20 December 2009

tis the season

{love is growing and changing.}

tis the season, filled with:
new babies.
fresh greenery.
crisp air.
hot biscuits.
mittens & striped wool hats.
big bows.
twinkling lights.
candles lit.
handwritten cards.
memories unearthed.
traditions kept.
joy shared.

may you be present fully,
sparkling always,
shining & bright.

15 December 2009

DARE to say it out loud.

i had a revelation while i was at the gym tonight. {i know, sounds totally weird.}

short term solutions become long term problems in my life.

if i'm not mistaken, there are three real, concrete examples of this theme in my life that have occurred in the past three years, specific instances where i have had a choice and not taken it. i haven't had time to process this theme fully, but i do know that mid-workout, (mid side-lunges-with-15lb-weights-in-both-hands. mid seriously-this-hurts!) it became very clear that losing weight and shedding those twenty powerless pounds felt like the first long term solution i've created and stuck to recently.

and i know i'm not the only one who has problems. who feels stuck. who is craving a big old change. who loves where she is and is trying to make the best of it but also knows deep down that it isn't my full monty. i am holding my ground here and making both a claim of gratitude and an honor of the soul within that knows there is more for me. i exist in a breath of deep blessedness, an exhale of hope.

this is my plea: if you think there is room for change, there probably is and it is OKAY to say it out loud.

have i told you about the mondo beyondo cards? one of the first assignments was to print off this sheet of cards, cut them up, and create one of your own, for yourself. for your growth. this was mine:

"don't hold back your gold."
that's a quote from dale herink, my sage.

anyhow, so you see the cards. and you see, part of our mission was to share the love. so i left them in bus seats, inside gym lockers, on mirrors, in wallets (ok, just paul's wallet), etc. as i was shoving my stuff into a locker today, i saw i had two cards left: "don't hold back your gold" (*not giving it away*) and {ironically, because its pictured} "DARE to say it out loud."

i shuddered back in fear. my thought flow went something like this: no way i'm leaving that in a gym locker. what is IT? i don't want somebody saying whatever dream/wish/answer/problem/fear/truth they might have out loud to me. it might be scary. it might be too big. i might not know what to say.

which is extra amusing if you know me. i'm big. i'm so bold. i'm truthful. i'm the friend that tells you how it is. i'm so supportive and so mighty and so loving, but i don't beat around bushes. i love dreams. i love holding you. keeping the faith for your when you've lost it all. but daring someone to say it out loud? what the hell would they say?

so here i am, saying my stuff out loud. i am asking for more. for change. for a sprinkle of fairy dust. and i'm asking for you to DARE to say your truth/dreams/shortcomings aloud, too. i am giving you full permission, i am offering you a bundle of support, and i am open to hearing what you have to offer.

after all, we are all in this together. and more on the short term/long term/twenty pounds/etc {later}.

05 December 2009

turning two

this here handsome chap and i celebrate two wonderful years together today.
can you believe that?
and my oh my, it has been really fun. really sweet. really life changing.
two years of turning each other's lives inside out.
shaking things up a bit.
slowing down a little, too.
learning to appreciate the ebb & the flow.
flexing our faith muscles together.
drinking copious amount of wine.
cooking amazing meals.
crafting a lot of fun out of a regular days.
lifting each other up on the tough ones.
learning what works and...what doesn't.
feeling so fortunate and so grateful today.
turning two together feels just right.

30 November 2009

note to self

note to self:
  • eat a pomegranate every week. yes they are slightly expensive, but i'd rather pay my grocer than my doctor. sorry doctor. health prevention reigns.
  • perhaps convince paul that it can be his weekly gift to me: peeling my pomegranate.
  • enjoy every pomegranate seed this world has to offer. crunch into every juicy bit. savor. taste the sweet and the tart. be stained with the goodness.

