Love Love Letter

Planning Love Fest 2012 in NYC, taking it in stride.

Temptation

Looking at rental listings in our very city. We’re thinking more space is necessary. And finding these gems, that are actually sort of in our price range, is beyond tempting.

Now, I’m off to do some daydreaming as to what I’d do with all those kitchen cabinets! Those built-in bookshelves, that incredible sunroom!

Obsession

I don’t have an addictive personality.

I don’t rely on anything in particular to start my day – no piping hot cup of coffee is going to make or break my energy level.

I decided to try smoking cigarettes just after college because I needed something to do on my long aimless walks through the city, pondering who to call or what calling to follow to make life more exciting and less like the life of a new graduate with no money and a bit of a quarter life crisis on her hands. But then I got all frog-in-my-throaty and my colds lasted longer and I knew it wasn’t worth it, so my five cigs a day went down to zero without even the beginnings of a hankering.

I guess I can get obsessive, though, and I saw the worst of that personality trait the other day when I went to Bloomingdales and they gave me a scanner and set me loose. Well, first I was given an hour with Beverly, a helpful woman who was there to guide me through it all.

We went to china first. I knew it would be my downfall, and I wanted to start on it when I was fresh and clear-headed. We went to look at a few patterns that I was partial to. I’d been stalking this one already, for a while.

It makes me weak in the knees. I suggested mixing it with another pattern to take it away from straight up ‘precious’ and make it a little more fun and funky. I hated having to use that word, funky, but it’s all that seemed to work at the moment. I also suggested taking it away from being so ‘precious’ by using it on a more regular basis. Instead of saving my china for big family meals (who knows how often they’ll happen), I’d take them out anytime I’d happened to put some effort into the food prep, anytime we had a friend or two over. When I found out that the gold wouldn’t do well in the dishwasher, I changed my mind. I want something that will feel special for a long time to come, but I also want something that I won’t feel is SO special that I won’t use it. Ever.

I played around with the idea of this┬áin white, but I couldn’t find any other patterns I liked with it, and it’s so of the moment, I’m afraid it will feel dated quickly.

 

What I eventually chose, I go back and forth between loving, and assigning all kinds of judgements. It’s for a grandmother, a California hippy, a nerd. But hey, I have grandmother tendencies, and California hippy tendencies, and definitely nerd tendencies. I’d been strongly considering Heath Ceramics dinnerware, but was worried I wouldn’t be able to dress it up enough. This has a similar feel, but it’s easier to mix and match with glitz and fun bits on the table because it has this pearlescent quality to it.

I paired it with this awesome gold and black flatware and when I started playing with textiles with bits of black in it, it went from earthy to interesting, but I STILL doubt my decision. We will be able to use these every day without hesitating, but they’ll also make a table look beautiful. Maybe it’s being in retail for work throughout my career, but I just cannot commit. There are a million decisions one could make, many of which would be just perfect. We could choose any of these and I’d be happy, but again, some are more practical than others:

Look how pretty these are in groupings! They are so ridiculously expensive though.

And here, lots going on. Also, I think they’re beauts, but some might not want to eat off a bug…

These are pretty, but I do live with a man:

And so, this concludes a peak into my obsessive world, wherein I look at these all the time and think about changing them or not, and spend three hours at Bloomingdales until I can’t move my feet any more, and then spend the rest of the day online rethinking things and trying to find just the right cloth napkins to make my choice cool.

Someone has to save me from myself.

XOXO.

Focus, and Re-Focus

I’ve decided I’m not cut out for writing consistently about our upcoming wedding. Can you tell? While I really do love planning this, I have a sometimes crippling level of self-doubt about some of the choices we make as we move along in the process. It’s not so much that I don’t like what we choose – I love it all as a matter of fact. My doubt stems more from being overloaded with good options. Making so many decisions about this one day starts feeling overwhelming when I realize there are so many choices that could be the right one, they’d all work, they’d just work in different ways.

Also, I realize that I don’t want to ‘review’ anybody or any choices we’re making before we’ve actually seen the results.

So, that said, I’m going to try to focus on only the things that bring me joy, and the things that I know should be filling my time and comprising the days of my life. The things that matter to me deserve the time it takes to reflect on them here, and my interest in finding more like-minded people, who are self-aware and searching to grow and to improve themselves, I think it’s only possible if you make yourself vulnerable and express the fact that you want that. Anonymously. Ha.

Can you tell that I’m a big fan of self-help gobbledy-gook?

Tomorrow, I will tell you about my relationship with ‘stuff,’ and how an entire DAY spent working on our registry, followed by dreams about dishware, propelled me to go ahead and give away all of my cherished CDs.

Like Louise Says

It’s me.

