29 February 2012

Love for Baby Quilts

 I love maps.  I always want them hanging on my walls.  But a baby sitting on one would be pretty sweet, too.  Look at these awesome baby quilts  (passed along to me by one of our thoughtful readers in Virginia.)  Welcome to Brooklyn, Boston, and Manhattan!  See if they have your city...



I'm trying to deliberately "nest" & act as if a baby is coming....because this year we have Baby Plan A. Plan B. & Plan C. on the docket.  We hope one of them works.  :)  :)  :)

For you mothers, I'm curious about what it's like to be in "nesting" mode while you were pregnant - did that happen to you?  Did you make any baby quilts?  Or anything else?

Something Your Grandparents & Parents Probably Didn't Teach You

warning signs of on-line affair

If you can't tell already (ha!), I'm a huge fan of marriage and a huge fan of families.  If I can inspire men & women to not go near an affair with a ten foot pole, then I want to try.   

Our grandparents and parents probably taught us a lot of good old fashioned morals, ones that I think we should cling to in our marriages.  But because of the internet, we need to update our moral codes.  Big time.  I hope you don't mind a couple of more posts about the Internet & Your Marriage! 

Here we go with 7 tips from Ensign Magazine.  They were written by a woman who developed an innocent friendship online...then an emotional affair...then a physical affair.  Here is what she wants to pass on to you....

7 warning signs that you are having an inappropriate on-line relationship:

28 February 2012

A Gift for Design Mom

Gabrielle Blair has been so supportive of me since I started my blog.  (Yes, I about died the first time she emailed me!)  I've appreciated it so much and gave her a little gift of thanks.  What on earth to give?  That was hard to decide, but I settled on a beautiful hand made brass cuff.  She posted about it here as she wore it at Alt Summit, which I'll admit, was an exciting for me (I was just so glad/relieved she liked it!) Doesn't she look fantastic?  I love her style.  (photos by Ben Blair)


The brass cuff is one that was custom made by a fantastically talented jewelry designer here in Brooklyn, Sarah Alice Fulton.  I owned one of the brass cuffs myself already and LOVED it.  It goes with EVERYTHING and it is very easy to wear.  Sometimes bangles are too noisy and move around too much for my taste.  They get in the way as I'm working at the computer or doing things around the house... so cuffs are a little more suitable for me.

Here's Sarah, the jewelry designer...STUNNING, right?

Sarah works with metals, glass, and porcelain.  She's been designing jewelry for 12 years and has created a loyal following, selling mostly word-of-mouth (every woman I know here in Brooklyn is wearing her designs!)

She draws inspiration most often from architecture and the natural environment of places she travels.  She is also deeply inspired by women around the world and their inherent desire to be adorned and beautiful in the most amazing ways.  

Sarah is selling these brass cuffs & earrings!  The cuff is $68 and the earrings are $48 (tax included).  Shipping is $4. 

If you'd like to buy some pieces, just email your wrist size & requests to her at sarahaliceny@gmail.com.  She'll send you a Paypal invoice.  The pieces are made in her jewelry studio in Brooklyn and will be sent within 3 days of the transaction.  [Note from Gabrielle:  to measure your wrist size, use a piece of string.  Wrap it, mark it & then measure!  She thought of doing this when I asked her for her wrist size :) ]

Also, Sarah is the in the process of creating a beautiful website where you can buy more of her gorgeous pieces!  Stay tuned!


XO,

Mara

P.S.  One of my readers came to the J.Crew Stylist night in Brooklyn!  It's so fun to meet readers - I love it.  She just wrote about it on her blog, where you can get a sneak peak of the event.  (My post about it will be coming soon....)

Paris Vs. New York

I didn't learn how to ride the train in New York.  I learned it in Paris.

