Thursday, December 31, 2009
This past year has been big for transformations. We began eating vegetarian towards the end of 2008 but this really carried into 2009 on a deeper level. I feel we've really learned a lot and helped a lot of other people think of what they are eating and how they are eating and how easy it can be to think of food in a new way.
I'm so excited by this change and how much better we've felt on several levels, I want to act as a resource for other. We always speak about eating vegan in a very positive way... because it is! But we want to make ourselves more available. I know there are people out there, especially in our area, who are considering a change but not sure how or what are the best options or where to go. And we're pretty knew to it so we can remember those days.
One of my goals last year that I didn't get to accomplish was to create a group that would be somewhat about eating vegan or vegetarian but would be more of just a gathering. Less intimidating and more open for exploration and discussion. I trying to support this on The Daily Coop too by featuring more recipes and restaurant reviews. I need a good name for this group that sums up what I want to accomplish. I love Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's "Food For Thought" name. I wish I'd thought of that! I'll let you know what I come up with.
There are several places that I've traveled to that I liked well enough, some I really didn't like at all and some that I felt perfectly at home in. More at peace than even where I grew up and like I just "fit" somehow. San Francisco is one of those places.
I've been there three times now. The first two trips were on my own and the last one, about 3 years ago was with the hubby. We took the picture above while visiting the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.
I love all the neighborhoods, being able to walk all over the place, the cultural and food varieties and even the weather. It's one of the place I would consider moving to and may possibly do so one day. It's a place I can envision a life.
I don't feel that I need a long trip but I do want to make a weekend trip this year. It's like a booster shot. I just need a refresher. I love to walk around and just soak it in. I want to stay near the park in a Victorian gem of a bed and breakfast and wander for a few days.
One of the best parts of last Fashion Week was the opportunity to meet up with so many of the ladies I know from online. We were able to connect, via WendyB, and head out for a lovely dinner.
Sadly I had to leave New York early but I don't plan on that happening again! I missed the IFB meet-up too. I really want to make another get-together happen when I'm there in February.
So, ladies, if you will be in town, we're going to make this happen! Dinner, drinks, who knows what! Get ready for it and send me ideas.
February 12th for Fashion Night Out or another night during Fashion Week.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I love a good picnic. In fact I have to admit I have far to many picnic baskets (is three too many?). I also have a good bit of pretentiousness and a love Victoriana, especially excessive serving pieces and croquet.
So what I want to institute is a flouncy picnic party. I'm going to subject my husband and hopefully my friends and neighbors to come out, wear their approximation of the above and come eat cucumber sandwiches and play badminton and croquet. I mean, I have an antique croquet set and giant yard. It needs to get some use!
Ideally this will be a early Spring day. Before the bugs but not muddy from the rains. We can bring out the modern Victrola (aka iPod and speakers) and lounge in the clover.
Painting by James Tissot - The Picnic 1879
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I have a tendency to fall into crushes. A lot. Usually it is with a person, but I have to admit I am totally smitten with a place. And that place is the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park.
Maybe it's cliche but I don't care. I love it. I especially love sitting outside with one or two (or three) Kir Royales while nibbling on little snacks chatting with friends or even an old flame.
I want to spend another sunny few hours there on a warm early Fall afternoon. Who wants to join me?
Image by varonbc via Flickr.
W Magazine did a Run of Show preview portfolio of key pieces with some sourcing and there on slide 8, center model, it looked to me like the McQueens brought to life, albeit a bit tamer then their runway counterparts.
When I was in high school and college (oh, so long ago) I used to track my outfits by writing what I wore each day down on my wall calendar. I think part of it was an early exercise in planning and thinking about fashion but a big part of is was more because it appealed my love of organization.
Not that I had that many clothes to keep track of!
But then I stopped for a while. A few months ago I began interspersing taking pictures of my outfit posts with writing down what I wore. Partly this was because I am not able to take pictures every day and I can't always post the ones I do take right away. So it was to help keep an accurate record.
But then I found I was adding in notes from the day and things that happened. It was becoming more of a mini-journal. And, being a paper/pens/journal junkie I figured I had outgrown scribbling notes on my desk calendar, what better place to look than to my favorite Moleskine line.
When I saw the 12-month Planner set (ooohhhh, pretty!), I new this would be the perfect solution. Small enough to carry around, just the right number of pages and color-coded. I was so excited I bought a set of blue Volants so I could start in November and not have to wait until the new year. I'm also really excited because they are sitting on one side of my desk and then I have rainbow masking tapes on the other side. I'm surrounded!
These are pretty popular already. I know a few bloggers have sparked to them. I first saw them in Barnes & Noble in October and they were running about $36 and that is what they are selling for on Amazon right now. But keep your eye out each day. I only paid $26.
By the way, I'm not using the number and month stickers on the spine. I'm putting a Moo sticker of mine on the cover and then using the month sticker on the inside front cover. But that's what Moleskines are all about, right? Personalization.
