a place to lay my head.

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(Yes, I still have a twin bed. It's snuggly...and a little nerdy.)

Whenever something unpleasant happens in my life, I find myself rearranging my home. As if moving beds, chairs, tables and hanging new wall decor is symbolic for what I'm so desperately trying to do in my heart: shove hefty things about and gain a new perspective.

Enough psychobabble. Ahem.

Although this weekend was packed with busyness, I was determined to sleep in a freshly styled bedroom tonight. More than anything, I was trying to avoid the shabby-chic look that I adore. Shabby-chic still has my heart, but it can so easily get "busy" in a small space. A mix of sleek boutique hotel and flirtatious youthfulness seemed like a fun challenge, though. Simple. Unfussy. Easily edited in the future.

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The madness began: I found myself trying to jam a 4'X4' piece of particle board into my backseat, buying about fourteen sizes of heavy duty staples and hammering my own finger. What can I say? Not exactly a DIY diva, here. For future reference: the particle board won't fit. It's theoretically impossible. Triple check your stapler size. And, well, the last one's obvious: look before you swing.

But, to those DIY headboard skeptics, I say: Easy. As. Pie. Actually, easier. The cost of supplies was around $30, and I was finished within an hour. If you're lucky enough to have a husband, trusty boyfriend or a random stud of a man to assist you, I guarantee you can finish it in half that. I flew solo on this project, which made a few steps a smidge sticky. Maneuvering this weighty beast alone was a little challenging, but nothing a goal-oriented gal can't handle.

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(That lampshade is tilted, I know. It's driving me crazy, too.)

It was so good for the heart. There's nothing quite like the therapeutic swinging of a hammer, letting your mind get lost in trivial things like mirror arrangements and throw pillows. Leave behind longing thoughts of a man, looming pile of work e-mails, surmounting cost of tuition and early morning commutes. Simply bliss out and experience joy while creating a new living, breathing space.

In the silliest of ways, I feel like a new woman. :)


fixing a dreary dreamland.

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(The dreamland I'm tackling. Goodness, it needs some help. But, I swear that frame is normally straight...)

Now that my tiny living room has become a make-shift studio, (easel + paper pads + brushes + pencils + cameras + tripods +...) it's thinkability factor has flown away, and often leaves me stressed about messes and mountains of homework, rather than refreshed and inspired. My bedroom has become my solace. A small space to which I can retreat to dream and write...and snuggle up with a 40 pound textbook. But, the room has remained untouched for the twoish years I've lived in my apartment. Sure, I've bought a few new throw pillows, moved the bed a two inches to the right but nothing very lively.

Until today. Today is the day in which I create for myself an inspired and grown-up room for dreaming and dozing. With a little help from Jessica's headboard tutorial, a few trusty power tools and a renewed spirit of feminine "can do"...I'm planning to flip this decoratively dull space into a dreamland fit for the queen I am.

Too spunky, too soon? I'm taking some advice I was recently given: fake it 'til you make it. Consider that last line some faked confidence. :)

Happy weekend, sweet readers. Hope it's filled with inspired moments!



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(One of my classes this semester features...a four foot drawn/painted self-portrait. Consider me nervous. On another class-related note: I just started reading this book for my Art History class. Cannot. Put. It. Down.)

There's a beautiful moment in recovering from heart-smushing, in which you realize that you can do no more. You can wish and pray that you'd been enough...but you can't force your way into someone else's heart. Unfortunately, this discovery doesn't mean you'll pine any less, but it does leave you with a little peace. The ability to breathe.

Sometimes, you have to stop dreaming of princes, of happily ever afters...and start living for happily right now.

Perhaps in living happily right now...my happily ever after will be found. :)


because there aren't words...

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(My newest class began Monday and involves...color. Pastels and paints and brushes. How perfect for a girl who is so desperately trying to repaint her world!)

