Saturday, March 26, 2016

What Makes a Home

Saturday, March 26, 2016

I'm really good at falling in love with whatever is currently home. I currently love our old coal fireplace that is purely decoration, and how the old green tiles still tell the stories of how they are original to these walls. I currently love our tall ceilings and tall windows that let in the most glorious morning and afternoon sun. I currently love our long layout and being able to see Morty snoozing on the couch while I make dinner. I currently love how all of our furniture and decorations feel like they were meant to be in an apartment like this, they've been waiting for this moment.

But you know what? I've felt that way about each place that we've called home. At our first apartment, I love the open layout and how we could have 20 friends spend the night sprawled out in sleeping bags across our living room. In our last house, I loved looking out the window while I was doing dishes to see the birds visiting the bird feeders. I loved the imperfections in the creaky hardwood floors, and I love the intimacy of a little bungalow house in the heart of downtown. But with each of these homes, I've always felt like our belongings fit perfectly into place. No matter where I am, with my favorite items and my favorite beings (S and Mort), I feel so in love with our home. 

While in a purely perfect hygge moment (a glass of red wine, a candle burning, a tidy apartment), I was admiring the space around me and I got to thinking about the concept of home. The concept of home is really special to me. When I was learning French, I learned that they do not have a direction translation for "home." Instead, they only have "house" as in my house (chez moi) or Mort's house (chez Mort). To me, it seems a shame to be missing the sense of "home" from a language. For me, it's being surrounded by my favorite things, some I've made,some we've collected from antique stores or our travels, others were handed down to us. But all of these items are special to us, in one way or another, or else they wouldn't be in our home. Having S + Mort, and our favorite things, really makes any apartment or house, a home.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Glorification of Busy

Sunday, March 20, 2016

My drive to work is only 5 miles, but Chicago traffic being what it is (unpredictable and slow at times), music and news can't keep me relaxed during these stressful commutes. I recently watched Femtalk with Estee Lalonde while having breakfast before work, and I really enjoyed how she spoke about women-specific topics. So I sought out other women hosts, specifically on podcasts, to help me start my day with a more positive outlook. I discovered Jess Lively's Lively Podcast, which she describes as a weekly podcast to help "uplift, inspire, and add a little extra intention to your everyday". I have to say, it has made my commute incredibly inspiring. The topics range from blogging, to business, to family and relationships - everything a modern women is struggling to balance. I specifically love how she will interview different people with diverse backgrounds, and they always touch on a different subject - sometimes touching on a subject that I didn't know that I knew little about.

A particular podcast episode that I really enjoyed focused on "stopping the glorification of busy". I found it a perfect way to put it. Being busy is not a good thing. However, when others are "so busy!" and they are spinning it as a good thing, we inevitably compare ourselves and if we aren't busy, we feel like we are doing something wrong, or are not as successful. I don't want to be successful if it means being too busy to have a balance of life and work, or if it means being too busy to enjoy a slow brunch with good friends.

When people ask, how are you?, how have you been?, my least favorite answer is: "busy." Because everyone is busy. Everyone has responsibilities, jobs, assignments, errands, family, relationships, children, the list goes on. When we answer what is meant to be a thoughtful question with one word, "busy," we are shutting out those that care about our lives enough to ask. With an answer like "busy," we are almost saying, "too busy to talk to you about how I am."

So, I too am advocating that we stop the glorification of busy. I've been making an effort to not really have "busy" in my vocabulary when talking about what's new with friends. I'm trying to instead talk about what is taking up my time these days, and specially what I'm trying to balance, instead of just writing it off as "busy." For example, at work I have a huge event coming up, on top of working on little events before and after, which has been taking up a lot of my time. I, of course, have my second job where I am a brand manager for a few companies, which I can work from home, but it does take up my weekends and some weeknights. We also signed Mordechai up for obedience classes so that he can have a refresh of basic commands, before we sign him up for an agility class, which will be more fun for him. Either way - so many things are taking up my time these days, and I'm also making sure to see my friends and explore Chicago in between!

I hope you explore many of Jess Lively's podcast episodes for extra intention in your life as well! Also, if you haven't heard, #GirlBoss author Sophia Amoruso started a podcast as well. I've been listening to GirlBoss Radio to get me through one of the most complex and largest guest-count events I've ever worked on. She talks to other Girl Bosses and interviews them about their path to success. I haven't read #GirlBoss yet, but I just bought a used copy to start reading (when I have some free-time!).

Saturday, March 12, 2016

How to Make a Cozy Home With Blankets

Saturday, March 12, 2016

This is my newest blanket in the shop, called the Earth Lodge Knitted Blanket. Inspired by earth lodges, I wanted to make something that felt very natural, as if it was used from the world around me. I used different skeins that were leftover from other projects. By combining them to make something deliberate, it was almost like foraging, the way indigenous people used the land. Of course, my wool yarn comes from the store, not "the land," but I strive to make my products as whole and genuine as possible. We have a replica of a Pawnee Earth Lodge at my museum, and I often find myself visiting it for a quiet moment during what can be a hectic work day. 

