gimme the keys

I dreamt I was an amazing painter.  Last night, circa 12am, I threw paint on the canvas and things beyond my imagination (and much, much beyond my skill level) appeared: blooming flowers, bursting sunrises, and close friends.  When the painting was finished, I flew (wings and all) to a vineyard in Tuscany for some vino with my sister, Caitlin.  A pretty awesome dream, right?
The funny thing is how dream-like things kept occurring throughout the day.  Jon and I visited the Artisan Parade of Homes, and we pretended to be the Mr. & Mrs. of some of Minneapolis’s finest addresses.  We probably won’t be purchasing any of *those* homes, but we did get business cards from a couple architecture firms 🙂
Last but definitely not least, I made some blackberry cream cheese bites worthy of Top Chef.  I’ve never claimed to be a master in the kitchen, but the sweet treats have me feeling pretty excited about my kitchen skills.

If you’re feeling lazy but need a recipe to impress the masses, try this: put blackberry jam and cream-cheese inside a pillsbury crescent, wrap it up, bake inside a mini muffin tin, and then top with a blackberry.  Voilà!

good madness

Gazing out the window and observing the happenings and mysteries of the world is definitely not my cup of tea.  No mam, no sir.  I’m meant to be wrapped up in the thick of life.  You can find me loving, suffering, daring, failing, wishing, hoping and feeling.  I want to experience, firsthand, all that the world has to offer.

The wonders of life swirl around us, and it’s our task to absorb and share all that the gifts that they bring.  Suffering and pain is inevitable, sure, but the bad times make the good times better.

I’ve never made a New Year’s Resolution – I’ve always been more of a:
kind of girl.  Also a cheesy kind of girl for making/inserting that graphic, huh? Well, we can call a spade a spade: I’m cheesy.

Point is, I firmly believe that we should make each day our best, and constantly think about how to maximize our life experiences (make way for all that loving, suffering, daring, failing, wishing, hoping and feeling). Sometimes we need to live in the moment, and sometimes our actions need to push us toward the future we’re hoping for.

Despite that belief, I’m also beginning to see the New Year as a time for reflecting on the past 12 months.  The new year offers an opportunity to analyze where past plans went awry and create goals for future success. So, this year, I’m making 12 resolutions (or little action steps) to help make sure I’m living life to the fullest.
Okay, okay, without further ado, my resolutions:Image
Did you make any of the same resolutions?  And, last but not least (since I couldn’t stop playing around with words and pictures), a hope to to share:

to rome with love

When was the last time you felt like anything was possible?  Childhood dreams have been on my mind lately, and, more specifically, how the dreams of our childhood shift and change as we grow older.  According to the Washington Post, the top 5 childhood career goals for children are the following:

1. Professional or Olympic athlete
2. Scientist or Pilot (tie for 2nd)
4. Lawyer
5. Astronaut

2. Veterinarian
3. Writer/Journalist/Novelist
4. Singer or Nurse/Doctor (tie for 4th)

How many people accomplish their childhood dreams?  Decide to pursue a goal at a young age, and then, slowly but surely, take steps to make their vision a reality?  Do you think that they are tempted and swayed by other opportunities as they proceed?  Do they feel fulfilled when they accomplish their dreams, or do they reminisce about missed opportunities?

And then, just as interesting and worthy of discussion, are the group of people who, either by choice or circumstance, leave their childhood dreams behind as they grow older.  Perhaps natural talents lead them toward a new dream, or they pursue something else that comes.. well.. easier.  Are these people content with the choices they made, or do they wish they’d pursued their dreams just a little bit longer?

The important thing, I suppose, is not about accomplishing our dreams, but about living a life that we find fulfilling.  With any luck, we are able to channel what impressed us about our childhood dreams (ie: teacher helping others, scientist making great discoveries) into our daily life.  In the end, it’s not about perfectly following the path you planned, but arriving somewhere  you feel content and fulfilled.

As for me, I grew up wanting to be the Ambassador to Italy.  Not a joke.  My eight year-old self told my father that I didn’t want to be the President, but I might like being the President’s helper.  My dad told me that the  Ambassador to Italy ate lots of pizza and helped Italians and Americans become friends.

The case was solved, the issue closed — I would become the Ambassador to Italy (I was also influenced by my dad’s assertion that Shirley Temple was an ambassador).  Until, of course, I realized I would much rather write stories than engage in politics.

Anyway, dear Readers, I was thinking about all this yesterday when I had some sort of divine inspiration for a fall dessert.  I love frozen yogurt enough to become the Ambassador of FroYo, and when I had a near perfect swirl of pumpkin pie and roasted marshmallow, I knew what I had to do :  I invented pumpkin-pie filled chocolate-covered marshmallows.  Can you say that three times fast?

It’s funny how life comes full circle, but I bet the President would make me the  Ambassador to Italy if he tried my marshmallow dessert.  It’s honestly that good.  ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

breaking with balance

I’d rather have a great life than a balanced life.  A stint in the corporate world landed me in half a dozen conversations about the importance of finding the appropriate work/life balance.  These conversations made me want to walk out the office, find a park, and enter Garurasana.

I started working incredibly long hours after I quit my job last May. The freedom and creativity that came with pursuing projects I was passionate about, rather than simply paid to do, was endlessly inspiring.  Now, I truly want to be working, creating, and designing.

If you’re anything like me, your best ideas coming while you’re washing your hair or running around the lakes – so the things that matter, the things that you’re pursuing, need to be constantly on your mind.  If you truly want it, you can’t just be 75% focused.

If you’re begrudgingly working a 9-5 to pay the bills, then use your evenings to build a career you’re passionate about.  Need to take classes after a long day of work? Go for it.  It’ll be worth it in a few months. The goal might seem time consuming now, but remember that the time will pass anyway, and you might as well use the current moment to build a promising future.

Time spent pursuing your goals won’t seem like work.  There will be struggles and challenges, yes, but that is part of the story.  Try, fail, learn, and then try again better.

If you truly want something, break with balance and strive for it with all your heart.
My yoga outfit was designed by Emma and Sarah, two girls so passionate about yoga and fashion that they created their own clothing line, MAI I AM.   MAI I AM sounds fun, and the philosophy behind the brand is even better: it’s built from their mantra, ‘I am enough,” and suggests that loving yourself, as you are, will bring you the most peace.

Writing is my personal passion, and so I will continue to write with passion and without concern for balance: