A life, pictur-ed perfectly.

Just a few things I want in my life:

fresh herbs on my windowsill 
A to Z guide to every spice in your cabinet

the perfect fudgey brownie and a cup of hot cocoa
pic: the kitchn, find out the secret ingredient here
a day of hooky
pic: weheartit
a really gooey, stinky, melt-in-your-mouth cheese
a warm evening spent in the lodge apres-ski
a little solo dance party 
pic: weheartit, listen to Best Coast | When I'm With You 

a few frilly pieces
pic: weheartit, visit modcloth


a nap in the lap of luxury
pic: weheartit



    I need-ed a moment.

    Sometimes we just need a moment... 

    A moment to catch our breath. 
    A moment to hold our tongues. 
    A moment to give thanks.
    A moment to think. 
    A moment to mutter curses inaudibly under our breath. 
    A moment to say our goodbyes.
    A moment to remember.
    A moment to unwind.
    A moment to take it all in.
    A moment to put things in perspective.
    A moment to just be.
    A moment like this.

    Sometimes we just need a moment.  And when you need it, take it.

    pic: weheartit


    Be Littl-ed.

    This morning my aunt sent me one of those chain e-mails that tells some cheesy story about an old man and the good deeds he did paying off even after he passed away.  I was about to delete it when I saw the quote at the bottom, "It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived."  For some reason, this resonated with me.  Life is the little smiles at strangers, the long overdue phone calls to old friends, and the cups of coffee shared with Mom.  It is holding the door for your neighbor, laughing with Dad, and playing fetch with the pup.  Take time to recognize all the ordinary miracles that make up our days.

    To quote a famous coffee table book, life is too short to 'sweat the small stuff,' but the greatest of lives are filled with small stuff. 

    Don't belittle people, be littl-ed.

    pic: weheartit


    Luck-ed out

    I'm blessed to have fantastic friends.  Without hesitation, I can state that I have a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, a lended ear, and an eye watching my back--and all of these don't necessarily belong to the same body.  Often times life doesn't feel like it's happening unless we have someone to share it with--kind of like the "if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?" theory, I wonder, "if there isn't a friend to laugh at your jokes, are they funny?  if there wasn't a friend to wipe away your tears, would you cry?"

    Friends are the pieces of reality that make life feel like a dream.  Undoubtedly, we all feel lucky to have these people in our lives; however finding those friends may not involve as much luck as we think it does.  A few years ago, I read a book called Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr. Brian Weiss.  I highly recommend it for anyone who has ever thought about the existence of multiple lives, and anyone who has ever tried to explain a higher being in a less than traditional sense.

    Essentially, the one idea that I took away from the book, was the idea that certain souls travel together from one life to the next.  We have all, at one point or another, felt we've known someone forever upon first meeting them.  That feeling of having already spent a lifetime with someone before is explained simply--perhaps you have.

    Now, the last thing that I care to do is to make a firm statement of what I believe to be the truth.  Because I can't say for sure exactly what I believe.  But I do want to make you think, to question all the things that you already question, and then question them again.  If only to make you appreciate it all a little bit more.

    It may not have been luck that led you to find your best friends, but you sure are lucky to have them.



    I'm Soul-ed.

    With all the words in all the languages of this crazy world, you would think we would have enough to describe the things that happen to us on a daily basis, to explain the way we feel.  But there never seems to be enough, does there?

    Being somewhat of a word nerd, I spend quite a lot of time searching for the right ones.  Recently, I was trying to explain what the most important aspect of a relationship was--that indescribable connection we feel with another human being (a lover, a friend, a sister, a mother, etc.).  What exactly makes up that connection?  Instead of using words, I found myself providing examples:
    • You laugh about something so hard you start crying, and then you suddenly realize that it's not even that funny, but in that moment, that particular moment, to you two, it is the funniest thing that has ever occurred.
    • You talk with your faces.  They know what your eyes are saying, and what that little smirk that isn't really a smile and isn't really a frown means.  And they respond, not in words, but in nose crinkles and eyebrow raises.
    • You consider them in even your smallest decisions--and don't ever consider it a sacrifice.
    • You never feel embarrassed around them because they already know you too well.  
    • You keep all of their little secrets, quirks, and idiosyncrasies tucked away in a pocket for safe keeping.  Because you know yours are safe in theirs.
    It's all these little examples that create that connection.  When I thought about it hard enough, I realized the word I was looking for was soul.  The real true relationships, the ones worth preserving, are made up of soul.  Think about it, all the best things in the world are made up of it...the best music, the best cooking, the best art. 

