The rain is softly falling outside. I can always tell when it’s raining, not from looking out the window, but by the whoosh of tires from cars racing against the road. Right now, I can also hear the faintest sound of birds singing in the tree under my window. I’m guessing they are always there, chirping away, but I’m usually too preoccupied to hear them.

I love the peace of early mornings before the city hits full speed.

It has been almost six months since my last post. I’ve barely written anything during this time; this felt necessary.

I took some time off at the beginning of the year, and it wasn’t until I stopped that I realized how much I needed it. We don’t appreciate this in our non-stop culture, this thing of taking a breather. But I’m beginning to believe it should be required every few years, if not sooner.

Something funny happened during this time: I got to see what a normal work day looks like from an outsider’s perspective. And, it was shocking. We live like crazy people, you guys. Faces in phones, racing against time. Bodies pushing against others, needing to get where they are going—and fast. Humanity everywhere but in the moment. Is this normal?

All of my senses felt the shock of rush hour without anywhere to rush. No wonder I needed a break.

So exactly how did I recharge my psychic batteries? I started off with an overpacked schedule of cocktails and dinners, bracketed by wall-to-wall news. My advice? Don’t do this. It will not refresh you.

Sleeping in helps, though I rarely did. But the following things were my biggest helpers.

Art. It became my lifeline. I think it should be a habit to explore something artistic once a week. In museums, in the streets, in the park—wherever. Just to get out and see someone else’s perspective.

Georgia O’Keefe is my everything. I fan-girled at this exhibit—and then I went back. A few times.

Georgia O

Irving Penn blew me away with his striking images and fashionable eye.

Irving Penn

Chihuly inspired with color, curlicues and creativity.

Chihuly

Travel. My friends invited a few of us to accompany them on their family vacation to Denmark. At first I said no. I was on a break from work, and it wasn’t practical. They made me go anyway.

Everyone should have friends like this. Without them, I wouldn’t have hiked to castle ruins…

Castle

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…walked through the forest amongst Danish cows…

Cows

…seen these magical trees everywhere (and if anyone knows what they are called, please let me know!)…

Danish Tree

…eaten the best fish & chips I’ve ever had (curiously, in an aquarium!)…

Fish & Chips.JPG

…seen all the colorful buildings…

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…or walked through the Rainbow Bridge atop the ARoS Museum in Aarhus.

Rainbow Bridge

I’m the luckiest girl.

My takeaways from the trip? The Danish are perhaps the kindest people I’ve ever met—not one rude person did I come across the week I was there. Their 7-Elevens are spotless and the food looks so fresh I bet you could have a delicious four-course meal in any location. (No, I didn’t try this.)  There is a civilized way of living in the country—no less productive, but slower paced and more deliberate—that I aspire to incorporate into my own daily life.

Wandering. Back home, I wandered around my city, now in full bloom. New York is never more beautiful than when she is coming to life in spring. She’s such a show off.

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Beauty reminds me about the simplicity of life. When I acknowledge it, and drink in its exquisite gorgeousness, it brings me back to myself. I’ve learned when I’m feeling frazzled and rundown and uninspired, it’s time to seek out beauty.

What about you—how do you recharge? I’d love to hear.

To my friends United States, however you choose to refresh on this Memorial Day holiday, please take a few moments to remember all of those souls who devoted their lives to our country. We may be one gloriously dysfunctional, divided mess of an American family, but we still live under one flag. Remember to honor those who have fought for our rights to enjoy freedoms we so often take for granted. That bravery is the epitome of beautiful.

xo, with goodness and grace.

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