the year ahead

I love and loathe this time of year. There's no denying that the start of a new year comes fresh with promise and anticipation for what is to become but it can also be a little overwhelming and intimidating. I've spent the last week reading resolutions that many other people have made. Each time I've mentally noted what thoughtful and great ideas these people have and thought to myself, "oh, yes I'll do that too!" Let's face it we all want to be happier, healthier, more cultured, caring and creative individuals. Unfortunately, I've noticed for me at least that once the year progresses into February and March the best intentions are at best a distant memory and by July well...I've pretty much forgotten everything I've set out to do. p&c2

Calendar designed in 1943/44 by Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman from Present & Correct

So I'm going to try something different this year both in my personal life and here on the blog. My idea is simply to tackle each month on its own.  At the start of each month I will set out with an intention or goal and then give myself the next 30 days or so to practice or achieve it. I'm not completely sure how this will manifest itself here on the blog but let's give it a go. Your welcome to join me.

In addition, 2013 will mark:

- our 10 year anniversary of living in our neighbourhood of Parkdale

- our 5 year anniversary of living in our house

- my 3 year anniversary of writing this blog

I'm sure many of you approach your home renovation plans with 5, 10 and even 20 year goals. As we round the corner on 5 years I thought it would be a good idea to take stock of where we are and where we would like to go. When you first move into a home you are flush with ideas of how you would like to make it your own. As time goes by and your life circumstances change (like adding two kids into the mix and turning 40!) your needs and wants also shift. This year I'm going to spend some time evaluating where we are at. That means looking for new inspiration and thinking about those things we've always wanted to do in our house like adding bookshelves and having a working wood fireplace.

manoloblahniklibrary

Manolo Blahnik's Living Room - photo: Ivan Terestchenko

Of course, there will still be Hello! Neighbor tours, some food stories, moodboards and the occasional foray into fashion and travel. (We have one big trip planned for this year with 2 children in tow - we'll see how that goes!) As always I welcome your comments, your tips and your stories.

Lets go 2013!

daily habits

Resolutions...I know, these are a bit late but I figured with the Chinese New Year starting today that I had a second chance. It wasn't that I wasn't thinking about them when January 1st rolled around it's just that I've had a hard time this year coming to terms with the idea of resolutions. I think it all started when I read post over on Zen Habits called, How to Have the Best Year of Your Life (Without Setting a Single Goal) by Jeff Goins. He suggests that goals or resolutions are pointless and focus too much on the end result and that we would be better off establishing daily habits. Goals he argues are designed to trick you into believing that all you need to change your life is a plan. When in reality most of us have a hard time sticking to a list of goals for more than a few weeks let alone a year. Instead he suggests we create good sustainable daily habits we enjoy doing. Basically, making room in your life for what really matters. The key to success is consistency.

I think the other reason I was reluctant to set resolutions this year was the knowledge that I was going to be adding another baby to  the household. We all know that children are completely unpredictable and raising two children while pursuing my own ambitions is uncharted territory!  I have so many wonderful memories from my year off when Henry was first born. There were no expectations or goals I was expected to accomplish other than focusing on my baby and our family. That year off allowed me time to truly discover what I love and paved the path for many of the opportunities I have today. Since that time I have honestly come to think that everybody should get at least one year off (with some financial support) to refocus their energies and discover their passions - a sabbatical of sorts.

 

So, with that in mind I'm going to set out a list of daily/weekly habits that I hope will make the year ahead one I can be proud of.

- Reconnect with my body through yoga, walking, pilates, etc.  We've been out of touch and we need to get back together. Physically, we have a challenging year ahead of us and we need to reunite.

- Stay focused on the task. Whether it's playing with Henry or making dinner or listening to my husband or working on a problem I need to be fully there on that task and not looking at my phone or thinking about the 10 other things I have to do. Less distraction - more attentiveness.

- Read before bed. Not only does this help me fall asleep easier but I love being able to disappear into a book. At the end of a long day, it's a relief to get lost in someone else's world.

- Drink more water, eat more fruit. I'm a pretty healthy eater but I could easily eat bread, cheese and chocolate all day long. More fruit and water in my daily life would be a good thing.

- Connect - with friends, with family, with the outdoors, with strangers, with joy.

