28 February 2009

a homage to the mosaic of very odd things that i absolutely could not live without. they are what i have laid eyes upon, loved and kept living. they create dreams, fuel desires, harness long-thriving hopes that have inspired me to hold on, despite the cold, the wind, the pain.
very large mugs of hot tea. john derian. volvo xc station wagons. pink lady apples. big gold chain necklaces. my scotch ATG. old french dictionaries. blue dog bakery and cafe. margaritas. fresh flowers. redken hair products. sweet, sweet family. curly hair. hambly screenprints. dark chocolate. annie dilliard. love. paper. scissors. spirit. song. creativity flowing. vino. the bath. journals. pandora radio. a headdress. prw. my glorious mothers. damn good pens. kentucky bourbon. a macintosh. all 5 senses. lotion from the french shoppe in middleburg. little blue. 4 siblings. calligraphy. jackson's coffee. heart. bookshelves. dear friends. travel. h2o. xoxxxxx

1. fancy, 2. inner compass, 3. grow, 4. more than just a pretty face

23 February 2009

"light is always in season" beirut

is there just a tiny little more pep in your step today? did you drink that extra glass of water and feel more refreshed than usual? did you do an extra double take when you walked past your own reflection? did you own both your present and your potential? did you touch base, reach out with a hug, challenge your mind to believe what your heart was saying?

{i wish you would allow yourself small luxuries of this caliber.}

the days when i take the moment to care, which happens maybe one-three times a day, i have to give myself both a moment of credit and give the creator of this life a moment of praise. i sincerely believe being alive is a gift, and gifted we are, even when we have strep throat, one headlight out, and dirty hair.

in a letter to my grandma C and grandpa B, i wrote:
"i'm stirring a bit, itching to get out and play; wanting to witness the life being born on tree limbs and in nests. All around, everyday, I find more and more to be thankful for.

currently on that list: hot tea, fresh vegetables, art, family , youth, birds, OBAMA!, public transportation, health & wellness, the public library, paul, a spirit of adventure, my winter hat & gloves, healthy food, fresh water, LOVE, etc.

i share that list with you all because during this season of stillness and quiet, i believe the simple blessings reveal themselves as sacred. our eyes, dulled by the constant gray of winter, our bones cold from its chill- they find inspiration in unexpected places.

the seeds in the garden of life still grow when winter settles in. deep, they take root in the soil of our lives. love and beauty plant themselves within our bodies. we become the garden: we live in the light, collect rain, weather storms and grow. we find ourselves living live inspired, nourished by the environment of our lives, even during the most unlikely of seasons."

and so i thought that should be shared. sweeten your mind that is stirring with spring fever. you are right where you need to be. love love love to you in that place where you are planted. xoxxxxxxx

22 February 2009

sunday best

i wish i could say that i've been chipping away at the old creative block, but people, the inspiration is not there! i finally checked off all my boxes in the to do (which often should be titled, "to make") category , and post-valentine's day, i've been busy busy with work, fitness, nutrition, and sleep. some nights, i feel $pent and $pent. every morning, i wake up with feelings of deep gratitude.

locking into the health goals has been a firm and deep commitment. i've been "selfish" with my time. i am loving my wellness coach, she is so sincere and supportive. i have been finding new ways to eat wholer, healthier foods, sometimes at the expensive of convenience (though i was never a big convenience food eater), but always at the benefit of my whole body. been lifting and stretching and running (very fast, haha). i will start yoga very soon.

with my health goals has come a bit of a cutback in wine and sweets. this is very difficult for someone who is passionately involved with a man in the wine industry. i have to keep reminding myself its not forever, but for a change, and then for a reintroduction. its a season of Goldilocks, i keep thinking throughout my days: trying all these "methods of living" out for size, seeing which ones work and make me feel fantastic, leaving behind the ones that are too big, too painful, too much. speaking of Goldilocks and the three bears, i requested it from the local library and i need to go pick it up.

someone at work calls me that, Goldilocks, and has since July. i never took note of it (assumed it was associated with my hair), but more recently, i have been practicing the art of decision making and it's been a rewarding experience. i'm living in the land of
"what actions can i take to live a great life and, through those actions, how can i honor my commitments to self and others today?"

well i am thankful for sunday, a day of rest. it is glorious outside (may call for a jog!). pw is sick, his hair is clipped back and he's trying to beat this for the third time around. poor dear. i am being a very good nurse: giving him many mugs of hot tea, delicious oatmeal, and big hugs. we may go out to my parents villa in the countryside for dinner if he's feeling a bit better, but until then, we'll lay low and practice wellness, feeling good, support. doing what feels right, moment by moment, and reaching ever towards more love and sweeter life.

