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Blog Love a la Carte

Love A La Carte: Bad Wolf Edition

6 June, 2014
"Bad Wolf" graffiti

Love A La Carte features all the little things that make my life just a little more delicious.

"Bad Wolf" graffiti

Finding “Bad Wolf” graffiti in the bathroom at my favorite coffee shop. Somewhere nearby, there must be a TARDIS!

Usually people think about going to Paris and falling in love with someone else, but this lovely article will make you understand how to fall in love with yourself no matter where you are.

This list made me laugh because it’s so true: 10 People You’ll Meet in Every Coffee Shop.

Feelin’ Good playlist on Spotify: some great soul music to get you going. All upbeat and all awesome.

Spending time with family and snuggles from a little ball of fur.

Viewing art at the Dali museum, learning about the history of the artist and the meaning behind his works and taking advantage of the exhibit about Andy Warhol: Warhol: Art. Fame. Mortality. Both men pushed the boundaries of the definition of art and both men cultivated dynamic, mysterious, and over-the-top personas. Absolutely fascinating. And totally inspirational.

Having a lovely Cuban meal at Columbia restaurant with one of the best key lime pies and one of the best espressos ever.

Reading and thinking about healthy eating and making an effort to follow a plan. Time to embrace real food, get rid of the processed stuff, and get back into the exercise. I see lots of salads and fruit in my future. And a lot more protein than I have been eating. Also, more healthy fats. More water, less sugar. It’s time to take charge and treat myself right.

I decided a little over a month ago to make Saturday MY day. It’s my day to get things done and work towards goals. I’m starting my day with learning about coding, web design, and web development, working on WordPress or CSS. After that, I’m setting aside a little time to clean my abode or run errands – do the things I never make time for during the week – like scrubbing the shower, tidying my clothes, or getting my car an oil change. And after lunch, I’m making a date with myself for a couple hours of creative time. This time is strictly set aside not to be structured. I can do whatever I want for three hours, so long as it involved exercising my creative mind. Perhaps it’s some writing or maybe I’ll paint or work on a collage or do a home decor DIY project. Regardless, it’s time just to be by myself and work on some type of art. I am making a pledge to myself that the television will not go on. And while reading is a great way to spend time on a day off, I will make time for that in the evenings, not during this time. This time is especially for spiritual and creative growth.

Getting totally lost in a book. This time it was Peach Pies and Alibis by Ellery Adams. Deliciously mysterious. Love, death, magic, tragedy, and scrumptious pies (with recipes!) – what more could you want?! Even better than the first in the series in my opinion. Also, if you’d like to add me on GoodReads, you can find me here.

Life Lesson from Shauna of Nubby Twiglet: Stop Overthinking It. As a Virgo, I tend to do this, too. I think it’s part of our nature to analyze and contemplate. While some thinking is good, sometimes you just have to go for it. As Shauna said, “The bottom line? We felt good about it so we just went for it.” I’m vowing here and now that when I feel strongly about something, I’m just going for it.

Blog The Desire Map

Soul Limber

10 July, 2013

Before deciding on my ultimate core desired feelings for The Desire Map*, I worked through Soul Limber, a dedicated section of The Desire Map Workbook focused on warming up, engaging the spirit, and streaming consciousness.

I wrote that I crave love, adventure, challenges, and nature. I want more creative energy, affection, and flowers. I need to give myself more permission to be successful, powerful, assertive, and vulnerable.

The best advice I’ve ever given is that you have one life; make yourself happy.

When in doubt, I light a candle.

Things I know to be true:

  1. Life is short.
  2. There is a lot to be grateful for.
  3. Love, health, friendship are most important.
  4. Tea fixes almost anything.
  5. Nature is amazing.
  6. I am loved.

I associate the color of joy with bright yellow, coral, fuchsia, deep purple, and red. The sounds of joy include a babbling brook, the ocean tide, great live music, giggling, an exclamation! Joy smells like sun and sand and salt and sunscreen, as well as citrus and spice.

Love smells like the mingling of Old Spice and vanilla, also sourdough blueberry pancakes.

Knowing these things about myself makes it easier to relate to life and writing them down has made me more aware of what I should surround myself with. I’m learning to bend things to fit me in the spaces illustrated in The Desire Map: Livelihood & Lifestyle, Body & Wellness, Creativity & Learning, Relationships & Society, and Essence & Spirituality. I’m assessing how I relate to people, what makes me feel accomplished, the clothes that make me feel most comfortable and attractive, the food that fuels me versus the food that weighs me down, what truly brings joy into my life.

What makes you happiest? What does joy look like to you? What does love feel like? What do you know to be true?