Paris vs. New York
I lived in Paris when I was twenty years old.  I thought it would be cool to live there for a summer, so I went to my local credit union and applied for a $1,000 loan.  I figured it would be worth it.  It was.

living in paris




I signed up for an architecture course at the American University of Paris & off I went.  I lived in the 16th Arrondissement in a tiny maid's quarter at the top of a gorgeous residential building.  I had a round window in my room where I could see the Eiffel Tower.  It was as charming as could be.

I tasted my first Nutella in Paris.  I figured out that my bakery pulled hot baguettes out of the oven at 4 pm.  I loved shopping the yogurt aisle at the grocery store, which really was the entire aisle.

I went to my first Opera.  I adored the flower shops where they tied flowers in nosegays.  I listened to Vivaldi in the Sainte-Chapelle.  I practiced my French with my neighbor's cat, Poupee.


I remember being so strongly impressed by the fact that Paris really is romantic.  It seems everyone is in love!  You see affection everywhere you go.  I remember thinking it would be wonderful to return someday with a loved one....I'm so glad that I got to return to Paris with Danny a few weeks after our wedding...   
[The prints are from my new favorite book, which just came out last month...."Paris Versus New York, A Tally of Two Cities" by graphic designer Vahram Muratyan.  He's a lover of Paris, and noted these friendly differences while walking around New York.  See more of the prints hereAnd thanks to Stephmodo for the recommendation!]

Lately, I have actually been wanting to rent out our condo in New York and live abroad.  Perhaps Bali, India or Africa (what do you think....any recommendations?)  Danny just smiles.  Of course I'd think of something like that.

Where would you live if you could just up & move someplace?      

27 February 2012

HOW to Feel Sexier

As a follow-up to this morning's post, here are a few ideas for what you can do to feel like a desirable woman!!

I hope you guys will think of some ideas to add, too...  :)  :)  :) 

1.  DON'T RELY ON YOUR SPOUSE TO MAKE YOU FEEL CONFIDENT, BEAUTIFUL, OR DESIREDMy dear readers.....this is the most important thing I could pass onto regarding this subject.  I've learned this the very hard way.....but I now know that this stuff is only real & lasting if you own. it. for.yourself.   Now, it's wonderful if a spouse does offer reassurance to you....but it's best if you don't put the pressure on them to be the sole provider of your confidence!  :)  Be accountable for this.  Learn to feel good about yourself with or without the reassurance of others.  Take any compliments as icing on the cake.  :)

2.  DON'T LET THE MEDIA SET THE STANDARD FOR WHAT SEXY IS....
Don't get sucked in.  You set your own standard!  :)  Don't get preoccupied with comparing yourself to magazines, movies, or social media friends.  You are a woman.  You are beautiful.  You are enough just as you are.

3. GET READY.  Just a clean outfit and mascara can do wonders for the way you feel about yourself.  When you're dressed up, you act different.  It changes how you feel and what you do.  You're willing to get close.  

4. WEAR PERFUME!  This is a quick way to just do something extra.  And since I'm crawling into bed with vinegar on my face these days...well, the perfume or hand lotion comes in handy.  When you're not worried about how you smell, you're a little more comfortable in your own skin!

5. EXERCISE.  I am telling you, walking fast, running or exercise of ANY kind can make you feel sexier & more vibrant in just one or two days.  I know I'm always talking about it...but it really works.  Try it.  And, I think feeling athletic even a tiny bit can improve your coordination :) :)

6. BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE YOUR HUSBAND'S WOMAN - After years go by and women age, have kids, etc...it may be easy to start to believe that you no longer fit the bill.  But, he's with YOU.  He likely works hard everyday for you.  He likely gets dressed and takes care of things for you.  He maybe has had children with you.  YOU are his woman.  So feel desiredBecause you are....

7. SMILE- this is probably the quickest way to feel desirable & radiant & good about yourself.  You can do this instantly.  :)

8. MAKE YOUR HOME LOVELY -  One's sex life usually takes place in your home, right?  So make it a place you feel good about.  For me, I love it when our home is clean and I love the feeling of crawling into crisp, clean sheets.  So whatever does it for you.....make your home & bedroom inviting & fresh.

