Summer Sabbatical

I thought I would pop into this space to say life has happened and gotten in the way of my little electronic creative outlet (i.e. my blog).  I’m trying to strike a balance and want to make sure I’m not ever posting anything because I feel compelled rather than because I want to.  (I don’t know why I feel that pressure…it’s not like I make money doing this…)  Anyway… I may not be in this space right now, but you can find me on Instagram.  Happy Summer… I’ll be back soon!

Summer Sabbatical

The hubs snapped this last summer when we were in The DR.  I want to go back!

Weekend Thoughts

A very dear friend text me this quote last week when I was having a brief existential crisis.  I liked it so much I thought I would share it in this space, because surely I am not the only one that threw up her corn dog and cotton candy.  And usually I’m snapping away during my weekend adventures, but this weekend my phone/camera stayed zipped away.  The hubs is still studying (testing on Friday!) and so my sister came over to the big city so we could find her a new chair and a rug for her office.  And if I was doubting it at all, summer is indeed here — hello humidity. I then finished out the longest day of the year by painting a little (and of course meditating)! On Sunday I read a hodge-podge of things and practiced my Adobe Illustrator skills and now it’s already the last week in June.  Good grief.

Life Is A Theme Park

Is a “Meditation Challenge” an Oxymoron?

Meditation Photo

For the month of June I’ve given myself a new challenge: meditation.  I know it’s apparently all the rage these days, but it was last fall when my therapist recommended that I try it.  Well I did…sort of.  I was only practicing it very sporadically and at weird times.  Needless to say it felt forced and like me trying to put ice on a pulled muscle rather than a preemptive conditioning for my muscles.  Thus a proactive approach to my self-care has emerged.

Because meditation is hard, I thought I would build up my tolerance.  So starting on June 1st, I meditated for 1 minute; and on June 2nd, 2 minutes.  You see a pattern emerging.  So today is June 20 and I’ll meditate for 20 minutes tonight before I hit the sack.  Sitting for 30 minutes seems much more doable now because I know I can do 20 minutes.

I’ve learned 2 things since I’ve begun.  First, I can actually sit and calm my mind, but it does indeed take practice and it’s (still) hard.  Second, I do a lot better when meditating at night. I’ve tried at all times and places (hello bathroom, couch, floor, kitchen).  But “success” has come to me when I turn out the lights, turn on the twinkle lights (or light a candle), sit on the floor (with a block) or on the Eames ottoman and cross my legs.  In order to help get me calm I use an app — which I really like for background sounds and the fact that it has a really gentle alarm that lets you know when you’ve achieved your desired time.

I’ve really enjoyed my practice so far. But I think I would also like to try this “progressing” meditation while syncing up with my cycle.  That way when when I hit day 30-ish full of cramps, bloating, rage, and other general PMS, I’ll be able to get centered and tackle the introspective beast that sometimes threatens to eat me alive.

And I found this great infographic showing the benefits of mindful meditation.  And here is the full Time article and a response in The Huffington Post.

Meditation Infographic

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Weekend Scene

The hubs and I continued to celebrate our 10th Anniversary with dinner at our new favorite restaurant, Sparrow Bar + Cookshop.  I Suwannee!  It was delicious…which doesn’t adequately describe it.  But it wasn’t just the food; it was the entire experience.  We enjoyed a perfectly paced 5-course meal (over 2 hours!) infused with curious combinations and unexpected epicurean creations and upon being seated our waiter brought us a bottle of champagne — a gift from two very-classy, thoughtful friends.  I can’t wait to pay that one forward — what a fantastic surprise!

It seems like B is back in school again because he is spending so much time studying these days, but did you know in order to become a licensed architect it’s not enough to complete a degree you then have to take an exam for licensure.  Oh — or S E V E N exams.  He’s passed one already and has his second scheduled for two weeks, thus his nose being stuck in a book his computer.

We continued celebration on Sunday with a quick lunch with my Pop.  Good times.

