, my family had WAY too much fun with this app
. It's creepy but really funny (and really interesting). I'm thinking that I might give five.sentenc.es a try in order to cut down on my time spent emailing each week (FYI, my gmail inbox is almost full). Anyone want to join me in this pursuit? I think it's going to be SUPER hard...
OMG, these "6 Amazing Orchids That Look Just Like Animals"
are crazy. Crazy.
I love this mother
who dressed her daughter up as real heroines (not disney ones) and photographed her on her 5th birthday.
This week, the yoga world was reeling over a new coffee table book entitled Fifty Shades of Yoga
. You can probably guess what I think about this, but I'll let you form your own opinion, as it's definitely controversial.
A new studio called Fat Yoga
also made a splash this week
. I think it's pretty fabulous.
One of my readers and fellow bloggers, Jeanette, did her very own SJOTW on Monday
. So sweet :)
If you're a fellow creative, check out this article on common impediments to creativity
Oh, and if you're looking for an extra jolt of creativity this month, join my Get Inspired E-Course
Hope you stumbled across some interesting links this week, as well.
Um, can you tell that I got a little *too* happy with the new A Beautiful Mess
photography app this morning? It's amazing!
I know that I've gone overboard in the images above, and promise not to cover every image with doodles and words from now on, but I had a lot of fun playing around with the app and learning the ropes...it sure is addictive ;)Anyways, obviously this new app is one of my simple, sensory joys of the week, but I've got plenty more where that came from. So, lets take a look at my SJOTW, shall we? What simple pleasures brought a smile to your face over the past 7 days? Mine are below...HEAR
: Alt For Everyone
This fabulous online conference for bloggers started yesterday, and I've already learned SO much (information overload?). Part of me feels slightly overwhelmed by all of the projects, ideas, apps, and must-dos for bloggers that have been added to my list, but the other part of me feels VERY excited for the upcoming months, in which I'll finally have the time and energy to take Starr Struck
to the next level. Yay! Look out for a recap of some of the amazing things that I 'ved learned, which I'll post early next week.
Also, speaking of hearing, I've been loving this song by Wah!
(listen below), which has added a great kick to my yoga classes this week:
Getting to spend time with my family two weekends in a row
was really, really special (it never
happens). Although being with family can be difficult and emotional at times, it can also be one of the most amazing experiences ever. I simply adore my family and loved every minute of being with them--even if I did get a little annoyed, stressed, or upset at times ;) Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em, am I right? TASTE:
I am obsessed
with Trader Joe's
Vanilla Meringues. Because they're gluten-free and fat-free, I like to tell myself that they're a "healthy" dessert (they're just made of vanilla, air, egg whites, and a pinch of sugar, right?), but deep down, I know that's not the truth. Even so, I bought some this week, and they've made me very happy--especially because it only takes one or two to satisfy my sweet tooth. Also, they're really pretty ;)SMELL:
Yesterday, on one of the breaks between my Alt
classes, I went on a long walk outside. I'd been sitting in front of the computer almost all day, so was feeling a little stir-crazy, and the walk was just what I needed to get out of my head. I loaded up a podcast that I'd been wanting to listen to, put on my sunglasses, and hit the trail, snapping pictures and taking in the sights and smells along the way. At one point I came across the most fabulously sweet-smelling honeysuckle cluster, and for once, I actually had the time to stop and enjoy the scent. Ahhhhhhhh. I'm going to take more walks this summer. TOUCH:
Pedicure + Foot Massage
It was time--trust me--it was time
. I felt like my feet were growing scales, and from the way that the pedicurist scrubbed them with her pumice stone, I think she thought so too. For some reason, she also treated me to an extra-long foot and leg massage, which was one of the best I've ever gotten, and it felt like heaven. I was very spoiled and was so glad that I treated myself.
On the docket for this weekend? More Alt
classes, a Google Hangout
with some dear friends, Trapeze Lessons at DC's TSNY
(eek!!!!), a cookout with some of our CrossFit
friends, and maybe some beach volleyball. Should be a good one!
I hope your week was equally-full of SJOTW, and that your weekend brings you many, many more. Don't forget to stop and smell the honeysuckle!
Legs-up-the-wall in my purple sweats.
Upon waking this morning, I felt 90-years old. I went straight to the floor to do my lower back release routine
, and then hit the wall for some legs-up-the-wall. Wow, my body.
I hesitate to say that one could ever do *too* much yoga, but I'm going to say it: I've done too much yoga this week.