22 November 2009

grateful {& giveaway winner}

feeling very grateful for connection today, for the joy we share for traveling together. for neighbors who smile at you every time you leave your house. for bus drivers who know you. for the small reminders that we are supported & held up. grateful for a running partner in pw and the first chance to babysit my niece and a one on one night with bink. it is the little things. the points of contact that have you coming back for more.

and forgive me if this comes off as corny, but i am feeling grateful for our ability to pass information via the internet, to make friends, create community, and you know what? have a lot of fun in the process! i love sharing this space, connect with aunts overseas and friends far away and folks who i wouldn't know if it weren't for creativity and vulnerability and a platform for sharing. so grateful for all this and more.

have a great week. and keep on finding places to love more and connect more. that could be what it is all about.

ps: the gratitude tortoise is ready to be send to marly! marly, send me your mailing address and it'll be on its way to you! stephanie dot tabb [at] gmail dot com and...i totally want to talk about changing my name!! xo

p.s.2 btw: i still want to have a sum it up on the pillars from last week. will try to get to that first thing this week!

20 November 2009

dreams: balance and support you

let the beauty of your dreams balance and support you in this very moment.
(custom card for ea, holiday 2008)
i have to say this first: recently, because of my work towards
simply believing in the act of dreaming, i have been head over heels with the idea of giving myself permission to dream REALLY big dreams.

so if you're a bit of a negative
nelly when it comes to this kinda stuff, i'm going to ask you right now, to leave THAT coat at the door, and get comfortable. this isn't a post for the faint of heart.

"A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved.
{s}He inspires the power and energy to get it done."
(Ralph Lauren)

how i got started dreaming: first, i got the itch. the "i truly know that i'm not living to my fullest potential" itch. the "something has got to give" itch. the frequent asking of "really? REALLY?" itch. and then i started to scratch that itch a bit. after some time, i realized that was just spreading the problem, so i decided i would make friends with it. i started to do the work of taking care of it, tending to its symptoms and soothing it with the right actions.

i signed up for mondo beyondo and did the homework. (ok, did SOME of the homework) i asked tough questions, sat down with my frustrations, and got comfortable with my curiosities. i even made a list of the biggest dreams i could conceive.

some of my dreams, though, we really just an effort to "fix" my self; as if i was broken for wanting those things in the first place. they were dreams born out of shame. other dreams were real responses to an inner longing. like my dream to intern with
curly girl. or my dream to get more custom work. or my dream to run the austin half marathon on 02.14.10.

these dreams are dreams, yes, but they are also strengthening sessions. like weights in a gym, i am picking them up, holding them in proper form, challenging my existing person with them, and reracking them for another day. i come back to them when the clouds are thick and gray above me. they are stashed away in the treasure chest of my heart, beckoning me when i get out of the dentists' chair. (did your dentist have a treasure chest???)

on the daily though, i have to do a few things to remind myself that dream living is also, right here, right now. tonight, on my bus ride home, i made a list of gratitudes. that was a tough effort after a long week at work & some rowdy teenagers on the 19 headed to the mall, but out of my lack gratitude came pouring.

dreams are an essential part of living, they move us forward. they anchor us into the present moment, teaching us their power and their persistence. dreams propel us out of places where we feel stuck into the open field where are longings are no longer unspoken; we awaken to the possibility of their potential.

so dream tonight. dream and hold those dreams. don't hold them against the current of your life as you know it, but hold them to strengthen you and anchor you and propel you. hold them in the beauty and the balance that this life requires.

19 November 2009


before i had my current job, i was newly in love, employed by a small non-profit organization, and working some side jobs to cover the rest of the bills. one of those jobs was my creative business, heart piercing cards, and the other was catering with a fabulous, home-grown catering company in louisville, wiltshire pantry.

looking back now, i was such a free bird. and i was making enough money to get by, pay all the bills, and have a comfy life. why was i so unhappy then?

ah, i remember. i couldn't get all my $hit together, thats why. i could carve out time to take paul to work, or be at Adelante by a certain time for our afternoon programming, but i was a failure when it came to keeping an artistic responsibility, or getting in my workouts consistently or building bridges out of the sticks and twine of my daily life.

and, btw, i didn't respect myself, my desire to figure it out without a job title or my own timeline. i wasn't able to proudly put stephanie time on the calendar and valuing that time as being as essential (or MORE) than the time commitments i'd made to others. you know that feeling, don't you?

time has a way of telling its story, and now, working in a cubicle from 9-5, feels unhappy some days too. but i've also be able to throw all my energy into my pile: working out, cooking healthy meals, commuting responsibly, spending dedicated time on cards, etc. the structure (and lack thereof) has taught me so much.
so i'm adding another pillar to this week: structure.

tonight, prior to this post, i read this post over at Magpie girls blog, and i think that's the final word tonight.

i think i'm still trying to find a balance...and always will be. so head over there, and play along to whatever extent feels right for you. i could certainly say more on this, but tonight less words feel like more. we know these situations, we sit with them everyday, but do we ever face them courageously?

