Reflections. In Nature.

 
I really couldn’t have taken a better to illustrate this post. Go me!

I really couldn’t have taken a better to illustrate this post. Go me!

 

I took a lot of time for reflection this year and it is the greatest thing I’ve ever done for myself.

At a time when I was considering leaving freelancing to go in-house to up my skills, a friend of mine mentioned that she only got two weeks of vacation at her 9-5 job (something I’d heard thrown around in the culture but never given much thought to). After realizing that I was close to trapping myself in a box for lord knows how long, I started booking out chunks of my time (a privilege of freelancing) to just go spend time outside.

A little backstory: When I was about sixteen, I had an appointment to finally get a new pair of glasses and being out in the world with a big blue sky and the bright sun- when I’d spent the previous five years being shuttled to school before sunrise and leaving after sunset- was a revelation. I started skipping school just to spend more time outside, doing everything and nothing while basking in the sunlight. Legit.

And I’ve kept that need to be out in the world. My favorite days on any job now are pull and return days because even if I have to return thousands of dollars of merch and suffer all the dirty looks from managers, at least I get to feel a nice breeze and don’t have to wait until 5pm to enjoy a big, beautiful sky.

So this year, I spent as much time as I could manage hanging out, journaling by rivers. Trying to untangle my goals and desires from benchmarks that I felt I was supposed to reach based on some unspoken bullshit rules about creative career trajectories. I’m not going to say that I found all the answers, but I will say that my sketchbooks and journals are full and I no longer feel like my brain is in knots.

The term self- care is pretty often used to sell face masks and jade sex toys, let’s all remember to take time to practice some self care that doesn’t involve spending money. Go hang out in whatever space makes you feel calm. Be still and just write down your thoughts.

Grandmother Willow was right.

A Farewell to Set & Co.

In a short 3 years, Set & Co. became a darling of the Dallas design community, now we all have to find somewhere else to get our household brushes and designer ceramics.

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Set & Co is an all around beautiful store and inspiring space. It’s open layout allowed ample room for all of the housewares to grab your attention- you could even find a brush for every area of the home! I’ve never left empty handed and even when I had a small purchase (they have the absolute best indie greeting cards) I’d have an interaction that just lit me all the way up. It’s a really special thing to be in a space that draws so many people who not only have the same tastes, but also openly share ideas, resources and themselves.

I can’t write about Set & Co. without talking about the children’s section. In a time where more and more of us are trying to be intentional both with what we consume and values we pass along to little ones in our lives, the selection for kiddos at Set & Co. was a no-brainer when shopping for the little ones in our lives. It is unreasonably difficult to find things for kiddos that a) aren’t unnecessarily gendered b) don’t have too many lights, sounds and colors c) leave room for children to use their imaginations during play. Set & Co.’s thoughtful curation makes it easy to stick to your commitment to intentional living with your littles from day one.

Set & Co. is on my personal top 5 shops list, as well as a preferred spot of my some of my favorite minimalists and makers around town. While Jennifer & Adam announced last week on Instagram that May will be their last month in the space, Set & Co. will still have creative projects coming. So it isn’t a goodbye”, just a “see you in a new outfit”

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Thanks for the good times, y’all.

xo

2019

My main goal for 2019 is pretty simple: to get everything in these journals off of the paper and into the world.

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It’s easier said than done. Essentially, everything in the journals is a subset of four main goals; I want to publish fascinating editorials, I want to tell stories with images, I want to design more, I want my wardrobe to be a truer reflection of my self.


In the last few years I’ve found myself very busy (busy, busy) with small tasks that were supposedly getting me closer to a very nebulous idea of a future that I wanted, but I haven’t been as intentional about putting what I want into words. So this next year, we’re taking all of the lists, scribbles and stream-of-consiousness entries, we’re distilling them, writing out concrete goals and, most importantly, putting checkpoints on. the. calendar.

And every time I get distracted or discouraged, I’m watching Kanye’s acceptance speech after winning the Best Rap Album Grammy in 2005.

Paris & Lyon | I'm Choosing Favorites

Okay, let's talk about Paris. 

In deciding to write a blog about a French city & its culture, I have been asked why not Paris? Did you not love Paris? Are you excited to go back to Paris? etc. etc. 

PARIS WILL FOREVER BE A ONE OF MY FAVORITE CITIES.

