July is to fireflys, campfires, flashlights and fireworks while December is to christmas lights, candles, roaring fireplace fires and the new year's ball dropping. July is the warm 'Season of Light'.Read More
My 5th museum visit of 2015 took me to the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, OH. I became a member after this visit!Read More
My 4th museum visit of the year took me to the Newseum in Washington, DC. I laughed, cried, learned and experienced. This was an impactful visit.Read More
Museum visit 3/12: The 6th Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, TX, USA.Read More
My 2nd of 12 museum visits...The Neon Museum in Las Vegas, NV!Read More
I'm giving a TEDx talk on March 27, 2015.Read More
One of my goals for 2015 is to visit 12 museums. My first visit was to the Cincinnati Art Museum.Read More
You can't leave me a voicemail, even if you want to. My phone rings and rings like it's the 1980s. I explain why I did this and how it's been going.Read More
Succulents, epiphytes, bromeliads and ferns have been an interest of mine since I was a kid. These families of plants are so interesting and captivating in the way they have survived and in the way humans use them.Read More
My 'before' in 2011 vs. my 'after' in 2015...I share my journey from long brown hair to short and purple!Read More
A way that humans discharge pain and vulnerability is through blame. Sometimes, they discharge it on whoever is most convenient, and that might be you. The good news is, that has nothing to do with you.Read More
Simplicity Embellished is not dead, despite quite a few months of silence. A lot has been going on in life.Read More
One of my big passion projects of 2014 has been Make Goebel Great. It involves a park, people, painting and lots of passion.Read More
I have been working on a new technique lately. It is most definitely informed by my background in type design and lettering. Just wanted to post a peek:
I like this one.
I started working on this technique in the spring. Here is one of my first pieces:
The cacti theme is still on my mind for whatever reason...
One of the core values in my life has migrated, over the years, to become a core value of my company. It is:
Time is almost always a necessary ingredient.
We live in a world of NOW. There is no replacement for time.
Take extra time if you need it, and explain that sometimes, time is a necessary ingredient.
Over the winter, Ruby, our littlest beagle, started barking in the living room. It was about 8pm on a Saturday night, and I was in the kitchen organizing a neglected cabinet. I walked out to the front room to see what she was concerned about, went up to the front door, and flipped the blinds.
I jumped back. A white guy, brownish short hair, brown eyes, in about his 20s, in a very oversized 'leather' (looked like cheap vinyl) coat was standing there. He locked eyes with me, paused in what I imagine was surprise, then hunched over in a weird sort of fake laughter. He had a notepad or something in his hand and a pen. It was cold outside.
"Hahahaha" he said. "I bet you are freaked out" He grabbed his giant coat with one of his hands and said "Me here in this big coat, just standing here.....hahaha." I saw his oversized white t-shirt, boots, and baggy jeans.
"Yep" I said through the window of our front door. "Can I help you?"
He looked at me, and said he was selling subscriptions to the Cincinnati Enquirer, and that if he sold a certain amount, he would get scholarship money to Northern Kentucky University. He said he could take cash or credit cards and I could sign up, cancel at any time, no obligation. He just needed my information now. Could he step inside for a moment, too? It's cold out.
"No thanks," I said. He kind of stepped back, and walked down the street to my neighbors. I know I surprised him when I opened the blinds.
I immediately felt weird. I called the police non-emergency number, and dispatch told me to immediately lock all doors and windows, turn on the security alarm, and wait until an officer got there. I told the woman on the phone that everything was all set, and she asked if anyone else was home with me. I said no. She told me to not open the door for any reason and they were sending an officer over, and that I should absolutely have called. About 10 minutes later, an officer was at my door. They found the guy walking down the street, and he produced, what the officer said, was an obviously bogus form of identification, and a bogus 'permit' to solicit. The officer said it had been photocopied and altered, but wasn't enough for them to do anything on. He asked if I had a security system, (yes), and asked me to double-check all the locks on the doors and windows because the man may have been casing houses. I thanked the officer, and he left.
I followed up with a couple of my neighbors who were also visited by this fellow that same night. One of them told me I needed to 'calm down' and that 'you don't need to always be calling the cops.' One of them signed up for a subscription. I seriously questioned myself on this. I had such a distinct bad feeling....where did it come from?