And now on with the week…

Weekend June 15

Celebrating 10 Years Together

We kept tradition alive and did our annual anniversary photo-shoot yesterday on the actual day of our anniversary.  And tonight we’ll celebrate with a proper dinner date!  I think we should celebrate all weekend…

10th Anniversary

10th Anniversary

This year’s location was an easy choice; it’s our favorite Thursday date-night location.

And you can see a few outtakes after the jump…

(more…)

WAKING FROM A DREAM

I did a little disappearing act around here and reappeared in Boston, specifically Massachusetts General Hospital.  A dear friend was being induced; and we thought it would be a good idea if she had an extra set of hands around.  I’ve seen both seasons of Call the Midwife; I’m qualified right?!

What an experience, to be in the room when life enters it. It still feels like a dream.

I cannot say enough great things about the entire staff we interacted with.  Momma & Baby are doing very well (Dad too!).  And now I will have more than enough to write about for weeks to come….

BABY DREAM

weekend scene

It was a beautiful weekend!  The fam came over and we attended a baseball game (interestingly no picture though) and the hubs changed from winter to summer by shaving his beard.  I had a whole before and after in mind prior to him getting it done, but the place where he had a “straight blade shave” should have been called a butcher rather than barber.  He was bleeding so much post-shave that they sent him home with a towel!

Despite a little blood-shed, we really did have a great weekend. The park has some more interesting art displayed and it’ll soon be too hot to enjoy it whilst the sun is up.  We also had a friend over on Sunday and then sat outside and read for the long, sun-filled evening.

Middle May Weekend

Some Things

Houston Sunset

It’s been entirely too beautiful this week to sit inside and work on my computer.  We had an impromptu picnic and subsequent sunset witness that was fantastic!  I also went on a leisurely morning walk and enjoyed to cool (i.e. low humidity) air.  But here are a few things that I did stumble across and that I want to finish reading.

Everything really is bigger in Texas (y’all).

I have not stopped listening this station all week.

I re-read this provacative article about “having it all”.

I want to take a closer look at this curated home.

My meditation word for the week has been “confidence” (and I needed it real bad one day this week).

A good writing quote to remember (and motivate)!

I just started this book last weekend and hope to finish this weekend!

Happy Week-ending!

Summer Writing Workshop Schedule

The dates are set and I’m ready to write!  I’m trying something new this summer and instead of trying to organize several six-week sessions, I want people to just come and write when they can.  Summer is full of unpredictable schedules, but you can count on getting your creative fix at SWWS every Tuesday and/or Friday starting in June.

So the schedule is as follows: Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm & Fridays 1-3pm. ($20 per session) || Saturdays June 21, July 19, & August 16 from 9am – 1pm ($35 per session) *If you just want to come try it, your first session is always free!*

SWWS has also joined Instagram.  I’m not a big fan of most social media, but this is a platform I can get behind.  I’m a lover of words + pictures and I’m excited to engage fellow creatives in this unique space.

Hop on over to Salt Water Writing Studio to learn more about the method I facilitate and to sign up!

Houston Summer Writing Workshops

P.S.  I had lots of fun creating this flyer in the studio!

Finding my happy place

I know it seems counter-intuitive, but a new app has been helping me to zen out!  Have you heard of calm.com?  I’ve opened it when I’ve wanted just basic spa-like music while at a clients and I’ve used it for actual meditation.  You can meditate on your own or use their guided meditations from 2 minutes to 20 minutes.  You can also choose different visual scenes, anything from mountain brooks to rainforest leaves.  (I of course will choose the ocean every time.)  I’ve been genuinely surprised how much I use it…and like it! (The only thing not leaving me zen about the app is their font choice…glad there is not too much of it!)