Paris is dope. Period. It didn't get the reputation as the most chic city in the world for nothing, and I won't feign being some erudite and all-too-well-travelled person that's just over one of the best cities in the world. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I only counted about seven bad outfits in the city (all tourists) and even the indigent were wearing coordinating jackets and shoes (WILD).

I don't hear this very often, but I also have to say that everyone I interacted with in the city was remarkably kind and courteous. Not once did a single person bump into me on the street or in the metro and not say «Pardon.» Everyone I met eyes with smiled back. Everyone in shops greeted me upon entering and said thanks for coming in or have a good day as I left. I received not a scoff or sneer as an American and I can honestly say I have no idea what people are talking about when they say that people in Paris are rude. (Maybe, though, that's just everything I saw, and perhaps behind my back people were sticking their tongues out like mischievous cartoon boys from the 50s and whispering to each other like when Gossip Girl would send out a new text to the whole student body. We'll never know.) 

 

REAL TALK, THOUGH: THE THING I LOVE MOST ABOUT PARIS IS THAT THERE ARE 8 MUJIS IN THE CITY.

 

That is to say, I love the (window) shopping, the rhythm (heaven knows I love me a big city), the fact that beauty meets you at every possible turn and it is all-around lovely. In contrast, I arrived in Lyon after sundown so my first real look at the city was when I opened the window in the morning to rolling hills of flowering trees, a bright sunny sky and birds singing and, y'all, my heart lit up. 

PARIS IS BEAUTIFUL BUT LYON FELT LIKE ANOTHER HOME

You know the feeling you get when you've been out of town for a while and, on your way back home, see the first building on the highway that tells you that home is only a few miles away, or when the plane starts to take those first few dips and you know you'll be landing soon and all you can think about is how excited you are to lay in your own bed? I felt that warmth looking around the city when I had never even planned on visiting before ma belle Arielle added it to our list of stops in France. 

HOW ARE LYON AND AUSTIN NOT SISTER CITIES?

Lyon has such a kind, creative, and proud energy, I imagine it'd be hard for anyone to visit and not want to stay forever. Seeing people young professionals commuting by bike along the river, everyone out for a drink on a boat and watching families frolic in La Parc de la Tête D'or reminded me of everything I love about being in Austin with wonderfully French touches throughout. 

Unlike Paris, Lyon had my heart the second we met and it's been on my mind ever since. Could this be the start of a beautiful relationship? On vera.

Welp! I Bought a Ticket to France and Don't Have a Single Plan in Place. Let's See How This Goes

Y’all. I just booked a ticket to France for three weeks. THREE. Alone.

My French is high school level French (ça veut dire “not good at all”). I’ve only been to France once and just followed my friend around as she made a full on itinerary for me weeks before I got to her. I haven’t booked a single accomodation. I didn’t save any money for this trip. And I’ve never traveled abroad alone.

So. We’ll see what happens. I’m not going to go into planning mode, because that doesn’t jive with me. But I am curious to see how (and if) this all works itself out.

My method for exploring cities, my own or otherwise, has always been to just walk out the door and see what happens and it's lead to some of my most memorable and formative experiences in life so far (like that album cover I ended up on, or the time it lead to a chance meeting of a new mentor).

Leaving my house at 8am, wandering aimlessly and getting lost was what solidified my love of the rich character and people of my hometown of Austin, Tx. And it's what's granted me experiences in cities like New York, Seattle and New Orleans that make me feel at home no matter how many people I knew upon landing (I'm talking going to dinner parties, serendipitous next-level career opportunities, forming solid friendships with someone down the block because I liked a jacket they were wearing).

The thought of exploring a foreign country in which I have no friends and have to speak my third, and absolute weakest language is terrifying. I mean, there are an unthinkable number of things that can go wrong- what if I have to go to the hospital but don't know how to say "ovarian cyst" and "ruptured" in French? What if every single one of my lodging arrangements somehow falls through, my wallet is stolen and I have to learn how to beat box to busk my way back to the U.S.? What if I ask a stranger for a recommendation for an evening out and I end up in a jazz club??? The horror!

Tragedy and the unplanned can take place anywhere. It's a fact of life. And while it would certainly be much more controlled if I booked every single one of my accommodations, planned my sight-seeing and stuck to restaurants that had at least 3.5 star reviews on Yelp, I believe with my whole heart that I'd miss out on the opportunity to let life happen to me and guide me to the great, unexpected beauties of Lyon. And, by extension, the wonderful and serendipitous nature of life.