April 2017, books, copywriting inspiration, poetry, read it love it, saw it loved it, the future is female

Three things.

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Every day I’m so blown away by the incredibly talented women in my life. (I’m spoiled.) One of the most talented ladies I know is Abby Yemm, whom I met through this very blog. (I don’t tell this blog “thank you” enough. Thanks, blog! You’re one of the best things I’ve ever decided to do!) Back to Abby, she’s hilarious, wildly creative, and she writes rad stuff. Like this piece from Domino Mag, 10 Books to Buy for Their CoversI mean, need I say more beyond, “be still my heart.”

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Balloons + poetry = one of my new favorite mediums.

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IKEA consistently has some of the best ads. I love this one about a “Couple” of Sheepskin Rugs.

It turns out the anthropomorphic floor covering, who lives in an apartment complex with its significant other (also a rug) and its puppy (a $10 step stool), is on a very special mission. (AdWeek)

 

Happy April! xx

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#wordsofwomenHH, 20 questions, blog features, march 2017, words from wise women, words of women

Words of Women 20 Questions: Claire M.

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Inspired by this article from Words of Women, I decided to ask friends to take part in the questionnaire. It’s been so fun reading their answers and I’m excited to share them every Wednesday. If you want to participate, send me an email at aeallen (at) gmail (dot) com.

About the list of 20 questions by Sophie Calle:

Sophie Calle is a French writer, photographer, installation artist, and conceptual artist. Calle’s work is distinguished by its use of arbitrary sets of constraints, and evokes the French literary movement of the 1960s known as Oulipo. Her work frequently depicts human vulnerability, and examines identity and intimacy. She is recognized for her detective-like ability to follow strangers and investigate their private lives. Her photographic work often includes panels of text of her own writing. (Words of Women)

This week’s questionnaire comes from a friend I’ve had since my college days. Claire has always inspired me with her fantastic humor and brilliant writing. I mean, she is a rad journalist, published NPR-ien (is that a thing? now it is), and she won a year’s supply of La Croix water. The woman is amazing.

When did you last die?

What a starting question! But it made me think about how I view my life and transformations within it. I’ve gone through many phases and chapters where not only life circumstances change, but my personality dramatically shifts. When those different versions of myself  change, it could be looked at as one version dying and a new one emerging. And with that in mind, I’d say I’m in the middle of one of those major shifts, so I guess I’m dying right now 🙂

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

The paycheck and health insurance on the other end of the commute. Otherwise I’d be laying around listening to podcasts all day.

What became of your childhood dreams?

They became my adult dreams. I always wanted to be a writer, which I do now.

What sets you apart from everyone else?

My wit.

What is missing from your life?

Contentedness. I desperately want to be in a place where I’m living in a place where I want to be in long term, and in personal and professional situations where I see myself in years down the road.

Do you think that everyone can be an artist?

Of course! There’s creativity and beauty in everything. I hope there are accountants who look at a spreadsheet and see it as a masterpiece, just like a potter would walk away from the kiln feeling.

Where do you come from? Do you find your lot an enviable one?

My family is a group of very different thinkers. Our interests, world views and opinions are all very different. While that can be hard to relate to, it’s taught me the importance of listening to those different from you. It’s taught me that ignorance is dangerous, because if we refuse to be near and even love people with dramatically different views than ours, we’ll never understand our world.

What have you given up?

Making decisions because it will “look” like the right choice, the fun choice, the most “Instagrammable” choice

What do you do with your money?

Travel! I live modestly in my day to day life so I can regularly take weekend trips and vacations to visit friends and explore new places.

What household task gives you the most trouble?

Cleaning surfaces.

What are your favorite pleasures? 

Grocery shopping, being in the woods, laughing with a girlfriend.

What would you like to receive for your birthday? 

A weekend away in a cabin where I could cook, read and relax.

Cite three living artists whom you love.

Anne Lamotte (writer), Phoebe Robinson (comedian), Viola Davis (actress)

What do you stick up for?

Listening to others, even if you don’t want to.

What are you capable of refusing?

Power.

What is the most fragile part of your body?

My mind.

What has love made you capable of doing?

Recognizing my own flaws and shortcomings, and making efforts to change.

What do other people reproach you for? 

Making snap judgments.

What does art do for you? Write your epitaph.

Art reminds me of the beauty and joy that exists in all of us and in the world.

Epitaph: She always bought lemonade from kids.

In what form would you like to return?

A 9-year-old girl, who has all of the unabashed confidence, resilience, and joy that most grown women long to get back.

Thanks so much, Claire! Come visit Hamburg!

