Soul Food

Is there something special that helps you get out of bed in the morning?

For me, it’s making a cup of coffee, taking a sunrise stroll, and enjoying the beauty of the Mystic River. When I wake up with worries or my mind races about the day ahead, there’s nothing like nature- particularly the water- that soothes the soul and calms down my brain.

Since moving to Medford at the end of last August, I’ve noticed the changes in the plants, the water, and the animals around me- and I’ve noticed the changes in myself, too. Last winter a friend mentioned the importance of going to the same spot every day as a mindfulness activity, and I was happy to share a few photos of the Mystic for him to see.

We all go through cycles, and being aware of them is a beautiful thing.

I hope you have a lovely week. ✨🧚🏼‍♀️

New Moon Vibes- Spring Has Sprung!

Although the New Moon was over the weekend, I’ve been really feeling it these past couple of days.  Perhaps it’s a combination of the moon and Mercury snapping out of retrograde (whew), but I’ve been feeling refreshed, calm, and balanced.

Instead of being overcome with emotions- both good or bad- I’ve been feeling more neutral.  People haven’t been pushing my buttons like they used to, comments aren’t being taken so personally, and my anxiety about everyday things- such as commuting or finishing up a task at work- isn’t so bad.

I’ve been choosing what to care about and what to put my energy towards.

This New Moon was in Aries, which is the first astrological sign of the zodiac.  So, it only makes sense to be feeling a bit fresh- it’s the New Year!  I like that thought, too- now is the beginning of a brand new cycle.  We’re all able to pay attention to what is around us, take control of our thoughts, and focus on what is happening in the now. 

That’s how I want to live in this new year, new spring, and new season.

Spring is a time of rebirth, growth, and manifestation; as the old falls away, the new comes into form.  I spent the majority of the winter cooped up writing, planning, and coming up with ideas- which served its purpose during the cold, snowy months.  I had been busy planting seeds for what was next, and even though I was taking steps each day, my ideas weren’t ready to grow- until now.

Just like the spring, everything has its cycle- planting, growth, and blossoming.

Over the weekend I did my usual routine- a Saturday stroll through Boston Common, journaling in the Public Garden, and window shopping on Newbury Street.  It’s finally starting to look like spring, and I’m excited to watch the flowers start to bloom… just like new projects, ideas, and dreams.

Simple Glam- Making the Most of a Small Space

Over the weekend I gave my bathroom a makeover.  Despite living minimally, I’ve made an effort to give my humble abode a few little luxuries.

It’s not always easy to make an old room look shiny and new!  Ever since moving into my first San Francisco apartment ten years ago, I’ve grown accustomed to outdated (and overpriced) spaces that need a creative touch.  Although my bathroom wasn’t that bad, it definitely needed a little face lift.

Knowing I had blue tiles and plastic light fixtures to work with, I wanted to go for a clean, simple look.  As I was browsing through Marshalls, I stumbled across a sea-stripe shower curtain by Kate Spade– and although it wasn’t what I had initially been looking for, it was perfect for a New England girl.

Decorating Tip #1~ Find a staple piece and work everything else around it.

Now that I had my theme, I was ready to accessorize.  I had been living bare-bones since moving in; mismatched towels, a broken towel hook, and an old shower curtain had been holding me over these past seven months.  Needless to say, it was time to show the room some love.

I picked up the necessities- matching towels, a towel hook, bathmat, and a couple accessories to warm up the space.  It took me three days and several stores to find the perfect shades of blue, but once I made it to Primark, my search was over.  For just $26, I got two new bath towels, two hand towels and a bath mat- all to perfectly match my shower curtain.

Organization is huge for me.  I no longer keep “extras” in my house, either- if it’s old, broken, or useless, I toss it.  Long are the days of hoarding old nail polish, extra eyeshadow shades, or almost-gone lipstick.

Decorating Tip #2~ When arranging things, be sure they’re in a logical area- separate items such as lotions, beauty tools, perfumes, etc.  Not only will your area be tidy, it will be much easier to find everything!

It’s amazing what a few tiny touches can do!  In addition to this weekend’s purchases, I refurbished and reorganized a few things I already had.  I moved a few pictures on the wall, painted the vanity trim gold, and re-purposed a jewelry stand to hold my lotions.  With rose-gold accents and Tiffany-blue trimming, my chic and simple bathroom was complete.

Decorating Tip #3~ You don’t need to buy new everything- just move things around!