I’ve been in Southern California, where it never rains (thank you Albert Hammond). We’ve been listening to that song on repeat as a result. I completely adore it there. Everyone just seems ‘chill,’ to use a terrible turn of phrase, and carefree. But still productive and creative and driven. I can see every single stereotype of Los Angelinos comes from somewhere, but I still see almost nothing wrong with that beautiful sprawling city. I would live there.

Having time to regroup and an aunt and uncle there to basically flat out spoil me was just what I needed. Taking that sense of calm and comfort forward with me into the Northeast Autumn, I’m compelled to do things for myself, to cultivate that in my daily life and to find ways to be productive despite the road blocks the past few months have presented me with.

I started watching some interviews from self-help gurus like Louise Hay, whose book I read a few years ago and found so inspiring. It’s the cheesiest thing ever, printed all in color with shooting stars and butterflies gracing each and every page. I always giggled to myself when I pulled it out on the subway, imagining what those looking over my shoulder must have thought. Some, I’m sure, were mocking… but I like to imagine that one or two contemplative souls took a piece of the message with them and went home chanting to themselves about their own virtue, wisdom, likability, beauty. The videos are bringing back a touch of that to me, and frankly I need to force the fiance to watch them too, because he’s wallowing in some negative feelings these days. If good old Louise is correct, those thoughts are only bringing more negativity! Happy thoughts bring happy times.

So, with all this in mind, I’m putting it out there, the things I want. No more negativity. Oh, did you know I’m a big nerd?

I have a whole lot I want to accomplish over the next while:

- Sign up for a watercolor class at the 92Y, just a few blocks from our place.
– Finish a wax carving and get it cast. Jewelry, friends!
– Write a novel. (Ha, I know. Big)
– Write a memoir. (Ha, I know. Could be super lame. But my life has been kinda crazy, maybe even worth documenting, and maybe interesting to a few people besides me.)
– Make a children’s book with the fiance. (We do love a collaboration)
– Practice yoga regularly.
– Eat more greens. (I’m a fairly healthy eater, but I do let my eyes get bigger (and richer and fattier) than my stomach from time to time, and memories of my mother telling me to finish my plate makes it difficult not to)
– Get my creations onto a professional website.
– Start our family photo albums. (Aw! It’s been way too long since I’ve actually printed a photo, and there’s no better time to start)
– Uh, finish planning our wedding! (We’re down to seven months to go. Still plenty of time, of course, but I want to keep on top of things)

Now, her method states that I’m supposed to say and believe that I already am everything I want to be. So, “I’m super well-off because I’m a successful creative entrepreneur.” But I can’t help but list out those small/large steps that I think will help get me there. Does that count as NOT believing? It is, after all, anticipation for the future as opposed to appreciation to the Universe for the present.

Returning to Earth,
A

These Things

It’s this sort of beautiful, well-done, inspiring video that makes me ache for more ladies in my life who are doing things and making waves. My last whining post doesn’t come from nowhere. Of course I must say that the ladies I DO have in my life are amazing and talented and wonderful and my rocks. I just want more. Is that asking too much? Perhaps.

BTW, all of this California-life longing might be stemming from the fact that I actually leave for lovely La La Land in two days! Yes, a trip. You might call it a vacation. Hallelujah.

I May Require a Trip to California

I don’t know how to put this without sounding somehow crass. I’ve been reading blogs for a long time, since probably 2006, quite obsessively. Reading them has served as different things for me at different times. Sometimes it’s been a sad escape, a search for another world that I’m not in. Sometimes it’s inspiration. The line between those two distinctions is all too thin. One can be inspired and inspired endlessly, and never really get to the ‘doing.’ And in that, it can be a detriment. Everyone who inspires you looks like they do what they do too well, you can never be as good, you can’t start until you know just the perfect thing to begin upon.

Lately, I’ve been trying to scale back my reading a bit, but also, with actually writing a blog, I’m trying to participate a bit more – leave comments, make it all feel more real. I’m also trying to actually get to the ‘doing’ and cutting back on the inspiration overload. And if real is what I’m going for, well then by golly I may as well admit that I’m hoping that one day, all of this spills over into analog life.

So, here’s the crass part. So many of the people who I read who I find especially inspiring seem to be in California. I am living in the most amazing metropolis, the wonderful town New York New York, and yet the only real network of folks I can seem to come across here are interested almost exclusively in fashion. Fashion for fashion’s sake. I adore fashion, and if I ever start actually posting pictures here with any regularity, they could very well be of the fashion variety. I love the fashion blogs I read, and I love the NYC blogs I read, but gosh… Everyone in California seems to be:

- picking citrus from their backyard and making amazing recipes with it
– raising chickens
– having babies that toddle around in the sand and sun
– friends with each other
– carefree
– making amazing clothing or art or jewelry and making a living doing it

Is there some pocket of NYC that is doing things more along these lines and maybe spending less time in front of their camera’s timer?
Don’t hate me if that’s you!?