17 November 2009

balloon 2: cReaTiViTy!

"let your hook always be cast.
in the pool where you least expect it,
there will be fish."

sources to spark your creativity:
a blank journal
an open field
a bunch of balloons
a new recipe
letters to the editor
a craft project
daily gratitude lists
trying something new: like watching basketball with your boyfriend or taking up the guitar at 27
meeting with a life coach
long runs with your baby
playing with sequins, glitter and shiny threads
setting a new workout goal
reading a biography
writing a letter of appreciation
hikes and long winter walks
feathers in your hair
walking a dog
calling your grandmother
purchasing a brand new box of crayola crayons
writing haikus

find something, and express yourself.
creativity is the culmination of all your senses.
throw more of your ideas in this pond of inspiration.
and throw out your hook.

16 November 2009

balloon 1: authenticity

if it was up to me, i do believe things would be a bit different than they are in my current reality. i would like to think my life would be more colorful. mornings would be sunshine filled and i would actually wake up when my alarm clock started making noise. this tune would play upon rising each day: "Love of an Orchestra" by Noah and the Whale. my bike ride commute would be playful and fun, not a race to make the bus on time. i would spill less and drop things less, too. work would not be about making a paycheck, but making progress. passion would be in the front of my mind at all times. i would snap pictures during my daily grind like a tourist in a brand new city. my hair would be bigger and more outrageous. i would quit when things were over, and hang strong when there was more to come. i would act mindfully, but not wait for someone else to approve my decisions. i would take more chances, be more playful, and have just a few extra handfuls of fun everyday.

to me, authenticity is central to our daily operations; its more about knowing who you are, deep down, before you every get out of bed in the morning, than it is about sticking to your guns. sometimes, we're wrong. i admit it. but deep down, knowing ourselves and expressing ourselves is the tallest of orders.

this week, as we explore the pillars of life that hold us up, and the balloons of life that lift us up, let's be sure to hang on to what is working, reflect on what has worked in the past and be open to the place that need a tiny bit more attention than usual.

authenticity is really easy to talk about. it's easy to breakdown and formulate, divide and conquer. but perhaps that's just the opposite of authenticity. i dare you to consider this: authenticity is a quiet knowing, a wisdom so deep even you have to dive to discover it; a reflection pool that you must linger beside long past sunset. authenticity is speaking your truth & following your path & braving your fears, yes, of course. but it is also about knowing who you are when the noise settles. authenticity is the tortoise.

you've heard that story right? the tortoise and the hare? you've had some slow days, some races you were afraid you had no chance at winning, but you kept on. you dug really deep and kept moving forward. it wasn't fast or eloquent at times, but it was steady, and communicated your interest, your deepest desire, your heart of hearts. well it is in that moment, in those moments of struggle, all strung together with your faith and your sweat and your persistence that you awakened your authenticity. you discovered the cistern within, the source that has been collecting experiences and collaborating with every piece of your life to prepare you for this moment. and discovering that, you took a chance. any chance.

and i would even go as far to believe you're doing that now. that some piece of your life has rubbed you raw (i won't say what running metaphor comes to mind), and you're caught thinking that maybe you weren't made for this. well i am here to remind you that maybe you are just where you need to be. and being there, being FULLY there, you're being offered the most brilliant platform for your whole self to shine. it may be quiet, or in a shadow, or bright as a lime green balloon against the backdrop of a sunsetting sky, no matter. what does matter is that you take this chance. that you trust your inner knowing and act as you know you should.

