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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Table for One


As I sat alone at breakfast one morning, I thought of how I would love to be on the trip with someone.
I glanced around at the tables surrounding me, each one made up of families, couples, or friends. 
Each restaurant asks the same thing, "just one?", holding up their pointer finger, a sort of sadness in their eyes as they link me to the word, "alone." Seating me at the bar, or a small table by the window. One waiter was brave enough to ask me, "why you come alone?" At that moment I wanted to say, "I have no clue." But instead I replied, "I wanted to see things for myself. I didn't want anyone to dilute my experiences, I didn't want someone to decide what I should do, or tell me what I must see. I have no responsibility but for myself." He clearly had no idea what I just said, staring at me blankly. I said, "Thank you for listening." And bowed my head as he had done. He then said "You in good company." Maybe he meant the restaurant, but maybe he meant I was the best company I could have. Suddenly, I didn't feel lonely, I felt like I was my friend. 
Maybe it would be easier to be with someone on this trip. Someone who could read a map, someone who could speak a little bit of Indonesian, someone who could simply remind me of home. 
But then I realized, I can be all those things to myself.
I am someone who is learning to read a map, someone who is learning to speak a little Indonesian, and I am a tiny piece of my home. 
This trip has taught me that we should become what we want to be, instead of expecting others to become what we want to be. Way too often in my life I have not tried something or not learned something because I had someone there who could do it. Whether it be changing my oil, or pressing my clothes, or making my favorite meal. Or just making me happy. How many times have you let yourself be sad because you counted on someone to make you happy and they let you down? But that's not the way it works. We can simply love everyone if we realize our happiness and well-being depends on us. We stop expecting so much of other, and expect more of ourselves. I have learned in these short three days, that I am capable of absolutely anything. Learning a language, finding my way around a foreign city, saying what I want and don't want. I have learned I am so much stronger than I believed I am. 
This trip has taught me the importance of understand and loving myself. Figuring out my dreams, my fears. What I like to do with 24 hours and no set plans. Figuring out what I love about myself, and what I would like to work on. Reminding myself I am my friend, it sounds so cheesy but it's true. If you hate being alone, what does that say about how you view yourself? 
As I sit outside writing this, I realize I am the essential part to my story. I am the voice of my thoughts. I wouldn't want to be on this trip with anyone else. My sweet waiter was right, I am in good company. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Bali


This will be my last post for a little while because tonight I leave for a two week adventure in Bali, Indonesia!
Early this morning I was beyond nervous. I am spending 3 days alone in Bali (most of which to recover from jet lag), and then 10 days with a group of people I have never met through Intrepid Travel.
The above statement probably makes me sound crazy but there is intention behind my trip.
I want to see things through my two eyes. I don't want to hear from a friend or family about something, or have my opinions shaped by others. I want my two eyes to take everything in: people, food, culture, the way that beautiful island is constructed, and form my own opinion.
I want some time to myself. To write, to think, to experience. I want to appreciate my own company.
I want some time to be without technology. Some time without makeup, and trendy clothes, and people constantly checking social media.
I want to meet people from the other side of the world. And hug them and thank them for welcoming me to their marvelous land. I want to see smiles, and laughs, and be reminded that kindness is a universal language.
I want to have faith without all of my first world luxuries.
I want to crack my heart wide open, and let my love shower others, while having the ability to feel some in return.
I want to be reminded that despite being in a place 9,000 miles away from home, I have built a safe place within the four walls of my soul, and piece of light and comfort I always bring with me.
I was reading a magazine to still my nerves, and in it it talked about the perfect ages for women:
20. The best biological age for getting pregnant.
29. The age of ideal beauty according to U.S women.
34. The age at which women are happiest with their naked bodies.
74. When women are happiest.

