.

what i learned while i wasn't blogging

This blog, you guys.

Start it. Lose motivation. Take a break. Start again. Lose confidence in my writing. Redesign! Start again. Feel bad about lack of consistency. Etc.

It's been over a year since I wrote anything. And there were a thousand reasons why. People don't care what I have to say. I don't have anything interesting to say anyway. I should focus on work, not personal things.

But in that year, I learned more life lessons than I did in my previous 27 years combined. I'm so confident in these truths that I have to write them down so I can reference them forever and ever amen.

1. Always create. Write, paint, sing, sculpt, and build no matter what anyone says or doesn't say about it. It simultaneously forces out your insecurity and confidence making you more self-aware. Creating makes us more creative. Create for you and others will come along.

2. Eat dinner sitting down with people you love (and not in front of the TV). If you have time to cook, even better. If not, just be sure you share the last meal of the day enjoying the food and the company. Eating in front of others makes us vulnerable and brings down the barriers so you can be more open. Always talk with your mouth full.

3. Take care of your body and it will take care of you. Do this in multiple ways:

  • Meditate at least once a day. It helps you gain clarity, it relieves anxiety, it gives you sustained energy, opens the creativity floodgates, and helps you sleep through the night. I practice transcendental meditation and recommend it to everyone, but you can also start here with Headspace.
  • Eat real food. Fill your plate with organic fruits and vegetables, (sustainably raised) proteins, and healthy fats like avocado and almond butter. Skip everything that's processed.
  • Exercise once a day. Run, lift weights, walk in the woods, bike. Get your heart rate up, break a sweat, and get stronger.
  • If you do nothing else, SLEEP.

4. Spend as much time as you can outside. Turn off your phone and head for the mountains. Run, bike, paddle, hike, swim, or just sit and take it in. The more time you spend in nature, the more connected you'll feel to the rest of the world. John Muir (always) says it best:

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.

5. Practice love. Love is often a feeling, but always an action. You've heard that love is a verb and you've heard so, so right. It's a choice. We have to practice loving people - even if we don't feel it at all - until we start to believe that we do. Love the hell out of the whole world and it will love you back.

Life is full of crazy...distractions, lies disguised as truths, busyness, and often tragedy. In the midst of all the chaos, what keeps you balanced?