Monday, December 31, 2012

a year for me + a look back on 2012

Image credit

This is probably going to sound incredibly selfish, but I kind of feel like 2012 was a year for me. That's not to say it was all about me, me, me (I swear I'm not that vain.. nor am I that interesting), but it is to say that I somehow managed to unearth a new version of myself this year, one that I'm pretty content with.

I've discovered that one thing I find true value and contentment in is personal growth and evolution. So many Decembers, though, I have looked back upon the year gone by and thought "Why didn't I find the time to do XYZ..." Not this year, though. This year, more so than any other year, I feel as though I'm a better, more authentic version of myself now than when the year began in January. I didn't accomplish everything on my mental list, but I think the difference is that this year I was purposeful. This year I was all about action. I always say the first step to self-improvement is self-awareness, but change can't happen unless you take steps to do something. I made this year about doing something.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

christmas: accomplished

Fear not, friends, I'm alive! By my count I haven't posted in almost two weeks. Two weeks! But I promise, it's with good reason. A ton has been going on! In the past two weeks, Jason has sold the rights to his last name to a company called (and, as a result, was featured in major press like USA Today, CNN Money, and CNBC... what?!), we've taken a last minute trip to San Francisco (don't worry, that post to come...) AND Christmas has come and gone. As you can imagine, it's all kept me more than a little busy, but happily so.

Friday, December 14, 2012

on creating my legacy

// photo credit: mutablend on Flickr via swissmiss // type by me //

I met an amazing woman yesterday. Her name is Mary Lyn, and she's the owner of Big Fish Power Yoga in Jacksonville, Beach. Now I don't know Mary Lyn that well, this being our first meeting, but she just had one of those energies about her. It's an exuberance and an openness that's contagious. Amidst our conversation, she brought up the idea of one's "legacy," as in what is the legacy you want to leave with the world, and it really got me thinking about what I want my own legacy to be.

I mean, let's be honest here, LEGACY is a big, scary word. It implies finality and grandeur, things I'm not so comfortable with as a 24-year-old. But the way she posed the question to me was so approachable. It was less about what do you want to be remembered by (hi, a little morbid, right?) and it was more about what do you want to contribute to other people. That, I thought, is something I'd like to explore.  

For Jason, his legacy (at least right now) is IWearYourShirt. Encompassed in that are the ideas of creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit and hard work. Have I helped him over the past few years build that legacy? Sure I've helped, and he would tell you the same, but it's not MY legacy, ya know? Don't get me wrong, my heart still completely beats for his business because it's both of our livelihoods and we'll always be a team. I will work for IWYS as long as I possibly can because I want to help Jason succeed and I believe in what he's built. But it also makes me think, if I could create my own IWearYourShirt in a sense, what would that look like?...

You guys know I love to be happy. You could call it my one true mission in life. Every day I at least try to bring color and laughter and contentment to the world through whatever I'm doing. But that's not what really gets me excited. What brings me the MOST joy is trying to help other people do that. When those of you out there comment, text, tweet, email or whatever me and let me know that something I have written here has affected you positively, it's the greatest feeling in the entire world. It makes me feel like there's a bigger purpose to what I'm doing (beyond silly parenthetical expressions and craft projects.)

As much as I love talking (and if you've met me, you know I LOVVVE talking), I think I love listening  even more. I love hearing stories from other people's lives and finding out what motivates them or what gets them excited. I love that people have different experiences and different opinions than me, and I enjoy the challenge of putting myself in their shoes. But though we're all different, I believe (or hope, rather) that the one thing that connects us is our desire to be happy.

So that's what I want my legacy to be. Helping other people live their happiest, most joyful, most free lives.

How am I going to do that? I have no freaking idea. Don't worry, I'm not going to run off and become a yoga instructor or a life coach or what have you, but I hope it will be something. Whether it's just through the evolution of this blog, or it's a future business, or it's some weird underground coffee shop where everyone congregates to sip lattes and craft until the wee hours of the morning, who knows! All I know is that it's something to think about as I move forward into the next year.

So what did we learn here? Well, pretty much nothing, I suppose. I don't know what this ambiguous goal is or how I'm going to get there. All I know is that the seed is now firmly planted in my mind. I simply wanted to get my thoughts down and share them with you all so that, one day, probably years from now, when I have created what I hope will be my legacy, I can look back to this blog and know it started today.

Do you feel like you know what you want your legacy to be? 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

holiday diy | no-sew personalized felt stockings

Today's project came upon me entirely by accident.

You see, there are a set of very ugly stockings sitting on my dining room table. These stockings were my first attempt at "personalizing" $1 stockings I found at the Dollar Tree. I thought I was being so clever. I wanted to cut out some cute ornaments in colorful felt, hot glue them to the stockings, and somehow they'd turn out just like these adorable bright, modern stockings on Etsy by rikrak. Yeah... not so much.

Monday, December 10, 2012

holiday diy | painted animal ornaments

Lions and tigers and dinosaurs, oh my! Dinosaurs? Yes, dinosaurs!!

Remember when I said I wanted our tree to be colorful and whimsical? Well, that was just a nice way of saying I actually wanted our tree to look like a rainbow and a toy store met in a dark alley and had a tussle over a can of gold spray paint. The aftermath? Surprisingly beautiful.

Friday, December 7, 2012

a friday fave (or five) | little holiday lovelies

It's been a rough few days around these parts. While I won't get into specifics, I will say that sometimes it's the simple things in life that bring us comfort. Right now I'm holding on to the holiday spirit desperately and allowing the joy that this season brings to wrap me up like a warm blanket. As lights go up around us, holiday specials begin airing on TV and Christmas tree lots pop up on every corner, I'm reminded of cherished Christmas memories from my childhood. The excitement, the tradition, the joy of it all.

And so today I thought I'd share with you five simple holiday items that are filling me with the holiday spirit. These things have me counting down the days until Christmas and they make me smile in spite of whatever kind of day I'm having.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

i hate running and why that's okay

Saturday was a bit of a milestone, friends. I did something which seemed virtually impossible to me. I ran my very first 5K.

Now, I know what you're thinking... 5K? Really? Philanthropic college students can run 5Ks when they're hungover. Elementary school kids probably run a 5K in laps around the jungle gym. And I'll be honest, whenever I heard of people competing in 5K races, it's not like I belittled their accomplishments, but it just never occurred to me that it would be something huge enough to celebrate.


Monday, December 3, 2012

holiday diy | colorful ribbon wreath

Christmas time has officially begun in our household. I spent four hours yesterday visiting countless dollar stores, Walmart, Target, and the list goes on, trying to snag inexpensive holiday decor supplies. As I mentioned before, I decided I wanted most of our holiday decorations to be handmade since I can never really find decorations that are exactly what I'm looking for. (They're either too country, too traditional, too plastic-y, too cheap looking... I could go on and on. Whatever, I'm picky!)

