Friday, May 27, 2011

Random ~


I couldn't resist a game of Random since these two genius story tellers {here and here} shared some of their little known personal facts.  You wanna play?  Please do because it is so much fun to learn a little bit more about Y-O-U. 

{one}  There are no rubber band balls in our house.  Each loop ceases to exist with a quick snip, due to fleeting images of little creatures in the sea or on land being tangled and strangled by these retractable objects.

{two}  My great grandparents were full Cherokee Indian.  I wish I would have known them.  As I grow older, I yearn to learn the healing secrets of my ancestors.  One day, I will find a guru to teach me, for I believe earth offers magic in the form of herbal remedied tonics.

{three}   I have a sixth sense when it comes to predicting or feeling things that will be known to others soon.  Normally, my predictions are correct.  It's eerie, ask Sean.

{four}  Since my favorite French perfume was discontinued, I wear Sean's Tom Ford.  I have no qualms about it being for a man; it's about the whiffs of him, my beloved, near me wherever I go, 24/7.

{five}   In my mind, there is pretty much a consistent flow of happiness.  Many often joke, "if only the real world was like the one in your head." Perhaps this is why I named this spot and my boutique Reverie-Daydream.  I like to keep my head in the fluffy, pretty clouds.


[Reverie-Daydream Image]

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wishful Thinking {guest post ~ Down and Out Chic}


I remember him asking me, his head under the hood of my car as I sat in the front seat revving the engine trying to listen to his directions (gas, brake, gas, brake), what I remembered of my childhood. This was one of the last days I would live in my father's house, a house I wasn't sure I would survive, a house with many secrets and quite a few nightmares (were they all real?). I was 17 when my father asked what I remembered of my childhood. I never looked him in the eyes and I was scared to now but, like all great moments in life, I realized that I had to face my fear and press forward or I would miss IT. I mustered my courage and replied with one word, "fear." I said it, staring straight into his dark eyes, not unlike my own, and said, "I remember fear."

Fast forward 10 years. I am now married and have a kind husband whose past couldn't be more different than my own. Recently I was having a bad day, feeling edgy and irritable, and I spoke harshly to this kind husband of mine over something terribly stupid. He told me the next day that no one had ever spoken to him like that before...ever. Keep in mind that I didn't yell at him or curse or call him names but he said it was the tone that hurt him. See, sometimes, as human beings, we become accustomed to a way of life, a way of communicating, that we think is acceptable, even normal. Being creatures that adapt, we can get so used to darkness that we begin to see it as light. It's like swimming in a deep body of water, getting tossed by waves and then fiercely swimming to the top only to realize we've been heading towards the bottom.

At this point, you might be wondering what in the world this has to do with wishful thinking. Ideally, we'd live in a world where parents don't have to ask their children to forgive them for a childhood of abuse. Ideally, children wouldn't be faced with the overwhelming responsibility of forgiving their abusers. Ideally, abuse survivors would grow up to miraculously have the tools needed to raise children in a healthy environment. But alas, I won't bore you with a beauty pageant wish that all childhood abuse would end. Although that would be nice, wouldn't it?

After digging deep, I realize that my real wish is to be better than my parents. I wish to get to the point where I am not terrified of having my own children for fear of being an awful mother. My greatest wish is that in taking ownership of my own self and shaping my own character instead of allowing it to be done for me, I'll perhaps inspire others to claim there lives for their own. Many people, including some psychologists, believe that abuse victims are forever damaged and that they can't be good spouses, much less good parents. They believe, like a baton in a race, that abusive habits are passed from generation to generation (it was in my family). Well, I choose to reject the baton and I take ownership of that decision. I'll run my own race and it'll be a marathon, no doubt about it.

It stops with me. Maybe it stops with you too? Perhaps, if enough of us come together and reject this way of life, we can prove our pasts, our parents and the psychologists wrong. That's my wish anyway.

