28 February 2013

A Nice Bed Time Routine


A little recommendation for a very fun evening with your spouse...(worth a reminder in this busy world :)

1.  Get off the computer.

2.  Go put on something sexy (or nothing at all.  Or um, your husband's shirt. :)

3.  Go ask your spouse if they'd like to get ready for bed.  

Good things are bound to happen.   :)

Good night!

P.S.  Danny swears the J.Crew shirts are the softest.  This was his last shirt and I have to agree, it's so dang soft.  (isn't it the best touching a guy wearing a soft shirt?!?  I love it.)

(top image via)


Follow A BLOG ABOUT LOVE on:
Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
Pinterest
  
Facebook
 (We so appreciate all the "likes"!  thank you.)
ABAL Book Club 
Babble Voices & The Equals Record

27 February 2013

A Good Find: This Striped Dress

 
Would you guys like it if I posted a few things here and there that I come across?  I'm not a huge fashion junkie, actually.  But I guess I'm still particular about things.  I also know what a pain it is to shop.  Ok, see?  I'm not into it a ton.  Yes, shopping is more of a chore for me and I only do it if necessary.  And so I love it when people share their good finds with me so I don't have to do the digging.  I am just wondering if you might be the same. 

Today's good find:  The Wiggle Dress from ASOS.  LOVE the stripes on this.  And the colors.  So great for a spring/summer dress.  Love the length, too...And the free shipping both ways - that's always music to my ears.  I'd wear this dress to church (I actually love dressing up once a week!) and I'd love to wear it on a date night (I always like trying to dress up a bit for those date nights.  It makes the evening feel a bit more special. It's funny how what we wear really does affect the mood of an occasion.)

But the shoes?  No.  Not loving those.  I'd wear the dress with these Madewell oxfords, instead:

Hope you're all having a great day!!   

-M

P.S.  Still loving this very simple skin routine I've been doing.  It's been working wonders all winter long. 


Follow A BLOG ABOUT LOVE on:
Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
Pinterest
  
Facebook
 (We so appreciate all the "likes"!  thank you.)
ABAL Book Club 
Babble Voices & The Equals Record


In Honor of Lavern

This dear woman and friend is now in the hospital, very near the end of her life.  I just thought you'd like to know her story.

For 15 years she has raised a daughter with severe autism and mental retardation.  Her daughter is not able to speak or communicate in any way.  Her daughter is tall and strong and needs supervision and care 100% of the day and night.  But Lavern has dedicated her life to this task alone (she has just one family member here in the U.S.) and has almost no funding.  I have never known a woman more dedicated to motherhood, more dedicated to patience and charity, more dedicated to maintaining the faith and strength that she needed to carry on being a good mother, despite the greatest challenges you could imagine.  Every single person who knows Lavern would say that they truly have never seen anything like it.

Due to a very unfortunate circumstance, Lavern is now dying of cancer.  2 years ago she had a lung scan that showed some early (treatable) cancer in her lungs, but this information was never communicated to her until a very forthright doctor discovered the mishap two years after the fact.  By then, her cancer had become Stage 4 and had spread to her brain and many other organs. 

For the last many months, she has been fighting for every breath, for every moment to continue caring for her daughter.  When I Ieft for travels recently, I wept, not knowing if I would see her again. She held my hand and held my face from her hospital bed, unable to speak.  She dried my tears, wanting to comfort me and serve me as she has done so many times for me and so many others in the 12 years that I have known her here in Brooklyn.  I told her thank you for being so good to me.  And thank you for loving me.  I told her she was like a mother to me in Brooklyn.  And that my greatest wish was that she could feel God's love with her, even surrounding her bed there in the ICU.  She wrote down on paper that she would take that as parting words.  As I walked away, I wept inside.  For this woman has taught us all how to love more.  She has taught us how to mother.  And how to truly live a life dedicated to the Divine.  Even in moments of sickness and tremendous need, she still manages to serve us all right back and uplift, comfort, inspire, and look after us.  I'm grateful for the exchange of love and sisterhood that we have felt- the kind that can only come from serving each other - the kind that binds us together- the kind that makes you realize there is something greater than us all at work within us.

