Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lucky







I remember when I was in my second year of French in high school and we were practicing our vocabulary and conjugation. My teacher would ask us a question in French and then we would have to answer in French in front of the whole class. I remember getting asked "Are you lucky?" and he neatly prefaced the question with "All things considered." I remember answering that I was.

But as someone who doesn't believe in luck, I don't think I can say that I see myself as a "happy-go-lucky" kind of person. I might be more the type who "presses my luck" maybe, but lucky, no. I'm blessed to have a job, a family, a place to live, a laptop to write these posts on. I'm blessed that a few people even still take the time to read this blog.

I was just in a minor car accident this morning. And sure enough, one of the other drivers said we are "lucky" to all be OK. Of course I am happy no one is injured. But I don't feel lucky at all about it. My stomach is completely turned, my left foot feels like it is asleep, and I spilled coffee all over the interior of my boyfriend's car (he says I was lucky I wasn't driving my car). As someone who has been in a good amount of accidents, I don't feel lucky. I commute every day and of course on the one weekend I am out driving to Los Angeles, I get in an accident. I had considered not going to L.A. and doing all my errands instead, but of course I convinced myself I had to go. If I had just run my errands I would have a clean house, a clean to-do list, calories would be burned off, and I wouldn't be sitting here questioning my luck. In fact, I would probably feel pretty darn lucky to have had the time to get everything finally done.

But I should know better than to believe this Sliding Doors version of events. I mean, who is really able to get everything done? When you work full-time and try to balance it with the rest of your life, you seldom feel so lucky to successfully say you have accomplished everything you set out to do. And that's what gets me down sometimes. I hold myself to the standards I set which includes a long list of goals (running a half-marathon, losing 15 pounds, paying off credit card debt, writing a novel, contributing to other publications, etc.). When I look at what I have done and compare it to where I want to be, I don't feel like I am doing enough (there isn't enough time to train, I need the money for my sister's wedding, I am too tired to stay up and write, I don't know how to contribute, etc.) It's in these rare, bleak moments that I feel like the most unlucky girl in the world. Yes, I know it all sounds so silly and melodramatic. I even know it is not all true. Sometimes the person who might seem the luckiest can possibly never even feel that way about themselves. 

So this is how I choose to look at things: God in all his mercy and knowledge has spared me from being injured, he has provided me with an income, the body I have, the people I love. Sometimes we aren't going to see His ways and methods as preferable or easy or fun, but there is a reason behind it all. When we find this reason agreeable or His methods easy and fun we call it "lucky." But we don't want to talk about the other side of the coin. I could sit here and blog about shoes for every post, and I could probably do it well, but that's not what life is all about. Sometimes you have to indulge in the darker moments to really learn, to truthfully answer that when all things are in fact considered, you come out blessed; or better yet, you come out being yourself. 

Right now I am the writer who missed a writing retreat because of a car accident. I had with me a bag of nail polish to gift my writing friends and now someone else will be lucky enough to get it. This week I got a lotto ticket for St. Patrick's Day, but I didn't win any money. I had my first fortune cookie ever, and the fortune was kind of lame, or so I thought. I am blessed to have the money to indulge in Starbucks a couple of times a week and to buy my makeup from Nordstrom. I didn't go out Monday to drink green beer, but I was able to stay in Saturday morning to write this blog post. Since writing was on my to do list anyway, I can say I did get something done, which might be the silver lining/pot of gold under the rainbow. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Stitch in Time





I had a conversation with my boss last week about the type of writing I have been doing for my day job. We both agreed that I am not writing too many hard-hitting journalistic pieces (or any at all). I do tend to enjoy a nice style, arty piece (which admittedly, can be fluffy). 

I got to thinking about my career, and as I looked back over it, I wondered if I had spent all these years not really writing those meaty, soul-wrenching stories that win awards. It seemed to me like I produced a lot of pretty pieces during the day and worked on the gut-wrenching stuff in my spare time (that I don't have much of) and therefore doesn't show up as often. Since I will be turning 30 at the end of the year, I really want to start digging in when it comes to good writing, both at home and at work. 

The truth is, sometimes pretty things can bring about some of my best writing. These objects allow me to talk about the deeper issues at hand in a way that is more comfortable to me. Case in point: the new shoes above from Charlotte Olympia. The Shear Delight collection made me think of my previous job, where sewing and stitching were a part of my daily life. 

I love the metaphor of using stitching to talk about time. We often refer to time as a fabric, and our mere moments are but stitches, piercing the overall form. Sometimes I think in my 30 years I haven't pieced things together the way I should have. It's tough to remember that there is really no "should," no pattern. It's hard to keep in mind that we are all just ateliers, making something one of a kind with our bare hands. We have a sketch of an idea, but fabric can pull and tear; alterations might need to be made. There are some days I wish I could just cut out of the whole continuum, and stretch the fabric over to begin anew. But that's the difference between life and fabric. 

Maybe the best course of action is to keep in mind the moments we wish we could replicate again and again, the perfect touches, the shiniest details, or maybe it's to vow to move forward, and finish what has been started. It is my hope and my prayer that I am able to finish despite snags and imperfections. It is my goal to keep working until the shapes I have sketched out become vaguely realized. And even though I might make some miscalculations, it is important to summon the strength to measure twice before making another cut. I worry so heavily sometimes about making that final cut that I forget beauty can be present in the process, and even the mistakes. 