18 February 2009

a little nina mae

oh we should all be so lucky to have a little nina mae in our lives. my sweetest sweet grandmother celebrates another year today, and though we are far apart, i think her life deserves a little tribute.

she is a treasure to me. i remember when i was a little girl i used to love sleeping in her big brass bed right alongside her. i'd flip and turn during my sleep, but she'd still have me. she loves all things red: red nail polish, red wine, red coats. i used to sneak into her bathroom and play with all her cosmetics. a powder puff here and there and suddenly i was a little version of nina mae. {if only!} she used to take my sister and i to the pool and let us pose like super models, there are photos of that to be seen as well. we'd get beautiful christmas dresses to match our favorite cousin, jackie, and then iridescent windbreakers (it was the 90's people) during our fun trips to the beach. gram 9A as we call her, would let us spend long summer nights (and lots of quarters) playing at the boardwalk, then buy us french fries and ice cream cones.

the fun never ends with this lady. once she moved to florida, our visits were fewer but with her came an adorable addition: pops. nina mae met pops at the 19th hole and our family was blessed with some british blood and a really bloody good man. they were a dancing, partying hoot---at 21 i felt like an old hen around a bunch of spring chickens! caroline and i visited them in florida during our spring breaks---we spent a long time on interstate 95, but the trip treated us well. we were sun soaked and partied, hard. every night dinner and games and fun. every day events and activities and go go go. like water aerobics, golf, pool parties, noodles (she LOVES a noodle in the pool), shopping, happy hour (every night), walks, beach, seafood, family dinners (my aunt/uncle/cousin live in FL too), puzzles, cards, snacks, wine, sunshine, all the time.

so at 79, this is the grandmother that our family celebrates: the life very well lived and the woman very well loved. the one who can cheer me up with a voicemail- anyday. after my sister's wedding, a torrential downpour swept across the open field and the outdoor venue, some would have referred to this event as a hurricane, but, not my family. my family proceeded to party it up. and gram 9A, calls me a week or two later and leaves me this voicemail: "hey steffi, it's your grandma nina. just wanted to let you know i heard a rap song and it made me think of you."

it takes a special woman. one who is courageous and light hearted and well-lived. this woman is all those things, and so much more, to me. wishing i was in florida, playing rummi-kub, drinking some red wine, right about now. happy birthday nina mae. i love and celebrate you. xoxxxxx

16 February 2009

two more words!

things that are making me super happy today:
- i started my love journal to myself (in a darling journal e.wat gave me when we graduated from college. its green and shimmering and gold and soon it will be full of sweet nothings written by me for me.)
- i ate so well today, felt so motivated towards my health goals, acted so intentionally on those motivations! i love that
- i got to catch up with sweet drebo tonight-always a treat to connect with an old friend
- got the funniest note from gram 9a tonight, it's her birthday week, and showering her with much love will be my task. photo above was the first piece of love she'll get this week (featuring my mom, gram 9a, pw and teddy---they are a little brady bunch and i love it!) "Thank you, you sweet girl, for remembering my bday. I actually look thin in that picture. MAKE MY DAY Love to you both Gram 9a"
- my song of the day: "o...saya" by A.R. Rahman and M.I.A. from the opening scene of Slumdog Millionaire. talk about MOVING and inspiring.
- being grumpy, listening to moving tunes, riding the TARC, sitting with pw during his break. i sware he is more handsome everyday.
- two words: roasted vegetables.
- two more words: pablo neruda (and his 100 love sonnets, yes please.)
- two more words, a theme: big love.

now please oh please leave me a little comment and tell me: what are you listening to?!?!?!

