Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Years

Whether you're feeling prepared or not, 2010 is nearly upon us. And what would New Years be without the guilty murmurings of resolutions... "This year I'm going to learn how to speak Yiddish!" "This year I'm going to lose 75 pounds!" "This year I'm going to be a better brother/father/son/grandparent!" "This year I'm going to finally realize my dream of professional yodeling!"

I used to be kind of down on New Years resolutions. Why should an arbitrary holiday be the turning point for realizing our dreams? Most people don't keep their New Years resolutions, so what's the point? Isn't it better if we all worked towards our goals right now? After all, progress is generally made when we carve out time to work towards our dreams each and every day... one piece at a time... not jumping into them until we're over our heads and then give up.

But lately I have begun to see that many of us require that extra little push to feel like we are ready to begin a new journey, a new challenge. The promise of a new year and a clean slate provides the backdrop for a fresh undertaking. The post-holiday motivation can be the perfect catalyst for developing new habits and taking the first steps towards a goal.

Whether you choose to usher in 2010 with a resolution or simply look forward to your continued growth over the next 365 days, new years is a great time for some honest reflection. If you're still not sure what you hope for the start of the 10s, here are a few tips for kicking off the new year in the right frame of mind.
  • Make a list of all the things you hope to be doing in the next year, no matter how ludicrous or optimistic they may seem. See how detailed you can be. Go through the list and circle, star, highlight or bejewel those that are top priorities, and get started on making them a reality.
  • Pull out a stack of old magazines and clip out all of the images that appeal to you, arrange them into a collage and post it somewhere you'll be sure to see it everyday. What images spoke to you? What does your visual taste tell you about what you're looking for in your life? Let your collage be your inspiration.
  • Grab a calendar and, for each month, vow to do one thing that you really want to do... Write it down and, if you can, set the time and date now - being specific will help you to stick to your plan. For example, maybe you want to go apple picking in September, or spend a night at a bed and breakfast in June. Perhaps you're counting down the days to see the next installment of Harry Potter (midnight showing, anyone?) or would like to host a theme party in March... The idea here is to plan 12 different activities that are fun for you, whatever that may be, and end up with something special to look forward to each month for the entire year.
  • Try picking just one theme for the upcoming year. Perhaps this will be your year of independence, of delight in everyday things, or of epicurean adventures. Maybe you'll decide on an affirmation, motto, or mantra to carry with you this year, such as "I am learning everyday" or "I will be open to the opportunities the world presents". Perhaps you can even boil your intentions for the year down to one word, such as embodying simplicity, balance, or honesty.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter Solstice

Photo found here

If the dark days have been getting you down, rejoice! Today is the Winter Solstice, which in layman's terms is the shortest day of the year. Now while that may not sound like means for celebration, the result is that every day from now until the Summer Solstice will be longer and longer (Wondering when the Summer Solstice is? It's typically on June 21st - 6 months from the Winter variety). More scientifically speaking, the Solstice is the day that the earth's axis is tilted at it's most extreme degree either towards or away from the Sun. In today's case, we in the northern hemisphere are leanin' back like Fat Joe (if you don't get the rap reference, we're leaning back a lot) while our friends south of the equator are leaning in for a kiss of sunshine.

The Winter Solstice has been celebrated in countless ways by cultures around the world for well over a thousand years. Many interpretations of Sun Deities are honored at this time - such as the the Incan sun god Inti, or the sun-goddess Beiwe who was believed by the Saami (the indigenous people of current-day Finland, Sweden, and Norway) to travel across the sky through a structure of reindeer bones. Many cultures and faiths have viewed the Winter Solstice as a time of rebirth or renewal - including various Neopagan and Christian sects which celebrate the rebirth/birth of prominent figures of their faith during this symbolic time of year. Whichever tradition you choose to carry-out this season, it's likely rooted in the current angle of our round, spinning home.

If the change in weather and the stress of the holidays has you down, why not celebrate your own renewal of spirit today? Do something that helps you feel rejuvenated - be it heading to the gym to sweat out toxins, drinking a big green juice to revitalize your body, or booking a massage to rub yourself anew. Honor yourself by being mindful of your needs as you prepare for the winter ahead. Don't forget to be patient with yourself; the short days and long nights may affect us biologically, mentally, physically, and emotionally. And even at the most challenging of times, remember; it'll only get brighter from here.

