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Happy Thanksgiving

dinner party overhead 5

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a restful holiday with friends and family.

I wrote this post last year and it still holds true for this Thanksgiving.

This year, I’m thankful for so many close friendships. For living downtown in a city I love. For my sister and having her only a block away. For my health and that of my family. For the opportunity to meet all of you here, every weekday, in a passion that centers and inspires me, and for all the opportunities it has given me. For all the big ole’ lessons I’ve learned this year. And for another day to eat pie, and be reminded of how lucky I feel to live this life. It’s a wild ride…

P.S. Related: Thankful even for Mondays and enjoying the journey.

{Photo via Diana 212}

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What Makes a Successful Relationship?

masters of love

I recently read this article about the biggest predictors of relational success, and thought it painted one of the clearest applications I’d seen as to why some couples are so happy, and others are so not. What it comes down to is simple: kindness.

But it’s the science behind it that is most fascinating. Researchers conducted studies where they hooked couples up to electrodes and interviewed them. Couples that were happily married years later showed low arousal rates; they were comfortable sitting next to each other. But the couples that were either divorced or in unhappy marriages years later actually showed a fight-or-flight response when talking next to one another, even about mundane things.

Why? Researchers found that happy couples behaved in a few key ways that we can all implement in our relationships:

1. Respond to each other’s bids for connection.
Throughout the day, people routinely make small comments or ‘bids’ for their partner to respond to. They might comment on the weather or an article they read or something that happened at work. Happy couples respond with interest to even the smallest attempts at connection; whereas unhappy ones ignore each other’s comments, or respond with disinterest or annoyance.

2. Assume your partner has good intentions.
Whereas unhappy couples see something they dislike and immediately jump to their annoyance or frustration with their partner, happy couples routinely assume their partner had good intentions, even if they were poorly executed. They fight fair. They communicate frustration about the issue, not the partner.

3. Respond with genuine joy for each other’s successes.
When one partner shares good news, those in successful couples match the good news with delight and interest. In unsuccessful relationships, the partners act disinterested or even contradict the good news with doubt or negativity.

4. Practice kindness as a muscle.
Successful relationships make kindness and generosity part of their day-to-day practice. They seek out the best in their partner. Whereas kindness may come more easily to some people over others, happy couples routinely look for ways to express gratitude and appreciation for each other.

“There’s a habit of mind that the masters have,” Gottman explained in an interview, “which is this: they are scanning social environment for things they can appreciate and say thank you for. They are building this culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully. Disasters are scanning the social environment for partners’ mistakes.”

Contempt, they have found, is the number one factor that tears couples apart. People who are focused on criticizing their partners miss a whopping 50 percent of positive things their partners are doing and they see negativity when it’s not there.

Kindness, on the other hand, glues couples together. Research independent from theirs has shown that kindness (along with emotional stability) is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in a marriage. Kindness makes each partner feel cared for, understood, and validated—feel loved.

I highly recommend the entire article; there’s so much good stuff in there that illustrates each point. If you’d like, you may read it here.

P.S. Related: I loved my sister’s take on relationships. Plus more on kindness, asking the right questions to our loved ones, and giving good greetings.

{Photo via Our Space Between}

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One New Thing: Sitting at a Bar (Alone)

cocktail bar

Wow, does the title of this post make me sound cool or what, ha. (:

A few weekends ago, I was in Scottsdale for work. Typically these trips are filled with colleague or client dinners, but this time I was holding down the fort on my own on a Saturday night. And so, I decided to do something that I’d only seen in movies (ok, or in real life, I mean it’s not that out there); that is, sit at a bar. Alone. Not like alone until my friends arrived. Like, alone alone, for an entire drink and an entire meal. Long enough to let anyone I’d never met become my dinner companion with two open seats by my side.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do plenty on my own. I have no qualms about sitting alone at a coffee shop, or going for walks in the park, or traveling with no plus one. Hell, I moved to Los Angeles and New York City without knowing a single soul. But sitting at a bar without expecting anyone to join me was the one thing that I’d always thought about and just hadn’t had the opportunity to attempt.