Taste Buds

Anyone who’s been reading along these past weeks, months, as I’ve been flailing and sobbing to myself about catering troubles knows that I will feel an unnatural giddiness as I announce that we have found our caterer.

Our second tasting last week was out of this world. The food was amazing, the ladies were amazing, and the presentation was truly so nice. We sat down to the printed proposal and a menu for the evening tucked sweetly into the place setting, all personalized for us. The managers sat with us the whole time and chit chatted, and helped us think through some of our scheduling troubles for the wedding. By the end, they had pages of notes regarding our aesthetic, ideas for the flow of the reception, it felt so organized and helpful. Even though we hadn’t booked them yet!

To top it all off, they sent us home with two tiny canning jars filled with extras of the dessert – lemon trifle with lavender poached blueberries – so we could keep enjoying it later, wrapped up in the cutest little Japanese tote. They also took photos of everything we ate and emailed them to us later. So thoughtful and helpful.

The fact that they had the most adorable tiny Boston Terrier was beside the point, but still worked to charm me for sure.

As one says, Bon Appetite!

Listening on Repeat

Heard this song when we were out for second dinner at Brinkley’s last night, and it reminded me that I love it. These girls are so saucy! And those dancing boys!

A Taste Is Worth a Thousand Words

Our first tasting with a caterer was last week and it was pretty incredible.

I cannot tell you how incredibly awkward I felt as we first arrived. We entered their space, not sure if we were in their home or their kitcheny office. We wanted wine, but didn’t know if we were supposed to provide our own, so we brought a bottle but didn’t end up needing it. It was raining and cold outside. We’d just bickered about where the entrance was. It was warm inside. There was a large dog and the owner and the sou chef and a server all of whom we awkwardly shook hands with. We didn’t know if we’d have to pay. We felt guilty for eating their food and drinking their wine if we didn’t pay. We didn’t want to pay. We wanted to eat. We wanted to figure out our freaking wedding catering plan.

via The Wheeling Gourmet

I avoided eye contact at first and felt like a five year old. Soon enough I realized that this is just a part of the business and it’s better to be normal and friendly than freakish, as in most situations, so I warmed up and looked people in the eye and smiled. Soon enough, a few glasses of red wine had turned into a few more, and we had a steady stream of hors d’oeuvres making their way out to us. They gave us plates but we barely needed them – everything pretty much went from serving tray to mouth. We felt well taken care of. We felt gluttonous.

Our verdict? We’d happily go with this option, but we’re not, honestly, completely convinced. Most of the food was great, but I’m a somedays vegetarian as is a vast majority of my family, and neither of us loved any of the vegetarian options! There were a few things that made us giggle like school girls and rank them as the new front runner, but without vegetables aplenty it just won’t work.

To that end, we have another tasting tonight. I have high hopes about this one. If we don’t like it… I hope I don’t melt into a puddle of tears on the floor. Five year old style. Will report back.

A

Drawing Conclusions

Some skills are acquired through years of practice. Others are innate, you’re born with them and when allowed to shine, it’s clear that you’re a natural. I’m not sure which I am when it comes to art – I’ve always loved making things, but that said, I’ve been doing it since I was tiny. My maternal grandmother, when she was alive, was a painter her whole life. My times spent with her were very often in her studio, at her side, with my own palette set up lovingly by her, a few colors at my disposal and a pad of paper. She would do her very important work, painting landscapes across large canvases, while I scribbled away on my very important work.

When I was in college, studying art, I never liked drawing. I always thought I was no good at it – I had a grasp on color and composition, but I couldn’t create realistic images that I was satisfied with. My instructors had me make long, sweeping strokes with charcoal and paints, gestural drawings that captured the essence of a model or a plate of fruit. Everyone’s work looked fairly the same. Decent, not great. Student work. Some were better than others. I endured it and couldn’t wait to get back to classes that allowed me to use media that inspired me and that I felt confident with.

All of a sudden, upon finishing and leaving school, I discovered I DO actually draw well enough, I just don’t ‘do’ the whole gestural approach. I take a thin, heavy mechanical pencil, and draw small detailed works, rarely erasing, filling up the page bit by bit, reveling in the meditative act of finishing up the final touches.

I spent a few hours earlier this week drawing these bags for a job application – I threw caution to the wind and applied for a job that requires specific skills acquired through practice and tuition paid, in accessories design. I do honestly think I could do it, and my fiance really really thinks I could do it – he’s my ultimate cheerleader – but honest truth is, they would have to train me. Still, when they asked for sketches of handbags after seeing my resume, I had to try, so I pulled these and a few others together. They didn’t like them enough, or they’re not done the professional way. It’s a terrible scan job, I should have known better… My A says he wants one framed, though. So I pleased somebody!

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.