Thursday, February 27, 2014

Obsessed: Droga chocolate

Like most people, I love chocolate. And luckily my darling husband discovered a fabulous chocolate company based right here out of downtown LA: Droga. They are soooo yummy! D brought home a couple boxes on Valentines Day and I have to make a special effort to limit my daily intake.

The Rebel Rocky Road I think is my favorite, but I have a new love of the Peppermint Peppies. If you see these someplace I highly recommend picking them up!

Image from Droga website

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Social Media

Social media is everywhere. It's a big part of how we communicate now and when used right, has a lot of advantages. But there are so many different services it can be hard to navigate. I'm not an early adopter so I'm usually a little late to the bandwagon. I want to make sure something is going to stick before I devote time to it. But at this moment I feel good about my social media commitments and I think I have it down. Here is how I use social media*:

Instagram: I decided to join Instagram after a trip to New York a few years ago. I was hanging out with my two fabulous friends who were snapping and Instagraming like crazy. They made it seem fun and easy so I thought I'd jump on the band wagon. I instantly loved it. As a visual person I enjoy that it's picture based. And because of the relatively strict structure (only a picture with maybe a comment) it's a clean interface. You get a window into people's lives, or at least how they want their lives to look. It's also the first time I've really followed people on social media who I didn't know personally. I use it to share little moments in my life that feel poignant. Maybe it's my baby taking a nap. Maybe it's a man and his dog looking into a gallery window. As most of my day is staring at my computer screen so I don't post a lot, but I like having this venue to share these moment and see what other people are experiencing.

Facebook: I like to keep my Facebook and Instagram separate as I find it confusing if I have the same pictures on both. So while Instagram is for moments, Facebook is for updates. At this point it's almost a practical thing. I have a lot of friends and family that are spread out all over the world and Facebook is how we keep up with what everyone has going on. It allows me to share Pepper updates with Drew's parents who are in Michigan, or her god-parents in London. It's a way I can learn about someone getting a new job or having another baby. And I've recently come to enjoy how people share interesting articles there too. I don't post often, and I've unfortunate become one of those people who just posts pics of their baby, but people seem to enjoy them!

Pinterest: My most recent social media venture, and I like it. I'm an online shopper and always struggled to bookmark things I'd find that I liked but wasn't ready (and will probably never) purchase. Not I can bookmark them! And get suggestions from other people! And search for recipes! Basically it's another great visual way to share things, but this time it's sharing things you find on the internet. Since I spend most of my time online it's become a wonderfully useful tool.

Twitter: I resisted Twitter for a long time. D got on it last year and kept encouraging me to try it. I finally did in order to get updates from a local charter school that was opening up. But, I don't really enjoy it or find it useful. I find that I get the updates and access to people I want through other social media channels. So it ends up just feeling redundant. I have an account, but I never post, and I hardly ever look at it.

In a nutshell: I love Instagram and Pinterest, Facebook feels necessary, and Twitter is not my thing. How do you use your social media? Is there something about Twitter I'm just not getting?

*Right now this is limited to personal use, not for work or business.

Image via.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Parenting perspective from past generations

I really enjoyed this talk by Raul Gutierrez. He walks the audience through a few generations of his family and what each generation's childhood was like. This is a wonderful perspective to keep in mind when you're a parent. It's easy as modern parents to feel like we need to do a lot for our kids. How we raise them, how much we play with them, how much we talk to them, etc feels so crucial. That with every parenting decision we make we are defining their childhood and therefore who they will become. It can be stressful. And one thing I do to combat the stress is to remind myself that people have been parents for thousands of years in thousands of different ways, and everyone basically seems to turn out ok. Raul's portrait of his family is a wonderful reminder of that.

One thing I think about a lot is the amount of time I spend with the Pepper. As a working mom I feel like I don't get a lot of time with her. I feel guilty for not being aorund to play with her. I worry she feels neglected or abandoned for my work. I hope she knows how much I love her even though I sometimes have to walk away from her. But then I think about how much time I get with her compared to previous generations and I feel reassured. Reassured that kids are ok and can still thrive even if their parents don't do everything perfectly. Because really, no parent ever has.

His thoughts on creativity and the space that is needed to allow for it is also great. I love the emphasis on quiet time, and on the time to ask questions and talk. After listening to his talk I downloaded his company's app and it's pretty cool. I don't expose the Pepper to technology much yet but we did spend a good 15 minutes with the app on the iPad learning about the mouth and what happens when you don't brush your teeth.And it was surprisingly fun!

Video via Swiss Miss.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Best. Show. Ever.

I love RuPaul's Drag Race, and am so excited for tonight's Season 6 premiere! It is such a great show. Not only is it fun and super entertaining but there is a very fascinating aspect to it. For one, I've learned a lot about drag. The issues drag queens face, the vocabulary, the process, the standards. It's a whole different world filled with color and comedy and personalities and creativity. The other thing I love about the show is that it shows what a transformation drag is. These men have chosen to spend their lives regularly becoming another person. A person they can mold and configure to what they want her to be. Are their drag personas who they wish they could be? Are they parts of themselves they want to explore and revel in? Or maybe parts they don't like so they need to process them in an external way. I'm sure it's different for everyone. But it's certainly an amazing feat of performance art.