    The Beatles may have once said that 'all we need is love,' but there is no love without soul. 



    I am a hopeless romantic.

    Why all romantics are labeled “hopeless?” Would pragmatists then be labeled "hopeful?" Is it really the truth that if one is romantic at heart, he is destined for a dreary future—-a life of gray and predictable dullness? That's seems a bit backwards.  Wouldn't you expect that the romantics are the one's who have hope--hope that one day the world (or at least their world) will be filled with love?  And not just love, romance, love twisted and folded into poetry and Valentine's cards and rendez-vous in dark cafe corners.

    Is it hopeless to believe that flowers were meant to be given? That the lips' second and sweetest function is to be kissed? That chocolate should always come in little red, heart-shaped boxes?

    Is it hopeless to love nothing better than to catch him looking at you across the room? To want to exclaim to the world that you've finally found what everyone else spends their life looking for?

    Well, if it is hopeless, then I'm happy to be doomed.

    pic: weheartit


    Stray-ed from the Path.

    The best advice I've ever given, but never followed:

    Being lost is okay.  

    I know you feel hurt and confused, but what you find when you are lost is often worth much more than what you'd discover staying on the same path and never questioning what lays just beyond.  Sometimes we need to wander, to take a risk, to follow our hearts into the dark underbrush to find the little treasures of an untapped forest.  

    Though the path seems to guide is in the right direction, the path only guides us in the direction that others have gone before.


    90% Convinc-ed

    Charles Swindoll is credited for the equation: "I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it."

    Today began as one of those days where nothing particularly awful happened, but I woke up determined that it was going to be a bad day.  I was turning tiny hiccups into huge emotional dramas just because I felt like it.  About halfway through my second cup of tea--after snapping at my mother, snubbing my roommate, and scowling at the world--I remembered Mr. Swindoll's theory.  So, I gave myself until the last sip of green mint tea to be angry at the world, and then my time was up.  I was going to take my 90% control and use it to my benefit.  

    Now I'm not going to tell you that my day immediately turned around, that the birds started chirping outside the 23rd floor window of my office, or that my co-workers were singing and dancing down the hallway to broadway tunes, but I will say that the day was put to much better use than it would have if I focused my energy on frowning.  Sometimes all it takes is a deep breath to refocus on the important things.  Keeping in mind that you always have control over that 90% makes the 10% feel miniscule.  

    And, if I may get a little existential here, your 90% may just influence someone else's 10.


    He smell-ed of Old Spice and cinnamon.

    In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, I wanted to share a story.  If it seems that this story has been somewhat romanticized, that’s because it has been.  To me, there is no greater love story than that of my parents.

    I imagine not many relationships begin in the waiting room of a drug and alcohol dependency rehabilitation clinic--healthy relationships, at least--but it is the setting of my parents’ beginning.  My mother, a social worker who specialized in substance abuse, worked at the Fort Devens Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Clinic where she met with soldiers battling drug and alcohol addiction.  My father, at the time, was a captain in the army, managing a troop of 125.  As a ranking officer, it was his duty to make sure the men in his company were in the best physical and psychological condition.  So, when he determined a few of his men were using, he took them directly to the clinic.

    There, my mother, dressed in a turtleneck and pearls (she’s famous for her turtlenecks) greeted the Captain with a smile and offered him a cup of coffee while he waited for an update on the progress of his company men.  He accepted, and watched as she carefully poured him a cup in the gray office kitchen.  Quick side note: Why is it that everything clinical is gray?  Nothing is ever black or white.  Always gray.  As if you can never be too sure about a clinical decorating decision.  It is better to be left in a gray area than to risk being too bold, I guess.  