The next day I called Northern Kentucky University and got in touch with a very nice lady there. They have no program like this at all at NKU, and she said 'we would never send students out in the dark, on weekends, or at night". I also got in touch with the Cincinnati Enquirer and talked to the gal that runs their marketing. She had no idea about the 'program' the guy was selling, and that they don't do anything like that, and she felt it most certainly was a scam.
I just assumed the guy was casing our houses. Because why else would you be standing outside my house on a Saturday night at 8pm with a notepad and pencil?
Last week, a notice popped up on my phone that the River City News, our local news source, had posted a new story.
There was the guy staring back at me from my phone screen, the guy that I last saw staring back at me through the glass panel in my front door.
I've been thinking about this incident here for a week or so, and it always feels good to have something like this confirmed, especially when those around you tell you that you are wrong. But what bothers me, I think, is that other people are perhaps so out of touch with their own intuition, or just not tuned into the reality of things to become concerned about a legitimate situation.
If a sketchy guy comes to your door at 8pm on a Saturday night selling subscriptions....or anything....just NOPE.
I wanted to share this because if something like this happens to you, please call the police. Call their non-emergency line and tell them what happened. Better safe than sorry.
Also, thank you to the River City News for the closure on this!
There's a new program in Cincinnati this year! And it's in one of the cutest parts of town you can find...MainStrasse Village!
There are two yoga classes a week that are free to the public. These classes are taught by certified teachers (some with more than 500 hours of advanced training) and the classes are free because local small businesses are sponsoring them. Pretty cool.
WHEN ARE THE CLASSES?
Tuesdays at 7pm at Philadelphia and 6th St., Covington, KY 41011 in Goebel Park in front of the clock tower.
Sundays at 10am at 6th and Main St., Covington, KY 41011 across from the Goose Girl Fountain.
WHERE CAN I GET ALL THE DETAILS?
Right here, on the Yoga in the Village Facebook page.
Letters take you to unexpected places sometimes. It's not so much that you actually go anywhere, but I've yet to meet a letter writer that would ever say letters don't take you somewhere.
When I was in high school, I remember spending some evenings with a pen in my hand and the most beautiful vintage stationery at my side. I had pen pals in the Western United States, the UK and Mexico at that time. When a letter came back from one of those far-off places, the physical world around me would bokeh, turning into background blur, and become a frame for the places I was visiting in the letters from my friends.
Letters take you to unexpected places, yes.
When I discovered yoga in 2006, I went whole hog with it. My yoga honeymoon was intense. It wasn't a matter of what class to take, it was a matter of how many classes could I take. I consumed book after book, sought out philosophical lectures online about all kinds of concepts that were new to me. Yoga is really all about introspection and my first few years of yoga were really a discovery of the inside of myself. I realized rather quickly, though, that I had already been doing this in my letters.
I think of letter writers as yogis in a way. Instead of a mat, they have a pen. Instead of meditation and mantra, they have details and stories to share letter-by-letter, and their mantra might be the way they always sign their letters. My mail mantra? It's always "Love & Letters." If you've ever gotten a letter from me, you'll see that on the bottom of the last page.
Sometimes, letters take you into discussions and conversations you absolutely wouldn't have 'in real life.' And, I think because there are parts of letter writing that are almost hyper-real, many letter writers tend to reveal more of their actual truths. I've noticed that in day-to-day life, and face-to-face interactions, even with people we are close with, a part of us is always carefully choosing our words based on the feedback we're getting from the person we're talking to.
When you write a letter, you are letting it all out there. You are not getting any feedback from the person you are writing to. There is no wince of the face, or slight smile or interruption in your train of thought. It's just you, and what you have to say. So, I think, we tend to just say it.
These unexpected places I'm talking about, these places are where we don't get to go in 'real', face-t0-face life very often. The most special place of all that you can get to in a letter that you maybe won't ever get to in 'real life' is a place of true vulnerability—someone else's or your own.
I have letters that are the most magnificent pieces of writing. And I will never share them. With anyone. These are letters where people that I care so deeply for reveal their greatest aches and pains and highs and lows. The vulnerable places people let me into? They are the jewels of my life.
The best part of letter writing for me are the unexpected places. And that is why I write.