We're doing new teacher auditions, something that I really enjoy and something that is very exciting for the studio, but something that also involves a 30-minute class taught by each teacher auditioning. We've done a total of 15 mini-classes over the past couple of days (on top of my own classes that I teach/take), and I. Am. SORE.
However, as I've spent the last few days practicing, observing new (and seasoned) teachers teach, and thinking about what it means to be a teacher, I've been overwhelmed with gratitude. I feel SO lucky that my job means practicing yoga all day (I'm paid to practice yoga! What!?!?
), and that I get to spend my time in such an amazing environment. When I think back on the many hours spent sitting in a cubicle
with no windows, tons of stress, and an aching back, I feel extremely grateful that my body now aches from hours of yoga, instead.
Isn't life funny? I complain about doing too much yoga this week, but honestly, I don't think I'll ever max out on yoga. #Grateful. Ommmmmmmmmm.
Finally, a weapon I can get behind!
If I had to buy a gun, or even a hand grenade, I'd want one made by today's featured artist, Sonia Rentsch
, who creates beautiful weapons made out of elements from nature.
One of the things that I find so interesting about these sculptures is that everyone sees something different in them. As I skimmed the internet this morning, reading what critics and other bloggers had to say about her work, I was surprised by the variety of interpretations.
Some see these weapons as an anti-violence statement, others see them as an environmental statement ("we're killing nature"), and others, a statement that "nature is a dangerous place." One writer commented
on the beauty of the form of a gun, and yet another noted
that the "pieces reflect the human proclivity to take elements of our environment and manipulate them through technology to suit our desires." Interesting, right?
This is what I love about art--everyone sees something different in every piece--and therefore, it perfectly illustrates how our personal experiences, viewpoints, and personalities color what we see and how we interpret the world.
You can view the rest of the pieces in this beautiful series below.
What do you see in these images?
Do you find them beautiful, sinister, sad, inspiring?
I think it's worth thinking about what they mean to you and why....
You can view more amazing work by Sonia Rentsch
(and buy prints!) on her website, here
Impostor Syndrome: The psychological experience of believing that one’s accomplishments came about not through genuine ability, but as a result of having been lucky, having worked harder than others, or having manipulated other people’s impressions.
I have a private client who is one of the two “foremost experts in [her] field” in the DC region. She’s smart, beautiful, successful, interesting and is a mother to three young children. She juggles difficult family situations and an important, high-stress job while still managing to smile, laugh at life, and find a work-life balance that allows her to spend time with her kids. Basically, she’s the epitome of the modern woman who is “doing it all," and I think she's amazing (obviously).
A few weeks ago, as we were chatting about her work, she mentioned that she was worried that a colleague would “find out that I don’t know as much as I should about [this topic],” as if she were lacking in her knowledge of this subject in which she is considered an expert. As we continued to discuss this feeling of not being prepared, or of not knowing enough, I was struck by her lack of confidence--she is considered an expert in her field (!)
, yet she still doesn't think she's 100% worthy. I was surprised, but could completely relate to her feelings of inadequacy; throughout my life I have often been afraid that I'll be "found out," that my lack of knowledge or intelligence will be discovered, or that eventually, my "good luck" will end. It seems to me that no matter what their status, many other women feel the same way.
When I first heard of Impostor Syndrome about 10 years ago, I was relieved to finally have a term to describe the way that I—and many women around me—often feel. I have since spoken to a number of successful, powerful, inspiring individuals who feel the same way that I do (and that my student does); "I’m not good enough," "I’m not smart enough," "I’m a fraud and I don’t deserve all that I have (or have achieved)", "I got here from sheer luck and/or hard work."
As I listened to Sheryl Sandberg’s TED talk
late last week, it got me thinking about the common incidence of Impostor Syndrome among women. Although she doesn’t mention this syndrome by name in this speech, she does speak about the difference between men and women when it comes to success, and what she's learned from speaking with a number of women in high-power roles.
When female leaders are asked how they got to where they are today, they often attribute their success to a great team, luck, support from their friends and families, and/or hard work. When men are asked the same thing, they often credit themselves or a belief that they deserve it due to their intelligence or abilities. The majority of women tend to shy away from asking for promotions or applying to senior level positions early-on in their careers, as they feel that they need to learn more or get more experience before doing so, while men tend to jump at any chance to climb the ladder, regardless of their years of experience or job readiness.
In my own life, I’ve struggled with similar issues (although not in the same corporate leadership sense). As an artist, I’ve always felt inferior; I feel I was not born with a gift (I know artists who are, and am very aware of the differences between those gifted artists and myself!), but instead, feel that I was born with a love of art and an urge to create. So, I’ve taught myself to be a better artist, I have learned as much as I can, and have worked really hard to achieve and set myself apart despite my inadequacies.
