15 March 2012

Marais USA Espadrilles

I am so excited that Marais USA finally came out with their new spring line! I happened to discover them when it was too late to buy their incredible low-heeled, vibrant espadrilles last year. Of course, being too tall for your average 3-4" wedge at work, I was drooling over these adorable 1 inchers! And yes, I know I can wear heels even though I'm 6'1", but being 6'5" at work and staring down at your 5'5" client is not the right kind of intimidating, you know? So naturally, I try to find super cute sandals and flats.


I think it was destiny that I missed the boat last year because their 2012 line has even better, softer colors that are right on trend with this spring's pastels and neutrals. The choices are: Blush (above), Rust (below), Denim, and Jet (at bottom).


Named after the Parisian District La Marais, I am also obsessed with this French-inspired company's MO: simple, affordable, and attractive. I can't wait to get my hands on (and feet in) these little grey espadrillettes! FYI, they have a limited supply so these cuties will go fast. Check them out here!

21 January 2012

the path less traveled

One of my best and dearest friends moved away to Alaska today. Well, she started a two-week long road trip to Washington state, and then she'll ride on a five-day ferry, and then she'll move to Alaska. I didn't cry as I watched her pack up all of her belongings into a small SUV, do an Austin Powers-like maneuver to get out of my driveway, and speed off in the brisk sunlit morning. I told her I'll see her next week - we'll do happy hour - and that was it. She was gone.

I've been thinking a lot about her decision to move. It was a hard one to make, but it was the right one because the path kept opening up before her.
Cobbles and downed logs were cleared. The path widened upon the turn and showed her home. Sometimes the right decisions are those that seem impossible, those that are life-changing, that are the hardest ones to make. But once you choose and get over that hill, once you get past that point in running that feels like you're going to die, you start to breathe easier, slow and steady. And it feels alive and wonderful.

My friend is doing something that most people wouldn't dare dream of, doing something that is scary and exciting and adventurous. She visited Anchorage last September, decided that was the life for her, and by October had the plans swinging in motion. While I don't think everyone can do this - just pick up and leave - I do find her sense of focus, determination, and flat-out will to be at peace, to be happy, absolutely thrilling. It's enlightening. Inspirational. She was not a fan of Austin anymore. She found a place of pure inspiration. She went after it. Ergo, she is happier.

Trying to lead a life like that takes
fearlessness that it will work out, faith that it will be okay, and, well, cojones that you can survive the negative degree weather! Even her voyage towards this new place is filled with illumination and possibilities, an exploration of both mind and nature. She said she was going to listen to meditation tapes during the entire two-week voyage so that she'll be a better person by the time she gets up there. I think she's already a pretty enlightened gal, but the fact that she's not just moving to one of the most serene and beautiful places on this earth, but she's bettering herself while on the path towards that incredible place has an unsurpassed admirable quality. I can't wait to see her settled in mind, body, and country when she has finally arrived, taken a deep breath, and poured into her Alaskan life. And yes, I will see here there someday soon. It'll be one of my golden checks off my life list. I'm just a little worried that I'll fall in love with Alaska too and have to pack up the old 4Runner!

I've known this girl for what, 6 years now? And it seems like it's been a lifetime. To old souls like us, I guess it should feel like we've always known each other. I wish her well in this new adventure and hope to keep some of her spirit along with me. Use it to help me soar above, weightless, with eyes focused on my prey, ready to strike and live full.

03 January 2012

a glowing anchor

I haven't written on this blog in a long time because my little jewelry business has definitely gotten neglected! Well not just that, but I haven't felt this is the right venue to express some of the other aspects of my life. I frequently write about my life, but I rarely share these excerpts as they are somehow too personal for this outlet. But I came across something that I realized I wanted to share, I needed to share -- an idea that helps to focus on what's important through life. It's not unheard of. Everyone's heard of the bucket list, right? I think there's even a website. But I had never visualized it like this before, perhaps because I thought it was for people in their 70s staring Death in the eye. But it's far from it because, well, you need a lifetime to accomplish it.

I was reading a book, The Pink Magnolia Club, by Geralyn Dawson and it gave me a revelation. One of the characters had created a "Life List" when she was twelve after her mother passed away from metastatic breast cancer. She refined the list over the years until she was 21, upon which she decided she would no longer add, change, or delete any more items, just cross them off. She bought an expensive gold pen and from then on would celebrate each item when accomplished with a dramatic ceremony involving a check mark and a bottle of fine wine. Her goals ranged from teaching someone to read to riding all the roller coasters in Texas to doing something "deliciously wicked." There were 32 goals in all, same as the age her mother died and the very age required to achieve all items.

