Thursday, September 20, 2018

Dahlias In Living Color

Almost every year that I've written this blog, I've posted about the dahlias at Volunteer Park. They are usually in full bloom in late August through September. This year, they bloomed in early August, but the summer got away from me and I'm just now sharing them. The colors and shapes are too good not to share. I hope you enjoy nature's colorful bounty! 

"When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not." 
-Georgia O'Keefe

Friday, June 29, 2018

Savor Summer

Summer is a feeling. It’s a state of mind. It’s lazy and active in the same breath.

It’s sunshine (hopefully!), sleepovers and s’mores! And sundresses and suntans and soft serve!

In a word, summer is FUN!

I recently got the idea from Lemon Stripes to create a summer bucket list. Last year, I made a vision board and I had a great summer. This year I’m trying the bucket list! Hopefully this inspires you to create your own bucket list and have an awesome summer!

Design Your Summer

For me, my priorities for summer (and life) come down to 3 F’s: Family, friends and fun! So I’ve categorized my bucket list accordingly.

Take a family hike
Kayak date at College Club with Geoff at least once a month
Plan a weekly adventure with Sofia that is fun for both of us! (West Seattle, Vashon, Golden Gardens, Port Townsend)
Ride bikes across 520 bridge to pool
Delancey dinner date with Geoff
Family picnics in Arboretum and Volunteer Park
Anniversary date at Snoqualmie Falls with Geoff

Hang out with friends at the pool and lake – a lot!
Host girls Rosé garden party
Go roller skating with friends
Walla Walla girls trip
Organize team for Obliteride walk. Everyone is welcome. Join or donate here!
Happy hour at the rooftop bar at Mbar

Summer Fridays - stop working at noon
Do something that scares me - in a good way! (Seaplane?)
See live music at least once a month
Move my body every day 
Make peach and avocado bruschetta
Visit friends in Olympia (my hometown) with Sofia
Water color plein air in garden and/or park
Visit an art gallery or museum at least once a month
Go to Olympus Spa when Sofia is at sleepaway camp

The following doesn't fall into a category, but overall I want to BE SPONTANEOUS AND SAVOR SUMMER!

Finally, a quote I heard recently that I will likely need to repeat many times this summer!

 “Remember, this is supposed to be fun!”
-Gretchen Rubin, Happier Podcast

What's on your summer bucket list?

Friday, June 22, 2018


This has been a BIG week for so many people I know. Friends and family graduating from college, high school, 8th grade, 5th grade, kindergarten, pre-school, even. It’s a big deal. Life is a series of moments and milestones and changes and transitions. 

Why is it that changes and transitions can be so hard? Even the good ones.

Transitions signal an end. They also welcome new, unknown changes that can be stressful and disorienting. It's through these transitions that we grow. And that's the whole point of life, right? 

Two poems I read this week helped comfort me as I've experienced a roller coaster of emotions during Sofia's last week of elementary school. So I wanted to share them with you. Whether you're going through a transition now, or not, as we all know, the only constant is change. So I hope these help you now - or at some point in the future - as much as they've helped me this week. 


The turning points along your path
Are marked by loss of direction.
For what you took for granted once
You now must seek correction.

In nature, growth involves vast change.
The eggshell cracks, the nest must crumble;
The tadpole's tail will always fall off.
The scope of change makes you humble.

For humans, the signs are not as clear
When transition occurs without warning
Disorientation seems to be the norm,
Until you can experience a dawning.

To cope with change, you grasp at straws,
And repeat old familiar acts.
You need to see from new perspectives,
So as to learn a new set of facts.

What's learned is that transition is
Set in motion by an ending,
You must learn to let go of outdated things
To accept the new ones pending.

Confusion abounds in the middle of it all,
What identified you once, now does not.
What has ended will ultimately be replaced,
But the wonder is a tender spot.

Following all forms of mass confusion
You can make a brand new start …
A new beginning that sets you free
To follow your own heart.


Change is always for the best
Although you may not agree.
Without it all things would remain stagnant
And die, every human and tree.
For a conscious being, to exist is to change,
And to change is to mature.
To mature is to go on creating
Yourself, in all you endure.

In your art and in daily living;
In your work and in your play,
There's always room for improvement.
There's always a better way.
The trick is to flow with each step
And not try to skip one or two.
The last step always builds on the first,
And you are creating.

To live is to change, there's no disagreement;
The facts are there in plain sight.
And to live well is to have changed often.
It is our natural birthright.
Perfection is a goal to keep in mind.
Why else would we change and try again?
The joy is in the pursuit as much
As it's in the prize we obtain.