But while the planners are going to help me keep track of what I wore, I also want something to help me keep track of all of the outfit ideas I come up. I have a notebook now but it's pretty messy and just a series of scribbly notes. I love the idea of this Fashionary notebook. It's great for designers, of course, but also for people like me who can't draw to save their lives. I'm hoping it will give me enough of a template to work with so I can, poorly, draw out my outfits.
Of course, I really just need to take more pictures. One of my 2009 goals was to begin doing this and in 2010 I plan on taking even more, if only to have a record.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
I've been trying to refocus on adding more travel back into our lives. I love to travel and there are so many places that I want to see. Some are place I want to return to and experience more fully but some are totally new. And some are for the experiences as much as the location.
I had put this wish on my 2009 Goals list but it's being moved to 2010, because we did the trip to Ireland (tons of pictures here, by the way).
There's something magical about the idea of visiting Austria and Germany at Christmas time. Traveling in the winter is one of my favorite times to travel. Depending on where you are going it isn't peak season and everything seems more peaceful. Many people feel obligated to be on family trips so they don't travel at this time, so there can be great deals out there too. Yes, we miss some of the peak season events but the reduced stress seems to make up for it.
I'm hoping we can make this trip happen. Winter snows, train rides, confectionery castles and cuckoo clocks. I'm dreaming of the Black Forest and the Danube.
Image credit: St. Anton am Arlberg, Tirol, Austria by Kruhme via Flickr
Friday, December 25, 2009
I have a dream. I want to cozy up in front of the fire. Ideally with the pups, a book or a good movie and snuggly cup of hot cocoa. I live in a house with two fireplaces, yet sadly I still haven't realized this vision. Why? Our house is 110 years old and the fireplaces are unlined.
What this means is we have really old mortar which could have cracks and crevices in it. Fire sparks + 110 year old wood is not a good thing. So we need to have them lined. But the pitch of the roof is very steep and requires scaffolding to be erected, so it would be a pretty costly process. We've looked into converting the fireplaces to gas but the house (built oh so long ago) is not to "code" so we would have to cut up the original mantels to do this. Something we are loathe to do.
We also need to get one of the chimney's capped. Right now it is open at the top and chimney swifts (small birds) nest in there in the Summer and cannot be disturbed, so we need to cap the chimney in the Winter in anticipation of working on the lining in the Summer. It's a process.
So to make this vision a reality we need to save up. I'm hoping this is the year we can do at least one of them, so that by next Winter, the pups can sleep in front the fire for the first time.
Although this does not seem to be the type of day I need to actively plan for or mindfully enjoy, a lazy day around the house seems as elusive as a more "exotic" event filled or travel-requiring day.
When I'm at home I always feel there are chores to do, or work to catch up on or sites to read. I rarely sit down on the couch with a kitty on my lap and read, much to my dismay. I love to read. I have a library. I need to push away the distractions and immerse myself in a book. Although I do take naps, I need push away the guilt and turn of the noise (aka the computer and the TV) and be silent and still. I do a lot of that over the holidays but what better time than late summer, when its too hot to be outside running around doing errands.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Maybe falling in love with Paris is trite and expected. But I couldn't help it. I only had a brief taste on my first trip but I loved the city. I felt connected. I'm the type of person that trusts their gut when it comes to leaping and not looking. I've did that when I met my husband-to-be and I did that on other moves. I wouldn't start doubting myself now.
But I can't pick-up and move there just yet. That plan is there. The seed has been planted. It will just take a while to grow. I just have to be patient.
Of course, patience isn't my strong suit, so I'm going to have to appease myself with more visits. And I think I need one this year. It's been several years since my last trip and I need to go back. To take a deeper dive. To walk the streets and immerse myself as much as I can.
I am not envisioning a day that is filled with glittering experiences but a simpler time. I want to work in a visit with some other blogger friends. I'd love to have a shopping excursion to favorite stores or discovering new ones. Maybe hot chocolate at Angelina's and over to Colette's. I've seen Paris in the winter but now I want to see it in a more expansive time.
I have been lover of Afternoon tea for a long time. I love to collect serving pieces and different patterned tea cups and cute mismatched plates. And I especially love having tea parties where I can use all my cute stuff and host a group of friends to come over and meet and chat.
But I rarely have the time, or make the time to do so.
But this year I want that to be different. I'd love to have at least one tea party a season so I can vary the menu and the decor. But the tea party isn't just about using pretty cups and having sandwiches and scones, it's about connecting.
And that's where the challenge lies.
It can be challenging to find the time to get everyone together. It's challenging to make the time to connect. And creating authentic experiences is what I want to do more of. So I'm planning time for tea.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Either via a friend or at a stables, I would like to spend at least a day spent tacking up, taking a refresher lesson and/or going out for a pleasure hack. I would then come back, cool the horse down and give him a curry (a brushing, not an Indian takeaway).
I used to take riding lessons when I was younger and have even had the opportunity to ride on a few of my travels. But I miss it and, as my riding lesson in Ireland reminded me, I'm woefully out of riding shape. I still have my boots, my jodphurs are around somewhere and I need some new gloves. I live in an area that is known as horse country. Why am I not riding more?