Lazy Sunday: Snowed In

Lazy Sunday: Snowed In

The hour-by-hour forecast shows the little snow icon for at least the next 12 hours. Anything I had planned on doing today has gone out the window, but that's alright. Days like this are perfect for helping us to slow down and take it easy. Nothing sounds better right now than wrapping up in a big sweater, slipping on some fuzzy slippers, and getting settled in for some indoor delights - say making a batch of cookies, playing a long game of Scrabble, stringing some forgotten Christmas lights somewhere unexpected (the bathroom!), and enjoying them while taking a deliciously scented bath. Ahhh...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Smart Water Use

I saw this great video on Jason Mraz's blog and found it so interesting I wanted to share. It is eye-opening to see just how much water we use in our everyday lives. Looking to use a little less of this precious resource yourself? Decreasing or cutting out your meat consumption and eating locally (i.e. starting your day with domestic produce, not fruit flown in from New Zealand) are great ways to start! Shave outside of the shower. Don't wash your clothes after each and every wear (underwear is a definite exception) - quality clothing can be worn multiple times before getting tossed in the laundry basket. Opt for garden and landscaping plants native to your area and you'll avoid constant watering. Check out the video below for some more simple ideas:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Winter What-to-dos

I'm not generally one to get excited for Winter, what with it meaning months of cold feet, soggy mittens, bad hair, icy commutes, and sniffles. However, its presence is undeniable, and since the month of December is already more than half-way through it seems appropriate to celebrate the chilliest season while it's here. Need a little inspiration for getting into the snowy spirit? Give some, or all, of these tips a try.
  • Bake a tray of gingerbread people cookies and decorate them to look like people you know or famous folks. Then host a festive party and display said cookies for your guests - use them instead instead of place cards or turn it into a game and see who can guess the cookie's likeness... then enjoy!
  • Suit up and enjoy the snow like you did when you were a kid. Grab a friend and make a snow man, build an igloo, make snow angels, have a snowball fight... you get the idea. Once your fingers are frozen and you've got snow in your boots (or perhaps down your pants), change into something comfy and make a heaping mug of hot cocoa.
  • Pop some corn and settle in for an evening of holiday films. Mix up some old favorites with something you haven't seen yet. On my list: A Charlie Brow Christmas, The Holiday, The Muppet Christmas Carol, The Shop Around the Corner, Love Actually, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Elf, and of course, A Christmas Story!
  • When you make it home from a long cold day, pop your pjs and some fluffy socks in the dryer for a few minutes before hoping into them. You'll be warmed-up and relaxed in no time.
  • Catch your favorite winter sports on TV, or better yet live! There's the X-Games, competitive ice skating, ski racing, snow mobile racing... Once you're feeling up to the challenge head to your local mountain, rink, track or trail and get in on the action yourself.
  • Of course, you don't need to be an adrenaline junkie to enjoy winter sports. Both snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are great ways to take in the changing scenery, no prior experience required. You can make either sport as leisurely or vigorous as you like, so bring your camera to capture the sights or plenty of water to rehydrate while you burn off that fruit cake.
  • If you're of the crafty persuasion, get busy hand-making thank you cards. Draw, paint, stamp, glue, weave, bedazzle, however you like; with all the thank yous there are to send out this time of year, you'll be glad to have a stack of personal cards to help deliver a heart-felt "thanks".
  • It may seem like your culinary choices are limited during this rather dormant growing season, but there are many options for seasonal produce yet. Citrus fruits, and more specifically Clementines, are my favorite whole-foods winter treat. Food and Wine, Real Simple, and Chow all have some great ideas for delicious meals made with Winter produce too.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lazy Sunday: Need to Buy


When I first completed my Christmas shopping, I vowed not to step foot in a retail store for anything but the necessities until the New Year. However, I had forgotten just how cold New England winters can be. My attempts at layering a few long sleeve t-shirts under a trusty cotton cardigan have been futile against the bone-chilling wind and 8 inches of snow-turned-slush this past week. My office window provides not only a view of the whitened landscape but a consistent draft too, and by the time my little car warms up at the end of the day I'm half-way home and shivering. My need for some new sweaters, boots, and, if I'm lucky enough, stylish flannel-lined jeans (okay, that may be an oxymoron), cannot wait until the holidays are behind us. So today, I'm off to see what the retails have in store for me this year. I can only hope fleece jumpsuits and woolen balaclava's are the latest must-have items.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Been Up To...

