Why even the small stuff can and should be unforgettable.

I won’t offer some trite “sorry I’ve been M.I.A.” crap, because, well, it’s been a great summer and I’m not sorry.  Nor am I so conceited that I think anyone’s been chomping at the bit for me to post again.  I am at my best when I write because I want to. Not just to put something up.  So, without fanfare, let’s proceed.

There are some stories that become legendary- that we tell over and over, perhaps embellishing them a bit over the years and taking liberties. Sure, I remember that when I was in first grade, I bit a kid (Totally justified! Maybe. Not.). I remember when my friend Adam told me he spit in my apple juice (LIAR!) and made me throw up in the school cafeteria when I took a sip and saw bubbles that looked like spit bubbles (tres humiliating). Yeah, first grade was a rough year for me. *****cue Barbara singing “Memories.”***

On a random note: I'm glad she kept her nose. Jennifer Gray should've taken a hint from Babs.

On a random note: I’m glad she kept her nose. Jennifer Gray should’ve learned from Babs.

Legends aside, there are those little, lesser known and sometimes never acknowledged again moments that happen day-to-day and while no less meaningful, can so easily fade into the background and be forgotten. Our lives are made up of sequences of single minutes- some more vivid in our minds than others, but altogether, the sum of our existence.

Someone I admire deeply has a philosophy about appreciating every single minute you are given, no matter what. She says (while giving tirelessly of herself) that our lives are finite and our time is too special to squander- it’s the most valuable thing we have. I find myself wanting to live by these words, especially when I find myself wishing away days when I have something to look forward to on the weekend, when the work day just won’t end, or I stand in a particularly long express line, noting that the person in front of me appears to be stocking up for a nuclear Armageddon. Then I think to myself- it will never be August 29, 2013 at 4:30 (or whatever) ever again in the history of the world. It seems so silly, but it helps me slow down and appreciate it a bit more.

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So, as I went into the New Year, I didn’t really make resolutions. New Year’s resolutions make me insane- I like to do things no matter what time of year it is, but I decided that I wanted a way to remember the day-to-day stuff. I’m talking about the things that make my days a little brighter- both big AND small. I reasoned that in the grand scheme of how I experience joy, laughter, something profound, or simple enjoyment, it doesn’t matter how significant or insignificant seeming something actually is- who cares what it is if it makes you happy?

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So, I started the memory jar. Not a new idea, I know. I’m not claiming I’m the genius behind it. Anyway, I trekked to West Elm for a suitable vessel, I gathered up what felt like a meeeellion paint chips (when you’re smuggling them out of Lowe’s and Home Depot in stacks, it feels like a million, trust me), some gel pens (don’t do this- they smudge. Get a sharpie pen- there. I just saved you about fifteen bucks.), and “the jar” was born.

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A fun outing? Something crazy/funny/ridiculous/monumental happens? “That goes in the jar!” It’s actually become a mark of pride when someone gets in the jar (don’t worry, GG- you’ll get in!). Major kudos to my dear friend Pauline, who simply DOMINATES. Also making appearances: concert tickets, museum tickets, fortunes from fortune cookies, a couple of especially meaningful cards, confetti from the Pops Fourth of July Rehearsal, and a few other little trinkets.

MoMA ticket, Mumford and Sons Ticket, cards...and a little  recounting of an embarrassing ski incident...

MoMA ticket, Mumford and Sons Ticket, cards…and a little
recounting of an embarrassing ski incident…

I can’t always keep up with things. I have a running list in a mini notebook waiting for transfer to the paint chips, but it’s really fun to look back and see what’s happened over the year, look at the little things that I would have otherwise forgotten, relive it, remember where I was and laugh. The time it takes is well worth it to make those little moments unforgettable and reminds me to appreciate and reflect on things I may have otherwise forgotten or taken for granted. Well, that, and many of my friends have DIRTY senses of humor.

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Why I Stopped Food Blogging.

In 2007 I started a blog called “Colorhungry,” joining the legions of people starting food and cooking blogs.  I reasoned that #1 I knew how to cook thanks to my grandma, who insisted that I learn, “not to feed a husband,” but to feed myself; and #2 I passionately loved to write.  Obviously, I thought, this would make for a SMASHING success.  My overactive imagination (taking a break from pairing me up with Ryan Reynolds- don’t judge)  conjured up thoughts of appearances on Oprah and an invitation to join the Food Network.  I laugh hysterically thinking about this now, because let me just tell you- I got a pretty rude wakeup call and it happened much faster than I could have imagined.

I have nothing at all against cooking or food blogs.  So, why did I pretty quickly grow to loathe my blog?  I resented it.  Every meal became about “Can I put this on the blog?”  It stopped being about the love of food and cooking because it was about getting the perfect shot and writing down a delicious sounding, easy-to-follow recipe (I have so much respect for recipe developers).  The writing started to feel routine and contrived.  Photographing while cooking?  Terrible.  The steam fogs up the lens and you constantly have to wash your hands so you don’t get the camera dirty (and you better keep tons of hand lotion on hand to prevent a rhinoceros-like skin texture).  In the search for the perfect shot, the food often goes cold or loses its luster.  Often, by the time I took a halfway decent picture in crappy light, I was either starving or so frustrated that if I so much as looked at the food for another minute, I was liable to throw a very unflattering fit (don’t judge).

