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I’m on another no-weighing streak, 13 days to be exact. It is so hard to not step on the scale… I have no idea if I am fluctuating in either direction. I definitely let the number affect my state of mind when I do know, and usually not for the better. If I’m a few pounds heavier than I’d like to be, I feel down… if I am a few pounds under, then I think I can eat more than I really can. Do you ever battle with that? But now I find that if I don’t know at all then I assume the worst, which maybe isn’t completely terrible. Hahaha. I like the idea of judging by how your clothes fit, so maybe I will give that a shot. All I know is that I’d love to be free of the worry caused by assigning a number to my self worth. I could also spare to apply more discipline to my eating habits these days. I vote to restore balance!
Besides that small battle in my life, I am pretty happy all around these days. I have a lot of things to look forward to on the horizon, I feel really fulfilled emotionally, and I’m overall heading down an exciting path. There are so many possibilities for the near future, and I’m hopeful for how it will all unfold. When you look at your life right now, do you feel completely deserving of all things wonderful? I tend to be very optimistic, but sometimes I find myself looking at what is realistic as my only options. Is the sky the limit? It should be, though sometimes I forget. As you get more life experience, sometimes you modify your expectations along with it. But isn’t the joy of dreaming just that… that you can be anything you want? Your imagination doesn’t have to follow any rules. Maybe if we utilize that creative tool more, it will open up a whole new world for us. We are all deserving of living the best life possible for ourselves. The first step is imagining it to be so.
Lily was a fantastic Thomas the Train last night. In fact she was so into it that she wore herself completely out before getting to trick or treat. That was ok by us, it was a good night without it. Mom made grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for everyone at her house, which could quite possibly be a top-5 cold weather meal. I ended the evening by watching a Halloween marathon on the AMC channel…had to get my last blood, guts & gore in before all was said and done.
Halloween is here! One of my favorite days of the whole year. October 31st marks the beginning of the holiday season for the next two months in a lot of ways, which means that we will all be a little overstimulated and hopefully surrounded by some extra love. The end of October is the perfect storm between football, basketball, cooler weather, festivals and holiday excitement. Some people don’t care for the commercialism of it all, but that part doesn’t really bother me. Any reason to celebrate is good enough for me.
Tonight I’m looking forward to seeing my niece Lily dressed up as Thomas the Train, with my brother Dave as Percy and Amber as Emily. To say that she is obsessed with that show would be a complete understatement… Dave says the first word that comes out of her mouth in the mornings is Thomas. When the show comes to on TV, she yells Jen Jen, Thomas! Mimi, Thomas! Daddy, Thomas! Mommy, Thomas! Pop pop, Thomas! Everything is centered around Thomas. She is so adorable. Mom coached her last night on how to trick or treat, so we will see how that goes. Little Lily Bean will be two next weekend! Time flies.
I love to be scared. I used to hate horror movies growing up, but now I can’t get enough of them. There is nothing like the thrill of danger that doesn’t really exist. I watched a really great scary movie a few days ago called V/H/S co directed by Birmingham native Adam Wingard. It’s the scariest film I’ve seen this year, and it’s brand new. We watched via Movies on Demand, though I think most places are carrying it this Halloween. If you love horror, you must watch it! Be prepared to scream like a little girl.
Have a safe and fun night! I wish you lots of treats and smiles.
Happy Tuesday! What a crazy 24 hours for the weather, huh? I’m sending thoughts to all of our friends on the East coast who are having to brave the aftermath of Sandy today and in the days to come.
I am so superstitious. I think a part of me believes that wishes can come true, and that some objects have special charms. It could very well be that what you believe is more likely to happen in general, but I love to think that there is some sort of magic to it all. At least on some level. Halloween always makes me wonder more about the unknown, or the other side of this life here on earth. Horror films are all based on the notion that spirits and entities exist, that there are good and bad things that can happen to us after we die. Most of them are pretty ridiculous and impossible, but still, stories always make you think. If you can imagine it, there will always be life to it…whether only in our minds or in another time and place.
