31 January 2011

keep it simple

surprise! happy birthday, caroline!
surprises. sisters. simplicity. sexy dresses. support. someone to talk to. sitting still. sticking to your guns. scheming goodness. snooze button. schoolwork. spontaneity. sparkling wine. solitude. i'm overwhelmed with the goodness of the obvious these days. that the simple joys are most often the ones that move us to the core. 

i had the absolute pleasure of surprising my sister with a surprise visit for her birthday weekend, and, as you can tell, she was beside herself with excitement. and so surprised. it might not get better than this. we had such a blast. a honkin' good time. all of this thanks to my brother in law, whose idea it was.

you may not know this, but at one point in my life i was a sorority girl {gasp?}. and while that is a closed chapter of my life, there is one quote from KD that i will always carry with me: “OUT OF SUCH PURE AND SIMPLE BEGINNINGS GROW GREAT AND WONDERFUL THINGS,” - LENORA ASHMORE BLACKISTON

maybe she's onto something, huh? keep it simple. one foot in front of the other. tipping towards the positive. showing up in simplicity and, therefore, fullness. starting the day off right. 
sending love to you.


19 January 2011

practice. practice. practice.

i know this
but sometimes i forget this:  
our gifts are our gifts.
 there is no denying them. 

this weekend, i made a custom card for a fellow colleague...

and it was great!

i'd forgotten, just how much i LOVE to make these.

outside of custom card
to capture a combination of diverse elements about a person 
and to create something beautiful to honor that! what a joy that is. 
inside of custom card
so the lesson then is this: practice using your gift. 
well, first, figure out what it is. 

practice,practice, practice. 

be kind to yourself. 
be generous to others. 
understand the power of goodness. 
xoxo stephanie alaine

p.s. speaking of practice, i'm willing to discuss making a custom card (or valentine) for you.  i typically charge $10 for a custom card. time is of the essence these days, so act swiftly if you're interested. email me at stephanieDOTtabbATgmailDOTcom 

15 January 2011

a grounded 2011

practice creative affirmations
hellooooo, mid-January:
fancy seeing you here. i thought i had a bit more time to carve out space for intention; alas, you have arrived. much like new years past, 2011 has come quickly & continues to unravel at a swift pace.

much like last year, i made space for christine kane's word of the year worksheet. i started with a fresh worksheet, then i took my finest pen (oh you know me & pens!) and got to work. the excavation. the road blocks. the wisdom down-deep. she says: "when the word you choose is authentically you-- you'll continually be surprised at what it teaches you throughout the year."

my lovely stepmom alicia completed the worksheet in a day and found her words for the year: serene honesty. that'a girl: way to get clear & focused. and to make it a real one-two punch, that lucky little duck asked for the best christmas present i could ever think to give: MONDO beyondo! (which just so happened to start on her birthday! go binky go.) 2011 will hold some goodness & abundance & discovery for her. for you. and for me, too.

from the w-o-t-y worksheet, a word, a concept, emerged for me: grounded.  defined as being "mentally and emotionally stable; admirably sensible, realistic & unpretentious."  

after a major growth spurt in 2010, and refinement, challenge & change, i am ready, really ready, to get grounded. many that know me would tell you that i do chaos really well. i'm a master multi-tasker. from my reflection: "My current default is to throw it into panic mode & barrell through." {Sidenote: the vulnerability that emerges as I type that is daunting. and thick.}  But it is my current way. And we can't celebrate growth or depth if we don't take a true account of the way things are. 

so 2011 will be about the flow. and enjoying it. and finding a peaceful pace among the pack. not lead. not follow. steady commitment, deep rooting, intimate exploration, firm foundation, inner knowing.

grounded & knowing deeply that all stages of growth are meaningful & opportunities for possibility: digging, planting, waiting, changing seasons, budding, blossoming, changing colors, drying out, falling, decomposing, replanting. and the cycle begins again. 

I think it needs to be mentioned that i have a firm belief: seeds will bloom.  I have no doubt that any ounce of dream or desire that lies within each of us will come to fruition in due time. I understand that is a bold statement, yet i say that with a firmness & a fierceness that will scare away even the darkest inner gremlins. it is not a lesson I learned the easy way. it came with time. and in due time.

something sideswiped me yesterday. "bad news bears," as my sister and i used to say growing up. disappointment. a change of course. and i sobbed. and it was sad. and did i mention, disappointing? but guess what? this is life.

filled with an inherent goodness, the right opportunities, and yes, the right seeds. so when a course changes? we change. we take time to process, mourn losses, get grounded, and then, move forward.  its a chance, an opportunity to display our graces, stake our course, encounter obstacles, and overcome them.

sad story aside, i know that this year holds opportunity aplenty. and this is one of many of the leaps & bounds i'll encounter. and if i take this one in stride, i'll be better prepared for the next. and if i can grow because of it, then damn. i make out on the better end of the bargain, don't i?

2011, i plan to hold you close. get to know you. call you my friend. encounter you with grace, honesty & an inner knowing. among my plans are these details:
keep loved ones close.
celebrate at every corner. {often with champagne}

keep love in focus.

tell my true story {artwork by ali edwards.}

ceremoniously be wed to pw {image source}
strengthen my yoga practice

keep body & mind healthy & whole

so: without further adieu, i greet a grounded 2011 with my whole heart & offer my whole self to its lessons, possibilities and wonder. 
stephanie alaine

13 January 2011

add it up

when we look at that of which our lives are composed, we are, without a doubt, and sometimes all at the same time: threatened, ready to explore, protective, full-hearted, patient, curious.

when i look ahead into 2011, my numbers add up like this: 1 full time career. 2 graduate courses. 1 fiance. 1 wedding to plan. 3 races to run (this spring). 4 bloggers to collaborate with. 10 days in ireland. 2 fantastic mothers. 1 wellcoach exam. 4 siblings. 2 nieces to love on & watch grow. 1 really good idea to execute. and 1, just 1, new years resolution.

not saying i'm a big deal or anything, because, let's be honest: that's really not that much. anyone who was focused, organized, strategic might laugh at my list & start singing "the sound of music" because this is patty-cake material to them. but not me, oh no. i am somehow curious & overwhelmed all at the same time.

maybe it's because my career means a lot to me.
maybe it's because some small part of me has always loved seeing an A on my report card.
maybe it's because pw deserves the best attention, not sloppy seconds to my dramatic ______ story.
maybe it's a lot of things.
but i know for sure it's one thing: it is my one, wonderous life.

i want to look back every year and say that i've grown. to keep some kind of inner journal of growth.
and whether i mean to or not, to account for things the way they really are. not to create confusing calculations about my existence through anxiety, gossip, drama, worry. to firmly say, "damn! 2009 finally taught me how goal-oriented i am." or "oh yes, 2014 was the year i learned to love my belly. it only took me 30 years."

2010 taught me a lot. i can't say enough about my growth: inwardly and outwardly. (and i can't tell you how tempted i am to get a tattoo by betsy dunlap that reads "golden." but where would i put it?!?! thoughts?)

mom, it's official. i need a tattoo.

more importantly, 2011 is here. and i am awake and alive and counting my blessings. and getting real familiar with what is good & heart-filling & awakening. and letting go of fatigue, fear, heaviness as much as i can. there is a lot to love out there. time to get to it.

06 January 2011

holding space for intention {letting go of fear}

there is a decent amount of pressure at the beginning of each new year, to carve out an intention, to look deep within and evaluate, in a meaningful way, the truth of ones inner landscape. what's working and what's not.  while this effort can be as serious or as lighthearted as you please, in the true seeing, there is an epiphany. 

sneak peek of my 2011 pictures, taken by victoria wall

when we hold up the mirror in our lives, take account of the way things are, the stories we tell ourselves, the outcome of this honest evaluation can scare us. shake us. cause us to reconsider whether taking a deep look was ever a good idea in the first place. and the opposite is also true: we can play charades with our real selves. allowing our true intentions to be masked with others' opinions. remember this: the beauty is in the discovery.

that's how i felt last year when i laid out the intention to live out my golden year. the gremlin who's mantra is "and who do YOU think YOU are?" showed up in full force. but instead of shudder back in fear, i didn't something i'm not sure i'd ever done before: i stood my ground. i knew my needs and i wasn't turning back. uncomfortable? terribly. terrifying? in every way. worth it? hell yes.

there is something about an intention that strikes me as too simple to believe in its effectiveness.  and i admit i had my doubts last year. but my goodness, what a golden year. 

i can't thank you enough for traveling with me through that journey. for sharing in the celebrations & the challenges. for showing up when i was distant, for braving chill & warmth, energy & exhaustion. for sending me along my way even when the way was unclear. i thank my lucky stars, the good god, the spirit of love that leads us all. i am undoubtedly grateful in so many ways. 

and now: 2011 is here. you're here and i'm here and its time {again! already? so soon?!} for intention.  i am not sure any year will every be like my golden year: which was something between the 1849 California Gold Rush and the exact definition of re·fine·ment/riˈfīnmənt/Noun 1. The process of removing impurities or unwanted elements from a substance.

but i do know this: we can be ready for whatever will find its way into our lives. because we can trust this process. collectively, we can know that we were meant for these dreams, and lean so trustingly into the unknown, seeking support from one another as we live out these well-meant intentions.

so as i spent just another day or so carving mine out, you can know that i'm holding space for yours, too. 

03 January 2011

two thousand eleven: hello!

two-thousand-eleven: here are my open arms! 

i am so glad to turn the corner to a new year. i couldn't have asked for a better way to ring in the new year than a trip to new york city with handsome pw & darling friends!!

just a few quick snapshots of our adventures.  more stories & resolutions & reverb10 wrap up to come this week!
twinkling lights & magical traditions
happy baby eleanor

pw in his element: the NYC food scene.
blushing & happier than a peach. see empire state building on the right?

sending love & cheer ahead of us all for 2011.