On November 3, I was on the Q train to Park Slope in Brooklyn. I was headed to my favorite sandwich place on 5th Avenue. Bierkraft was one of my most favorite places to go when I lived in NYC and every time I'm back, it is one of my first stops. I usually go alone, earbuds tucked into my ears as I walk from the train to the restaurant. I already know what I'm ordering. This guy:
This past November 3, I ordered my sandwich like any other time, ate it with a root beer like any other time and walked to the Barclay's center to head to my next stop. November 3, I was headed to Grand Central Terminal to run an errand.
About an hour later in Manhattan, I found myself dizzy and focusing on keeping the contents of my stomach contained as I hauled ass through Grand Central, on my way to a bathroom.
What was going on?! Did I get a bad olive?
I managed to get through my errands that day in Manhattan, and ended up back in Brooklyn at my sister's apartment. I got a big glass of water, took a shower and laid on the couch under a blanket the rest of the night. It was all I could do. I felt....sort of like I had the flu? But with weird stomach pain? And like my mind was foggy.
The next day, I got up and looked at my UP Band information. I've been wearing an UP Band for about 18 months and I track my food often.
For some reason, I noticed right away something unique.
I hadn't had bread, noodles, wheat......gluten for about 5 days....just by accident. Until yesterday.
Let's back up to early June when I moved to Mainstrasse Village in Covington, Kentucky. My next door neighbor, Meghan, I discovered, was gluten intolerant. What? Like what is that? I asked her one night. She explained the difference between a gluten intolerance and celiac. The seed of education and knowledge was planted, my friends.
So in November, I realized what might be going on. My beautiful Bierkraft sandwich was perfectly fine....my body, was just not going to be cool with it anymore.
I decided that while I was in NYC for work (which was about 3 weeks) I would not have gluten. The first step to a proper diagnosis is to remove it from your diet for a few weeks, then reintroduce it and see what happens. If you reintroduce it and you're fine, then no gluten issues. If you reintroduce it and you get sick, you have a problem with gluten.
I was fine with that. I could rationalize more oysters and wine that way.
So I did. I ate lots of oysters while in NYC. Like these:
In all seriousness, I went through my entire NYC trip in November without a lick of gluten. It wasn't hard to do because when I'm in New York I am busy with work and seeing friends and walking around and just doing stuff. And, for me at that point, it was just a matter of picking the gluten-free chocolate chip cookie over the regular chocolate chip cookie, or the gluten free pizza over the regular pizza. It was literally not a big deal.
By the time I met Victor in Virginia at the end of the NYC leg of my trip, I had dropped a pant size. My skin was brighter. I hadn't had a single issue with asthma. I had no runny nose in the morning. I was sleeping like a rock. I had not had any headaches. I woke up each morning bright and chipper and clear-headed.
This past Saturday (we're in December 2013 now if you follow me), I picked up a new box of black tea from an international market we have here in Cincinnati. It was in bags and I had heard good things about it. I had a cup of tea around dinner that night. A few hours later, I needed to use my inhaler. Victor and I just thought I needed it because I was around cats the night before and I'm allergic to cats and really haven't been around them regularly since last year.
The next day, this past Sunday, I had two more cups of tea....a tea bag each. And about an hour later, I had 'that' pain in my stomach. My cheeks got red, my face swelled up a bit and my skin felt 'tight.' I felt really brain foggy and was trying to find some words in normal discussion. I was having hot flashes. My asthma was giving me trouble. My abdomen swelled up. [You can ask my sister, I got her on Skype the next day and showed her the glory of my distended gut.]
I went through the whole day with Victor....what I ate. It was all fruits and vegetables and wine.
Oh wait....no way....the tea?
Apparently, gluten can be found in the glue used to seal up the tea bags I was using. I did not even think to check if it was gluten free.
At this point, I've been gluten free since early November. I'm going to have the official 'blood test' done in January to confirm what's going in and get a bit more information.
I'm sharing this because I literally never considered myself a candidate for a gluten intolerance. But I can not tell you how drastically this change in diet has impacted my health. I was already in great health: regular yoga, meditation, mostly vegetarian diet, lots of walks in my neighborhood, low stress, healthy weight....but I guess I had no idea.