Do you think that we will be able to record our dreams and thoughts in the future? Beyond our conscious mind, there is another world of awareness that we can only tap into through specific means. Most of us will never have access to what our brains are fully capable of. There are two distinct sides to us: our physical side, then our internal world. They both drive each other in different ways. Experiences are usually documented by our senses, physical body. Based on those experiences, our brain imagines new possibilities and scenarios. It’s a continuous loop that propels us through life. I think it’s strange that we can’t usually remember our dreams, and if we do then only for a short amount of time. Dreams are so complex and revealing, almost like for 8 hours a day we go somewhere else completely. I wonder what we’d learn about ourselves if we had the ability to study our sleepytime adventures.
I never really worried or thought about my age until a year or two ago. I was even super happy when I turned 30, as I knew that the best of life was yet to come. As a 33 year old, I am beginning to become aware that there isn’t endless time left to do all the things I want to do. That may seem like a morbid thought, but it really isn’t. I realize too that I could very well live until 100, especially if I have my Granmother West’s genes in me. In that case, there is still 70+ years left to go. I sometimes worry that I’m about to fall into a different category in life that is predetermined by others. What does it mean to be in your 30′s, 40′s, 50′s, 60′s, etc? Nothing at all really, except that your body starts to age. Does age mean that you become less attractive, less intelligent, less able? Absolutely not. But it sucks that sometimes we are trained to think that way. Whenever I feel tempted to be afraid of aging, I just think of my Grandmother Edwards (Gayle)… my mom’s mom. I won’t reveal her age, but you can probably do a little math. James and I went to see her and Noble on Sunday at their new home, and they are more active than most people half their age. They dance, perform theater around town, cook delicious meals and drink wine. They truly have the life. My grandmother is as beautiful as ever too, skin glowing and able-bodied. Her mind is sharp and her soul is adventurous. When I’m around her, I know that our souls know no age.
Remember that awesome pop-up supper club I talked about last week here in Birmingham? Well, my friend Emily Self Brown’s Freshfully blog post is up chock-full of details about the experience. Here is the link as promised!
Speaking of food, I had the awesome privilege this week to attend the Atlanta and Birmingham 6 month anniversary dinners for The Burger Coalition. James and Dan worked really hard for a long time to make the dinners a special occasion, and no doubt they were both absolutely perfect. The first dinner was in Atlanta where I got to meet a bunch of new folks, as well as see some familiar faces. The three course meal was prepared by Chef Fraser from the Commune Supper Club at the Indie-Pendent, a local art boutique in a fun Atlanta neighborhood. Honestly, when I saw them putting the burgers on the buns, I thought to myself that for sure they would be overcooked. But alas, every single burger… all 30+ of them, were a perfect medium rare. No words to describe how delicious they were! Birmingham’s meal was last night at Jones Vally Urban Farm and was prepared by the amazing Chef Hansell from The Veranda. I already knew about 80% of the people in attendance, which was a very different experience from the night before. Imagine this: sharing a perfect dinner with some of the most awesome folks you know outdoors on a beautiful fall night. That pretty much sums it up. You must check out everyone’s photos from both dinners here on Instagram under the hashtag #burgercoalition. Remember that the coalition will be going forward with more momentum than ever before, and you too can sign up for one at the first of each month in either city on their website.
An awesome week can only lead to an even more fantastic weekend, right? Tonight is my beloved Rocky Horror Picture Show Masquerade Ball at The Alabama Theatre, which I never ever miss. Their costume contest alone is worth the attendance. James and I will be in full on costume, along with my regular RHPS partners Vero & Clay. Tomorrow night is the absolute best annual Halloween party in town – the Magic City Choral Society’s Heroes vs Villains Bash at Avondale Castle! I actually hate sharing that secret a little bit, b/c it is so fantastic and not overly crowded. But it’s for a great cause, and if you’re looking for something awesome to do then this is your event.