Similarly, as a yoga teacher, I constantly worry that I’ll be asked a question that I can’t answer (even though it actually happens all the time and is totally fine!). I worry that my huge lack of knowledge when it comes to yogic philosophy or anatomy--despite my many hours spent in training on these subjects--will become apparent soon enough, and that eventually, I’ll lose all credibility. Both of these examples from my own life come from a deep-seated worry that is rooted in many years of low self-esteem and feeling like an impostor in many different areas of knowledge, and I believe it will take many more years of svadhyaya
(self-study) to get to the bottom of it.
Whether you, too, struggle with Impostor Syndrome or not, I’m willing to bet that you can relate to this feeling in some way--that you’ve experienced feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and/or moments of wondering whether or not you're equipped to handle all of the responsibility that you've been given in your life. I'm also willing to bet that you've had moments where you feel that you're not worthy, or where you discredit your intelligence, skill, or good life choices for the achievements in your life, and instead attribute them to forces outside of yourself.
So, here’s what I’m wondering; why do women, in particular, struggle with Impostor Syndrome so much? When are we going to give ourselves credit for what we’ve done, what we've achieved, what we've learned? When will we be able to accept that we’ll never know everything we think we "should" know, but that that's okay, because life is a constant learning and growing process? Intellectually and realistically, we know we're not impostors, so why do we feel like an impostor so often?
This week I’m working on taking ownership of my abilities and taking credit for all of my hard work. I'm focusing on believing in myself and in my gifts, and learning to find the beauty in who I am, as I am--and not in my ability to get sh*t done--which is definitely a skill I've mastered ;)
I hope that you'll join me in this pursuit to kick Impostor Syndrome to the curb!
Phew. Both of my brothers have now graduated from their respective schools. I've spent two weekends in a row eating and drinking way more than is necessary, staying up later than usual, and sleeping in hotels (not ideal for someone who loves sleep as much as I do!), but I feel super grateful to have been a part of celebrating their successes and to have been able to watch both them walk across the stage. SO proud.
A few highlights from this past weekend? A family game of beer pong (I played with water and sipped my wine as I played, while my grandmother cheered from the sidelines), eating some amazing meals in Ann Arbor, seeing the gorgeous campus (looks like a movie!) and adorable downtown area, visiting with my loved ones = lots of laughs, and watching my mom, the most uncoordinated person in the world, play cornhole. Also, although it was 38 degrees yesterday--in May!!!!--we were still able to spend some time outside this weekend, which was really nice.
I'm still en route back to VA today, so in the meantime, I thought I'd share some fun pics from the weekend...
As you can tell, it was a mix of high-brow, low-brow, and everything in-between :)
And can you believe that my 82-year-old grandmother was a part of all of this? She is SUCH a trooper.
Have a great day!
PS. I need some yoga, stat. Yikes.
The video above really moved me. It's an excerpt from a commencement speech by David Foster Wallace
(which goes well with my post on Commencement from Monday
) and it went viral this week. It's amazing. These photographs (and paintings)
make me want to go to the beach stat.
If you are a woman and have a mother, you should read "The Agony and Ecstasy of Having a Mother," by Rose Surnow.
Super excited about the Alt For Everyone keynote speaker, who was announced this week (and has also been called "The World's Most Influential Pinner"). Can't wait for this 3-day online conference! Here's my letter to the Tranquil Space Arlington community
, explaining why I'm stepping down from my Studio Director role. Bittersweet, but necessary. This crazy 3-d mural
blew me away.
One of my students, Andrea, just started a blog and wrote this inspiring post about creativity
. She gives my Get Inspired e-course a shout-out (which I obviously love), but is also working to follow her dreams, something I've been writing about a lot lately. Yay!
Interesting article from the NYT about Yoga After 50
Hope you came across some interesting links this week, as well!
Okay, people. Another week has come and gone, life continues to rush by, and in an effort not to miss it, I'm here to share my simple, sensory pleasures from the past week. There is always so much to be grateful for, but I think we often just forget to pause and feel that gratitude. So lets do that for a moment, shall we?
These are the little things that brought me joy this past week...what were your SJOTW?