So, here's what I want you to do....take this quiz:
Be honest! No one is looking over your shoulder.
I took this when I was in NYC and that's how I decided it would be worth it to avoid gluten during my trip. And now, I'm on a new adventure!
Life has been flying out the door as soon as I open it, or at least it feels that way. My days have been full of rewarding work, interesting social events and not-very-fulfilling sleep. I'm 'cranked' as my Dad has told me many times in the past when I juggle too much or zip around faster than I need to. I'm sharing my day yesterday because I enjoy seeing into the lives of others when they do photo-an-hour posts. I also know there's some level of curiosity about my life. I don't work a traditional 9-to-5 and I don't have a traditional marriage either. What I mean is that my husband is more than just my husband. He is my business partner and employee. We live and work together.
Here's my day:
9am | We had no employees in the office at all on Tuesday and somehow, no appointments. So, we slept in a little late. Here I am, dressed for the day. I always drink a glass of water first thing in the morning.
9:30am | Victor snapped this a few doors down from where we live. At the end of my street is a shuttle that takes you from one side of the Ohio River to the other. We were headed into downtown Cincinnati for the morning and afternoon to work.
9:45am | Here the view from within the shuttle! It's $1 a ride.
10:45am | Victor and I decided we wanted to pick up a croissant and a coffee from Jean-Robert's French Crust Cafe on Vine St. in Downtown Cincinnati. When we walked in, one of the servers was like "2 for lunch?" And we looked at each other and said "YES!" Change of plans.
11:00am | I ordered some tea and they brought it to me in a French Press. I poured it into my favorite travel mug. Victor had coffee. We ordered and waited for our food.
11:15am | I had a croissant topped with greens, avocado, brie and tomato. I had a fresh roasted red pepper soup to go along with it.
Victor had this: duck confit mac'n'cheese. We also had a cup of the chicken noodle soup which definitely stuck to our ribs, but in the way that a warm bath makes you feel.
11:30am | After our fantastic meal, we took a coffee eclair and chocolate croissant for the road and were glad to have a 15 minute walk ahead of us. We were headed to the Mercantile Library which I just became a member of. The Mercantile Library is just off Fountain Square if you are familiar with Downtown Cincinnati.
This alleyway was part of the scenery.
12:00pm | We arrived! This awesome wooden emblem is in the lobby. The library is on the 11th floor.
12:45pm | I took a phone call with a client out in the lobby and noticed this old mail chute.
1:30pm | Victor and I sat for the entire afternoon working. We knocked a lot out.
2:30pm | Victor took this one. I think I was working on an identity update for a client. I wrapped up edits and posted that off that day. I know I also got my inbox down to less than 10 emails! Which is magical. Right now, it's too many to count again.
3:30pm | Time to eat decadent pastries! Here's that coffee eclair I mentioned above.
3:45pm | Victor loves pastries. Look at that face.
6:30pm | We left the library, got back on the shuttle, walked home, grabbed a snack, fed the dogs and took Hairy with us. We were headed to the vet! Below is Hairy, getting his nails trimmed, and my Mom is the one in the blue holding him. I grew up spending lots of time in a vet office. That's our vet in the white. She is absolutely wonderful. And my Mom is too. :) Usually the nails will be trimmed while the dog is laying down, but Hairy is more comfortable this way and knows my Mom, hence why this is fine for him.
7:00pm | Vet visits are not traumatizing for Hairy. 'Grandma' is always there to give him treats and he loves our vet. I wanted to post this so you all know he survived his nail trim and that it wasn't that bad.
7:30pm | We stopped at the PO Box for the business and I got a surprise from Darby Smart! It's a kit to make soy candles. Pretty sure Darby Smart kits might be gifts for people this holiday season....Thank you Darby!
7:30pm | We all agreed the packaging and graphics are pretty great.
8:00pm | Hunger set in and we were headed to see my Mom and Dad for a bit. I sat in the car with him while Victor ran in and got food.
9:45pm | Finally home. Time to take care of a few things for the business. I was utterly exhausted. Our dining room is still not done. The bookcases need glass doors installed, the bottom needs to be trimmed in, walls need to be painted and we need a new light fixture.
11:00pm | The last thing I saw before falling asleep.
That was my day. How was yours?