*While this is an affiliate link, I truly do believe in this program and what it will do for my life. I am already appreciative of the workbook and how it makes me more aware of what it is I truly want and how I can achieve my true core desired feelings. I hope sincerely that you will join me, not because I will make money from your purchase, but because I would love to have allies, friends, and co-conspirators along this journey. Please do leave a comment and let me know if you decide to do this program so we can work through it together.

Blog The Desire Map The Happiness Project

The Desire Map

3 July, 2013

I recently started upon a new journey briefly mentioned in my post on themes for 2013 (Gratitude, Beauty, and Health) called The Desire Map (affiliate link)*. The program, authored by the luminous Danielle LaPorte, is all about how we want to feel in life. Much like setting up themes for myself each year instead of writing out a list of aspirations, The Desire Map encourages people to map out their core desired feelings instead of concrete goals. By doing this, the program helps people to access a more holistic life plan, both inclusive and flexible, as opposed to a traditional rigid and limiting set of goals.

Danielle focuses on five areas of life: Livelihood and Lifestyle, Body and Wellness, Creativity and Learning, Relationships and Society, and Essence and Spirituality. Each of these five areas deserves concentration and affection. By mapping out desired feelings in each area, people are able to make clear what it is they really want to get out of an experience – the feeling that comes during and after that event: pride, relaxation, comfort, physical well-being, spiritual connectedness, the list goes on.

The purpose of the program is, in Danielle’s words, to guide you in using your preferred feelings as a guidance system for making choices, and for being more present and alive, to help you use your desired feelings as a way to access comfort and clarity during painful times, to show you how to use your desired feelings as creative fuel to make great things happen in your life that will radiate out into the world, to help you accentuate the positive aspects of your life, while still honouring, and not invalidating, the negative parts that you want to change. All of these things sound like wonderful ways to get in touch with myself and where I truly want to be in life. So, I am working with The Desire Map in conjunction with my themes for this year.

I am in the process of crystallizing my vision for my core desired feelings. I am making my way through the workbook and finding a way from gratitude through desire to action.

Join me in the journey by following along here, or do it for yourself with The Desire Map* program (includes book, workbook, audio books, email inspiration, audio contemplations and motivations, worksheets, a web app, how-to videos, and 4 music playlists, as well as access to The Desire Map Facebook Group).

*While this is an affiliate link, I truly do believe in this program and what it will do for my life. I am already appreciative of the workbook and how it makes me more aware of what it is I truly want and how I can achieve my true core desired feelings. I hope sincerely that you will join me, not because I will make money from your purchase, but because I would love to have allies, friends, and co-conspirators along this journey. Please do leave a comment and let me know if you decide to do this program so we can work through it together.


Blog The Happiness Project

2013: Gratitude, Beauty, and Health

28 June, 2013

In the past couple of years, I’ve chosen just three words to focus on for twelve months. Last year, my words were Create, Celebrate, Simplify. Though I didn’t follow through with all of the goals I set out for myself, I was relatively happy with how they manifested for me. I got back into writing and wrote more than ever before during NaNoWriMo. I celebrated with friends, I celebrated myself, I even got to travel to Indonesia to celebrate my brother’s wedding to a wonderful Indonesian girl. And I simplified to such a degree that I find myself wanting more, for I have bare walls at home begging for some art.

For 2013, my three words are: Gratitude, Beauty, and Health. Here I have outlined them with words and photos, including ideas on how to better bring these wonderful things into my life and how to move forward with goals that will keep ensure they stay a part of my life.

[I realize that I’m a bit late to the party in posting this, but I’ve literally been working on this all year. (I started the first draft of this post on January 4.) I actually think taking my time and posting about this later in the year has helped to crystallize my vision for what I want and constantly updating this draft has kept me focused on these three words.]


prayer offering in Bali

  • Goal word: GRATITUDE
  • Path 1 to the goal: Keep up my lists of Love A La Carte (gratitude, wonder, and general awesomeness).
  • Path 2 to the goal: Live in the moment and be thankful for what I have.
  • Path 3 to the goal: Give some of the gratitude away. Instead of random acts of kindness, perform targeted acts of kindness, sharing with friends and family.
  • Path 4 to the goal: Complete Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map.
  • Distractions: Getting stuck in a rut. Getting overwhelmed or stressed.
  • Steps to the path: Keep a cup of “great times” moments listed on colorful Post-It Notes, eat seasonal food, update to Happier as often as possible, and take more photographs to document awesome things.
  • The finish line: Making 2013 my most grateful, happiest year yet. Feeling a sense of accomplishment. Radiating gratitude and kindness.
  • What’s next: Inspiring others to radiate gratitude and kindness.