Although it may seem flippant, I mean it with my whole heart. For the comments, the e-mails, the encouragement...the everything. Verbalizing is not my forte, so rather than talk it out with friends...I write. As if somehow, editing photos and manicuring text makes sense out of emotions I can't quite grasp. Or, at the very least, takes messy, sad things and makes them a bit creative, beautiful and therefore more livable. So thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for listening, reading, encouraging and tolerating. :)

For now, I write to him. All the thoughts that rattle around in my head, I write down in letter format before I go to sleep. No one will ever see these letters to him, of course, but there are now so many excess words that I just don't know what to do with...serious words about my heart, faith and goals, and humorous words about stoplights, Wal-marts and Salvador Dali. In time the words will dry up and I will miss him less. But for now, all this writing gives me sanity. (I realize this is crazy...feel free to mock me. It's ridiculous and strange, and were someone else to tell me they were doing this, I'd think they were truly disturbed. I am not disturbed...just simply cannot sleep if I leave things unexpressed.)

The color is beginning to come back. The girl who sees color and life is very much still in me...she's just taking longer than I imagined to resurface. One of these days she'll burst forth with a vengeance.

In the meantime, thanks for bringing me color and so much wisdom. You are fantastic. :)


packing up the prince.

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It's amazing the things one can stash away over the course of a month or two. The cards, letters, notes, Christmas gifts, the little pieces from a few days together.

The intelligent girl in me knows that a clean break is smart. She knows that throwing away these trinkets, deleting text messages, photos, e-mails...that is smart. But the romantic girl in me feels otherwise. She's the one whose soft heart carefully stashed away each item in the drawer she'd dedicated to things from him. Maybe in time, she'll be ready to throw it all away. But not yet. Just not yet.

So this box, note attached, was my compromise. And as I precariously climbed atop a dusty trunk to tuck the box in the deepest depths, the nearly unreachable parts of my storage closet...I only cried a little.

And for right now, a little is so very good. :)


finding color.

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Can I just tell you how many bathrooms I've cried in this week?

I've cried in so many bathrooms...so, so many bathrooms. I've cried on planes, in cars, on trams. I've cried in showers, in beds, on couches, at desks. I've cried at coffee shops, in restaurants, at ice skating rinks and in stores. I've cried while eating grilled cheese sandwiches, while chewing gum and while drinking more chai lattes than I care to count. I cry when I wake up, cry while I get ready for the day, cry on my lunch breaks and cry while trying to fall asleep.


Oh, the places you will cry when your heart is bruised. And the worst part is, I don't even feel dried up yet. This evening, I actually cried thinking about how I can't stop crying. What the heck is that all about?

But, tonight I decided that when life goes fuzzy and loses color, you have two choices: (1) learn to live in black and white or (2) find the color, and friggin' paint the town.I'll admit that today I've chosen option one by spending another evening teary-eyed and writing in a coffee shop. But starting tomorrow...I'm forcing myself to choose the latter. Packing up oh-so-fresh memories of the prince and slowly, slowly, slowly finding enough color to repaint my world.

Note: I promise you I am a normal, emotionally healthy being. Truly, I am. Looking back, I just don't think that I've ever really had my heart smushed. Heart-smushing, now that I've encountered it, is wretched. Boys that smush girl's hearts are jerks. And girls that encounter it should get a tax deduction for all the pretty they have to buy in an attempt to stop crying. Who's with me? (Insert the cries of an angry mob here.) :)


get thee to a nail salon.

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If there is one thing modern princesses have taught me, it is this: when your heart is aching, get thee to a nail salon.

And tonight I did. How Elle Woods of me.

Nail salons aren't places I normally choose to be, but today I chose anywhere but home. Today, for the first time in ages, work was enthralling. Each e-mail, phone call...every busying distraction received a thankful mental kiss from me. My heart dropped when the hands of the clock reached half past four...signaling my need to leave my desk, to tear my mind away from the distractions that had kept my heart on "off" all day. Thankfully, a few blessed errands awaited me this evening, and after completing those I tearfully sunk into the manicure chair.
Tonight I find myself typing from a coffeehouse, avoiding my little apartment. I'd rather be anywhere else in the world than home. Anywhere.