Oh yeah, I don't make or feel like I have the time. That needs to change and fast. I need to find a place where I can get back on the horse - literally and figuratively.
Yep, I'll be sore and tired and dirty. And, dammit, I'll be happier for it I know I don't have the time to properly own and care for a horse, but I'm going to use the next crisp sunny day to find a horse that needs some attention and spend some time with him.
Posting: To rise and fall in rhythm with the horse's movement at a trot. Posting helps the horse stay in balance and the rider from bouncing on the horse's back causing discomfort to them both.
Hack: Either a slow pleasurable trail ride, or a horse used for leisurely rides. A more archaic use is as a horse rented out for riding.
Image via Flickr by yOOrek
A peaceful and regenerative day mixing the beauty of the mountains with the indulgence of a spa.
I have the type of job that needs you to be constantly "on" - talking with clients, collaborating with in-house partners, running around and generally dealing with tons of content and stimulus all day long. When I get home, it's quieter but there are still lots of pets and then writing too. Sometimes I just want to go sit in my closet in the dark! A spa day is my perfect antidote to this. I love to do a full day mini-retreat where I spend most of the day relaxed in a robe and silent, except for maybe some bubbling water. Speaking only to order a light meal or some tea, I can be calm, guiltless, without phones or computers and just read a book or close my eyes.
Image via Sea Otter Woodworks
I am a believer in the power of intention. I believe that writing things down makes them happen. This is either a subconscious manifestation or, in some cases, a magical one. But I’ve seen in time and time again in my own life so that I can’t discount it.
Each year I take off the last two weeks of the year. I have been doing this for over 12 years now. While many people spend their vacation time in the Spring or Summer, I prefer the Winter. It is a time when my job can often be quieter and I find that when other people are distracted by the holidays, I have more freedom to concentrate on things I want to do just for me. I try to work on personal to dos, relax, read and spend time with the pets.
I have a ritual of reading, right around mid-November, How to Simplify your Christmas. The book itself isn’t that great or innovative but it reminds me of the intentions that I have for myself during this period. What I like to at the end of the year, along with buying a new weekly desk calendar and filling in all the birthdays and events I need to keep and eye on next year, I write out a list of goals. I don’t do resolutions but I do list things I want to accomplish personally or around the house or trips I want to take. Last year I took it a step further and broke it down into categories. It is amazing how many of them are checked off at the end of the year in one way or the other.
The great thing about making goals is some of them can be used as building blocks for longer term (and I’m talking 5 – 10 year) accomplishments, so it’s not always a horrible thing if they aren’t completed when December 31st rolls around. The goals list is also useful to see where I need to focus better in the next year; where did I get lazy or skimp on myself. I haven’t done a thorough review of my 2009 list yet, so I can’t give a report out, but I’ll give myself a B against my 2009 list.
One thing I want to add to this end of the year ritual is what I am calling Days of Intention. I read a comment pointing out that starting today (December 20th) there are 12 days left in the year. A power number. How impactful would it be to envision a list of 12 days during the upcoming year that could become truly amazing touchstones? By envisioning these days you will create memorable, potentially pivotal, events in the future.
I think you could be very over the rainbow with these envisioned days. Putting it out there to the universe that you are open to magical events. And I think that is important too. But I’m going to use most of my days to create scenarios that are simpler and totally under my control. Things that I can either make happen or just be mindful and aware of when they are happening so I can guide them and imprint them into my memory banks, similar to cognitive dreaming.
So, look forward to the series, one for each of the 12 days, and I hope you will share some of your days as well.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
The first installment is all about making real (as opposed to instant) oatmeal.
Check it out, let me know what you think, if you have any questions or want to make requests.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
This is not that shoe.
Can you imagine how bad these would look on???
I beg you, please don't spend $285 on these shoes. Don't spend $2.85 either.
High Top Oxfords by See by Chloé
Monday, December 14, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Especially these "invisible" mirrored boots.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I had been toying with this idea a few weeks ago but watching Coco avant Chanel on the plane back from Ireland made we even more inspired to do it. The thing is, I love the classic tailoring and elegant femininity of the Chanel look. I love the black, whites, greys, sages and pinks. The restrained lines with immaculate detailing. It all appeals to me strongly.
The movie was some, but not enough, of what I hoped for. I expected it to be about the elements that influenced Coco's aesthetic but I wanted even more. The few brief moments were not enough and didn't tie it back to her later creations. Less romance, more fashion!
As I cast a new eye over some recent purchases, I saw details were already creeping in.
I love the off-white pajamas with the black piping.
And I just purchased a few of the new Rosalind Keep trompe l'oeil Trench Dresses from Oasis (UK) -
Of course these aren't as detailed, but Forever 21 had some cute options to wear to work and with jeans:
I'm wearing this jacket today with a beaded top, black pencil skirt, black tights and black patent heels.