What about you, any daily habits you've added to your life that have made it better?

Image Credits:
Raw Color
The New York Times Style Magazine

 

resolutions - check-in time

We're just passed the three month mark of 2011 so I think it's a good time to take a step back and look at those resolutions I made back in January. I find checking in periodically keeps me focused and helps me to actually obtain my goals. I hate to say this, but I can't even remember all the resolutions I made. It will be interesting to go through this list again!

1. Continue taking my adult ballet classes.

Well, I'm off to a good start! I did sign up for another semester of ballet and I love it. I actually didn't realize how much I appreciated it until I read this post by Joslyn over at Simple Lovely. She has just started taking ballet classes and she wrote a post about how mentally challenging ballet is. She is absolutely right! Ballet requires not only coordination and physical exertion but absolute concentration as well, otherwise you will be pirouetting when you should be plieing or glisseing when you should be sauteing. It dawned on me that my ballet class is one of the few times each week when I am absolutely in the moment. I'm not thinking about what's for dinner or which colour to paint my bedroom or how much work I have to do. I'm just there in the moment, dancing, which is pure joy.

2. Go to some blogging or design conferences.

This is something I'd still like to achieve this year. Unfortunately, I signed up too late for Blogfest 2011 which is taking place in May in New York City. I'm on the waiting list but I'm really not very hopeful. My good friend Liz however just brought to my attention another blogging conference happening in August in San Francisco called the Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs. It has a great lineup of speakers plus it is in California. Something's telling me I can't go wrong!

3. Appreciate what I already have.

Since starting my year long project, 52 Objects, I'm starting to get a better idea of what it is I already have and what it is I appreciate. I have to admit that sometimes when I'm looking around my house for things to add to this list I forget about the initial reason I started this project. I think a lot of it comes back to this idea of consumption. Why do we buy the things we do and where does it all end up? I'm trying to be more mindful of the new things I bring into my house in the hopes that the pieces I choose will be things I have for a long time. Often that comes down to buying quality and handmade over mass produced.

4. Decorate the front hallway.

Done and done! And I have to say that I'm rather proud of myself for following my above intentions. Both the console table and mirror are reclaimed, one of a kind pieces that I am happy to have in my home.

5. Take the time to do a family activity each weekend.

We're not doing badly on this one considering how incredibly busy we've been. Sometimes, the activities are kind of banal like cleaning the car (which we did on the weekend) but I think it is all in how you approach the activity. Henry couldn't have been more delighted with the big, powerful vacuum at the do-it-yourself cleaning garage and he could hardly contain himself when it came to actually washing the car. Seeing the smiles on his face and watching him get pleasure out of such a simple activity was more than enough to make me happy. (Plus we have a clean car!)

6. Start eating some protein for breakfast.

Fail, fail, fail, miserable fail. Whenever I get busy the first thing that goes for me is taking the time to eat breakfast. I'd much rather steal another 15 minutes in bed than take the time to make myself a decent meal. Inevitably, I end up having a coffee and a muffin later in the morning. I definitely need help in committing to this resolution.

7. Drink more green tea.

See above.

8. Get to work on our front garden

The season is fast approaching when this could become a reality. I just don't know how much steam I will have left when I finish our bedroom.

9. Get to know and use twitter more.

I've been trying and I think I made a really concerted effort in January. Once again, whenever I get busy this tends to slide which I think is OK. Networking is hard work and I really admire those people who make it look so effortless.

10. Take some fashion risks.

I've picked up a few things for spring that I can't wait to wear including this dress and this top. I also acquired this vintage Comme des Garcon dress which will take some guts to wear. It's a deconstructed, long black voluminous dress with a tightly-fitted ruched bodice. The most unusual things about it is that the dress is sewn together at the bottom with only two small holes cut out for my legs. In other words, it's sort of like putting your legs through an armless sweater. It looks pretty cool on but I will definitely have to wear it with confidence. It's not for the fashion faint of heart!

There we have it. Definitely, still a few things I need to work on and maybe it's even time to add a few new things on to the list. How are your resolutions coming along?

Image Credits:

1) Twig Hutchinson
2) San Francisco Historical Map 1915
3) The Marion House Book
4) Leela Cyd
5) Janis Nicolay
6) The Marion House Book