Monday, December 30, 2013

Cross Country Ski Morning

_MG_7350

My parents moved close to a great groomed nordic (or cross country) ski area. While we were at my parents house for Christmas we decided to get all the young folks out and onto the trails on rented (and really well waxed, I might add!) skis and do a lap around the park. I haven't cross country skied since we left Michigan in 2009 but I still had fun and remembered how to do it in no time at all. While we were out there I ran into my friend S. who I used to race bicycles with! Even though we didn't look like pros at the end we still enjoyed ourselves and no one got hurt. I'd call that a successful morning! 

_MG_7355

_MG_7360

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas...

_MG_7302

IMG_7323

We went back to the midwest this year, to my parents house. My parents moved this year and this is the first time I've actually stayed at the new house. We had to use google maps to find it which was a strange and unfamiliar feeling.

They are now out in the countryside and I love the place they moved  - there are three tack shops within a ten mile radius, a lake, a pool in the backyard, and enough room for everyone, and I mean everyone, to stay here without having to crowd in. My entire family and significant others plus my in laws are here, too!

A midwestern Christmas is always cozy - we see the the family members from my mom's side of the family on Christmas Eve and the cousins do a silly white elephant gift exchange. Then, on Christmas morning we all exchange and open presents and then tinker the rest of the day with all the new stuff. Our day also included a walk around the neighborhood in the new snow, and a giant dinner with everyone!

_MG_7301

_MG_7309

_MG_7330

_MG_7303

***

It's beautiful here! The vest is from Land's End.  The button down and jeans are from Madewell. I'm wearing my mom's sorrel boots. The scarf in my hair is vintage. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry and Bright

_MG_7099

_MG_7112

Advent is in full swing around here: we've been playing lots of Christmas music, we've participated in more holiday events than we can count, and the house is all done up with twinkling lights.


This year decorations are simple and subtle. We wanted it to look clean and fresh but still cozy so we went with the decision to play with lighting instead of objects. We filled my glass cake platter with a short string of lights in front of our chalkboard and tack board filled with cards we have received. We also stacked up all the old windows we have behind our Christmas tree, backlit them with extra lights. The effect is so pretty with the windows that we might just leave them up all year, even after the tree comes down.

***

Finally, if you're reading this on an aggregator you might be pleased to know that I re-did the headings and sidebar on the blog. It was pretty overdue and I just wanted something really clean, simple, and fresh. The fonts I used are minion and Optimus Princeps. Someone informed me on Facebook that Optimus Princeps may or may not be the font used for Kinfolk Magazine's title. I think it's pretty interesting that I went for it. It must be in my subconscious or something... sorry, Kinfolk! 


_MG_7138

_MG_7117 1

***

I'm wearing a very, very old sweater from The Gap. Underneath it I'm wearing a striped shirt by Pleione. The jeans are by Madewell and the boots are from Frye. The shirt and sweater are so old I can't find links to them anymore. 

Sunday, December 08, 2013

The Longest Winter





It's really, really cold here in Denver. It's been below freezing for almost a week now, which is pretty amazing considering that almost never happens here. I don't mind it at all, because I'm used to the cold. I do much better with extreme cold than with extreme heat for whatever reason.

I have some good news and some bad news for you - the good news is that I have a lot of wonderful blog post ideas and outfits to shoot. The bad news is that I left my camera charger in a hotel in Indiana and have had to order another one online. I'll be getting new outfit posts up as soon as that charger comes!

In the meantime I'm going to borrow from my instagram account - we hiked a slot canyon in New Mexico and stopped at Great Sand Dunes National Park on the way home. It was completely amazing. I've never seen a sunset like that before!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

To learn to sit with these thoughts...

SCAN0015

I was writing in my paper journal today (yes, I still have one of those archaic things!) and reflecting on the journey that got me where I am today. I thought about the decisions I had no part in making that shaped me as a person and the things I do and don't talk about. How I learned to stop kicking and screaming because they happened to me, and to sit with them. We cannot put back.

There are great big things happening in this world, things I cannot comprehend and I often feel very small, like a little speck floating around this giant universe, under the blanket of stars, marveling at the beauty of the world, of the kindness and creativity of humanity, and cowering at the terror of what might be and will be and won't be.

But I find comfort in this place, too, in the goodness of the earth and it's patterns, in what grace I have been allotted. When the weariness of the day catches up with me I sit at my dinner table in my perfect dining room (I must admit it is my favorite room of the house) and drink a cup of tea. Sometimes I'll write or read, sometimes I'll listen to music, or memorize a poem or a bit of a play if it's needed, and I put my brain to good use, writing about education as a whole, dreaming up how to fix things. And somewhere in that process, between writing and reading and dinner, the sadness of the world and ache of the day and hunger and futility lift out and away from me, like a mumuration of starlings winging their way out and over into the great beyond, and the peace settles.