So, alone in Scottsdale, I took my chance. I put on some red lipstick and skinny jeans, then followed the recommendation of the hotel concierge to a local restaurant. I was actually a little curious to see what happened; I’m a firm believer that stories happen to those who give them the chance to, and this seemed to be a pretty clear invitation. I ordered a glass of red wine and a dinner salad. I eyed the room once in a while for cute potential seatmates. And then I smiled as… two pairs of couples took the seats on both sides of me.

We made small talk about life in Los Angeles and the Upper East Side. One woman asked me about the shrimp. One of my friends, who I was texting before the ordeal went down, asked me the next morning how my night ended up.

“Perfect,” I said. “Went home, showered, and fell asleep by 10.” Maybe not the night that I had anticipated at a bar in a new city when I could have talked to AN-Y-ONE. But it also really was just that perfect. And probably the ending to the story that I needed most on a day like that. Another ‘one new thing’ crossed off the list until next month…

This is part of a series about trying one new thing every month. Past posts include hot yoga, kayaking, rock climbing, glass blowing, paddle boarding

{Photo via The Delicious Life}

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Gift Guide: Mothers

gift guide-mother mom

Up next in our gift guide series are gifts for mommas. Mothers give so much to their families, so this selection is all about things that are truly for her. A few of my picks:

  1. A bright, pretty art print
  2. Candles in a rustic jar
  3. A delicate long necklace
  4. It’s always so much more fun to put on makeup with new brushes
  5. This lavender vase would look so pretty with white flowers
  6. There’s nothing as soft and cozy as cashmere
  7. This gold floral wallpaper would also look so lovely framed
  8. Shiny new gardening tools in a cute tote that holds them all

Our last gift guide was for best friends. You may view it here.

P.S. Related: love these items for fall, summer and spring. More about my mom.

 

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Heart Swells

heart swells

This week was pretty much nonstop work, sleep, repeat. After a few big conferences from one end of the country to the other, I couldn’t be happier to be back in my own home for the weekend. I’m looking forward to a few birthday celebrations with close friends, and plenty of QT relaxing. (: Even on the busiest of weeks, I look forward to the tradition of reflecting on all the things I’m thankful for out of the last seven days. This week, they include…

- (4!) safe flights in one week
- Taking two days off for much needed R&R
- A few nights to myself in Scottsdale and SUN. Warm amazing sun.
- Flying into the East Coast, which will always have a piece of my heart <3
- Missing one Friendsgiving but being surprised with an invite to another
- A really lovely carpool and dinner companion through DC roads
- Always my family and friends and their warm and funny texts, calls, etc.

{Photo via Julie Blanner}

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The Golden Hour

the golden hour 6

This is partly a story about blueberries and partly a story about the golden hour.

Backstory: my sister got engaged last month.

And I wanted to share part of the engagement story with you because 1) duh, this stuff’s fun (: 2) the sunset photos were ah-mazing that night, and 3) I think it’s a good metaphor about love.

Let’s work backwards from that list. 3) My sister once described their relationship this way. “I think it’s like this,” she explained. “The other night, I was making dinner for us. Jeremiah loves blueberries. I’m not a big fan; I’d much rather have cherries. But I know he likes blueberries, so I bought them as a dessert because I knew it would make him happy, and that would make me happy. He, not knowing that I’d done that, walked in the door with cherries, for the exact same reason. So we both got to have what we wanted, though both of us had put the other’s happiness before our own.”

Isn’t that a great and simple way to summarize a relationship? Selfless love, wherein both people end up with what they want and need by striving to first be generous toward the other?

