Friday, December 30, 2011


proof that beauty can be found even in dried up old tea bags.
 i'm sure there's a life lesson in here if i dig deep enough. 
something about time and age and faded colors being the prettiest. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

if morning must come


 For the Artist at the Start of the Day
~ John O'Donohue ~

May morning be astir with the harvest of night;
Your mind quickening to the eros of a new question,
Your eyes seduced by some unintended glimpse
That cut right through the surface to a source.
May this be a morning of innocent beginning,
When the gift within you slips clear
Of the sticky web of the personal
With its hurt and its hauntings,

And fixed fortress corners,
A Morning when you become a pure vessel
For what wants to ascend from silence,

May your imagination know
The grace of perfect danger,
To reach beyond imitation,
And the wheel of repetition,

Deep into the call of all
The unfinished and unsolved
Until the veil of the unknown yields
And something original begins

To stir toward your senses
And grow stronger in your heart
In order to come to birth

In a clean line of form,
That claims from time

A rhythm not yet heard,
That calls space to
A different shape.
May it be its own force field
And dwell uniquely
Between the heart and the light
To surprise the hungry eye
By how deftly it fits
About its secret loss.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

its suspected he's reading a magical book series that never ends...o to be a gnome

Friday, November 11, 2011

dirty laundry

a vivid memory remains in this newly forgetful brain of mine. i remember being taught how to operate the washing machine and clothes dryer. two adults and four children sharing a home adds up to some serious piles of laundry. our laundry room was in the basement. it was dark there. it was cold and scary. but i was thrilled to be given this very adult knowledge.  finally i was deemed mature enough to operate appliances! the truth is, my mother couldn't keep up with it on her own and frankly just needed us to wash our own damn clothes. the first few times down in our strange smelling underground basement i maintained that tinge of excitement. one day i realized i was merely doing laundry. it was a chore and it was not fun.

fast forward to present and you would find me with just that slight new adventure glow of one who lives in the "big city" and has to go to the laundromat. a magical place where (if i'm to believe television and movies) philisophical conversations and romantic song montages are acted out.  the first time is so strange and new it doesn't seem like an item on the to-do list.  then comes the day i fight for a dryer. the moment i realize my quarters are still at home...catch the creepy guy staring at me as i show the world my dirty underwear. the moment arrives when it's just a chore to get done and i can't even do it in the privacy of my own home. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

falling night

a sense of relief floods over me as the sun sets. i can't explain it so i won't even begin to try. a perfectly wonderful day can be coming to a close and i will still feel as though a small load is lifted once it's dark. on the harder days, this is hightened. living in a city like los angeles makes nightfall even more welcome. the garbage strewn sidewalks are hidden in shadow. traffic becomes an endless tail of twinkly lights. a city that in the harsh noon sun can look hard, fast, dirty and mean becomes magical and charming as happy hour comes to a close and the real parties begin. i'm not at those parties. but sitting in my little studio with the windows open to the clean air, i can finally breath in a way that was impossible until now.  i love sunshine. no, no i need it. but even after an incubator day... my heart slows and my mind stops spinning as i watch the stars come out.

Monday, October 17, 2011

what's in a name

name something and it no longer holds power over you. that's the lesson i first learned from Harry Potter. yes. yes i read HP. i also read the Huffington Post so i feel that it balances out. when Harry uses Voldemort's name out loud, he stripped it of fear.

i discovered last week that i have a mouse in my (subletted) house. i couldn't sleep all night after seeing it skitter across the floor. my bed is on the floor. the next day i just got mad about it. i referred to it as "that effing mouse" and suddenly he had a name. Effen.  almost immediately i wasn't afraid of him anymore. Effen and i have been happily cohabitating for a week now. 

other things in life go unspoken and maintain a hold with that unnamed fear. call it what it is. say it out loud to someone you trust. maybe not all at once, but slowly Voldemort will lose his hold. my dear friend reminded me this morning..."keep in mind, Harry defeated Voldemort in the end".

