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This was a good week.  Maybe it was the increasing daylight or nature springing to life all around me, but I felt good.  I felt full of energy, a sense of clarity, an innate contentment.

Dare I say, I felt happy.

I thought about this yesterday as I walked through the streets of my city, feeling the need to see some magic.   I walked over to the spot where I saw it a few weeks ago.

Yes.  Still there.

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My magic fix intact, I ventured towards the subway, headed uptown for a little shopping.  I saw a blob of pink in front of the subway stairs.

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Magic had followed me down the street, and it made smile.

Uptown a few subway stops, I walked around my happy place, ABC Carpet & Home and something stopped me in my tracks.  It was written in wire.

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I am magic.  Clearly something was trying to get my attention.  I’ve been looking for magic in my life, and maybe it’s been with me all the time.  Maybe it’s what I am made of, as well as truth and beauty.

I hope you embrace the magic in you this week, wherever you are.

xo, with goodness and grace.

Self care is one of those buzzwords, like balance, that you hear about often but don’t necessarily know how it fits into everyday life.  It sounds good in theory, but reality may be a very different thing.

During these last 6 weeks of my self care project, I was surprised to see there were many things I do for myself on a regular basis.

I allow myself some kind of chocolate treat everyday, but I also mother myself by limiting the number I can have.  And if I have one sugary/rich/boozy meal, I try balance the other meals with something more nutritionally sound.

I walk a little bit everyday—whether cold or breezy or rainy or perfectly sunny—because fresh air is good for my sanity.

I take in my surroundings, realizing that today may be very different from tomorrow.  While I wait on the bus stop in the morning, I take note of how the clouds frame a backdrop to the apartment buildings above me and how the sun lights of all it perfectly.

I pay attention.

But, here’s the thing.  Self care is an inside job.  It’s not what you do, but how you show up.  During these 40+ days, I began to notice the conversations in my head, which weren’t always kind or loving.  In fact, they often involved berating myself for the things that I hadn’t done.  And that only stressed me out more.

Self care is to notice that everyday is a miracle.  And so are you.  Therefore, you must treat yourself like the precious thing that you are.  Kindness matters, and most of all it matters that you are kind to yourself.

I’m still working on this.

But for the moment, I do know that self care is…

…knowing when to walk in the rain and when it’s time to take a cab in the middle of a torrential downpour…

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…taking a moment at a work event to be in awe of the amazing views from the observation deck of the Empire State Building…

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…noticing the beauty that spring reveals…

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…acknowledging the incredible beauty around the corner…

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….and seeing the signs of love.  My chronicle of self care is concluding this week, but the journey continues.  And I know that it is leading to towards more love.

I mentioned in an earlier post the decorated eggs that were placed all over New York City.   This week, all of them were moved to Rockefeller Center.  Out of the 300 eggs, there were many nods to love.

This one was my favorite sign of love, from one of my favorite designers, Diane von Furstenburg.

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Because, love is life.  That’s what it’s all about.  Paying attention—and self care, however imperfect—has taught me that.  In this season of miracles and renewal, I hope you see the signs of love in your lives.

xo, with goodness and grace.

After I wrote my the last post on self care, I realized two things.

One: the time from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday this year is actually not 40 days, but a week longer.  So, we’re really looking at 47 days of self care, y’all.

The second thing I’ll save for next week.  I need time to ponder that lesson first.

But, you know how I see signs of love everywhere?  (And, by the way, I’m convinced so do you…you just may not know it yet.)  Well, they are slowly being mixed in with signs of magic.  Love and magic—isn’t that an awesome thought? That is how life should be.

Around Christmas time, I saw a stencil for sale in ABC Carpet & Home, a magical store with a quirky assortment of furniture, lighting, and other assorted things for the home.  The stencil itself was beautiful, all glittery and gold.  But its message made me smile.  It said, “In Pursuit of Magic”.  The creators’ mission is described on their website this way:

“In Pursuit of Magic: two female street artists on a crusade to elevate consciousness and amplify meaning in the world.”

