Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Quiet is Your Friend

Boatyard Inn, Whidbey Island - a quiet and tranquil place.

Hi friends, Happy Tuesday. In my post on Friday I mentioned that I had seen a career coach the day before. She had so much good advice and one of the themes was about slowing down and enjoying the quiet. It's really hard for many to do as we lead busy lives with kids, jobs, homes, and obligations galore. She reiterated this advice to me at the end of our session and I wrote it down in all caps:


She said I have to get quiet to let the universe talk to me about what I am supposed to do next for my career and to help me relax and focus. (Amen to that!)

So I am trying to unplug a bit and enjoy some quiet. Kind of a challenge with a three-year-old who is on mid-winter break but I am doing little things: sending less email (which means I get less email), reading a novel (instead of self-help and career books), going to the beach (Sofia and I went on a day trip to Whidbey Island yesterday), unsubsribing from emails I no longer want or need, going to church and hot yoga on Sunday (both were exhilirating) and taking a break from Facebook. I am also going to book an overnight by myself on Whidbey Island next week to meditate and walk and enjoy the quiet. Oh, and I am going to try to take a break from blogging for the week, which is really hard because it's my passion right now and I love sharing myself with you in this medium. But I will be back next week after some peace and quiet.

Enjoy mid-winter break if you're on one!


Friday, February 18, 2011

Student of Life

This gorgeous textile is hand woven by Maya Indians of Guatemala.

I met with a career coach yesterday to help me figure out what the next chapter of my life looks like. Yes, I finally sought out a professional to help me navigate "limbo land."  The first thing she said is "You're not in limbo. You need to change the way you are thinking about it. You are going to school. You are a student of life." That resonated so well with me and today I was back at school. Literally.

I live about a half-mile from University of Washington, my alma mater. When I set out on my walk this morning I thought I would take a quick walk through campus, maybe pop in the Burke Museum on the UW campus, which I have been meaning to visit for years, and then head down to U Village to buy a new pair of sunglasses. (I am ready for spring!)

Instead, I saw a big sign for the Burke Museum (above) that compelled me to stop in. I have drug my feet for years because it is a natural history and culture museum and not an art museum. But something drew me in today. Actually to be specific it was the special textiles exhibit, an endangered art form for sure.

I was especially drawn to the hand woven textiles from Mexico and Guatemala. Not only did the beautiful colors and patterns draw me in, but they reminded me of the work I did at Starbucks with coffee farmers in those countries and because our wonderful nanny is from Guatemala. I also learned more about the civil war that plagued Guatemala from 1960 to 1996 leaving 200,000 people dead and communities in shambles. It made me want to hug my nanny for all she and her family have endured. Art and culture are definitely interwoven in our lives. Sometimes I think if I had to do it over I would triple major in cultural anthropology, art and communications, rather than just communications. Maybe it's not too late? 

At the entrance to the textiles exhibit is a sign with this quote:

“The fabrics of people unlock their social history.
They speak a language, yet more eloquent than the written page.”
-Lewis Henry Morgan 1851

This quote and the colors, the beauty, the history, the art and the ceremony all drew me in to the textiles exhibit in a way I didn't expect. All I could think of was a quote I read in one of my favorite books, The Happiness Project, before I went on my walk this morning:  "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."

I was especially taken with the natural dying process and the gorgeous red and purple colors of yarn that resulted from die made from tree bark. I asked the docent to explain how brown logwood tree bark produced purple die and madder root produced dark red die. She briefly explained the process and then said it is kind of a mystery. I was OK with that explanation.  I don’t think we have to be able to explain everything but we can marvel in the beauty of everything.


I ended today's "class" with a cup of yummy hot lemon mate tea at The Burke Museum Cafe (above), an old haunt from my undergrad days. There is something wonderful about being on a college campus and observing students and professors and remembering the days when my only job was to learn. The energy was inspiring and calming at the same time. I want to hold onto that as I embark on my education as a student of life.