I read the last one, and thought 74?!? Can't I spend my whole life saying every year was my happiest?
So, my main intention for the trip: to pursue happiness. To chase it, catch it, immerse myself in it, and then share it. Through words, hugs, smiles, compliments, and energy.
I am so excited and grateful to share a bit of my journey with all of you.  Here we go, 13 days in Bali, Indonesia.

Happy Monday everyone! Xoxo
Share what you are grateful today on Emily's blog
Ember Grey 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Heavy Heart



Lately, I have thinking a lot about all the wonderful people in my life. I really do have the most incredible, supportive people around me, and I don’t think I let that be known enough.

I think there is a reason for each and every person in our life. There is a reason that some people become spilled all over the pages in our stories. I am so happy with the people I have decorating my pages.

My mom is one of the people who is always there for me. I’ve made terrible decisions, I’ve said hurtful things, and she is always there. How incredible is a love like that? It makes me emotional just talking about it. I have a mother who looks at me with so much love and pride to have me as a daughter. My goodness, I am so lucky to have her.

Yesterday, while running errands, I got a text from a mom I babysit for. She had just been told that her mother wouldn’t make it through the weekend. Her mother has been battling cancer for over 2 years, and the pain is just unbearable. It was time to go and say goodbye.

She asked me if I could watch her sweet son so she could get on a plane in the morning, to which I agreed.

I got home later in the afternoon, and my heart felt so heavy. How awful the thought of saying goodbye to someone you love. A planned goodbye to me felt like those moments that you stomach tangles up, and you try to be positive but it’s a slow fall, you know the ending is near, and it’s not a good one. The painted smile, the neat words, the act of being strong because the other person really needed you to be. Goodbyes are never easy.

I called my mom to talk to her about it, and it was so easy to just dial her number, and hear her healthy on the other end. I take this small act of a phone call for granted. I pictured how one day, I will have to say goodbye to her. I thought of my friend getting on the plane to visit her mom, and how that flight would seem like an eternity, but still not long enough. I wished I could have frozen a good memory for her, and had her play it over and over, remembering her mother healthy and well. But we don’t receive pauses, or rewinds. We don’t get to say, “I’ll just see them later, I’ll tell them another time.” Because time goes by, and seasons pass, and soon the ones we love grow older, maybe they get ill, and sooner or later we have to say goodbye.

Time is so precious. When I was in high school, I participated in Every 15 Minutes, a course that went through the repercussions of drunk driving. One of the reenactments was a car crash that killed two people. My mom had to write me a letter of what she would say if I passed away.

I can read the first sentence of that passage and end up in hysterics. I don’t want to make anyone cry today, but I want to dedicate this post to my wonderful mom:

There was a period of time when I moved out that I didn’t delete your voicemails, so afraid that if something happened to you, I would have no way to have your sweet voice, your contagious laugh, fill the room.

On my toughest days, I would just play them back. I never told you, because I wanted them to be as authentic and genuine as you.

You are my best friend, my confidant, my true north.

I can’t thank you enough for the sacrifices you make for me. I can’t thank you enough for continually sharing your light with me. For always telling me I am smart, creative, funny, kind, and natural born leader. I can’t tell you how much it means that every time I need someone in my corner, I can count on you to be there.

When I was younger, I asked you, “Mom, you are going to live with me, when I am older right?” And you said, “I will be around as long as you want me.”

I want you forever, and I will love you for always.

Thank you for showing me what unconditional love feels like. Thank you for being my mother, my forever friend.