now where did i put my wand...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

the plot

new city. new people. some of these people continue to shock me with just how shallow a human can be. these "hipsters" look as though they sit around discussing literature and philosophy and how to save the planet. so far i've only heard conversations that include words like "nipple" "celebrity" "party"... i heard a large portion of a conversation between a guy and a girl at wholefoods the other afternoon. he felt the need to use the phrase "my minor celebrity" and was obviously one of those people who would stay up all night talking just to hear themselves talk. he was trying to explain to his friend why a celebrity would cheat on their wife due to the fact that after so many days of women throwing themselves at him, he would just cave one day when his wife was being a bitch (or that's what it sounded like he was trying to say). there was a second conversation that was intertwined with this one all about a well known singer who was on the cover of a magazine with her nipple clearly visible even though she claims to be a role model. i have no idea how these two strings were held up at the same time in this conversation considering i'm pretty sure this pair would drown in a thimble of intelligence.

i know i know, i'm being judgy mcjudgerson...
but i do love the sunshine here!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

if i were blind

if i were blind, i would always live in the city.  the country being too quiet. i’d have to strain to hear even the distant call of a bird, the croak of a frog. in the city i am harrassed by an overwhelming feast of noise day and night. i wake to the sound of cars being unarmed and revved for their commute. the honking begins. if honking were an art form, angelinos are all the picassos and rembrandts of sound. the buses whiz past on santa monica avenue. helicopters buzz overhead (chasing criminals or movie stars i’ll never know). the sounds almost escalate in the darkness of night. doors slamming, people laughing and shouting in their revelry, bums rummaging, music pounding...all discordant in the night.  the nighttime can seem the loudest. of course, that’s when i’m blind.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

true story

scene one: (camera takes in storefront-zooms to interior. very eclectic thrift shop. clothes, homegoods, books. a few shoppers within)

girl one: so what do you think of me in an Audi?
girl two: o ya but what about the Prius?
girl one: ya i dont know about the Prius. i don't feel like a winner in the Prius.
girl two: ya you've got to feel like a winner in your car.
girl one: i know. like i don't even want to say this but...
girl two: o ya i know
girl one: ya like i didn't even want to drive my car to his house but i did and parked in front and seriously, the next morning when we came out he stopped, looked at my car and was all "you're car makes my house look bad".

grungy boy walks over and interrupts the girls saying hello to one of them as if they had seen each other last week.

girl one: o hey where have you been?
boy: o just out of town for like...five years.
girl one: oh man has it been that long? where were you?
boy: ya i just, like, was in portland and oakland and williamsburg. you know, the hipster areas.
girl one: o wow you should come hear me sing tonight at this club. it's called varnish.
boy: okay ya, here's my number
girl one: alright i'm texting you right now so you have my number too.
boy: cool okay ya

camera pans back out to storefront. takes in the dollar rack. the neighboring baskin robins. the garbage on the sidewalk. fades out.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

a moveable feast

los angeles is a an aging starlet trying hard to get the part. doing anything and everything. fast and dirty. untrusting and tearing at the seams.  my first night here was spent in a hotel where i opted to keep the blinds closed at all times. there was a pair of discarded men's jeans directly outside on the small landing. they were grungy and forlorn looking and i didn't want to imagine why they were there. as i said, the blinds remained tight. day two found me alone and driving around trying to get my bearings here in the silver lake/los feliz/echo park area.  my internal compass (okay okay my iphone) led me to griffith park and the glory that is the observatory. i wandered for hours remembering being young and so entranced by the stars. i wanted to be an astronomer then. i still do.  after that, i moved into what will be my home for the next month.  fate or luck or those bright stars lined up and led us (me and that man of mine)  to the most amazing studio sublet i could ever wish for. i feel like i've stepped into a small paris apartment. the only problem is that i never want to leave. it's loud and mean out there but simple and peaceful in here. i know i have to conquer this city and start to look for the next place i'll call home. for now i'm going to slow down and have a little wine and listen to NPR and think about tomorrow when i plan on going back to the observatory.  hey, it's one of the only free things to do here and i'm a penny pinching unemployed girl at the moment.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


