Not in Sweatpants

Friday, December 5, 2014



Two months ago, my neck froze up, my traps were knotted tightly, my right shoulder would not rotate, and my wrists and hands burned from carpal tunnel tightness.  Daily indulgences in very refined gluten and dairy free versions of bread, chips, and muffins with small cartons of coconut ice cream on the side plus  a dip or two into a very verboten take out box of carne asada fries later, I woke up one morning completely in pain, sick to my stomach and knowing (in a very Gwyneth way - natch) that my body was saying, "This has to stop. Clean it up or keep getting kicked in the ass by your own ass." A series of physical therapy appointments alternating with acupuncture, modified yoga and barre mix classes, a new prescription vitamin supplement and two sessions with my beloved cognitive behavioral therapist later,  I am on the mend.  

Feeling less than normal, it would be very easy to start schlepping around town the way subjects in PEOPLE Magazine do at the gas station and in hypermarket parking lots, but I think that the best way to make yourself feel worse is to look in the mirror and have the sad state of your appearance frowning back at you.  I had to have some basic standards during this crazy period.  My mantra this whole time, "Not In Sweatpants"  

Ugh,  I need to walk four blocks holding market bags of bok choy ...
Not in Sweatpants

This errand I need to run in the rain ...
Not In Sweatpants

I will go makeup free today ...
Not in Sweatpants

I'm just going to meet with her really really quickly ...
Not In Sweatpants

I am just going to sit and people watch after physical therapy ...
Not In Sweatpants 


I will hide my under eye circles with sunglasses, and I may be walking around with my shoulders all knotted,  I just won't do it in sweatpants.  My hair might be undone and I can wear Converse instead of shoes all week, but if I am in sweatpants, it's like saying I don't really care about myself, when in fact, though imperfect, I still do.  We all need some limits, and unless I am coming from an actual work out, I can do anything in any mood I am in, just not in sweatpants.

Wiggle Room

Wednesday, December 3, 2014




Me:  Any chance you're free that night?

Her:  I work those nights ... 

Me:  ...it just means we'll have to make plans for another time ...

Her:  ... but I was going to ask if you are free at all tomorrow?

Me:  (thinking) yes I am ... around 3 or 3:30?

Her: We can go here so you can finally meet him.  I'm excited!  

Me:  SURE!!!! (emoji of two girls dancing)

Her:  ... is there an upper limit to your free time tomorrow?  Maybe 5 or 5:30 so she can join?  That would make my week!!!

Me:  (looking at schedule) Will do Barre at 1pm then.  5:30 it is!

Her:  She's in!  6:30?

Me:  (postponing something else) Schweet

Her:  These plans sure changed fast haha!  That work?

Me:  YES! 

Her:  Yay!  So happy this all fell into place!

Me:  When it's important and there is a little wiggle room time wise, we make it work. (smiley face with kiss)  See ya!



This is an actual text message exchange two days ago minimally adapted and shortened with no names.   Yes, we made it work.  It was so worth it.  I woke up dehydrated and slightly hung over this morning, but at least I applied my creams before bed.  Priorities, ladies.    

Here's to wiggle room.  We don't always have it, and when we do we need to spend it wisely.  There are so many tasks or commitments in the day and lots of people we want to see, but when the time is right, and it is simple enough to make a few tweaks here and there to our schedules, I am happy to dip into my Wiggle Room account and spend that currency when I can afford it.  What about you?

Snippets of My Week #10

Monday, November 24, 2014



Voices.  I hear voices now and then. Typically my own thoughts,  often my intuition speaking to me, but primarily it's my stomach  taking over the loud speaker. 

Case in point, a voice said last week, "It's okay to miss Barre Mix in favor of pancake mix."  Pancakes get lonely with only a pour of maple syrup.  Bacon, as we all know, is always a good idea.  It's convenient to toss it into the oven  (400 degrees for 15 minutes) while brushing my teeth and washing up in the morning.     This was not the first instance of bacon trumping barre but I don't use that excuse too often.  Just the other night the voice of my physical therapist played in my head as I ran to evening class in the pouring rain, "Unless you have a fever, you need to work out."   Maybe she knows I need to off set all of the bacon.  