Blogging and writing became a chore because I had boxed myself into this little niche and once I established it, it was very difficult to get out of it.  When you’ve built up one small facet of yourself and that’s all you’ve shown because you THINK that’s what people want, you figure that’s what people expect. I felt trapped.  I never felt like I could write about what I wanted to write about- it was a food/cooking blog and that was that.  Towards the end of Colorhungry, I tried to infuse it with a little more of my actual personality, but by that point, I had lost any passion I might have once had and it felt like too big of a task to try to change it when I wasn’t motivated to do it.

Now, the purpose of this post is NOT to disparage food/cooking blogs.  On the contrary, there are several that I still read and one of my dearest friends in the world is a food/cooking blogger, with a fabulous blog, in which she often branches out of the food/cooking box.  My point with this post is simple.  Blogging only works well when you feel something about what it is you are writing about.  When your writing lacks soul (whether it be passion, interest, humor, etc), it all too often becomes a chore for you and formulaic for readers.  I see so many well-established blogs, of all different persuasions, floundering because the writers have not allowed their blogs to change WITH them.  Blogging burnout is NOT a mythical creature.

I started this blog because I was itching to write again, but this time I wanted to leave myself open to possibilities.  There are so many facets to me- who I am, what I do, what I love, how I perceive the world, that it would be a disservice to MYSELF to limit opportunities.  This time it’s not about how many readers/followers I can get.  It’s not about perks.  It’s not about anything other than the sheer love of writing.  Don’t misunderstand- I am SO THANKFUL to and humbled by everyone who reads and likes this little blog of mine.  This time around, though, when someone responds and connects with me or what I write, it’s just a little sweeter because I know its ME that they’re responding to.  There are A LOT of “theme” blogs out there right now- so many genres to choose from.  I think it’s ok not to fit yourself into a category.  I can honestly say that I have a lot more fun that way.

Pinterest: Frenemy.

I'll admit to a love affair with Pinterest. A website that brings you gems like surisburnbook.tumblr.com, can't be a bad thing. Or can it? I have a sneaking suspicion that Pinterest is becoming the Glenn Close to my Michael Douglas- I cannot get away from it. I love it, but sometimes I want to put a knife through my computer screen. Or hurl my SLR when it's not taking perfect pictures. Or kiss it when it is. Let's be honest, when I took the picture below, I was more excited about the picture than the eating of this tart- ridiculous, because this thing was OUT.OF.THIS.WORLD.

Pinterest is on my iPhone and my iPad. Everywhere I look on Facebook, people are either having babies or pinning stuff. Or both. The ultimate travesty?- pinning pictures of your own baby. Please don't do that. You are not Mariah Carey (Does she have a Pinterest? I should look into that- I bet there's lots of glitter involved).

But- ***headdesk*** – I love hate love this time suck of a website. Where else can I wax quixotic about the decor for my twelve bedroom “cottage” in the Hamptons (that I don't own) that I bought as a weekend getaway with my husband, who I wed in my carefully pinned and documented twee nuptials (that didn't take place)?

I'm no Martha Stewart. Sure, I've made place cards out of paint chips, embellished my own cards using the tears and blood of unicorns, etc. But I would never carve my soap into decorative accents. Is Pinterest more than just a giant time suck that is meant to make us feel inadequate about our own, perhaps less picture-perfect (anyone else secretly love that movie?) lives? I have to ask myself this question (as I scroll through the endless wasteland of pictures on my iPad).

I'm throwing a party next weekend, and what was the first place I turned to for ideas? Pinterest, of course. I'm throwing a garden party. Do I have a garden? No. Will I let that stop me? No. Will there be plenty of booze? Yes (but it'll be classy booze, no worries). Oh, skeptical, are you? This guy was, too. But he got fed once I figured out why the food dispensing machine at the petting zoo wasn't working.


I had grand ideas. I was going to send out lovely personalized invitations with fancy/funky embossing and perhaps even sealed with a lovely wax seal. Psssshhhhhhh. Good intentions. Here it is, a week before the party and between stressing about my current day job (which I DO love, just for the record), traveling to NYC and trying to meet design deadlines for my job as head designer at grace & lux, I don't even have a set menu yet and I've issued invitations via text, email and face-to-face messages. #hostessfail. I'm flying by the seat of my freakin' linen shorts, people! I'm considering CAKE MIX, for crying out loud! If Cupcakes and Cashmere does it, can't I???

Image courtesy of Cupcakes and Cashmere (click to go to link)

What about flowers?? Bleeding hearts aren't approppriate, as much as I love them!

I start stressing about this stuff, but then I tell myself it doesn't matter. Because it doesn't. Real life doesn't have to be stylized. We can take inspiration from that stuff, but when it comes down to it, we have to put our own spin on it and make the style our own. Having said that, to all the gals attending next week, I promise not to feed you cake made with a mix.