I challenge you all to tell those around you that you love them today, and treasure these glorious days. xoxox

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wednesday Wishes

lovethehereandnow.com

I have filled my plate entirely too full lately, and in doing so my stress levels have been off the charts. Having so much stress is trapping and feels suffocating. I always ask a lot of myself, and when I can't do it all, I feel like I have failed.
I sometimes self-sabotage myself by putting all these tasks on my plate, and then thinking there is only one way to complete them all. I don't map out a plan b or c, thinking if I was successful and efficient plan a would have sufficed. But this week I got a cold, and ended up working more than predicted, so all my tasks shifted. With the shift, meant things didn't go as scheduled.
 "If you could do it right Katie, it would be done perfect the first time, no exceptions," is what the self-sabotaging little voice in my head tells me. We all hear those things once in a while, but we have to acknowledge it a merely a tiny distraction. This tiny voice grows and manifests into other things when we decide to listen to that voice, give it a stage, and follow what it is saying. When I am too hard on myself, I call upon my mom to remind me why I am loved.
So in my fragile state yesterday I dialed the familiar number and heard her sweet voice on the other end, I vented about my fast approaching trip, my writing deadlines, work, writing, friends, family, and this terrible cold I got this week, basically I broke down.
And my mom told me, "Katie, you are learning. Don't be so hard on yourself. You are going through all these things and if you learn one thing it will all be worth it." And then this morning she texted me wishing my "lots of love and clarity." Exactly what I needed on this Wednesday. My wish is to find a little piece of calm among the chaos, an abundance of love for myself and others, and clarity to see the big picture and not just the minor set backs.
Setting these intentions, and saying these wishes aloud already has made for a better day. Also, the half bag of white fudge pretzels I ate helped too.
 I am also wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday! What do you do when you feel like you've got too much on your plate?

Stop by Anne's blog, Love the Here and Now, to read other Wednesday Wishes and join in on the fun.  

Lots of love xoxox

Monday, May 19, 2014

I am so much more than pretty.


Today I was going through old journals (a typical place for new post inspiration) and I came across an interesting entry from last year.

It was an experience I wrote about, something that actively hurt/challenged me. I was at Starbucks when an older man starting making extremely inappropriate eye contact with me. He was seriously like, licking his lips, and just making me really uncomfortable. It wasn’t funny or appealing AT ALL, and I ended up making a face to show him I was disgusted and rolled my eyes. To which he walked up to me and said, “I don’t appreciate you being rude and making a bitchy face at me when I was paying you a compliment. If a man finds you attractive you should show gratitude. I date girls just as young as you, so don’t act disgusted by me.”

I was appalled, in shock, and just said, “Well, I guess I’m not like the girls who usually respond positively to your so called compliments. I’m not interested.” To which he walked away. I was shaking I was so upset and offended.

I am not saying this is just something girls go through, I know that men also go through a sort of stereotypical judgment, but I do feel these sorts of situations happen to girls more often. As I read the entry of my journal, I put at the end, “I am so much more than an ass grab, a crude, sexual comment. I am so much more than an object for guy to stare at, gawk over, and then in turn approach me and make me feel like less because I didn’t “appreciate” that a low life found me attractive.” I clearly was upset, and rereading in my journal had me relive it, and here it what I feel now that it has far passed.

I grew up in a society that based me off of numbers. Bust size, waist size, hip size. I was shown by billboards and media to seek after pretty, to chase after it like a crazed dog that just found a bird in their yard. I heard the vocabulary that made up appealing girls until I could recite that words that would amount to being worthy: delicate, small, pretty, petite, dainty, woman. And I was supposed to seek a muscular, strong, brawny, providing, man. And apparently I was supposed to appreciate being treated like an object of desire. My worth residing in my physical appearance and nothing more.

And what bugs me, and what I am still trying to overcome is the fact that even after being treated that way, I still spent a great deal of time needing men to view me as “pretty” because that word could be directly interchanged with “worthy”. I am not completely passed this stage, as I often feel like some of my worth is tightly sewn to what my appearance is. But I am slowly beginning to tear apart those seams.

Because I am so much more than pretty. We are all so much more than pretty and dainty and muscular and handsome. I grew up in a society that based me off of numbers, so here are some new ones: we have two eyes to see the world however we wish, two eyes that we stare back into at our reflection, so this time I will tell myself I am enough. I am strong, smart, capable, witty, kind, inspiring. We have 45 miles of nerves running through our body, we have five active senses, and we are incredibly complex and unique individuals. We have a functioning brain and heart, that has the capability to learn and love more about ourselves than anyone else is capable of. I am so much more than what that man saw in me.