15 February 2009

those i love

a few heart piercing cards valentines.
so much fun to make and send to those i love.

today is my day for me

tulips on my desk, bright in the sunshine of today. coffee in hand. valentine's signed, sealed, delivered. gorditas and tacos eaten. love proudly on display. now what?

i made a mixtape recently (also known as a "playlist") that has some of my favorite songs EVER on it. really romantic, really melodious, really fun, really moving music. i am totally in love. it's really special to me when i take that kind of time for myself, to do something good for me. i find that i don't do it often enough and i get spent trying to give give give. i was talking to pw about it this morning and i am going to have a week full of stephanie goodness. i need to meditate on what that means and really act.

but i sat down at my desk this morning, ready to write myself a love letter or something, and i immediately started thinking about what i needed to do for others. bosses birthday: make card and gift. grandma 9a's birthday: make card , finish gift, package, mail. found card that was intended for Victoria, need to mail. so far the ratio is 3:0- not that great. so, today, is my day for me.

update the food journal. (30 days into it and still liking it, amazing!) {OK, get this! my grandmother just called me to join her for breakfast! check one for receiving! see! call blessings into being, and they come} blog (here i am). run, jump rope, get some fresh air, sunshine, and a workout! bathe & read some wally lamb (totally loving my new book!). go to carol's for crafts and fun, on my bike! (i love crafts and i love my bike) make a delicious salad for dinner with pw. journal/make cards/ finish "out of africa" tonight.

self-love is contagious.
a full heart overflows, organically.
share the goodness, of course, but share some with you, too.

p.s. listening to "i am a lady in spain" today for inspiration. what are you listening to? what is your plan for self-love today?

11 February 2009

you are handsome, blessed, wise.

{a watercolor by my lovely friend hallie carolyn. spirit never flowed as sweetly as it does in her.}
i find myself guilty of setting aside inspiration for when i "have time"- a luxury that is a train that will never come into the station; so, in order to live inspired, i have to act as if inspiration was a butterfly and i the one standing there holding the net in my hands. everyday. every hour of everyday. every minute of every hour of everyday.

instead, i tend to mourn my inability to do capture it, and i end up watching it flow by, its current pulling at my toes, my strong legs solid and refusing to move with it. you wouldn't believe the how often i turn down offers for help; how often i turn down advice; more often than not, i assume myself stronger. you can ask anybody, i've been waving my fist at people since i was a small child. i know what i want and i want it now. let's have a little flashback:

{age 3, perhaps? bag of candy taken away. hot summer day. the look on my face says "give it back to me, right now." and the funny thing is that a grandmother or mother took this photo. probably one of the more comforting, more loving people in my life took away my candy and i have my arms up to strangle them. daddy dave always tells this story about me, raising my fist to my mother because i wanted a cookie. a cookie, people! that's funny but that's me.}

back to 2009. imagine my discomfort when my ego shuts up for a millisecond every once & a while and that which is true strikes me. it hurts in the good way; the way it feels good to scratch chicken pox (talk about tough: ask the grandmother who had to give me oatmeal baths how i felt about THAT!): you regret those scars later in life, those time where you refused to be patient. you went for it, the big itch, and oh baby you'll pay for that one. but pay how?

so the ego quiets. the winds still. and the soul, it sings. to our human ears, i think we'd say it sounded more like a whisper, but in the quiet of our lives, i think its a call we hear very clearly. i've been listening for it lately; this has been an intention of mine and it's clearer everyday.

if you want to take on an intention like this, first of all, don't ask to hear it then expect not to. don't shudder once it starts speaking. you'll notice that you will begin to hear all the mean voices you speak to yourself, and you will want to hold onto some of those and let go of others. it would be rather tough to dump them all at once {give it time}. you will also see your actions in slow motion, and while acting, you will evaluate. you will find there are things about yourself you love: the curve of your cheeks, the subtle strength of your legs, the flash of your smile in an unexpected mirror. you, too, will see these things, and while seeing, you might happen to lean toward believing otherwise. don't. stop yourself from believing anything other than the beauty of your creation. you are handsome, blessed, wise. be sure to see that.