This year, I didn't care as much about having a central look or theme, I just knew I wanted everything to be whimsical and colorful. So that's what I'm going to try and do with everything I make. Yesterday I got supplies for handmade ornaments, embellished stockings, and... today's DIY - a new holiday wreath!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

eleven holiday to-do's this year

Hey friends! If you've noticed I've been throttling back a little on the posts lately, I'm sorry! Truth be told I haven't been feeling all that well, plus I have this bout of exhaustion that I just can't kick no matter how much sleep I get. (For those that don't know, I'm waiting on a diagnosis confirmation of celiac disease and in the mean time I'm continuing to ingest gluten despite its ill effects on my health. Needless to say it's a real barrel o' monkeys.) At this point I'm way past the mourning of gluten phase, and I'm ready to just kick that pesky witch out of my life forever and never look back. It's not worth feeling crummy all the time. (And you have no idea how much that pains me to say, given my unhealthy obsession with Chick-fil-A chicken biscuits.)

My appointment with the doc is on Tuesday so hopefully soon after that there won't be much more of this weak, whiny crap. It doesn't suit me well AT ALL. I prefer to have copious, borderline-annoying amounts of positive pep and energy. THAT is my jam. So if you guys can just bear with me until then, I promise to get back to the fun stuff!

Monday, November 26, 2012

no-tech turkey day

Almost five days spent off the grid, and boy did it feel good. Jason and I left for Washington, D.C. to visit his family last Wednesday morning (at 4:45 am to be exact... yikes!) and a part of me had every intention of documenting our whole thanksgiving production. I pictured myself capturing fallen leaves on neighborhood streets and family candids throughout the weekend. However, the second I touched down in D.C., all I wanted to do was just be.

Monday, November 19, 2012

mystery diagnosis solved (hopefully)

Okay, so I've got some good news and I've got some bad news. The bad news is that my mysterious skin rash is back (Darnit!) The good news is that I think I finally know what's causing it.

As some of you may know, back in the spring of this year, I had a bit of a freak skin condition that had doctors stumped. It appeared out of nowhere and caused tiny bumps to appear all over my arms and legs that itched more than you can even imagine. After several appointments, multiple doctors' opinions, and endless disproven diagnoses like bacterial infection, viral infection, drug eruption, spider bite, and my personal favorite, "you just have sensitive skin and you're seeing things," I resigned myself to the fact that this mystery would never be solved. I took powerful meds to make the rash go away, and I crossed my fingers that it would never come back, destined to be just an unexplained freak occurrence in my life - one that would hopefully fade into a distant memory. (For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, feel free to get caught up to speed by reading the full mystery tale here.)

Friday, November 16, 2012

picture this palette 02 | grape + mint

While I was working on my interview with the lovely ladies from The Jam Stand, I was inspired by their cute jam labels and happen to come across the inspiration photo on Pinterest. Can we all just agree that mint and any color is a dreamy combination? I love seeing it paired with various shades purple, like the luscious dark purple of the blackberries or the more subtle lavender flowers on the mantle. Also, that outfit is what I imagine myself wearing when I'm in fact rocking a t-shirt, jeans, and wet-hair-messy-bun.

What do you guys think of the purple/mint combo? Berry awesome or berry not? 

(And no, I'm afraid the horrific puns will never stop...) Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

inspiration  // on your wall // in your home // in your closet [blouse, jean leggings, clutch, necklace, booties]

Thursday, November 15, 2012

handmade happiness | the jam stand

Handmade Happiness is a series featuring young entrepreneurs who have taken their passions and talents and turned them into full-time gigs. For more info on why I wanted to share these stories, start here!

First off, thanks to everyone who shared their excitement after yesterday's post about starting this series. I think professional happiness is a huge part of leading a fulfilled and joyful life, and I hope that some of you out there are inspired by stories shared here.

We're kicking things off with two jazzy jam-makers from the Brooklyn area! I met Jessica Quon and Sabrina Valle at UF when we were all in the same sorority, Delta Gamma. They were a few years ahead of me, but I was always struck by how bubbly and fun they were - personalities that would definitely shine through in their future business endeavor.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

new feature alert | handmade happiness

"Your dream job does not exist; you must create it."

You all may have seen that friendly little reminder floating around Pinterest and what not. And to some it may seem like just another of the many inspirational tidbits that graze our consciousness daily, but this is one mantra I happen to believe with all my heart.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

holiday diy | magnetic advent calendar

Before I get to the good stuff in this super easy and festive DIY, a disclaimer must be made.

Here I was, putting together this whole project on Sunday night, completely excited to share it with you all because I had FINALLY thought of something completely original and 100% my own. Because, as you know, most of my crafty posts around here are what I call copycrafts - me taking someone else's DIY and putting my own spin on it. I always give credit where credit is due, and I have no problem giving all the glory to the great creative minds that have gone before. But this idea, this one I really thought was mine. I had a bunch of old tins lying around in my studio from a DIY attempt that I had long lost interest in, and simultaneously I was trying to think of a new spin on the traditional advent calendar. Then a lightbulb went on in my head when I realized these tins were just big enough for a small chocolate treat (the staple of all great advent calendars from my childhood.)

Monday, November 12, 2012

let this be the week | you make time for family

Making time for family might be a no brainer for some of you out there, most of you even. And I'd like to say that I'm one of those people that will drop everything to spend time with my family, no questions asked.

But if I'm being really honest with myself, the truth is that family is usually the last thing I make time for. Maybe it's because I think they'll always be there or because I know that they love me, but it's the easiest thing to feel like I don't have to "work on."

Until recently. Last week I had a reminder of just how important (and fulfilling) family time can be, and while this may not be your typical cheery Monday post, I still feel it's important to share, not only for me (hello, blog therapy) but for all of us with aging family members because it's something that we all will encounter.

Friday, November 9, 2012

a (functional) friday fave | a better rss with feedly

First off, I just want to say thank you so so much to everyone that took the time to comment and encourage me on Wednesday's post. I've got part two: the branding struggle headed your way soon, as well as some fun crafty content and sneak peeks of some projects I'm working on.

For today, how about we ring in the weekend with a little technology tip of mine? Clumsy crafty happy... geeky? I figured that part was always assumed...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

my latest funk, part one | the comparison struggle

Self-doubt is like a snowball. You start with one little pebble of imperfection and, before you know it, you find yourself with a towering boulder of inadequacy.

It started Monday, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Normally I would just blame it on daylight savings time (5:30! It gets dark at 5:30! How am I not supposed to be depressed about that?!) but this felt like something more, and somehow I knew it had to do with this blog.

Monday, November 5, 2012

let this be the week | you stop griping and start voting

[gorgeous image via fellow fellow]

I think I speak for all of us when I say I'm more than tired of the barrage of hateful/short-sighted/tense political exchanges I've seen on social media throughout this election. I would consider myself a very open-minded and tolerant person, and yet even I find my blood pressure rising simply from seeing one ignorant post or comment.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

imagination at work | disney's wreck-it ralph

I don't typically share many of my movie reviews on this blog because we see ALOT of movies and I'm pretty sure you guys would get sick of that really quickly. BUT sometimes I see a movie that is so good, so inspiring I can't not share it with you.