9. DO THE INNER WORK - Take this seriously.  Learn to be happy & to feel beautiful REGARDLESS OF CIRCUMSTANCES!  And that means even if you need to lose some weight or if you lost your hair, etc.... FEEL BEAUTIFUL RIGHT NOW.  Because you are! 

(Photo Source:  popartuk)

Now for your turn....What makes you feel sexy/confident/beautiful??  I'd love to hear!  As women we need all the help we can get....there are just way too many influences that can make us believe we aren't sexy enough.  LET'S TAKE BACK OUR WOMANHOOD!!  :) Anonymous comments welcome :)

In Case You Think You're Not S-e-x-y....

      
Do some of you not exactly feel sexy??  And by that, I mean - - desirable, wanted, worthy!

I think it's safe to say that every person wants to feel that way.

And I also think a lot of women out there struggle with this in their marriages and sex lives.

I wasn't always in a place where I could feel desirable, wanted or worthy. 

But now that I have learned a thing or two,  I can't help but be bold and pass on some of my thoughts, in case any of this might be helpful.  Here goes...
 
1.  LOOKING SEXY HAS NOTHING ON ACTUALLY FEELING SEXY.

I think one problem is that a lot of people *think* looking sexy is what would lead to more confidence or enjoyment in bed....or it's what would lead to feeling more desirable.

One might think - - - oh, if I could lose 20 lbs, then maybe I'd enjoy sex with my husband a little more.  Or if I could just get a boob job, I'd feel more confident in my body.  Or if I could just look like THAT woman, well, I would feel better about myself.  There are probably a million excuses why people put off a better sex life (or any sex life at all).....because they think it's related to their looks. 

Well, I'd like to suggest to women everywhere that we need to get this out of our heads, because it isn't true.

You could look airbrushed and tan out of a beach fashion shoot, but if you don't FEEL good about yourself, it just won't matter.  I know plenty of women who look like bombshells but they still don't feel sexy & confident.

So even though it may be hard for some to do, my wish for women everywhere is that we could not base our confidence & worth on waistlines & body types.   

2.  WE ARE WOMEN!  WE ARE SEXY JUST BY BEING A WOMAN!  :) :)

Most men are wired to desire a woman.  We are desirable by our very natures!  *LET'S OWN IT!*  It's so sad that we don't.  It causes so much havoc in our brains...and between the sheets.  (And by the way, even if you're married to someone who is not in a healthy place in life & will never respond favorably to you no matter what you do, you can still tap into your own worth and have that confidence for yourself, regardless.)

3.  FEELING SEXY IS NECESSARY FOR GREAT SEX.

Feeling good about yourself (as a woman) goes really, really far when it comes to having satisfying sex.  Feeling embarrassed or insecure or muddling your mind with negative thoughts about yourself before & during sex will not do you any good.  It leaves no room in your mind for the thoughts that lead to a real bond with your partner.

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So how on earth does one feeeeel sexier if they just don't??  Well, I have a few ideas coming for you all!  I think this can be overcome!  I'll post a list of ideas around lunchtime....say 12:00 (ET) where I can share my ideas & you can share yours......cause I hope everyone can realize that you can, indeed, FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF GOING FORWARD!!!!!!  :)  :) And you don't have to get a boob job or lose 20 lbs or get a makeover to do so.

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In the meantime, what do you guys think about this?  Do you think focusing on feeling good about yourself (separate from your looks) could improve your sex life?


(Photographer unknown)

24 February 2012

This is My Cup of Tea

Photo by Linsey Laidlaw.
You guys - I've been dying to tell you about a brand spanking new design blog written by my dear friend, Linsey Laidlaw.  Do you remember the Tapas Party in Brooklyn?  She was the genius behind that whole thing.  Or the Sexy Haikus?  She designed them!  This woman is one of the most talented I know and has the best taste in everything.  She seems to be in the "know" with everything cool.  I don't know quite how she does it.  And now I'm just glad that any ol' time we can all get a constant stream of what is going on in that brain of hers.....because at all times I really do have to restrain myself from asking....Where did you get that?  What is your best source for ____?  What would you do for these party decorations?  What is the best Indian restaurant in NY?  Where did you get those oxfords?  Exactly what color is that nail polish?  And PLEASE give me that recipe!