Here's hoping that whatever you are creating right now, is starting to come together, flaws and all. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Engaged in Grape






My sister's engagement party was this past weekend. Her color scheme of grape ( a deep plum) and gray looked great together on the dessert bar, in the flower bouquet, and on the table settings. It was a wonderful night where family and friends gathered together to celebrate shared happiness. We ate tiny appetizers before indulging in a candy bar with a dark purple assortment of treats including cupcakes, chocolate covered Oreos, cheesecake bites, and rice krispie treats. A special thanks to my aunt and uncle for hosting us, and to my father who gave a lovely toast for my beautiful sister.

Cheers!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Love is All Around








I am not one for Valentine's Day ... or President's Day (save for the sales). But I am a fan of wedding season, as I have mentioned previously here. This year, wedding season will be especially significant for me as my sister will be getting married in May. 

The last wedding I attended was in October, for my good friend Veronica. It was small and beautiful, with touches of cobalt blue (as you can see on her shower cupcakes; I did my nails to match for the big day). 

Subconsciously, I have been buying some very wedding-appropriate accessories to maybe use come May. Kate Spade made this gorgeous LoveBird clutch with feathers. The interior has cute sayings like "peas in a pod" "partners in crime" and "birds of a feather." 

Cupcakes (a food I love) is the way my sister popped the maid of honor question to me. It's taken a long time for me to find out, but my sister is truly one of my favorite partners in crime and one of the great loves of my life. 

The nails at the bottom are a celebratory set designed for the holidays. They are champagne colored and adorned with pearls, crystals, and beads, just like a wedding dress. 

Here's hoping your February (and beyond) is full of love.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mitty-ing Around






My 2014 resolution to think less, do more, is off to a good start. It feels wonderful to reconnect with my blog friends. Blogging is so much more intimate than catching up via FB or Instagram, though I enjoy both. 

With all the talk of Oscar buzz right now, I have been going to see more movies. And although I try to stay away from the mainstream movie theaters (I think it's better to read the book, and almost every movie was first a book; AND they are expensive!) I had to see the Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I had been intrigued with Mr. Mitty since I saw the trailer. After seeing the original film on TMC and learning this installment would be very different, I got more excited. 

The film didn't disappoint. In fact, it is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. It's a movie that is actually moving. It stirred something inside of me that I had let lay dormant for a long time. The truth is, I can relate to Walter Mitty. I have always been a dreamer; I have always had a vivid imagination. But I identified so much more with the version Ben Stiller portrays. His Mitty suffers from wanderlust, the pressures of family, the perils of romance, all while dedicating himself to a magazine that is sadly going out of print. Mitty has given so much of his life to working on Life Magazine that he realizes he hasn't lived his own. The mission statement of the magazine haunts moviegoers and Mitty throughout the film:

"To see life; to see the world; to eyewitness great events ... to see and be amazed; to see and be instructed."

While I feel like I have packed a lot in this life for the past 29 years, this movie helped me to see that there is more to life than work; there is even more to life than what you can imagine. It opened my eyes to the fact that sometimes taking a chance makes for the best story. The magazine cover at the end of the film says everything. For people like myself who have the privilege of working in publishing, we are able to reach the masses every month (or week, or day) and sometimes we can feel like we know more, or dare I say it, are superior, because we get to research, edit, and churn out content from a computer in a cozy office in a nice building somewhere. But what do we really know? We are not the ones living daily in the trenches of life; in fact, we are oftentimes shielded from it by our cubicle walls. 

I struggled to think of what sort of photos I would share with this blog post. I haven't been to Iceland or Greenland or Afghanistan (like Mitty). I haven't really traveled in some time. But as I looked at my phone I came across some pictures I meant to post on last summer, and didn't. What got in the way the past six months? I have no idea. But these images were saved on my phone for a reason. I have obviously been clinging to the memories, the ideas behind these images. The 1920's poster represents my favorite decade, a place I wish I could travel back to; the British Pub reminds me of being back in England (my favorite place I have visited), and the band at the Chandelier Bar reminds me of a scene in the film where Mitty is motivated to jump onto a helicopter because he imagines his love interest serenading him with a guitar. I loved that moment in the film. It's all about finding out what will push you to take a leap of faith. 

I'm sad to say the film didn't get any award nominations (I obviously think it was robbed). So I thought it only fitting to finally commit these images to this post; to make the things I have been imagining more tangible, more real, more possible. It's interesting to note that "Walter Mitty" and "Mitty-esque" are in the dictionary. They describe this type of person who is given to adventurous dreams. I wanted to make my own play on the term, to describe what I have been doing, and perhaps a bit of what I have not been doing. I have been trying to live, but I feel like I have been living to work instead. I'm so glad for this film, that both amazed and instructed me, that pushed me to finally publish this post. Pushing yourself to see the amazing, and to take a leap of faith are what life is all about. For a while I haven't been blogging because I didn't know if I wanted to share anymore. I didn't have faith that there was anything worth sharing, or that people would even want to see the world as I see it. But thanks in part to Mr. Mitty, I'm willing to take that chance. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

2013: A Year in Shoes

























Sometimes when I feel defeated, I look for new shoes to put on my feet so that I can stand tall. I thought I hadn't purchased too many shoes this year, but I guess I was wrong. Disclaimer: I didn't buy all of these and they are not all wearable, obviously. 

Shoes can be a lot like the ebb and flow of life; they have their highs and they have their lows. I recently acquired my highest heels to date (8.5 inches by my fave shoe designer Charlotte Olympia). Those wedges were definitely a high-point of 2013. The year ended on a high note (see previous post) but I am all for more highs of the  non-shoe variety in 2014. You should set your sights on high heels, but set your goals even higher.