For me, nothing makes a home feel cozier than plush pillows and thick blankets. When I started making pillows and blankets, it began as a way to make my own home cozier, especially for our first Chicago winter. When our couches, bed, and chairs began to be full of pillows and blankets, I wanted to continue making them, and selling was the next step. That's when I opened the shop

I love cuddling on the couch with my greyhound, and if there's a sudden chill, it's perfect to have a blanket on the couch already. Being able to cozy up without getting up is why I find it necessary to have a blanket on each couch and chair.

However, blankets draped over the back of every couch the same way throughout your home is not hygge or cozy. Here are some unique and inspiring ways that I've been draping my blankets around the home:

  • At the end of the bed - perfect to keep your toes warm
  • Over arm of a chair - also useful for leaning when reading or writing
  • Draped on the side of the couch - a great way to add visual interest 
  • Slouched on a chair - more visual texture
  • Casually strewn on the couch - this is great for protecting the seat from any furry pets
  • Spilling out of a basket - easy to grab at a moments notice

Wishing you a warm rest of your weekend. I know I'll be cuddled on the couch with my blankets and the newest season of House of Cards, and probably endless cups of tea. How will you be spending your Saturday?


Sunday, March 06, 2016

Things That Made Me Smile: February

Sunday, March 06, 2016

List of things I'm thankful for, things I'm loving, things worth sharing...
  • •We booked our three week trip to Japan! We've been saving credit card miles and only spent $90 on our round-trip flights. We're thinking Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and probably another town in the mountains to enjoy some hot springs. I'm so excited to get dinner and drinks with a new Chicago friend who has been to Japan multiple times. Naturally, we're going to get ramen for dinner, yum!
  • •Winter is almost over! We've had some lovely sunny days here, but knowing that the summer is closer now that it's March, I can almost taste the summery cocktails! 
  • •Self tanner. Seriously. I did not realize how pale I felt/looked. I had an afternoon to myself so I thought I'd put this on, and now I feel back to my usual skin tone. (This is the only self tanner that I've used, but I definitely recommend it. It comes out of the bottle somewhat green, which eliminates any possible orange-tones).
  • Espresso at home. I've been trying to perfect a vegan latte, however, it always tastes much better with dairy milk. There's something so very sweet about steamed milk, that I don't need any sugar in my espresso with dairy. My cashew milk is not cutting it, but a sugar cube in my black espresso has been a nice treat on weekends.
  • •Relationship goals.
  • •Speaking of relationships, we had brunch with a big group of friends on Valentines Day. A friend works at a Brazilian restaurant, and it was such a good meal. We ordered things that my Brazilian grandmother makes at home, and I must say, it came very close to being as delicious as hers. 
  • •VICE released the first episodes of the shows that are going to be on their new cable channel, Viceland. I already love Gaycation with Ellen Page. Her personality is contagious.  The Viceland channel premiered on February 29th.
  • •We went camping! A group of friends set up camping in Ocala National Forest while we were visiting Florida. Equipped with my dad's Brazilian grilling spears, we cooked some sausages over the fire. The camp was close to Juniper Springs, which I wish we had more time to enjoy. We arrived with the last of the day's sun, so the water was cool and in the shade. 
  • •My mom babysits the sweetest little girl with the cutest name - and nickname! Growing up, I never liked any nicknames that stemmed from "Danielle." Now that I'm older, I like Yelle, which is what I go by on this blog. But, the little girl that my mom watches has the sweetest nickname. I recently was able to meet her mom and dad, and her parents are just as wonderful as she is. (Hi Caroline!)
  • •Lastly, the blog rebrand. When I launched my shop, I did not know what direction I would go with my blog. I thought about it for a bit, and then I worked with Labina Studio on the custom theme. I don't know why I've been putting off a custom theme for so long. It feels so right! I'm so glad that I got to work with her. She listened to everything I wanted, she made little changes for me, and it looks better than I ever could have imagined. My new blog makes me smile!
Tomorrow is Mordechai's 5th birthday! Besides getting to enjoy more treats than usual, we celebrated today with a little doggie play-date with another greyhound. He slept in this weekend, and we are excited to join some classes with him starting this week! There is a place nearby that does classes specifically for greyhounds. We are looking forward to doing an agility class with him, but first we're going to do an obedience class as a refresher. (He's been a bit stubborn lately when it comes to commands. Could it be old age?). I'm so looking forward to spending the extra time with him. Since going to Florida, I really missed him and our routine together. He's the sweetest and silliest greyhound!
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