seven heaven

things that were good that happened today:
01) because i've got a late meeting tonight, i'm working a shifted day. i got up this morning, went to the gym, then got to come home and have a leisurely breakfast of sausages, eggs & homefries (just a few!) with jess and our friend who's visiting from london. delish!

02) it's more sunny and less windy today than it was yesterday.

03) it's hump day. 'nuff said. (heehee)

04) i drank the proper amount of water. feelin good.

05) i've reduced the time that it takes me to ellipse (cause that's what you do on an elliptical) 2.5k by three minutes. woot!

06) jason pollan's 'every person in new york' series makes me happy in a picasso-esque way. i'd love to buy one of them and put it in a simple red eggshell painted wooden frame. mmm. and put it on my windowsill in my office. shyeah.

07) etsy's featured seller today, bykali, makes super cool belt buckles. i'd like to buy this one. plus, she just seems like a damn cool person. (ever feel like you'd just like to have a huge convention of all the online people you'd like to meet, and see if they are the same way as you'd imagined them? maybe i'm just curious like that.)


building block

i love this quote; the passion described in it speaks to me.

it's an idea that i'd love to build on.

i was in chapters yesterday and found two more fascinating books to add to my to-read list. in particular, one was entitled "Dear Future Me"; sort of a takeoff on the PostSecret idea, but where people write emails to themselves that are delivered to them at a date in the future selected by them.

there have been studies that show how writing down one's goal's can affect the likelihood of coming true, which lead me to think about where i'd like to be one ... five ... ten years from now. hm. interesting. where would i like to be in five years? i'll be thirty. whoa. will i have any kids? where will i be working? will i have the job i'd like to have, in the are i'd like to be?

what's your plan? do you have one? in his book smart women finish rich, david bach outlines the benefits of writing down your goals; he'd demonstrated this point with an example from harvard alumni. three percent of the graduating student class from harvard wrote down very specific goals that they'd set for themselves for the next few years, and when they'd followed up with them years later, that same three percent had accomplished a good part of what they'd hoped to.

now, i'm completely aware of the potential for inaccuracy in that example since (as far as i know) the findings weren't the result of academic research, but the idea is there... expressly communicating your goals - even if to yourself - in a medium aside from your own thoughts puts them out there into the world. you might even say that it breathes them into existence. there's a greek word, nomos, that is used by sociologists and psychoanalysts to describe the socially constructed orderly world on either an individual or social level. i have heard a slight variation on nomos as, loosely translated, the process of naming, giving a semblance of order and organization.

in the same vein, physically naming goals and aspirations gives rise to their reality and existence. even if it's just writing them down in a journal.. even the ones that seem incredibly silly or unrealistic. i don't mean to wax poetic about reaching for the stars, but think about it; plans usually don't just tumble into place on their own. i'd much rather give them a jump start by taking that first step and creating a game plan for it.

mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time. burn. burn. burn.

{those are the people who get things done.}


thirteen from red otter

i've been corresponding with miss julia aka red otter for over a year now - and it's hard to believe! she's one of the sweetest people i've ever met. or didnt meet. online. either way. she's awesome, and so are the journals that she creates.

she's been selling her wares on etsy since february 2007, and has been featured on various other blogs, but it's high time that she underwent my grueling interview process. kudos to her for surviving it!

without further adieu...

01. tell us a bit about yourself; name, location, affiliations, personal stuff. y'know.
I'm Julia, aka Jewels, Red Otter, Jay, JB, Z, Sugar Bump... I live in Madison WI with my cute, cute, cute husband Andrew, our six plants, a massive collection of books, movies, and music, one red Bug, and a fuzzy bathrobe.

02. if you could describe yourself with any three words, what would they be?
Youthful, intuitive, creative

03. what first made you want to become an artist?
Norman Rockwell, Vermeer, Georgia O'Keefe, Rembrandt.

04. how did you make that transition into selling your creations?
Someone handed me a business card of an artist selling on Etsy. That was the moment of transition, when I realized that there was a forum that I could sell my journals. Now, it took me months to get my journals in my shop!