To give you a sneak peak of what you'll find on her blog.......may I leave you with a link to these unbelievable baby birth announcements....Note: they are NOT IN PRINT....They are in VIDEO!  Oh my, they are beautiful!!!  I could just melt.  I can't help but tear up while watching these.  They make my heart just SWELL.  I want to keep watching them again and again.  Especially the one of my friends who had to get to the hospital during the blizzard of all blizzards here in New York last winter!  Luckily they had a JEEP & A POLICE ESCORT all the way from Brooklyn to Manhattan.  Ok, as I write this I just have to go watch it again.......my heart is already beating.

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Want to read some new stuff about us, including our favorite rapper?  :) We just got featured on Greetings from Texas!  We feel so honored every time someone wants to feature us!!!  Don't ever hesitate to reach out to us for guest posts....and we just might even send you a guest post for consideration :)

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And - I can't help but tell you how much I love the blogging community here in New York.
Last night, I had the pleasure of meeting up with two blogger friends, Natalie Holbrook and Jenny Komenda.  It was so great to get together and chat all things blogging.  Natalie's apartment could be the cutest thing ever.  (Sorry I didn't take more photos of it as I was gawking!)  And to my delight, Natalie had the most beautiful spread of tea & sweets for us.  You guys, the woman made sure every bit of it was gluten-free and dairy-free.  I can't tell you much that means because  - oh man, for someone GF/DF, you KNOW firsthand how tricky it is at the grocery store....so to have someone go to that effort for you....well, it could be one of the kindest gestures ever.



The menu?  Beautiful meringue cookies, homemade marshmallows from City Bakery (one of my favorites in the city), licorice & cinnamon bears, sweet tarts, strawberries, kettle corn, peppermint tea, blood orange sparkling French soda.  And dear Jenny brought macarons.  Oh, love those women.  And, love seeing them as moms.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!  We have lots planned for you for next week.  Can't wait to have you back.  In the meantime, we'll be going to this art exhibit today.  I'll be marching straight to NARS to buy this lipstick (Jenny had it on & it may be the most perfect pink lipstick ever).  And we have some good meals at home on the docket.  They will likely include some rice & beans and 3 kinds of salsas.

Love to all our readers,

Mara

P.S.   Watch for us in the Deseret News next week (the newspaper in Salt Lake City).  We did an interview with them recently.  Can't wait to see the article.

P.P.S.  LOVED this interview on the Happiness Project with Gabrielle Blair (Design Mom).  Hear what makes her happy.  It's honest & refreshing and really worthwhile read (per usual!)

P.P.P.S.  Just kidding.  I'll stop now :) :)  Even though there's always so much more I want to share with you.

I Choose HOPE

Two nights ago we got a call from family - the kind you never want to get.  Danny's sister, Laurie, has breast cancer.  She's 39, a mother of 7 children, the Stake Young Women's president, and the founder of the Great Artist Program.  She very well could be one of the most amazing women you'd ever meet. You'll see why when you read this post.  She wanted to record some of her thoughts while the emotions are still so raw.  Be prepared to be inspired....
mother with breast cancer

My name is Laurie, I am a 39 year-old wife and mother of 7 awesome kids, and barely 48 hours ago I learned I have Breast Cancer.  It may sound strange to say this, but I have had the most amazing two days, especially considering the potential for fear and uncertainty associated with this diagnosis.  But instead of fear, I feel full of life, HOPE, love, and gratitude for what is to come.