I’m trying to think of this transition from elementary school to middle school in the fall like finishing a good book and being excited to read the sequel! This is the natural order of life. Growing up is good. Change is good. Transitions are still hard. 'The wonder is a tender spot.' Follow your heart! 



Poems from SOJOURNS by Kathryn Carole Ellison

Images from one of my favorite journals.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Be Like Kate

I am deeply saddened by the passing of Kate Spade. Her shocking suicide brings up all kinds of questions and makes us see how fragile life truly is. 

I love Kate's classic yet playful style. Her love of color and beauty. I've always aspired to be more like Kate. It's probably why this news hit me so hard.  

Color has always been a huge part of her brand. Huge. On her love of color, she said: "I find color optimistic... and enthusiastic … and I adore it. I do love color!"  She popularized "live colorfully!" which has become my personal mantra. 

For me, it's not about her iconic handbag (I never bought one) but it's more her style sensibility - stripes, dots, bows, colored tights, pearls, leopard, plaid, preppy and playful - that has inspired my own style. 

Bright, bold, strong and beautiful. To me, that is Kate Spade. The person. The brand. They are inextricably connected.  

Instead of "the purse," I prefer Kate Spade accessories, books, notecards and quotes. This coin purse is one of my favs. 

I have this quote on the inspiration board in my office. It's also somewhat of a mantra - or aspiration - for me as well. 

One of my favorite coffee table books is Kate Spade's: Things we Love. I often keep it open to the center spread that screams "HAPPY" in full color.

With so many seemingly "happy" things in her life, it's so hard to understand what led Kate to take her own life. It just goes to show we never know what demons people are fighting especially when they appear to have it all. Perhaps the saddest part of all for me is that she's leaving her 13-year-old daughter to navigate this world without her. Maybe "having it all" isn't the goal after all.... 
Today, I bought this bright and bold bouquet of hot pink peonies and orange poppies at Pike Place market as a tribute to an icon who made an indelible mark on me and so many other women I know. 

And I coined a new mantra "love colorfully!" which I think we could all use right now. 

RIP Kate Spade. Thank you for bringing so much beauty to the world. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Eagle Soars

"Eagle conveys the powers and messages of the spirit; it is man's connection to the divine because it flies higher than any other bird ... If an eagle has appeared, it bestows freedom and courage to look ahead."

Scott gasped his last breath four years ago today at 8:19 am. It still takes my breath away every time I think about it.

Shortly after Scott’s body was taken from his house by the funeral home, an eagle began swooping and soaring around his house. It followed me on my walk that day in Scott’s beautiful Columbia Gorge neighborhood. It/he soared low; almost a bit too low for my comfort level. I have to believe it was Scott’s spirit dipping low to say hello and soaring high to say goodbye....

The eagle continued to follow me. A few days later I crossed the bridge from White Salmon on the Washington side of the Columbia River. When I returned that day from Hood River, on the Oregon side, it greeted me as I exited the bridge just as I was getting back to White Salmon, where Scott had lived. That had never happened before. In fact, in my 20+ years of visiting Scott in the Gorge, I had never seen an eagle.

When I returned home to Seattle to gather my things to go back to Hood River for the memorial service, there were two eagles soaring over the dry cleaners in my neighborhood when I went to pick up my dress for the service. That never happens!

And then... upon returning to Hood River for the service, a record amount of snow had dumped on the Gorge (Scott’s dream!) so the eagle wasn’t soaring. But, as I was preparing my thoughts before the memorial service, the church ladies who were volunteering at the service recognized my anxiousness as I “hid” with them in the kitchen of the church. They offered me a comforting cup of tea... in this mug.

Can you believe it? It took my breath away. It was comforting and moving — something greater than me was clearly at play. Was Scott’s spirit soaring in his own service? Telling me he was OK?

For about a year after Scott died I saw eagles more frequently than usual. I see them a bit more infrequently now, but the site of them/him always causes me to pause and remember ... and just breathe. (Thanks Pearl Jam!)

I wear a delicate eagle necklace around my neck every day. Scott’s widow Heather (one of my dearest friends) gave it to me for my birthday that year. It both comforts and reminds me...of a life well lived and that Scott's spirit is alive and well.

RIP Scott Jason Gehring. May you continue to soar to new heights wherever you are.

You can read more about the symbolism of the eagle here. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

My Favorite Books I Read this Year

Dear Friends,

I don't know about you, but I'm craving the elusive "peace on earth" more than ever this holiday season. These are crazy, uncertain times. I'm finding myself in need of no material possessions - and instead seeking "comfort and joy" through experiences, meaningful connections, family time and books!