These women in the top picture are some of the best of Brooklyn who have served Lavern and her daughter in the last many months and years, more than you can ever imagine.  It has been one of the most beautiful and heartfelt experiences of our lives to now care for her in her last days.  It is truly an honor to be a part of community of women who seek to offer this kind of love and make it a daily practice of their lives.  I feel closer to them as well, because of this experience.  My heart can hardly take the beauty of the what I've seen. 

Have you had an act of service (given or received) result in a binding friendship that maybe otherwise would not have existed - or perhaps transcended what it would have been otherwise?  I really do think a friendship that has it's roots in charity is capable of being one of the best kinds we could ever have. 

Also, Lavern's story made the cover of The Daily News in January.  Her case may potentially help change a bill, which could provide some potential recourse for victims of medical malpractice in New York State.  The Daily News just ran the 5th article on the story a few days ago. 

(Top photo by Jeff Bachner, for The Daily News.) 


Follow A BLOG ABOUT LOVE on:
Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
Pinterest
  
Facebook
 (We so appreciate all the "likes"!  thank you.)
ABAL Book Club 
Babble Voices & The Equals Record

26 February 2013

HARVEY FAIRCLOTH Fall / Winter 2013

 
 


 





HARVEY FAIRCLOTH is having "a couture moment."  Stunning, right?  I'm really loving these fabrics and details.  Some days I still think of Katie, Abby and I getting this company started.  It was the biggest task you can imagine.  But in those early days we certainly had lots of good times running around the garment district, making our own clothing tags late at night, and shipping clothes right out of my living room! 

Follow A BLOG ABOUT LOVE on:
Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
Pinterest
  
Facebook
 (We so appreciate all the "likes"!  thank you.)
ABAL Book Club 
Babble Voices & The Equals Record
  

Dating & Verbal Abuse


Question from a Reader (written here with permission):

How do you deal with being so deeply in love someone but they no longer want you, they just want to forget you and block you completely out of their life?  How do you deal with them being so verbally abusive but you love them and don't want to lose them that you just sit there and take it, not one word of retaliation, just tears.

Answer:

My honest opinion?  Gratitude.  Gratitude that a relationship that is abusive is ending and that you didn't make the mistake of marrying the person.  Gratitude that even if you didn't have the strength to walk away from the abuse, the relationship ended anyway.  Gratitude that you have the ability to start anew, heal, rebuild your self-worth, and find someone who is whole as well.  It is a blessing that in the moments of our lives when we find it most difficult to separate ourselves from those whose negativity is a source constant pain, they save us the trouble and leave on their own.  

I hope you are on to better things and that you pursue those things with gratitude that you just dodged a bullet.  No healthy relationship has its basis in abuse.  Also, embrace this next phase of your life.  Do the personal work to HEAL, regain strength, and learn to feel whole so that you don't get into this type of relationship again. 

You're not alone in the way you feel, or the circumstances you describe.  My heart goes out to you and the pain this has caused you. 

From now on, reserve that kind of affection for those who are capable of and interested in returning it.  (I'm not suggesting you should only have love for certain kinds of people...but I am suggesting that we should be careful about which ones we choose to partner with.)

With Love,
Mara and Danny 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Readers, have you had experience with verbal abuse?  I know from my own experiences with it that it is an extremely difficult thing to face, especially when it comes from one you love.  It's even more difficult when you wrap your self-worth around the way someone else is treating you, which is SUCH an easy thing to do.  I certainly did this at one point in my life... 

-I found I accepted a lot more than I should have and stuck around, hoping this person would throw me a bone. 
-As the relationship continued, it's like the desperation to be loved by this person only increased.  I thought surely my self-worth would be restored if I was good enough to be treated kindly.
-I remember feeling like I had offered the best of myself - including lots of "love", a giving nature, generosity, kindness, etc.- and yet it still wasn't enough.  It still wasn't enough to get treated well by him and it certainly wasn't enough to change him.  
-When my best behavior was still not enough to impress the one I loved, combined with negativity coming my way, I certainly began thinking I likely wouldn't be worthy of anyone's love or kindness.  In fact, at times it felt almost impossible to imagine ever meeting or being loved by someone else. 