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anxiety, dear sugar, life lessons, march 2017, read it love it, three things, vulnerability, words for the heart

Three things.

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After two months of having been without our beloved Patrick, I’m able to look at dogs again without bursting into tears… well, usually. This dog, Rusty Rodas, has an Instagram and it is epic.

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There are many things I love about Man Repeller. But far above all the reasons lies Leandra’s courageous honesty. Her life, personality, closet—all can ignite a flame of jealousy in the best of us, but that’s not her intention. You just know it from reading her words. She genuinely wants to have a community within Man Repeller. She cares. She wants you to know she’s just as real as her readers. And in a time when Instagramming and Blogging have taken a turn for the unattainable—perfect homes, “little ole papas & mamas,” and unblemished images—it’s so effing refreshing. No matter your home, your lot in life, your career, your closet… we are all humans. And being a human is hard. Why deny it? So thank you, Leandra. Thank you for your openness. And thank you for plucking this issue right out of my heart (and brain for that matter).

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I’m rereading Tiny Beautiful Things for what seems like the hundredth time. It’s just as good as the first time. And just as relevant as ever. Here are 10 of the best entries from the Dear, Sugar column (of which the book is compiled).

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#wordsofwomenHH, 20 questions, blog features, march 2017, words from wise women, words of women

Words of Women 20 Questions: Lena S.

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Inspired by this article from Words of Women, I decided to ask friends to take part in the questionnaire. It’s been so fun reading their answers and I’m excited to share them every Wednesday. If you want to participate, send me an email at aeallen (at) gmail (dot) com.

About the list of 20 questions by Sophie Calle:

Sophie Calle is a French writer, photographer, installation artist, and conceptual artist. Calle’s work is distinguished by its use of arbitrary sets of constraints, and evokes the French literary movement of the 1960s known as Oulipo. Her work frequently depicts human vulnerability, and examines identity and intimacy. She is recognized for her detective-like ability to follow strangers and investigate their private lives. Her photographic work often includes panels of text of her own writing. (Words of Women)

This week, I have a fantastic questionnaire from Lena S., a coworker-turned-friend. Lena is never without a smile, has a great laugh, and is a super rad human all-around. Let’s get to it!

When did you last die?

This is the first question but I left it unanswered till the end. And still don’t know what to say. Maybe I am not spiritual enough to form an adequate response.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

The prospect of a good day ahead. I’ve realized that it’s on me to either plan at least one thing I can get excited about or get excited about one thing I have planned. Both work.

What became of your childhood dreams?

I’m very bad at remembering specific things from my childhood. Like when I read memories and people write about something that happened when they were five in vivid detail, I just can’t help thinking they can’t possibly remember that! I’m haven’t ever been someone who sets hard goals… more “whatever happens, I’ll be okay with”

What sets you apart from everyone else?

Maybe my willingness to change my opinion when presented with convincing arguments. Also I’ve never been someone to hold a grudge.

What is missing from your life?

Meditation! I am convinced it would help my mental well-being a lot but have yet to make the time to integrate it into my life. I’ve already downloaded the Headspace app. So we’ll see.

Do you think that everyone can be an artist?

Yes!

Where do you come from? Do you find your lot an enviable one?.

I’m from the outskirts of Hamburg, from I a town I think is utterly boring and lacks character. We bought my childhood home and the property it is on from my grandfather. He and my dad then had a feud that spanned decades over the backyard which was resolved last year. So now it’s actually quite nice and spacious there… Alas, it is still in that same town, so I would not consider it enviable. I’m not even sure that was the question, so…

What have you given up?

Time… carefreeness.. and the ability to play The Sims for hours on end without feeling guilty. Which, I guess goes hand in hand with the other two.

What do you do with your money?

Spend it on food, for the most part.

What household task gives you the most trouble?

Dusting! At least it would, if ever remembered to do it.

What are your favorite pleasures? 

Spending a whole day doing whatever I want. This does not happen very often because I work almost every day, but when it does: it’s heaven. I love creating things. I have recently taken up sewing again and signed up for a knitting course at the Volkshochschule, which I’m positively giddy about.

What would you like to receive for your birthday?

A voucher for a massage (not by the hands of the gift-giver, but a professional one!)

Cite three living artists whom you love.

“And in my opinion (until I change it), life is best filled by learning as much as you can about as much as you can, taking pride in whatever you’re doing, having compassion, sharing ideas, running(!), being enthusiastic. And then there’s love, and travel, and wine, and sex, and art, and kids, and giving, and mountain climbing … but you know all that stuff already.” Tim Minchin

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?” 
Mary Oliver

“I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people that dream and support and do things.” Amy Poehler

What do you stick up for?