In the weeks of the prince, home was an exciting place. It had a color, an excitement, a life. A place in which I excitedly listened for text messages, phone calls, primped, got ready to see him...rooms in which my heart beat wildly at the thought that I just might have found a man who knew my heart, and perhaps I knew his. Not just the excitement of a new person, but of finding someone with whom I shared a connection like I hadn't experienced previously...a kindred heart and mind that inspired me creatively and otherwise. Now home has returned to it's former disenchanted self: a lonely place in the big, scary world filled with nothing but me. My rambling heart. My bumbling thoughts. Thoughts and theories that used to be shared with him, but now just float about in my mind searching for a resting place. Home is a place I don't want to be for a little while...reminders of my time with the prince permeating each room...each whispering to me that I was naive. That I was silly. That I cared too quickly and too much. And I did.

But, in all of this, I've experienced something beautiful. I've come to believe that people can read heartache...even perfect strangers...and so sweetly reach out. Today was filled with thoughtful, unexpected gestures from those around me: a warm welcoming vanilla latte, a lunch date, a little unforeseen heart-to-heart and the sweetest compliments from a few strangers in the grocery store.

God bless those who are there to pick you up when you fall. To brush away your tears. To softly lift your silly, naive heart...without once telling you how foolish you were to carelessly and unabashedly open it to someone. (That's not to say that the prince was at all unfair, just simply unaware of how very much I cared. I suppose I was unfair in that I didn't express it well to him.) Heartfully I say...God bless those people. A girl like me would not make it a day without them.

Heartache or not, I am blessed. And, in time, I will be okay.

EDIT: Thank you so very much for your gentle encouragement on this and my prior post. Again...the kindness of (mostly) strangers continues to amaze me, and for you, your thoughtful words and sentiments I am so very grateful.


on meeting a prince.

florida012.jpg picture by wakeworkrinserepeat
(This weekend I found myself in Florida, near the sea. It was beautiful.)

We, single ladies, like to pretend princes no longer exist...as if they're some mythical creature of old that now we can only experience by returning to books, movies and age-old stories. But every once in a very great while, you meet one. A prince who still believes in chivalry, sweetness and old-time romance. A prince whose eyes melt your heart, whose gentle softness warms you completely, who sees beauty and experiences creativity as you do...a prince who possesses a killer vocabulary (yes, this princess is a little nerdy) and makes you feel alive.

Confession: I kissed a real, true prince, and my silly heart was captured. I threw the caution I typically surround myself with to the wind and fell for him so completely, so quickly. Unfortunately, I did not capture his heart.

And so, I now endure the heartache that only a pining princess can truly say she's experienced. Sighing endlessly, drumming my fingers against the table, wistfully gazing out my window...each passing second feeling like an eternity.

Romance is terrifying, and this formerly suave princess is so very, very awful at playing it cool.



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One last resolution: less words. (Why? See last post. So many words. Soooo many.) Goodness gracious, I'm sure your eyes need a break. I'll keep it simple today.

I like sparkly things. I'm female--so no explanation needed. But in the midst of packing up from Christmas, these sparkly things caught my attention and reminded me that although I was somewhat glumly packing away my favorite sparkles, a few of them could remain out...year round. :)

(Whew. That brevity almost killed me. Not sure I can do this...)

inspiration: in black and white.