How cool is that?  Every now and then, I see those words around the city, where someone has decided the spread the message of magic.

My week was kicked off when I saw this on a construction wall on Houston Street.

Magic - Wall

Seeing love and magic together, I trusted it was a sign of goodness to come.

Day 34:  Sometimes on your way home from work, you get sidelined at the counter at Murray’s Cheese and suddenly there’s a very urgent need to have cheese and wine for dinner.

Cheese-Wine Dinner

And so you do.  And it is comfort and happiness on a plate.

Day 35: Sunsets never get old for me. The most beautiful ones command attention, so I stopped and gave this one my full self.

Tuesday Sunset

Day 36:  I do my best to take a walk in the middle of every work day.  It gives me clarity and a break from what are often intense days.  On this day, I decided to go to a book signing not too far from the office.  I mean, it was Rob Lowe.  Every girl I knew was in love with him when I was a teenager.  I thought he was yummy.

“Thank you so much for braving this line today,” he said to me as he put pen to the page, signing his autograph.

“Oh, it’s my pleasure.  I mean, I had your poster on my wall.”   He looked up.  Full eye contact.

Momentarily mortified, I couldn’t believe I blurted that out.  Then he smiled and had a humbled expression like he was genuinely happy to hear that, not at all like someone who has heard this over and over again in the last 25 years.

“And I can’t wait to read your book,” I said, trying to clean it up.

Full, intense eye contact again, accompanied by a smile.  Then we said goodbye—and by the way, he still is very pretty!—and I was on my way.

Rob Lowe

Self care is embracing the past and finding that it can be even sweeter than you remembered.

Day 37: There is an outdoor exhibit on a stretch of Park Avenue in midtown, called the Park Avenue Paper Chase, featuring sculptures by the artist Alice Aycock. Made of aluminum and fiberglass, you cannot help but take notice, even if you are hurriedly walking by.  I took my time with each one, wanting to experience them.  I was fascinated by one in particular, all ruffles and lightness, even though it probably weighs a couple of tons.

Up close, it reminded me of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting.

Park Avenue Sculpture

Day 38:The Big Egg Hunt has taken New York by storm these past few weeks. Sponsored by Faberge, up to 300 eggs are hidden around the city.  Many are designed by famous artists.  They’ll be auctioned off at the end of the Easter season, with all proceeds benefitting a couple of charities.

My friend Judy let me know that there was one near the Brooklyn Bridge that she thought I’d want to see.  We ventured out one evening—because a pilgrimage of love is definitely self care—and I discovered that she was right.

Love Me Brooklyn

“You are like the heat-seeking missile when it comes to seeing love,” Judy said to me as we walked down the street after seeing the egg.  It was as if a parade of love accompanied us on our way to dinner.

One love-inspired wall of graffiti was so faint that my camera could barely pick it up. But still it revealed itself to me.

Signs of love are everywhere.

Day 39:  One of my favorite things to do is wander through Central Park, especially on a beautiful spring day.  I don’t have time to do it as much as I would like, so it feels like an indulgence when I do.  Now, the grassy side areas are all carpeted with flowers, and the trees are all just about to burst into an abundance of blooms.

No matter how many times I’m in the park, I always have to make my pilgrimage to Bethesda Fountain, topped by this angel of beauty.

Bethesda Fountain

She always gives me a sense of peace, and I leave knowing I can happily make my way through the rest of the day.

Day 40:  And then, magically, the week ended as it began, on a side street in Soho. I has taken myself out for a meal, then decided I needed to walk some of the food off.  Walking briskly, on the edge of my vision I spotted a small spot of white paint on the ground.  Stopping, I saw on closer inspection that some words were spelled out in its midst.

Magic - Brick

There it was again.  Magic was pursuing me, and I felt giddy at the unexpectedness of it.

Believe in magic and love and grace.  It’s just waiting to catch you by surprise.  Self care often lies in paying attention.

xo, with goodness and grace.

