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!
"Your body and mind are meant to be a whole, and to ensure that they are, your whole existence is based on feedback loops. Body listens to mind; mind listens to body. Awareness is the link. Make no mistake: Every cell knows when you are unhappy, anxious or stressed. A cell's awareness is expressed in chemical reactions instead of words. No matter. The message comes through loud and clear."
As anyone who practices yoga knows, we teachers talk a lot
about listening to the body, paying attention to the body, and taking care of the body. In almost every class, I urge my students to pay attention, to notice their energy levels, to notice where they're tight, sore, fatigued, energized. I ask them to check-in with their shoulders (are you crunching them up to your ears?), to their jaws (is it clenched?), to what's happening in the neck (are you putting it in a stressful position?), and I watch as people work to consciously and purposefully relax their bodies.
Here's the thing: everything that you do with your physical body has an impact on your state of being. If you crunch your shoulders up to your ears, your mind receives a message that you're tense. If you clench your jaw, typically the rest of the body follows, closing up, tightening. If you force your body to keep going when it needs rest, it will find a way to make you slow down (eventually). Ultimately, the body is in charge.
Therefore, I believe that the body knows best. The thing is, you actually have to listen to it--and listening to the messages from the body takes some practice, some skill, some attention.
For instance, here's a recent example from my own life: I've basically been told that running = not a good fit for my body, my injuries, my skeleton. And yet, I miss running, especially when the seasons change in the spring and I want to be outside. So I've gone on a few short little jogs lately, hoping that as long as I don't run for too long, and intersperse my running with walking, I'll be okay. But my body doesn't like it. My injured hamstring flares up. My hips start to ache. I can feel everything tightening, trying to protect me, urging me to stop. My body is trying to tell me that if I continue to run, I'll probably injure myself. So, I have a choice--listen or not?
In the past, I didn't listen to these messages. That's why I got severely hurt from running many years ago (and why I discovered yoga--yay!). But this time around, I'd like to think that I've learned to listen, and therefore, I need to stop. I will stop. Because my body truly knows best, and it's telling me NO.
If you learn to listen to your body, you'll start to be amazed at what it tells you. It knows when you're really tired and need to sleep. It will tell you when you've been sitting too long, or when you have bad posture and need to fix it. It will crave the nutrients that you forget to eat, it will tell you when you must slow down (usually by getting sick), and it will tell you when you have energy and can push it a little bit. It's incredible--once you truly start listening.
But listening is only half of the equation. What you do with what your body tells you is what makes a difference. If you're practicing yoga and your body tells you that you need a break (it wants you to come into Child's Pose), you have the choice to do what it wants, or to push through. This is often the hard part, as it usually involves a power struggle with the mind (which often doesn't want to listen to what the body has to say); but despite this inner dispute, I urge you to try and listen to the body. Then see how it rewards you for doing so. Usually, it does.
As a side note, if you want to learn more about the amazing mind-body connection, listen to this TED Talk by Amy Cuddy, "Your Body Launguage Shapes Who You Are."
It's definitely worth a listen [aka mind-blowing]!
My challenge to you today: listen to your body, pay attention, and do at least one thing that it tells you to do. See what happens.
"You can Google for an answer, you can Google for a mate or for a career, but you can't Google to find out what's in your own heart — the passion that lifts you upward. You have to listen to what is inside yourself and discover your own fire. Not only do you need your own fire, but so does the whole world."-Sister Peggy O'Neill's Commencement Address at Furman University
I spent this past weekend in South Carolina, celebrating my little brother's graduation from college. I experienced all of the usual emotions that this type of event brings out--great pride in my brother, lots of love, excitement, a sense of how quickly time passes, slight stress from trying to herd 10 family members around a rainy campus--but I also had a different sort of reaction than I've had at graduations in the past, and it's one that I think is worth noting.
This time around, I was struck by the commencement address, the student speaker, and the entire idea of commencement in a new way. It wasn't because these speakers were much better than those that I've heard at other graduations, but it had to do with where I am in my own life, the feedback that I receive from many of you, and what my husband, Ben, is going through right now.