Everyone’s right to express their opinion and live the life they enjoy living – as long as they don’t deliberately hurt anyone in the process.

What are you capable of refusing?

Help, more often than I should, probably. I also got better at accepting or asking for it though!

What is the most fragile part of your body?

My knees. Everyone in my family has shitty knees and at 27, mine are starting to hurt with every step up or down a flight of stairs.

What has love made you capable of doing?

Accept mannerisms or opinions I don’t understand or agree with.

What do other people reproach you for? 

I tend to make more plans and set more dates with others than I actually have time for and then end up cancelling or combining them. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

What does art do for you? Write your epitaph.

Give food for thought.. enable me to look at things through the artist’s emotional or cultural lens.

“Life is not about grand gestures but is best lived finding beauty and meaning in the mundane.”

In what form would you like to return?

Bird, I think. Would love to experience what flying feels like.

 

Hear, hear on playing the Sims for hours on end, the Headspace app, and pretty much all Lena said! Amazing, Lena! Thanks so much for taking part!

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faith, poetry, words for the heart, writers

World Poetry Day 2017 || Max Ehrmann

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Yesterday, my dear friend Helen shared the following poem. Since reading it, I can’t get it out of my head. It’s beautiful, timely, and every time I read it, I feel as though I’m praying.

Max Ehrmann

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

See past World Poetry Day posts here.

 

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life lessons, poetry, saw it loved it, three things, words for the heart

Three things.

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sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love

… a beautiful E.E. Cummings poem “Sweet Spring“, plus six more since it’s the first day of Spring (finalllllly).

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Have you seen Grey Gardens? It’s fascinating. In every sense of the word. There’s not a Fourth of July that goes by that I don’t want to recreate Little Edie’s “Flag Dance.” But I remember being really struck by the amount of books they had lining the walls of their home. So when I saw this article from the Paris Review, I knew it was going to an interesting read. And I wasn’t wrong.

The Grey Gardens shelves are also lined with what can best be described as pastime books, leftover from luxuriously idle beachfront childhoods: turn-of-the-century children’s and nursery books, collections of poems and crossword puzzles. (“Cross word puzzles are my delight,” wrote Little Edie in one book, which contains one unfinished puzzle with only two filled-in words: “Qarter” [sic] and “WASP.”) Yet the Beale family apparently also read, or at least owned, heartier fare: the complete works of Byron, Shakespeare, and Balzac stand alongside volumes of Milton, Burns, Proust, and Browning. (Little Edie reportedly wrote her own poetry until her death, in 2002). The conditions of these books run the gamut, from gently aged to wholly destroyed; one first edition of Gone With the Wind actually appears to be melting, an effect I’d never before seen in a book, no matter how misused.

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Things I’m trying to accept about myself and not care if it’s too much for someone else.

“I’ve stopped being sorry for all my soft. I won’t apologise because I miss you, or because I said it, or because I text you first, or again. I think everyone spends too much time trying to close themselves off. I don’t want to be cool or indifferent, I want to be honest. If I love you at 5AM, I’d damn well rather that you know I felt it. If I love you two hours later, I’ll tell you then too. Listen, I won’t wait double the time it takes for you to text me back because I don’t want to. I don’t care enough to be patient with you. I’m happy, you made me feel that way, don’t you want to know? So that’s how it’s going to be. I’m going to leave myself as open as a church door. And I’m going to wake you up before the crack of dawn to tell you that I’m fucking joyful, no pretending, not from me, not ever. Would you like some coffee, would you please kiss me? Here, these are my hands, this is my mouth, it is all yours.” – Azra.T “Don’t Wait Three Days to Text First.”  

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heard it loved it, history, lists, nerd words, podcasts

I hear(t) it: 9 Podcasts I love

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Living in central Hamburg, I spend a lot of time getting from place to place on foot. And, since having anxiety, I don’t like to give my brain a lot of alone time to come up with new things to worry about. (Probably not the best way to cope, but distraction has gotten my brain this far!) That’s why I love listening to podcasts while getting around. But they’re also great entertainment while you clean, cook, or play Candy Crush on your couch. 😉

Finding a great podcast is like finding a new favorite series, and each week I look forward to new episodes. Ahead are a few personal favorites I love.