If any of this sounds familiar to you, I hope you can see right here in black and white how dysfunctional this is.  I know that somehow in the moment we rationalize, we don't have the eyes to see it or the guts to admit it.  When I think of myself, I wonder why I didn't just walk away in those early days.  My post on Love Addiction has a lot to do with it.  But I've said it before and I'll likely keep saying it a lot...  
Our self-worth should not be based on the way another is treating us - or the love we feel from another person - or the amount we feel "desired" by another person.  When we operate that way, we do stupid/desperate things.  And a healthy relationship (& our own dignity) will never result.  Do not base your self worth on any outside circumstance.  It HAS to come from within or a higher source in order to withstand the challenges out there.  Getting that kind of self-worth takes a lot of work and desire, but it's worth it completely. 
In those sad days of mine, I obviously didn't own my own self-worth like I do now.  I really did want to be loved by a guy in order to feel truly whole and confident (yikes).  Ladies, let's OWN OUR SELF-WORTH FOR OURSELVES.  I truly want that for all of you.  And I want that for young women.  It's up to us to teach them these things, but we have to live and breathe it ourselves first.  PLEASE make it a lifetime journey to develop and maintain your own empowerment.  I have written lots on this subject throughout this whole blog so I won't go into specifics today.  (See the sidebar for "Self Worth".)  Know that if you are finding healing difficult, that's ok.  But still believe 100% that it's possible.  Keep seeking help in different ways and don't give up.  THIS post (Become Your Best Self) shows what my path was and can give you loads of ideas for some things to try.  Also, consider a professional therapist to guide you through this.  And in my opinion, a spiritual guide of some kind can be one of the most powerful forces in your journey.  Find one.  Churches or spiritual healers are a good place to start.  I haven't been to many churches so I can't comment on them, but I can tell you that the purest teachings of Mormonism have helped me to heal and rebuild my self-worth more than anything else (you can read more about it here).  I've added in some Buddhist thoughts to my life practices as well. 

OK - much love to everyone out there.  GOOD LUCK as you seek after good things and try to heal in your lives.  HEALING IS POSSIBLE.  This, I know.  

With love,
Mara   

Back to verbal abuse...have you experienced it?  Was it difficult to walk away?  What would you say to this woman or others who are trying to find their way?  Please share ANY tips or thoughts on how you healed or improved your situation. 


Follow A BLOG ABOUT LOVE on:
Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
Pinterest
  
Facebook
 (We so appreciate all the "likes"!  thank you.)
ABAL Book Club 
Babble Voices & The Equals Record

25 February 2013

Love For The Sake of Loving

One of our readers made this for her blog, and I must say it did make my day.  :)  Thank you so much, Nicki!  

Find my post about "love for the sake of loving" here.  It really is what we try to make the heart of this blog all about.  :)

Also, THANK YOU DEARLY for all of the kind wishes you sent my way over the last few days.  I appreciate them all so much.  Things went so well with my surgery.  My thoughts were calm.  When it was time for me to go down the hallway away from Danny, I cried a tiny tear when I said good-bye.  I just felt so much love for him and gratitude for all his sweetness that morning.  As I awaited my turn for the surgery, I tried to meditate a bit.  I also felt so thankful for the kindness of the staff - the man who brought all the patients heated blankets.  The nurses who attended to all of us there waiting in our hospital gowns.  A few nurses asked what I did for work.  :)  That turned into a lovely conversation leading right up to my surgery.  It turns out there was never even time for a moment for fear to creep in.  I was very grateful.  And when it was all done, I was so happy to see my dear husband.  I cried a little tear again when he came to my bedside, just feeling so much love. 


Follow A BLOG ABOUT LOVE on:
Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
Pinterest
  
Facebook
 (We so appreciate all the "likes"!  thank you.)
ABAL Book Club 
Babble Voices & The Equals Record

22 February 2013

Yellow Happiness

Yay for more YELLOW!  I don't know about you, but I am loooving these cheerful photos that came in. 