So now to 2). When planning the engagement, Jeremiah looped me in at a bagel shop a few days prior (bagels are a sure-fire way to loop me into anything). He wanted to propose at a beach that they’d fallen in love at. After running through little details, we set our timing on the golden hour because of the prime picture-taking opportunity. The day of the proposal, we scoped out where I could hide nearby to take pictures, and then I waited as Jeremiah went to pick up my sister. As I waited, the sky put on the most amazing display of colors. Jeremiah and I had timed the golden hour down to a few specific minutes, but for HOURS the sky changed from bright pinks to deep blues to hazy yellows. After he popped the question we sipped champagne and watched the sky unfurl so much more than just one golden hour. It was almost like a celebration of the occasion.

Which leads us to 1). Now wasn’t that fun? (: Here are the photos… Read more…

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Things to Remember

true things

I feel so lucky to have the friends I do. After a very big week at work, I opened up my messages today to find this. Just what I needed…

A list of random and unrelated things to remember:

Time heals.
Mountain winds sound exactly like ocean waves.
You are worth everything now.
Walls can be destroyed.
The sun always rises (and is always beautiful).
Children know the answers.
There is music in everything.
Logic doesn’t produce magic.
Somewhere, somebody loves you.
You don’t need to choose mediocre when fire exists.
The moon orchestrates our nights and tides.
Trees can grow through rock.
Your heart expands when it’s broken.
You should do it now.

- Veronica Erickson
{Photo via Little Flower}
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Autumn Colors

fall green lake park seattle 6

I posted a year ago about my love for Green Lake Park, and hadn’t really anticipated ever posting much on it again. But you guys. I went there the other weekend, and could not *help* but feel overwhelmed by fall in full force. I had a lot on my mind that morning, and as I circled the lake the rain came pouring down. And I didn’t even mind. I actually stopped to just watch the raindrops hit the lake as ducks paddled by and shook their feathers out. Here are a few photos. If you haven’t been, NOW IS THE TIME. This is your PSA for the day. (:

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P.S. Related: other things to see in Seattle: the view from the tallest building in the citythe Space Needle, the prettiest hike, a famous park, Pike Place Market and the first Starbucks.

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Gift Guide: Best Friends

gift guide-best friend

Christmas is only 6 weeks away! (But who’s keeping track.) This season, we’ll be rolling out gift guides each week until the big holiday. For the first gift guide, we’re featuring gifts that would be good for the person who knows your deepest secrets, dresses up with you for nights out on the town, and brings over a pint of Ben and Jerry’s to cry into together after a breakup. That is, your best friend. Here are a few items I’d give to mine:

1. Because she’s the one person who knows as much about you as your journal, a bright notebook set.

2. Pretty earrings for one of said nights out.

3. Sparkly nail polish for a day of mani/pedis.

4. A cozy tee to sleep in that tells the world exactly how she wakes up #flawless.

5. I don’t know what it is, but everyone I’ve met is obsessed with this perfume.

6. What is a gift guide without Kate Spade? Or a pretty iPhone case.

7. I love to add scarves as complements to smaller gifts, but this watercolor scarf is pretty enough to give alone.

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Heart Swells

heart swell

I’m on the move today, traveling for work through the weekend. This week was a blur of packing and deadlines and dinners, but I also felt more present than I have in a w-h-i-l-e. My mind was still filled with all that good Oprah-ness. (:
I took time to write, to think of the things I am thankful for, and to work out the kinks in some areas that I’d been trying to for a while. I hope to keep it up.
The moments that made my heart swell this week:

- Seeing Oprah with two dear friends, two different days
- Meeting up with other buds after for drinks and visits
- Two weekend neighbor brunches
- A seriously refreshing run around Green Lake, even in the pouring rain
- Neighbor dinner and Mindy Project
- Fiesta Monday with some long-overdue friend time
- Coffee with my dad
- Happy hour with my momma
- A successful first rental car experience
- That Phoenix sunset
- Fall that looks like summer
- Daily texts and calls with my fam. The support of my sister.
- Snaps with M. Again.
- Dinner alone + related eavesdropping on an adorable old couple

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