Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Birthday Eve

Sometimes I wish I didn't like my birthday so much. It seems selfish and maybe even immature to wait all year for a day (just one) that is truly all about you. While some people as they get older like to forget about their special day, I really do count down the days until mine. It's a day where I don't worry, don't think about the things that are stressing me out, forget about the future, the past, and actually live in the moment. I love hearing from all of my family and friends too; it's a day full of love.

Sometimes I also wish that my birthday were in a different part of the year. Being born in December is tough because all the focus is on Christmas and money and time are tight. But as I reflected today, I find myself pretty content with the timing of my arrival; it really is the happiest time of year for me. I get to share my birthday month with many others in my family and my closest friends. 

In 29 years of living I have learned that while shoes are nice and cupcakes make a good dinner (sometimes), the sparkle in life comes from those closest to you. For my birthday I was happy to spend time with my family (who got me an Audrey book, a handmade necklace, and delicious cake among other things), my boyfriend (who got me a new iPhone) ... and to blog. I actually really wanted to do some writing just for me, in this space that I don't get to go to so often anymore, to reflect and create. My career has revolved so much around art and expression and 364 days of the year I can get pretty jealous of people who get to make their own art full-time. But I had an epiphany recently: I have been creating my art. I have this blog that I have been writing on for almost five years now, amazing and creative freelance opportunities, and jobs where I have learned so much. When a family member asked me at Thanksgiving what I like to do when not working, I almost didn't know what to say. That's because my current job doesn't really feel like work a lot. I get to blog every day and help nail artists tell their stories. I contribute to an industry that infuses beauty. I am so thankful to my family, friends, and coworkers who celebrate my passion for writing and publishing. Every time I publish a new piece I feel like it's my birthday all over again, and then it's right back to working on the next thing, and so the countdown begins again. Minutes, days, and years fly by in this line of work, because we are living so far ahead in the future when it comes to print magazines. So even though it is March in my head, it is definitely December when I look around outside. And for one day, just 24 hours, it is December 4th. 

When I was younger I wanted the 24 hours in this particular day to last forever. Even now, I try to stretch it sometimes by staying up until midnight and staying out late. It's taken 29 years, but I know now that this day is just as long as all the rest, and that's really not very long at all. Nothing lasts forever; time never flows the way you wish it. But there are some moments, some days, some years that you can hold onto extra tightly, that you can truly savor so that they tide you over. But then again, life is what happens while you're waiting for your next birthday. I don't remember all of the past December fourths, but I am determined to savor this year (the last of my 20s), and this night, and what it means to hopefully put another year of blessings and wisdom under my belt. This blog has helped me celebrate so many milestones, but I'm excited to use it as I initially intended: to celebrate good writing, and to grow with each post I create. 

Thank you to anyone who reads this, your eyes on my writing is the best gift of all. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

On Parade

Last weekend my friend and I went to the Elephant Parade in Dana Point. All along the twists and turns of the coast, we would sometimes catch a glimpse of an elephant. These painted works of art pay homage to Mosha, an elephant who stepped on a land mine in Thailand and lost her leg. Luckily the elephant hospital  was able to help her with a prosthetic. All of the elephant statues therefore have hearts around one leg.

It had been a while since I had done an art walk and the sight of all these beautiful creations by different artists re-inspired me to do some writing, and to look at the world differently. Since you sort of have to seek out the elephants I was reminded to pay attention to my surroundings; to seek out the good, the positive in every situation. On this gorgeous November day I was reminded of why I love where I live. It's a place where the unexpected happens and where you can find natural beauty alongside man-made artistry, all along a walk on the beach. Since lately I have been so bent on work, nail art, the impending holiday rush, Instagram, etc., it was eye-opening to take a day off and just enjoy being outdoors; to take in other people's work. I like being surrounded by art that tells a story and wakes me up.

Since some of the elephants were at the Ritz Carlton, Alexis and I stopped in to check out the legendary hotel. It is gorgeous inside! They even have some smaller elephant artworks. And while I might never be able to afford a stay at the Ritz, I did buy a glass of champagne to enjoy the moment. It was the elephant exhibit's first trip to America and my first trip to the nearby Ritz, and that was something worth celebrating. I like doing a lot things around Laguna such as taking in the sights on my own, but on this occasion I was so overwhelmed with happiness to share the experience with such a good friend. I think sometimes I can be quick to assume that no one would like the things I like or do the things I do. But ever since moving to this area I have made nothing but likeminded friends. I just need to see them a bit more often. So I toast to creating art, and to raising awareness, and to the wonder that surrounds us, even on the simplest of walks. Sometimes it's OK to wear your heart on your sleeve and put your friendships on parade, you never know where the path might lead.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Roots That Clutch

If you keep up with me on Instagram then you know I have been preparing to see the Salinger documentary for some time. I even did my nails for the film! (You can read about that here).