Last Summer while visiting my family in Georgia, I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting Christina.  She and her handsome husband, B, make the perfect pair in every way.  I've been following D&OC since I started blogging, and Christina, with her great design/artistic eye and budget-friendly finds, shares one incredible post after another.  What I adore most about this lovely gal is that she is honest, loyal, and has one heck of a big heart!  

[Image from Julian Bialowas]

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Blonde Gypsy {guest post ~ Sean Patrick McArdle}



Blonde Gypsy – oil on linen – 30 x 40 inches

This painting embodies many of my passions, and I appreciate the opportunity to share it with you. I also want to say Happy 10th Anniversary to my model, muse and wife Melissa who has embraced our Gypsy life of hard work with well balanced reverie.

At her encouragement, I started a blog and website to share my passion for painting and drawing. My blog Atelier d'artiste (artist studio), showcases my interest in a painting style historically influenced by artists in the Atelier education system in Paris in the mid-late 1800s. They in turn where influenced by technical achievements of 17th Century Spanish painting where bold, gestural application of paint was born. In the Ateliers in Paris, artists blended this influence with the rigid traditions of Academic Realism to create a new form of Expressive Realism that was broad, painterly and dramatic. 

These artists created the bridge from Academic Realism to Impressionsm which came later. I like the view from this bridge, and I hope you will join me on my painting journey.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wishful Thinking {guest post ~ Soul Aperture}


anyone who knows me, knows i love to dream, big and small. i add wishes to my dream jar, daily. mostly i wish for a place that feels like home, in my heart. for years i was away, from this midwest city i was born in. and after returning...oh how i wish it still felt like home.  

as a little girl, there were summers i would leave the concrete of the midwest behind, and my bare feet would become one with the caribbean soil. i would run and play, all day long. my skin would turn a deep saffron color, curious eyes would guide me, my hair salty, from the water. my days didn’t end until the turquoise waters would open up, and welcome the sun for the day. rice and peas would fill my tummy, nighttime dreams would cradle, dis part yankee gal, til morning. and then, my friendship with the island, would begin all over again.  i had two homes, two villages, that would raise me up... i promise you, there was no taste sweeter, than to feel this type of love. never would i imagine, that there would come a day, that my heart would long for a place to call home.

once as a family, we would be homeless, no pillow for our dreams, not even a rusted, tin roof for the rain to serenade us to sleep. during this short period of our lives, my longing for a home would be become stronger, my faith would not fold, and i would vow to always have enough on my table, just in case someone was in need. 

...in the spirit of those who hadn’t enough. 

this time in our lives, would burn deep inside of us, together, but separately, as well. achieving my dream, of a respected culinary career, would begin to tear down old walls of hurt; watching my husband earn a law degree, would turn the page, to a new chapter of dreams achieved. 

these days my wish is to welcome a fresh start, to be embraced by a new community, that would be conscious of one another, maybe even share a dream or two over a fence. inside of this place we would call home, i might paint the kitchen a crazy color, where the breath of my wok, could dance along walls, and escape through large crank windows, passing my garden of collards, into the country air. 

but before i share all my wishes, i should tell you about where my restless heart, weaves all these dreams, currently. we live in a old, brick house on the corner, not far from the hood, i grew up in. inside of this home there are many many corners, that are filled with books, and life. there is a fire place with a mantel, that holds a beloved photo- a view of, notre dame, in paris and many of my photographs. this also is where my potted herbs sit, the sun is just right. 

in the kitchen there is a big farm table. in the mornings, this is where i press my cup of cardamom,coffee and teach our two, teenage kids. i teach them science, math, history, poetry, cooking... over all, i teach them to be kind and compassionate people. we have homeschooled since the beginning... always. at this table is where our bread is broken, where we talk over one another, laugh, cry, and pray. i am at home most, being a mother.

here’s to new beginnings, and making the most of what we have, right where we are. 

peace and blessings~

Oh Christina, my dear friend whom I cannot wait to wrap my arms around her neck and sit across that big farm table talking for hours.  One day, I shall be so lucky to meet her in person, to hear her stories, indulge in her made-with-the-most-tender-love food, and hopefully view the world through her eyes.  Soul Aperture, a name never more fitting, offers up the most beautiful real-life, from-the-heart words and images.  Truly, I can't say enough about how much I adore this woman and all she is ~ thank you Christina for being you.