05. where do you get your inspiration?
Cozy Up, Wunderbug, The Peach Tree, Blaze Danielle, Design Spounge, Perfect Bound, Yvestown, Design for Mankind, The Paper Pony, Belle and Boo, in leaf, and so many other blogs that seem to supply our world with endless inspiring photos, artist, quotes, and other yummies!

06. apart from creating things, what do you do?
I'm a hiker, swimmer, lover, dancer, graphic designer, mischief maker :)

07. what are your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and blogs?

A Ring of Endless Light, by Madeleine L'Engle
A Brief History of the Dead, by Kevin Brockmeier
Siddartha, by Herman Hesse

Happily Ever After (French)
Love Actually

Frou Frou
Marc Cohn

Cozy Up
The Peach Tree

08. if you could learn to work with any medium that you don't currently work with, which would it be?
I desperately want to learn how to do letterpress! Type gets me excited, paper even more so, and antiquated machines that allow you to combine the two? Whoot, whoot!

09. what is your favorite handmade item that you have purchased?
The two I love the most right now weren't purchased, per se, one was won and the other was a gift, but they're both from Etsy and I lub dem! Miss Clarrisa scarf from Cozy Up and pink and green pouch from the Dainty Squid.

10. what is your favorite item that you have created?
My Raspberry Lemonade Notebook! I love how it folded together and the pink paper combo!

11. what undiscovered artists would you recommend to the world?
Uber Art
Nuthatch Notes
Be Happy Now

12. in ten years I'd like to be...
One of those women who figures out how to balance family life and her creativity and passion for caring for people. I want to be a nurse, with four dark haired, curly-topped children, with a huge studio out back for all of her paper and bits and bobs, next to her husbands massive library!

13. what is the best advice you have ever received?
Breathe. Take a deep breath. And another one. Things will start to clear.


no room for censorship here.

something about censorship gives me the willies.

amnesty international's campaign site irrepressible is a pretty neat idea; as part of amnesty international, it fights internet censorship from various countries by encouraging bloggers to publish fragments of censored materials to their blogs/websites.

from the campaign's website:
"Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right. It is one of
the most precious of all rights. We should fight to protect it."


long weekend, day two

so we're almost through our long weekend and i've yet to wear a short sleeved shirt (without a jacket) ... and i've yet to wear anything resembling a skirt or sandals.

um, hello long weekend, did you not get the memo? we need some warm! lets bust out the hot weather over here.

(well ok, i lied a lil bit about the sandals thing. i wore a pair of open-toe wedges to mike's sister's bridal shower. it just sounds more effective when i'm exaggerating, doesnt it?)

either way. it was raining like a mutha today... we even got a little bit of hail for good measure. all we'd need is snow and we'd have had the entire range of crappy weather. (sorry, no, i'm not tempting fate here.) but all in all, a pretty sweet day. while mike hung out with his out-of-town family and did boy stuff like talk about technology and satellite tv, i got a chance to relax at home with my sisters and mom and watched august rush.

ok, yeah, so it was a little bit over the top and the dialogue sometimes belabored the point, trying to make it seem more magical when i felt like it just felt like it was skirting precariously on the edge of craziness... but all in all, it was ok. definitely a renter. when there's nothing else really in the movie store. and it's a rainy day. and into the wild is available but you cant watch it because you promised your boyfriend that you'd watch it with him (cause you're just a nice person like that).

i'm sure you get my drift. anyhow. we watched it, and i didnt feel like i wasted 2 hours of my life so it all turned out well in the end.

tomorrow: big-ass brunch planned with mike's outgoing relatives before they drive back to sudbury... and then my mutha-from-anutha ... uh.. mutha (?) is having a surprise party so we'll be heading off to that. (define: she's my second mom.) then... RELAX! nothing. i have a pile of polymer clay stuff that i'd like to create, plus i had a pair of earrings commissioned so i hope to work on those a lil bit.

oh yeah, plus, i have another two days to my victoria day weekend after everyone else goes back to work on tuesday. (can i get a woot woot?)