So, when all was said and done, I completed my bathroom makeover for under $70.  How did I do it?  Here’s the breakdown:

Shower Curtain: Marshalls, $20

Hand Towels: Primark, 2 pack, $13

Towels: Primark, 2 pack, $7

Bath Mat: Primark, $6

Over-the-Door Hanger: TJ Maxx, $6

Decorative Tree: Target, $6

Jar: Marshalls, $2

Candle: Marshalls, $6

Total Bathroom Makeover: $66.00

Not bad for a small space, is it?

Marathon Weekend

Number 122 💙💛 #BostonStrong

San Francisco Soul

Ten years ago today I moved outside of Michigan for the first time in my life.  Taking a one way flight to SFO, I moved in with two girls I had never met, into an apartment I had only seen in photos.  Making a major life decision based on intuition, I felt an amazing feeling of euphoria for the first time in my life: it was a feeling of freedom.

A chance to start new.  A city to be free to find myself.

I had just called off my wedding and knew there was a lot more out there for me; but I had no idea what that would be.  Little did I know what a winding path I would have since that April evening!  My first days, months, and year in San Francisco was such a special time in my life- one that I will never, ever forget. ✨

Never be scared to follow your intuition and take risks- your heart knows that way.

Embrace Being A Girlie Girl

I’ve been a girlie girl for as long as I can remember.

In fact, I was a girlie girl before I was even conscious of the sunglasses on my face or the ruffles on my clothes.  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree- as I get older, I’ve noticed I am becoming more and more like the ladiest of ladies- my mother.

Although I’ve always been known to have a dry wit, a lot of guy friends, and would be more likely found at a sports bar than dancing at a club, I would never, ever, put down my lipstick, listen to a guy advise me on what to wear, or stop shaving my legs in the winter.

Why on earth do women think they need a man to take care of themselves?

It’s so, so ridiculous.

I don’t know about you, but I do everything I do for me.

Over the years my boyfriends have tried and tell me not to wear makeup.  They’ve encouraged me to put on a pair of jeans and ditch the dress, to stop wearing the big sunglasses, to grow out my hair, and to take off my lipgloss.  They’ve told me to dress sexy, they’ve told me to stay in sweatpants, and hell, they’ve even told me what they wanted their ex-girlfriends to wear.

And you know what?  I kept doing what I wanted to do.

I will never cease to roll my eyes at any magazine or propaganda that informs women how to please their man, dress for their man, or attract more men. You know what I have to say to that? Be your damn self, because that’s how you’ll attract the right man.

I know what you’re thinking, “this girl is single- what does she know?”  Well, I’m the one who called off a wedding ten years ago, has lived with three men over the course of my life, and I’ve always been the one to leave.  I don’t stick around for the stifling-  I would much rather be free than “taken care of.”  I’ll be on my own unless I meet a man who embraces my girliness, loves my lipstick, and encourages me to be me.  

I suppose I just can’t come to terms with women who don’t want to do things for themselves.  Being a girlie girl doesn’t make you weak, being graceful doesn’t make you any less powerful, and embracing your femininity doesn’t mean a man can walk all over you.

Being female is a superpower.

So, take your power back.

My wish is for women to stop putting so much weight on men’s opinions and how it makes them think of themselves.  I don’t want to hear about women changing their clothes because of a man’s opinion, memes complaining about having to take care of yourself because of a date, or hear that my friends acted like this.  No.  Just no.

Shave your damn legs for yourselves, ladies.  Trust me, it feels great.

Easter Lily

Well, I’ve officially kept a plant alive for over a year now.

It’s pretty hard to believe.

I’ve fondly written about my peace lily, a little gem I picked up when I worked at One International.  I initially bought the lily for my desk, but since then, it’s seen three apartments, survived public transit on multiple occasions, and has been brought back to life several times.

She’s a little champ.

So, knowing that I can successfully care for a plant (first a plant, then a pet, they say…), I decided to get another one.  This actually wasn’t my idea- my mom mentioned it when I showed her a picture of a new trash can I bought to match my soap dispenser and comforter.  Of course, I need to find something cute to do with a trash can, right?

I entertained her by putting my peace lily in the trash can (that sounds terrible), but we agreed it needed something taller.  I continued to use the trash can as a, well, trash can, until last night- when I spotted a lonely lily at CVS.

Leave it to me to find the lone plant marked at 25% off.  Dry and looking sad, I picked up the lily without question and headed to check out, along with my red lipstick, face masks, and popcorn.  Hey, it was Friday night- and Friday nights are meant for vegging out.

