An extra day for the spirit

It is amazing what an extra day off can do for the spirit. I feel quite rested after the three-day holiday weekend. We did plenty of little projects around the house, had yummy food, saw friends, laughed, snuggled, and decided not to go out to Sunday brunch so we could stay home and just be together. We explored re-architecting the backyard, and the adventures of planning a trip. Oh, and we ate a lot of food. A friend made the most amazing tarts with local fresh fruit, we grilled, and had a turkey dinner on Independence Day.

We saw art vendors on NW 13th Street in Portland at First Thursday. I learned that the shi-shi art scene has changed before my eyes. As we wandered around the streets of the Pearl District, what used to be relaxed, organic, and simple is different. I saw stilettos (even in neon green). I saw tattoos, and not the local-esque variety, more of the Jersey shore type. And dresses, oh man, dresses with just too much ass showing. Maybe I am getting old, but it seems as though Portland has transformed a bit and I have missed it. What made it all feel like I still loved this city is the band that marched through the street, causing all to stop and stare. This is what makes people say: “Keep Portland Weird.” This is why I love Portland.

Call us lame, but we did not venture out for fireworks on the Fourth. We stayed home, were quiet, in the sun, and together. This weekend was the zen I needed to feel like the world was back in balance. I finished two books, and started a third. I got sunkissed. I smiled a lot and was playful, and sorely addicted to Chris. Amazing what can happen with a few more hours in the weekend. A few more hours to put your feet up, or to sleep in and snuggle.

I am rested. I feel more balanced. I have new creative ideas. My spirit is just a bit higher and happier.

Listen more, talk less.

An hour of my day yesterday has inspired and led me to a few aha moments. I had the opportunity to spend an hour learning more about listening. Zalika Gardner, from Portland recently gave a talk at TEDxPortland. There are a few ideas that continue to cycle through my head since yesterday from her talk:

1. A baby cries because they want attention. Our social norm is that we do not continue to express those cries as we grow up, but the desire to want attention does not go away just because we get older.

2. How we listen to someone else shows them whether we think they matter or not.

3. Not feeling heard = not feeling loved. Feeling heard = feeling loved.

One of my biggest pet peeves is not feeling heard. Chris knows how much it matters to me. My not so nice side comes out when I do not feel heard. When I do not feel heard it is like opening a box of memories of all the times growing up when my father would tell me that children should be seen and not heard. Today I have two reactions to not feeling heard. I grow quiet, or I lash out. It really depends on who makes me feel that way. Usually if it is someone I am very close to (my sister or Chris) I lash out. I feel comfortable being my true self. When it is someone who is not as close to me, I grow quiet. I wonder if feeling safe and feeling heard equate to how someone reacts.

Her talk also made me think about how much we are consumed with our smartphones. How often they distract us. That text message that popped up on your phone may just be more important and more urgent than the person sitting right in front of you. I know I can do better to make sure I am completely focused on the individual who has my time and attention. I can listen more, I can focus more. While it definitely takes more of my time and energy, it is worth it to me to give others what I so strongly want for myself. Hopefully it means more of us (adults and children) feel more valued, heard, and loved.

Please watch the entire twenty minutes. I promise it is worth your time.

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A colleague of mine always says: “You have two ears and one mouth. Listen more, talk less.” I agree.

Go out and play in the rain…

There have been many moments over the last few days and months where I get a craving, or a deep desire to be mom. Whether it was a moment I witnessed with a parent at a store, or a restaurant, a colleague with their children, or a precious video online that creates the awe and wonder of what it will be like to begin the chapter of my life for motherhood. Everyone tells me that you will never truly be ready, and I am sure that is true.

However, when I see a video such as “Kayden + Rain” [click to view full article + video]. I think “I want that.” I want those moments of watching the complete and absolute excitement and wonder of life. Last week I was holding a colleague’s baby while walking from one building to another. It was snowing outside and this little one was looking at the snow and smiling. Most likely one of the first times he encountered snow, it was so precious to watch.

Watching Kayden makes me want to bring more adventure into my life. I may wait until April when the Portland rain is warmer, but she just makes me want to just go and play in the rain. I live in Portland, and yet when was the last time I just stood out in the rain and jumped in puddles? It has been ages. I know it is not just me, we all need to stop, let go, and live life just a bit more.

Go out and play in the rain.

No more cupcakes

We are diehard cupcake fans. When it comes to cupcakes, trust me we know them. On every trip regardless of state or country I seek out the different cupcake bakeries and decide which one we will try. Often we cart a to-go box throughout a city, and indulge in the sweetness in our hotel room. I cannot tell you how many times we have shared many a cupcake in our pajamas before brushing our teeth and crawling into bed before another day of adventures. We have been to most of the famous big city cupcake places, and have a few favorites around the country, but somehow we got lucky and our true all-time top of the list was right here in Portland.

Saint Cupcake has been baking cupcakes since 2005. We were there from the beginning, through a few design changes to their storefront in the Northwest part of town, to when they opened a small Eastside location (Saint Cupcake Deluxe), to their move downtown (under the name Saint Cupcake Galore) and the welcome addition of pastries and cookies. The new baked additions only made it that much harder to decide. We would walk in for cupcakes and leave with a sticky bun, cookie, and cupcakes, because they are just THAT GOOD. They know just how to make them taste homemade, not too much icing and not too sweet. Just the right balance of all the right ingredients. Recently they opened a small storefront in the West End part of Portland called QUIN. It is their newest venture selling locally made chocolate, caramels, lollipops, gumdrops, and more.

So why am I telling you about Saint Cupcake? I am having a get-together with some women soon and was so excited to pick up cupcakes for the event, and found out that as of December 31, Saint Cupcake will be closing all locations and focusing solely on QUIN. I am happy for the owners and their next adventures, but sad to see my #1 favorite cupcake bakery go away. They have been here almost as long as Chris and I have been in Portland. I will miss their pumpkin and red velvet cupcakes, and I know Chris will miss their “Big Top” which had a crunchier chocolate chip cookie top with cream cheese frosting. They also always had amazing seasonal offerings (think Egg Nog cupcake and the like).

I do not know what I will do without Saint Cupcake. Sounds like we will have to visit our #2 place more often, Kara’s Cupcakes in San Francisco.

#bummedinPDX

Young Entrepreneurs – Crafty Wonderland

I wrote yesterday about the artisan markets we went to over the weekend. A big one that happens twice a year in Portland is called Crafty Wonderland. As full, big, and overwhelming it is, I still love the inspiration I gain from interacting with artists and artisans at their finest.

This year they had almost an entire wall with kid entrepreneurs. As I began my venture into Crafty Wonderland I saw these kids (mostly girls) sitting at their tables, sketching, knitting, and painting while their finished products were up for sale. While we did not end up purchasing any of the kid products, I got a bit nostalgic and teary for these young artists. What courage they must have to get together enough art to sell, and set up a table in the Oregon Convention Center in a very large event room. I wish such events were available to me when I was a kid. I think it might have inspired a lot of ideas for me and encouraged me to continue to make art at such a young age.

Kids inspire me. They have had fewer opportunities for someone to tell them they are not good enough. Imagine what it must feel like to have a two-day event where individuals can purchase your works of art. Inspiring. If only we had the same untainted sense that kids have, maybe we would be more vulnerable to put our own artistic endeavors into the public eye.

Thank you, Portland kid artists for being bold and brave and putting yourselves out there. You inspired me this past weekend to continue to care less of what other people think, and to open the door to my studio, to paint and play, and be free.