and occasionally, you'll see yourself raising a fist. try and figure out what this is all about. it just might be ingrained in you---it may be a behavior you've held onto because its kept you "comfortable" and by comfortable i don't mean safe or well, i simply mean "able to operate without hindrance or pain." but be honest, it hurts to be too comfortable. butts fall asleep, limbs get pins & needles, our weight fluctuates and our heart wanes. when you see yourself raising a fist, or resorting to a comfortable behavior, reevaluate. hold the reigns. ask: what is this? is it fear? frustration? miscommunication? ignoring a symptom that is screaming? do a double take and see what you come up with. i promise, your life will start speaking to you if you only give listening a chance.

every heart has a song, yes, even yours. i am certain of this. give it a listen.
especially this week. especially tonight. especially right this very moment.

04 February 2009

bee well.

"at age 27 i am beginning to see the beauty of a well made bed" pw

{this is too funny! i am using pw's computer and i was attempting to copy and paste a comment that was meant for elsita, but the internet crapped out and i don't think i copied it fast enough. but i came here to this space thinking i had, and when i go to paste it, instead i pasted this quote, from pw. i appreciate this chappy so very much, ya'll, he is the greatest! and i am serious when i say i think he has a heart made of gold! }

well i am sick in bed right now, sneezing and blowing through kleenex at ungodly speeds. i wanted to have a speck of inspiration to share, but it seems i can't stop sneezing long enough to even get a sentence typed. think it's time to put in the netflix. to keep the bee inspiration going i asked pw to cue me up "the secret life of bees." (i think i mentioned that earlier in the week). anyway, he did and it's here and i shall watch it.

rest up. get well. soak up the warm and wellness into your bones. xoxxxx
(and if you are well, offer to take somebody some delicious hot soup!)

01 February 2009

softened with thankfulness {and SO much heart!}

{Conserver un couer paisible et un visage souriant.}
{Keep a peaceful heart and a smiling face.} (ratisbonne)

mon couer is full, brimming in fact, with affections and i swear that it all started this morning. february is my month of big, big love. i am going to be all sweet, all honey, sticky and everywhere; adding a touch of sunshine and love to everything, sticking with it, through and through.

the photo above was taken a few years ago in colonial beach, va during a long girls weekend. it captures something silly about me, on a bike, summer colored and sun-kissed. there i am trying to capture something and the glorious sun is setting behind me. i have to laugh at myself, i really am just a human being with a heart and a path to walk along, but really, come on. be with the sunset. be on the bike.

i love bees. i am going to have paul cue up "the secret life of bees" on the netflix. i am going to eat lots of honey this month. i am going to taste the sweetness that is february of 2009. my lips are going to greet the sweet lips of those kisses. my palms are going to be spread wide ready for big love. my heart, beating and totally along for the ride. feeling so good on this first day of february. feeling so right, right where i need to be.


speaking of hearts, the LOVE EXPLOSION show at Daniel Chaffin gallery went beautifully this weekend. the art of Rosie Felfle and Jeral Tidwell was stunning (their work SO different but incredible when hung together), and the furniture spread about set off every piece. a love explosion indeed! it was this beautiful exhibition of people who love their craft and bring it to life with their hands. i was completely beside myself filling this stunning, handcrafted shelf with heart piercing cards. my studio assistant (pw) helped me set up and everything was top-notch! really fun and truly a wonderful experience.
a few fotos:
(my cards/creations all displayed on the beautiful daniel chaffin shelf--and do you see rosie's hearts on the right side. her hearts were floating, dreamy and sweet!)

(my candy dish and pseudo business cards :) haha)

(my favorite card on the shelf; sold to a mystery buyer! titled: 1,000,000 kisses, hoping to make more and have them in the shop this week, just in time for valentine's day)

(a little detail of the filled shelf!)

agh, so, my couer is peaceful and the smile is spread across my face. so many days of "rest" and so many wonderful inspirations collect, i am just softened with thankfulness. hoping you are sent off into the month of february on the wings of love.