run away with me / viana do castelo

when i came across these photos of viana do castelo, a city in the northern part of portugal, my heart skipped a beat. everything about it seemed to ooze charm.

this city reminds me a little bit of santa barbara with the mountains on one side and the sea on the other. after researching a bit more viana do castelo is definitely on my travel list. i’ll be dreaming of portugal when it starts snowing here.

what cities or countries are you dying to visit?

you can see more of this beautiful city over on a place for twiggs. all photos belong to claudia casal.

how to eat toast

being single (and let’s be honest, a little lazy) i’m always looking for easy, tasty recipes. when i came across how to eat toast for dinner i couldn’t resist. the first year i lived in wales and later london i didn’t know how to cook a thing and was too nervous to try what i affectionately called the “fish head stew” that my host family loved. so for almost an entire year i rotated butter, beans, cheese, jam, and marmite on toast. 
while these toasty meals are much more appealing cheese toast will always be a favorite. 
image from food52.com

an ordinary weekend

this weekend i’m going to be doing very ordinary things:
getting that stack of prints off the floor and on the wall

unearthing my neglected camera

finalizing my fall capsule wardrobe

sorting through piles of old magazines

painting my nails
pulling some weeds
rearranging my bookshelves
squeezing in a nap

cleaning out my fridge

totally thrilling. i’m actually looking forward to this list. my approach will be very “zen and the art of…” post boring blog post ever? maybe!

what about you?

photo by annabellp on flickr

let’s talk about capsule wardrobes

have you heard of this? after natalie posted hers i became kind of obsessed with the idea. i think it’s a good thing for two reasons:

1. it has totally kept me busy in between searching for a job and avoiding the yucky parts of life right now.
2. i am pretty sure hoarding tendencies run in my family.

i’ve always been drawn to the idea of minimalism. when i read about how people live minimally i think they must be really self actualized or have incredible self control – two qualities i very much admire. that being said i love to shop. like, it really makes me happy. sometimes even if i know i’ll probably never (or rarely) wear something i’m so drawn to a color or pattern that i end up buying it. and that, my friends, is how you end up on an episode of hoarders.

minimalist wardrobes aren’t a new thing. diana posted this years ago and i saved it because i was just so fascinated with the idea of having a tiny wardrobe. and even longer ago erin did a thirty items for thirty days challenge. so with these lovely ladies as inspiration i decided to take the plunge.

first things first i downloaded caroline’s capsule wardrobe planner and spent days browsing my pinterest boards to figure out what my style is. i still don’t really know…  but as i pinned away the words that came to mind were preppy, boho, pink.

my goals:

comfort: i want my clothes to fit well and be comfortable. this seems like the biggest “duh” statement but i either buy things a little too big because i don’t want them to be tight or am feeling self conscious and then end up feeling sloppy and self conscious or i hang try to make things work that aren’t quite the right size or style and end up feeling uncomfortable and self conscious.

feminine: i like a little pink or a ruffle detail here and there. i enjoy wearing skirts and dresses, and with tights. i like a some sparkle. ban.do always saves the day here.

modest: i kind of dread using that word. if anyone says “modest is the hottest” i’ll poke them in the eye. i feel most comfortable covered up. i don’t care if it’s hot or not.

structured: i really love the peasant, flowy look but it just doesn’t work for me. i promise i would wear peasant tops and chiffon skirts all day long if i could. but one thing i’ve learned about my style is that a little structure helps me feel more put together and more confident.

second, to be completely honest the amount of money i plan on spending for this fall capsule is zero dollars. some people budget a certain amount for each season and that’s completely awesome. but given my no job/potential hoarding situation i’m going to work with what i have. and i have plenty. so far i’ve taken two very large garbage bags to goodwill and di and it’s made feel kind of wasteful. why buy something if i’m just going to get rid of it in a few months? even if it is only $20? and there are several storage tubs going into the garage for future seasons or to sell. maybe for the winter i’ll budget for a pair of boots.
i lied. i do want a pair of these.

my have-it-all-together date is september 21st. totally doable. i think. it’s actually turned out to be a lot more effort than i anticipated. i feel like the end result will be a good thing but right now there are piles and boxes of clothes and empty hangers everywhere. my poor harlow is under the bed… which is probably a good idea.

have you ever done a capsule wardrobe? or a mini wardrobe? are you going to?

top image from ny mag featuring chloé pieces, hunting down sources for the other images 

feels like fall

i love fall. i hate to hurry summer along because winter comes all too soon (and stays too long for my california blood) but i do love it.

some of my favorite things about fall:

i can layer on cardigans to my heart’s content

the world takes on so many beautiful colors

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (the only pumpkin thing i like – don’t hate)

watching harlow tromp around happily in the crunchy leaves

campfires… it’s been far too long

i guess i’m getting ahead of myself but the weather has been decidedly fall-ish and i’m going to enjoy it.

what are your favorite things about fall?

photo credit:  sacredlotus // nicole

home sweet california

i never feel homesick for california until i get here and then i remember why i love it.

i just want to sniff the eucalyptus trees, eat tri tip sandwiches, drive around with sand between my toes and enjoy the warm sunshine and cool breezes.

it’s all so familiar and quiet. pleasantly quiet.