HEAR: TED Talks (about 15 different talks)
On the 9-hour car ride home on Sunday (driving to SC for the weekend = bad decision), Ben and I listened to a bunch
of TED Talks. It was so fun; I kept saying "I feel like I'm getting smarter and more interesting just by riding in the car!" and I honestly think I was/did. We listened to so many that I can't pick just one to share here, but I can tell you that if you haven't downloaded the TED app
, you should (it's amazing!). I also listened to them while I painted all day yesterday. I'm obsessed. SEE:
This poem (below) written by my Dad
He sent it to me this week, just in time for Mother's Day this weekend. It brought tears to my eyes and almost made my heart burst open. It's about my "little" grandmother, pictured above with my brother. You can read the poem here:
My Little Mother
We marked our heights
in pencil on the yellow kitchen door.
Five-foot-five was your line,
way above mine,
and with my father gone,
yours was the highest mark to shoot for.
Must’ve been seventh grade
when I caught you, at that point asking
you to measure me every week.
So proud of catching, then surpassing
you, like drinking a whole quart
of milk at dinner
or hitting a baseball over the fence.
I kept growing, had to look outside
the home for other people
to measure myself against.
Fifty years of gravity later,
you’ve lost a few inches,
and now, little mother,
I could carry you anywhere--
and I do--
you fit nicely there
inside my heart
where you will always be.
Gets me every time. Phew. Other SEE SJOTW? The "Big Pimp'n" truck (pictured above), which made me laugh on our long car ride, and of course, my family :) TASTE: Dinner at Pomegranate On Main, in Greenville, SC
OMG, this restaurant was so good. I'm putting it on here for anyone who travels to Greenville or lives nearby, as it's definitely worth checking out. I'd never had Persian food before, but now that I have, I will look for it whenever I can, because it's amazing. Ben and I really wish that this place was right around the corner in VA (if it was, we would go every week!). Pomegranate, if you're reading this, please add a location in the DC area!SMELL:
Scents of the neighborhood
I know this sounds like a weird "smell" SJOTW, but yesterday Ben and I went on a long walk together, and somehow ended up exploring some parts of our neighborhood that we'd never been to. We popped our heads in new restaurants (or restaurants that were unbeknownst to us), picked up menus, and took in the smells, sounds, and sights of the place where we live, but often, don't really see. It was very enjoyable and felt pretty special, as we're usually not both home at 6pm on a Thursday. TOUCH:
My new scanner
So dorky, I know, but I've been wanting a scanner forever and finally just went across the street to Staples and bought one. I didn't realize how much easier it would make my life, but all of the sudden I can just scan my art, as opposed to trying to take pictures (always too dark, a little crooked, etc.) or taking it to the printers down the street. Yay! It truly is the little things that make life easier and more enjoyable.
What brought you happiness this past week? I hope that you were able to truly
experience some of life's simple pleasures...
I'm off to yet another graduation
this weekend, this time for my middle brother who is graduating from Law School (!), so I'm sure I'll have lots more to report come Monday. I'll be flying this time, though, so don't expect any more "Big Pimp'n" truck sightings ;)
Have a fabulous weekend!
So that, my friends, is what I'm doing on my painting day today. Working [and hoping that inspiration strikes].
I hope that inspiration strikes for you today, as well!
If there's one thing I love, it's sleeping
If there's another thing I love, it's painting
And if there's a third thing I love, it's cuddling in bed with my honey and a comfy pillow or two.
Thus, I'd like to introduce you to one of my new favorite painters, Clare Elsaesser
. All of her work is fabulous, but I'm particularly drawn to her paintings of women holding pillows over their faces and couples cuddling in bed--probably because of my aforementioned love for both of these activities.
Although I think that there's a bit of a mysterious quality to her paintings, since we never see her subjects' faces, I still find them to be extremely soothing and beautiful--maybe it's because they immediately draw me in and bring up emotions that I wasn't even sure existed before looking at them, I'm not sure.
But, either way, I love these paintings and am excited to share them with you. You can peruse some of my favorite pieces by Elsaesser below, or view more of her work in her Etsy Shop, Tastes Orangey
(where she has prints of all of these pieces available).
At this point, I'm just trying to decide which one I want to buy...
If you, too, are in love with Elsaesser's work, you can check out a lot more on her website
, her blog
, or in her Etsy Shop
. I am simply enamored, and think her couples-in-bed paintings would be an amazing wedding gift for a couple who enjoys art (don't you agree?
I hope your Wednesday is soft, snuggly, relaxing, and just a little bit mysterious ;)
PS. I've just realized that my love for Elsaesser's work is probably influenced by my love of Toulouse-Lautrec's painting, In Bed
, one of my favorite works of art of all time. Check it out if you don't know it!