what can i say? i'm in a New York State of Mind....i miss it every day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

mini rant

dear humans of the world,

when you meet a total stranger and they tell you (in an excited voice) that they are "moving to L.A.!" why would you look at them aghast and act as though they had just suggested women should be allowed to vote? oh wait, it's 2011. women are allowed to vote. also, L.A. is not a land of riots and drive by shootings.

i'm moving there regardless of your personal opinion of the city so perhaps you should consider that and offer encouragement and tidings of luck instead of shaking your heads in dismay. i love new places. i love exploring interesting neighborhoods. i love being where life is being lived. life can be dirty and strange and i'm sure that Los Angeles is the place to be a part of it all.

thats all.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Naked New York

Shots from the last few weeks in NYC totally naked and untouched by iphone apps or iphoto touchups of any kind. No dressy frames or color accessories. This is New York.

Brooklyn Sunset


Wine Shop

Union Square

Brooklyn Thrift Store

The Mother Ship
a.k.a. NYC Library

Chelsea Music Store

New York's Finest

a.k.a. Bryant Park

If you ever get the chance to visit New York City, don't pass it up. Everything seems more alive here. People are working, playing, crying, begging, selling, buying, walking, biking, singing, yelling, sitting, watching, throwing, catching, get the idea.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thrift Store Bonus Round

Pictures for the Parlour 

My First Pyrex
(and only $3)

My sister's body is refusing to let the baby come out already so we walked around Greenpoint and Williamsburg to a few thrift stores today. She found the best pictures for her awesome parlour walls and I found my first affordable piece of Pyrex to take home with me. If there's a Pyrex treasure hunter club, I'm pretty sure I should be a new member. This bowl is that classic olive green with white flowers. Makes me feel like I could be sitting in my Grandma's kitchen watching her cook with Wheel of Fortune playing in the background. 

Random Wheel of Fortune Facts for you!
  • Since its debut in 1983, Wheel of Fortune has awarded more than $190 million in cash and prizes to its contestants.
  • In 1992, the "Guinness Book of World Records" listed Vanna White as the world's most frequent clapper. Vanna puts her hands together for contestants some 28,080 times a season - an average of 720 times per show.
  • In 1992, the "Guinness Book of World Records" listed Vanna White as the world's most frequent clapper. Vanna puts her hands together for contestants some 28,080 times a season - an average of 720 times per show.
  • Wheel of Fortune has been the #1 show in syndication since its debut in 1983.
  • Wheel of Fortune's original name was "Shoppers Bazaar" and included a wheel that was much bigger and featured carnival sound effects.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Baby Steps

I'm not that good at patience. Most of us have been told that the best things are worth waiting for and we've learned that waiting is the hardest part. Yes Mr. Petty, but I don't like waiting! I'm sitting here in Brooklyn, NYC counting down the days before I have to fly back to that other coast.  Why do I count? Other than my OCD, the reason this time is my new nephew Henry is supposed to be born while I'm here. I'm not one to place bets or do any real gambling so I figured a ticket that spanned three weeks would give him ample time to make his grand appearance. I'm beginning to think I was wrong.  He may be the most stubborn in our family to date...and I really didn't think I could be beat in that department.  

All this to say that my blog attention is elsewhere. My days revolve around my sister's belly. Is there any extra pressure? Maybe a slight contraction? Is Henry hiccuping AGAIN? Can he just come out and hiccup while I hold him? Oh Henry, I do not want to be taken to the airport next week by a pregnant sister. 