Have a great weekend everyone!
This week is already crazy! I am so sorry for not posting in my normal fashion. Then again, there is something nice to giving myself some flexibility with my frequency.
I know Halloween is technically next week, but it feels like it’s happening this weekend! James and I literally just figured out what our costumes will be for Friday & Saturday night, so I’m excited to share photos with you to reveal this year’s theme. It’s something that’s been done before, but will be easy to make original. I love transforming the way I look once a year.
Speaking of transformations, have you ever wondered why colored hair (outside of the “natural” spectrum) is still so taboo for school and work places? This baffles me. Most people would say that it’s distracting, but to me it isn’t any more distracting than wearing a bright pink shirt or electric blue shoes. It’s just a form of self-expression, and if color is a bad thing, then I’m not sure what is good in the world. I think it’s becoming more and more acceptable, but at a turtle’s pace.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if Halloween, or something like it, were once a month… or even anytime you’d like it to be? I guess it might take away the uniqueness of it all, but there is something to learn from freedom to express yourself.
This Monday morning starts off with plenty of memories made from the weekend past. Friday night I spent the evening with some great friends in celebration of a big life event. There was lots of laughter and fun in abundance. Saturday morning I headed to Oxford, Mississippi with James for the One Night Stand art show at the Ole Miss Motel. He did a really cool art installation in one of the rooms that utilized moving images of nature projected off of a mirror that spun around the walls via a turntable. In the background was an audio track of city sounds and atmosphere. It turned out wonderful, and I think people enjoyed the environment that he created. He also made some rad hand-drawn prints of the word Harmony, which is what he called the installation. During the course of the day I got to see his Something In Particular co Directors, Melonie and Cubby, who had their own motel rooms full of art. I also had the pleasure of making several new friends, whom I am really excited to talk about today in my blog.
First and foremost: Erin Abbott Kirkpatrick, owner of Amelia and mastermind behind One Night Stand. If you are ever in Oxford, Mississippi you MUST stop by her art boutique. It is teeny tiny, but don’t let that deceive you…. because you could easily spend an hour in there looking at the amazing hand-crafted pieces she has on display from some of the best artists around. Erin’s store is connected to the famous Lyric Theatre, which you will want to explore while you are visiting her.
The other interesting person that I met while in town was textile designer and artist Kate Roebuck. She also had a little motel room set up full of art, and her work is truly unique. Some of the items that she had displayed were not for sell, but instead were her own personal inspiration objects… like real bird wings and a dead hummingbird. I’m not for certain, but I also believe that she had bird wings in her hair that night (which were beautiful beyond words). She really transformed her motel room space into a world all her own. If you get the chance, you should check out some of her work here.
Yesterday James and I had several mini adventures on the way back to Birmingham, the best one being an impromptu stop at a cotton field in Sherman, Mississippi. It was the first time he’s ever been to one, so it was cool to share that experience with him. Last night we ended the weekend with a delicious dinner at my friend Micah’s house. She had about 10 people over for homemade lasagna and s’mores…omggg. We dined outside on her front porch in the cool fall air and enjoyed good conversation. A wonderful night!