If you don't get the Logo TV channel you can actually watch the episodes online after they air. I highly recommend you tune in tonight for all the fun!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Favorites from around the web...

1. Because science.
2. I want one of these in my home.

3. I also want one of these in my home for the Pepper.

4. Having worked with many clients, these are funny because they are completely believable.

5. A wonderful and touching idea.

6. Amazing. I could never imagine getting my body to achieve those things.

7. And more acts of impressive physicality from a very different part of the world.

8. Love these beautiful and unexpected portraits.

9. Wonderful post on aging and gender.

10. Yup, I think this sums up America fairly well.

Image via.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wanted: Sam Edelman boots

Growing up in southern California I never really thought about owning or buying boots. It wasn't until i was an adult and saw how fabulous boots could be that I started to add them to my wardrobe. But, even though I do wear them being in such a warm climate doesn't make having a lot of boots a necessity. So I'm in a dilemma: I really want these Sam Edleman Petty boots in tan suede but am not sure I'll get enough use out of them to buy them. I feel like every fashionable person I know has a pair of great low heeled tan booties. And they look fabulous in them. And I want to e equally as fabulous. But, I do tend to really deliberate on purchases and therefore by the time I do make the purchase there is a new "trend" that has caught my eye and that I'm thinking about. Decisions, decisions...

It's also hard to think about buying boots in the middle of a heat wave...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Gone with the Wind

Have you read Gone with the Wind? I love the movie. I could watch the movie over and over again. But amazingly it never occurred to me to read the book. Luckily it became a book club assignment and I highly recommend giving this a read if you haven't already. 

Even though I know the story there is so much richness in the novel that there is still plenty to savor. For example, you get the back stories of Scarlett's parents that help inform her struggle to balance her father's fiery Irish blood with the french aristocratic teachings of her mother. And I love that the protagonist is a strong and complicated woman. She's flawed and there are a lot of times you hate the choices she makes, but it's her journey that is so relate-able, and at times even admirable. Because while this is a coming-of-age story, it's first and foremost a story of survival. Scarlett must deal with huge obstacles and solve seemingly impossible problems, often at very young and immature age. Whatever her faults I admire a woman able to be strong like that.

And of course there is always Rhett as well, and who doesn't love Rhett :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Air purification like on a space station

I do not have a green thumb, which is a shame as I really enjoy the feel of having plants around. But plants don't seem to last long when in my care. In college a good friend of mine who was moving to Asia for a year entrusted me with the bonsai tree he had grown and raised himself. Sadly, it did not last long enough to see his return. And people often gift me beautiful orchids that don't last. Most recently, my brother gave me a cool air plant for Christmas, that I realized today had died. Sigh.

Luckily I live in walking distance to LA's Flower District so the Pepper and I took a stroll down there today as I wanted to find something to put in the great vase the air plant came in. I was talking to one of the vendors about indoor plants that are really easy to take care of. I was looking at a bunch of leafy green plants undecided on which one to get when he pointed out the the Peace Lily is great for improving air quality. Apparently NASA is always looking for ways to clean the air in space stations and certain plants are particularly good at eliminating air toxins.

So I was sold! Even though optimal air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space, I'm going to start with the one and see if I can keep it alive. Wish me luck!

Image via.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Baby don't care, baby's got time

I had a revelation the other day about little kids. I was playing with the Pepper and she really wanted to play with something delicate from our shelves she shouldn't be touching. We went back and forth about it for a long time. And I of course was getting impatient about the exchange. I wanted to spend our time together doing other things, more fun things. But the Pepper didn't care about that. She was totally in the moment. That's when I realized one of the big differences between myself and my child: our concept of time.

As a typical busy adult I think of my life in terms of time. I need to be here at a certain time, I have an hour to do this, I need to schedule time to do that. I've even described parenting to some of my non-parent friends as essentially just needing to get really good at time management. But while parenting to me has meant I need to be even better about using my time efficiently, my baby has a totally different experience. She is just being. She has nothing to do. No places to be. Nothing she needs to accomplish. She can spend as long as she wants fussing about taking a nap, or trying to reach that knick-knack because...why not? She isn't thinking about how if she doesn't nap now she won't be able to later because we need to be at a birthday party. Or that I only have an hour to play with her in between work and chores and we should make the most of it. She is always just in the moment. 

Something about realizing this has actually helped me be more patient, more in the moments with her. And really, it should be about just being together, whatever it is we're doing.

Image via.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Inspired movement

I love dance in all it's forms. Ever since I was a kid watching musicals I have found it to be a beautiful and engaging form of expression. It can be fun or serious, dramatic or subtle. And employed well it can certainly be moving.

That's why I love the work of the art troupe WIFE. I was lucky enough to meet the founders of the troupe here in LA a few years ago before they formed their group, and I have been eagerly following their careers ever since. The first WIFE piece I had exposure to was their video for a piece called "The Grey Ones" (the top video). It's such a simple idea, using projections on bodies, but executed so well that I find it completely beautiful and intoxicating. They have done a live version as well and I would so love to see it performed in-person! One of their more recent collaborations is on a video for The Acid which you can watch below. Another simple concept that they manage to make spellbinding.