From Cyd Converse of the amazing blog, The Sweetest Occasion:

"Attaching a photo here of a yellow vintage canister I keep on my desk.  I load it up with things like rubber bands and thumb tacks; those pesky everyday office supplies that you need handy even though they aren't too cute to look at all the time. I picked this little gem up at a garage sale for $0.50 a few years back and I love the cool bird pattern and yellow color. In my everyday life I tend to go for cool colors, but in my workspace I love bright, happy punches of color. (Especially working full time from home, it definitely helps keep me more upbeat.  I also have a vintage cat cookie jar who wears a yellow bow tie that I use to stash chargers, batteries, etc.)"  I think we all need one of these canisters!!


From Liz Pruett:
 
"I have a cactus that, when it blooms, has the most glorious yellow flowers. I keep a photo of them saved a photo on my phone so that I have something to brighten my day even in the dreariest of winters. :-)"
 
From Melissa Crosby:

"About a year ago when we moved into our first home, we had recently moved from sunny Hawaii and I was missing almost everything about it.  So I decorated and painted in lots of shades of yellow.
One of my favorite things is this mirror that I got at a garage sale for five bucks.  It was black, I painted it yellow and hung it on my wall.  It brings the sunshine in and makes me happy!  (In the mirror you can see yellow frames -there are a few that recently got pulled off the wall by a crazy two year old, hence the black Velcro on the wall ;))"  Anyone else now dying to go to some garage sales? 

From Kate Dunlap:

"These yellow beauties are currently brightening my desk.  Wishing you rays of sunshine in NYC!"  She labeled this photo "YELLOW Goodness."  Love it!  :)


OK, I really am beaming now.  It is just so, so fun to hear from you all.  I can't even tell you how much we love it.  And then to hear of these little bits of cheer in your lives - well, it makes me smile big.

And this photo represents an experience this year that is near and dear...working side by side New Yorkers to do Sandy clean-up.  It truly was an experience I'll never forget.
 
There's more yellow coming.  By then, you guys - we will have made it to Spring!!

Loving you all,

Mara

More yellow:  1 / 2 / 3 / 4 

Follow A BLOG ABOUT LOVE on:
Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
Pinterest
  
Facebook
 (We so appreciate all the "likes"!  thank you.)
ABAL Book Club 
Babble Voices & The Equals Record

21 February 2013

Yes to LOVE!


This time of year brings back so many ridiculously awesome memories as Danny proposed to me.  Ahhhh......I had never felt more excited, happy, & loved in my whole life!!!  :)  :) 

Well, I just saw this video today of a marriage proposal - and I just HAD to show it to you.  Oh man, it made me cry!  It's just so full of LOVE.  And it reminds me of the excitement and love I felt when Danny proposed.  ENJOY!

M

P.S.  Danny recorded his proposal to me on video, too, and it's awesome. :)  :)  :)  :)  I can't wait to show it to you soon.  We still have some awesome 'Love Story' letters to share with you.  But you'll love the way that story ends.  (If you'd like to catch up on those letters, see the sidebar for 'Love Story'). 

P.P.S.  If you liked this video, see a second video Isaac made a year later, "Yes to Love!" - which is all about family and kids and love.  I have to say - it's really great.  And it makes me excited to have a family, which is something I appreciate so much as we are going through a bunch to get one and it's so nice to have lots of motivation.  :)  Speaking of which, I go in for my endometriosis surgery TOMORROW.  I've never had a surgery before, so this is so new to me.  But luckily I have been active and full of purpose this week and haven't really thought about it much.  I just hope in the moment that I'm laying on that table that any nerves will be calm.  I know I'll be thinking of God and trying to feel that alignment.  It's what I always do in a moment of fear.  It really does bring me some peace.

Follow A BLOG ABOUT LOVE on:
Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
Pinterest
  
Facebook
 (We so appreciate all the "likes"!  thank you.)
ABAL Book Club 
Babble Voices & The Equals Record

20 February 2013

The Best Perfume Shop in NYC

the best perfume in Brooklyn
Recently, a very kind reader (Sarah) wrote to say that she heard of this perfume shop in Brooklyn - and that it just seemed like the kind of place I would like.  Well, she nailed it.  I loved the website and then went over to visit the shop in Williamsburg and just loved it some more. 
CB I Hate Perfume 
The shop is called CB I Hate Perfume, owned by Christopher Brosius.  It turns out he is one of the most passionate perfumers ever.  So why the name?  He is not fond of the mainstream scents that are inelegant and unimaginative and more about celebrities than the art of the perfume.  He says: "People who smell like everyone else disgust me."

