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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween from 20x200

Happy Halloween, friends!

This is "Powerpuff Girls" by Amy Stein, via one of my very favorite companies, 20x200.

Wishing you a spooky night and a great sugar high.

One Last Wedding Tip

As a final homage to six months of marriage, here's one last wedding thought:

No matter what you do, or how your makeup looks, or what florist or vendor might be calling, carve out a few moments with the people who matter most. You'll remember them for the rest of your life. 

With Dad, it was his great toast and this hug.

With Mom, it was a quiet moment in the bedroom upstairs.

With Ellen, it was when I decided that despite being fully dressed, I had to take it all off and go to the bathroom anyway.

With Slifer, it was when he came out of nowhere to throw that wad of tissue over John's shoulder during our vows.

Our Vanderbilt friends hid us in a corner while we ate everything in sight.

Tara brought me wine before the reception and made sure my hair didn't look crazy. I saw Carolyn right after the ceremony with tears in her eyes. Tally came to say hi before going to play in the park across the street. My big sister was there just like always.

I could go on and on.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for being amazing. 


Monday, October 29, 2012

On Character and Creativity: Hurricane Sandy Reading Material

Anais Nin Quote - Web of Connection Archival Print - Large Size

Thoughts from Anais Nin on why we're creative, hand lettered by the lovely Lisa Congdon and available on Etsy.

Next, look at this excerpt from the 5th Volume of Nin's Diary: beautiful thoughts on why your character is your responsibility and no one else's. 

If you're like me, you could spend all day on Brain Pickings, so if you're holed up for Sandy, maybe you can do just that. Enjoy. 

What is Marriage 3: Six Months!

Yesterday was our 6 month wedding anniversary. I promise not to count the months for the next 50 years, but during the first year, everything feels like a milestone. John and I spent the day together and went out to dinner, which was low key and perfect. I can say without hesitation that these have been, truly, the best 6 months of my life. Thank you, jysc, my love.

This week, I'll post a few wedding planning tips in honor of the halfway point. Cheers!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Friday

Hi, Everyone!

I presented at a conference in Myrtle Beach yesterday and am working here for the rest of the week. It makes me so happy to see the sun on the water and smell the salty air.

I'm so pleased that the Governor's School 2012 Share the Music Tour this week was such a huge success! I've been working on it for a while and was excited for the chance to reach so many people. The Wind Ensemble, Concertato, and vocalists divided up to do 12 outreach concerts in 9 schools - and one public concert for a total of 13 concerts. In two days! These students (and faculty) are wonderful, and they worked hard to share what they do at SCGSAH. Here is a little interview I did about it last week, if you didn't see the Facebook post.

Other posts you may have missed:

Little Projects to Make You Feel Good
What is Marriage?
Curtain Making!
A Dog in a Hoodie

Have a wonderful weekend! xo. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Cute Dog with a Birthday

It's hard to believe, but this week is Herbie's 4th birthday. My dog-child is growing up. Plus, he's been with me for three whole years now! As a four year old, he is still obsessed with holding hands, bully sticks, and outsmarting the mean black cat who lives next door.

I've said this before, but Herbie is a rescue who is scared of everything. I'll never forget the time early on when he jumped about five feet upon encountering a Dandelion. He had been kept in an outdoor closet and never introduced to anything. Herb still has a hard time with other dogs, but he wants desperately to be their friend. He watches our neighbor Scooter out the window like he is searching for a long-lost brother.

In honor of Herbie's birthday and other dogs who need our help, check out Woofstock next weekend from the Greenville Humane Society; once you buy a ticket, you get unlimited beer samples from local breweries! Herbie's a little too high-strung to go along, but it would be really fun to take a dog. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Making Curtains

Hi, friends!

After my long bout of bronchitis and busy travel schedule, I needed this past weekend to watch movies at home with John and recover. We did get a little done, though, like hanging art and curtains that have been sitting around for the past few busy weeks without a home.

And, I can hardly believe this myself, but I made a curtain. With my own two hands.

After Carrie from DreamGreenDIY explained how easy Heat'n Bond is, I knew it was the solution for my weird kitchen window.