I always think it’s funny how people forget that spring is, in its volatile essence, basically a few months of unpredictable weather.  The day the calendar finally turns to spring, people start shedding their layers and take off their socks, no matter the temperature is actually still wintry.  It’s like a mass delusion, needing to believe that the season is perfect.

The earth is about blossom, and I like to think, so are we.  The promise of what is to come is enough to get me through the fickle weather.

And that is perfect to foster some self care.

Long walks in the rain continued.  Rain, in the right temperature, is magical.  And, you can still find random, faded signs of love.

Love is Telepathic

Day 27: I’m noticing that walking at this time of year is a big thing for me.  Maybe being indoors during the seemingly-perpetual winter has left me with a need to shake it off in search of what’s about to bloom.

After work, I felt an urge to go window shopping.  Browsing through stores without a purpose has made me happy since I was a child.  It’s a time to allow yourself to dream of who you want to be.

Vince Heels

The dream me would look chic in these shoes from Vince.  There is such joy in footwear.

Like these shoes I found in J Crew.  I instinctively knew I had to have them—falling in love makes you want to possess the object of your desire, now!—so I bought them.  (I later discovered that almost everyone I know has had the same reaction. And bought them.)  And the fancy earrings, I couldn’t resist.  Put them together, and you’ve got a great representation of me.  Fancy casual.

J Crew Vans

The dream me later went back to the store and bought the flat version of those Vince heels, so the practical me can be stylish and comfortable (and fancy casual) at the same time.

Day 28:  I wore my new earrings, made me feel a little glamorous, despite a very bad hair day. And, just resting my gaze on my new shoes brought me an irrational amount of joy.

Day 29:  Needing to have something every day can take the pleasure out of it for me.  That’s why I don’t have coffee every morning.  I have a cup when I want it, but I don’t like needing to have it to feel awake.  Life should be enough to feel awake, shouldn’t it?

Today was a coffee day.  And it was goooood.

Buvette Coffee

Simple pleasures can be self care, too.

Day 30:  Spring weather finally arrived!  I was juggling multiple projects and deadlines, and I didn’t have the time to go outside and enjoy the warmer temperatures.

I did it anyway.  Letting the sun warm your face at lunchtime is serious self care.

Sunshine

Day 31:  The week behind me and the rain falling again, I came home, scooped some homemade dough—because having cookie dough on hand at all times is 100% self care—and baked two chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Snack in hand, I crawled in the bed and turned on Shark Tank. Two of my favorite (not-so) guilty pleasures made for the perfect evening.

Day 32: Finally, I’ve started spring cleaning my apartment, which is beginning to look like an episode of Hoarders.  I started by tackling the ridiculously tall stack of magazines accumulated over the last few months, and I brought over a new jar of Vanilla Almond Butter so I could take a couple of spoonfuls as a snack while I worked.

Let’s just say that most of the magazines are still there.  I got distracted by deliciousness.

Vanilla Almond Butter

Just writing that sentence made me go grab a spoonful.

Day 33:  Ah, Sunday mornings.  The act of hanging out, doing nothing but just being is sacred, beautiful and simply awesome.

Sunday Morning

On Sunday mornings, I usually clean out the fridge and concoct a unique meal for breakfast.  This morning, I just made a plate of a vegan, gluten-free (but delicious) biscuit, a handful of pecans and a bit of cheese. Randomness can be tasty.

I also found a heart-shaped package of goat cheese on the back of one of the shelves, which sadly was moldy.  It made me want to venture out and immediately buy a replacement.  I cut into it and revealed that the decaying cheese—decadently studded with chunks of dark chocolate—was still beautiful and full of loveliness.

Heart Goat Cheese

Such a great metaphor for life.  Our hearts may get worn from the harsh elements of life, but if we scrape away the dirt and the mold, the essential beauty of who we are remains.  Remembering this is the epitome of self care.

xo, with goodness and grace.

 

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