In the meantime, I'm just falling more and more madly in love with Brooklyn and Manhattan both. Yesterday I had the chance to walk from Union Square to Bryant Park via Fifth Ave and back down Madison. Heaven. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dear Amazon

Dear Amazon,

I love you. I really do. You're always there when I need you and you provide all the things my sister needs here in the city. She just doesn't have the energy to go walk around for hours looking for necessities!  She's very very pregnant you see.  When she couldn't find things like a dropper or a water temperature gauge for her new baby, she turned to you knowing you would have just what she needed and it would get to her within a day or two.  But Amazon, look at this giant box you used to send one tiny dropper! And I have many other examples of this packaging insanity! All you have to do is look at the broken down boxes outside my sister's door to see that something is not right here! Go ahead, take a peek I'll wait right here.  So? What do you have to say for yourself? Are you proud of the fact that an order of three things came to this address yesterday in three very large, very separate boxes? Maybe items are coming from different locations. I get it. Maybe there are laws you have to follow to get things safely to their new owners. I understand.  But do you think you could start looking at ways to condense and save on all the waste? I'm concerned that our relationship will have to end if we can't come to some sort of compromise.  Perhaps you could offer a much slower shipping speed in order to gather a customers items together for one big shipment rather than send each little thing as it becomes available? Some sort of recycling program for the multitude of boxes? 

Until we can come to some sort of resolution to this problem, I think you and I are going to be on a break. I'm sorry it has to be this way but I feel as though you won't take me seriously otherwise. 


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Breakfast on Your Facemask

Greetings from my sister's home in Brooklyn, NYC. I'm here for a few weeks anxiously awaiting the arrival of her first baby. While we wait for little Henry to show his face, we decided to pamper our own. My sister whipped us up a batch of her homemade Oatmeal Face Mask.  It's super easy! You probably already have most of the ingredients.  She used old fashioned oats, plain yogurt and honey.  This mask works best after a shower when your pores are all loose and needing a little nourishment.  My skin felt so soft after letting this concoction sit on my face for about 15 minutes.

Gather Ingredients:

Grind up about a 1/4 cup of oats in your coffee grinder.

Add a heaping tablespoon of yogurt.

Squirt in about a tablespoon of honey. 

Mix it up and smear it on.

Stephanie says to be creative! If it's good for you to eat, it's probably great to put on your skin as well. Use other things in your kitchen and throw those in (bananas, avocado, egg yolk for moisture, egg white for toning). Just try to use amounts that end up giving you a paste-like consistency that will stay on your face. Have fun with it and remember to pamper yourself before you pamper your baby. 

Pampering (not Pampers) is free and free is cheap.

Monday, April 4, 2011

This Week's Inspiration

      The Man Watching
      Rainer Maria Rilke

      I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
      so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
      that a storm is coming,
      and I hear the far-off fields say things
      I can't bear without a friend,
      I can't love without a sister

      The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
      across the woods and across time,
      and the world looks as if it had no age:
      the landscape like a line in the psalm book,
      is seriousness and weight and eternity.

      What we choose to fight is so tiny!
      What fights us is so great!
      If only we would let ourselves be dominated
      as things do by some immense storm,
      we would become strong too, and not need names.

      When we win it's with small things,
      and the triumph itself makes us small.
      What is extraordinary and eternal
      does not want to be bent by us.
      I mean the Angel who appeared
      to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
      when the wrestler's sinews
      grew long like metal strings,
      he felt them under his fingers
      like chords of deep music.

      Whoever was beaten by this Angel
      (who often simply declined the fight)
      went away proud and strengthened
      and great from that harsh hand,
      that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
      Winning does not tempt that man.
      This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
      by constantly greater beings.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Making Love Out of Nothing At All

"And I Know the Roads to Riches"

You know that saying about building up your treasures in Heaven? Well, what if you're not quite sure you believe in Heaven? What if you think Hell was invented to get small children to obey their parents? Or maybe you believe we return over and over again in some other form. Where then should we be building up these treasures of goodness? It couldn't hurt to build them up in the souls around us. Love doesn't have to be expensive. You might send an email overflowing with encouragement to a friend you know is having a difficult time. You may offer to help someone move their furniture into a new home. Maybe you simply say the words "I love who you are". 

