cane back chair, I also left with a bounty of office decor. One of the finds was this globe. We have been collecting different maps and types of travel momentos for our future gallery wall in the office / studio that we will have upstairs in the new place, and this globe will just be the perfect little extension of the travelesque vibe. A few other goodies from that trip to Goodwill were a pair of embossed gold sail boat prints and an oval mirror framed in a grey marble that was a steal. Gosh you guys, thrifting is just the best. the. best.
In the spirit of thrifting, reused, and vintage, here is a post that I really enjoyed by Jenny over at Little Green Notebook: Vintage Furniture Shopping Tips and Tricks. Jenny sums it up perfectly, and its just so true that frequency is key to finding diamonds in the rough!
- ► 2013 (228)
It's happened. We've bought a house! I have been wanting to tell you for so so long, but you know how these things go. I was hesitant to share until we officially closed. And closed we did, last week Wednesday!
This weekend we moved the large items, and everything is falling into place. I've become quite a list maker, writing down the top to-do's for making it live in friendly: install dog door, calk window cracks, set up washer and dryer, patch up holes in fences. You know, priorities. But then, I've been making wish lists as well: make a pendant chandelier, hang curtains, change out hardware, search for the perfect skinny side tables. How amazing it feels to have a home that is ours.
I'm still super under the weather with what I've donned as the mega cold-flu combo, and I'm only at Starbucks to use the WiFi so that I can do a bit of work and emailing; SO consider this post as a little bit of a sneak peak. I am not sure when I will get to blog next, but when I do I promise to get more detailed, room by room, project by project, idea by idea. We are still trying to get settled and have company coming end of the week (all while I try and get well!), but I've been showing bits of our new place on Instagram (@lauren_tien), so you can see what we're up to over there. Happy Monday!
A week or so ago a package arrived on my doorstep. It completely caught me off guard, and upon opening it I was sent to the moon and back. What I found was two of my favorite things. One, the combination of mint and gold. Two, Shelby; only my favorite little German shepherd mix.
What we don't do enough of these days is surprise people with our talents, and use them out of the overflow of our heart, just simply to make their day. Well, Hillary completely made my day. She has made me realize, too, how a simple gesture like painting a portrait of one's dog (and other things like a hand written note or a sweet phone call out of the blue) can really make someone feel loved. We need to do more of that, don't you think? I feel so inspired to do the same for someone else, and brighten their day--making this type of gesture the norm. How different our world might be if we all did something with our talents purely out of the desire to give and make others feel thought of.
When the light hits the gold paint in such a way, oh! if you could only see the effect of its shimmer and how it brightens the room. And Hillary totally got Shelby's look down pat, don't you think?
If you clued in closely, you know that when I'm not blogging, or working at Anthropologie, that I spend the majority of my time at a Montessori school in downtown Denver. In fact, this is what's at the top of the list when it comes to my work priorities. I am so passionate about the quality childhood experiences that we as teachers and adults are providing our little ones. You only get one chance at childhood. So being part of a leadership team that works at upping that quality and making this happen for the families of our school couldn't be a better fit for me and my heart. Yet, just like at any job, that work life balance and making sure my bucket is being filled is so important for me to do my job right, and so important to avoid reaching burnout.
It goes without saying, that this type of work can be so rewarding, yet stressful. In the field of child development, and education, we are taking care of parents' most precious possessions. We are instilled with the joy of getting to see those "aha" moments and guide the foundation of what the rest of that child's life is built upon. That is such a privilege, yet with all that comes stress. This job is life-giving yet exhausting. And just like in any work place, it is attitude and perspective that keep the team going. Yesterday, I attended a meeting for the leaders that are working at the Montessori schools in our company's Colorado region. Just a small part of our meeting focused on being happy. I wanted to share with you the TED talk that got me really thinking yesterday, with hopes that you can leave reading this today feeling a bit more in control of your happiness, and thus more in control of your success--in the workplace, at home, with your spouse, amongst your friends, or wherever you may find yourself.
Be happy, friends.
And so, I'd wander out, but I'd always go back to my tiny little house, or remember what was stored up inside while I was away, behind those closed doors: pressing against latched windows, fogging my mind and tying up my ability to live freely, fully in the moment, openly to forgiveness, all stealing my ability to know joy as it truly truly is. I'd wander out, but at the end of the day, the tiny little house that I created within me was still there just filled with the collection of hurt from others, lies I created about myself, and anxiety from my past. It was there, and that house stayed, and I could not shake it.
My past used to be a stumbling block. I allowed it to be this way. You see, I laid the brick work. I built up those walls. I closed those windows. I locked the door. It was me who didn't allow the sunshine and breeze to come in and freshen up my life, melt it like spring to winter, like a clean slate or canvas for a new painting and story to be written about the present.