My morning kitchen counter condition


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The color gray has been speaking to me in a big way.  It's the friendly neutral for clothing and for interiors.  At the joint Rue Magazine and Serena & Lily party, I lost myself in my aspirational decorating dreams.  I was transfixed by this nursery shelf, but no voices spoke to me other than those of design and color planning.  Everybody calm down.  


The shoes, the crown, THAT teeny tiny tooth purse - too much! at Serena & Lily




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When clothes speak so directly to me, I try to pay attention.  This t-shirt with the hotdog necklace and 
frappuccino shoes had a voice with an important mantra to share with me.

"Whatever.  I'm getting cheese fries."


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Having to forgo the Rotunda's popover & strawberry butter is impossible, ask anyone, so you'll understand I had a few bites.  I effortlessly passed on the tray at tea as the voice consoled me, "Petits Fours Schmettites Fours.  Champagne & shrimp-crab salad is still a big win." 







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I have been sitting at many a table for one lately to jot down notes or to read quietly. In this case, the voice convinced me that sipping tea while watching the bartender prep for happy hour was much more interesting. 



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Cocktails, crafts, and conversation made my wet trek to the Camille Styles Entertaining book launch well worth it!  The voice told me I should just put on my duck boots head over in the rain.  I kept my signed copy & treats so close to my chest enroute home in the downpour that Husband thought the two cookies I brought home for him were actually just one big squishy cookie! 

L-R: A gift wrapping station; Sugared cranberries in champagne.  All decor & paper details by Minted, the evening's host.
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Holiday prep calls for gathering and meeting.  The voice pushed me to plan a midweek meet up with a few paper loving blog friends to write notes of gratefulness & thanksgiving.  A definite highlight to the month so far, my second #happymailhappyhour was full of easy camaraderie & card coveting executed pop up style at the communal table in my favorite cafe.  I plan to host another happy mail happy hour in early 2015, the format of which is to be determined.  If you are interested in joining, please sign up for my newsletter and head to my Pop Up Party! Happy Mail Happy Hour post (here) to leave a comment!

Thanking someone for completing a neighborly task.


May your upcoming week be even better than the one that just passed, full of great food, fun friends, and whatever else tickles your fancy.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and THANK YOU THANK YOU for coming to my part of the internet and being a part of my community.  I would love to hear from you, so you can always comment here, check me out on Instagram or Twitter (blogger_bp) or even send me an email.  

Life seems so ordinary to all of us, but doing my snippets helps me notice the charm in the everyday. May you continue to appreciate the charm in your unique life too!










Pop Up Party! Happy Mail Happy Hour

Friday, November 21, 2014




Sitting in a cafe exchanging ideas with a blog buddy about creating content, technical challenges, general practices, and upcoming goals, I told MontgomeryFest I'd been wanting to host another #happymailhappyhour but the logistics and timing of it had proved tricky this time of year.  The spirit of the thing is to just write letters and to enjoy ourselves while encouraging others to do the same, as was done so successfully in August.  I have been discovering more paper brands through the magic of social media and the recent Renegade Craft Fair that I wanted to share with friends, while really itching to plan a casual girls' get together, as I love to do now and then.  After reassuring me I could just plan something small, I told MontgomeryFest, "You know what?  Let's just do it.  Let's have another one, a  small one the week after next.  We can do it potluck paper style, and well ... I can figure out the rest."  So we did.  Thank you for the wink of confidence, MontgomeryFest.  It was time.  

While exchanging a few gorgeous notes with letter pressing gem, Allison, of Ink Meets Paper last September,  I kept in mind that her co-creator/ husband, Daniel, and she were more than happy to contribute to my next #happymailhappyhour in some way.  Is there any doubt why this brand was a recent Martha Stewart American Made Finalist?  They generously sent these popular postcards for guests with my order of friendship cards.


Photo by bp.