now, if we can just get it to stop raining...


crisp, clean, white

sometimes a girl just needs some crisp white walls. it's like having a crisp white blouse - classic chic and oh-so-flexible. today, i'm that kind of girl.

i found this hell's kitchen loft via design*sponge, designed by david allee. that window is to die for. i need, i pine.

these two beauties (below), i found while looking on absolutely beautiful things. if i had tons of money, i could remake my cottage aka dad's house into something that looks like this. but i don't think he'd go for it since he likes it as-is. ah well - a girl can dream. (but daaaad, all we'd need is new flooring! and new furniture! and white paint!)

happy thursday, everyone. we're almost there!


the bookworm 13

i've just added a few new books to my book list. just a few. it's gonna be a long {literary} summer.

all things slow:
01. beyond 9 to 5: your life in time by sarah norgate
02. the age of speed: learning how to thrive in a more-faster-now world by vince poscente {yes, i know this seems interesting given my slow living penchant, but i like to know what's going on in The Other Camp if for no other reason than for informational purposes}

green, green, and green. (and a bit slow too):
03. the world without us by alan weisman
04. deep economy: the wealth of communities and the durable future by bill mckibben
05. cradle to cradle: remaking the way we make things by william mcdonough & michael braungart
06. building the green economy: success stories from the grassroots by kevin danaher

for pensive digestion:
07. the omnivore's dilemma by michael pollan
08. in defense of food by michael pollan

09. stuffed and starved by raj patel.

10. little cakes from the whimsical bakehouse by kaye & liv hansen
11. barefoot contessa at home by ina garten

everybody needs a little fiction in their lives:
12. in her shoes by jennifer weiner
13. the birth of venus by sarah dunant


by jove, i've just had a hankering

so i thought i'd check my email quickly before hitting the hay in preparation of my super long day tomorrow, when unbeknownst to me there was a message waiting for me from my dear friend martha. ms martha and i are good buds; she emails me recipes on a regular basis which more often than not, look absolutely delicious.

{and yet more often than not, remain in my inbox and not on my plate. which hurts my heart.}

today's recipe was for shrimp pad thai. it reminded me of the incredible pad thai that i had while i was in waterloo ... so totally expensive, but so completely the best that i've ever had in my life. it's left me wanting more ever since i finished my plate.

ms martha, my darling, you are my new best friend. now i just need to figure out a way to get you to come live at my house and cook this stuff for me.

one day.


sweet art and the oldest living things

last week, i was speaking with one of my super cool colleagues who is also an etsy and handmade-art fiend (buyer, not seller) and she was telling me about this website called 20x200, where people can buy one of a limited edition of 200 art prints from various artists (including some big names as well, apparently) for $20, or 20 for $200, or 2 for $2000. suh-weet! now, being the furthest thing from a fine art connoisseur, i wouldn't know a big name if it were to come up and bite me in the face, but i know that some of it looks pretty freakin' awesome.

one of the artists featured was rachel sussman, who is a lady on a pretty cool mission: according to the 20x200 blog, ms rachel is "researching, working with biologists, and traveling around the world to photograph living organisms, aged 2000 years old and older" for her photographic series entitled "oldest living thing in the world".

hello, unique idea! it's like the creative version of a professor on research leave. so bohemian chic.

(top photo: Pollution Post Unlimited by Andrew MacRae; bottom photo: a 2000-year-old baobab tree, Rachel Sussman)


new blog friday

so i've noticed a trend in other people's blogs: they seem to enjoy having theme days. maybe it helps them write better on days when they've nothing really burning to get out there and blog about. maybe it just organises their thoughts better. iono.

regardless, i dont think i could pick a theme for a day if i wanted to. some days i'm not quite sure what i'd like to blog about, some days i have multiple ideas so i just paste links into draft postings to come back to later ... (sometimes, as it turns out, they prefer to stay as drafts and never really make their cyber debut). either way, some days, i get smacked with something so spectacular i get really excited about it and just need to really share it with someone. or a bunch of someones.