here is the catch with authenticity though: you don't always feel like you're being authentic. sometimes you feel awkward. out of place. crooked. in those moments, i have learned its possible for our authentic selves to shine without us even knowing. and when it catches back up with you, at the finish line or somewhere down the road, you will be so surprised to hear you were really seen, really known, really admired as you hoped to be.

so tortoises of the world, keep steady! find a pace that works for you, a piece that you need to work on, an example of a well-oiled process and be proud. your authenticity is seen & known & heard & admired. and quiet as it may be now, it will be as loud as an orchestra in due time.

in an effort to create play around these topics this week, i open up the forum to you. to share where you are, to deny everything i've written. to use this space to express whatever resistance or hallelujah's rise. i created a card to giveaway to one commenter. it is titled authenticity tortoise. the forum will be open all week---so you'll have the chance to comment until Friday when i'll choose winners from each day this week! have at it! xoxox

15 November 2009

seven balloons

something i've learned:
balloons are good for your soul.
come with me to a wishing space, where each day this week, on my blog, i'll be introducing various topics that highlight the pillars of my life. i'm sure some of them will be familiar to you, and i hope you'll join me for the journey. i can promise you this: openness, optimism, and vulnerability. this won't be a seven step process to perfection; but seven pieces that make up this puzzle i call life, seven balloons that make up the beauty of mine. don't be fooled for even one second that mine is more beautiful than yours, or more lifted, or more colorful; no no no. i am a child just like you are a child. i hope you'll come out to play. xoxo

first step: PLAN

i am so excited. i finally have a whole day to ME. a clean slate. a no plans sunday. so, i will PLAN to use it wisely. {this is just the way i am!} and in the spirit of my new blogcrush, kaileenelise, i think a creative weekend to do list is in order. these are lists that feel good for your soul, and also help in a stay-on-track, get-things-done, kinda way. kaileen elise's from yesterday put me in a real mood for tidying up space and self. read on.

creative weekend to do list, version sunday

  1. get coffee mugs from kitchen, lay in bed until it just feels right.
  2. up & at em' but first things first: CLEAN room.
  3. make delicious brunch for PW prior to long day at work. send him off with a kiss.
  4. package up care package for *someone special!*
  5. finish thank you card
  6. plan grocery list and a few meals for the week
  7. work on heart piercing cards for upcoming event: holiday bazaar daniel chaffin furniture makers (dec 4, more info to come)
  8. half marathon training: 3 mile run on the schedule for today
  9. eat a leetle bit, clean up, head out
  10. post office, vinyasa @ 4, then whole foods for weekly grocery goods
  11. finally: home again! shower, eat some dinner, prepare lunches, read my book, and...relax.

yes indeed, all of this sounds mighty productive, but also soulful and just right. and hopefully, just maybe it will jump start a productive, healthy week. what are you planning this week? what is shifting and needs your attention? what is on your creative to do list? xoxo.

14 November 2009

wing-wide and root deep

(heart piercing card's mixed media image, digitally altered)

a necessary saturday reminder.
especially if you're being pulled in multiple directions. especially if you're asking for adventure at the same time you're hoping for a home. especially if you find yourself immensely appreciative of the presence of others and simultaneously seeking solitude. especially if you seek to be present and dare to dream. especially if you are living out who you are to the fullest today, and believing in the full scope of who you are becoming.

we are wing wide and root deep, indeed.

09 November 2009

many things, maybe aNyThiNg (and the inner compass)

the inner compass: noun a navigation system that never fails, never powers off, always sends you the scenic route, and when needed, gives you a good chance to rest while it is recalculating.

trucking around dc and virginia this past weekend, blissed out in the company of family & friends galore, i found myself trusting my inner compass. grounded in the knowing and the not knowing of it all. letting time run its course and gathering all the confidence and courage i could.