Calm App

Houston Staycation: Where We Ate

While hanging around our hometown we visited old places and new.  We seriously blew our food-budget for the month, but it was worth it!  Cafe Brasil is an old neighborhood stand-by… especially this time of year when we can sit in the back courtyard and enjoy this perfect spring weather.  Local (on Upper Kirby) was new for us and has a great vibe — fun atmosphere and the best part — within walking distance!  After our zoo date — we decided to stick around the museum district and try some Southern Fare at Lucille’s.  According to their website, Lucille’s is “progressive southern cooking refined by history”… and I think they’re right!  Yum!

We also tried Canopy and Beavers and couldn’t stay away from our beloved Paulie’s and Little Bigs.  (Did I also mentioned that I gained 10 pounds?!)

Houston Breakfast

Houston Lunch

Houston Dinner

weekend scene

It was in fact a weekend of beautiful light… early morning, each evening, inside, and out…

It was great to meet and greet folks this weekend and ever better to talk about my writing workshops.  I’m so excited to start writing with other people again.  It’s magic making.

May 2014 Weekend

1.) The light at my studio | 2.) A new book to explore | 3.) An engaging painting

Staycation — Zoo Date

First of all let me preface this by saying it had been over 15 years since I had been to the Houston Zoo.  I wasn’t quite sure what my expectations should be.  Secondly, I have really mixed emotions about zoos.  The animals always seem so depressed… but that could also be because I tend to anthropomorphize everything.  I know that a lot of conservation, preservation and care goes into the animals welfare, but it still tugs at my heart strings.

Shoving all that emotion into a deep pocket — it was so fun!  It helped that we visited on the most amazing weather day ever (76 & sunny) and we went on a Tuesday prior to school being let out.  We felt like we practically had the place to ourselves.  It was so lovely strolling hand-in-hand, cool breeze in our hair, comforted by the familiarity of being married to someone for nearly 10 years — commence vomiting now! :)  We did get pretty googly-eyed when we saw any two animals carrying on with the natural order of things by grooming one another snuggling.

Of course, to no one’s surprise, our favorites were the big cats.  We were quite fortunate to hear the very vocal Jonathan.  Did you know that a lion’s roar can be heard up to 5 miles away?!  See the zoo is great if anything to help with fun facts that can be used at awkward dinner parties!

Clearly, I highly recommend giving the Houston Zoo a visit — but only on a non-crowded, spring day!

Zoo Date

weekend scene

It’s a little late… but that just means it was a good one.  The weather has been so fine — the top has stayed down on the jeep.  The first two shots are looking up from inside.  I LOVE this time of year!  It feels like such a small victory, but it’s definitely in my win column.  I have a post ready to go about our little staycation…so that’ll be up tomorrow.  Life is good people… and good is contagious.  (Also I’ve got a fun little video up over at SWWS today — check it out!)

Last April Weekend

Interesting Things

Color & Texture

I’m hanging out with family this weekend, but I’ll also check out these other links too:

This is a hilarious way to identify an artist by his work.

True stories of sultry, southern women…I’ll read it.

This takes “…stop touching me!” to a whole new level.

Wow — So this is why I feel like a failure!

Even as just a hobby graphic designer I can learn from this great list.

Great…now I want to knit again.

Another Brene Brown interview to watch.

On the more serious side of economic things

Enjoy the weekend!

Three original images here: 1 | 2 | 3

Documenting My Travels

Despite my wishy-washy feelings about blogging, there is a part of me that is glad that I have this particular form of documentation of the last 5+ years of my life.  I’ve tried to maintain a balanced approach to my on-line presence.  I don’t really do social media (my 10 instagram followers don’t count!) And really, I only post part of what’s going on in my life at any given time.   As I’ve said before, this is just some sort of a creative outlet and thus a record of how I have stretched my “digital art” skills.  Some of the early stuff I really want to take down in shame but I leave it all there as a reminder of how I’ve changed and to hear my voice throughout the process.

Despite my journeying from a DIY-holly-hobbie-crafter to a wanna-be-design-snob, one consistency is prevalent throughout: adventures — great and small.  And I figured it was time I dusted off the archives of this digital time capsule and actually organize my travel photos.  What I found to be most interesting of all is two-fold really: 1.) In my earlier travels I didn’t post a lot of photos after the trip — despite having snapped literally hundreds.  And 2.) I don’t always document trips with photos.  I can think of at least 2 major cross-country roadtrips that didn’t even end up archived here in any way.  My sister even commented whilst in Spain that I didn’t take very many photos even though I lugged my DSLR with me all around the country.  It’s weird — I know.  But I want to have pure motivation while snapping… and thinking about what would be good on the blog before I snap always makes me uncomfortable.  I don’t want to capture something just to put it here — I want to capture it because I want to remember something authentic.

So… all of that qualifier to say that 1.) I’m glad I finally organized my adventures and 2.) they are what they are.  Sometimes I post about the details, sometimes it’s just been the mood.  I would love nothing more than to be a travel writer: documenting customer service, secret back-alley shops, and the best local food.  But… I’m not.  I often like to pretend that I don’t actually have an audience in this space.  (This is all just for me, right?!)  So, I’ve captured what I’ve captured and it means something to me.  But if someone else connected with it visually or verbally, then that’s just the cherry on top.  But, I must admit that it’s been pretty fun to share details of my adventures and the more I share, the more it motivates me to do it again.

If you click on the little tab up there that says Adventures, you’ll see all the places I’ve been (since 2008)…that I’ve actually posted about.

Travel Tags

Another Vivid Dream

Two nights ago I had another distinct dream.  The hubs and I were having to evacuate because of some sort of disaster (thank you Walking Dead marathon) but that was not the part that made such an impact.  Rather it was while we were gathered with other dislocated people, we ran into someone we knew 10 years ago and started talking about our lives and such.  Some how, in the way dreams work, we moved onto a conversation about design and then we were looking at the prototype of an Eames-like lounger.  I could practically sketch the thing right now it’s that clear in my mind.  What was interesting to me about it was that it was collapsible like those cheap-o sports/beach chairs that fit into their own bag.

The dream went on but the only thing that really stuck with me when I work, was the chair.  So… I went straight to my handy dream source (like I have before) and found the following explanation:

Chair Dream

I am at a bit of a transition right now professionally/vocationally and this was actually an insightful reminder for me to not be in a hurry or anxious about the future, but to continue to be open to my present.  And mostly I think it’s the last of the explanations: contemplation before action.  (Or rather as my sister would say: paralysis by analysis.) I’m evaluating several things right now and want to make sure I make the “right” move.  Thanks dream-brain for helping me unravel some pressure I’m feeling to make a decision!

An Overdue Apartment Update

The hubs and I recently had ourselves a little staycation.  And as I’ve said a million times before, spring is the only season I’ll openly advocate for everyone to move here.  We thought we might head to Austin or even catch a last minute travel deal to Vegas, but why go somewhere else when it is the perfect time to hang out in the 4th largest city in the country.  Believe me, come August, I’ll be begging for strangers to take me in!

During this week of heavenly respite, we made a pact to treat our town as if we were seeing it with fresh eyes and go to places we wouldn’t normally go (i.e. Try New Restaurants Lazy!)  And eat we did!  We also visited the zoo, went shopping, drove down streets we don’t normally take, grilled outside, watched foreign films… treated it like it was all new…  from the comfort of our own home.  And there will be updates coming of our fun Houston adventures.  But we also took advantage of the free time to clean and organize our home.  (Don’t worry it’s a disaster again already.)  The hubs worked on a new (and amazing!) furniture project and I assessed our art situation and tried to remedy it myself (not happening any time soon!).  So although we are about to install a new major piece of furniture, I figured I’m always going to “soon get another piece of furniture”… thus, just take the picture already!  So here’s a little snapshot of the new arrangement.  But to see the full story, go here or click on Apartment Living up top there.

Apartment Update

Over on that other page, I’ve included links to my DIY hanging pendant, our handmade coffee table, an ikea hack, and a few other things!