As we've all probably heard in many a graduation speech, commencement means "a beginning; start." There's a hopeful, excited energy at graduations, as everyone urges the graduates to "go out and make a change," "live your dreams," "make a difference," "live a life worth living--one that you are proud of and one that makes you excited to get up in the morning," and there's a sense that this life is really possible; that it's out there for the taking.
And then, many of the graduates enter the working world, find their first job, and often, lose that sense of excitement. They get into a routine, begin to make money, spend their days sitting, stressed out, tired, and often, settle, because it's easier than actually doing something fulfilling or something that makes them excited to get up in the morning. This isn't always the case, but it's what happened to me after I first graduated, and I know many others who have had the same experience.If we're fortunate, we'll eventually snap out of it and make changes that allow us to follow our passions or dreams--many people do--but some don't, and that's what I find so heartbreaking. After commencement, we think anything is possible, and then quickly, our dreams are lost to our daily lives and our culture's emphasis on achieving, having, and should-ing.
It's never too late to celebrate a personal commencement. No matter how old you are, how long you've been doing what you're doing, or how many years it's been since you actually graduated, you can still create a new beginning in your own life. Yes, it's scary, but so is graduating from college and entering the "real world" for the first time, and so is doing your first headstand, or giving your first public speech, or teaching your first yoga class, or taking the plunge and moving across the country, and many of us did these things and survived. It's very possible.
My little brother is entering the Peace Corps this fall, and I couldn't be more excited to see what the future holds for him. I have a feeling that no matter where this journey takes him, he'll be given many chances to explore his passions and live "a life worth living," and I hope that he jumps at these opportunities and finds his purpose along the way.My wish for YOU is that you're able to do the same, no matter where you are along your life path, no matter how long it's been since your last commencement. It's never too late to start again!
I'll leave you with one more quote from Furman's commencement speech
:Get a life where you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure. It is hard work. Every time you look at your diploma, remember you are still a student learning to treasure your connections to others. So pick up the phone, kiss your Mom, hug your Dad, write a letter, learn the richness of pregnant silence when you are with a lover. Get a life in which you are generous. Give yourself away.
Adorable card I was given last week.
Forbes put out their list of "The Top 10 Cities For Yoga In The U.S."
Guess what city was tied for 4th? D.C!
Guess we picked the right city when moving here...
I think this post
on what to do with all of the greeting cards that you've been given (and have saved!) was written for me. Thank you, Annie ;)"Successful People Have Short To-Do Lists"
on CEO.com (written by my girl, L. Vanderkam
). Check it out--makes me want to start shortening mine (if only!). The world's largest rubber duck
= pretty amazing.
I can't help it, I'm OBSESSED with this song by Kat Dahlia
. Must be because I'm a total gangsta.
Only three more days of my Spring Cleaning Art Sale!
A few pieces are left--check it out.
Just found out about #whatshouldwecallme
and had a lot of fun scrolling through these ridiculous .gifs (some are dumb, some fairly hysterical). I think I'm in love with memes. The Civil Wars perform "I've Got This Friend" in a high school classroom
. Adore the song, the group, their voices. Perfection.
And yes, you can always still join my Get Inspired E-Course
, which is ongoing and available whenever you need a little dose of inspiration in your daily life.
Hope you found some interesting links this week, as well! Enjoy your weekend :)
Oh MAYgoodness. Can you believe it's already the 5th month of the year? What the H?