We also added long, sheer curtains to our french doors in the back. It's amazing how different fabrics change the feel of a room. Suddenly that space is softer and cozier and feels more like home.

Here's our newly dressed window.

Thanks, Jess and Carrie, for the inspiration.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Living with plants: Succulents

Although John and I still have a lot of work to do on our house before it's complete, I was so excited to finally add some plants this weekend. There have been lots of interesting studies about the benefits of living with plants, and eventually I want to have a home full of them. I started small with a little collection of succulents. They're so petite, green, and architecturally appealing. 

Although succulents need drainage, I'm trying indoor terrariums with horticultural charcoal beneath the soil to create space to drain. Fingers crossed.

Here's the finished product.

And apparently the moss I added on the surface is edible - Herbie tested it for us.

Here's to adding extra life, wherever we can. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

What is Marriage: 2

When I started thinking last week about What is Marriage posts, I couldn't resist this piece by Austin Kleon. 20x200, by the way, is absolutely my favorite place to find new artists and affordable prints to, as they say, "live with art."

It's true, though, isn't it? John and I stand in the bathroom brushing our teeth together at night, and sometimes we laugh, sometimes we try to talk through the foam, and sometimes we're silent. Marriage.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Poem: Joanna Goddard Fall Challenge

Joanna Goddard recently started a series of Fall Challenges, during which she and her readers will do things like read more, watch tv less, and write actual letters.

This week, she suggests that we memorize a favorite poem. What a lovely idea. There was something therapeutic about reciting "The Owl and the Pussy-Cat" day after day in elementary school, and maybe, as a grown up, it would be just as nice. I would welcome having something beautiful in my head to combat daily to-do lists, running on repeat.

Here's mine:


Open the book of evening to the page
where the moon, always the moon, appears

between two clouds, moving so slowly that hours
will seem to have passed before you reach the next page

where the moon, now brighter, lowers a path
to lead you away from what you have known

into those places where what you had wished for happens,
its lone syllable like a sentence poised

at the edge of sense, waiting for you to say its name
once more as you lift your eyes from the page

and close the book, still feeling what it was like
to dwell in that light, that sudden paradise of sound.

--Mark Strand 

 What about you, what poem would you choose?

Thanks, Joanna, for reminding us to slow down a little bit and remember what's beautiful.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What is Marriage: 1

Guess who this is. It's my husband, Nurse John. He's busy owning at work and directing an orchestra, but somehow he managed to coach me back to health during a nasty fight with bronchitis this week. I had multiple speaking engagements and had to leave town, and I couldn't have done it without him. When I'm wheezing through the night, he gets up to make tea and get medicine. He gives me his pillow, and he never even complains. I don't know how I got so lucky.

Oh, and Herbie helped, too.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Then and Now

In our ongoing quest to make our empty house a home, John and I have been planning an Ikea trek for several months to pick up a few basics. Ikea might get a bad rap because of its reputation as the college-student go-to, but the truth is, it's a great place to find clean, modern lines and affordability. I needed some Parsons style tables to accent our living room, and while I love the West Elm offerings, it was impossible to ignore the good old $7.99 Lack Side Table in white.

When I decided on two wide, modern grey stripes to be the focal point in our dining room, the Docksta was the perfect accent. The room is small, so a round four-seater was the only way to go.

The Expedit Shelving Unit in white is the perfect piece to create an entryway in our happy little living room. Add the Capita legs for a little more polish, and now the keys and mail and candles can all have a place to go at the end of the day.

I loved The Everygirl's Ten Favorite Ikea Finds, which included several pieces from my own shopping list. On our next trip, I'd like to find a work table to create office space upstairs, and we aren't sure yet, but we both love this revival chair, the Strandmorn. It made the cover of the 1951 catalogue! Reading chair, maybe?

Don't miss this fascinating post about the history of the brand: how Scandinavian progressivism became design for the world.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

No Such Thing

Hi, friends!

Did you see this article in Newsweek recently? Debora Spar, President of Barnard College, presents the reality about successful women. She asks why feminism, which was meant to make us happy, often makes us so miserable!

As an advocate for women's college and a lady attempting to "do it all," this caught my attention immediately. Debora asks us to remember feminism at its beginning, rooted in sisterhood and community. A joint venture for social good.

Here's a confession: I've always been a silly perfectionist. Tell us something we don't know, you're thinking. I've been way too hard on myself, which leads me to be too hard on others. I try, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, to avoid this. As Debora says, I consistently feel pressure to try to excel in two jobs, develop my blog, be in hot yoga as much as possible, "impress" John with interesting meals, take Herbie on long walks, design our home, and be a good friend, sister, and daughter - all while wearing the sexiest shoes I can find. When I fail - which, as she points out, is inevitable - I get annoyed. At myself. This, as you can imagine, is really productive.

Why can't we accept, as Debora suggests, that something's got to give? Why are women always comparing, one-upping, degrading the ladies around them who seem to be doing it all - or worse, the ones who seem to be failing? I fall into this trap more often than I'd like to admit. Why aren't we celebrating each others' triumphs and taking care of each others' kids and animals? Why aren't we bringing back the potluck dinner? The old, trusty neighborhood women's unit - we need that back.

I got a big dose of sisterhood at Converse, and I'm thankful. Women in the work force are often, I've found, trying to take the other females around them down a notch. It's hard to respond to that with grace and dignity; in fact, sometimes it seems easier to just go to bat. Show up and fight back.

How is that going to get us the 23 cents we need to match the male dollar? I don't know.

Let's not be perfect anymore. Let's be messy, let's call each other and frantically beg for babysitting, and let's not roll our eyes when we do. Let's be nice and make lives that matter.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Recently I watched Pina at the Governor's School - one of many reasons I feel lucky to work there.

You need to see this film! It's a gorgeous look at the work of German choreographer Pina Bausch and her dancers from the Tanztheater Wuppertal. Director Wim Wenders spent 20 years developing his ideas with Pina, but she died tragically just before filming was scheduled to begin. Wenders went on to capture Pina's dancers discussing her influence on their lives with a haunting authenticity that's clearly tied to their recent loss. He explores the essence of Pina through their anecdotes, observations, and most importantly, their dancing. 

Pina's dancers all say essentially that she made them better. She made them more beautiful, more confident, and more talented. Most interesting to me was that she elicited this kind of response was by being, for the most part, silent. She made them great by quietly giving them permission to search until they found their own beauty. Pina gave her dancers questions rather than answers. One dancer recalled a time, after a terrible rehearsal, that her only comment to him was "Go on searching." 

Another dancer said that Pina taught him to stand for everything he did - every gesture, every step, every movement. She believed wholeheartedly in a person's need to be authentic and to dance - or maybe to live - with intention.

Pina choreographed using the elements - rocks, water, mountains, dirt. She allowed beauty to be there, and for her dancing to be over it, through it, beside it. She didn't force beauty into a box. 

I often wonder how to make the world around me better - how to be a good colleague, friend, or wife. Pina reminded me, again, to slow down. Not to force! She reminded me to listen more than I speak, and not to use twenty words when three will do. She reminded me that it's okay to be vulnerable and that beauty and sorrow are necessary to each other's existence. She believed that fragility is actually strength.

Pina gave everyone around her the inspiration, and the freedom, to be better. I can't think of a better gift.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Baltimore Nuptials

Megan and Rob are married!

I went back to Baltimore this weekend to celebrate their now official life together. They throw an incredible party, which will surprise absolutely no one who knows them. The wedding was at Gutierrez Studios, an industrial venue that's like a really giant, fancy woodshop. There are tools everywhere. But not in a bad way. It added to the charm and kept everything feeling laid back. The ceremony had more laughter than any I've ever seen, a little bit of quintessential Meg and Rob and their reminder never to take anything too seriously. It was also super sweet, because what's a wedding without some botched eyeliner and smudgy mascara?

Throw in a giant red cake in the shape of a crab, a little potted succulent on each table, and amazing music, and suddenly you have the perfect party.

Oh, and really good call on the kimchi. Every wedding guest should be so lucky.

Megan, Rob, congratulations and happily ever after! I'll be back soon to camp on your roof.

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