Last night Jason and I went with our friends, Sean and Brittany, to see Disney's Wreck-It Ralph. The secret's out: WE'RE HUGE NERDS. We have literally been looking forward to this movie for months. Animation? Disney? Video games? It's like a perfect storm of geeky amazingness and we had to be there on night one. Obviously. (Fun fact: At one time Jason really wanted to work for Pixar so he did the full tour thing and really considered going to animation school. Am I the only one that thinks that's so nerdy it's cool? When we first started dating and he told me that, he scored major points. Any guy that is as amazed as I am by the creativity and imagination that it takes to make their movies is okay in my book.)

Friday, November 2, 2012

a friday fave | retro-modern prints from restyle

Things are a bit crazy around here for a Friday, but I still wanted to bring you guys a little bit of happiness today. (Though, let's be honest, the fact that it's Friday is all anyone really needs to be happy, right?)

Last year for Christmas, Jason bought me this print from ReStyle Shop on Etsy, and I've been in love with their style ever since.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

i don't know my boyfriend's last name

So some of you may know by now that my crazy boyfriend is up to no good again. He announced today that he'll be selling his last name to the highest bidder for the duration of 2013. If you want the full details, you can check out the website here or read this blog post to find out why he decided to do it.

Rather than harp on how an idea like this came about, I thought I'd just share a little bit about what it feels like to be on the girlfriend-side of an idea like this - to be the sounding board and the cheerleader and the voice of encouragement (or caution, depending on the day and the idea.)

When I met Jason in 2010, the doors of IWearYourShirt had only been open for about a year and a half. The business was at that point where it was stable and growing, which was surely validation that wearing t-shirts was a legitimate business idea. but I can still remember when I learned about it for the first time and I thought, A guy who gets paid to wear t-shirts? This is crazy. (If only I had known how many times I'd say that phrase again...)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

pump-cone carving

First of all, Happy Halloween!

I don't know if you guys know this about me, but I'm not a huge fan of Halloween. I mean, sure, when I was little, the candy was awesome. But then I got older and I found out that my body does a full-on sugar crash from a hershey kiss much less a bag full of peanut butter cups. And you'd think I'd be a big fan of costumes, but a) I always put WAY too much pressure on myself to come up with something clever and b) after coming up with a different costume practically every week in college (the greek system is pretty much just a four-year long costume party), my creativity is a little lacking.

However, the one true thing I take joy in around Halloween is pumpkin-carving. Not only do you pretty much get a blank canvas to do whatever you please, but I love the fact that you feel like you're really making something. Ya know, with tools. And there's carving involved. And other fun italic-worthy things. I like to wield my tools and pretend I'm some sort of highly-skilled wood-working artisan or something whittling away at my masterpiece... (Just me on that one? Thought so.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

finally fall

Y'all. It's FINALLY fall in Florida. Holy moly, who's a happy camper? This girl. Okay, I love the whole no snow, no sub-zero temperature thing about Florida, but what I don't love is how nonexistent the fall season seems to be. All throughout September and October, it's like Florida thinks really hard about turning to fall - really contemplates making the jump. A crisp morning here, a chilled evening there... Florida dips its toasty toe into the water that is fall and then decides Nope, no ma'am, not gonna do it. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

these are my confessions...

Let me start by saying, I'm weird.

I do really weird things that make no sense and my brain doesn't work in the most... efficient... of ways sometimes. (Jas's words, but pretty accurate.)

I've had this idea for a while now where I wanted to share all my glorious eccentricities with you all. After all, you guys that read this have a leg-up on what goes on in this crazy head of mine anyway. I feel it's only right that I reveal to you all just how much of an oddball I really am. So the plan was to do some sort of blog series, but I never got around to it. Until now. (Sort of.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

this conversation actually happened

YOU GUYS. I didn't expect to hit you guys with a double post today, but the events that just occurred must be shared with the world or else I think I might explode. Let me start by saying... why is it that every government or state-related website that you have to use to get all this real-world, grown-up BS taken care of is an absolute nightmare? Things like changing my driver's license address and checking on my loan status should not require a how-to guide.

Anyway, while I was thinking about it, I thought I'd double-check to make sure that my electronic transfer account on my loan repayment was correct since I just got a new debit card (mine expired) and I didn't want there to be an issue with the funds coming out of my account. Little did I know I should have set aside an hour of my life to tackle such a difficult task. I'll spare you all the details and the subsequent frustration, and just share with you a real conversation that just took place. I think it perfectly sums up just how backwards all these bureaucratic tasks are that we have to undergo regularly.

Monday, October 22, 2012

loving it lately | tribal triangles

So here's the deal. I'm well aware that the whole tribal thing is like sooo two months ago on the blog circuit, but I'm still loving it. BIG TIME. Which coincidentally is the only requirement for an appearance in my loving it lately series. Life's good when you make the rules, right?

More specifically I'm loving the triangle tribal look. It's amazing how a simple pattern of triangles can give off such a distinct vibe. It's rugged, yet modern. Earthy, yet classic.

If the geometric trend and the tribal trend had a baby, it would be this blog post. So without further ado, enjoy my baby! (Such a way with words, I know.) Here are some of my tribal triangle favorites.

1. Not all who wander are lost via Society6 on Urban Outfitters | Love the typography, photo choice and tribal elements! (Thanks to my friend Meagan for the source link - you rule.)

2. Lovely tattered rug via Old Brand New Blog | I picture this the entry way of a mountain cabin. Give me some hot chocolate and a heavy blanket and I'm good to go!

3. Sponged walls via Vintage Revivals | How amazing is this wall treatment? Simple sponged triangles but what a statement.

4. Patterned print via Betty & Dupree | Really like how this pattern appears random but is actually symmetrical. I want this to be on the cover of one of my many notebooks. 

5. Handmade dress via Thief and Bandit on Etsy | If this wasn't totally out of my price range I'd buy it immediately. Love the black + green, and the hand-drawn feel of the print.

6. "Southwestern Scandanavian" wallpaper via Design for Mankind | Obsessed with the wood ceiling/patterned wallpaper combo. 

7. Quilt via Delightfully Tacky | Okay, so I know it's more quilty than a tribal print, but I still think it accomplishes the look. And I totally want to snuggle up in this bed for a night.

What are you guys loving lately? Fans of the tribal look or are you already over it?

life lately

I would love to give you guys a valuable tidbit of wisdom to start the week off with, but a) some of you are probably tired of my self-proclaimed wisdom by now and b) I'd rather just clue you all in on a few things I've been up to lately. So sit back, enjoy these snippets of my current life, and feel free to let me know what you guys have been up to so I can feel bad about my less productive pursuits.

Which brings me to my first latest obsession and all around time suck:

1. Jason and I are currently obsessed with FRINGE.

If you haven't seen it and you like mystery-ish shows with a Sci-Fi twist, this is made for you. It was created by J.J. Abrams (creator of LOST and Revolution... staples in our household) and while it's in its 5th season, I've been wanting to start from the beginning for a while. The show was a little slow to get started, but once the larger plot starting thickening out, Jason and I got majorly into it. We both literally dream in Fringe-like scenarios (which is sometimes a bit unsettling) and we talk about the characters like we know them. I admit this is a hobby that pretty much adds nothing helpful or productive to my brain function, BUT it's something we really enjoy together and TV helps us both relax after a day of mile-a-minute thoughts.