This is why I practice yoga and meditate--to try and bask in the present moment before it's gone, because it's always
gone too quickly. The ol' hubby and I are heading off to South Carolina to watch my youngest brother graduate from college this weekend (= life goes by too fast + I'm old), so I'd better make this snappy, as we hit the road in 30 minutes (!). Here are the simple, sensory joys that made me happy this past week. What brought a smile to your face?HEAR:
"Toxic" by The Chapin Sisters
I found this song on iTunes when making my new May Class Playlist
this week, and upon hearing it, I knew that it was meant for me. You know how I feel about acoustic-ish covers of pop songs, right? This one is epic. Listen to it below:
SEE: BellaVita iPhone Wristlet
The fabulous people over at BellaVita
recently sent me one of their adorable iPhone wristlets to try out. At first I thought, "Hmmm, I already have a case, why would I need a wristlet?" But then I tried it, and I'm smitten. Granted, I don't go out as much as I used to (read: never), but the few times that I have
enjoyed an evening event since receiving this wristlet, I've found it to be a perfect fit. It fits my iPhone, a credit card or two, and my ID; It even has a little hole for the camera, so I don't have to take my phone out of my wristlet to snap a shot. So cute! You can get your own here
. [Stay tuned! I'll be giving one of these away during my next giveaway...]TASTE:
As Ben mentioned last week
, I made him a very special [family recipe] "Sour Cream Pound Cake" for his 30th birthday on Friday. This was my very first time making this world-famous cake--which has always been my favorite, and which we also had as our wedding cake
--and it turned out exactly as it does when my mom makes it, which made me very, very happy. Did I go non-gluten-free
for this special event? Absolutely. And maybe the day after. And the day after. But don't worry, I'm back on the wagon now ;) Worth. Every. Minute. SMELL: China Gel
I know I've mentioned this before, but people, China Gel really helps out a yogi in pain (FYI, a yogi in pain is not typically a happy yogi). It has a very strong smell and it's pretty intense, but it works
. This week, I taught tripod headstand a couple of different ways in all of my classes, and on Wednesday, between teaching and taking class, I realized that I did tripod headstand 9 different times in one day, often while demonstrating and talking people into it. But, even after all of that, when I went to bed Wednesday night, I thought I was fine. Then, I woke up in the middle of the night with a CRAZY neck-ache, and have been nursing a pulled/cricked neck muscle and rubbing it down with China Gel ever since. Lesson learned + China Gel worshipped. TOUCH: Fibre Tibet Scarf
I just received this scarf in the mail last week, and I simply love it (I only wish I had gotten it when it was a bit cooler outside!). The scarf is one of the softest I've ever worn (cashmere!), it's beautiful, and the company has a conscience; Fibre Tibet is a non-profit, and all profits are returned to the Tibetan nomads who collect the cashmere and the Himalayan weavers who create the scarves. The people who make these scarves live on less than $1 per day, and the sale of these scarves goes to helping them live a better life. Beautiful, soft, meaningful, perfect for snuggling up during savasana, worthy cause--what's not to like? Pick one up for yourself here. Other SJOTW?
A gorgeous "Soar Bracelet" (pictured above) by Nella Designs
, which was gifted to me by a friend, the anticipation and excitement about getting to see my family this weekend, celebrating Ben's birthday with him
last weekend, yummy yoga classes, admiring all of the spring flowers while on a short run/walk outside (in gorgeous spring weather!), working on a bunch of different painting commissions, and taking part in my Teacher Training mentees' "Final Teaching" last weekend. Great, great week.
What about you? What were your SJOTW? I hope your week was full
of simple pleasures, and that you find the time to reflect on them, as well :) Have a great weekend!
Christmas present for Navy Officer.
Illustration for promo materials.
Unlike many artists, I actually LOVE
doing commissions (commissions = art created on behalf of someone else, or "on order"). As I mentioned in a post earlier this spring
, I enjoy commissions because they give me a chance to help someone bring their vision or idea to life. I get to work with an individual to learn exactly
what they want, and am then challenged to create what they may not be able to create themselves--a work of art that meets their desires and hopefully, looks better than what they had imagined in their head--it's so fun!
So, with that, I wanted to tell you a little bit about commissions today. I promise, this isn't just a shameless plug (it kind of is, but really, it isn't!), as I want to encourage you--and everyone else out there in internet-land--that buying and commissioning art is a worthwhile endeavor. With the amazing accessibility and reach of Etsy, blogs, and websites, commissioning a painting by an artist that you like or admire is easier than ever these days, and often, the prices are very
reasonable and the quality of the work very high.