Photo found here

I don't know whether to attribute it to the busyness of the holiday season, the darkness and coldness that's come over the northeast, being preoccupied with personal changes and challenges, or just feeling like sleep is a better option, but I haven't been in the mood to write lately. I have, however, been...

Trying to fix my broken ipod
Trying to revitalize my mom's old Creative Zen (fixing the ipod didn't pan out)
Doing other people's Christmas shopping (if you finish early, why not?)
Learning to bake (correction, burning things at my baking class - it's not for me)
Swimming myself sore
Moving to a new office
Reading and crafting by the tree
Collecting recipes of yummy things I can't possibly burn
Eating the most delicious raw coconut cream pie; I'm still dreaming about it

What have you been up to?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thought for the day

"Tortoise walks about red earth
going nowhere
in plenty of time"

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fashion Forward

I wanted to report that I have found unequivocal evidence of my fashion forwardness. In fact, I can quantify my forwardness: 18 years. One of the following photos is a pullover sweater from the Jean Charles De Castelbajac Fall/Winter 2009-2010 runway collection, the other is me at four years old. Now, really, who wore it better?

Photos via Colette

Thursday, November 26, 2009

So Grateful For

Photo via Zedo Max

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you enjoyed a special day with friends and family, however you choose to celebrate the start of the holiday season. We enjoyed a fantastic dinner followed by a never-ending game of darts and plenty of laughter. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to remember all of the things we're fortunate to have and grateful for in our lives. This year I'm especially thankful for:
What are you thankful for this year?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Role of Environment

Image via Web Wombat

How important is environment to you? Are you someone that can live anywhere and continue to be your happy, secure, adjusted self? Does spending nights on a friend's sofa for days at a time not phase you a bit? Are you not itching, just a little, to be back home at the end of a vacation?

If you enthusiastically answered yes - that's fantastic. I am not one of those people.

Environment is very important to me, and I get the feeling that it's very important to a lot of people that I know. I consider my home (and I use this term to reference all different types of places, as it can be a very personal definition) to be my place of peace and refuge. It's not that a home should be used as a means for disconnecting yourself from the world, but having a home space that allows you to relax fully and provides you with the resources you need to feel secure both enables and encourages us to enter the world each day with a fresh perspective and plenty of positive energy. Think about it: if your home doesn't allow for great sleep, encourage healthy choices, or promote your mental well-being, how will you have any patience or desire to truly explore the world around you?

This week I'm thinking a lot about the role of environment in my own life, and how I can create the home environment I need to make the most of my time outside of it.

Check out this Clean Sweep Assessment for some great ideas about how to get started - the assessment helps you assess various aspects of your life for achieving optimal energy and developing a strong personal foundation. The section on Physical Environment is an especially great tool.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holiday Season

This GAP commercial makes me smile every time for oh so many reasons. How can it not put you in the holiday spirit, whatever your holiday may be? It's nearly time to start celebrating the season of giving - giving of our time and love to others. How are you getting in the holiday spirit?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More or Less

Sometimes more just feels right. We yearn for more hours in a day. We want more time with the ones we love. We need more money in our pockets. We crave more sweetness on our tongues. We desire more shoes to fill our closets. We ache for more sleep in the morning. Sometimes it feels as if life would be so much better if there was simply "more".

But there's a counterpart to more that we often forget about when we proclaim that more will solve our conundrums, and that counterpart is less.

It may seem counter intuitive that less can fill the same needs as more. After all, any kindergartner well versed in opposites can tell you that more is to up as less is to down. But sometimes less provides us with the real solution when more is still but a dream.