We are the person we believe we are, and we are worth exactly what we think of ourselves, and letting anyone else determine either of those things is the greatest disservice we can do to ourselves.

What I know now is deciding to be the girl who loves herself entirely, and all my traits and oddities is not the easiest of paths to walk, but I am worth every step.

Love yourself today. xoxox

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Life Is with Kerry Cassill



There are places you travel that just feel like home. I think those are the best vacations spots: the ones that you feel like a piece of you belongs and remains there. It’s the places that are just an easy transition, from real life to getaway, no real thought or energy required.

I think that is why so many people go somewhere and try to find souvenirs. A tiny gift that can trigger all those magical feelings of the place you love.

For me, the place I love is Laguna Beach and the souvenir, is the store that resides right by the water, Lala.

Lala is like walking into a fairytale. It’s like it took all the magic of Laguna Beach and fit it between four beautifully decorated and enchanting walls.

Lala sells the softest Indian cotton. The products are clothes, accessories, beauty supplies, and bedding that makes you want to redecorate your entire living space. Seriously. It’s like the bedding of all bedding. My entire house will one day have Lala sheets, comforters, quilts, this daydream literally makes me giddy. And I will work from my bed because it’s just that beautiful.





pictures from my trip in March

This past March, I visited Laguna and went to Lala and fell in love with the store just how I had when I was 11 years old. Except this time, I left a business card and had a chance to interview the visionary and designer behind the store, Kerry Cassill. This is her Life Is interview.

How did Lala get its name?
“I was obsessed with this French writer, his pen name is Delacorta, he wrote all these books like Diva and nana and the font at the time was more scripty, and I thought Lala looked beachy but like a French novel.”

How did you discover your passion for design and fashion?

“I think as a little baby, I was the one that was like ‘oh, that’s really pretty’” Kerry laughs, “I think some people are just that person. I went to design school right out of high school. And then I became a milliner, and then after that it took a while, but I went to Paris. And if got really inspired by the Indian cottons. And then I was obsessed. A few years later, I found out how to contact the people printing the fabric I was looking at in France. And then I got over there and they made me some shirts I had designed and it all just started like that.”

What is life to you?

“That’s such a hard question. I guess, I have always just felt like I have been led. And so I just follow the next indicated thing that I am supposed to be doing. I have always had signs and I have always felt guided along the way. Like the first time I went to India, my side of the room was painted and the painting on the walls was the exact same as the tiles in my room in Seattle. It made me feel like, I am absolutely supposed to be here. It's just always kind of worked out that way. I feel strongly guided with my life. And the thing I wanted the most, most, most, was to have a baby, and I had my daughter in 2001. And it’s all just a crazy story.” Kerry pauses, “It’s much easier when you are not the one in charge of it all, planning out every step. I’m just guided.”

Are there any moments or memories that have shaped your beliefs and life?

“I worked for an artist that was a colorist, and that definitely influenced what I do now. But everything has just felt like how it is supposed to be... Spiritually, I Just feel taken care of.”

Three non-personal things that get you through the day:

“My favorite coffee, I am a bit of a TV addict, we are TV people, and I live by the beach. I have a 1973 convertible Volkswagen, it's amazing and fun. And you know I just feel blessed, I've got a pretty good life here.”

Three personal things that get you through the day:

“Being a mom, I like cooking, I don't want to say I like exercising, because I kind of don't.” Kerry begins laughing, “And Hanging out with friends.”

What is your mission statement?

“Honesty and love.”

What does the world need more of?

“Love!”, Kerry exclaims. “And people being considerate of others.”

What’s one things you would say to the whole world?

