Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Color Your Way to Calm

I loved the headline of a story I read in the paper on Sunday so much that I borrowed it for my blog title. When I went looking for the article online, they'd changed the title, which I don't think is as catchy. But I think the topic is fun and timely considering we had friends over for a mother-daughter date on Friday afternoon to play with color. We pulled out all of our art supplies and my friend Lisa immediately gravitated to a wonderful coloring book that my father-in-law (one of my biggest blog fans!) had recently given Sofia.

The Secret Garden coloring book was featured in the article I read about the calming benefits of coloring. It's not just child's play any more. Adult coloring books are gaining in popularity and are actually quiet trendy right now (as the title of the online version of the story indicates.)

Lisa chose this beautiful peacock picture to color along with a fabulous color palette. As soon as she put pen to paper she said to me "This is so relaxing."

I started out painting simple swirls in a calming color palette inspired by the hydrangeas in my garden - photo above. Like Lisa, I immediately felt relaxed. Then I colored a page in Sofia's coloring book - with fun, bright colors. The author of the article suggests just using a few colors - so you don't have the "stress" of deciding which colors to use - for an even more calming effect. I think I will try that next time.
Here's another adult coloring book that's mentioned in the article. I think I might have to order it so I have my own coloring book! I think I'm becoming crazed about this great new trend!

The girls collaborated on an art project as well - selecting and mixing colors and then pressing flowers from our garden onto paper. So sweet!

Here are a few more adult coloring books that another article I found recommends.

  • "Art Nouveau Postcard Colouring Book"
  • "Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest and Colouring Book"
  • "Hemingwasted Coloring Book: A Loving Look at Literary Lushes"
  • "Mexican Patterns to Color"

The great thing about coloring books is you don't have to be a "real artist" to create a beautiful piece of art. And the calming benefits can't be understated.

So put your phone and other distractions aside and grab a coloring book and your favorite pens, crayons or colored pencils and you'll be transported away from your day-to-day responsibilities and stresses. It's pretty great!

When was the last time you colored?

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Beautiful Day

At the beginning of the summer I bought Sofia a box of Angel Cards and every day she chooses a different word from the box - without looking. It serves as an intention to guide her/our day. She's totally gotten into it - choosing words ranging from "peace" to "courage" to "trust" to "adventure" (the day we left for vacation which was perfect).

Last Thursday she chose "beauty." It ended up setting the tone for a magical and beautiful day - one that memories are made of, one we didn't want to end.

We set out on a walk from our house to our favorite neighborhood restaurant, Volunteer Park Café, on Capitol Hill. Sofia loves their chicken noodle matzo ball soup and I had a delicious - and beautiful - quinoa tabouleh salad.


Then we headed further up the hill to Volunteer Park - Sofia played a bit and then we cooled off in the wading pool before hitting the Conservatory where we oohed and aahed at the beautiful flowers - Sofia exclaiming excitedly "Take a picture of that!"

Then we walked over to the Seattle Asian Art Museum at Volunteer Park where we enjoyed fabulous, inspiring and beautiful art. Chiho Aoshima: Rebirth of the World exhibit was especially interesting and very colorful.

Then up to the top of the water tower we walked - where we enjoyed views of our beautiful Emerald City.

Our final stop before heading home was a walk through the dahlia gardens. I can't believe they are already starting to bloom.

We are so lucky to  live in the city surrounded by beautiful parks. Can you believe this picture was taken about a half-mile from our house in Interlaken Park, yet you feel like you're a world away!

Our beautiful day ended with a visit to the Paint Lab, a fabulous boutique paint shop, where we went in search of inspiration for a color project Sofia's been asked to do for my color guru, Leatrice Eiseman's, blog. More on that later!

Today I am back at work and longing for an endless summer day with my girl. What memories are you making this summer?

Friday, July 10, 2015

My Oasis

This morning I participated in part one of a three-part online series with author and self-care guru Jen Louden called The Oasis. She billed the series as "guided support for living your truest self." That intrigued me! 
This morning's one-hour call was a combination of guided meditations and writing prompts. I wasn't sure what I was getting into but I've followed Jen's work for a while and I felt compelled to participate. During this fun and crazy summer season when I'm trying to balance being "fun mom" with work and a different schedule every week, the notion of an Oasis really spoke to me. I leaned in and I fully participated, and as usual, when I follow my heart, I got so much out of it! 
It helped me think about "chunking down" my life and focusing on what I need to do to live my truest self this week. Small - yet important things that make me feel alive - like getting into nature, feeding my creativity by writing my blog more often, journaling and meditating, alone time and quality time with Geoff. 
It also made me think of what Oasis means to me. I wrote "my garden is my Oasis." It truly is. We recently redid our backyard and it's amazing what a positive difference it has made in my life. After living in our house for 17 years, we finally created our "Garden Oasis in the City." When we started planning our project, the mood I wanted to create was "harmony" - a respite from the stresses of life, a place to chill, a place to connect, an Oasis. 
We included all of my favorite plants in our Oasis - lots of hydrangeas, lavender, jasmine, boxwood and gardenia. 

In one of my very first blog posts, I wrote about wabi sabi - the Japanese philosophy that celebrates beauty in what's natural and imperfect. I think of it every time my eye is drawn to the only hot pink flowers in my garden, amidst the harmonious greens, whites, soft pinks and blues. It was obviously an accident, but I love it!

I also love these gorgeous blooms.

This sweet gardenia right outside my kitchen door greets me with its intoxicating scent every time I enter my Oasis. 
This is the bluest hydrangea I have ever seen. Recently Sofia asked me if it was really that blue. Indeed it is and it's amazing!

I've spent endless hours watering my Oasis during Seattle's heat wave. I feel like a new mom trying to provide sustenance for my newborn baby. It feels good to tend to my garden - to watch my garden grow and flourish, to be in my Oasis. 

I love to listen to the calming sounds of the fountain as it blocks out the city noise.

We've enjoyed countless evenings eating dinner, reading, playing games and relaxing on our new patio. It's added a whole new room to our house - and created more harmony within our family. For that, I am very grateful.

Sofia is enjoying our new Garden Oasis too.

Where is your Oasis?