We won't gain more hours in a day any time soon, but less commitments can provide us with the hours we yearn for. Less time spent planning for picture perfect memories (for example an ideal vacation), or working to save up for said memory producing events, can give us the time to recognize and appreciate the simple moments we have with those we love. Less money in our pockets may not be ideal, but it enables us to internalize that money and the various things we buy does not define who we are. Less sweetness, just like less saltiness or spiciness or tartness, will refine our palates and develop a finer and wider sense of culinary delights. Less clothing in our closets can remove the stress of deciding what to wear each day and help us to see that is it not just how we adorn ourselves that makes us beautiful. Less sleep... well okay less sleep is really no fun no matter which way you dice it.

There are times for more and times for less in all of our lives. Sometimes we turn to more because we need to feel filled from the moment we awake to the moment we drift to sleep. Lately I've been feeling the need for less, and it's filling me up in a way more rarely does.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lazy Sunday: List Style

Play List

Mute Math - Electrify
Florence and the Machine - You've Got the Love
Snow Patrol - Just Say Yes
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll

Lunch List

Fresh Blackberries
Maple Syrup
Tempeh Strips

To Do List

This Project

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Melodramatic Retelling of my XM Experience

When I received my new car (it's one of these little numbers in sunshine yellow thanks to cash for clunkers) I also received a free three month subscription to XM Satellite Radio. Initially, I scoffed at the frivolity of the audio amenity. Why would you pay for something that's already available for free? To me it was the equivalent of buying a book you'd only ever read once from the bookstore when you could've had the same experience with a library version (exceptions, of course, for cookbooks, photography books, travel guides, and the like). I was resolved that I would listen to the XM to make use of the free subscription but that would be it - I would become a devout NPR and loaned-book-on-cd listener after that.

But I quickly became the kind of patron every XM exec hopes for. I developed an affinity for two channels that made my commutes to work and to and from the city bearable... nay, enjoyable. My morning wasn't complete until I'd heard the latest Chris Moyle's show on BBC Radio 1, providing my daily dose of British intonation and pop. My evenings weren't the same unless Derek and Romeine of OutQ were along for the ride. I programmed a few other strictly music stations into my control panel to provide a change of tempo when necessary, but I had no need to veer much from my core selections.

Despite my growing dependency on XM, I was resolute in my decision to not spend money on such an unnecessary luxury. When fliers proclaiming "subscribe now and save" filled the mailbox, I tossed them to the recycling bin without so much as scanning the byline. I had no use for another expense. I can be incredibly stubborn when I've made a decision that something is not worthy of my credit card number. And so it went until yesterday.

I had driven to work enjoying BBC Radio 1 as usual, laughing here and there along the way, so unknowing. When lunchtime hit I plopped into the driver's seat to hit up Target for a quick errand and immediately sensed something was wrong. The screen that usually displays what show you are listening to so cruelly stated: Unauthorized Channel. While there was sound it was only the continuous loop of XM channel ads. My time had come. I took a deep breath. The normal radio couldn't be so bad. What were those radio stations I used to listen to? The static of each FM I tuned to was overwhelming, my ears had developed a refined palate and only crystal clear radio would do. I tuned back to XM just to listen to the advertisements. At least there was no feedback to offend my ear drums.

That evening I sped home, fingers crossed as I gripped the wheel in hopes that my payment for a subscription would process fast enough for me to listen to Coffee Klatch on my drive to Boston later that night. I was in luck, and my reactivation occurred immediately after forking over a fair chunk of my hard earned cash... and it was so worth it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This Is It

Photo via The Source

I went to see This Is It tonight, the film that captures the rehearsals and behind the scenes footage from Michael Jackson's never-realized tour, and I am really happy I did. I don't consider myself much of a Jackson fan but I had heard such good reviews that I wanted to see the film on the big screen before I lost the chance. If you are debating whether or not to spend the money to see This Is It in the theater, I say cough up the dough... you will not get the same experience watching it in your living room. It was really fun to hear so many of Michael's songs in one go, and made me remember how much great music he gave to the world. Seeing the level of work and vision that goes into creating a music tour like this one is amazing, and it gave me a new appreciation for Michael as an artist. The close of the movie brought a sadness knowing that all this work and energy was without the grand pay-off, but I still left ready to break into dance, feeling uplifted by the message of Michael's music. There isn't much time left to see it so be sure to check out your local theater times before it's too late!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lazy Sunday: Christmas Shopping

Photo via New Solutions

Okay, it wasn't exactly a lazy Sunday, but it was a leisurely one. One craft fair, three stores, and a few websites later and my leisurely Sunday ensures many a lazy Sunday to come because my Christmas shopping is complete (well, with one exception). Yes, I am one of those people who often starts this process in August, but I hate the thought of waiting till the last minute and buying a whole bunch of "this'll work" gifts. The best part? No rooting around half-empty shelves while other panicked shoppers try to beat you to the last set of Swaroski encrusted, woodland creature-topped novelty cheese spreaders. Haven't considered your holiday gifting yet? It's easiest to start with a list and set a budget so that when the times comes to make your purchases (or even better, hand-make your gifts) you stay on track.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Walnut Cranberry Squash "Rice"

Photo via Learn to Cook

I just got back from a great raw foods pot luck and immediately jumped online to find the recipe for one of my favorite dishes of the evening: Ani Phyo's Walnut Cranberry Squash "Rice". This is a super easy recipe that beautifully blends the flavors of autumn in a fresh and unexpected way - one that leaves you feeling satiated and radiant at that, not bloated and tired like many heavy harvest meals do. This would be a great dish to bring to any holiday party as it won rave reviews tonight from raw food enthusiasts and skeptics alike. You can find the recipe here, learn more about Ani here, and find many more of her delicious, fresh, whole food recipes here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Yikes! This week is getting away from me. What have you been up to? I've been...

Making this yummy granola recipe and eating it with bananas and almond milk (my favorite cruelty-free milk) for breakfast, mmmm.

Joining a new gym right next to my office so I can get a workout after work and miss all the rush-hour traffic; win-win, no?

Photo via Twelve

Trying Twelve and being pleasantly surprised by how light yet flavorful it is. You can find this gently carbonated tea and juice infused non-alcoholic beverage at Whole Foods, Wegmans, Food Emporiums and more.

Shopping (well... more like window shopping in the digital sense of the word) at Scandinavian Design Center. One of my favorites? Trond Svendgård's Snowball Lamp.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nap Time

Photo via ChattahBox

Are you a napper? It seems like when it comes to naps, most people are either devotees or avoidees. Some, like my mother (and the many cultures who enjoy a siesta), embrace the refreshing benefits of an afternoon doze on the sofa. Others, like myself, scoff at the thought of sleeping during the day just to wake up foggy-headed and pillow-marked. But lately I have started to think an afternoon nap may not be so bad. After all, many studies have shown naps to increase energy, productivity, and creativity as well as stave off late evening drowsiness and decrease stress levels.

A well-placed power nap (about 20 minutes or less in length, ideally taken about 8 hours after rising) won't disrupt your usual sleep pattern, but it can provide you with more benefits than sleeping an additional 20 minutes in the morning (snooze-button hogs take note). Short naps are best for most people because they provide the biological benefits of sleep without letting our bodies get into the deep phases of sleep that are harder to awake from and cause grogginess. The upcoming weekend is a great time to give power napping a try. Go ahead and find a quiet, comfortable place where you can recline fully and make sure you set an alarm to prevent you from napping for more than 20 minutes. You may even want to block out a little additional time for your nap to allow yourself to fully relax by listening to music, reading, or practicing some deep breathing - as all of these activities are helpful for winding down before your snooze or waking up afterward.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Artist Spotlight: Steve McCurry

Photo by Steve McCurry via

Steve McCurry may be most well known for a photo of an Afghan girl which graced the cover of National Geographic in 1985, but this photo journalist boasts work from all over the world which is just as stunning as the picture above. McCurry's photos are so rich and intimate that they invite the viewer to think they have discovered this unique moment in time themselves. The color and life he captures make his works especially unique, and they have a way of making me feel more connected to people living such different lives, so far away. You can see much more from McCurry at his website here. Enjoy!

