“What have you been up to?”. I dread that question. It always feels like a lot and I in turn should have a long and involved response, but I don’t have a list of recognizable accomplishments.
I left my job shortly after Edie was born. It wasn’t a decision I made easily or lightly. It was in fact made with the help of my partner, and without his support I wouldn’t have been able to do it. Aside from a period almost a decade ago when I was laid off I’ve been working since i was in high school. Not being employed is foreign. Being a mother even more so.
I can’t measure progress or achievements like I used to. There is no checklist, despite my attempts to create some semblance of scheduling or “things to do”. No calendar or meetings. There is no bargaining of time. There are no performance reviews. I don’t get paid or get raises. Figuring out who I am with her -- my worth, productiveness -- has been at times an exhaustive internal exercise, and other times completely effortless. I have cycled from feeling guilty that it has seemed too easy (“am I really doing anything?”) to bitter that it is hard and no-one sees what I’m doing (“really, I put out some emotional fires today AND did 500 other things.”). Somewhere in between is the truth and its largely dependent on the amount of caffeine coursing through my veins coloring my perception.
Oddly what I think has been hardest is dealing with imagined judgement. Will other people, including my closest friends and loved ones, question how I fill my day? If I don’t know where the day went then surely they will wonder too. The jig will be up and the high I got from unloading the dishwasher or brushing my teeth will quickly dissolve.
Edie just hit the 6 month mark. I feel like we have finally gotten into a good groove, and it’s a routine I’d never trade for anything. She is a GOOD baby. She sleeps soundly, smiles, laughs, talks, plays, and has the most expressive face. I love watching her change and the times I’m challenged to come up with on-the-fly creative solutions to help soothe or entertain her. On the days that are a little harder I recall my life before her and whatever frustrations I have fade away.
At the end of the day, did I do a good job? Maybe? I hope so. I think so. What I do know is that I have a new boss and I think she likes me.
We are already into the second month of 2017 and I'm only now making my first post of the year. I've been distracted. The combination of baby and politics, which I've been immersed in independent of one another (most of the time), has been quite a potent procrastination potion and hasn't left much room in my brain for other things. That needs to change. Balance my friends -- it's constantly eluding me, but maybe things will finally be different.
Announcing Pantone's color of the year feels like a fitting return to blogging. Most people that care probably already are aware what this year's selection is, but it's a tradition of sorts around these parts to document (since 2007!), and do so well after the official release. When you see their rationale for the choice it's also seems symbolically on target. Presenting Greenery:
A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings.
Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.
Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront - it is an omnipresent hue around the world.
A life-affirming shade, Greenery is also emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality.
Is it my favorite? No, not exactly. When I look at it on it's own it doesn't inspire much in me, except for maybe a phantom sour taste in the corner of my mouth. As an accent color? Heck yeah. In nature? Of course. As a foretelling of what the year could be like? All over it; I so want to believe and will do my best to have green thoughts. So I like what it represents but don't universally embrace it in the material world. How's that for a wooden hug.
In related news, I like the overall Spring color story, and kale may be more my speed.
This time last year I was traveling through Costa Rica and Nicaragua with a few friends. We started on the Caribbean coast of the former and ended up on the Pacific coast of the latter. There in the middle was La Fortuna where we stayed at the base of a volcano, an ACTIVE one (see the steady little poof streaming out as evidence).
By far this is the leg I was most looking forward to. I have had a longstanding fascination with volcanoes -- they are practically prehistoric and show nature's strength in a simultaneously bold and stoic way (um, and it's also how to destroy the ring that could rule us all). To be up close (ish) and personal with one was one of those bucket list things. Waking up to this mighty beast right at my back door, as brightly colored birds and a family of white-nosed coati scampered by is one of those visuals I won't soon forget.
SPOOKY WAYS TO GET THERE:
- Read -- My favorite horror director, and it should be yours too [ Amazon ]
- Watch -- Scary because it's too possible [ Netflix ]
- Listen -- Question: does bustin' feel the same in Japan? [ YouTube ]
- Do -- There's still time, but not much so make those fingers bleed [ Etsy ]
- Austin Event -- For a different kind of make believe [ ACL Live ]
There's something about Hayley Eichenbaum's photos that is very Tim Burton a la Edward Scissorhands meets the southwest. The colors and settings seem to defy reality and it's hard to imagine that such a pastel wonderland truly exists. She is yet another standout in what lately has been a never ending sea of awesome imagery on Instagram. That well does not run dry. Check out more of her work here.
Sophie Gamand, of Wet Dog fame, most recently launched a new series titled Flower Power. Through her photographs she raises awareness of pit bulls in need of adoption. She smartly adorns them with crowns of beautiful arrangements helping to soften their aggressive reputations, showcasing their natural sweetness.