“Everything will work out in the end, and if it’s not working out. It’s not the end. I don't know where I heard that but I love it. Probably from the TV, knowing me.”






These photos are from Lala's Summer 1 collection. Thank you Jackie for sending me all the photos and thank you Jackie for sharing about her life. If you would like to shop this beautiful collection and many others, kerrycassill.com can help (:
This interview is also being featured today on my sweet friend Emily's blog, Ember Grey, so pop on over there and say hi as well!
 Wishing everyone a wonderful Saturday! xoxox

Friday, May 16, 2014

Stay Curious

First off, I haven't posted something in nearly a week due to some difficulties from transferring my blog, getting a new template installed, and making sure everything was turning out right but it's finally all done! I have missed blogging so much, and I'm so happy to be making a new blogging home through Blogger. And now onto today's discoveries:


Today at work, I was getting easily frustrated. I travel to Bali in 10 days, finish finals this week, and I'm taking on a new writing project for the Las Vegas Sun. So basically, I was just not in the mood to be at the daycare today.

And then sweet Travis came up to me. "Miss Katie, do you know that spiders shoot webs out of their butt?"
"I didn't Travis, thanks for sharing."
"Miss Katie, why are there so many beetles, and why aren't they pink or yellow?"
"I don't know Travis, I think beetles are supposed to be boring colors so they blend in."
"Miss Katie, why does my mom shave her legs?"
"It's what grown up ladies do Travis, it's part of our routine."
"Miss Katie...", I could literally feel my eye roll coming on, but I stopped myself.
"Yes, Travis?"
"I love you."

Travis (heart eyes)

My heart melted, I took a deep breath, and asked if he had anymore questions or stories for me. He did of course, and I sat outside with him while the rest of the kids played soccer and searched for bugs, listening intently. Those three words are a powerful reminder of how much we mean to people. Even in our toughest times, even with stress and frustration, we are loved infinitely. As I listened to Travis -who has been on an airplane twice, has a cell phone but he can't make a call, loves fruit snacks especially the red ones, and has his own pair of cowboy boots at home- I was also reminded of the gift of staying curious. Of marveling at the tiniest of things, like the colors of beetles, and why aren't you allowed to sit on the wing of a plane? "What if they had seat belts?" Travis asked me.
At some point, we don't question as much, we don't remember little details, and we don't look at things and always wish to know more. But when we do, new doors open up, new opportunities arise, and new loves are discovered. There are remarkable things tucked away in places we never think to look and there are thousands of questions that could be easily answered, the only tool we need to uncover them is curiosity.

For writers and artists of any kind, I think the secret to not have a creativity burn out is to simply say curious. To keep asking questions, and write until you have an answer. I found 100 questions to ask yourself to spark curiosity and inspire your next artistic post. Click here for the link. (:


Happy Friday xoxox

Friday, May 9, 2014

Red Balloons for Ryan

picture from Jacqui's blog Baby Boy Bakery

My heart broke along different fault lines as I read the story of three year old Ryan passing away. Ryan was grabbing a toy out of the street when he was hit by a truck. Writing this alone, stirs up so much emotion in me. Working with children each day, I have a soft spot in my heart for little ones. 

Being in the blogging community, I have come across Baby Boy Bakery’s blog many times. I have smiled at her photos of Ryan’s sweet, infectious smile, always dressed to hipster perfection. I have enjoyed the little glimpses of her life she has posted throughout her blog, jotting down milestones that Ryan made, followed by countless pictures of him, laughing, smiling, and just being so, so adorable.

So when I heard the story, I just didn’t want to believe it. I saw the hashtag going around #redballoonsforryan. I saw the countless pictures on social media and I just cried. 

I don’t like that he was just three years old. Three tiny years of life taken away. I don’t like thinking about whether he may have been in pain, or scared, or both. I don’t like thinking that these sweet, innocent parents are having to deal with this heartbreak. And I can’t imagine the loss. I don’t like that he is spoken of in past tense. I don’t like that we have the word “widow” for the loss of spouses, but nothing for when a child passes, because maybe that  just isn’t supposed to happen. 

