Sunday, June 24, 2012

Seeing Summer

It felt as though summer crawled into town, but upon arrival, it stood right up on its first try. Yes, it rained on the first day of summer in San Francisco (this city likes to keep us on our toes), but so far these long days have been everything they should be: hot temperatures, water sports, visitors from afar, long road trips, bikinis out and orange nail polish blasting like the sun.

As I often feel with the coming of a new season, it's an opportunity for fresh starts and new beginnings. The options are endless (and, hey, if we fall short, there's always the next season, am I right?). One reason I'm welcoming this summer with wide, open arms is because my Spring was a particularly inward one. Coming off the quietness of that time in my life, I'm seeking out any and all opportunities that allow me to explore the following: risk, possibility and momentum. Just the thought of it all makes me want to get up and go!

Here are some recent summery images I've captured that convey this expansiveness I covet:

Dangling feet over the pier...

...peering through the wide window...

...under the boardwalk...

...sunset reflections...

...brushing through the green path to anywhere... close and yet... good!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Loving Simple Lovely

    Image from Simple Lovely

Lately, I've been thinking about the blogs. There is so much out there to see, but you don't have to leave your house to do it. I've always been conflicted about this. Shouldn't I be outside, away from the screen, exploring the landscape around me on foot? The answer, of course, is yes - but it's not the only way to find inspiration these days.

I have my favorite blogs, but I suddenly yearn for more. I decided it was time to open my heart to the aesthetic offerings around the web. We need balance, sure, which is why I don't need to spend all day, every day attached to the computer. However, a little time spent, here and there, isn't going to hurt anybody. In fact, this openness should open a new window for me, and I love the thought of that.

My first stop was a place I visit quite often. In fact, I would call myself a "regular." I clicked over to Joslyn's gorgeous blog, Simple Lovely. Joslyn has an eye for the beautiful, always drawn to perfect visual moments. Her blog is the perfect balance between naturally curated, honestly chic and intimately simple. I've never met Joslyn in the "real world" but through her blog I feel like I know her. With her soulfulness, she writes the most thoughtful musings on life, sharing thoughts that I've often felt myself but have struggled putting into words.

She also has a weekly feature called, "Loving..." which features images from around the web that speak to her. I adore this post because it's like flipping through my favorite magazine, cooking dinner with a friend while drinking wine, browsing through boutiques, going for a long walk and reading a beautiful line of poetry - all at the same time.

In my new-found quest for web inspiration I went straight to Joslyn's blog and returned to these "Loving..." posts. I discovered so many wonderful new blogs and was reminded of some of my favorites. With my favorite candle lit and wrapped in a cozy throw, I got lost in a web of beauty and inspiration last night. Here's what I've been "Loving..." from all the places I 'went' (thanks to that one first click on Simple Lovely):

   Wearing patterns and killer heels from Wit & Delight

   Style meets coffee meets nails meets I-wonder-what-she's-writing from Kinfolk

    Joyful breakfast from one of Nicole's "Wordless Wednesday" posts on her blog Cucina Nicolina.

   Also from Nicole's blog, one of her delicious "Sunday Dinner" posts. 

    Marin Hopper's "Malibu Memories" from Bazaar

    A beautiful flower arrangement from Holly and Becky on Heather's always beautiful LA in Bloom.

   Something else for the senses: a kitchen vignette from At Home At Home.

Inspired to inspire is how I feel right now! I'd love to know, dear readers, some of your favorite blogs, particularly those, like Joslyn's, that connect you to beauty and inspire you to find it.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Butterfly Hearing

Lately, I've been into bravery. Possibly it's because I've been watching a television show that features many knights. Really, though, I'm into bravery because it's those brave acts that move us forward. It's the fear that drives us. We learn from what scares us. I believe that being brave is being bold. Being brave is a way of being.

So, how can one practice bravery on their own? Often, we are faced with situations out of our control, ones in which we are tested. Can we test ourselves? I think so.

For the past few years, I've been longing to go on another yoga retreat. The first one I went on was a total success, one of the best weekends of my life. It was called "Eat, Play, Yoga" and that's exactly what we did! Not only did I relax into the practice of yoga, but I made lifelong friends. Also, I've never laughed so hard in my life. Ever since, I've been wanting to return to that magical place in Glen Ellen.

A few months ago, I read about a retreat and it really spoke to me. It was called "Butterfly Hearing." The name in itself is a call to look inward. I didn't know much, except the following details: it was a yoga retreat for writers, led my the amazing yoga instructor/writer Karen Macklin and Ayurveda chef Meredith Klein. Here are some images of Meredith's healing and nourishing food:

A typical dinner...

...and a typical breakfast:

That oatmeal is savory, infused with Indian spices. It was an absolute inspiration. Anyway, back to the description of the yoga retreat. There was another detail that unfolded along with this butterfly's wings...

