Wednesday, July 24, 2013

california dreaming

Alyssa of The Open Life recently wrote about Big Sur and her adventures at Baker Beach in San Francisco, beginning a series she's calling "California Dreamin.'" They reminded me of the last time in I was in California, driving down highway 1 with my mom for a week. It was incredible. I fell in love with Big Sur & Monterey & Carmel & San Luis Obispo. It's been 4 years, and I still dream of those ocean cliffs. The coast is so very different on this side of the country. Everything here is so different. In a way, I'm glad I moved so far from Cali so long ago - every time I go back, everything is new all over again.
I realized I never shared photos from that trip. Here area few that have me wishing myself back. 

these are from Hearst's Castle..such an amazing tour, if you ever get the chance.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

on goals

I'm a goal oriented person. The trouble is, I am easily discouraged by lack of immediate results, or not being good enough (read: as amazing as I wish I were) at everything. I find myself constantly making lists and plans and promises to myself, and accomplishing very little. It's a cycle of feeling the need and desire for change, failing, and being further behind the starting line of happiness, more obsessive about the details each time. I'd like it to end. I'd like to hold myself accountable for what I want, from myself and from my life. I'd like to be content and happy and healthy in a way that leans toward effortless. This isn't to say these things shouldn't take work, I believe they do. But I believe life should be more than a battle. And honestly that's how I've been living for the past decade - at war with myself, fighting who I am with who I think I should be, in a neurotic, notebook-filling way.
It just shouldn't be this hard.
I find myself thinking this altogether too often. And all the old platitudes don't make it any easier: Happiness is a choice. Do what makes you happy. If you don't like something, change it! There is some truth to these things, I understand that. But these oversimplifications actually stress me out more. If it's so easy, why am I failing? And I've decided for me, the choice has to be to let. it. go. 
For me, the biggest things are weight & finances.
I can create paleo meal plans & avoid carbs & processed foods & sugar all I want. But I can't make it enjoyable. I can't make it stress-free. I can't ignore the guilt, the you're just not doing it well enough thoughts. And I can't force it to work for me.
I can make the most beautiful budgets you've seen. I can work 60 hours a week & give myself a cash allowance like an 8 year old. But I can't make it feel worth it. I can't avoid life to save money, and also be happy.
So. If I never lose 25lbs, so be it. If I bought a new planner because it was beautiful & I'm a sucker for paper products, so be it. 
In the end, the overwhelming feelings of inadequacy and lost hope are more detrimental than not being thin will ever be. And I believe there is a way to do my best to be healthy, to live a creative & interesting life, and to do things that make me happy, without stressing over how to do it all perfectly.
Of course, I still have goals. I just want the focus to be on the process, the here & now, and not the end result. For right now, these include:

- eating. eating instead of thinking about eating and agonizing over what I have & have not eaten.
- sleeping more. not staying up 2 hours after I've gotten in bed, laptop open, lost in an internet rabbit hole of pinterest & blogs & netflix. 
- making things & doing things simply because they make me happy.
- moving forward. being more forgiving, of myself & others
- giving myself credit for & focusing on the good. 

a list much kinder to myself than my usual goals.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hot Springs

Just a few photos from a roll of holga film taken on a weekend trip to Asheville in April. We had a girls' day, beginning with a soak in a hot tub full of mineral spring water at Hot Springs, where you are given a private tub overlooking the French Broad and quiet mountains. We brought our own mimosa supplies and had a perfect time, soaking and talking and breathing in a rare space of unmeasured time. On our way back down the mountain, we stopped to walk around tiny downtown Madison. We got coffee and went in a few local artist shops and took photos. We had lunch in Asheville at Tupelo Honey - delicious as always, and where you must, by all means, order the mac & cheese.
A day trip I highly recommend.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

diy decor: nursery

Whenever I am in undecorated spaces, or rooms decorated in the perfunctory, yes, I-suppose-we-need-curtains-and-a-framed-painting-of-a-sailboat-on-the-wall kind of way, I can't help but imagine how the space could look - how it could resonate personality & style in the comforting way the rooms of our homes should. As a nanny, I spend a lot of my time in the homes of others. More so than my own, in fact. And I come to know these homes & families in an intimate way - I'm a part time family member, really. So I often think about how the rooms of a house portray the family, what they say about them.