In the past year I have become personally acquainted with the breed and am step-mom to a rescue. She has the best disposition -- is lovable, playful, wonderful with children, and cries when there are thunderstorms. I hate that they get such a bum wrap and that inhumane treatment only manages to fuel negative perceptions. They do not deserve to be collectively labeled as dangerous, and mistreated or disposable as a result. In truth the dachshunds living under the same roof, as cute as the short-legged little shits are, do a much better job unleashing terror.
I encourage you to read more here (additional links below) and learn how you can help raise awareness.
Lately I have become obsessed with pairings, and not in that chocolate and peanut butter kind of way because that's always been an obsession, but in that this product has been designed to go with that product kind of way (how's that for vague). As a matter of fact last month we started our subscription to Turntable Kitchen -- coffee and a vinyl record delivered monthly to our home. This is what Sundays are made of.
Now I've found Dovetail Press, which offers a similar concept, albeit not in the form of a recurring shipment. They are a publisher that offers tailored items which correlate thematically to a book. You want to make nachos? Well, here's a cheese grater to help you get the job done. Fixin's for fixin's, and you don't even have to leave the house.
I wouldn't call myself a pizza connoisseur. While my preferences are specific I'm pretty open to any version of that particular style. And I have a feeling I set the bar low. I have an immature palate. It has pepperoni, cheese, and crust -- I'm in.
One thing I love about pizza, or pizza joints, is that it seems impossible to reach a point of saturation. At least from my perspective they could be on every block and the demand would be so great that everyone gets a piece of the pie (literally and figuratively), and how awesome is that, that everybody wins. That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy a "best of" list, and whoa, is Where to Get Pizza the ultimate -- exhaustive and diverse. I'm happy to know where the best is even if I'm content with subpar.
HELPFUL WAYS TO GET THERE:
- Read -- Because we all need to measure our every day guilt [ Amazon ]
- Watch -- It has a recipe holder [ YouTube ]
- Listen -- Eavesdrop on Aminatou and Ann [ Call Your Girlfriend ]
- Do -- Who doesn't want to get an anonymous goat in the mail [ You Goat Mail ]
- Austin Event -- Under the sea meets human dinner plates [ The Vortex ]
Match Bloc is an Instagram account that offers a a stream of vintage matchbox covers. I have no idea what most of them say, but it's really about the designs anyway. With their simple type, bold colors, and clean graphics they are striking works of art (see what I did there). For some additional inspiration check out these Flickr accounts, and for a little history this post on their origins.
Niall McDiarmid is a photographer I found on Instagram and never fails to inspire a like. It's the portraits that I'm particularly drawn to. I at once marvel at the use of color and captured characters, and feel transported as if I'm standing in the very spot he is. I don't want to go there. I am there.
I can't predict how much content I will post geared towards the mini-humans. It's not something I feel like I will consciously work to incorporate, in part because who I am to pretend to be an expert or tastemaker having only racked up 6-weeks on the job. That said, this blog has always been a representation of who I am, what I like, and what I've been up to. So with that in mind it's almost certain that the occasional baby centric tidbit will appear.
An obvious entry are these t-shirts. I dress Edie up (mostly in my mind) with all kinds of adorable gear, and catalog my favorites on Pinterest (SO much kinder to the credit card). These however I may need to splurge on and hope she doesn't outgrow them too quickly.
Whether it's from your own childhood or something you saw in a movie these graphics by Circa78 are sure to take you back. I'm reminded of a favorite swimsuit that I had when I was eight that I loved so much it was either retired when I outgrew it or it became too threadbare to be considered decent (the memory is still too raw -- I've apparently blocked some of the details).
I'm partial to their prints but their shop holds other delights, from coffee mugs, to beach towels, to tote bags, and so on.
Aussie clothing designer, illustrator, exceptional human (a fact oddly missing from her bio), and pal Dana Lenko recently released a slew of new pins, adding to an existing menagerie of critter friends. Also known for her animal sweaters these miniatures make the perfect accessory to punctuate any outfit. I, no surprise, am partial to the dachshund (which I in fact proudly own), but I kind of want them all -- in particular that lobster, raccoon, and sloth.
Animals are selected through on-line competitions. You can build your own wildlife family via her shop, or connect / follow to get updates and offer input on her latest creations.
HELPFUL WAYS TO GET THERE:
- Read -- Essays by Mark Greif [ Amazon ]
- Watch -- A documentary about why we make and do [ Vimeo ]
- Listen* -- Lucius song that is stuck in my head [ YouTube ]
- Do -- Shakespeare it up [ Mix the Play ]
- Austin Event -- Local ice cream just got better [ Yelp - Burnet Rd ]
*Honorable Mention: "Stranger Things" / "Twin Peaks" mash-up [ Huh Magazine ]