Now as far as thought-provoking (as opposed to thought-numbing) entertainment, let's talk about Argo for a second.

2. Argo is one of the most memorable and enjoyable movies I've seen in a while.

Now, I'm a movie gal. If you've been with me and CCH from the get-go then you know this about me. We average probably about a movie a week. It's that outing that we treat ourselves to since we work from home every day and sometimes we just need to get out the house. So we see just about all the popular new releases (how's that for some throwback Blockbuster terminology) but this was one that I was actually really excited about. It had all the indications that it would be right up my alley: set in a different era, based on a true story, politically thoughtful, subtle dry humor... and it certainly didn't disappoint. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time because it has heart-stopping tension, but the story is just so incredible that it's worth seeing for that alone. Anyway, it's not for everyone but it'll go on my (long) list of favorites. If you're a movie buff, go see it.

As for the healthy eating side of things...

3. #everydaypaleo week was a bit of a bust.

If you were following along with me last week on Instagram, you know we had a grand plan to make one recipe from our Everyday Paleo cookbook each night of the week. Yeah... about that... we failed miserably. We started out strong with the spaghetti squash and roasted chicken legs, but then we HAD to get TacoLu after we saw Argo on Thursday night, so the wheels kind of came off after that. What can I say, I'm weak. We DID however try the gluten-free pizza with no cheese at our local pizza joint and I didn't hate it. Now I know you're asking yourself why even get pizza if it's not all doughy and cheesy, which normally I totally agree with. But ever since trying to cut our dairy and gluten I just feel a lot better so those things aren't that appealing to me anymore anyway. I know... who am I? I'm like that weird anti-gluten, organic girl that people make fun of. Whatever, it's more fun than a tummyache so I'll take it. Our next mission is to try this Paleo Pizza. I'll keep you posted on how it is (when I get around to making it months from now.)

While we were eating said pizza yesterday, I found out a fun little fact about myself...

4. I shouldn't keep paint pens where they're readily available in our home. While I was bored thoroughly engrossed watching football, I thought it might be fun to try paint-penning things, including my new iPhone case. Whoops! I'm a fan though. Best part is that it kinda scratches off after a while so maybe I'll just keep adding new patterns every so often. Still, I'm just glad I didn't have the bright idea to paint-pen our coffee table or my laptop or something. Those things are dangerous.

The paint-pen thing might be an indication that I've been crafting a lot more lately (yay!) and actually using my studio!

5. I finally put up some of the studio wall art that I've been accumulating. I still have a long way to go before it matches my vision, but I love spending time here now and it really does make me feel inspired. Which is the goal. (Now if I could just convince Jason to let me knock out a few more windows in there...)
Again, ignore my awful photography. I'm working on it, I promise.

Speaking of more light...

6. I fell in absolute LOVE with this lamp at Home Goods on Saturday. (I love lamp.) It was perfect for my studio. Only problem is that it was $50, and that was a bit of a stretch for what I wanted to spend. I told myself if I still loved it on Sunday I'd go back and buy it for myself. Guess what? I woke up on Sunday and still all I could think about was my cute-as-a-button lamp. So I went back on a mission, ready to walk right in and buy it without a second thought about the price... AND IT WAS GONE. Actually there were two and they both were gone. It was tragic. (When I say tragic, I mean I almost cried while I was walking back to the car. Not overdramatic AT ALL.) That's what I get for trying to be a Frugal Franny, though. My advice to everyone out there: Screw it. Just buy the damn lamp. (or shoes or dress or pillows or whatever the case may be.) If it makes you happy and you're not stretching yourself too thin, just buy the darn thing! Spare yourself the heartache. I'm now mourning the loss of my lamp and wistfully thinking about what might have been. My eyes are going to be on high alert looking for a new lamp to lust over. If you have suggestions, let me know!

Expensive lamps call for extra cash though, don't you think? Which is why I'm so glad to report...

7. I'm officially freelance designing now! I don't have a ton of extra time on my hands but through some lovely inbound inquiries, I have a couple projects I'm working on right now. It makes my heart insanely happy to now have paying projects that allow me to use my design skills I've acquired completely on my own over the past few years. Once these projects are complete, you guys will be the first to see what I'm up to! Can't wait to share!

However, given these new projects I'm taking on, I decided it was finally time to take this little ol' laptop of mine to the doctor.

8. I'm now a computer repair expert.

Okay, not really. But my computer was running REALLY slowly so I made an appointment at Apple to see what the deal was. They gave me two recommendations: install more RAM (this is the type of memory that let's your computer run multiple programs and processes at once) and do a complete erase + install (which pretty much wipes my computer clean and restores it to the way it was when I first bought it.) I asked him if I could do it myself, and wrote down step by step instructions on how to do both. Which ended up looking like this:

The classic skirt and RAM combo... 
Jason had a good giggle watching me pretend like I knew what I was doing. (In case you were wondering, apparently I installed one of the chips wrong so Jason had to redo it for me. Whoops...)

But I'm also very happy to report that my computer feels like it is brand spanking new. Everything is so fast! I backed up all my files on an external hard drive so if I have to get to them I can, but man oh man am I excited. If you guys are having trouble with the speed of your computer, let me know in the comments because I'd be happy to share what I did (er... what Jason did.)

Well, that's it for now. Random updates, but I like to keep you guys in the loop. What have you all been up to lately? What are your favorite shows or movies lately? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

copycraft | modern felt wreath diy

Well friends, the fall wreath debacle has finally come to a peaceful end. What debacle, you ask? Only the greatest crafting conundrum to plague our family in recent history.

For literally the past YEAR I've been trying to convince Jason that we need a fall wreath on our front door. Since the dawn of Pinterest, I have seen the most adorable fall decorations and all I've wanted to do is participate in the seasonal fun. However, there's simply no sense in making a wreath if your Craft Scrooge of a boyfriend is going to gripe about how girly your front door looks every time we enter our home.

You see, apparently wreaths are for girls. Um... duh, they're for girls. Just like candles and knick-knacks and sachets but those things have never seemed to personally offend him. (For the record, I don't own/use sachets, I just think it's a fun word to write/say. Sometimes I just like to say "sachet" while I sashay around the house. See what I did there?)

Anyway, Jas had this perception of all wreaths being branches and silk flowers and ribbons and bows. I assured him that there was such a thing as a modern wreath, but nothing I showed him seemed to do the trick. He didn't even like the yarn wreaths I optimistically offered him, which I think do have a modern feel sometimes, but unfortunately the yarn thing just screamed Greatgrama's knitted sweater to him.

So the entire fall season passed us by last year, and our poor front door remained naked. Unfestive, unloved. (ps. unfestive is not a word, in case you were wondering. But it works, right? You guys know what I mean.) October finally rolled around this year and I told Jas I refused to put our poor door through yet another season of neglect. So the deal was... I'll go shop around at Michael's, come up with something, and if you hate it, I'll just put it up on the blog and give it as a gift to a friend or something. Deal? Deal.

