I don't normally read Vanity Fair, although it's often laying around the house (courtesy of Hope), or the office (courtesy of the beauty biz). Joy the Baker linked to this year's New Establishment List - an annual list of movers & shakers, aptly described as "those shaping the current zeitgeist." I find the list itself fascinating (anyone who still doubts the power of social media might want to pull their head out of the sand), but the idea of the list resonates even more. I immediately thought of who would make my personal New Establishment list - who is shaping my own zeitgeist (the spirit of the age, or spirit of the time <-- thanks Wikipedia). This isn't a fangirl list (although I am huge fans of everyone on it), but rather just a list of the people that currently influence me in one way or another. This is the short list. The right now list. It's not the everyone-who-has-ever-inspired-me list. I'm still an Oprah devotee, but she's not on the right now list. Make sense?
The Creative Types
Joy the Baker & Shutterbean (aka Joy & Tracy) - if you aren't listening to the Joy the Baker podcast - you should start. Smart, funny, creative women. They make me laugh, and wish that I could hang out with them.
Ali Edwards - always a fan of her scrapbooking. Her new brand story is captivating & inspiring. She continues to impress me on a creative level, and on a live-the-hell-out-of-life level. She's savvy at business, and savvy about life. She reminds me that my story matters.
Elise Blaha Cripe - first, I think her baby girl is adorable. I was a little late to the Elise blog party - I think that Barb pointed her out to me a couple of years ago. I sometimes read Elise and feel frustrated that I didn't do more when I was her age - but mostly I just enjoy reading about her creative quests (even those that don't resonate with me). She inspires me to figure out what I want to create next.
Elizabeth Gilbert - she's a brilliant writer, and I return to her TedTalks & Google Author talk so very often. Plus, she wrote Eat Pray Love - one of the first books that made me think about my life in a different way.
The Spiritual Types
Karen Maezen Miller - I often return to Hand Wash Cold when I need to find my center. I won't call her a spiritual leader b/c she would resist that...but sheisaspiritualleader.
Anne Lamott - "You can either practice being right or practice being kind." Yes, that.
Wayne Dyer - I don't feel like I'm exaggerating when I say that he is one of the greatest teachers of our time.
Shauna Niequist - I hesitated, for a moment, about which list to put her on (not that it really matters). She writes about faith, but does so in a way that makes it clear that she's cool with whatever your faith looks like. Mostly? It's her emphasis on being present that makes me want to cheer.
Who is on your New Establishment list?
It's a brand new week, and I woke up feeling super positive about it! Here's what I'm saying hello to this week...
Hello to Molly Wizenberg's banana bread with chocolate chunks & candied ginger. Starting a Monday with baked goods was a delicious idea.
Hello to Austin's humor - "Now that I've had chocolate chunks, I don't know why chocolate chips exist."
Hello to lots of planning for the high school's Project Grad celebration (next June). We're giving our grads a helluva send off!
Hello to trusting & manifesting. My Aunt reminded me last week to language only what I want to be true all the time. Consistency is clarity.
Hello to radishes & whipped goat cheese. It's lunchtime at my desk.
Hello to Where'd You Go Bernadette? - looking forward to carving out time to read this week.
Hello to sweaters & fleece sheets. Brrr!
Hello to swapping envy for atta girl! because we can all win at this life thing.
Hello to mantras that make me smile (#manifestthatshit - courtesy of Barb)
What are you saying hello to this week?
I have started (and stopped) dozens of "formal" gratitutde practices over the years. I've written before about the variety of ways that I document gratitude, but the most important is this - I feel it. I continue to find that the best answer to feeling sorry for myself is to find things/people/situations to be grateful for. Right now, I'm grateful for chai latte k-cups, mala beads, weather that allows me to still wear flip flops, morning laughs with Austin, and coconut greek yogurt.
I'm listening to The Happiness Advantage on audio book, and just finished a section about noticing good/positive things. Similar to a gratitude practice, the thinking is that voicing good things not only changes YOUR attitude, but the attitude of those around you. In a meeting on Monday morning, I was very aware that one person started every response with "the problem is..." and guess what? I left the meeting understanding that we have A LOT of problems. Can we talk about solutions, please? I'm monitoring my own language...especially around the sale of my house.
Letting go, loosening my grip, and giving up have been (and continue to be) super important...albeit extremely difficult...practices for me. I remind myself daily that giving up is a choice, not a failure. This week, I'm giving up limiting beliefs and self-doubt. Marc & Angel posts are always excellent reminders of habits to give up.
I'd love to hear something that you're grateful for, one good thing, and something that you're giving up. Ready, set, go....
Apparently, Vermont did not get the memo about PSLs, cozy sweaters, and comforting soups (aka all things fall) because we had a scorching hot week. A quick thunderstorm yesterday seems to have righted things, and today was a gorgeous mid-70s treat.
As the weather sorts itself out, I'm trying to sort out my fall wardrobe. I haven't put away the flip flops yet, but I did order short brown boots...and also picked up a couple of tunics. Even though I'm not a super-trendy person, I do try to stay a wee bit current. Anyway...
Julep is making it easy to move from summer to fall with this awesome style shift chart...
Since nail polish is a pretty low risk (& low investment) way to mix things up...I think I should buy several colors, don't you? Check out Julep's fall collection here.
What are you doing to shift things a bit for fall?