Photo by Steve McCurry via

Photo by Steve McCurry via

Photo by Steve McCurry via

Photo by Steve McCurry via

Photo by Steve McCurry via

Photo by Steve McCurry via

Monday, October 26, 2009

Design Inspiration: Platform Bed

Everyone I know has a different taste when it comes to beds. Be it a preference for a sturdy brass four-poster, an oak canopy, or a leather covered headboard - there are as many choices as to what we sleep in as there are people to join us beneath the sheets! My favorite style of bed, however, has to be the understated platform. The unfussy nature of this minimal style makes for easy sheet-tucking without overwhelming even the most modest loft. Platforms are also exceptionally versatile, so their the perfect choice for people who like to frequently change the style or flow of their bedroom. Platform beds work especially well in Asian inspired or contemporary rooms, and many serve double-duty by boasting storage space underneath. Not sure how to make this type of bed work for you? Check out these beautiful rooms bedrooms for some serious design inspiration.

Photo via Tinypic

Photo via CB2

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lazy Sunday: Possibilities

Photo by Melvin Clark via Melvin Clark Photography

Today was a lazy Sunday filled with daydreaming and pondering of possibilities and making lists of all I plan to accomplish and enjoy- the sort of day that excites you for what's to come and motivates you to make it happen. I hope to spill more details soon... For now, it's time to wind down and fall asleep thinking about all the good things yet to come.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Boyfriend Blazer

I may be on the tail end of this fashion trend, but lately I can't get enough of the boyfriend blazer. Generously cut, this transitional piece is comfy and surprisingly flattering thanks to a single, strategic button. This Sartorialist photo of Alessandra Colombo is what sent me from a healthy enjoyment of the look to borderline obsession. Plus, it's so versatile that the same jacket can add new life to a number of wilting wardrobe ensembles all year long.

Photo via AprilMarin

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Apple Cider

Photo via NCAGR

Not only is apple cider mighty delicious, but it may well be named the official drink of my fine home state of New Hampshire. That's right, as the Boston Globe reports, Apple Cider is on track to secure its spot as the preferred brew of the Granite State. Looking to enjoy a little of the sweet nectar for yourself? Try this recipe for mulled cider from Epicurious - I made it this weekend using fresh apple juice made with my Breville juicer and it was so good! If you've never tried fresh cider before, now's the time to do so. It tastes nothing like standard juice-box style apple juice and is at its best this time of year, so enjoy while you can.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Inspiration Boards

Photo via Paper Tastebuds

Is a lack-luster workspace leaving you without creative kindling? Sometimes a simple change or addition to your desk, studio, or shop can be just the trick to start producing with purpose once more. One such addition is an inspiration board. Your inspiration board can be as simple as an old cork board or as lavish as a fabric-covered board, bordered by a gilded antique frame. The medium is up to you, and the only directions are to fill up the space with photos, quotes, do-dads, clippings, and trinkets that you find inspirational. Maybe yours will have a ballet ticket stub, an old necklace, and a photo from your trip to Amsterdam, or perhaps a bright Japanese candy wrapper, fashion pictures from Vogue, and a postcard from a friend's trip to Mexico. There does not have to be any rhyme or reason to what is on your board, as long as it gets your mind flickering and your heart pattering, you've done it right. Don't be afraid to change out your inspirational items when the time feels right - just as your creative process is dynamic and evolving, so too should your inspiration board be.

Photo via Coco Sunday

Photo via MadeByGirl

Photo via A Cottage Industry

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lazy Sunday: Under the Covers

Photo via ICH

Not only was it cloudy and dark out this morning (two very endearing reasons to stay in bed) but it was really, really cold. In fact, it was unusually cold. Covers alone were not enough to make my lazing tolerable. A trip to the the thermostat confirmed my suspicions; 58 degrees. After a little detective work the culprit was determined: a broken furnace. Fortunately, the heat and hot water were back on just a few hours later following a visit from the furnace doctor (he came in carrying one of those black leather doctor bags and everything, the only thing missing was a stethoscope casually flopping out the side). In the mean time, however, my refuge was in bed, under a pile of covers. How was your Sunday?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Artist Spotlight: Jenny Meilihove

Artwork by Jenny Meilihove

Jenny Meilihove is a Russian born illustrator living in Jerusalem whose work is both adorably quirky and bright. Her equally adorable website can be found here and an Etsy shop here where you can find originals and prints alike. I especially adore her rich watercolors. Even her workspace (see the last picture) is so fun and creativity inducing. This children's book she's illustrated looks so fantastical... any translators?