With our current culture of over-stimulation and immediate access to everything so much can feel derivative. What I love about WIFE is that their work feels genuine and unique. It's a modern take on dance and art that seems to focus on creating an experience for the viewer. For me, watching their work means being taken on an emotional journey. And isn't that one of the goals of art?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Favorites from around the web...

1. No matter what side of the debate you come down on I thought this was an interesting look at the issue from a different perspective.

2. I think how this couple has chosen to live is inspirational. We try to live without much "stuff" but these people put us to shame.

3. And this guy is inspirational in another way. Working in the traditional system can sometimes feel like we're spending so much of our time on the wrong things. I'm glad people are exploring different options.

4. Did you watch the Ham/Nye debate? I haven't had a chance to yet but I really want to.

5. This is a great guide for people wanting more greenery in their life (like me!).

6. This feels like an accurate depiction of childhood, and makes me wary of dinosaur costumes.

7. I loved the graphic novel so I'm very excited for this!

8. As a small chested woman a can't relate, but this made me think of all my larger endowed friends.

9. This is chilling because it tells an important but scary truth.

10. Blades of Glory is real!

Image via.

Thank goodness for friends

Over the last few weeks I've been really thinking about how important having good friendships are. As we get older and busier and we all have jobs or husbands or kids it can get harder to put the time aside to visit with my dear friends. But that time is so important! I can't say exactly what it is about seeing a good friend that is so rewarding. For me, I think it's the ability to be myself and not feel judged. My friends are where I can go to talk about anything whether it be silly or serious. And the ease of conversation and laughter is so valuable, especially amongst the everyday stresses of life.

I've been told that the older you get the more important it is to know people that knew you when. I think this is another important things we all need in our lives and that can be given by friendship. One of my dearest friends I've known since elementary school. She's known me through the awkward days of high school, the exciting days of college, my first love, my first hear-break, my parents divorce, dating the wrong guys, an engagement, a then called-off engagement, my first job, my first apartment, and she was the only non-family member at my wedding ceremony. So, this girl knows me. So not only is she a amazing smart funny and wonderful person, she knows me in the ways that I can't fully describe to the new people I meet. And that is so valuable. Our life experiences change us, sometimes in large ways, sometimes subtly. Knowing what those experience are gives our long-term friends a perspective on us that is unique. And their advice and love reflects that understanding of us.

Yes, I'm feeling very thankful for my friends.

Top image is this print found on Etsy.

Friday, February 7, 2014

My favorite thing to do on Fridays

Happy Friday everyone! Fridays are fun because a lot of my favorite bloggers use Fridays to do a little brain dump of links or articles they like from around the web. But my recent discovery and new absolute favorite thing to do on a Friday* is read the Shirk Report over at Twisted Sifter. The videos and articles are great but it's the 25 images or gifs that just brighten my day. Highly recommend checking it out before you settle into your weekend.

*Actually my favorite thing to do is have a little date night at home with my family that sometimes starts with a tequila shot.

Image from a Shirk Report from a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Are you focusing on what's most important to you?

A few weeks ago my boss sent me an email saying his mentor was going to be giving a speaking engagement in LA. I hate giving up my evenings with the Pepper, but I felt it was important to go and D agreed. So one Thursday night I reluctantly went to see Dr. John Demartini speak, and I was very pleasantly surprised. He gave a great talk. He was insightful, knowledgeable, engaging, and really funny! And I've been thinking about what he said ever since.

One of the things he talked about the stuck wit me is the idea of our values: the things we prioritize in our lives. Everyone has a unique value system, it is what makes us individuals. Being aware of what your values are is important and being true to that will theoretically make you happy. When someone tries to put you down or judge you, they are trying to put their values onto you and that is harmful. Conversely, if you admire someone and put them on a pedestal you may try to put their values on yourself, which is also harmful. It was an interesting way to look at relationships and made me view some of the key relationships in my life differently.

But the thing that keeps spinning in my mind is the idea on personal values. Demartini says that your highest value or highest priority is what you will endure both pleasure and pain for. You will take the bad with the good because it is something innate to you. You will do it or pursue it without being told to or forced to. When he said this I thought of my husband and how D is so clear in his pursuit of is music career. When he is making music he is clearly his most true self. But then I wondered, what's my highest value? What makes me my truest self? I was shocked that I didn't have an answer. My first go to was being a mother. Because I will endure any pain in the pursuit of being a mother to my little one. But as most parents would I wondered if that was too simple an answer. I decided that maybe I need to spend some time thinking about what I value and prioritize. It will help me knwo myself and focus my life in the areas that will bring me the highest rewards.

After I raved about the lecture my boss was thoughtful enough to send me this book to read. While I haven't had a chance yet I'm really looking forward to it. I'm sure it will give me a lot more to think about.

Image via.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Etsy find: twostringsjane

I found a new favorite Etsy shop: twostrings. I love their sweatshirts and t-shirts. I already bought myself this one and I want about five other things including this, this, and this.