It got me thinking. I have never had such goals verbalized before. Sure I dream. I think about what I want to do and vacations I want to go on, but rarely do I follow through because of work or because of medical bills or because small vacations and home improvement projects keep trumping those goals far more important. For whatever reason the monumental stuff doesn't seem to happen. And it makes me think that I am somehow wasting my life, floating through it. I feel rigid in my actions, scared and unable to move. Scared of what? I don't know. Life. Rejection. The doing. Hard work. Preoccupation. Whatever the reason, I feel cold, frozen, and floating above it all. Snow that never gets to fall.

B
ut then something started to warm me. I happened to read the article, 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself, and it thawed my heart a little bit to the neglect I have been inflicting on myself. I was hooked with the first line, "Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." Almost every statement slapped me across my face, shouted at me to wake up, shook me to not die from frostbite, yanked me from the dreamless cloud I was floating on. And I grew more aware of the limitations I was allowing myself to cling to.

And then another source of heat found me. I came across an article on the regrets of the dying. A nurse in palliative care noticed a pattern in the patients she cared for. They all seemed to have the same regrets in life and this affected me deeply to my core, as I'm sure it would most people. But to me this was the eye-opening, jaw-dropping, thought-provoking thaw to my soul: that people wanted more out of life than what they allowed themselves to have. And so the following regrets were noted:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

With these revelations I have come to recognize the need for goals, to create my own life list. Life really is too short. My life is flashing before my eyes and I feel as if I am wasting it instead of living it. I need a breakthrough, a pattern changer. So many others live their own goals, crossing them off one by one. I thought I was too until I simply wasn't. Many people have already done what I have only dreamed of. But that doesn't matter. In the beginning of this new year that has already been promised to hope and the anticipation of things to come, I attempt the beginning of my life list. I am sure it will be edited over the years, but today I declare it mine, alive and warm to the touch. The birth of a glowing anchor, grounding me to the very life I crave. My requirements: (1) at least one goal must be achieved each year, (2) goals can be interpreted as the occasion presents, and (3) no more edits after the age of 40, only check marks.

My Life List
1. I will take in all the colors of an Indonesian coral reef.
Stephen Frink, Getty Images
2. I will give my time to others in need.
3. I will feel the spray of the Colorado River as I raft through the Grand Canyon.
Smoothwater
4. I will squint out over the mountainside on a hike in Montana.
5. I will adopt a dog from a kill shelter.
6. I will fish for salmon along an Alaskan river and eat it fresh over an open fire.
Humbolt State University
7. I will hike all the parks in Austin and appreciate the simple beauty in my own back yard.
8. I will zip-line through a tropical rainforest.
RainforestAdventures.com
9. I will learn every last bird in North America.
Harlequin Ducks/Howard Eskin/Focus on Nature Tours
10. I will swim with a diving iguana in the Galapagos.
Expeditions.com
11. I will go into a food coma eating too many tapas in a Barcelona bar.
Barcelona Travel Guide
12. I will do something deliciously wicked (yes, it's borrowed, but worth it).
13. I will find Orion and his dogs in a diamond sky before drifting off to sleep in Big Bend.
14. I will kiss the one I love under a waterfall in Hawai'i.
Destination360.com
15. I will stick my feet in the wet sand and glimpse the wild horses of the Outer Banks.
Outer Banks Vacations
16. I will take in a lost child and help him find himself.
17. I will learn to cook classic French food like my fellow tall lady, Ms. Julia Child.
PBS
18. I will create jewelry again with love abounding, with pride and grace.
19. I will write a book with reckless abandon.
20. I will become a federal wildlife biologist.
21. I will have children in my life (plurality noted).
22. I will own riverfront property and extend an open invitation for rope-swinging.
23. I will take my parents on a vacation they deserve.
24. I will build a house for someone who needs it.
25. I will reconnect with old friends and even new friends, one by precious one.
26. I will mistake a manatee for a mermaid while paddling through a Keys' mangrove.
Sailblogs.com
27. I will sip scotch on the greens of St. Andrews and cheer my husband as he shoots par!
netherbyhouse.co.uk
28. I will hear my voice echo while rafting on an subterranean river in New Zealand.
markmaranga.com
29. I will wink at a lion while on safari in Africa.
Letocar.com
30. I will tell my family and friends how much they mean to me, over and over again.
31. I will play an entire 18-hole round of golf with my husband.
32. I will stroll through the lavender fields of the Provenรงal countryside.

I am sharing this to hold my feet to the fire. I'm sharing this because I don't want to be the one to say ANY of those regrets when Death comes to shake my hand. I'm sharing this for others to consider this concept. Thirty-two goals for my 32 years here on earth. It seems like a hearty and monumental task, one that will take lifetime to achieve. So at the beginning of this journey my husband and I have decided to take a two-week trip to Scotland and Spain this spring for our 10-year anniversary. And I'm looking forward to checking them off!