Now this is the point where I wander the aisles of Michael's while simultaneously Google image searching or Pinterest searching "modern fall wreath" a bajillion times on my iPhone. (Not an easy thing to do when you're as clumsy as I am, by the way. Walking and doing anything on my phone has never yielded great results.) I swear, they should have a "Pinterest station" set up at craft stores where they just have a few laptops with the home page defaulting to Pinterest. You can look for ideas and supplies lists etc. Michael's, seriously, if you're out there, let's make this happen. It would save people like me from bumping into every display between your tiny aisles.

Once the creativity was sparked, I had an influx of wreath ideas, but the one that really stuck was this felt feathered look. Feeling inspired by this tutorial of Ryan and Kari's ombre wreath, I decided to do some sort of pattern using felt.

the inspiration via Ryan and Kari
While I thought the ombre look was a cool one, I opted to go for a more uniform, alternating pattern. I didn't want the typical oranges/reds/browns that would literally scream FALL!, so instead I opted for the grays and olive green for that subtle fall feel, with the light blue tossed in for a bit of freshness and whimsy. (Unbeknownst to me, this color scheme was top-of-mind for a reason. These are our new pillows for the couch in the living room... remind you of anything? All I'm missing is the yellow and we'd be that weird couple whose wreath matches their pillows. That's a little much even for me. Whoops!)

Anyway, on to the project! What you need:

  • straw wreath (I left the plastic wrapping on...can't remember how big it was and I'm too lazy to measure so... let's just say medium.)
  • felt (I bought four sheets of each color, but only ended up using two of each)
  • hot glue

The materials for this project amounted to a whopping $7 for the sheets of felt and straw wreath. Can't beat that!

Here's the quick run down on how I did it.

First step, cutting up the felt. I didn't measure or mark anything, so I just eyeballed it and cut each felt sheet into strips about 1" wide. From there I cut those strips into rectangles about two inches long (each strip made four rectangles), and then went through cutting each rectangle to a "leaf-like" triangular point.

Once I had my "leaves" all pre-cut, I determined what I wanted my pattern to look like. I didn't want it to be exact, but I did want it to look evenly dispersed in terms of color, so I just did the same alternating pattern of colors for each row (light gray, dark gray, olive, blue) and then after I finished a row, I made sure to stagger the pattern in such a way that the same colors wouldn't be touching.

I started with one row on the top and made sure to only hot glue the felt to the wreath on the bottom of each leaf so that when my pattern made its way around, my last row would tuck nicely behind the first.

A lot of hot glue later, here's what I came up with...

Best of all, Jason approves! It makes me smile whenever I come home, and I'm thinking maybe I should just press my luck and try to use my other wreath ideas to have one up all year round. (I can literally hear Jas right now, "You give an inch, she'll take a mile..." :)

On a sidenote, it must be mentioned that my new obsession might be felt. I don't know why I had this mental barrier to entering the realm of felt, but I avoided it for the longest time because I felt like everyone was using it. NOW I KNOW WHY. You guys, this stuff is amazing. It comes in a ton of colors, is easily cut, and can be bent and hot glued and sewn and who-knows-what-else into whatever you want. The wheels are a-turnin'!

I hope you guys are having a great week, and let me know how you're getting into the fall spirit!

Monday, October 15, 2012

let this be the week | 05

(original image via Florever on Society6 | text by me)

You know those mornings you wake up and you just know it's going to be a productive day? Yeah... well those don't happen to me often. On Sundays especially, I prefer soaking up my last precious seconds of the weekend from the comfort of my couch, enriching my mind with something thoroughly thought-provoking like a back to back lineup of Reese Witherspoon movies on USA or a Law & Order: SVU marathon. But for some reason unknown to me, yesterday was an exception. I woke up, and suddenly I was a woman on a mission. I made lists, I mapped out the most effective route to all four of my errand destinations, I had a PLAN.

In one Sunday I managed to buy groceries, pick up some household items at Target, buy new sheets for our bed (we've been washing the same sheets over and over for about two years now), spend my World Market gift card on new decor items for my studio, dust and vacuum the house, wash our new sheets and dress the bed, finally hang up my "clothes pile" (this is what Jason calls the inevitable pileup of discarded outfits that congregates on our dresser), prepare dinner for Jas and I from our Everyday Paleo cookbook, AND make a fall wreath, which will be featured in an upcoming blog post. That may not seem like a ton, but for my complete lack of domestic skills, it's a miracle. I felt like Susie Homemaker, and I actually really enjoyed it.

Now while it's great that I accomplished my to-do list and got to toot my own horn for a bit, don't go calling me Martha Stewart yet. The length of my list did make it glaringly obvious just how long I had put off some tasks. I mean, for over a week I had continued to shower even though I knew I was both out of shampoo and out of shaving cream. Every shower it was the same story. I'd curse myself for not buying a new bottle, then unscrew the top and smack the bottle against my hand hoping for the last specs of residual shampoo, put the top back on and swear that I'd buy a new bottle that day. This went on for a while. Why? Because I SUCK AT LIFE. Well, not all of life, I don't really mean that as dramatically as it probably sounds. I just mean, an integral part of being an adult is having the ability to balance a lot of different facets of your daily life at once. And that's the part I really freaking suck at. What I'm saying is, I realized that I wouldn't have to pack my Sundays to the brim with to-dos if I paid any attention to those "around-the-house" tasks throughout my everyday life. Instead, I wait until the last possible second when things are causing inconvenience to my life so much that I have to do something about it. This has always been my style.

Example numero two - I was all about our new fitness and eating regimen when we were doing the 90-day-challenge because our whole lives were focused on it. However, the second we left for our two-week roadtrip, the focus shifted to work and doing a great job for the client. (Plus, let's be honest, there was ridiculously good food around every corner, so I wasn't just gonna sit idly by.) As a result I lost some of the muscle I had worked so hard to put on and now I feel all... soft. It's just hard for me to think about being healthy when it's not some big goal I'm throwing myself into.

And that's the story of my life. I've talked to you guys before about my hobby ADD. I get super passionate about things - hobbies, goals, friendships - and I give them my all until the next thing comes along and then I throw myself with equal enthusiasm into that. I've never been good at showing that kind of passion for a lot of different things at one time. Which is kind of what you need for daily balance right?

This is how things go right now... I focus on my blog for a few weeks and get all excited about that... Then I realize I've been neglecting the house so I work on improving that... then my personal friendships... then my fitness and health... then A MILLION OTHER THINGS. The list goes on.

But I want to change that. I want all these parts of my life to be a daily journey, not bopping from one to another whenever the mood strikes me. So this is my challenge to myself this week. I'm going to create a daily checklist of sorts where I can reference it at any time and try to at least acknowledge these different parts of my life on a daily basis.

I know myself well enough to know that maybe I won't be able to integrate this into my daily life, but I want to experiment with it for a week and see how I do. It's like when people tell you that if you just pick up around the house for 20 minutes each night before you go to bed, you wouldn't be so overwhelmed when it comes to doing a deep cleaning once a month. Doing things on a daily basis makes them easier to manage.

Here's my list below of all the elements I'm trying to balance in my daily life, with an example of an action for each, the idea being to do a different positive action each day that falls under each category. Maybe some of you out there are thinking about making your own lists. The items could be different for every person, but the idea is the same.