I didn't make it to the Village to get my sunglasses, but I think I met one of my teachers this morning: the
Weaving Heritage: Textile Masterpieces from the Burke Collection exhibit. A blessing in disguise...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Green Serene

I just returned from another invigorating and clarifying walk. Unlike yesterday, the sun was not out and the sky was pure grey. So in an effort to lift my mood, I bundled up and headed up to the beautiful Roanoke Park neighborhood at the north end of Capitol Hill.

I had an Aha moment, actually several, during my walk. (As I have said before, I do my best thinking when I’m outside on a walk.)

In an effort to calm my mind and clear the mental clutter, I decided to focus on the color green. Everywhere I looked I saw green. I used it as a focal point during my walk to calm my thoughts and anxieties. Kind of like a focal point used during childbirth or while doing pirouettes in ballet. Every time my mind wandered I refocused on green. Bright green moss on the freeway overpass, shiny emerald green laurel leaves, bright green grass, dark green boxwood, green houses, front doors in all shades of green from bright lime to shiny hunter to light sage, green flower pots, green awnings, green garden hoses, green garbage cans and recycling bins, green Amazon Fresh boxes and green street signs. Even the fire hydrants and the slide and swings at the park are green. I think you get the picture. We are surrounded by green. I guess we have the Seattle rain (and sun!) to thank for this. And now I finally get why this beautiful place is called the Emerald City. Everything (almost!) is green here.

As I was focusing on green, I felt calmer and the word serene popped into my head. So, like with pink and orange, I decided to do a bit of research to find out the meaning of green.

Meaning of Green

Not surprisingly, green is the color of nature, fertility and life. Grass green is the most restful color. Green symbolizes self-respect and well being and is the color of balance. It also means learning, growth and harmony. Green is a safe color.

Green contains the powerful energies of nature, growth and desire to expand or increase. Balance and a sense of order are found in the color green. Change and transformation is necessary for growth.

Wow, I can see why I was drawn to green today. I’m in a state of change and transformation. Yay, green!

One of my Favs

For more than a decade, my favorite color was green. I graduated from hunter green in the early 90s to lime green in the mid and late 90s and into the current millennium. But somehow orange has pushed out green as my favorite right now. Orange is fiery and green is calming. The Yin and Yang of colors?  So today in pursuit of more calm and serenity, I am going to replace the gorgeous hot pink and orange Hermes scarf my wonderful husband gave me for Valentine's Day with a green vintage Hermes scarf. I am curious to see how it makes me feel. Just thinking about it makes me feel calm.

The other Aha moment I had was that I want to study color theory to dig deeper into how colors affect us. And I am also going to dust off my personal mission statement that I wrote a mere month ago. How soon we can become unfocused. This mission is grounding and calming and clarifying to me. And my mantra makes it real.

My mission is to live a beautiful and balanced life – inside and out –
 inspired by color and creativity.

My mantra: “Make it matter!”

What is your favorite color? How does it make you feel?

Do you have a personal mission statement? If not, it's a great thing to do.

Aah, the calmest room in my house - my green bedroom.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sun Walk

I just returned from an exhilarating walk in the sun, the cold, windy Seattle in February kind of sun, but at least it wasn't the liquid sun that we get more often than not this time of year.

Instead of my regular route today, I decided to follow the sun. For a not so carefree gal, it made me feel carefree for at least an hour. I briskly meandered around the gorgeous North Capitol Hill neighborhood. Wherever the sun was, I went. When I hit shade I felt my energy change and so I changed course so I could once again be drenched in the sun.
What is it about the glorious sun? We all know about the positive effects of Vitamin D that our body absorbs from the sun but I think it's more than that. For even when it's cold, it's warm. Its bright light opens our eyes, our minds and our hearts. I enjoyed some new and different sites, sounds and smells on my sun walk today. I saw a gorgeous dark lavender door on an old Capitol Hill house. I wish I had taken a picture but I didn't have my gadgets with me. I wanted to disconnect and fully absorb nature, even in the middle of this bustling city.
I know it is easier said than done, but I hope you can get out today for even just 15 minutes for a sun walk. I promise you will feel more energetic, carefree and happy! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy (Belated) Valentine's Day

Hi friends, we returned from a long weekend to no Internet service so I'm posting my Valentine's message one day late. But as my three-year-old says "that's ok!" This one is actually timeless and it's my last tribute to pink*, for now...