[images via Christina Martin] 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Belle Inspiration ~


A little giddy over the current issue of Belle Inspiration ~ Paris + moi = cover love.  

Mimi Bleu, the editor and creator of this online magazine, has included my story of living in the 2nd Arrondissement {here}.  She also has filled the issue with many other wonderful French stories from writers and bloggers all around the world.  Take a look and be inspired ~ 


[image by Sean Patrick McArdle]

Friday, May 13, 2011

Anywhere and Somewhere ~


Wanderlust is brewing strongly within my soul.  I'm anxious and filling my mind with images of far away places.  Reveries of packing our luggage, boarding a plane, and immersing into another culture are clouding my reality.  

We pull the world maps out, close our eyes and point to anywhere and somewhere, and then construct a plan.  The list is growing, the need is burning, and our gypsies spirits are yearning.  

Soon.  It must be soon.
[John Singer Sargent]

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wishful Thinking {guest post ~ Les Voyageuses}


Before I met my husband, before we had a daughter, travel was a big part of my life as an individual, and then of our lives as a couple. For much of my life, I would have said that travel was the thing that defined me. I didn't know how to stay in one place. I traveled as an infant and as a child, as a student, and later as a journalist. I depended on change. Wanderlust had been in my family for generations. It was woven into the fabric of my understanding of the world. Back then, my wishes and dreams all hinged on the next stretch of highway, the next airport, the next horizon. I longed only to wake on unfamiliar turf, with the heady scent of the unknown tempting me out to explore as yet untrodden streets.

Even our transition to a family of three was defined by travel. When we first met our daughter, my husband and I were all the way on the other side of the globe, in Eastern China, halfway through a whirlwind tour of three different regions of that vast and ancient land. The scents in the air had never been more foreign, the horizons never more utterly unfamiliar. 




These days, by necessity, we find our adventures closer to home.  There are so many reasons why, including our daughter's many required surgeries (she was adopted with a severe cleft lip and palate), our work, and this particular stage of our life as a family. We still hike in the mountains when we can, take long bike rides around the lakes as often as possible. And in my studio, I will admit, I do my most far-flung daydreaming. In my studio, I can wander the world time and again in my imagination. I can trace the images of distant places with pen and ink on heavy paper, using the well-worn and familiar tools of my own trade. There is a great satisfaction to that kind of dreaming - creative dreaming.

I have no regrets. Parenthood has proved to be a thrill beyond any I ever imagined, and my daughter is a magic thing, a changeling, an alchemist, a diamond as big as the Ritz. In fact, now that I've learned to have (and to love) a home - a corner of the world that serves as a microcosm for myself and my little family - I have begun to daydream about carving out little exotic sanctuaries in and around that home, places where the mind can wander.



My most recent bouts of wishful thinking, it being the beginning of the summer season, center around the idea of an outdoor dining area. Food is a big part of our lives, as my husband is an erstwhile chef. When I wander online, it's most often to places like An Indian Summer, and Maryam Montague's wonderful My Marrakesh.  Maryam's images of outdoor entertaining and ambiance - at her own spectacular Peacock Pavilions as well as at other homes in and around the city - are peerless. I have been so inspired that last summer, when I wanted to create an outdoor setting for my daughter's third birthday party, I used one of Maryam's wonderful Moroccan wedding blankets, as well as some Kilim rugs spread on the grass, Moroccan lanterns and glasses of iced mint tea, to set the scene.

My great dream is of a backyard oasis - a long picnic-style table spread with hand-woven fabrics and rows of candles in heavy glass. Of lanterns casting flickering shadows on the aspen leaves. Of a hushed fountain where goldfish flit silently beneath the shadows of scattered roses. Of a hedge of fragrant lilac in the spring, and grape vines turning from palest green to russet in the fall. I dream of African mud cloth, of beaten copper salvers to hold glasses of iced mint tea and the homemade bread that my husband bakes, of embroidered cushions set with tiny mirrors to reflect the candle light as the last of the sun turns the Western sky to indigo.