"confidence and courage for what?," you ask.

confidence and courage run so deep. they are woven into our every move. how we sit in the hot tub bikini clad and how we cook a meal for six. how we stand up when we are faced with friends we haven't seen in years, how we cheer on our brother at his soccer game. how we hold one another when we're weak and how we let go when we know we must. confidence and courage anchor our lives in the everyday.

confidence is trusting the inner compass. it is the voice within that announce "i am who i am" and it is the deep knowing of "i was made for this." it is fresh nervous jitters, and a tall spine. confidence is, as they say, key.

but courage is the arm that turns that key. unlocks doors and takes strides in a new direction. courage is heading confidently in the direction of the needle of that inner compass. courage is pursuing what matters most, no matter what.

i am not short on these orders, but they are tall orders, and my tendency of late has been to shrink a bit. i have been searching so hard for direction that i've lost some of it en route, and i've been longing for the road, so badly, that i've stalled out time & time again. all of this is part of the journey though, isn't it?

this fall, i have been celebrating knowing this group of girls for ten years. ten good, turbulent, distant, intimate years. ten years of teenage and twenties turmoil. ten years of two minute drills and twisted roads. ten years of belly laughter and branching out. ten years. {{{ten years is a lot when you're twenty five}}}

now ten years later, a baby is on the way and we're transitioning yet again. recreating ourselves and our friendships. becoming, again. what will we be this time around? where will our compasses guide us? i'm confident that we'll find our way and find the courage to act when summoned. i'm hanging onto possibility for each one of us---and you, too. in this world, we truly can be many things, maybe aNyThiNg...xo

31 October 2009

snapshots VIII

since i've been a little bit obsessed with the fall weather, i've been collecting as many of the warm, breezy moments possible---because father winter is right around the corner. staying active and engaged and inspired is my goal. i've got plans for training and tools for inspiration. so a snapshots post is certainly in order!

what i'm playing with: my GARMIN Forerunner 50
(a gift from my uncle-i'm psyched about the footpod! to track distance accurately!)
what i'm wearing: tights in every color. brown, black, grey, hot pink.
(yep. hot pink!)
what i'm making: recent custom order crush card
(image above. how cute is that!)
what i'm reading: the wishing year
(by noelle oxenhandler. thank you mondo beyondo!)
what i'm hoping for: a gretchen papka original under the christmas tree.
(the one i want isn't featured here, but lets just say there are hot air balloons involved...)
what i'm excited about: seeing all my highschool girlfriends this weekend.
(it's been too long)
what i'm cooking up: batches and batches of this soup, via @paulweldy
(best SOUP ever!)

happy fall, friends!

29 October 2009

wishcasting wednesday (but it's thursday, you say? no matter!)

a throne of love, mixed media original available here!

i wish*
i wish
i wish
i wish*

all my mondo beyondo dreams to come true. (esp while i'm letting them go)
for the healing
and the grace
for roots
and wings
for work
and play
for the tenderness
and the strength
for challenge
and ease
for confidence
and clarity
for love.
oh yes, for love!

28 October 2009

LIVE and love your life!

ornamental railing: by craig kaviar photo from a saturday stroll on frankfort avenue

hello little birds:

i can't believe its thursday already, though my body & (work) mind are ready for the weekend!! i have been wanting to do a photo recap of life these past few weeks.

1. blue dog deliciousness, 2. custom crush card!, 3. silly pw, 4. missing this chica and traveling alongside her, 5. handsome bow-tied mens, 6. cupcakes to celebrate miss sofia!, 7. uofl basketball begins!, 8. the new tabb!!! baby sofia with proud parents, 9. saturday night dinner, no big deal ;), 10. our vietnamese food kick continues, 11. feet on the trail, 12. grits:stilton & fried leeks, eggs: sunny side up, miche: blue dog bakery, 13. camera card for V, 14. we made a phenominal meal in between glue/drying/painting, 15. smoked salmon tartine: bluedog bakery & cafe, louisville ky, 16. she drinks her bourbon on the rocks

how is that for a photographic synopsis of these past few weeks?? aside from becoming an aunt (hooray!) and housesitting and cooking some fabulous meals, i've been busy making lists and knocking things out recently! I will have you know that the list involves a few things to get done here on the blog. would love to hear what you've been up to. what you're cooking this fall? what you're playing with and making the most of these days! are you missing traveling as much as i am lately?

just for the record: for every responsible item on my to do list, there is an equal or better "non-action" or fun piece. gotta get the balance thing down---its never too late to believe that you can, in fact, live and love your life! xoxo more soon! steph

26 October 2009

quiet space

i think i needed this reminder tonight. maybe you do, too. maybe we all need a dose of courage. an article about becoming the person you were meant to be {by annie lamott}. jose gonzalez on repeat. the quiet space to let our bodies guide us.

21 October 2009

this book found me

i don't have a whole load of free time these days. i am not complaining about that fact, but leisure isn't exactly my strong suite; i never have learned the art of relaxing. so this occasion stands out as monumental to a tight-pantied girl like me, but even the average person would be so lucky to have a book find them!

it all started with a need: everybody needs a good book to read.

then i decided: don't just to to the library and check out 29 books.

so i went with the purpose of bringing home one book for the bedside table.

such restrictions are tough for a girl like me. i mean, i have been known to bring stacks home from the library. i only read a page or two and return it late. yeah. i know. so i decided i was really going to take my time with this one. nurse the shelves. let a libro speak to me, if you know what i mean.

and then, after about twenty minutes spent browsing in the craft/career/food/health sections, i decided i was more interested in a fiction read that would engage my imagination. a thought bubble then popped into my head: insert thought bubble with the words "isabel allende" written inside. so i darted to the first shelves of the fiction section, and found a slew of allende's marvelous books. all good, but none of them struck me. and then, browsing a bit more, i saw Griffin and Sabine books (square so they stick out a bit) leaning off the shelf right at eye level. i said hello to the books: they are darling and i love these stories!

but then their big sister found me.

nick bantock has written a 216 page novel! and the cover art, his beautiful drawing of Ana, the main character, grabbed me as soon as i found it in my hands. oh, the whole book is gorgeous and profound. "it is an unforgettable story of one young woman’s journey to self-discovery," which is obviously so right for where i am. the book, "windflower" is my last few moments of the day, and its story is soothing and a sweet reminder that our lives are totally and fully about the story. most of us are simply somewhere in the middle. and the story so far is simply captivating.

its a really good reminder that one shouldn't shy away from the adventures that call out to them. ana might have something to teach you about dashing towards you dreams. {{{and she's not even finished with me, yet!}}} and when we take a few slow moments, we awake to the possibilities that are right before before us. or we fall asleep at night reading about them, if we're really, really lucky.

p.s. he did this amazing collages over here they are stunning images.

16 October 2009

daily rituals

{source: yoga journal illustrator: scott bakal}

you know what amazes me? daily rituals.

i am trying to reframe mine right now. (I am ever trying to reframe my existence) since being sick lately, i have been rethinking my sleep schedule, the supplements and vitamins i take, my nutrition and exercise, what foods i'm eating, my work schedule, etc. these always evolving daily rituals can often be unsatisfying for me, but i'm anxiously trying to reframe them so i can be the healthiest, most full functioning version of my self.

i found this amazing image (above) today that i wanted to share. Image by Scott Bakal. Amazing.

This article, 'perfect as is' written by Kate Holcombe is so right for me, right where I am.

Perfect As Is
"Yoga Sutra 11.6 - False identity occurs when we identify with the tools of perception instead of the true Self.

Asmita, often translated as "ego," is defined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra (11.6) as false identification. Asmita happens when we mistake the mind, body, emotions, and senses (the tools of perception) for our true, authentic Self (the perceiver). It's easy for the Self to become obscured by the whirlwind of the mind that pushes us to have more or to be thinner, the part of us that identifies with our job title, our status, or the way we look, and that keeps us from connecting with and abiding in the comfort and peace of our true nature.

But one of the foundational principles of yoga is that we are perfect just as we are, a shining light or gem that is merely clouded or dusty. Yoga is simply the cleaning process. Through the practices of yoga, we polish the brilliant gem of the Self within and are free to shine as we are meant to: living fully in the present moment, knowing that we possess something far greater inside us than the material world outside."
you know what amazes me? daily rituals. i would love if you would take a moment and share about yours. i am so anxious to hear how your true Self is glorified on a daily basis. xoxox

15 October 2009

i am one lucky lady.

you know you're pretty special when you make a snotty girl a bowl of soup on any given night of the week. but not just any bowl of soup, the best bowl of soup ever...the one that soothes my scratchy throat. and you do all this because this snotty girl is sneezing relentlessly and can't control her cough.