I extended my weekend by a day, planning to take a little time to simply exhale. The start of the school year is busy, even in the older grades, and this year's last firsts added to energy. My day quickly became filled with projects, and I had to remind myself to breathe. I headed to a late afternoon acupuncture appointment, constructing yet another list in my head of things that must be done. As I settled in, Julie (my acupuncturist) took my pulse & asked me how I was doing. I detailed the middle-of-the-night back pain that has spiked over the past few days, and explained that I just feel like there's a lot going on. She laughed quietly and said "Yep, you've got some pretty mad Qi."
When I texted that quote to my brother later (b/c that's precisely the sort of thing that I know will make him laugh), I explained that in this case, "mad" is not good (it's not as if Julie said "Girl! You've got mad Qi!"). By the end of the treatment, my Qi had apparently settled down, but was still a bit on edge.
I have this feeling that "mad Qi" may be a theme for September.
I happened across the Big Goals PDF that I created last October. As I scanned the "one year" list of personal, health, work, and home goals, I realized that I've only checked off ONE thing. There's still a possibility that I'll accomplish one or two more by the end of this month....but "date a successful, incredibly handsome guy" seems like a stretch, and "lose an additional 15lbs" would take some unhealthy effort.
September is a month of re-evaluating (it's the new January, y'know), resetting expectations, and rethinking what life is going to look like over the coming 6 months. I'm disappointed that I haven't made more progress, and discouraged that Forward feels a lot like stuck.
So, my singular goal for September is really to pay attention to that mad Qi, and find ways to clear space, to calm, and to center.
P.S. Let me save you the google search - in Chinese medicine, Qi (chi) is your life force/energy.
I'm finishing up Rob Lowe's Love Life on Audiobook - although I really like listening to his voice (swoon), I found myself getting a little bored & zoning out. I don't know if that's a comment on his book - or my lack of attention span.
I'm in the midst of reading Everyday Sacred, and enjoying it.
I read Delicious! on a plane ride, and loved it. I passed it to Hope when I got home, and she read it in a single (long) sitting.
I veered off the list a bit - currently reading Mind Calm, read (& adored) Cold Tangerines, listened to (& loved) #GIRLBOSS, started (but abandoned) One Thousand Gifts, and also started The Chemistry of Calm.
I'm pondering a fall list - and deciding if I'll carry over the titles that I missed in the summer, of if I'll just start fresh.
**book links = aff links
It was a busy month, for sure...one of those months that feels fleeting, and often rushed. A few of my favorites...
Jif Whipped Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Spice Flavored spread - I don't care that it's not natural. It's reminiscent of dipping a peanut butter cookie in a pumpkin spice latte, and that can't be wrong.
the idea of a Capsule Wardrobe - I actually think that I already function off of this principle, except I call it a Too Broke to Buy Clothes Wardrobe. "Capsule" makes it sound trendy. WIN.
but speaking of wardrobes - if you do want to spend just a little on awesome clothes, buy yourself a tee from Everlane (aff link). I know that I'm late to this party, but I'm loving the outrageous quality for such a low price. (ps. if you do choose to use my affiliate link to sign up & purchase, I'll receive a $25 credit, which I will promptly use to buy this bag, and then I will declare you MY MOST FAVORITE FRIEND OF ALL TIME).
I realize that I'm a wee bit biased about this product, but I would highly recommend that you pick up a Yes To Coconut Cooling Lip Oil. (Target exclusive)
Gouda Grits with Smoky Brown Butter Shrimp - reminds me of a dish that Barb & I had while in NOLA. Definitely a keeper.
Five Creative Ways to Capture Summer Memories (I'll get to photographing & posting my August Project Life spreads soon, I promise)
John Frieda Go Curlier spray - has become a daily must. It is chock-full of ingredients that I can pronounce only b/c I'm in the biz, and I'm totally okay with that. Fact - curly hair requires chemicals.
What made your favorites list in August?
The end of August arrives seeminly without warning, and I realize that the world will end if I don't take a photograph (or six) of my children together, and we all try to coordinate schedules around said photo session, which results in one or more of us getting frustrated/irritated. While that is happening, we also try to schedule a family dinner with the three of us + Rob. This year, the kids kicked off the "festivities" with a pre-photo shoot dance party. It was perfect.
Austin started his Senior year last week, and Hope will start her Fifth (and senior) year next week. I delivered Hope to Montreal today, and she's safely back in Halifax with her roommates. Austin is spending the night at his Dad's. I'm taking a deep breath, and enjoying a glass (or two) of malbec.
The next month will be full of work, school, life, house showings, travel, laundry, Project Grad meetings, deadlines, bills, and more. I've been feeling the weight of it all lately. I adore September & all of the order/routine that it brings...but I also know that winter looms.
In the tradition of Meredith & Christina, I may need to just dance it out....
feeling mentally exhausted by work & life, but also grateful for so much.
drinking a spanish red wine from Trader Joe's.
listening to Stay With Me. This ain't love it's clear to see. But darling, stay with me.
preparing for Hope to return to Halifax in a week.
checking social media too often - needing to back away from the constant stream.
being inspired by Ali's new site, but also (and more importantly) by the intention with which she lives her life.
breaking the habit of afternoon coffee b/c it's starting to affect my sleep patterns.
missing my afternoon coffee.
reaching out to friends for help when it seems like it's all too much.
receiving the right mix of empathy, sympathy, commiseration, and tough love in return.
reading books that aren't on my summer list, and feeling 100% okay with that.
planning a new project that is either going to be fabulous or a flop - and knowing that it will be okay either way.
missing Colleen and Hermine. (just in case you girls are reading)
writing to-do lists.
remembering to sit, and breathe.
eating dark chocolate chips. from the bag.
wondering what, exactly, the bigger plan looks like.