I allowed my past to linger in my thoughts, be my crutch, hold me back. Until one day, a loud knock was at the locked front door. A light showed up so bright that even a latched window with curtains pulled tight couldn't keep dark. Like the early morning sun that wakes the slumbering, stirring those first moments of the day, rays kissing the air and singing "wake up! wake up! it's time to live!" And I couldn't resist it. I couldn't leave the door unanswered. I had to pull the curtains. I had to wake up, I had to give it up, I couldn't keep my collection of hurt and guilt away from that light any longer. I couldn't let the past hold cactive my present, and my future. So I didn't.
Everyone has a past. Everyone has hurt, let downs, stumblings, loss, and things they regret. And everyone has to deal with them in a real way. For me, it took years of prayer and true blindness to it all until I really understood how my past held me captive. I fell victim to my own default, to dwell on the collection of bad rather open the windows and see the good of the present. And that's when I realized my role in it all. God was always knocking, and I chose not to answer the door. The light was always peering in through the tightly closed windows of my heart, and I chose to never truly notice.
My past used to be a stumbling block, a hinderance to how I enjoyed my everyday, blinding me from opportunity and beauty that was right there waiting for me to see it, to grab it, to take it as what life is about--and I realize that now. I have learned how to keep that tiny little house bright, and it is a choice that I have to make daily.
What about you? Are your windows latched shut or wide open? Either way, the warmth of the sun and crispness of that air will always be right outside that door to your heart. If anything, know that. And know that someone will always be knocking. Are you choosing to let the present day in and air out what you are holding inside? Are you choosing to answer the door?
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This post is part of a series of 25 bloggers over 25 days sharing as part of the Skinny Dip Society Blog Tour, hosted by Katie Den Ouden. Be sure to check out Stephanie's post from yesterday, on Falling Back in Love With Yourself, and Caroline's post tomorrow. Katie is also doing a 21-Day Freedom challenge, which may be the perfect little addition for you to live a bit more freely and wildly each day. She is a total inspiration, and an amazing woman cultivating a community of people who want to live life wholly. You can read catch up on the past few week of the blog tour--over here.
Perhaps my favorite part of traveling is stumbling upon the unexpected. One morning, we hopped on the L train to Brooklyn, where we spent the morning walking the streets of Brooklyn Heights, then weaved up and down streets in DUMBO, before we eventually planned to cross back into Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge. Before the bridge, though, hunger called.
Yelp was the best tool ever, while in New York. We hadn't really made plans to stop for lunch in Brooklyn, and thought we'd find a market where we could quickly buy granola bars and waters. But when Yelp suggested a place called House of Small Wonder, I literally couldn't help but wonder. We had to go there. And so, we found this tiny little cafe, which felt more like the green house of Ernest Hemingway, and enjoyed lattes, soup, and sandwiches.
Everything from the little pink pigs placed in the terrariums, to the typewriters and hand lettering on signs and menus--this cafe was the embodiment of adorable. Brooklyn was a favorite of mine in New York, for reasons like this restaurant, and there are still so many more places we just loved that I'll be photo-logueing in this mini-series of our travels. So far we've been to Coney Island, Grand Central Station, and The Brooklyn Flea. What about you? Any favorite NY stops?
The other day, on a whim, I stopped in my local Goodwill. I have an exciting decorating project coming up, so I've had this urge to thrift during my free time. The trick to thrifting is frequency. It's always hit or miss, but when you do it frequent enough, you gain a keen eye and increase your chances of stumbling upon gold. And sometimes, all you do it walk in and walk right out, so it really isn't too much of a time suck. But when you walk in and its a good day, oh man. Its so worth it. This on a whim day, it was a gold diggers paradise. I was only in the store for five minutes, and left with six items. Quality vintage items. When I thrift, I always head to the furniture section first, and then scan the art next. If those two areas don't steal my attention, I might wander down the aisles, but usually its the bigger items, the ones that can be repurposed or a diamond in the rough, for a dirt cheap price: that's what I'm looking for. Finding furniture and art for a steal are my favorite items to find. And this on a whim stop, the first thing I laid eyes on was this mid-century cane back chair.
After cleaning off the dirt, its basically in perfect condition. The curve of the back! The details on the legs! When I first stumbled upon the chair I wanted to rip off the cushion and replace it. But now after taking it out of the thrift store environment--the chair shines in a different light. The cushion is a velvety soft pink, and really isn't that bad even if I decided to wait on redoing the chair. I've never reupholstered before, believe it or not. The cushion on this chair looks simple enough to remove and redo, so I am thinking it may be the perfect first reupholster job that I do. Originally I planned to paint the wood white, but after cleaning it up, I really like the natural wood. Its nearly perfect with no scratches, and the cane back has no snags or holes or anything. Seriously, thrifted gold. I spent $18 on this bad-jackson, and found the same chair on eBay and others like it for $150 and then some. Mid century finds are hard to come by because of how popular they've become in that modern vintage design thats flooding Pinterest right now. So, yes, I feel like a lucky thrifter!