This is how I dream these days. We have bits and pieces, but the whole will have to wait - for another era of our lives, a time not so busy and so fraught and so full of more pressing needs. For now, we have good food, good family, good company, and of course our dreams. There are many things in this life that we can live without, but no one can live without a dream. 
 
There's no question, I love Maia's idea of dreaming and wishful thinking.  When I first discovered Maia, it was via her incredible artwork.  I fell in love with her Les Voyageuses collection  of whimsical illustrations {the crumb is a procurer of two} which has since expanded into an array of paper dolls, hand-sculpted dolls {and we cherish ours} and animals and now hand-finished textile prints.  She isn't only an amazing artist, but she also makes my heart smile with every post she shares about her beloved Q. I look forward to the day our two girls play together, and Maia and I are able to talk travel and art for hours!
 
[images via Une Envie de Sel]

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lean on me ~


I hope she always knows she can lean on me.  I would give her the world, a world of only happiness and love, no pain or sorrow.  I'll teach her all I know and then learn everything else right along with her.  Her dreams, I'll help her catch them.  Her fears, we will conquer them together.  Ups and downs, good and bad, happy and sad, we will make it through every moment in time...

Forever and always, I'll celebrate and cherish us, two souls connected by a bond stronger than any other on Earth ~ a mother and her child.

[Reverie-Daydream Images]

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wishful Thinking {guest post ~ Mosey Along} + a giveaway


Remember as a child how easy it was to make a wish?  To dream?  Birthday candles or first evening stars weren't always necessary - when you're a child dreams are BIG.  And prolific.  The possibilities are endless.  To catch a leprechaun, to spot a real fairy.  At one point my daughter wanted to be an astronaut, photographer, mother of five.  All at once.  (and why not?)

I was recently asked if I remembered the dreams of my childhood - the ones which had nothing to do with practicality or even reality.  I realized that I hadn't consciously wished or dreamed for something in a long time outside of day-to-day desires:
 
reading a book in the daytime (rather than falling asleep after one page in bed at night), 
drinking a hot cup of coffee from top to bottom, 
sleeping in past 7:00 a.m., 
have a conversation with an adult from start to finish, 
having FUN with my daughter,
time to mosey.
 
Funnily enough, I've discovered these kind of wishes are easily obtainable - I had got into the dangerous habit of saying "I just don't have time", but I've learned to make space, to ask for space, so that these daily delights can happen.

And because those simple wishes are coming true?  I've been inspired to dream bigger.  They are still just whispers, or words on the page of my journal, but I'm sending them out into the universe.  And for the first time in many years, I'm starry eyed.  
Trying to catch the deluge in a paper cup.
 
(If you get that reference, shout it out in the comments, 
I'll send the first correct answer three postcards from my photo collection.)
Mosey Along is authored by Kim Thompson-Steel.  It's a name you should remember because her images are stunning, thought-provoking, and are typically backed with a story {for Kim also has a way with words too ~ she is one of those really talented souls}.  Lucky for me, Kim lives in the Bay Area, and we have met on several occasions.  She and her Sweet Pea are as lovely as can be, and I am already looking forward to our next visit.  
[image by mosey images] 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Nuts


I've always been nuts for nuts.  They are the perfect snack.  Satiating a rumbling belly in no time flat.  One of my go-to favorites is toasted almonds and plump raisins sprinkled with Himalayan sea salt that I discovered here.  And just the other day, I made a quick aperitif pairing of Rosemary Cashews.  Beware, whatever bowls you might fill with these nibbles will be empty before you know it.  

Rosemary Cashews
{adapted from Ina Garten}

1 pound roasted unsalted cashews
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary 
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
Spread the cashews out on a sheet pan.  Toast in the oven until warm, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, sugar, salt, and butter.  
Toss the warm cashews with butter mixture and serve warm.


[Reverie-Daydream Image]

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