If you like any of the pictures you see, be sure to click on the links below - they'll take you to Jenny's website where there are plenty more (many of which I had hoped to post but were too big to do them justice here).

Artwork by Jenny Meilihove

Artwork by Jenny Meilihove

Artwork by Jenny Meilihove

Calendar by Jenny Meilihove

Picture via Jenny Meilihove

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Little Bowls

Photo via Sur la Table

To pass a little time before yoga tonight I dropped by a cute little consignment shop for some wandering about. I hadn't been ogling the ancient comic books carefully wrapped in plastic sleeves or fingering through strands of 1960's love beads for more than a couple of minutes when I set my sights on two precarious stacks of little glass bowls; one slightly more squat than the other. Having searched every grocery store, Target and Home Goods for these exact items over the last couple weeks, I thought for sure they must be a mirage.

Fortunately for me, the bowls are very real and await, swathed in the oatmeal colored crinkly paper every store keeps on hand for picture frames and candle holders and the like, patiently for their debut. "What do you want these bowls for anyways?" The cashier had asked when I proudly carried my teetering purchase to the register. I deflated a little when I answered her question, admitting the truth to myself for the first time. "They're like the bowls they have on cooking shows, you know when they toss in a pinch of this glamorous ingredient you've never heard of and their cooking looks so effortless? I think that if I had those little bowls my cooking would warrant it's own show too." And then in a hurried effort to cover my naivete: "That and I went to a party once where these little bowls with snacks were scattered all over the place - they're perfect for that!". She smiled approvingly at the more pragmatic justification for my purchase.

I'm still pretty positive the bowls, which I now come to learn are called ingredient bowls, will have a disproportionately great impact on my cooking ability. You can purchase your own culinary motivation (what others may inaccurately identify as false hope) at Sur la Table. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Year of Pleasures

I just finished The Year of Pleasures, a novel by Elizabeth Berg, and true to the title, the book was a pleasure in itself. Berg has a beautiful, descriptive way of writing that brings her scenes to life and paints a rich picture of her characters. The storyline is very much for the female crowd, as the main character Betta deals with the loss of her husband by moving to small town in Illinois and learning how to live without him. There are moments of empowerment and helplessness along the way, but never without the simple joys that make life worth the struggle. It’s the perfect read for a wintry day by the fireplace; recommended for your grandmother and grown daughter alike.

Berg’s descriptions had me picturing every little detail in the book so vividly I was ready to run off and move to the Midwest myself. Here are a few pleasures I’ve been dreaming about since flipping the back cover…

Photo via GPB

Betta is always cooking or baking something for someone, relishing in her nurturing instinct. Even though I’m not one for baking myself, she seemed to find such joy in the process I entertained the thought.

Photo via Lennoxx

Betta has her bedroom painted pale blue to make the space more relaxing, and I love the idea of a matching the shade with a sunny yellow and bright white.

Photo via Houzz

There are several mentions of antique birdcages in the book, and what could be a more fun and beautiful decoration? My gram has had a large birdcage on her mantel for years, filled with little figurines and treasures. I like the idea of hanging a couple from the ceiling, wound with white twinkle lights like lanterns.

Photo via Hugo Naturals

Even bathing takes on an air of luxury in Berg’s novel. Betta would make a production of it, putting on an old album and taking a slow bath, lingering in the warm water. It made me want to do the same, so I promptly picked up a sliver of Hugo Naturals handmade soap and got to it! I have to put in a word for this delightfully scented, all-natural brand that left me skin soft and lush, no moisturizer needed.