A favorite Audrey Hepburn quote:

"I believe in pink.
I believe that laughing
is the best calorie burner.
I believe in kissing,
kissing a lot.
I believe in being strong
when everything seems
to be going wrong.
I believe that happy girls
are the prettiest girls.
I believe that tomorrow
is another day
 and I believe in miracles."


*This is the eighth and final in a series of “pink” posts. See my Feb. 3 “Smooch” post for background.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Hi friends, cheers to the weekend! I'm ready for it. Are you? We're heading out of town to visit friends in Hood River for a long weekend which is always good for my soul.

I have had fun writing about pink this week*. I hope you've had fun reading about it.

For my last post of the week, I wanted to share something pink that I can truly get excited about - rose bubbly.

This Cristalino Rose Brut is a good bottle of bubbly for a great value. Add a splash of Creme Cassis liqueur and you have a lovely pink kir royale cocktail. 

I also recently discovered this great Quattro Mani ("four hands") Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. It is described as bursting with spicy fruit, supple, soft yet balanced and vividly flavored. Wow, that kind of sounds like a good friend, doesn't it! It's an outstanding wine for everyday!

Enjoy your weekend. See you on Monday for one last pink post.


*This is the seventh in a series of “pink” posts. See my Feb. 3 “Smooch” post for background.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fleurs Rose

This is the sixth in a series of “pink” posts*. It has been a busy week. But this is a topic I have been looking forward to all week - pink flowers!

I went for an invigorating walk today through the Washington Park Arboretum near my house. Buds on the trees, crocuses in bloom, daffodil bulbs springing up from the flower beds, and the intoxicating smell of Daphne.  Aah, the first signs of Spring. My favorite season. I even saw a pink rhodi in full bloom today. Really?

The sun was out and Spring is definitely in the air -  the chill of winter is too!! Thirty-eight days and counting til Spring. And four days until Valentine's Day. Are you ready? I still need to get over to the Village to buy heart boxers and dark chocolate for my husband. I get this for him every year - he has quite the collection of romantic boxers! As for me, not surprisingly, I love to receive flowers and a glassybaby for Valentine's Day (hint, hint honey!). Often Geoff picks up several bunches of my favorite flowers -  gerberas, lilies and tulips - and puts them in different vases that he scatters around the house. He knows I don't want the standard roses and chocolate (not that there is anything wrong with them) but I have my preferences and he knows them!!

Here I share some of my favorite fleurs rose. Enjoy!

My talented sister Jill, owner of Starflower, created this gorgeous bridal bouquet which was featured in Portland Bride and Groom magazine.

I don't usually prefer carnations but this sweet bouquet of hot pink baby carnations is darling in Sofia's room. When I was young my mom filled this very same mug with carnations. It's fun to recreate it for Sofia. Carnations are pretty, inexpensive, they smell good, are easy to arrange and they last forever. Just don't add baby's breath. Hah!

 In my mind, peonies are just perfect. So sweet and fragrant. Can't you just smell them?!

 This was the centerpiece at a tea party a friend hosted recently. The soft pink gerberas are just lovely in the jane's caramel glassybaby.

And pink Stargazer Lilies - love them!

I even motivated this week to plant hot pink and orange primroses in my pots.

What do you want for Valentine's Day?

Hugs and kisses!