I have always had an optimistic nature about me, and am an idealist as well as a romantic.  But, I know that my ability to look at this trial and challenge with hope and peace is due in part to the lessons I have learned from my little brother and his awesome wife.  I feel that I have been prepared for this difficult time.  I have had so many insights and “ah-ha” moments in the past few months as I’ve read along with all of you.  And I’ve been applying what they share to my day to day “practice trials” which has taught me so much about choosing a better perspective and really living the way we should.  I feel in doing so, I’ve come to better know God and His mercies, and I’ve learned to embrace more fully Jesus Christ and his ability not only to save, but to comfort and give us hope.

Everyone keeps asking if I’m OK, and I tell them...I AM GREAT! I feel alive, I feel blessed, I feel happy.  Today, there are dozens of people praying and fasting on my behalf, and I FEEL it!  I have had so many texts and phone calls from loving friends and family, and could open up a flower shop with all the beautiful bouquets!  I am in awe at the love and support from everyone around me.  I feel like I am walking on a cloud of hope and love.

I know there will be hard times ahead, things and feelings and hurts that I have never experienced.  I know it will be rough, but I look forward to what I will learn from this, and for the personal growth I know will come.  I know Danny and Mara have had an influence on many of you, but I feel like what they have been sharing (and what I’ve been applying) has personally been preparing me to fight this battle in a better way.  So many of their posts have touched my soul, and since I’m family, I have also had many heart to heart conversations with them, and I've thought long and hard over our topics.  I have opened my heart, mind, and soul to their message of CHOOSING hope, love, and faith over their opposites of doubt, anger, and fear.  I'm doing that right now, in what is most certainly the biggest trial of my life....and it is making all the difference.  A whole different kind of completeness, of peace and love and hope is building up inside of me.

Danny and Mara are sharing a message as old as the world, but they do it in a way many of us are listening to.  So, tomorrow as I head to my doctor for my first appointment as a cancer patient, I leave fear behind, and I go with HOPE.  I go with peace in my heart and an immense gratitude for all of my many blessings and for all those who love and support me and my precious family.

23 February 2012

One Spring Trend I Already Love: Peplums

Would you guys wear a peplum for your wedding??  I almost did.  I still look at these photos of this Oscar de la Renta I tried on at Bergdorf's and think.......ahh.....what if......

Well, peplums are making the rounds and getting some widespread attention this Spring.  I think they just add some femininity - and a little bit of glamour.

So for some spring inspiration, here are a few peplums I love from around the web.... and a few from my own wardrobe.....

22 February 2012

Love Announcements


This is one of my favorite photos as of late.  I just love my nieces & nephews.  These two cutie pies, Chloe & Jasper, recently visited me in New York.  Love them

Today, a few love announcements!

-Uniqlo collaborated with Orla Kiely to create some women's clothing - all inspired by her love for modern patterns and all things mid-century.  Danny bought me FOUR! shirts! (you should see him shopping for me....I could just melt.)

-Follow us on Twitter to see pics of the shirts Danny bought me, places we visit, things we love, things that inspire us, etc.

-Ikea has a new office supply line that is enticing me to go to Red Hook ASAP.

-Are you kidding me?  I love this bookend idea & need to get me some thrift store animal figurines.

-Muji now has all natural skin / organic care products.  (Bonus: seeing Asian symbols on your products.  I don't know why but I'm obsessed with Asian products.)
 -But more importantly, I am LOVING my new Apple Cider Vinegar routine (recommended by one of my favorite bloggers, The Daily Muse.)  It's like any crap on my face doesn't stand a chance.

-This phone cover caught my eye (I don't normally notice phone covers!)

-I looove this magnet idea!  

-If I was planning a party, the theme would be "sprinkles & confetti" - and I'd be making this.

-This glass cuff has my name on it...oh my...

...as does this collection of beaded cuffs (love!)

21 February 2012

Our Lovely President's Day


 It was glorious for us to have a day off together.  It went like this....

"Let's go on an outing!   Let's just get on the train and see where it takes us..."