my comfort zone

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

C.S. Lewis
this quote struck a chord with me when i read it last night because it feels like exactly what i’ve been doing… locking my heart up safe, avoiding all entanglements… going to work, coming home, keeping to myself. and sure some days it’s all i want to do. some days it’s all i can do and harlow will never judge me… but it isn’t really how i want to spend my life. 
everyone talks about leaving their comfort zone. yuck. my comfort zone is pretty small: a few friends, the temple, my house with harlow…. that’s pretty much it. okay, so it’s really, really small. when i think about leaving my comfort zone i immediately think of forcing myself to do all the things i know i’d hate or doing things that i know would make me feel unsafe and i think “no thanks, i’ll stay right where i am.” 
maybe i should add that the old me never really thought much about a comfort zone. almost immediately after high school i moved to the uk by myself. i didn’t know one single soul on that side of the pond but it never made me consider passing up the opportunity. this me can barely go to church unless i know i’ll have someone to sit with. the old me would sing, and act and paint without too much self consciousness. now i get nervous if people look at me or single me out because i feel like they must be able to guess my horrible secret. 
i really liked this article on leaving your comfort zone. 
“To experience life isn’t always to face your fears and risk unpleasantries. It’s also about doing all those things you’re sure you’ll enjoy.”
that sounds more doable. 
i mean i know i’d enjoy going to the temple more so i just need to do it and stop worrying about my own self doubts. i know i’d enjoy making more friendships so maybe i’ll stop avoiding everyone’s eye contact and make an effort. i know i’d like to start doing more photography again so maybe i’ll stop labeling that as something i did “before” and go buy some film. 
i know these sound so basic that it’s laughable but… it is what it is and i’m going to start somewhere.
there are two things i know i need to work on: 
1. strengthening my faith. i feel like i’ve been holding steady but not growing and i know i need to make more of an effort. heaven knows i’ve certainly got the time. 
2. asking for help when i need it. there have been so many times, especially in the past few weeks, where i desperately wanted to call a friend and admit that something was wrong, or to crash on their couch because i was so anxious or to ask for a priesthood blessing… but i didn’t. and it just added to my anxiety/depression/frustration.
i’ve also made other goals of a more cross-off-the-list variety and maybe not as grand: finish my book for book club, call my mom, buy more pepper spray, order a ballet beautiful dvd, etc.
and now a question: how to you set goals? monthly? weekly? yearly? any tips for keeping focused and accomplishing them? do you participate in the 101 in 1,001 challenge? let me know. 
photo by jennie prince

raw beauty

my friend pia posted on instagram that she would be posting a an untouched/un-photoshopped/un-cropped filtered photo of herself as part of the raw beauty talks movement. and my first thought was “of course she can do that, she’s gorgeous.”

but then this morning i read her post and read that she believes she’s ugly. what? i’ve read pia’s blog for years, followed her on instagram, and purchased her books. believe me when i tell you there is nothing ugly about her. everything is does is lovely and full of magic and tenderness.

anyway late last night as i was getting ready for bed i decided to snap one photo of myself and vowed that no matter what it looked like i’d post it on my blog.

i rarely post photos of myself and when i do i crop and filter like nobody’s buisness… and they still look, well, you’ve seen them. the anticipation of posting a “raw” photo made me feel a little scared and extremely vulnerable. when i look at my own face i see all of the flaws and imperfections that i think most woman see in themselves. but if i spend too long in front of the mirror i start looking for answers to questions that haunt me. what was it about my face that said “weak” or “easy target” or “loser” or “worthless” or whatever it was that made those men choose me. the whole “selfie” thing has made try to look past my own inner terrorist and try to see something worthwhile. so when i do post a photo of myself, even if it’s filtered to death, it’s because for a second i saw something of my old self. or maybe a new self that i liked. that probably sounds vain and however you feel about selfies, mine are just for me.

so here’s the photo. no make up, no contacts, hair a mess, a lovely new spot on my cheek:

life lately

https://www.flickr.com/photos/joie_butter/4577230272/player/728aee4041

“foggy whirlwinds may be your intimate companions. being up-in-the-air could be your customary vantage point. during your stay in this weird vacationland, please abstain from making conclusions about its implications for your value as a human being. remember these words from author terry braverman: “it is important to detach our sense of self-worth from transitional circumstances, and maintain perspective on who we are…” 

for the last several months things have been fine. really, actually fine. not great, not awful but fine. and fine has been good enough. the last few weeks, however, have felt like one step forward, 300 steps back.

but i’ve faithfully stuck to my motto of “i’m fine” because it seems like the polite thing to do. i mean, honestly shouldn’t there be a moratorium on how long you’re allowed to feel bad about something? shouldn’t i spare my friends the same old sadness? but saying “i’m fine” while there’s a dinosaur dying a slow death in the pit of your stomach, or when all you want to do is lie down on the sidewalk and just stay there, or when you have to walk two blocks in the dark and immediately burst into frightened tears is no fun.

my solution for the last few weeks has been to hide out. keeping myself inside and busy with ridiculous things like ironing my bedding, spending way too much time on pinterest, vacuuming 4 times a day (no, really) and rearranging my bookshelves obsessively isn’t really a great solution either. and i hate ironing.

my point: depression sucks. it’s frustrating and boring and lonely and scary. hopefully it’s just part of my weird “vacationland”.

good natured friends have pointed out that i have a valid reason to be depressed and okay, yes, maybe that’s true… but i don’t want to be depressed. i don’t want to spend the rest of my life ironing. and more than anything i don’t want that reason.

the other day i met a friend at the park and she very pointedly but kindly asked how i’d been and as i opened my mouth to recite “fine” i couldn’t do it. i took a breath and with a lot of embarrassment said, “i’ve been sad.” to me it sounded so lame, pathetic and weak … or like something a 5 year old would say. but i said it and then i waited for the dreaded pep talk. while there was a little pep talk what i got was kindness, listening, understanding and concern. one of the things she said was “weakness is not a sin”… as in being sad doesn’t mean i’m faithless. depression is not a sin. anxiety is not a sin.

and so that’s how i’ve been. sad. but saying it eases some of that sadness so there’s hope.

polaroid by me.