    Anyway, my father sat patiently in the gray waiting room, sipping stale coffee from a Styrofoam cup, flipping through an old issue of a magazine, stealing glimpses of my mother as she flitted around the small office.
    He remembers her hair. 

    In fact, my father vividly remembers the first day he met my mother.  It was her hair, he says, it was so long, and it kind of bounced when she walked--the kind of hair that you want to fall around you in a mane of softness when you kiss.  My father has never been an indecisive man.  No matter what the issue, he always takes a firm stand, and even if his position on a topic is utterly incorrect, he will defend his side until the death.  He makes for a vicious opponent, and an unwaveringly loyal father and husband.

    My mother, on cue, boldly states she does not remember the first day they met.  It makes sense.  She was practically betrothed to another man at the time.  A great man.  “He worshiped the ground I walked on,” she says.  I believe it too.  My mother is the type of woman that inspires that kind of love.  She has a simplistic, natural beauty that is so humble and modest you can barely pinpoint what it is that makes her so radiant.  It’s almost frustrating.  You know she’s beautiful, but why?  It is her nature to be understated.  (If you can’t tell, I think the world of my parents.) 

    My mother does, however, vividly remember their first date.  Newbury, Massachusetts, the UpDownstairs, dinner at 7.  He has an infectious smile, she noted when I asked her about that day.  It was like the room lit up when he smiled.  To me, it sounds about right.  I have always thought my father to be an influential, quite powerful man.  It would only make sense that his smile would be as powerful as he is.

    The two young lovers got lost in one another.  They talked of books, and art, and philosophy.  They shared dreams and pasts—things one doesn’t normally disclose on a first date.  It was one of those first dates that movies should be made about.  He made corny jokes, and she laughed—not because he was particularly funny, but because she knew he was making them for her.  To her, his jokes were the love poems he would never write.

    A gentleman, he pulled up to her apartment building and walked around to open the door for her.  Graciously, she smiled and took his arm and the two walked to her front door where he gently brushed her long hair behind her ear.  He let his fingers graze her cheek, lingering for a moment just below her chin before leaning in to kiss the apple of her cheek bone.  His moves were slow and deliberate, as if he were performing a sacred ritual.  She stood perfectly still, oddly patient, enveloped in a cloud of slow motion.  He smelled of Old Spice and cinnamon and she inhaled as if taking a long drag from a cigarette, filling her lungs with him.  They stood facing one another for a few silent moments before whispering good night.
                “I’ll call you. We should definitely do this again sometime.”
                A long wait by a silent phone.

    Life returned to dull normalcy.  The brain floods the being with the comfort of routine monotonous details so the sugary deliciousness of the extraordinary eventually fades.  We waste away our lives forgetting the good stuff.

    Like players in a tragicomedy performance, we flit around the stage, lost souls in search of our next line.  As if suddenly we have discovered the pages have been ripped from the manuscript and we must improvise the rest.  We create alternate endings and try out different scenarios, changing the scenery and the characters.  But eventually, the ending materializes as nothing we could have ever created.

    Eventually, the explanation arrived, but not before an engagement proposal, a break-up, and a decision to move a few hundred miles south.  Love is cruel, love is kind, love is love. 

    To Be Continued...


    Hop-ed, Dream-ed, Realiz-ed.

    Today, like any other day, is a day of unlimited potential.  Anything can happen if you believe it can.  Make today a day of hopes and dreams and realities.
    1. Help yourself to an extra large slice of pumpkin pie...with whipped cream.
    2. Find time to tell the people in your life how much they mean to you.
    3. Start a tradition that your children will carry on when you're gone.
    4. Relish the simple pleasures.
    5. Kiss someone until passion leaks through your lips.
    6. Trust in the possibility of the impossible.
    7. Dust off your wings and make a promise to use them when the right breeze blows through.
    8. Identify the things in your life to which you will remain loyal no matter what.
    9. Ask the universe for something you think you deserve.  Then work harder to deserve it.
    10.  Discover something magical about the world today.
    pic: weheartit