boom boom room

Science tells us that every single cell in the human body replaces itself within 10 years.  Changes in the body are obvious to the eye, and we don’t question that our appearance will change over a period of ten years.   A more interesting question, perhaps, is how long it takes for change to occur in our hearts and minds.

I was having dinner with a group of friends when a disparaging comment was made about a mutual acquaintance from high school.  My friend Sarah asked why the comment was made, and the accuser recalled an episode from 9th grade. “Well,” Sarah replied, “9th grade was over ten years ago – don’t you think they’ve changed?  We’ve all made mistakes.”

Pure genius, right?
It takes strength to be kind, and it takes wisdom to realize we’re all flawed.  Each of us is constantly changing, growing, and learning, and we’re bound to make mistakes as we journey through life.   We do the best we can until we know better, and when we know better, hopefully, we do better (to rephrase Maya Angelou).

Be kind to yourself, be kind to others, and practice forgiveness whenever you can.

better than chocolate

What role do you play in someone else’s story? The way we impact the lives of one another is incredibly important, but how often do we pause to consider the affect that we have on the people around us?

We go through this life to help others.  For close friends, that means being there to celebrate a job promotion, the time he finally asked you out, the time he finally made it official, and all the other happy moments that define our lives.  It also means that we’re there for the setbacks, exchanging ice cream for tears and trading hugs for stories of suffering.
My friend Amy has played a leading role in my life.  She was my partner-in-crime when we finagled Vespas, my hot date when we climbed the Eiffel Tower, my life-coach when I couldn’t find a job, my therapist when I experienced heartache (time and again), and my friend, always.

I could fill an entire Chicken Soup for the Soul with stories from friends and family that adore Amy.  People gravitate toward her joyful personality, and they fall in love with her sincere desire to make the world a better place.
Luckily, she just started her own blog, and now you can get to know her (love her) just like I do.

A highlight from her new blog is when she tells her professor that chocolate is her favorite food.  The professor then asked “What kind of chocolate? Semi sweet? Milk chocolate? Dark Chocolate? Truffles?”   Her response: “YES.”

Read more here:


the art of failure


Embrace failure.  What’s the worst that could happen?  You might fail?  Great odds, considering you will fail without doubt if you never even begin.  The good news is that every failure creates an opportunity to begin again with additional knowledge.  The second time you attempt something you will be in a better position to succeed, likely creating something much more successful than you attempted in the first-go-round. 

Failure lets you know that you can do better.  It’s the personal coach inside your head telling you to push forward and strive for your best.  Do you need to add something to your vision, or take something away?  What mistakes were made the first time, and how can they be remedied?

Failure presents dazzling opportunities for growth and creativity, and, if you play your cards right, success. 

To make failing easier, more of a routine, perhaps, I pledge to 1) Recognize failure as a growth opportunity; 2) Learn from mistakes and shortcomings; 3) Apply new knowledge to all future attempts;  and 4) Remember that I haven’t truly failed until I’ve given up.  

I spent the day creating a baby gift for a dear friend, inspired by the welcome wreath that I made my sister.  My hands and my mind were  clearly up to different things, right?  The thing is, I’ve been spending a lot of time contemplating my current situation, my future goals, and different ways of shortening the gap between the two points.  When I’m busy working with my hands, my mind takes the opportunity to wander freely.  Hope you don’t mind the disjunction between the are of failure and the art of crafting 🙂

As for the wreath, the entire thing was made from colorful papers, glue, and a little tape.  I wanted to put a unique spin on the traditional baby gift, and so I went with a “welcome to the world” shadow box.  You can see the process below:Image
I began by sketching the globe and making notes where the ‘welcome to the world’ would be written.Image
The second step was to create cut-outs of the necessary continents on colorful paper:Image
Tape your circular globe to a plane sheet of paper:
And then stick your continent cutouts to the globe —  I used a thick tacky glue so that they would pop off the sheet just a bit:Image
Simple as draw, cut, & glue:

do you carrot all?

An easy way to find out if your friend ‘carrot alls’ is to ask them to watch your puppy for a weekend.   For some reason, ‘carrot all’ made me think of ‘carrotalls’ – like carrot overalls, and I ended up drawing this picture:

But, dear reader, what we’re here to talk about today is not carrot alls, but thanking people with carrots.  Jon and I are going out of town for my birthday, and I sent my next-door-neighbor a text to see if she would mind puppy sitting for me:

I know, I know, she is the best.  She said presents aren’t necessary, but I disagree 100%.  I figure everyone loves carrot cake, and what could be nicer than carrot cake in a mason jar?  An ‘Eat now or save for later’ sort of thing?  I decided to fancy-it-up a bit and do three layers: caramel,  carrot cake, and homemade cheesecake frosting.

I used a box cake:
Made the cream cheese frosting from scratch:Image
Put caramel bites on the bottom of the jar:
Added the carrot cake:
nd then topped the cake with the homemade cream cheese frosting:ImageImage

Lastly, I gave Kinzie a bath to prepare for her weekend away.  Here is the during and after photo:Image