Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Life Lessons from a Pumpkin, a Jagged Knife & a Beer

Over the past couple of years, there's been an unusual amount of loss.  Personally I lost my beloved Gram, a cousin my age, my furry son Popper, my mom's cat Pooka, & some personal relationships.  Couples I thought were happy together are separating, friends' parents are dying too young & admired celebrities are no longer with us.

All of this, in combination with turning 40 this year, has made me reflect on my own life even more.  Statistically I'm at the dead center (no pun intended ;) of my life & have approximately 238,000 waking hours left.  Even if I beat the statistics & to live to 100+ the point is our time is finite.  I get that I'm an eternal spirit temporarily in human form but I do want to rock this earth thing.

I've decided to live my life as if death is at my door because it is, it's just a matter of time (Michael Singer writes about this so eloquently in The Untethered Soul).  I'm making a conscious effort to truly live each moment to the fullest & this required some serious introspection leading to the realization that one of my biggest blocks to joy & happiness is my obsession with perfection.  It took a pumpkin, a jagged knife & a beer to get me to realize what a hold it has on me.  If you're thinking, This ain't sounding so good, let me explain....

It all started with a trip to the pumpkin patch this fall with my niece Ella....
We picked out a bunch of imperfect ;) pumpkins & brought them back to my mom's house.  My nephews & niece wanted to carve them so my youngest brother James, who was in town from Colorado, drew a rudimentary face on one & starting carving & hacking away, beer in hand.  I was thinking about how he could have drawn a nicer face & what exactly would make for a perfect pumpkin face.

When he pulled off the lid & started to hack off the seeds & gunk I kind of went into a perfectionism panic because I knew he was in danger of chopping off part of the bottom of the lid & then it wouldn't completely align with the pumpkin when he put it back on.  As much as I was dying to warn him, I bit my tongue & (tried to) let it go.  Nobody likes to be told they're doing something wrong & who the hell was I, the pumpkin carving police?  It struck me that he was drinking a beer & laughing, the kids were cracking up at his pumpkin carving skills, & I was somewhat in angst.  In less than five minutes his pumpkin was carved (mismatched top & all), my mom put a candle in it, & it was fun & done...
Now me, I had no pumpkin carved because I was too busy thinking about how I could possibly carve a really nice one & knew it just wasn't my forte (for all of my supposed design skills I am not good at, nor particularly enjoy, crafty/domestic things).

The truth is I've been in denial most of my life about the dark side of my perfectionistic tendencies.  I'll never forget last Christmas when I went to visit my cousin, who is my spiritual soul sister, & she had two fresh, new personal growth books by Brene Brown proudly displayed on her dining table.  I ran over to them like a moth to a flame.  One...I could barely bring myself to even physically touch...it was called The Gifts of Imperfection.  I flat out diss-missed it & excitedly picked up the book next to it, Daring Greatly, thinking to myself, Now THIS is something I can relate to!

As I was ogling it & reading the description & table of contents, my cousin said to me, "You really should read The Gifts of Imperfection first."  I was having no part of it & in my head thinking, Whatevs, y'all can sing kumbaya & wallow in your imperfections while I go DARE GREATLY.  We kept talking & I said, "I just feel like I can never get everything done in the day that needs to get done."  & she said, "Read the first page of The Gifts of Imperfection."  I cracked it open & there, right on the first page, it said, "Wholehearted Living...means...No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough."  I shut the book & replied, "Umm....where exactly is the closest Barnes & Noble??"

My new mantra, which I heard from a great coach, is "Done is better than perfect." & I've also recently been hearing "There is no such thing as perfection."  I'm committed to letting go of my perfectionistic tendencies & enjoying the imperfect perfection of each moment...not getting caught up in the details & losing sight of the beauty of the big picture....moving forward & growing imperfectly instead of getting stuck in perfection paralysis.

What's one change you can make to bring more fun & joy into your life?

P.S.  Happy Birthday to my adorable niece Ella.  You light up my life & I love you more than words can express :)

photos: me

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough."  -Eckhart Tolle

This is one of my all time favorite quotes & it is so fitting as we celebrate Thanksgiving.

With our hectic lives & cultural pressure to acquire & be more, more, more, I think it's very easy to lose sight of the goldmine we are already sitting on.  Do you have your health?  Family, friends & pets that love you?  Food to eat & a warm place to sleep at night?  Then you are the richest person on the planet.  Don't ever forget it or take it for granted....celebrate each day & say a big thank you when you wake up & a big thank you when you go to sleep. 

Today I want to say a big THANK YOU to you my dear readers.  I am truly grateful for each & every one of you.  May your Thanksgiving be full of love, laughter, fun, coziness & delicious food!  

You can read more about the amazing power of gratitude here.  Take a few minutes, it's worth it (& the video is pretty funny since we're getting hit with our first snowstorm of the season :)

photo: me (a beautifully decorated townhouse in the West Village)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fall Highlights

As we prepare for the upcoming holidays & cooler weather, my heart is still warm & full of fall memories...

a heavenly hiking day with one of my dear friends....

we sat on a rock way up high with the birds, took in the sunshine & magnificence (it was transcendent to say the least!), & talked about choosing to be happy no matter what.  She literally is my rock :) ...
while I was still trying to figure out how to take a panoramic shot, she nailed it!...
pumpkin picking & catapulting with my nephews & niece...
 
leaves floating down a sunny stream in the woods...
technicolor foliage that makes you feel like you're in another world (yes, that's a red barn tucked between the trees!)....
& cheering on my brother & all of the other awesome runners in the NYC marathon (my favorite day in NYC all year)...
Happy Birthday to my grandma Ellie.  She passed away two years ago this week & would have been 95 today.  I had a dream a few years before she died that we were outside on a beautiful sunny day in the fall & she was roller skating like she loved to do when she was a teenager.  She was laughing & skating fast in big circles & I was yelling, Be careful Gram, you're going to get hurt!  She didn't care, she was having a blast.  That's what I imagine her doing on the other side :)  Miss you & love you Gram.  
Have a great weekend my friends & do something fuuun!!
photos: me

Friday, November 7, 2014

Cheap Thrills

Most days I start off with a relatively empty tote bag but it's not unusual to come home & find that a dress, a bottle of nail polish & cookies have magically appeared in it....

I have a major weakness for Maje & this romper is no exception....
but for now this $25 Forever 21 version is doing the trick & keeping my wallet happy....
 
 since the season of all black everything is upon us, a pop of color on my nails keeps things in check.  Digging this $2 electric blue... 
sadly the amazing $20k vintage Art Deco ring did not come home with me....

but one of these magic cookies from Magnolia Bakery did...$3 of pure heaven...
As always, the most important things in life are non material.  Do you know that meditation is the key to inner peace & changing your life from the inside out?  & it's free!  So excited to be meditating with Oprah & my friend Deepak again on their new 21 day "Energy of Attraction" meditation.  Start your day with 20 minutes of peace & positivity, you can still register & catch-up here...  https://chopracentermeditation.com/about-us

& while you're at it, I know this can be a difficult thing to do, but we need to pray for those that are intent on spreading evil & destruction in the world.  Ironically, it is feelings of fear & powerlessness that drive their behavior.  From Marianne Williamson's blog:

"None of us can afford to pretend this isn't happening. There is and will continue to be plenty of conversation about what to do militarily, but right now let's do what we can holistically. Every day, for at least five to ten minutes, let's use the power of prayer and visualization to lift them above the pathology that drives them. We need to do this on a massive scale. Use the power of your mind, your religion, your spirituality, your meditations and your prayers to spiritually quarantine and heal these people, to call their souls back to sanity and love."

I like to blast Rudimental's "Feel the Love" & send loving & healing energy to everyone in the world too :)

Have a wonderful weekend my friends!!


photos: 1/me/me/2

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fall Fash-Un

Oh it is that time I again, I wait for it feverishly all year- the bad tattoos have been covered up (I'm not opposed to tattoos, just bad ones- the winners this year were a lego & a croissant), no more sweaty exposed skin & funky smells, just pure luxury & fanfare, the glamour & refinement have taken back their rightful place- yes my friends, it's fall fashion time!  To say my heart beats out of my chest at the glory of it all is an understatement.... except...for...this...year....