He has been a perfumer for 20 years and explores perfume as Art.  He considers his perfume shop a gallery and part of his mission is to capture every possible pleasant scent.  He creates perfumes that tell a story and capture exact experiences.
best perfume shop in BrooklynIt really was amazing to be in the shop and smell and "experience" his perfumes.  It's amazing how the scents really do take you back to memories in your life. 

He says,
"Your sense of smell is one of the most important factors that defines you as YOU.  The way you respond to any scent is unlike anyone else’s – no one remembers what you do, no one feels what you feel.  There is a reason you remember certain scents so fondly – it’s the way nature designed you. Scent is the record of your own special life – it’s your experience.  My mission is to capture that experience.  I bottle it so you can have it, use it and love it whenever you wish.  I can give you scent experiences you never dreamed possible.  I create perfumes as unique & individual as those who wear them.  And I use a great many scents never before thought of as “perfume”.  But I know these are just the scents that really hit us where we live – they’re the ones we remember and love.  These scents are life.

To me, this is what the art of perfume is all about."



best perfume shop in NYC 



best perfume for men

best perfume


So which perfume did I choose?

It was so hard to do.  There were so many that I really loved.

But I settled on "White Ginger Flower (#124)."  To me, it is just beautiful. 

White Ginger Flower
Isn't the packaging so great?  I love seeing it everyday.  

Other favorites, for future splurges:

At The Beach, 1966
Narcissus
Tea/Rose
Crushed Fig Leaf

And, some perfumes that you wouldn't believe:

Burning Leaves
Gathering Apples
November
In the Summer Kitchen
In The Library
 
If you ever visit the shop, I would just love to hear which one was your favorite.  I already feel drawn to go back there just to smell some more beautiful perfume. 

Christopher Brosius Limited / CB I Hate Perfume Gallery
GENERAL HOURS:  Tues. - Sat.,  12-6 pm 
93 Wythe Avenue Williamsburg Brooklyn
Between North 10th and North 11th
718-384-6890 (Gallery Phone)

P.S.  If you visit - there is an amazing vintage clothing shop right around the corner called Beacon's Closet.  It's one of my go-to places for buying something unique and inexpensive.  (There is also a smaller Beacon's in Park Slope & Manhattan.)

Follow A BLOG ABOUT LOVE on:
Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
Pinterest
  
Facebook
 (We so appreciate all the "likes"!  thank you.)
ABAL Book Club 
Babble Voices & The Equals Record

19 February 2013

His & Her Books

His & Her Books
Danny and I are kind of obsessed with notebooks.  We have stacks of them and love to keep notes of all kinds of things:

-Inspiring words of wisdom from articles we read or talks we hear
-Plans and goals for the future (including baby names  :)  :)  Yes, we have FOUR picked out.)
-Journal entries (my favorite:  we took two moleskins while backpacking Europe and tried to write a journal entry each day.)
His & Her Books
Monogrammed NotebookBut, a monogrammed notebook?  One for Danny & one for me?  Yes, please!!  I just found these and  love the simplicity of the single, gold foil letter.  For $9 each, a pair of these would also make a great wedding gift, shower gift, engagement gift, or anniversary gift.

[UPDATE:  the link for the books wasn't working earlier in the day, but I fixed it.  Sorry about that!]   

And, a fun idea:  My friend recommended keeping a book in the bathroom for a husband and wife to use to record loving thoughts about each other - or to write each other love notes.  I thought the idea was so sweet.  OK, maybe a strange setting for a love note - but can you imagine having that book handy to read if you were having a rough day?

M

P.S.  I couldn't help it.  I pulled out my little notebook I had in Europe.  Here is my first journal entry, after 1 month of marriage...

18 February 2013

Yellow Happiness

It is so, so time for some yellow happiness.  The temperatures are bitter cold in New York right now!!!  It's the kind of cold where it feels your ears could crack just from being outside for a short time.  But somehow I'm thinking we can totally pull off this last bit of winter.  Spring really is just around the corner and in no time we'll be skipping through the streets and soaking up warm sun in the park.  (In the meantime, did you know that just LOOKING at bright, sunny yellow can have an effect on uplifting your mood?  I swear, it works.  Get a good dose of yellow here, if you'd like to try it.   :)

In response to my original post all about yellow, these awesome photos were sent in by one of our readers, Sumaya Teli (she is originally from India, but grew up in England, and now lives on Staten Island).  She said...