Here are mine:

FAMILY - plan lunch with my mom; offer to pick my brother up from school; call my baby sister
FRIENDS - send a card for no reason; plan a Skype date with old friends; text a friend just to say hi
RELATIONSHIP - plan a date night; offer to take on a chore; let him pick the channel for the night
WORK - help fix a process; get everything on my daily list done for once; look ahead 
HEALTH - workout; look up healthy recipes, prep healthy snacks for the week
HOME - clean the bathroom; make a fall wreath; buy new candles
HOBBIES - work on design projects; plan blog posts; craft
RELAXATION - take time to read; get a pedi; have a glass of wine
ORGANIZATION - donate old clothes to Goodwill; clean out an old closet; file mail
MONEY - organize the bills; evaluate budget

Phew... that's a lot of stuff right? I know. And it can seem overwhelming. But my thought is that somedays I'll be able to tackle bigger projects for certain areas (like cleaning out the closet... doubt that will happen during the week) and tiny, momentary things for others. But at least being mindful of all these things once a day will help me feel more balanced all the time, not letting things pile up on me.

There you have it. That's what I'm working on this week. Daily balance - paying attention (or at least trying to pay attention) to all facets of my life at once. I hope you'll join me and let me know how it's going - let's make it a great week!

// Okay guys, help me out. What did I forget? Anything glaring? Would you have added any other categories? How do you find balance in your daily life? //

Friday, October 12, 2012

interior envy | muses & visionaries

Real space, REAL envy. Prepare to drool over this gloriously girly office space.

After visiting West Palm Beach last week and working from one of the most inspired spaces I've ever seen, I decided I need to start featuring some cool places here on the blog. (Of course it may also have something to do with the fact that I haven't found the time or money yet to turn my studio into a picture-perfect creative haven, so I think distracting you all with photos of other spaces will buy me some time. And hey, maybe it'll inspire me to actually find the time and steal the money. Just kidding about the stealing though, I don't need it. I've got the lottery on lock down. 2013, baby! That's my year!)

But back to the interior at hand. This office space is like stepping into a dream. A friend of mine Sasha works for a company called Muses & Visionaries, which is a coworking space geared toward women. Basically, if you're a female freelancer, small business, or work-from-homer, you can pay a fee to use the space, conference room, resources, etc. My other friend Sierra (check out her blog, Young Alumni) works for a company called Design Aglow and they use M & V as their full-time office space.

I kid you not guys, I'm legitimately trying to convince Jason to let me drive to West Palm like once a month to work there because it's that gorgeous. Everything is so airy and natural with pops of color everywhere. The space is also used as a gallery for one of the coworkers who is an artist, so there are beautiful paintings on every wall. My favorite thing about the place though is the light that pours in from every angle. It makes all the difference when you're trying to be productive and inspired.

If I had it my way, I'd take a sledgehammer to just about every wall in our house, which has like three windows total. (Seriously, what in the WORLD were architects and designers thinking in the early 90's? Weird alcove, check! Terrible finish on the cabinets, check! Fake laminent vanity, check! THREE WINDOWS, check, check, check!)

Anyway, I should have taken more photos but I was too busy actually working. Funny how a cool space makes you actually want to accomplish things. If any of you happen to be in the West Palm area, definitely check this place out. Otherwise, let me know in the comments what you think - I'd love to hear about what kinds of spaces/places inspire you to work! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

pretty in pink | supporting MSABC

I've been itching to put this post up for ages now, and I'm so glad I finally get to share it with you all. As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Jason and I are doing our part by getting involved with the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (MSABC) 5K walk. We'll be walking to raise money for cancer research and to help women who are currently fighting the disease this Saturday, October 13th at Treaty Oak Park.

I'll refrain from sharing every detail of my own grandmom Betty's battle with breast cancer before I was born, but she beat it and now I have so many wonderful memories of her. She's an incredibly strong lady, and I'm so unbelievably thankful she was able to fight through and regain her health. Jason's grama also beat breast cancer - twice! - and I get to have her beautiful presence in my life now too. I am so grateful that I still have both of those women as role models, but I'm well aware that some families aren't as lucky. Breast cancer is a cause so near and dear to our families that Kelly (Jason's mom) volunteered to be 2012 Operations Chair for the American Cancer Society's MSABC walk in Downtown Jacksonville. She's been working her tush off the past few months coordinating EVERYTHING for the event this weekend, and I couldn't be more proud of her. We'll not only be walking to remember, honor, and raise money for women affected by breast cancer, but we'll also be there supporting Kelly!

The Florida MSABC campaign is cleverly titled "Put On Your Pink Bra," where the pink bra is a symbol of our support for this great cause. We've put together a team (team IWearYourPinkBra) to raise money, and all I'm going to say is... Jason WILL be donning a hot pink bra for the event. If you'd like to help us by making a donation to our team, you can do so by clicking on this link. I would appreciate any donation - even if it's just $5 - because every single dollar counts, and I would love to one day be able to tell my daughter or niece or other young girl that she doesn't have to worry because we've found a cure for this awful disease.

To celebrate the event this weekend, I thought I'd put together some little pink lovelies that make me smile. I hope you enjoy them, and I hope you'll join me in supporting breast cancer awareness all month long. And if you're in Jacksonville, come out with us this weekend and Put On Your Pink Bra!

1. Viscid Watch from Anthropologie | I'm just going to have to break down and buy this because I've been eyeing it for months
2. Envelope Clutch from ASOS | Sophisticated chic, and I love the gold detail.
3. Pink Aztec Tee from Dorothy Perkins | Tribal trendy, yet casual and comfy. Yes, please!
4. Vintage Phone Illustration on Etsy | The subject may be vintage, but the look is modern - I want this print in my studio!
5. DIY Ombre Ikea Dresser from decor8 | I think this treatment would be really fun for a guest room or nursery (not mine... don't get any ideas guys!)
6. Scallop Duvet from Urban Outfitters | I'm kind of obsessed with scallops lately. I wish we still had a guest room because I'd buy this up QUICK!
7. Pink Quartz Necklace on Etsy | It's dainty, girly and personalized too!


// MSABC Florida Division on Facebook and Twitter

Monday, October 8, 2012

those old familiar places

I made it, guys. I successfully mingled with the college-folk this weekend, and I lived to tell the tale. After a fun week in West Palm Beach for work (more updates on that this week hopefully), I rode up to Gainesville with my friend Margaret for a weekend of football, friends and familiar places.

Margaret and I kicked off the weekend with a SOLID four-hour stretch of the Boyz II Men Pandora station. If there are any fellow children of the 90's out there, I urge you to give it a go. It is just chock full of ballady, melodious gems. (I know what you're thinking, I should totally be a music columnist of some sort. "Chock full of ballady, melodious gems" is just begging to be pasted on the back of a CD booklet. Side note: Do they still make CD booklets? Side sidenote: Do they still make CDs?)