*See my Feb. 3 “Smooch” post for background.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sweet Treats for Your Sweethearts

Hi friends, Happy Wednesday! I always look forward to the Food section of the Seattle Times on Wednesdays, so I thought it would be fun to do my pink* food post today. These sweet treats are sure to make you love pink, at least while you're indulging in them or sharing them with your sweethearts.  And yes, I meant sweethearts (plural) because this is the time of year to share your love with all of your sweethearts - your spouse/SO, your kids/grandkids, your parents/grandparents, your friends, and neighbors and teachers. Come on, spread some LOVE!

(As an aside, the sun is shining bright in Seattle today which always makes me feel a bit sweeter!)

Here are some of my favorite sweet treats. What are yours?

Real French macaroons at Le Rêve Bakery & Café on Queen Anne are to die for. Grab a box for your sweetheart or yourself!

 My all-time favorite cupcakes are "homemade" cherry chip with cherry frosting. Thank you very much Betty Crocker!

 Volunteer Park Cafe does it right once again with these amazing salted shortbread cookies. Oh so sweet and savory. Yum!

 Volunteer Park Cafe also has a special selection of packaged sweets right now including hot cocoa in darling felt bags, pink mellows, and even doggie treats! Stop by for last minute gifts for your sweethearts.

A friend made these yummy raspberry jam-filled heart tarts for a little girls' tea party she hosted last week. I had two, thank you very much!!

Pink Lady apples – Sofia’s favorite. Yes, because they are pink.
Why aren't vegetables pink?!

 And, once again, last but not least, my inspiration to embrace pink - Sofia making pink Valentine's cookies yesterday with LOTS of hot pink sprinkles.

See you tomorrow for Fleurs Roses (pink flowers)!


*This is the fifth in a series of “pink” posts. See my Feb. 3 “Smooch” post for background.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ballet Pink*

I am a huge fan of ballet. It incorporates beauty, grace, discipline, poise, theater, pretty costumes, and classical music, and it is so very feminine, at least classical ballet - the kind I prefer.

I grew up dancing from the time I was three years old through high school. I picked it up again through an adult ballet class a couple of years ago that I absolutely loved. Now Sofia is taking ballet and it is such a joy to see her enjoying it so much.

I can't imagine writing about pink without putting a spotlight on a dance technique that immediately evokes thoughts of pink.
Below are some of my favorite images that make me think that pink was invented just for ballet. Enjoy.

Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Lindsi Dec (center) and company members dance the Waltz of the Flowers in PNB's Stowell/Sendak Nutcracker.  Photo ©  Angela Sterling.
Quite possibly my favorite ballet dance ever - the Waltz of the Flowers in the Pacific Northwest Ballet's The Nutcracker.

Designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno’s sketch for a costume for Pacific Northwest Ballet's Coppelia. (PNB photo)

Nutcracker costumes for New York City Ballet - on the rack.

Nutcracker costumes for New York City Ballet - on the stage. Gorgeous.

Degas captures a moment in time in "Ballerine in Rosa." Pink tutued ballerinas wait to take the stage in this beautiful image.

Douglas Hofmann beautifully depicts ballerinas in his paintings. My inlaws own two of his gorgeous pieces, including the one above, entitled Dancing at Dusk. I love it.

Sofia and one of her best friends since birth, Ava, after their ballet performance recently.

It's Tuesday so we are off to Sofia's ballet class. Sofia is once again decked out in pink, head to toe. My pink uniform is a long-sleeved bright pink Izod shirt. I have to say, I love it!

See you tomorrow for Sweet Treats.


*This is the fourth in a series of “pink” posts. See my Feb. 3 “Smooch” post for background.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pretty in Pink

Hello friends. Happy (pink) Monday and welcome to the third installment of my adventures in pink, inspired by my three-year-old fashionista, Sofia*

Sofia loves to dress head-to-toe in HOT pink (see photo below), while I prefer pink as an accent color - a scarf, a sweater, a jacket. Truthfully I don't feel like myself in pink, I prefer orange, but that is another post. I am embracing pink this week to see how it makes me feel and how people respond to me in pink. I am challenging myself to wear at least one pink item each day this week. I actually have several pink pieces but I often overlook them, so it's kind of like shopping in my own closet, which is fun. And you should see Sofia's face when she sees me in pink. She truly lights up. It's priceless!!