"I loved your post today and really wanted to send you a pic.  My internet alias has always been 'Y3ll0wRose', so it made me smile."

gold flatsSumaya:  "Lots of happy yellow from an NYC playground (I have a toddler!)"


yellow leaves
"This pic I took in NY and the yellow leaves just made me so happy."


turmeric spice
"This is a photo I took in Kashmir (India) of a tub of the spice tumeric, which is a wonderful 'Indian' yellow color!  To me it's like how magenta is to pink, turmeric is to yellow!"

Yep, I'd say these photos make me happy!  They're all going on my yellow Pinterest board.  And am I the only one dying over her gorgeous flats and the patterns, colors, and textures of her dresses?  SO beautiful!!

Sumaya, thank you so, so much for sending these in to share with everyone.  I think you brightened all of our days.  :)  And, I really have to ask - where are you getting your flats?  :)  It's time for spring shoes! 

MK

P.S.  Want to know what else makes me giddy happy?  I just signed up for my first CSA farm share in Brooklyn for spring and summer.  Oh my, I'm so excited for cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, melons and fresh farm eggs.   

What are you dreaming of for spring and summer??  I'm already excited to hear- I guess thinking about spring is just a fun thing to do in February.  :)


Follow A BLOG ABOUT LOVE on:
Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
Pinterest
  
Facebook
 (We so appreciate all the "likes"!  thank you.)
ABAL Book Club 
Babble Voices & The Equals Record

15 February 2013

Acts of Kindness Spotted on Valentine's Day...

I dashed out to the store on Thursday evening to pick up a few things for our fish taco dinner.  And nearly EVERY single guy walking up the block was carrying flowers.  I couldn't take these photos fast enough.




I love all the little acts of kindness and love that take place on Valentine's Day!!  Ahhh, it's so fun and so sweet to see.  Did you have any kindness coming your way?  Or do anything that made someone's day?  It's always fun to hear creative ways for how to do something kind. 

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Love from Brooklyn,

Mara



Follow A BLOG ABOUT LOVE on:
Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
Pinterest
  
Facebook
 (We so appreciate all the "likes"!  thank you.)
ABAL Book Club 
Babble Voices & The Equals Record

Valentine's Day Attire

Did you guys wear something festive for Valentine's Day?  I totally did.  Haha.  I just grabbed whatever piece of red or pink I could find.  And put on the brightest pink/red combo lipstick.  I wore this lipstick at Alt, and so many people asked what I was wearing.  So here you go...it's a combo of Ruby Woo by Mac and Carthage by Nars.  If you know these colors, you know there isn't anything more popping than that!  [sidenote:  Just catching on that Nordstrom always offers free shipping/free returns.  What?!  That's music to my ears here in Brooklyn where we (sadly) tend to have everything shipped in.]

UPDATE:  I just saw this darling pink & red dress.  And I think I solved their lipstick dilemma :)

And I was glad to have an excuse to wear my birthday gift from my sweet Mother-in-Law.  These are going to be my go-to shoes for spring.  And yes, I feel ridiculously spoiled.  (I have one other pair of shoes from Frye, and I can tell you they have the BEST customer service ever!!  They actually replaced a pair of shoes for me once.  So - I tell my friends, if you ever buy their brand, buy from them directly.) 

And then!  I saw this cute couple out and about in Brooklyn - all decked out for Valentine's Day.  They were just beaming when I asked them if I could take their photo.  The boyfriend loved the photo so much he asked if I would send it to him.  Kind of adorable.

So dish - did you wear anything festive on Valentine's Day?  (Um, bedroom attire counts, too.  I did that, as well.  So fun :) :)



Follow A BLOG ABOUT LOVE on:
Twitter @ablogaboutlove 
Pinterest
  
Facebook
 (We so appreciate all the "likes"!  thank you.)
ABAL Book Club 
Babble Voices & The Equals Record
Hostgator Promo Code