While reading the September issue of Harper's Bazaar I discovered a Salinger accessory I really wanted. I already have all his books, a T-shirt, and an iPhone charger, but seeing Olympia Le Tan's work made me realize what is missing. I love a good book turned clutch (see here) so I was blown away with Le Tan's work.

This fashion designer majored in Italian literature, is the daughter of an illustrator, learned embroidery from her grandmother, and studied fashion alongside Lagerfeld. Pretty amazing right? But the fact that books are her first love and she taps into that for her accessories line is what draws me to her. Natalie Portman and Michelle Williams have worn her clutches, but that's not the appeal to me. I love that each one is handmade, and you can see so in every stitch. I so desperately would love to own one of these but at $1,000 + a pop, I am afraid I will have to wait.

Seeing the documentary and not being able to track down a Le Tan Catcher clutch (not that I could afford it anyway) got me thinking a lot about the man behind the film; the artist behind his/her work. The greatest artists (I feel) are oftentimes those who dedicate so much to their craft that we almost don't notice them. They are the people who fight for their characters in the trenches and would rather make a few items by hand with deep meaning than mass-produce and create something they aren't passionate about. I realize now that  I have perhaps even more respect for both Salinger and Le Tan after learning a bit about these obscure creators. In fact, I feel a tad bad about seeing the Salinger film (he would have hated it). And come to think of it, he wouldn't like the idea that someone wears a shirt with his book on it or carries a clutch that is meant to look like his novel. Because the truth about great art is that once it is released into the world it is carried on by people not close to the artist; it is free to become and be used however a consumer sees fit. And any writer would rather a person carried their actual book around -- I'm sure. So while I cannot yet afford a Le Tan clutch I am determined to wait for a time when I can -- so that I can buy the real thing and support this artist's amazing work.

 But I suppose part of the appeal for both of these artists is that we the public want something we cannot have. Maybe that's to get to know a man who never wanted to be known outside of his work or a handbag that's -- let's face it-- not meant for everyone to own. However, I have to thank this woman for bringing so many of my favorite works to the foreground again. And I have to thank both artists for stirring something in me, long after I have turned the last page or sworn off buying another item --- for making me remember why it is I too remain dedicated to my art.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Love Letter to Arizona

I skipped tonight's run because I needed to write. I feel recharged after a too-quick vacation to Arizona last weekend. Confession: Arizona has never been at the top of my list of places to go. I had done the Grand Canyon thing years ago and every year my dad goes to watch baseball spring training there while I politely refuse. All I think of are red rocks and the sun beating down on your brow.

But I am so glad I made this trip after all. Sometimes the places we remember from our childhood changes so drastically when we visit them again as adults. It's like reading a favorite book over again in that you find things that you missed the first time around.

I am not one for scenery usually (I'm more for malls and wineries), but the Grand Canyon and Sedona were breathtaking. I actually climbed out onto a ledge with my friends -- something I never would have done before. But I braved it because they were all out there to meet me and all of them held their hands out, making me feel safe. It was nice to literally sit on top of what I felt like could be the world, with no fear of falling or failing. When you look out at the vastness of the crags and the sky it is a freeing feeling.

Since coming home I haven't really felt the same. I'm a bit lovesick actually. The sun doesn't set on majestic rises of earth here. There are no cabins in the woods to retreat to. My friends have all since gone their separate ways until we meet again sometime in the near future (probably at the usual food/drink place). I wonder if I return to Arizona again if it will take on a whole other meaning and if my memories will layer over each other like rocks, and I would have to dig deep to unearth those genuine feelings of seeing something for the first time -- and falling in love.

When packing to leave I always bring a lot of baggage, and it's funny because going home I try to bring the least amount possible. I feel like I left a lot in Arizona, and yet I feel like I am carrying a boulder on my shoulders still. I used to dream of traveling to other countries constantly. And here I am barely with the money to afford a trip to the state next door; my passport is about to expire, and I feel more and more like my time is running up.

On the long drive home we all talked about our next trip. And suddenly the road ahead didn't look so straight and narrow, ending somewhere far off. I realize now that the actual journey is far from over. The rocks, sunsets, and eateries will all still exist in other far off places, waiting for me to discover them one day. I just hope it's with the people I love.

We saw the World's End our first night in Arizona. The film reminds me now of how I can get nostalgic about places and friendships. I like to think we conquered the world a bit last weekend. When you hold out your hand for another person and are willing to let go of the things weighing you down, you realize the end isn't near, and you may in fact be standing at the beginning of something. I'm so glad I got another chance to experience this place, and I vow to never cross anything off my list prematurely again. You never know what you might find in the place you never thought to look.

I hope everyone had a wonderful summer!