We found ourselves in Manhattan.  We got off at Union Square.  And we soon saw this huge letter "K", blinking all dandy in the window of Olde Good Things.  OH....I wanted it.  If only it wasn't $850!  (That place has awesome finds, by the way... for people with deep pockets.)


Then we meandered through the Farmer's Market at Union Square.  (One of my great loves.) 

And then, smiles all around at the........DOG PARK.  Danny & I have recently made a habit of visiting dog parks while on our dates.  Madison Sq. Park and Union Sq. have sweet ones (and Prospect Park has the best dog beach ever.)  We can sit for quite awhile and just laugh & enjoy all those dogs playing around.  You can't help but feel carefree yourself.

 

Then we went to Momofuku for lunch.  YUM!  Be prepared to pack in there.  Everyone sits tightly on modern wood tables and chairs.  We got so cozy with the couple sitting next to us that we ended up feeling like old friends by the time lunch was over.  At the end, after loads of conversation, they jokingly told us, "I think you guys need to write a blog....maybe a Blog About Love!"  :)


After lunch we discovered a GEM of a place there on the lower east side.......Casey Rubber Stamps.  It's not your typical stamp store.  You get the feeling it's been there for 100 years and it's a mess of a place.  But you can't help but be enamored by the old Irish man that owns it and makes the stamps on this ancient looking machine.  The shop seems like one of those New York institutions that probably everybody else already knows about.  By the way, he can turn ANY jpeg or pdf into a stamp (and he does mail orders!)  You wouldn't believe some of the stuff he's made.  What would you guys put on a stamp?  Any creative ideas for how you would you use a stamp?  I am trying to justify getting one.  I came across this list of unique ideas for using a stamp.




And, how could I not pass up Tu-Lu's Bakery, next to the stamp store?  The entire bakery is gluten-free, with lots of vegan options as well.  We devoured some delicious baked goods - yes, I said delicious gluten-free baked goods!!  (I couldn't keep Danny's hands off of them :).  Ask them for their best seller...and get two of them....(they also do mail order goods & custom birthday cakes!)

What did you guys do for President's Day?  Any great finds, places, activities, or events to recommend?  It's always fun to have something new to do.

[FYI - Wednesday at 7:00 PM in Carroll Gardens (Brooklyn) there is a J.Crew Stylist that will be teaching women of the community some tips on how to put together outfits & accessories.  I'm so excited to attend.  Send me an email if you want more info.!  (mara@ablogaboutlove dot com)] 

Love Story: Speaking of Vulnerability :)

After yesterday's post was written & done, we decided to prepare the next segment of the "Love Story."  We were delighted to see what came next in our emails to each other.  This wasn't planned, but we discovered the very subject of vulnerability written in our emails to each other over two years ago!   I guess our thoughts haven't changed much.  Vulnerability was and is a blessing to our lives...and one of the key sources of our joy.

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Mara,

Hiiii back!!!  It is a great morning, and the start of what I think will be a wonderful and memorable week.  This whole thing is absolutely precious, isn't it?  You've mentioned a few times in some previous emails (and I believe I have too) how amazing it is that we get to know each other on this level, a level which arguably other couples never get.  I love every bit of it, and I love that you do, too.  I love that we both feel comfortable bearing our souls...yes there is a certain amount of vulnerability that comes with this, but the reward...the incredible joy at accepting and being accepted on this most intimate of levels is pure joy.  Thank you, dear Mara...for although such openness is a natural part of who I am, I could never have done it at this level and at this time had you not so graciously extended your hand first.  I am not surprised that such love and affection and respect would spawn from such openness and sincerity, and I cannot express how grateful I am that your kind heart continues to reach out to me still.  Thank you!

