Monday, March 31, 2014

Gatherings as Girlfriends

What do women do when they get together? Why must they go to the bathroom in pairs? 
Why will you find them eying each other across a room? 
Women have a secret language.

Even if our language is an MSU tour!
A "girlie girl" I have never been, but this has not stopped me from having special women in my life. When I ponder on the women who have helped mold me and share my everyday fantastic adventure of a life, I think not only of the conscious conversation that we have, but the subtext we share as well. It's not just body language, most women can express themselves just in their eyes. A language we pass from generation to generation.

Besides that, I think of J with her great wit and honesty, E with her exuberance, S with her long term commitment to my insanity, and my sister who understands the quirks of this life and chooses to embrace me anyway. And all the other amazing women that I cannot all name, because there are not enough words to express how awesome you all are. I have also been blessed with many mothers, my birth mother who is creative and loving, and many whom "claim" me as their own and have been supportive beyond measure.

Yup, this is my picture and that's me and my sister.
So why the language? I think we as women (an please correct me if I am wrong), see the world as dynamic, see how each piece fits (or doesn't quite fit) into the equation, and how we can influence that balance. Not just in a verbal way either, but in how things flow, shift and fit together in all senses. Maybe it's why we tend to be more connected to things or people or get more disrupted when little things shift (at least in my experience).

Ever gotten the mom glare or teacher stare? A language all its own trying to restore balance. Googoo eyes? Glitter stare (oooh look something shiny!)? Women and how they interact with everything. When we are in groups, this is amplified (and can be sometimes overwhelming for us introverts!). Maybe that's why certain girls (myself included) who tend to have more friends who are male. Men have totally different ways they approach the world sometimes. These ways are not any less and are just as valid, but are definitely different from women's.

Spring makes me think of my girlfriends.

So all of this to say, Thank you. 
To all the women in my life. 
When can we hang out again? 
I miss our secret language.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fashion: The art of being yourself

You are an original. 
A work of art. 
A fresh face in a world of strangers.

For some reason I have always enjoyed fashion and encouraging others in their fantastic journeys.  I think it is because I have been creative since I was little. Whether it was making mud sculptures, towers of bricks, or coloring my heart out, being artistic runs in my blood. Maybe genetics has something to do with it, as my family is related to Benjamin Champney who painted the following picture (see here for more about him including and autobiography! ).,_North_Conway.jpg

But enough about me, let's talk about fashion!  Some of my greatest influences come from those who came before and it is fun to spice things up with a bit of vintage! Local thrift stores, vintage shops, estate sales and even friends can be a great source of vintage (or at least inspiration). One of my closet loves is this piece, which I acquired from Concetta's Closet which sells amazing finds on Etsy (an online artisian/handmade/vintage community store).
  Vintage is great, especially when it is simple and can be changed up with a sweater or scarf, or even bright tights! I love the notion of owning and wearing something that already has a story and I can continue that adventure. It also is better for the planet and will last longer than some of the more modern items that may be cheaper (but also probably lesser in quality).

Let's talk about cost. Good fashion can sometimes be expensive (which for me means anything over about 50-100 bucks depending on what type of clothing it is). Save up for more staple pieces in your wardrobe especially a good LBD (Little Blue Dress for me) or that tailored pair of grey dress slacks. My rule is two fold, if you don't have the money, don't buy it, and if you don't LOVE it, don't buy it. Spend less money on accessories and things that may go out of style (like that pair of really amazing pair of hot pink shoes that you may not wear more than twice). Oh and when I talk about style it is about your own taste and NOT what the market dictates.What about a piece that can do a million things or maybe roughly 30?

Uniqueness and confidence is important when hunting for grand fashion. Take a shopping buddy. What type of person should go with me, you might ask. Take someone who respects your taste, but will tell you when something doesn't FIT correctly. As a shopping buddy, it is important to be honest about if something bunches, makes you look "poochy" (i.e. has bubbling in non flattering areas) or is pulling at the seams. If something doesn't fit - TELL that person! They are a lot less likely to wear something if it doesn't fit correctly! Remember you are not a mannequin (and shouldn't be - they are stiff and tend to be boring conversationalists)! Also, shop in colors you love, but don't be afraid to stretch your palette once in a while - shop in a friend's closet if they have a colored shirt you adore to decide if you like it enough to hunt one down on your own. Also reference blogs and other friend's ideas! This is the Pantone color of the year by the way!
Last, but most important, be YOU! What is the Dr. Seuss quote? "Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!" If you aren't comfortable in something, wear it around the house for a day, or run errands in it, or go out to grab drinks in it (tea time anyone?) and see the reactions of strangers and friends. And I am always of for a game of dress up, so send me a picture if you want a second opinion!

Oh and you are awesome, even in your sweats and pony tail! Rock what you got!
Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Energy, The Human Powered Kind


[en-er-jee] noun
the capacity for vigorous activity

Conflict of energy is pervasive in our society. 

Do we use too much, too little? From the wrong places or wrong types? Solar, natural gas, wind, oil, or hydro? One of the things we forget to remember is the power of human energy.

Up the ante - Walking, taking the stairs, riding a bike, enjoying the fresh air, reading a book (remember those paper things we grew up on?), shopping at farmer's markets, making or repairing things rather than buying new ones are all amazing ways to reduce using natural resources. They can also be fun, get ya some of that grand Vitamin D, and help all of us learn new things.

 What else? I know there are times I forget the power of the smile. How easily human energy is created a passed along with the simple smile. My day has been made better many times just by seeing a stranger smile or laugh. I also know how easily my energy is zapped if I don't keep tabs on it.

Technology is not always against us. Embracing things that make our lives more efficient, but try to still keep in mind what we really NEED to survive. One of my favorite websites is which has all sorts of cool tech stuff and also neat ideas for eco living.

Strawberry Tree public solar charger 
Send me your ideas on energy and how you use your humanness to create more! Thanks for sharing your energy with me!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Daring to Dream

Here's to jumping off cliffs, trampolines, or maybe just even the curb!

What are the things that inspire you to dream? For me it's going into nature with people that I care about and getting to share that sense of wonder. Sometimes we may even be frightened a bit as well, because we have to step out of our normal comfort zone. I know it's not Monday and I am a day late, but I hope these images help make up for it. May you be inspired and dare to dream as well!

  And yes, there are alligators in the last two and don't worry I was on a dock in the amazing EVERGLADES! Where do you go to dream?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Conundrum of Cold

When it looks like this outside…….

 What do you do? Were you prepared for the crazy weather? I am in a bit of dilemma. Having worked in a bunch of different arenas, I have a bit of a skewed view. On cold, icy, snowy days, I feel conflicting views. 

Here's my take on the whole thing. Well at least one part of it.

 On one hand, I dread knowing that people have risked their safety to allow me to have some of my everyday needs. Grocery stores, restaurants, convenience stores, retail establishments, pharmacies and the like, all have items that the consumer “cannot live without.” Do we rush out in a panic on that day because we realize we have no milk or our gloves have a hole in them?

The other hand wants me to appreciate the fact that someone is there waiting with hot tea, a kind smile, and wants to make sure that America doesn’t freak out. Other countries have stores that close after 5pm or are only open on the weekends. Somehow they get what they need and can handle a bit of snow like troopers (FYI- they do have super packed shops on the weekends). We forget what planning ahead is like. Could America handle not having a 24/7/365 mentality? 

My solution: Rethink the way I live each day.

Do I have enough food for a couple days if I needed to hang out? What about cabin fever – if I know I am going to be “stuck” inside, does it freak me out or is it a mini vacation? What about how I interact with people – what would happen if I thanked the people who were at places of business you attended? If I didn’t go, would they still open next time there was a storm or would they think about staying closed?

Your view counts too. 

Tell me what you think and how you feel about these types of situations. Thanks for reading on a snowy day in many parts of the country!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Believing in Boogeymen

I have created a monster! Seriously though, his name is Cal. And this is how he came to be.

Puppets have always had a fond place in my heart as I grew up with the Muppets and Sesame Street. When I was requested to create a puppet pseudo Boogeyman for a birthday present/musical production, I couldn't resist. The scene would be a staged parody number of a song from Avenue Q, which is a well known puppet filled Broadway show. The parody was based on the temporary trials that law students have to deal with, as the show was put together by a large group of law students to help lighten the load of school. There was only one type of puppet I could see, a monster. A big, furry, loveable monster. For some reason the Boogeymen sack puppet monsters are the ones I always connected with including Cookie Monster, Sweetums, the two headed monster, Rolf, and the aliens on the Muppet Show. Maybe I loved the underdogs of the stories or the not as "beautiful" ones. When I got to make my own I was thrilled and a bit scared. Here's the rundown.