The game this weekend is actually the first time I've been back to Gainesville since I graduated almost 2  1/2 years ago. I kept meaning to come back, and even made plans for a game or two, but it always fell through. To be honest, I think a part of me had a kind of mental barrier from going back. For one, my endurance level for marathon partying, loud music, and the logistics required for coordinating the social priorities of a large group of girls has certainly decreased over time. I think every time I thought about traveling to a game, even though I knew there would be fun had and memories made, I also knew there would likely be the subsequent Sunday hangover, scratchy voice and possibly even some sort of broken or lost property. And maybe that would have been the case if I had made the trip before now. But luckily, at 24 years old, hangovers have transformed from a sort of uncomfortable, unfortunate side effect of partying into a full-fledged, avoid-at-all-cost death sentence. You get a hangover nowadays and your body won't forgive you FOR DAYS. I drink more than two glasses of wine now and still wake up the next morning with a headache. (Body, why do you betray me so! All I want is to enjoy an adult beverage without the fear of bodily pain.) So, given that nice little change in physical tolerance, I've now mastered the art of turning down shots. Did you know you can actually politely decline an offer of free alcohol? It's quite possible, in fact. Amazing, I know! If only I had known back when I was in college!

This weekend though, I managed to get over the whole "I'm too old and grouchy to party with the young kids" mindset and sucked it up because just about everyone I knew in college was heading to Gainesville. And even this old bird wanted to spend time with old friends. Not to mention it was my good friend Brooke's birthday on Saturday and she feels like she's a world away now that she lives in Washington D.C. , so I couldn't pass up an opportunity to celebrate with her.

It was such a crazy feeling pulling into Gainesville. So many things looked different, but it all felt the same. Growing up is such a funny thing, isn't it? I remember when I was younger and 24 sounded so old. SO mature. I bet 24-year-olds have it all figured out, I thought. And then you get there - to 24 - and you realize, I don't feel any older than I was in college. Not really. I mean, yes, things have changed a bit. I have to vacuum now which kind of sucks. I pay bills, I cook meals, I play house. But inside I still sometimes feel like no time has passed at all and I shouldn't be allowed to just be out here navigating the world and making big decisions. Is it just me?

Anyway, I won't give you all the details of the weekend because there are too many to count. Here are a few shots I managed to get with my iPhone. (Otherwise I refused to take any photos because I was afraid of breaking or losing my new iPhone 5. Or more accurately I'm just really bad at taking photos.)

Those were the tame and normal shots, but I have to mention that Gainesville during a big gameday weekend is kind of like an alternate universe mixed with a circus. You see things you can't even believe and people sometimes behave like the scary alternate versions of themselves. Rather than give you the whole run-down of the weekend's events, I thought I'd just give you a little round-up of some of the more memorable moments. Get ready for...

5 Thing I Did Not Expect From My LSU Gameday Weekend 

1. To bring home a win. Holy moly, you guys, we won! I hate to say it, but I don't think I'm alone when I admit I had my doubts going in to that game. We've had some slow starts this season for sure, but the boys pulled it out and now here we are, celebrating a 5-0 season thus far. I don't want to jump to conclusions here, but since this was my first game back as an alum, I'm pretty much taking full credit for the win.

2. To witness tiny little girls looking like they stepped out of a Rihanna music video. Okay, okay, I myself may have shown a little bit more skin in college than the t-shirts and jeans I rock most days now, but WHOA. Since when is it totally acceptable to where bras (BRAS!) and high waisted jean shorts that cover your belly button but fail to cover your butt cheeks (if you're gonna ration your denim material, one of those is more important to keep out of sight than the other). Now I feel like I fully understand the cliche parental mandate "you are NOT leaving this house looking like that." I'm terrified to think what the fashion might be if I have a college-aged girl running around one day. I honest to goodness wish I would've snapped some pictures simply because it was such a spectacle, but out of respect for those little hussies' parents, I refrained. Let's just say way too many outfits resembled this look:

Photo from Getty Images via HuffPo (caution: the original image is not censored) // modesty filter courtesy of the CCH logo :) 
3. To see a guy flip over a second-story balcony... and live to tell about it. This is probably as close as I have ever come to witnessing a truly horrific event. When time ran out on the game clock, the entire Swamp Restaurant - where we were watching the game - erupted in excitement. Unfortunately, we were on the second floor balcony at the time, and one overly enthused (read: incredibly drunk) fan was so excited by the win that he went running toward the balcony, possibly to do some sort of cheer to the crowd below. However, the second his two hands hit the banister, the momentum was such that it sent the top half of his body flying over the edge and he did a complete 360 flip in the air. There I stood, about five feet away, resting up against the banister catty corner to him, watching the whole thing in complete horror. I thought I was literally going to see someone break their neck before my very eyes. Just as I saw him flip, I shut my eyes as tightly as I could and prayed that when I opened them he'd be okay. By some miracle, there had been an edge of the building below that was right below him where he landed flat on his back, rather than tumbling all the way to the ground. Still one of the most terrifying, time-standing-still moments I've ever witnessed, and hopefully a lesson to someone out there to pay heed to his limits.

4. To be scared by a grown man's Superman underwear. If the guy flipping was the most terrifying thing I saw all weekend, this was a CLOSE second. During the first half of the game, my friend Britt and I were charged with hunting down a table for all of our friends to be able to sit and watch the game. Real estate is very hard to come by on gameday, but we somehow managed to find two small high-tops in a restaurant called 420 Munchies (yes, very classy establishment, I know). We scalped just enough bar stools to seat all our friends that were on the way, but we could see the eyeballs of every person in the place glued to our empty barstools. We had to fight people off left and right, including one (surprise, surprise) intoxicated gentleman with a rolling amplifier and microphone. He entered the restaurant heckling people with his portable mic unit, and quickly spotted Britt and I with our seemingly open seats. After proceeding to dig himself into a verbal hole with what I think were supposed to be his best "lines" but were in fact a mish-mash of inadvertently insulting mumbles, he said the following words that would live in infamy for the rest of the weekend (slash the rest of my life), "Wanna see my Superman undies?" Then, before we knew it, he did not just pull his underwear wasteband out of his shorts (which would have still been weird, but less offensive than what ensued); he instead pulled down his shorts, flashing Britt and me the entirety of his underwear. That's right, WILDLY inappropriate, and I'm pretty sure punishable by law. I don't think either of our faces have ever expressed more disgust, and he was promptly and aggressively told to leave our sights immediately and not to come back. (He and his amplifier were later thrown out of the restaurant for being fools.) Like I said, a circus.

5. To be completely and totally flattered by the kind comments of the crew of blog lurkers out there. Last, but certainly not least, probably the most unexpected thing I encountered all weekend was the handfull of completely heart-warming compliments about this blog. I would run into an old friend in the bathroom of a crowded bar, or even out on a dance floor, and they would tell me how much they enjoyed reading my writing - only the single most wonderful thing I could ever hear from my peers. Some of them I haven't even seen in years! I was completely taken by surprise, but it's moments like that which remind me to keep writing, and especially writing by my own rules. I know my posts are super long, and I don't always make sense, but thanks for continuing to encourage me. It brings me a lot of joy. And I mean that to ALL of you out there reading - even you lurkers! I love you guys too, but just so you know... if you want to maybe comment sometime so I know you're still out there, feel free to do so. I'd love to chat with you and thank you for reading!