Mara, it will be so wonderful to just see you and be in your presence...I don't care if there is some 30 min. or even a whole day of awkwardness (I don't think it will be that long, but even if it is...it won't matter).  It will be a relief just to be there.  And one other thing related to that video...I already felt this way before but it was as if the video confirmed it for me...if it is all right with you I'd like to wait to hear your voice until I can do so in person.  So until then, emails and text (texting may be necessary when I'm on the bus only because it doesn't take the iPhone 15 minutes to realized something has been sent :), if that is okay with you. 

Mara, I hope you had a great time in Chicago with your family…you are now most likely on your way to the airport.  I send you great love and I wish you a safe return home and a wonderful day.  My heart is full.  I simply cannot wait to meet and embrace you and thank you in person.  You will be in my thoughts.

Gratefully,
Danny
 

20 February 2012

Vulnerability

Have you guys seen the Ted Talk by Brene Brown?  Oh my, it is awesome.

I loved it so much, I had to share it here.

Brene has researched why there are those that have a deep sense of belonging & a strong sense of feeling worthy to connect with others, and why there are those that don't.   As you can imagine, I LOVE THIS TOPIC :) 

Brene calls the people who believed they were worthy, the "wholehearted".  She found that they had something in common........

They all had COURAGE to tell their story with their "whole hearts".  They had the courage to be imperfect & to be vulnerable with others!  They fully embraced VULNERABILITY and believed that it made them more beautiful.  As a result of this authenticity, they were able to CONNECT more fully with other people.  She says you cannot connect with others unless you let go of who you think you should be & embrace who you actually are!

I love this.  I believe it to be true (I see that Cup of Jo is discussing authenticity, too!)


I've seen a strong connection between vulnerability and worthiness firsthand in my own life.  I remember the days when I did not know my own worth.  You can bet that I was not about to expose myself for the world to see.  I already disapproved of who I was (mostly because at the time my husband disapproved of me as well & I had not yet learned how to separate myself from that), and frankly the thought of being vulnerable and risking being disapproved of by even one more person was too much to bear.  At the time, my good friend put together an awesome website showing before & after pics from renovations.  He wanted to highlight my newly renovated Brooklyn apartment.  After all his hard work + a few weeks of having the photos of my home online, I requested to have them taken down.  There may have been a negative comment from one of his readers about "all those white walls & cabinets" - I can't remember, exactly, but what I do distinctly remember feeling was that I couldn't take one more OUNCE of disapproval.  The criticism I was already experiencing consumed my every breath.  My life was all about guarding & protecting myself from even the tiniest additional smidget of disapproval...I literally couldn't take one drop more.  This meant protecting myself from friends.  It meant sitting in church in silence, not offering a WORD of participation or commenting during a class.  It meant looking at others and feeling like they were living.  I was just hiding - - connected very little to no one.

But, as you may know from a former post.......I finally figured out my worth.  This was the most amazing thing that ever happened to me.  And with that, came COURAGE & VULNERABILITY...almost automatically!  I distinctly remember being at church on the last Sunday before my husband left the country and never returned.  I was with the group of amazing women in Brooklyn.  There was an opportunity for people to stand and share their thoughts - their stories - their truth.   I stood.  I bawled.  I shared.  No one knew that my husband had a ticket to leave.  But it didn't matter.  They knew my truth that day.  It was the first time I'd ever voiced it publicly.  And those that heard it say they will never forget it.  To this day I feel greatly connected to all those women who heard my courage that day...and to everyone who has heard it since, including my dear Danny.  [You may have noticed that our love letters were a complete offering of vulnerability to each other! :) - we gave everything that we had to give & celebrated it, whether or not it was to be received.]  There is power in being vulnerable.  There is power in sharing our truth, even when we feel imperfect.  I like to call it LOVE.  :)

I know this now.  And that is why I freely open my heart and soul to you all.   Love is the most powerful force in our lives.  It's what we all want to have more of.  It's what we want to be able to offer others.  And I know that to have love & connection, we have to be willing to be vulnerable...we have to be willing to be who we are and to offer that to others.

Thank you for letting me share my truth with you daily on this blog.

Thank you for sharing your truth with me.