The best things in life are free. I'll say this a lot so get used to it. If I were forced to make a list of these freebies, love would be at the top. Love will always be free. Real love, romantic or otherwise, will never be up for sale. No department stores with a Love Boutique, no Love all depends on you. 

What I would encourage is this, begin to shift your view of "riches" to one of internal fullness rather than financial security. Remind yourself everyday that the things that truly matter won't cost you anything. And love. Love above all else.  Love your partner, your family, your pet, the people you pass by daily without a thought. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Love is free and free is cheap.

I love you

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Brooklyn Thrifting Heaven

How lucky am I to have a sister in Brooklyn? Best place for thrifting in the world!! Today's goal was finding a few things for her home here to make it as comfortable as possible before her baby boy is born in the next couple weeks. We found a large basket for front door shoe storage, a great tea tray that is going to be used for organizing either jewelry or something like that. We also found an amazing panel from a set of drapes. Suddenly we felt like making play clothes for a group of motherless children in Austria, but instead it will hang on a wall in her unfinished basement as we (I) turn it into a livable space for soon to be visiting family members. Now if only this little boy will come while I'm here! Otherwise I'll fill my time with thrifting and spending more than I should...what?

 A Suitable Basket
Brooklyn Tea Party 
Curtain Call

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Scrimp Chat: Jill Spills

Welcome to "Scrimp Chat" where I ask and some lucky reader tells. This week I sat down in Costco (on top of the beans and below the condoms)with Jill to talk a little about her spending habits. She's a single girl living in Portland, Oregon and is currently a full time student so those pennies must be pinched hard.  

Hello Jill! Would you mind giving a little background on your thrifty upbringing?
My mom is the Valedictorian of being thrifty. She did not make our clothes but I think that's only because we were very lucky to have an aunt who liked to outfit us, and to be a part of a church community that gave us a lot of hand-me-downs. I remember my mom using coupons, for almost everything. We had homemade bread (which sadly I did not appreciate at the time), homemade jams, homemade play-dough, the list could go on and on. When I was in high school my parents got chickens, and now they have so many eggs my mom tries to give them away sometimes. She also keeps a garden and cans so many fruits and veggies, seriously you would be shocked at her pantry.

Did any of your parents spending habits (good or bad) rub off?
Some of them did. But I also find myself buying snacks (other than pretzels or animal crackers) "because I can". But one good habit they passed on to me is not owning a credit card. I also don't feel like I need to by the name brands, I am totally ok with the store brands (except I love me some Jiff peanut butter)

How would you describe your spending habits now?
It's hard to say because even though I'm a "grown up" I am also a student. So right now in my pantry is some ramen noodles, Jiff peanut butter (that I took from my mom's pantry last time I was home), cans of tuna (also from my mom's pantry), and store brand popcorn.

What would you like to change regarding your monetary life?
Right now I would like to change just about everything. Because I am a student I'm not able to save like I used to be able to when I had a full time job. However that was one of my favorite parts of having a full time job- being able to save money every month. I set up an automatic transfer every month, and it's a good thing I did because there have been times when I really needed it. 