A family I've worked with since February of last year, since their daughter was 2 months old, moved into a new house last summer. They're a wonderful but very busy family, and home decor is understandably not at the tip-top of their priority list. So one day a few months ago, hoping I wouldn't be stepping over any of the invisible boundaries that exist in the nanny world, I decorated their daughter's nursery with a few DIY projects. It cost next to nothing & really brightened up the tan room which previously had only pink curtains & some black flower decals decorating it. (And luckily, the parents like it, too!)
Inspired by this post Anabela of fieldguided wrote for frankie magazine, I made a glittered feather mobile, with the feathers hanging from an embroidery hoop. I watercolored ombré shades of pinks & peach for bunting, and did a simple painting of birch trees on kraft wrapping paper. After finding three inexpensive frames at Target, I went through my scrapbooking paper and picked a couple sheets to frame with the trees. A few simple, budget friendly projects that can be done in one afternoon & make all the difference in a sweet baby's room. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

New York City, vol. 2

Last month I took a whirlwind trip with my friend Brittany to NYC to see The Postal Service play a show I'd bought tickets for in January or February, right before they released North Carolina tour dates (just my luck!). Seeing a band that hasn't toured in a decade play in NYC is infinitely more cool than seeing them in Raleigh, though, right? I think so. After an 8 hour flight delay, we were in the city for just under 40 hours. Just enough time to see two friends who recently moved to Brooklyn, Mat & Kat, and see an amazing concert together. The Postal Service is one of those bands whose songs fill me with nostalgia and memories and I couldn't help smiling while I sang along with so many other fans who I think were feeling much the same way.
 The whole visit went by too fast. We had drinks at a cozy hole in the wall bar called Barrio Chino, where the menus were handwritten on cardboard. We passed by 30 Rockefeller Plaza and I was reminded of how much I miss Liz Lemon and 30Rock. We went to the Brooklyn Flea and I added a locket to my collection. We brunched at the most delicious chicken + waffles place, Sweet Chick, and it beat out Raleigh's Beasley's by miles, with their amazing 90s playlist & perfect drinks & of course, food. I managed to make a stop at Momofuku Milk Bar, which I was a bit obsessed with trying after reading about it in multiple posts on Meg Fee's beautiful blog + seeing it on her "where to eat in nyc" list
As she says, "When you’re out and about and in the mood to explore a neighborhood with a latte in hand, this is the place to go. Get their full-fat latte and a compost cookie." 
So I did. And miced latte was amazing, and even though I was sick & shouldn't have, I split a compost cookie with Kat and it was worth it. I even got myself a stamped frequent customer card, because it was cute & I wish I could in fact be a frequent customer. And then all together too soon, as it always seems, it was time to return to Raleigh.
Until next time, New York.

see photos from my last NYC trip here & here

Sunday, July 7, 2013

fourth of july + beach

I was fortunate enough to be invited to spend a few days at Topsail Beach with Sarah & her sweet family last week, and it served as very much needed relaxation time. We stayed in a gorgeous house right on the beach, and we all did whatever we pleased whenever we so felt like it. We didn't take many photos, or carry around phones/cameras much at all, as we were busy reading on the beach (Daniel chose The Old Man & the Sea, Sarah, Lord of the Rings & I, Tell the Wolves I'm Home), swimming in the ocean, biking to amazing bistros,  watching the neighbors' seemingly unending supply of firework displays, & drinking lots of yummy drinks. I think we all left refreshed & in the vacation haze that's difficult to convince yourself out of once you're home. Perhaps my skin soaked in enough sun & my hair tangled in enough salty wind to last me through another couple days...
Incidentally, Sarah just started her own blog!