you're pretty special for about 12,039 other reasons, TOO. you have brilliant ideas, amazing execution, and a spirit that lifts even the heaviest of burdens as though they were feathers. you drive me to the bus and don't groan. you prepare me copious amount of hot tea, and put extra honey in because you know if you don't you'll be making extra trips to the kitchen.

you steep my earl grey too long in the morning, but that is how i love it. you know all those little things. and you make even the crappiest of weeks, less so, because of your simple, special touches on everyday things.

you know who you are. you know how you change the outcome of my day by doing the little things that i love.
i am one lucky lady. (and i'm sure you're thinking: 'i am one lucky chap.')

11 October 2009

gift wrapping 101: make the gift that much more special

in a world of a lot of stuff, i think it's appropriate to give really meaningful gifts. that is no easy task when every gift giving article seems to be about "the person who has everything." i haven't mastered that skill, yet, but the pre-requisite course to giving the gift, Gift Wrapping 101, boosted my GPA for sure.

i LOVE to wrap a gift. i love to choose decadent paper and pair it with salvaged materials, interesting images, scrumptious ribbons and classy accessories. it makes the giving of the gift that much more fun!

here are some images from my flickr account that i thought were worth sharing. good examples of how to wrap a gift and have it stand out in the crowd. a few tips and tricks:
1. i never use white wrapping paper for wedding (unless its AWESOME white paper).
2. anything that will hold a knot should be used as ribbon. paper. hairbands. measuring tapes. old electrical cords. what can you find and use?
3. paper can make or break your gift. hallmark is an institution, but that doesn't mean you have to use their paper. place mats. old dictionary pages. atlases. fancy paper from stores like paper source. interesting, quality paper goes a long way. it may sound expensive, "$5 dollars for a sheet of paper!" but the difference is that you make it part of your gift. and you begin to see and save interesting papers all around you. {{{start looking, and be sure report back with what you find!}}}
4. you can't go wrong if you give the gift "your touch." for instance, i use a lot of found paper and interesting images on the front of gifts... sounds crazy, but i guarantee that it evokes a familiar feeling because my close friends, family and coworkers know that's what makes my heart go pitter-patter. if you're a photographer, add an image to the corner of your gift. use corks in your ribbon if you love wine. even better: put "their touch" on the gift. give them what you know they love: their interests, their passions, their favorite color, their favorite place to vacation. make the gift that much more special.

but that takes us back to the gift itself...which, unfortunately, i can't help you much with. however, you're free to share your gift giving tips in the comments---and more gift wrapping tips, too!

i'm off to a baby shower for my very first niece and a wedding for a fun louisville friend. wishing you a beautiful sunday. and the inspiration to wrap and give a great gift this week! xo

04 October 2009

a {artsy!} labor of love

{note: click on all the images to see them bigger! lots of images in this post! xox}

as it goes with all best friends, you could probably spend a million years next to the one you love and the time would never get old. but time is of the essence, and when the ladies get together (we're not cosmo & gossip kind of girls), we pull out big mugs of hot tea and art projects and get to work.

a few weekends ago, i made a trip to visit my dear friend ash. last year, i went in october, but this year, the trip landed on my bday weekend. we had a chilly fall art session with all the friends last year, soon after my discovery of kelly rae robert's book, Taking Flight. i brought art supplies and we spread out a blanket in a little park near the annapolis harbour, and a grand time was had by all. here is snapshot from that session:

it goes without saying that we had a really good time. ashley was in love with KRR's book, so when i journeyed back her way this year, one of the events of our weekend was to tackle another project from the book, and to have a handmade momento from the fabulous weekend! here is the story of our crafting time together.

start with what you've got:
about a week before i boarded the plane, i gave ash the task of starting to collect old letters and paper epherma that struck her fancy. she is a woman for design, so this wasn't tough. i packed up my art supplies, including my brayer, watercolors, golden fluid acrylics and gel medium, brushes, buttons, and some paper scraps. then, i forged two canvases that my grandmother had handed down to me. she's an oil painter, so if she doesn't like a finished product, she gives me the canvases to paint over. reduce reuse recycle :) i chose two 5x5 canvases so that ash and i would leave the weekend with same sized treasures! here is what we started with. two of them, to be exact.
then we layed out the supplies, made our hot tea, and got to work!
the book, left was inspiration for our canvases, right.
thanks kelly rae ;)

so here we are with our hot teas, paper and gel medium. the first layer were letters, exchanged between me & ashley, to create the background, the story telling parts of these pieces. next is the paint & the pretty ladies.