Do you have any scrimptacular tips you could share?
Sometimes when I think I want something I walk away from it just to make sure. For example: I have ring that I wear everyday, the first time I saw it I loved it. I wanted it. But, I walked away because it was more than I usually spend on rings. But, I kept thinking about that ring. So the next time I was in that area I went to the store to buy it...but the store was closed, so I walked away...still thinking about the ring. I went there again, specifically to get the ring (I couldn't stop thinking about it) but again, the store was closed. Now I knew I really wanted that ring. It had been about 3 weeks and I still was thinking about it daily wanting it, afraid that by the time I got back it would be gone and out of my life forever. It wasn't. On my third trip back I was able to purchase my ring, and I love it. I get so many compliments on it, and every time  I look down at my hands i love seeing it there, my left middle finger looks and feels like a nudist without it.
So, I guess what I'm saying is that if you want to buy something but it's more than you usually spend, walk away from it. And if you find yourself obsessing about it then you should probably go back and get it, it was meant to be yours. However if you don't think about it once you walk away then you'll have saved yourself some spending guilt later on.
Also, I recommend for most items never buy full price. Not even for underwear, there are always sales on things. Just don't try to buy underwear at goodwill or anything - that's just going too far - but there are plenty of things that are just as good if not better used. Like used bookshelves - better - that way you won't feel bad if you want to paint them or cover them in book pages. I won't buy things at full price (well except for my ring) I feel so much better when I spend the least amount possible for something I need/want.
I also think it's important to give yourself permission to buy something for yourself every once in a while just because you really want it. It might not be practical, it might not be necessary, but it might just make you inexplicably happy. And being happy is priceless. So if buying that ring/book/dress/pair of shoes/jacket/necklace gives you joy every time you look/wear/read it then don't feel bad for one second about spending your dollars on it. You're worth it.

Thanks Jill! It's been fun hanging out here in Costco with you but I think I'm about done with the strange looks from shoppers and I'm sure you've got studying to do...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Praying For Time

"Hanging on to Hope, When There is no Hope to Speak of"

Hope is a thing with feathers. I know this because it often flies away. We wonder where it's gone, if it will come back, what to do if it doesn't. Days can follow days that line up and up and up and still no feathers to be seen. The dreams of "someday" and "what if" stop and instead are replaced by sleepless hours of "never" and "what now". Today I want everyone, especially myself, to consider saving something other than money. The rainy day fund I would like to start is one of a non-monetary kind. Hanging on to hope. Filling a jar or a box or even just a pocket full of reminders that, given time, things will get better. This morning might find you on top of the world. Flowers are blooming and everything is going your way. Put a little memory of that in your hope savings account. A day will come when you'll need to make a withdrawal and if no deposits have been made, you'll come away empty. Imagine a bank full of small items that make you remember the good and magical parts of life. Morsels of times to taste during the famine. 

This treasure box of hope should be an actual vessel.Begin today by filling it with scraps of paper, theatre tickets, notes, receipts, photos. Fill it with items that make you smile, stones, pressed flowers, charms, memories. When the moment comes when you're sure you've run out of hope, open your box. Look at each thing you've saved and remember that time will keep ticking away. It always does. Hope may have flown the coop but you've held onto a memory of it to hold you over until it comes back. And it will come back.

Please gather your bits and scraps of hope and love today. You don't realize it perhaps, but the day will come that you're glad you started a hope savings account.

Hope is free and free is cheap.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Not Going Postal

Today began with a surprise from a friend. 
Ironically a gift in the post kept me from going postal.

 A lovely little Edward Gorey book called 
The Eclectic Abecedarium. It's perfect in every way and spoke right to my heart the way she knew it would.

And I know even so far apart she's still got her eye on me.
It's little things like these that remind me how important the people we love are.(oh Rebecca I miss you)

Let's all do something nice for someone we love today and every day. Nice is free and free is cheap.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I'll Make It Myself: T-shirt Scarf

First I cut 6"x 6" squares out of random t-shirts I had already started cutting for other projects.  I ended up with 17 squares.

Step two was lining them all up and pinning them together. I wasn't very scientific about it knowing how it would just drape down when it's being worn meant I stressed less about the details.
After the squares were pinned, it was time to brave the sewing machine...I have a terrible habit of what I call "Pulling a Rachael" which is when I jam the sewing maching every single time I make something. It only happened once this time. So I just sewed a basic stitch straight(almost) down the lined up squares.
Voila! Recycled T-shirt Scarf.  I can't wait to wear this simple little scarf with a tank top and jeans maybe while I'm out riding my bike so It can blow in the breeze behind me.  You should try it too! I can't wait to try out other ways of dressing it up and playing around with this basic pattern.