Not sure how to commission a painting or even what you would commission? Here are some ideas from past commissions that I've done:WEDDING GIFTS
Place where he proposed.
Not a commission, but something I made as a gift for our parents at our wedding. Used pieces of our invitation, quotes from ceremony, and an illustration from the programs.
Personalized bridesmaid gift for a bridesmaid who teaches yoga in a beachy place ;)
Wild horses on island where couple was married.
HOLIDAY/SPECIAL EVENTS OR BIRTHDAY GIFTS
Birthday/Mother's Day gift.
Birthday gift for roomate (this is the person's dog!).
Birthday gift for husband.
Birthday gift for Ben (obviously).
Christmas gift for wife--a yoga teacher.
Christmas gift for my parents (our dog who passed away).
Anniversary gift for girlfriend.
New baby gift for husband--this is where they lived when they first moved to DC.
LOGO DESIGN, LETTERING, OR PERSONALIZED "ART QUOTE"
Blog header for blog redesign (also created other design elements, not shown here).
Blog header/business logo.
Final product on t-shirt.
Promo material painting--final material above.
Tranquil Space Dedication painting.
TO PERSONALIZE YOUR HOME
Commissioner grew up in Hawaii--a way to bring Hawaii into her home here in VA.
Same Commissioner, another way to commemorate where she was born.
| || |
New baby's nursery decorations-5 paintings.
(What I spent last Thursday doing!)
See how much you can do by commissioning an artist? Isn't it fun and versatile?
Here are the typical steps for commissioning a painting:
- Reach out to the artist and ask if they're currently taking commissions (if it isn't posted somewhere on their website or blog).
- If they are, tell them what you want--materials (if you know), approximate size, timeline, vision (and if you have it, a price-range). Ask if they're interested and if so, ask for a price estimate.
- The artist should get back to you with a price-list or cost estimate. If they don't, please ask for one ensure they won't go over! The price could skyrocket during the creation process, so ensure that you have a clear understanding of how the pricing/payment structure works before agreeing to a commission.
- Some artists will ask for a "downpayment" or "deposit" for materials before starting, others will just send an invoice at the end.
- The artist should send images along the way, so that you can provide input and give them feedback. Remember that although they're an artist and may have a vision, you also want to be in love with the final product since you are paying for it. Don't be afraid to speak up if you're not happy with something in the painting--almost everything can be tweaked :)
I hope this helps! Do keep in mind that not all artists do commissions, as it's a very personal preference (not everyone loves them as much as I do, haha!).
I'm currently working on a moving gift for a fiance, a wedding gift from the bride to the groom, a 30th birthday present for a close friend, and a logo--each project is extremely different and thus, keeps me fresh and challenged, which I adore :) I hope to have time to do more work like this starting in June, when my schedule frees up a bit (!).
Want more info about commissions? Contact me
for pricing--I'm up for anything and I promise, my prices are very reasonable and I'm able to work with almost any budget.
Now off to enjoy my painting day...
All images courtesy of Yago Partal
Okay, so I know that the blog has been a bit serious this week; therefore, I think it's only appropriate that we have a little fun today. And what better way to let down our collective hair [online] than to look at some fashionable zoo animals, all gussied up to have their portraits taken?
Amazingly enough, these portraits are actually the creations of Barcelona-based graphic artist Yago Partal.
He uses photo manipulation to assemble these hysterically realistic images of animals, dressed to the nines in their Sunday best, staring right into the camera lens. My oh my, do they make me smile.
You can take a look at some of my favorites from this series below:
Oh my gosh, do you know what I think is craziest about this collection? That I started to make assumptions about the animals' personalities based on what they're wearing and their facial expressions. For instance, the Koala looks a bit dorky, the bull looks like a rough-around-the-edges tough guy, the lemur looks ready to go/get in a fight/cause some trouble, and the raccoon looks like a witty hipster (and therefore, I love him). Crazy, right? Clothes really do make the MANimal ;)
You can view all of Partal's Zoo Portraits and even purchase prints (so fun!) on his website, here
. I only wish he had a meerkat, and I'd be all over that for Ben's next present.