and finally: after a labor of love, and a meal (and a trip to Whole Foods for groceries), the finished product:

can you guess who's is who's?
these lovelies are now proudly displayed in both our living spaces,
hidden deep in our hearts,
the memories of the joy involved in creating them alongside a spirited friend.
this journey would not be the same without our fellow travelers.

{should we wait another year to tackle another project? no way. but between now & then, maybe you could call a friend, plan an artsy event, perhaps even a weekend away to recharge your spirit with the love & friendship that fills you up!}

02 October 2009

snapshots VII

photo credit: victoria wall

it seems appropriate to do a snapshot today because i am lusting over big cameras that take beautiful photos--and especially the talented women behind those cameras. my friend meredith (who will be featured here in the coming weeks) got a new camera and is bringing it to louisville in a few weeks. my friend victoria, a talented a lady as they come, has a {newish} blog over on on her website that is absolutely captivating. and kristen gardner, well, her photos speak for themselves. she is a wedding photographer, and a portrait photographer, and and and! she was a mighty mentor to me in high school, she has a darling eye for inspiration.

these women, whose snapshots inspire my own this week, are celebrated here.

a little gift for paul: suspenders!
an absolutely essential fall purchase: the narmada boot (why no size 11??)
listening to: sea wolf white water, white bloom
staying: @ the villa in the country
reading: yoga journal
watching: coraline

while exploring the country side and blissing out, i'll be taking lots of snapshots of my own. wish i had these wonderful women here to document the time alongside me. i know they are off capturing magic elsewhere though, and they'll share with me soon enough.

01 October 2009

"going on"

no really. watch this. you must.

ENFJ and some big announcements!

hey ya'll! so i am feeling the need to gush for just a moment. last night, i signed up for the Austin Half Marathon! on 02.14.10 (Valentine's day!) i will be in Austin, Texas, at the starting line for 13.1 exciting and adventurous miles! EA, my friend who i met across the ocean in EspaƱa, will also be there (she LIVES there), and PW, too. Though he will be cheering us on from the sidelines: hot cocoa & posters in hand! we are really thrilled!

on the same note of thrilled, i found out my "Meyers Briggs" type yesterday, after working with Sage Advice Life Coach Dale Herink. I'm an ENFJ, and quite honestly, really grateful for this awareness and this validation. Sometimes I think we see pieces of ourselves that make us see ourselves as too flawed, too much to work on before we ever "get there." And other times, {ah, these are rare, bright times} i think we see ourselves as woven, careful with every stitch, shining & bright. that is the me i want to see more often. getting that feedback from Dale affirmed who I was and who I believed in, beneath the tip of the iceberg. the descriptions and the information i'm reading through gives me an extra pep in my step. here & now. (have you taken the MB? do you know your type?)

and the cherry on top: i was super blessed to check out andrea's superhero blog at just the right moment on just the right day, because....i snagged a spot in MONDO BEYONDO!!! whoop whoop! i've told you about the course before, and i am thrilled to be an actual part of it this time around. five weeks of believing in my dreams? sign me up! as you can tell: i am looking forward to getting mondo and beyondo these next couple weeks!

and one more thing:

did you know i've been getting up early? yep, me. i've been getting up early to get quiet, get still and get artsy before work. bringing positive, bright, flowing energy with me into the day, rather than stale, cubicle energy. here's a peek at my morning pages (a phrase borrowed from julia cameron):

center image: amy cutler, army of me

so though i'll be many places in the coming weeks:
on the pavement and on the treadmill,
online getting Mondo Beyondo,
on Dale's couch getting coached to my full potential,
and at my desk in the early morning,
getting deep & spirited & centered.
i'll definitely be here, too.
i'll be around: inspired and swirling.