since i suspect that emailing my incredible new blog finds out to my entire office would be frowned upon, i'll expel my excitement here. today will be New Blog Friday. catch this rare event today, and today alone.

yes, it's the uber-rare going-the-way-of-the-dodo of all theme day blog posts.

i was reading kal barteski's lovelife post today and clicked on her link for a writer named jennifer jeffrey, thinking that if this is someone that kal is calling very, very talented {and being a big fan of kal's work}, then she must be spectacular.

i was blown away. seriously. it's not just spectacular, it's stinkin spectacular. her stuff is witty and well-written, optimistic yet realistic. i'm going to need to take a good chunk o'time to read through old posts, but from the several that i've read thus far, i'm in bloggy heaven.

particularly her post entitled unfold(ing). check it out.

it's like she read my mind. incroyable.

is it possible to put a picture frame around an entire blog?


new favourite thing

ah julia. your gorgeous things make me smile. i couldnt help while browsing her blog today but notice this incredibly purple grape iris notebook that is screaming for some attention and creative quotes to fill it. even the title is pretty... it reminds me of hot summer nights in a garden thick with flowers and high hedges - an alice in wonderland or secret garden-esque kind of pretty. {and the ribbon, and the button... such a beautiful touch!} i love that all of her journals have some sort of unique flourish.

check out more of her stuff here.


weekend + early week recap

so. saturday turned out to be a bit of a rainy day so i bailed on the garage sale idea (it's just not the same in the rain!) and slept in a bit. i most definitely saw iron man with mike and our friends rob and justyna and... well... it was actually pretty good. that is to say, except for the part where i drank a huge movie theatre pop, then had to pee super bad right near the beginning of the movie, but far enough into it that people had gotten comfortable and started to lose themselves in the imaginative world of Marvel comics.

i looked down the aisle to my left... it was pretty packed. checked the right... same thing. aisle full of people. {we thought that our seats were prime seats until i realized there was no escape without pissing a bunch of comic book fans off... on the third night of a hugely anticipated superhero movie.} so i excusemepardonmethankyou'ed my way out of the aisle, made it to the washroom and excusemepardonmethankyou'ed my way right back in to my centre seat again. if looks could kill, i tell ya. i would have been dead meat.

i'm glad i'm not dead meat.

we got our drop-in program up and running yesterday successfully (woot!) for new students, and things have been going well and the team is doing an awesome job thus far. awesome. awesome. we couldn't be happier. (plus mike directed & edited the short video featured on that site, and he did a super job of that too.) they've been doing their own blogs for new students to read & follow prior to starting university and damn can these guys write! awesome. {did i mention awesome?} they have such incredibly creative & innovative ideas for their content, i'm actually totally blown away.

tomorrow: work's still pretty busy but in the evening i hope to meet up with a financial advisor, inspired by the book i'm reading right now (for the second time), david bach's smart women finish rich. i've recently decided on a fairly large (and seemingly insurmountable) goal for me to buy a house... which requires a down payment {and yes, i have very little money to go towards said down payment} but i figure, with a little bit of strategic planning, i can take a few steps toward that goal. and my book is working as inspiration along the way. {seriously, i'd highly recommend it to anyone... it's by the same author who wrote 'the automatic millionaire', 'start late, finish rich', and 'smart couples finish rich'}.

speaking of goals, i was able to get to the gym tonight for the first time in a week and a bit. it's funny how working a busy week (or two, or three) exhausts you. no more of that! you might say that this here girl is back on track. i ran (ellipsed?) 3.5 miles baby -- that's pretty good for having missed a few visits!


shady river, mental week

this pic makes me feel calm, calm, calm in the middle of my busy mental week. i took it early last fall on an unusually warm day, on the little Rouge River.

today: working my tail off to get our drop-in program off the ground, ready for Monday's opening.
tonight: nothing. sweet nothing... except maybe watching a little bit of last night's Survivor and Greys. and then some more nothing. glorious. maybe i'll fit some playing of the Sims 2 in there somewhere as well.
this weekend: garage sale-ing, if i can find any. which i will. i'll keep you all posted on what treasures i find.


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