I'm thankful for this life where we can do this.....where we can learn over time to become more vulnerable both as we are seeking truth and also as we are sharing our truth with others.  It doesn't matter what stage we're in......it connects us just the same.

Love to all,

Mara 

P.S.  I am now not sensitive about what someone might say about my minimalist white walls!  haha.  Sheesh.  Seems so silly now.

P.P.S.  In your own life, have you noticed a correlation between vulnerability/authenticity & feeling a deep connection with others?  All comments welcome!

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And how about we all commit to having COURAGE this week.  Let's tell our story with our whole hearts; let's have the courage to be imperfect; let's believe that vulnerability is what connects us to others! :)

17 February 2012

Sophie Blackall - I Want Your Poster

On Valentine's Day I was on the subway, heading up to the Legos Store at Rockefeller, when I spotted this lovely piece of artwork on the train.  It's by Sophie Blackall and it's part of the MTA 'Arts for Transit' program.  I immediately was drawn into this sweet display of New Yorkers.  Every little interaction she depicts is one that I've seen before.

I was also delighted to see this enjoyable little video about the artist and her thoughts about this poster. It made me want to purchase the poster even more.  Luckily we can purchase them here for $24.95.  

 
 
 
 
This poster would make a nice addition to the other things I have been collecting for a children's room someday.  haha.  Maybe one day I'll actually hang something in the one-day nursery.  Currently it's just a modge podge of giveaway piles, water storage, old books and piles of laundry.  

For all you people trying to have children, do you collect things for children?  Do you have lists of favorite baby names, children's activities, traditions & crafts?   I do.

Have you sort of set up a space for children in your home?  I haven't done that yet.  But I think I might.  All my friends have children (whom I adore!) so why not create a little space for them?.....plus it gives me an excuse to buy these chairs that I've been eyeing for awhile (thanks to Liz Stanley & Jordan Ferney).

xo,
Mara

P.S.  HAPPY WEEKEND TO ALL!!  Hope you have something fun ahead.  A fashion photographer wants to do a fashion shoot in my apartment so I'll be busy.  I've been trying to get this place in order & now I don't want to stop.  I want to wash curtains, windows, hang stuff that's been leaning on walls forever, & clean-out closets.  I love being a little homemaker when I can fit it in.

16 February 2012

Relentless Pursuer of Hope

Today we feel honored to have a guest post from one of our dear readers, Maria Aldersen.  She has struggled greatly with an illness.  But as you can see from her story, she has let her illness teach her a better way to live.  And she has become a better woman because of it.  We couldn't be happier to share her incredibly inspiring story here.....



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You know those life lessons, the ones we really should grasp because they’d free us up to experience life more fully?  Something to the effect of:  slow down, savor the small things, be kinder to yourself, be more forgiving of your flaws and less judgmental of those you love.  I can honestly say, these are all things I do on a daily basis.  And I can also honestly say- there is no way I would have learned this way of living if illness hadn't come into my life.  Illness, that is where this story begins.  It started when I was relatively young, twenty-three, it started when I was beginning to attain some of my biggest dreams and it came when I needed it the most.

15 February 2012

Weekend Getaways

weekend getaway near new york
This time of year reminds me of our day trip to Beacon, NY on our first Valentine's Day together.
We were dating.  I surprised Danny with tickets to a modern dance performance taking place at Dia: Beacon, the country's largest modern art museum (highly recommended!)  We ended our day with walking through art galleries in the charming town.  It was glorious.

I am reminded now how great road trips or little weekends together can be as they create memories.  Too often as husband & wife, I think weekend getaways become a thing of the past due to schedules, kids & money.  But I say - if there's a will there's a way!  With winter upon us, why don't we all decide to plan some little getaways with our spouses?  (Wouldn't this cottage in Hudson, NY be amazing??  Ha!  I'm just dreaming here.)  No matter what it is, I think it's worth it to get something in the works!  Who's with me?








 

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