Overall the weekend was the most fun I've had with my friends in a really long time (Superman incident aside). I've come to the conclusion that getting back in touch with your youth (whether it's just a few years removed or decades removed) is good for the soul. The memories just sort of envelop you like a warm, weathered blanket and bring you back to that familiar comfort of those carefree days. Granted, the endurance level necessary for a weekend like this one was exactly what I expected, but I think reliving that time in my life just for a little while (in a restrained and well-paced manner, of course) was just what I needed. Go Gators!

Monday, October 1, 2012

let this be the week | 04

You didn't think I was going to let you venture into the great unknown of this first week in October without a little life-update-slash-tiny-nugget-of-motivation post to kick it off, did ya? Come on, I wouldn't do you like that. 

See, in case you haven't noticed, I've been trying to pass off these little let this be the week posts as words of encouragement for you all (and don't get me wrong, they are) but I have to selfishly admit that it usually comes from a place of trying to motivate myself first. Whatever I need to hear each week, whatever I'm struggling with or whatever I'm challenged by, that's what I write and I figure, hey, maybe there's somebody out there like me who needs to hear the same thing. 

So there, I said it - this post is selfish. However, I think the points I lose for selfishness I actually gain for honesty, so I like to think I'm kind of at a karmic equilibrium of sorts. (Yes, my friends, that's what we here at CCH like to call crazy person logic and my head is full of it.)  

Speaking of crazy, I'd like to divulge another little truth to you all. I'm really sorry I hardly posted at all last week, but I've literally been spending every single free moment of my time working on my new site. To the point of let's say... extreme enthusiasm. (Which is a nice way of saying borderline obsessive.) I've mentioned it a few times, but I'm trying to kick things up a notch around here. I've had a dream since I started this blog last year to design the whole thing from the ground up, create an entire look and feel that's all my own. But there's only one problem with that dream: you have to finish the design in order to actually bring it to life. 

I started this project back in May. Seriously, MAY. I'm proud of what I've been able to develop thus far, and I thought I was in a place where things were almost done, but then it struck me. Crippling insecurity. Irrational levels of indecision. I was obsessed with tweaking things until they were "just right" and up until now, I still haven't been satisfied. I'd start by changing one simple thing and then it was like this wild Photoshop-layer snowball effect and I couldn't stop it. SOMEBODY HELP ME STOP IT.

In all seriousness though, making decisions is a hard thing for me and it always has been. Especially when it comes to design where the possibilities are literally endless. Endless! There's so much pressure to get it right and to create something I'm still going to love a year from now. 

But after five months of endless obsessing, I've determined it's time - it has to be time - to make a decision. To go with one of the infinite versions I've created and to let go of this insecurity. Because that's the trouble with being decisive, isn't it? The insecurity. What if I get it wrong? What if people don't like it? But as the whatifs march on, so does time. So I'm at the point where I've realized I can either wait around, basically sabotaging my own dream with indecision, or I can make a move and be at peace with that. 

And that's my goal this week. DECIDE. (Which is fantastic news to my developer, I imagine.) I still have no idea what the final product will be, but I'm just going to trust my instincts and see what happens because any site at this point is better than the site that never saw the light of day

So, while, yes, this post centers around a major challenge I've encountered myself, I hope it speaks to a lot of you out there too. I think we can all admit that we struggle with uncertainty. (At least I'm pretty sure we all do. Even if you're one of those super-confident people and you're magically uncertainty-less, I actually have SO MUCH of it that by redistributing my insecurity, all of you uber certain people now have it too. Like I said, crazy person logic. Just embrace it.) 

Those are my thoughts for the week. Do you have a major decision that's been plaguing you for a while? Do you play the what if game as much as I do? If so, I hope this is the gentle nudge that gives you the confidence to finally decide. If I can do it, I know you can do it. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

let this be the week | 03

photo by happeemonkee on Etsy | buy it here! type by me

This blog represents a lot of things in my life. It's a creative outlet, an inspiration catalog, a source of joy. Sometimes it's a monkey on my back, whispering nagging reminders to me about my atrocious track record of following through on things. Sometimes it's simply a way for me to vent - for me to untangle the knots of thoughts or emotions that keep me up at night. But most of all I think this blog has become a place to document my journey with happiness. 

Happiness can be such a broad, grand topic, I know, but for me it's the thread that runs through every decision and every moment of my life. It's not a black or white issue, a yes or no question, "Are you happy?" Instead, to me, happiness is made up of an infinite number of granular questions that all fit together into a bigger picture. It's more like "Are you making decisions every moment that allow you to be happy?" 

I wish I could put my finger on the moment when personal, daily happiness became my North Star, the thing guiding me through each new chapter of my life, but I can't. All I know is that from an early age, whether through my parents' teaching or my own realization, I learned that happiness is a choice.

So many times we treat happiness like a passive emotion. XYZ happened and therefore I'm happy, or XYZ happened and therefore I'm unhappy. I won't deny that this is the case more often than not - an event triggers an emotion. Cause and effect. Right? But what so many of us forget is that happiness can be an active emotion too. XYZ happened and I choose to feel happy. XYZ happened, but in spite of that I will choose to be happy. XYZ keeps happening, so I need to make changes in order to be happy.

Listen, I know it's not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes you have a crappy day and everything goes wrong and you want to cry. Hey, I've been there. I'm not afraid to admit I LOVE to cry it out. Quite often, in fact. Queen of the ugly cry over here. But next time that happens, remind yourself that you're experiencing the passive emotion. The response emotion. And after that passes, take a second, and remember that you can choose the active emotion. You can choose happiness. You pick yourself up, and you do something that brings you joy. Call a friend, take a bubble bath, search "puppies" on YouTube. Run as fast as you can towards happiness, and pretty soon, you'll be so intent on trying to catch it, you won't have time to feel that passive emotion creep back in.

And if you start to realize that the cry-it-out days are beginning to outweigh the smiling days, that's when you REALLY gotta kick that active happiness into gear and you have to make some big decisions. Maybe even some tough decisions.

Now let me assure you, it's not all puppies and rainbows, people. Happiness is hard work! It requires mindfulness, patience, control, and like I said, making hard decisions. Sometimes in its pursuit, I've had to be selfish. And other times in its pursuit, I've needed to be completely selfless. I've been in funks so deep that "chasing after happiness" felt more like clawing after it at a snail's pace. But I'm telling you, it works.

So that is my tidbit of wisdom for this week. I know I can be a bit of a quack, and I whole-heartedly appreciate those of you that humor me. But I only write this stuff because I live it and I believe it. We are all blessed to be on this earth, and we truly can do ANYTHING we want to do and be as happy as we want to be. It's just a matter of how much effort we're willing to put in to get there.

This morning I woke up, the faintest bit of chill in the air (a godsend for those of us here in Florida) and  I thought, now that's something to be happy about.

This week I challenge you to choose happiness. In the moments that it comes easily - like crisp Fall mornings - AND in the moments that it doesn't - the cry-it-out days.

Thanks for hanging out with me here, as always. On the harder days, your responses are a sure-fire way for me to find my way back to happiness.