My next plan of action was to buy more gel pens at Maido because none of the other twenty plus pens I have from Paper Source and Tokyu Hands   had the exact pen tip I needed in bronze nor the rose gold color I desired to use for my thank you notes.  It's not just the paper that counts, but the pens have to feel good and look great too, if you want to get down to some serious writing.  That's MY excuse.  


Testing pens is a psychological exercise.  Read my mind on their testing sheet.  Photo by bp.


Guests were instructed to meet at the cafe at six o'clock, but MontgomeryFest and I arrived an hour early so we could grab the communal table in back.  No reservations, no talking with the manager, which for a rule abiding, reservations making, minimum order worrying person like me was a slight thrill.  Relax, blogger_bp, it's a semi public place for goodness sake, where people come to work, meet and eat. Besides, it's not a library.  

The communal table was the object of my affection for the event.  I don't know what that girl is stressed about -writer issues?   Photo by bp

We got to work, (Pop-Up Style!) as each person arrived with her sharable stationery stash in tow such as handmade pieces, Rifle Paper Co.,  Garance Dore (c/o Rifle Paper, natch), and other various brands. My choice contribution included my favorite, JulieAnnArt (Boom.Manners.), the ever classic and stylish FermeAPapier (Merci), and new hot picks InkMeetsPaper (Grateful You're My Friend & Happy Thoughts),  and the perfect acorn card from the graphically eclectic LittleArrowStudio (Give Thanks).  I also brought some Egg Press (orange letterpressed#write_on cards from their collaborative project with Hello Lucky.

Top L-R: Communal stash; my picks from FermeAPapier, JulieAnnArt, InkMeetsPaper, LittleArrow & EggPress/HelloLucky.  Bottom: Yes To Carrots says yes to #happymailhappyhour too!  SO generous!   Photos by bp


The servers at the cafe were amused, "Are you girls writing cards?  That's so cute!"  After serving plate after plate of caprese or turkey sandwiches and salads, I was relieved that we definitely were going to be able to tuck in for the evening, and that the creative and convivial vibe could commence.  I declared the theme for the #happymailhappyhour:  Gratefulness and Thanksgiving, a time to write to those you want to thank for a simple pleasure, a grand gesture, or even a long overdue love letter.  Need we really have a reason?   We were all grateful to the delightful Connected Carrot  for the surprise Yes To Carrots products she brought for the group!  The cleansers, lotions, eye creams, spot treatments, and FACE WIPES (I am a coconut wipes fan here) made us nearly as nuts at the end of the night as when we started sorting through the stationery three hours earlier - Total comedy.
  
MontgomeryFest and Carla of AlyssaandCarla getting busy as a Garance muse looks on beneath a bowl of coffee.
 Photos by Lila of LingeringDayDreams

@_lovelyletters_ came to play hard.  A full box of paper and her calligraphy set in hand, she practiced her perfect lettering while I scribble scrabbled away in my cards.  I should have had her at least address one my envelopes to offset my poor hand, or would that have made it more obvious?  There was a collective gasp when some macaroon cream plopped onto one of her pages.  "It's fine, I'm only practicing," she laughed.  If she were in my high school calligraphy class I may have tried submitting her 'practice page' as my final project.   

@_lovelyletters_ and her lovely writing
Photos by Lila of LingeringDayDreams

Writing a note for my neighbor.  Yes, I smile a lot, unless I'm deep in thought.  Smiling's my favorite.
Photos by Lila of LingeringDayDreams


The freaking rockstar bad a$$ DIYer herself, Lila, finally in front of the lens as Ashlee is working behind hers.
Photo by bp.

The Digital Carrot (with a hot cup and a hot mani) and her macaroon stack.  Washi tape and Lila's handmade cards.
Photos by Lila of LingeringDayDreams


Happiness at #happymailhappyhour


It's only been two days and already I am imagining the next time.  I love bringing together varied friends who connect so easily over a shared interest as simple as snail mail and stationery (and beauty products - surprise or not).  A girl date during a mid week San Francisco downpour sets the stage very well, don't you think?   The key to any recipe is always in the ingredients.  This pop up paper party is a recipe worth repeating.


Are there any card lines out there you would share if you were there?  Let's talk about it in the comments below!  

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