Step 1: Figure out your materials and go shopping! Thanks to my requester, the incredible Garrett (who also happens to be my "partner in crime"), we were able to pick fabric - an awesome purple with long shag like fur and gather other materials including a glue gun, a sewing kit, dense foam, feathers, and colored felt. I knew at home I had some of the other things I would need: elastic, a sharp knife, a piece of plastic (I used a milk bottle), and other things from previous projects that I may need.

Step 2: Watch YouTube videos on how to make a puppet.  Hence the need for the computer. My favorites are from Puppeteers Unite which as easy straight forward and help you figure it out even if you didn't buy a pattern kit with them. Oh and the Jim Henson stich is awesome, even though I didn't end up using it.

Step 3: Realize you already made a mistake and it won't be the first.  I bought thick dense foam (about 3 inches) instead of the thinner more flexible foam. My solution, cut my foam in half as I go, the downside is it took about twice as long to make the form as it should have. Things to learn and use for next time. I am not going to get into all the details of each and every step and how I made it, if you want to know, feel free to ask. I did quite a bit of what they showed in the tutorials and also just made it work with my craft knowledge and knowing that hot glue would work just fine in some cases instead of stitching (as I currently don't have a sewing machine around and have to hand stitch everything).

Step 4: Use what you have around. Elastic from an old pair of hand me down sleep pants, a milk jug, old t-shirts, and plastic spoons were all things that were able to be utilized instead of thrown away or recycled. Remember, reusing is almost always better than recycling. It also gives you the chance to figure out a name for your monster.

 Step 5: Assemble and hope that it turns out better than you first thought.  Now I have an art degree and have a bit of history with fabric, thread, and hot glue, but it still is always fun to create new things and see how they turn out! Cal turned out well, but if I was going to sell puppets there would be some changes. Originally, I thought about using feathers for hair, wooden circles for eyes, and cones for horns. However, I found that he looked funny with hair, spoons worked better (thanks to Puppeteers Unite suggestion), and the foam I had left worked better as a flatter triangle. Overall, I am very happy with how Cal developed and I use that term purposely. Puppets, like all great art, come into their own, speak to you in their shape and eyes, and draw you in with their quirks. Sometimes, I realize life is a bit like creating a monster. We grow and develop, change how we look, swap out things that don't quite work, and finally look in the mirror and decide that we finally are happy with the monster staring back. For the Boogeymen in are lives may be scary at first, but as we learn more about them and ourselves we can choose how we want to feel. I choose love. Thank you Garrett for requesting a monster, so I could fall in love all over again with my own monster inside.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Avenues of Adventure

Howdy! Welcome! I am a bit green on this whole blog-o-sphere world, but am hoping this will be a means of sharing journeys along the way.

To start, you may have guessed by the name I am a bit of a nerd about the world. I am an introverted adventurer and tend to see the world through a creative lens. With that being said, I also hope this will eventually spring into some of my dreams of making the world a better place by rethinking, recreating, redesigning, etc. 

Recently, I have started thinking about how I can make an impact in the world by looking at the things I already own and how I can mend them, or change them into something I would use or could pass along to someone who would use them. I hope to create some new things - such as Cal (the big purple puppet I will feature in my next Blog, shown below). I also hope to gather advice, pass some learning along, and stay positive in all the craziness.

Here comes the deep dark hidden secret.... I have a large storage unit, filled with years of accumulated items - some sentimental, some usable, some just plain buried. It is my task to go to the storage shed (which currently is in another state), gather everything, truck it to where I am living and sort through it. Now you may ask, if it has been in storage for years why don't you just just donate it all as you obviously don't use it. Sadly it is not that simple, as you wouldn't just give away your internal organs, as they doesn't seem to serve a visible function. That may be far reaching, but I need to have closure with some items, fall in love with some items again, and really see what I need to live on and with.

That is my hope - to be able to grasp the things of my past, embrace my present, and be giddy about my future. I know this is Step 1 in that process.