For anyone who grew up in the 80s like I did, it's hard to think of pink and not think of Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink.

Molly Ringwald 21st century Pretty in Pink mini dress. Diagonal wrap bodice, a mix of lace detail. Draped waist adds curvy girl appeal. 80s vintage dress hemmed into a mini girlicious dance dress.
You can even buy a "Molly Ringwald 21st century Pretty in Pink mini dress" on etsy.com. The description reads: "Diagonal wrap bodice, a mix of lace detail. Draped waist adds curvy girl appeal. 80s vintage dress hemmed into a mini girlicious dance dress." Good to keep in mind for the next 80s party you're invited to.

Aaah, and Audrey Hepburn in pink. So, so pretty!

And, how about Jacqueline Kennedy in pink? Wow!

But I digress. I really wanted to share some beautiful current fashions from my favorite designers. Maybe they will inspire your wardrobe. They have already inspired me to try some new combinations of pieces I have in my closet.

Kate Spade Noura coat in "lipstick" pink, pearls and black tights. I love this combo.

Ooh, hot pink tights with Kate Spade Jillian black dress and silver shoes. Very cute!

This Hermes Fleurs d’Indiennes scarf is a great way to add a beautiful pop of pink.

And, of course, the Tory Burch Reva flat in hot pink suede. Pretty!

And, in light pink patent leather. This could be very cute for spring!

How about this Tory Burch tunic?

Check out Tory Burch's "In the Mood for Pink" blog post from last Valentine's Day for some eye candy!

These Corso Como shoes were offered by my friend Glacier's store Plenty last summer. I wanted them so badly but they sold out fast! I think they look like the perfect summer sandal.

This Stella & Dot silk chiffon necklace or triple-wrap bracelet is a really cute and easy way to add a spot of pink to any outfit.

And last but not least, here is my Sofia in head-to-toe pink.

See you tomorrow for Ballet Pink.

*This is the third in a series of “pink” posts. See my Feb. 3 “Smooch” post for background.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Decked Out for Valentine's Day*

I have never been one to decorate my house for what some might consider "Hallmark Holidays." While Valentine’s Day is a legit holiday dating back to 500 A.D., there is a ton of marketing hype around it. But I have a new theory. We are so excited to deck out our homes for Christmas. Then when January comes we can't wait to take it all down. But January is loooong and grey (at least in Seattle), so a pop of color here and there and some hearts to remind us of those we love is actually really fun and uplifting. So this year our house is pretty decked for Valentine's Day, in a tasteful way of course. Here is a glimpse inside....

 This heart garland in my kitchen window is my favorite Valentine's decoration. I was inspired by a similar garland I saw at Volunteer Park Cafe a couple of years ago. It always goes up first and it makes me smile every time I see it.

My in-house decorator, fashionista and able helper, Sofia, is all ready to put up another garland. She loves this one because it's sparkly. Usually she insists on getting dressed before she comes downstairs, but she was so excited
to decorate that she kept her PJ's on. Classic!

 Sparkly red and pink garland and glassybaby in dining room window.

Awesome, huge heart wreath my sister made me for my birthday on my front porch looking into dining room.

Even Sofia's playroom is decked out for Valentine's Day. It's not hard because it is already pretty pink (and green and orange)! But we added some sparkly heart garlands.

Hearts in Sofia's bedroom too, of course!

For many years, my friend Lara and I made heart wreaths for our front doors for Valentine's Day. This is one of my favorites from several years ago.

And last but certainly not least a beautiful stargazer lilly in a white glassybaby for my kitchen counter.

For some reason as I was writing this post the Beatles song "All You Need is Love" kept running through my head.

Check back for my next post – food or fashion? Vote or be surprised.
Until then, more smooches!

*This is the second in a series of “pink” posts. See my Feb. 3 “Smooch” post for background.