  • Watch What Crappens: As a seasonal “Bravoholic,” there are certain Bravo shows I never miss, and haven’t missed in years. Flipping Out, The Real Housewives of New York City, Beverly Hills, Potomac, et al., Below Deck… being just a few. Unfortunately, not so many of my friends are as into it as I am… leaving me wanting to make fun of it with someone. Anyone. So you can imagine how stoked I was upon finding Watch What Crappens, a podcast where hosts Ronnie Karam and Ben Mandelker talk all things they love to make fun of on Bravo. Check out their website here, and this Huffington Post interview.
  • Terrible, Thanks for Asking: A new favorite, Terrible, Thanks for Asking (TTFA) tackles issues I don’t typically look for in a podcast—stories of incredible sorrow, pain, and the like. Hosted by author Nora McInerny, a “notable widow”, “Episode 0” alone will leave you gutted, hopeful, and most importantly, wanting to know more. It reminds you of your humanity. Your vulnerability. And the strength we all have within to overcome the inevitable challenges and sadness none of us are protected from. Check out the website here, and this trailer.
  • The History Chicks: I used to love Stuff You Missed In History Class, but was ready for something new. Then I discovered The History Chicks and the rest, well, is history. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.) Unpretentious, informative, and wonderfully told, this podcast features hosts Beckett Graham and Susan Vollenweider, two women who describe the show as such: Two women. Half the population. Several thousand years of history. About an hour. Go. And really, that’s all you need to know. I especially loved their Dorothy Parker episodes (listen to one & two). Check out the website here and an interview from my very own hometown newspaper, The Kansas City Star, here.
  • Missing Richard Simmons: As someone who vividly remembers Sweatin’ to the Oldies in my living room with my siblings a child, I have become absolutely entranced by the “disappearance” of Richard Simmons. So when I started hearing, rather reading, about it on the internet, my iPhone couldn’t download it fast enough. Filmmaker Dan Taberski started this podcast as a way to search for Richard, or possibly as a way to reach him. In any case, it’s bizarre, enthralling, and really shows you a side of Richard Simmons we all most likely underestimated; he affected so many people’s lives in a positive way. Though I will admit at times you do find yourself wondering if maybe we should just leave Richard alone, I will also admit that I can’t stop listening. Check out the website here.
  • Uhh Yeah Dude: The podcast I’ve been most loyal to the longest, Uhh Yeah Dude features hosts Jonathan Larroquette (son of actor John Larroquette) and Seth Romatelli discussing, debating, and making fun of all kinds of current events happening in America. After all, their tagline is “America through the eyes of two American-Americans.” With more than 500 episodes(!), I often find myself listening to old episodes in between the new ones because I just love these guys so much. Check out their website here, and this rad video about the show here.
  • WTF with Marc Maron: I really love listening to comedians talk when they’re not “on.” So, WTF with Marc Maron is an obvious favorite. Hearing about their struggles before and after success, really makes it known that no one has it easy. And more importantly, as someone who struggles with using humor to cope with my anxiety, so many of the interviews talk about the oft unsung side of comedy; how so much of humor is used to mask anxiety, how much of it is rooted in insecurity. Marc Maron is a podcast king and boasts episodes featuring comedians Conan O’Brien, Robin Williams, Will Arnett, Ben Stiller, Lorne Michaels, and even politicians including President Barack Obama. Check out the website here, where you can also find tons of articles that dive into the podcast’s history, success, and notable moments
  • My Favorite Murder: With such a name, it’s a bit of a gamble when you mention this podcast to anyone outside of the podcast-sphere. But stay with me for a second if you’re confused, I promise it’s not as weird as it sounds! My Favorite Murder (MFM) is hosted by two women who are self-proclaimed lovers of true crime. I mean, there’s a reason there’s literally a channel called Investigation Discovery and shows like NCIS and Law & Order: SVU are such hits; human beings are fascinated by the absurdities life can sometimes deliver. And, unlike many true crime podcasts, My Favorite Murder offers a light-hearted take on the bizarre, while keeping it respectful. Having been a die-hard Unsolved Mysteries fan as a child (totally appropriate, I know), I’ve really enjoyed dipping my toe back into the true crime genre without it being too terrifying. Because being a grown up is frightening enough, am I right? Check out the website here, and SSDGM. 
  • #HerStory: In a similar vein to that of The History Chicks, #HerStory tells the stories of 50 historical women, but instead of having the same host every story, invites contemporary women ranging from elected officials, academics, and mothers, to filmmakers, authors, activists, and CEO’s to tell the historic women’s stories. A bit bummed it only has 50 episodes, but a great listen nonetheless. Check out the website here, and read more about the project sponsor, Chick History, here

There are many more, but these seem to be playing in my earbuds the most as of late. I am also looking for new recommendations, so don’t hesitate to send them through!

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” – Philip Pullman

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