It is possible, though, to be peaceful and to know joy and to grieve at the same time. I have no words for what is going on in the Philippines right now, but because I loved it and it will forever be a part of me and who I am I sit with some of the sadness. When I try to articulate it the words don't make sense. The sadness is so difficult for me to fathom so I put it in my heart in the place where my starlings sit and when the time comes after work for me to sit at my dinner table and write or read or work hard on things I let it go with the rest of the sadness, and I think of that collection of sorrows lifting away and out the dining room window, up, up, up, fluttering into the sky illuminated pink by the lights of this city, glowing against the foothills and flying further and further out over the mountains until they are lost in the deep blue of snow and sky on the peaks. 




Sunday, November 10, 2013

Go Placidly Amidst the Noise and Haste of the Universe...

cozyballerina-1

cozyballerina-97

cozyballerina-5

I want to tell you about a book I read when I was fourteen or fifteen. I can't remember the name of the book at it was so short I think I read it in the course of an afternoon. It was classic young adult fiction, the sort of thing written for moody teenage girls (which, of course, I was) to devour and feel like someone understood them. 

Anyways, the book was about a girl who was in high school and wanted to be a dancer. She must have been in a pre-professional company or something. Every day she would go home and struggle with whatever she struggled with and tell her parents she wanted to be a dancer. 

And every time she said that her dad would gently remind her, "You are a dancer."

And that was the whole lesson of this book. You are a dancer. 

But maybe you're not a dancer. Maybe you write stories in your spare time. You, my friend, are a writer. Or maybe you ride your bike up a mountain or only down the bike path by your house. You are a cyclist. Maybe you make dinner every night, and even though the only patrons at your restaurant are you and your family or even just you. You are a chef. 

The point I'm trying to make here, the thing I first read in this book and learned through living and trying, is that you are what you are doing in life. Even if you're not being paid to do it, if there are no material gains or social rewards where you put your time is who you are. 

One of the things that is generally implied in life as you are growing up is "do good work and the rewards will follow." I believe that contrary to that idea the work is the reward in most cases. There is pleasure in having and finishing, of course, but the stretch of hard work, and the space and time you give to being something, if that makes sense, is where the real joy is discovered.

cozyballerina-16

cozyballerina-62

cozyballerina-53

cozyballerina-92

cozyballerina-88

cozyballerina-99

cozyballerina-110

***

I cannot honestly remember the brands of any of my dance clothing. I do know my pointe shoes are Bloch. 

All of these stunning photographs were taken by Jessica Triggs at Heartflip Photography. Love and gratitude to her, always. 

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Whirlwind

IMG_3907

The word whirlwind, or maybe even the word frenetic, can sum up my fall experience, and all of the online silence. 

I've spent time in Chicago, attended a wedding in South Bend, Indiana, and have driven to various places in Colorado. I've acted in my first play (Gwendolyn Fairfax from The Importance of Being Earnest), learned how to speak in a British accent for that role, filmed a tiny thing for the New York Time's Maximum Shakespeare thing, and have been riding horses just about once a week, all while maintaining a more than full time job and just living day to day.

There has, understandably, been lots of coffee involved.   

Here are some pictures from the whirlwind that has been my life. You can, of course, always see what's going on at instagram over here!

IMG_3980

IMG_4010

IMG_4021

IMG_4043

IMG_4067

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Insurmountable Wall

_MG_6828


This is what it feels like to run right now: it feels very much like running away.

When I have the time I lace up my running shoes, put on my running knickers, a rain jacket if it's looking threatening, or not if the sky is agreeable and clear, plug my headphones into my phone, and bounce down the steps to the sidewalk outside my house.

The minute the first beat hits of that first song I take off like the starting gun has just gone off and I'm racing against everything that's wrong in the world and I must not lose. Everything is cadence, everything is a beat and breath and the spring of my foot on the pavement, and the sidewalk is nothing but a surface to float over. I am running away.

And then suddenly, mid run, there comes the moment I am running to. Sometimes it's after five minutes, sometimes it's after thirty or forty-five, where I have indeed outrun everything, and the world seems to clear up. All my problems are far behind me drowning in the wake I have created because I'm running so very fast, overtaking everyone on the path I run on, because it is all cadence and movement and the feeling of my hair flying behind me, the world tumbling and unfolding, the autumn leaves dancing down around me. It never hurts, not in that moment, because this is not running for exercise, this is running away and the engine is not strength and practice but adrenaline. 

And I try to sustain that moment as long as I can, the incredible absolution and peace that comes in the center of a run, and let it carry me through these long days. I pin down the thoughts that come, repeat them to myself with resolve so that when I am not in a place where I can outrun the worries of the day I can hold onto the wisdom that I have been given by the movement. 

_MG_6834

_MG_6836

***

No, these are not my running clothes. I'm wearing a Jacket I bought several years ago and cannot find a link to. The shirt is by Madewell, the pants are also by Madewell, and the boots are very old Steve Madden that I can't link to either. The green scarf was a gift from my sister.

***

The words of this poem sustain me. 

"...in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all it's sham, drudgery, and broken dreams it is still a beautiful world."

- Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Monday, September 09, 2013

Redheads and Redheaded Horses!





I try really hard not to repost pictures from instagram because so many already follow me over there...but I loved this picture my trainer snapped after my lesson today.

The horse I usually ride, an Arabian, was in the process of throwing a shoe and it wouldn't come off but it was flopping around annoyingly and he couldn't be ridden. My trainer let me ride her beautiful horse, who I think is a thoroughbred. He had been shown the day before and was perfectly groomed and so sweet, lovely, and responsive. We also have the same color hair! He is the cuddliest horse I've ever met, which is an added bonus!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Morning Monochrome


_MG_6781 1

_MG_6815

In the morning I like music, but the rest of my household likes to sleep in. As a solution I walk around with my ipod in my back pocket and a set of headphones on. I have three sets to chose from: A set of earbuds that fit under my bicycle helmet and stay in my ears while I run but have terrible sound quality, my gaming headphones that involve a microphone and have middling sound quality, and my studio headphones that have the best quality but a quarter inch connector at the end. I prefer my studio headphones but the adaptor I used to use to connect them to my computer and ipod broke on a flight and I have yet to replace it. 

I also have been setting my hair up in the headband curl thing. It's a very easy wet set that gives me very curly hair, as wet sets left on overnight are just about the only thing that can get my hair to curl for most of the day (It'll be stick straight by 10 PM, though!). It starts out unruly and relaxes throughout the day and I find that if I don't brush it I tend to get better curls, so I take it out and let it be. 

This morning I put on black jeans, a black tank top to protect the shirt I was about to put on, and my black Birkenstocks. I caught myself in my mirror and I had to laugh - with the microphone and headset on I looked like a theater tech with unruly hair.

_MG_6809

_MG_6796

_MG_6816

***

What was I listening to this morning? The Cinematic Orchestra. It's perfect morning music. 

***

I'm wearing pants by Madewell, shoes by Birkinstock, and a tank top by old navy. 


Friday, August 30, 2013

As I Walked Out One Evening...

_MG_6711

_MG_6737 1

I decided to start memorizing poems a few days ago, as kind of a brain retention challenge, just to see how much I can fit in there. I was inspired by the readers on the iF app I just downloaded. I can get behind Tom Hiddleston, Bill Nighy, Harry Enfield, and Helena Bonham Carter reading me poems! And as I listened to them speak I wondered what it would be like to memorize one, just to have it in my back pocket for the next time I needed a poem.

I started with a short one with two outstanding lines that I fell in love with - When You are Old and Full of Sleep by W.B. Yeats. The lines "But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you/and loved the sorrows of you changing face" spoke so much to me I wanted it wrapped into my brain. Since it was only twelve lines long it was memorized quite quickly. I'm now working on "As I Walked Out One Evening" by W.H. Audin, which is a lot longer but more sing songier. I've gotten about half of that down, and I think I can have the next half memorized soon.

How are you challenging yourself? 

_MG_6702

_MG_6718

***

Four quick snaps taken on my way to work yesterday - every day I am thankful that I can have such a relaxing and beautiful commute.

***

The shirt is by Madewell, the pants are by Banana Republic, and the shoes are also by Madewell, who makes very comfy, teacher appropriate ballet flats!

***

Also, I sold my cross bike and got a new commuter bike. I really wanted something that I could ride to work in my regular work clothes on. It's a slower ride than my other bikes, it weighs about a million pounds, but I'm totally in love with my new Pashley! I don't think I've ever had so many compliments on a bike so quickly!  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Good Morning, Sunshine!

Striped Blazer

Striped Blazer


It's six A.M. The alarm goes off and I stumble into my kitchen. My husband, who has made the perfect pot of coffee, has already left for work and the house is quiet. I make myself my morning coffee au lait, stumble back to my room, and plug in my flat iron. While I wait for it to heat up I get dressed in whatever outfit I picked out the night before. When that's done I straight iron my hair and unplug it, double checking to make sure it's off, and put on some minimal makeup (eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss, some concealer if I really need it!). I shower in the evenings after work and my workout so this takes me all less than twenty minutes.

Then comes the best part of my morning. There is time to sit by the dining room window and nurse my cup of coffee. It's ritual, this morning pattern. It helps me wake up slowly, adjust to the day, adapt to the demands of what is to come. The world is waking up and I have a chance to watch it from my window,  and to sit quietly and study, read, or write before I head into the static and noise of the world.  


On the mornings I don't get my morning routine in I feel a bit worse for the wear. What is your morning routine? What makes it special?

Striped Blazer

Striped Blazer

Striped Blazer

***

These pictures were taken very early in the morning at a park. I was on my way to work but the light was perfect so I had to pull over and take a few shots. 

***

This is a great representation of teacher clothes or what I'd wear to work. Every piece is relatively inexpensive and durable. The blazer (linked similar!) is by Banana Republic (purchased on super duper sale!), the skirt and the shirt are from Target, and the shoes are my ever comfortable Sperry Top-siders.

AddThis