I've read some good ones this year. I want to share my favorites in hopes that they will strike a chord with you and stir something in you that provides just what you need this holiday season and in the coming year.

The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel

The Little Paris Bookshop is in the running for my favorite book of all time! It is a beautifully-written novel about the power of books to heal. I devoured this delicious read on our trip to Tahiti in September. It's absolutely wonderful, human and colorfully written. And it's set in Paris and Provence - which I love! It was the perfect "beach read" while offering life lessons and a soul-feeding narrative. 

The Awakened Family

The Awakened Family is hands down the best parenting book I've read. If I could give this book to every parent I know - including those with adult children and grandchildren - I would. Dare I say, it's life-changing. It's a whole new way of approaching parenting. It challenges us to focus on healing ourselves, checking our ego and taming our fears in order to raise highly resilient and emotionally connected children.  


Shantaram is an exquisitely written book set in Mumbai, India. It's the longest book I've ever read. Truth be told, I'm 31% through, which feels like an accomplishment since it's 944 pages. When we visited India this time two years ago, we didn't make it to Mumbai, but having experienced the craziness of India, this story transports me back to this incredibly exotic country and culture. But more than a book about India, the beautiful prose offer a description of the human experience that is relatable to any culture. 

It's hard for me to sum up this incredible book (especially since I haven't finished it), so I'll share part of the official description with you: "Burning slums and five-star hotels, romantic love and prison agonies, criminal wars and Bollywood films, spiritual gurus and mujaheddin guerrillas---this huge novel has the world of human experience in its reach, and a passionate love for India at its heart." 

The Complete Color Harmony Pantone Edition

This is Leatrice Eiseman's 10th book and arguably her best! The Complete Color Harmony Pantone Edition is for anyone who loves color. From the basic terminology of color (what do hue and value mean?) to a section about the psychology of color (my favorite) that includes the messages that certain colors communicate, to color and mood (another favorite) which includes 30 color moods of 36 palettes each, including over 3,500 Pantone colors, to what your personal choices say about you, this is a thoroughly engaging book with engaging explanations and beautiful photos. It's pretty much eye candy!

Celebrations: Poems of Life and Love

Sofia and I had a "chance" meeting with poet Kathryn Carole Ellison this past spring when she was signing her books at the Papyrus store in University Village. I was immediately drawn to Kathryn, her warm smile and her beautiful jewel-toned books that carry inspiring messages that really resonated with me. I immediately bought a copy of "Celebrations" for my mom and it has become my go-to gift for every occasion.  Kathryn's poems are beautifully written and easy to understand - and carry just the right messages. As I mentioned in my last post, I've started a ritual of reading at least one poem each morning. Here is one of my favorites.


What have you been reading lately that's touched you?



P.S. Some of my friends tell me they don't have time to read. In that case, I highly recommend Oprah's Super Soul Conversations Podcasts. I listen to them on my walks. In true Oprah fashion, they are amazing, inspiring and so relevant! 

Sunday, December 24, 2017


By Kathryn Carole Ellison

Rituals are central to our lives
Whether we recognize them or not - 
They're used when major events occur
To essentially 'mark the spot.'

They're also used in daily chores
Like preparation of a meal.
A person might use them in business
When firming up a deal.

Rituals give us places to be playful in life;
To explore meaning in what we do;
And time to rebuild family relationships,
Time to mend and glue.

Rituals connect us with our past;
They define our lives in the present.
They show us our path to the future,
Which we can make more pleasant.

As we pass on our ceremonies and traditions
To the next generation in line,
We tie together branches of the family tree
And use our love as twine.


I love rituals and traditions - and our family has many! I recently started a new morning ritual - just for me - that is beautiful and grounding. 

One of the great blessings of 2017 was meeting a wonderful woman who is a poet. Kathryn Carole Ellison's collection of poetry immediately spoke to me - in a very deep way. In her poetry she shares life's lessons in a beautiful, approachable way that really resonates with me. 

Every morning before I reach for my phone or read the news, I make a cup of tea, light a glassybaby, and read a poem (or two or three!). I randomly open to a page and the message is always just what I need that day. Then I take a few minutes to meditate on the message before I begin my day. It's powerful and calming at the same time. I carry the message with me throughout my day. 

I shared this ritual with a friend this week, and she sent me a text this morning with this picture expressing her gratitude for the gift of poetry I gave her and letting me know that she started her day with tea and a poem. 

If everyone started their day this way, I have a feeling the world would be a better place.

What are rituals that ground you?