But as I sit here writing this, overwhelmed by the tragedy, I am grateful that perfect strangers support each other when there is a loss like this. That millions of people have typed #redballoonsforryan over the past week to show their love. I love that in a world with so many unique individuals we can be quickly reminded that we are all just human, and need each other more than we think. I hope Dan and Jacqui feel the undeniable love and support of strangers, friends, and family. 

Let this terrible loss be a reminder of how short and precious our dear life is. Hug your loved ones extra tight. Say the things you forget to say. Wear out the phrases “I love you” and “I miss you”. Things change so suddenly, within each day ask yourself, do the people I adore know I adore them? Be kind to those around you. This life is so short, and the greatest gift is to fully live it. 

Sweet Ryan, you are so heavy on my heart this week. I am deeply saddened that you had such little time on Earth. I find comfort in the fact that your delicate little face will be rememberd by millions, a symbol of life’s unexpected twists and the importance of cherishing this journey. The importance of loving those a little extra, smiling a little more, and sharing what a special life this is. 

I wonder from heaven if you can see all these red balloons, and know that they are all for you. I hope you see them and smile, and know you are loved by people who never even met you. I hope you see these balloons and feel joy, and know that because of you, I am living today and the rest of my days knowing each breath is a blessing. One balloon for your heart, and one for the place you have etched in mine.

 Rest in peace precious boy.







Wednesday, May 7, 2014

grateful heart: art of writing




I can’t even express how grateful I have felt lately. And I can’t thank Emily at Ember Grey enough for dedicating a day to sharing what we are all grateful for.

This morning I was doing a phone interview for a future blog post and while on the phone I just had this rush of emotion take over me. I was interviewing the designer behind one of my favorite stores and I thought, " I am interviewing a designer/world traveler/super successful visionary behind my dream store. What???" Life is so incredibly good. I am so thankful  for everyone and this process, and also for the art of writing. 

Writing is the one thing that clears my mind completely; it is my celebration. My wish for writing is to live a life full of experiences, and then have the courage to gather the right words, true honest words, and share it. 

 My heart is filled with gratitude because I see that exact wish becoming a reality. I thank writing for giving my sacred thoughts a home, and showing me I could forever live comfortably there. 

Happy Monday! xoxox
a busy, notes-all-over-desk, writing day.






Friday, May 2, 2014

you know things are good


thoughts while on my morning run (more of a walk) today.


You know things are good when you forget to take the picture. Because even though the moment would have fit perfect in a 4x6 frame you didn’t need it.  You were living it, experiencing it, and you didn’t want to turn away for a second to grab the camera. The only lens you needed was your own eyes, and it certainly was enough. 

You know things are good when words fall short. When you try to write out the feeling but no combinations of letters is enough and punctuation only hinders the beautiful thoughts that wish to roam free. 

You know things are good when you hear music among your busy day, when you catch yourself humming along, sure that there is a song playing, in utter rhythm with your soul.

You know things are good when you don’t care that you didn’t get your laundry done or that the guy on the freeway has cut you off for the second time.

Things are good when you mouth is always turned upwards, and your cheeks hurt from smiling for so long but you don’t mind.

Things are good when for a minute you notice all the little things and the emotion swells over you, a sweet, curling tide of bliss. 

It’s euphoric.  It’s endless sunshine, belly laughter, sweetened tea, warm sheets, caring hugs, gentle kisses, 

it’s the belief that for a brief moment in time it all stops.

 Any uncertainty, doubt, any feeling of loss or pain. 

It stops long enough for you to catch your breath, slow your mind, and remind yourself that if you never experienced a brutal winter, you wouldn’t appreciate this enchanting summer. 

Happy Friday Everyone xoxox
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