It would be silent. A silent yoga retreat for writers. Honestly, it sounded incredible. Exactly what I needed. I signed up, with excitement brewing like the cup of coffee I knew I wouldn't be drinking during those days in Glen Ellen.

Then, something completely out of my control happened. On May 10th (about 3 weeks before the retreat), I got hit by a car while riding my bicycle to work. I was not seriously injured (some scrapes and bruising), but the accident took its toll on me emotionally. I was discouraged by my pain, as well as my inability to do yoga and exercise. It slowed me down for sure, in a time when I felt like I was on a roll. My momentum felt blasted and I became very, very disappointed.

The weeks went on and as I slowly built up my strength and positive frame of mind, I developed something else: the most intense, almost instinctual, need to be around people. I'm not a loner, but I do need my alone time. During this time of healing, however, my alone time was not welcomed and did not provide the nourishment that it usually does. I wanted to be around friends, family, people. I also wanted to talk and laugh. I wanted to share ideas, talk of dreams, and make plans. There was one thing I didn't want to be:

Silent. So, I thought about it. Maybe I shouldn't go on this retreat. Maybe I should just back out. Cancel. I debated this for a few days and then something inside of me spoke up. And it said, no. I could not cancel, I needed to take this risk and be silent. I drove up to Glen Ellen on a Friday, not knowing where my thoughts would lead me. I went up to Glen Ellen with a little bit of knee pain and a lot of unknowing.

We are brave when we take a step into the unknown. I felt very challenged at first, unable to escape the constant chatter in my mind: Why can't I meditate properly? Why is my foot asleep? Why am I the only person in this room with my eyes open? What will I have for dinner when I get back to San Francisco? Then, suddenly, it clicked. The conversation in my head came to halt. I quieted my mind and I heard the silence.

I stepped into this yoga retreat afraid to be silent and I left in an utter state of gratitude. For my life, for my health, and for silence. I felt grateful for my retreat leaders and for my fellow yogis. Their presence allowed me to be silent, in the company of others. It was the best of both worlds. I was around people (something I desperately needed after my accident) with the space to quiet my mind (something I also desperately needed after my accident). I was no longer a victim, vulnerable to the world around me. I was a symbol of wellness. A yogi. A knight. Silently patting myself on the back, I left feeling strong and mindful, but mostly brave.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Summer Colors

It's summertime which means lots of color: yellow (sunshine in essence), blue (sky on a clear day), green (grass at the park), pink (nails and toes) and red (Margaritas to wash it all down). Bright colors bring happiness and good feelings. I've been all about it. Lately, however, I've been really enjoying soft, warm tones. Welcome, people, to my new favorite color palate. It can be found in California backyards... chic boutique dressing rooms...

...and in creatively designed vignettes. Now, I know there are a few artful types among you. When it comes to my knowledge of color there is no spectrum. In the above, I see green (maybe turquoise?), blue (when is Cobalt really Cobalt?) and creme (I'm thinking latté). Does anyone want to have a go and give these colors their rightful names? I'd be ever so grateful this Sunday eve.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Oh, friends. I have been busy. I had an amazing Memorial Day with my favorite visitors, then a wonderful week in LA with my family and finally, last weekend, I was on a silent yoga and meditation retreat for writers.

Easing back into the real world has been crazy (dealing with a mouse problem can feel like a full-time job and when you already have a full-time job plus a desire to be social, stay fit, eat good food, watch Game of Thrones and maintain sanity, you feel like you're on overload). Feels like it.

Anyway, my blog is a huge priority for me, so when it's been over a week since I've posted I get a little anxious. Hope I haven't lost any of you!

One of the highlights of my trip to LA was going to Bergamont Station with my dad. I hadn't been in so many years and thought it would be a fun activity before lunch. We saw lots of art and even a succulent garden planted in a car. A fun surprise was popping into Hiromi, a beautiful paper store that specializes in paper from around the world.

Paper is one of those things that I see and handle everyday, but don't think much about. However, when the paper is a piece of art, it deserves some attention. For example, wouldn't these ones below make the most fantastic wallpaper?

This store was a piece of art in itself. Everything in its right place, it showed off the delicacy and versatility of paper-as-art.

I asked if I could buy that lighthouse paper off of the wall. Sadly, it wasn't for sale. I'm a real lighthouse nut, so that was too bad.

I love to imagine a profession that requires weekly trips to Hiromi. It's moments like these when I wish I had a designer's eye or was a letterpress printer. Imagine all the inspiration that would come from these sheets of beauty!

Even the white paper was beautiful. All the different shades and tones. It evokes a Victorian lace dress or a bed of fine linen.

Aside from paper, Hiromi carries little notebooks, cards, folders, and...

tape! Trying to figure out a special way to use these...any thoughts?