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I had stood, staring at what seemed like a massive expanse of paper, toyingly tossing my pencil back and forth between my hands for twenty minutes as he'd woven his way through the human obstacle course of 26 students, 26 easels, 26 drawing benches and 26 backpacks, jackets and portfolio bags. Every minute or so, I'd lean in close to my easel and make a series of light fidgety, squinty marks across my paper. Then, regretting it nearly immediately, I'd fiddle with my eraser...wondering if he'd notice if I used it, although we'd been distinctly told otherwise. I wasn't a rule breaker: just a girl who couldn't stand a misplaced mark. Sensing that he was about to orbit into my portion of the studio, I somewhat conflictingly made a few hasty marks across my paper. My eyes returned to the still life in the center of the studio just as he landed next to my easel. For a moment, his eyes traveled over my paper and then he just stood, watching me work. After an agonizing few seconds he spoke,

"You have good intuition and make good decisions...but you're overly insecure. Timid. You've got to just make a decision...and commit to it."

And that was the first real, true critique from the handsome British drawing instructor.

I chewed on those words for nearly a month, not wanting to believe I was creatively, artistically insecure. I'd convince myself otherwise...but late at night, I would stay up working on a drawing, only to realize that my pencil had not touched the paper for minutes. That I'd just been standing there...staring. Analyzing. Not committing. Drawing pictures that looked recognizable (yes, that is a tea cup...that is a table), but fussy, unnatural and lacking an energy which creative expenditures should offer. No matter how I tried to deny it, his critique had been spot on.

I continued to wrestle with this...until I met vine charcoal. Sweet, sexy, dark, messy charcoal. Vine charcoal is, quite literally, a stick of burnt wood. No pristine wood encasing like a graphite pencil...just burnt wood. The mess is unavoidable. There's no dainty, clean way to draw with it...it's a wonderfully smudgy medium. But something about that mess, the tactile feeling of being so sensorily involved in the creation in front of me, seemed to jolt me out of my artistic insecurities and perfectionistic pencil drawings. The ability to smudge away mistakes with a finger, or a quick breath across the paper began to allow me to commit to lines, shapes and shades without nervous worries about changing them later.

And now it all seems so very clear: the tie between my nervous attempts at putting a simple pencil on a simple paper in the studio with my approach to, well, life in general. Every single move for me (in life or on paper) is nervously thought out and disceted fourteen thousand times...and finally, after an embarrassing and agonizing length of time, I timidly, slowly begin to flesh things out--second guessing, eying my proverbial eraser the entire way. But...in so doing, I unknowingly remove movement, energy, natural flow and vulnerability from so many experiences.

So, this is my resolution for 2010: to live my life as a charcoal drawing. No fear of getting smudged and messy. Committing to ideas without fears of making changes later. To engage in life around me. No inhibitions...to simply create. To experience.

Oh my. I sound like an art freak in a coffee shop. Hmm. One semester in and I'm both inspired and have become a complete geek...

Two thousand and ten...what a ride it shall be. :)


ushering the holidays out.

roundedcollage.jpg picture by wakeworkrinserepeat

Incase this has gone undetected, I'll state it for the record: I love shades of aqua more than most sane and healthy individuals. This is evidenced in my apartment (above), and found to be abundantly true at Christmas. Playing with an aqua, red and silver color palette could keep me decoratively entertained for ages. But now that the holidays have passed,thinking about packing up the Christmas decor feels especially blue (no pun intended), as it means I pack away some of my favorite reds and silvers. However, I know that part of the excitement of that palette is knowing that I only have it to enjoy for so long. So, goodbye:

...sparkly silver star. Although you routinely tipped to the left this year, your overall atop tree performance was stellar.

...rosy-nosed Rudolph. Your earnest claymation sweetness never fails to make me smile. We'll meet next December and I'll melt anew at your heart-warming exclamation of, "She thinks I'm cuuuute!"

...cheery red berry threads strung throughout my apartment. You're such an inexpensive, festive fix to a decoratively dull tablescape. Weave through anything, add votives and tada! Centerpiece city.

...swell display of cast-off ornaments. You may not have the honor of donning my tree, but you're doing a fantastic job perking up my entryway in my favorite vintage glass bowl. Well done, glittery orbs.

Until next year, my beauties. :)


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