I had to let a decent amount of time pass to muster up the enthusiasm to write this post because I had some serious recovering to do....some images I wish I'd never seen were burned into my psyche...

like this...
fashion peeps can intellectualize this all they want but I have no desire to look like Tony Soprano as he fetches the morning paper...
& this...
from the Motherland of all places, have we no shame?..Holes EVERYWHERE in her wool getup & yes, that's right, she's going to work out in this you fool, what else would she be doing?... At least Jenny from the Block looks a little sassier & spirited than the sisters of doom & gloom above...you know things are bad when this is the better alternative.

WHY, WHY, WHY??!! (picture me stomping my feet with a confused/pained look on my face)

I'm just not sure what is going on this season but it's like some rogue little ninny has infiltrated the fashion industry with an evil plot to make women look ugly & ridiculous.  Well he doesn't know what he's in for....I'm like a beauty sniffing dog & won't stop until I find it.  He is going down & pretty will prevail!!...

Now this is (blush!) pink wool I can deal with...

Giambattista Valli...
Gucci's collection is particularly lovely this season...
I'm intrigued by the look on the left...
this Parker dress is sure to be a multi-season staple...just put on the leather jacket below & you're good to go...
loving the flouncy skirt trend....fun & flirty with a little edge when paired with a biker jacket at Maje...
Proenza Schouler keeps it fresh & modern with white leather & pops of electric blue...
pretty much dying over this Karen Millen sequined camo jacket, can dress it up or down...
 adorable alpine charm at Louis Vuitton, very versatile separates...
the perfect little cranberry lace (with black satin trim along the collar) cocktail dress from Erdem.  A seasonally appropriate & rich alternative to black...
& if you're really stepping out on the town this Carolina Herrera red gown is a modern & clean-lined  showstopper....Sha-Zam...
Casual or fancy, put on something fabulous & have a wonderful fall weekend my friends!!

photos: me (via WSJ Magazine)/2/5/7/8/all others me

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

City/Country Strolls

Fall is my favorite season & I love getting outside to take in the sunshine, clear air & excitement of the start of the new & cozy season...
in NYC...

the ladies at Saks are preparing for the most glamorous time of the year... 
Reem Acra
Marchesa

a beautiful bronze sculpture in Madison Square Park...
the light dappling on the buildings of Soho warms my heart...

& in the Hudson Valley...
apple looters!
to walk while watching the leaves fall is total magic...
It's a good thing I can stroll in peace knowing the foster kittens are running the show at the office...picking out paint colors is hard work!...
photos: me

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11/01: 2,977 Forever Young

Thirteen years later tears still stream down my face remembering the nightmare that unfolded in my beloved city on a gorgeous & sunny Tuesday morning.  It was a horror movie but it was real & to this day I still can't really comprehend that it happened.  When I walk past I respect that it's a mass graveyard & send love to all we lost.  After the horror, I know that they now live in eternal light & peace.  Seeing the gleaming One World Trade Center fills me with hope & while I will Never Forget I will also never forget how NYC bonded together.  We were all there for each other that day & through the aftermath- workers at the site, business owners reopening their shops, coworkers helping each other get through another anxiety filled day.  In the end, love always prevails over evil, light always conquers darkness....& you don't f**k with NYC :)

My post from last year....

Thoughts, love & prayers to all of those who perished & were affected by 9/11.  We will never forget you.  Twelve years ago my coworkers & I ran from the dust cloud consuming lower Manhattan.  At first we were told we were being bombed.  It was like getting hit on the head with a frying pan....I remember thinking, I don't want to die at a job I'm miserable at, I haven't become the person I always wanted to be....that was just as terrifying.  We soon found out to our disbelief that the towers had fallen.

I wanted to spend more time on this post but the takeaway is this...live with absolutely no regrets.  Say what you need to say, do what you need to do, tell the people you love how you feel about them, if you need to apologize or have a resentment drop your ego & make peace, live everyday with an open heart & follow your dreams relentlessly.  No matter how healthy, young & heck, even beautiful you might be, 9/11 is a horribly sobering reminder that you are never guaranteed another day on this planet.  Cherish each one, spread the love & go to bed every night knowing that if tomorrow was your last day, you would enter the light in peace with no regrets.
I ran the 2011 NYC marathon in memory of those who lost their lives on 9/11, wearing this shirt I designed.

photos: me