Once I got home, I put everything away, gave my new lily some water, and set her in her new home.  It was perfect!  I read up on Easter Lilies and learned they’re known as joyful symbols of elegance, beauty, spirituality, hope, and life.  How appropriate.

Even if we’re lost and lonely somewhere, there’s a place we will fit- and I feel that way about Boston.  I’ve not only found myself, but I’ve started to be able to care for other things, too- and I have my two lilies to prove it.

What Inspires Change?

Last night’s book club was a success!  Although I took the wrong bus to Arlington (silly me), I serendipitously got off at Spy Pond, a place I often frequented when I lived in the neighborhood.  It was a good omen to remember how far I’ve come this past year, and how much has changed- inside and out.  The sun shined on the bright blue water, and I legitimately enjoyed my mile-long walk in the freezing cold.  Ah, what a time to be alive.

Once I arrived, I was greeted by Clarissa the cat and a basket of slippers. “The Nest,” my first home in Boston, is lovingly referred to as “the house of healing hearts-” and it lives up to the name.  There’s no warmer, cozier house full of hospitality and love.  Brenda certainly makes anyone in her home feel like it’s their own, and I will forever be grateful for The Nest being one of my first Massachusetts experiences.

Brenda was cutting up veggies and cheese when I arrived, and soon after April strolled in.  An all-around inspiration, April is an emotional health consultant and author- and after reading her book last year, I became much more aware of my own shift in consciousness.  One of her Facebook posts even inspired me to write this piece last summer.

One by one, ladies showed up to discuss the very appropriate book of the night: The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck.

Although we didn’t have many negative things to say, some of the ladies felt it was repetitive, a bit entitled, and wondered why someone our own age was at liberty to give us advice.  I played devil’s advocate, however, and chimed in:

“Isn’t it better to learn these things now than much later in life?  Think about how many people in this world who will never learn these simple concepts.  They carry on, miserably, forever giving far too many fucks.”

Most of the girls agreed with me.  Sure, much of the book was full of common sense, but as many of us know, common sense is not so common.

We discussed the ornery coupon queen to the narcissistic serial entrepreneur who never accomplishes anything.  We talked about how the smallest things, such as a 30 cent coupon, could ruin someone’s entire day- because the coupons are what has meaning to that particular person.

Then, we carried on to discuss what has enough meaning in our lives to make the suffering worthwhile.  That was a very interesting question- what is worth fighting for?  What isn’t worth giving a f about?  Why would make ourselves suffer due to things that don’t even have meaning in our lives- such as traffic, a coworker giving you a weird look, or what your third cousin thinks of your new boyfriend?  Why do we search for problems when everything is perfectly fine?

My favorite quote in the book was this:

“Suffering is nature’s agent for inspiring change.”

That’s a very interesting thought.

Two years ago, everything was seemingly fine in New York City.  However, shit hit the fan very quickly- I watched it all crumble within a couple of weeks that July.

If my life would had been as wonderful as I hoped for it to be prior to moving to Boston (I think I was in denial that it ever was wonderful in New York), I never would have ended up here.  Had I not struggled, I wouldn’t have had the courage to make that big life change.  Had I not failed at what I thought I wanted, I never would have been lead into a completely new direction- one that gives me purpose, inspires passion, and has meaning.

Finally.  Meaning.

Prior to moving, I didn’t just have discontentment with my outside situation- it was mostly within myself.  As soon as I began to take ownership of who I was- not who I was trying to be- things began to get better.  Sure, I suffered through the uncomfortable moments of being myself- which inevitably pushed people who weren’t in alignment with me away- yet once the suffering was over, my life began to clear, and I was able to begin building again.

Thinking about the first few months of writing this blog is truly mind-boggling to me.  I was feeding myself a plethora of information- from self-help books to endless YouTube videos, I wrote every single day during 2017, still trying to figure myself out.  I blogged, I journaled, I painted.  I created a couple of other websites and came up with new ideas.  I worked a few different jobs.  I spent the year re-learning who Kristin is.

Although the growing never ends, I’m glad my suffering has.  Sure, we’ll always face both minor and major struggles along the way, but the hard part- the caterpillar trying to break out of the cocoon- is over.  I’ve finally broke out of the trap I created for myself, saw the light, and found my wings.

Returning to The Nest brings back all kinds of old feelings- relief, a sense of acceptance, feeling loved, and most of all, starting to finally love and accept myself.  The “house of healing hearts” certainly helped me get back on my feet, and I wholeheartedly agree with Mark Manson- “suffering is nature’s agent for inspiring change.”