  • Goal word: BEAUTY
  • Path 1 to the goal: Spend less money and more time appreciating the beauty that surrounds me. Find the beauty in the mundane.
  • Path 2 to the goal: Write about beauty in the world and appreciate the beauty in myself.
  • Path 3 to the goal: Take more photographs of the beautiful details in life.
  • Distractions: Distractions. Being busy. Lack of awareness.
  • Steps to the path: Update my iPhone (camera) to a better one and/or carry my digital camera more often. Make my own beauty products. Organize and weed out beauty products I already own. Stop feeling guilty about making myself look good (STYLE).
  • The finish line: Experimenting with multiple design and style aesthetics.
  • What’s next: Finding a design and style aesthetic that pleases me.


blueberries and blackberries

  • Goal word: HEALTH
  • Path 1 to the goal: Getting new glasses. (check)
  • Path 2 to the goal: Finishing dental work. (check)
  • Path 3 to the goal: Going gluten/wheat-free. (So, okay, I tried this and it didn’t really work out for me. It was too hard not to eat wheat and too expensive to keep up with. But, I tried something new. So, at least there’s that.)
  • Path 4 to the goal: Finish one full year on Weight Watchers.
  • Path 5 to the goal: Keep current with all doctors’ appointments throughout the year.
  • Path 6 to the goal: Start running.
  • Distractions: Time restraints, convenience, expense.
  • Steps to the path: Track the food that I’m eating, experiment with wheat-free cooking and baking, make and keep doctors’ appointments.
  • The finish line: Making 2013 my healthiest year yet. Losing weight. Feeling more full of energy.
  • What’s next: Don’t stop. Run a 5k. Run 3-4 times a week consistently. Add yoga.

*All images mine.


On Inspiration

22 April, 2013

I keep waiting to be inspired. And then I am inspired by absolutely everything, but I don’t have the words to write. As the glory of spring blooms around me, I am reminded that I need routine in my life. A routine of being inspired. A routine of creating art. A routine of writing.

I am reminded of one of my all-time favorite quotes:

Be regular and orderly in your life, that you may be violent and original in your work. -Clive Barker

It is so often that artists credit their routines with inspiration for great art. It seems so simple, yet is often a challenge to stick to that basic schedule. In essence, not only do we have to plan to be inspired, but clear the time and space for it to happen.

When I find myself uninspired, I know it is time to make energy move. It’s time to clean up, clean out, organize, and simplify. That time is now.

Simple Image

Stargazing with Sagan

10 August, 2012

Somewhere something incredible is waiting to be known. - Carl Sagan


If you’re taken with this image, please check out more of Francesca’s work at her Flickr photostream. You can see more of her work at her blogwebsite, and comic.

This post is part of a feature on this blog called a Simple Image, which is just an image with links to the photographer’s or artist’s own website or blog.  If you would like to have your artwork or photography featured, or if you have suggestions on who should be featured, please contact me via email.

Love a la Carte

Deep in the Heat of Summer

7 August, 2012

floating elephant

 Love A La Carte features all the little things that make my life just a little more delicious.

Confession: I have Olympic fever. I’m not usually a sports fan, but these London Summer Games have me constantly watching, Tweeting, blogging and reblogging about the amazing athletes and their stories. I think what gets me is that each person from each country has their own unique and interesting story about how they came to be part of the games, what happens while they are there, and what they take with them from the world stage. I’m particularly blown away by some of the youngest and oldest Olympians out there – the youngest show such poise not usually seen in folks their age and the older competitors show such stamina, such drive. It’s incredible to watch. I loved the Opening Ceremonies, particularly the way London brought together all the countries with the Olympic torch. What a perfect metaphor for the games themselves!

There are a ton of other things I’m grateful for and am loving lately. Here’s a list of just some of them:

♥ Perrier. ♥ Marc Jacob’s Lola perfume (on me, notes of peony, clove and cinnamon spice with just a hint of pepper, creamy musk, and fresh pear). ♥ Brownies and Broomsticks (murder, mystery, magic, baking, running, insomnia, sexy men, and smart women – what more can one ask for?) .  ♥ Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. ♥ Drop Dead Diva. ♥ The woman someone should write a book about. Is it me? You? What does she look like? How does she act? She’s one special lady. ♥ Emotional Brilliance by LUSH (I know, I know, I’m gaga over this company. But, handmade vegetarian and vegan products, natural organic ingredients, no testing on animals, and they don’t use palm oil, what’s not to love?!). ♥ The 2012 London Summer Olympians (especially Louis Smith (GB), Jordyn Wieber (USA), Missy Franklin and the entire swim team doing a video of Call Me, Maybe (USA), Zoe Smith (GB), Guor Marial (Independent), Lee-Marvin Bonevacia (Independent), Reginald de Windt (Independent), and Philipine van Aanholt (Independent). Great and practical post on how to buy and take are of high heels. ♥ Working with Creative Services on design projects. ♥ Project Unicorn. ♥ These guys became human film developers when they ate 35mm film. What?! You have to see it to believe it. ♥ Some advice we could ALL stand to remember: Don’t Lose Your Creativity. ♥