Last night I had the awesome opportunity to attend a Pop Up dinner with chef Brock Seabrook here in Birmingham! It appears that this is the first under ground supper club to emerge in our city, and he’s got a lot of really great plans for the near future. I was invited to the dinner by my dear friend Emily Self Brown, locavore blogger for Freshfully, who plans to do a special write-up on our experience next week (which I promise to link to!). We had four courses made from 98% local food, which is a wonderful thing to think about as you savor each bite. Currently, Brock is doing Pop Up dinners on Wednesday nights in his Phoenix Building loft for about eight people at a time (you can make reservations for any number less than eight, as he can combine groups). He hopes in the near future to add another night of service each week as it grows in popularity. You must check it out, the experience of dining in a supper club atmosphere is like nothing else. It’s intimate, educational and relaxed. There will be a set donation for your meal that you pay during your visit. If you are interested in attending one, shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! Here was our menu from last night:
OCTOBER 17, 2012
McEwen Bacon-Fat Popcorn w/ Crispy Sage, Benton’s Smoked Bacon, and Grated Wright Dairy 36-month Parmesan
Jones Valley Harvest Fall Salad w/ Mixed Greens, Scarlet Beet, Hakurei Turnip, Red Onion, Local Goat Cheese, Satsuma Vinaigrette
Braised Pork w/ McEwen Grits, Kale, Shallots, Garlic, Duck Egg
Chocolate Tort, Coffee Ice-cream, Raspberry Coulis, Candied Walnuts
Emily will probably write in detail about the farms where most of the local ingredients came from. Brock talked a lot about harvesting the ingredients for our meal that day, and how rewarding it was to serve food that he picked with his own hands. I think a goal of mine for 2013 will be to have my own mini garden. There is something very satisfying about the thought of growing your own food. I also love that as I’ve gotten older I have learned to appreciate a variety of vegetables more and more. And while it’s always hard to eat something that once had a face, it is good to know that the meat you are enjoying came from an animal that had a quality life and was treated in a humane fashion. Eating local is the way to go.
I’m a happy girl. Things may not always go according to plan, but I am so very grateful for my life right now. I feel alive, proactive, loved, optimistic, hopeful, content (well, as much as I can be) and full of joy. Amidst the happy clouds there are still moments of frustration and other fleeting negative emotions, but they move through quickly. There are times in all of our lives where we inevitably ask the question: is life worth it? Is it worth the struggles, pain and heartache that we all experience from time to time? I believe the answer is yes. My own life has gotten better and better with age, too. I’m not rich, I don’t have a big fancy house or a super nice car. But I feel emotionally aware and thankful for the experiences that make my life worthwhile. Good things happen to me everyday, if I choose to notice. I have a body that works well, I have people who love me, I am capable of feeling happy emotions…and I do so as often as possible. Sometimes when I feel unhappy, I think about the things I’m able to do at that very moment. I can see, touch, taste, hear, smell, stand, type, talk, understand, feel empathy…I am literally alive – so many things that can be taken away at any moment. I don’t know, but sometimes that is more than enough for me to take notice of how lucky I really am. It just makes me want to say thanks to the powers that be.
This weekend we had a great screening of Crush at the New Orleans Film Festival. On the walk to the venue with James and my parents, I kept mentally preparing them (and myself) that the turnout could be low… after all, it is a big festival spread out over eight days and multiple theaters. Upon arrival to our screening, I was pleasantly surprised at how modern and cozy our little venue was. It held about 100 people, and filled up completely before our shorts block started. There were 7 short films total, all fairly long (10 or so minutes in length, some even more). The films that we played with were all very high-caliber in quality, and a handful even had name actors. I felt really good about how our film stacked up to the rest. It got really great responses and I could tell that the audience enjoyed it. Nothing beats that feeling!
Tomorrow morning we will be NOLA bound! For any of you in New Orleans, our film screening for Crush will be Saturday at 2:15 in Canal Place 1 (333 Canal Street, 3rd floor). We are playing in a shorts block called LOL, which looks really fun.
I feel like I had a stroke of luck today. While getting my oil changed, I asked if they could also top off the air in my tires. The guy came up to me after filling them up and said that I had a bubble on the outside of one of my front tires. I’m sure there is a more technical name for this…but that’s the only adjective I remember. He advised that I get it checked out before driving a long distance (aka, New Orleans). So I drove down the street to a tire shop, and they confirmed that my front tire would have blown out hitting even the smallest pothole. And lord knows that New Orleans have the worst streets on the planet. I thanked my lucky stars today that I more than likely avoided a very nasty situation. Now I know what to look for in the future in case I ever get a tire bubble again. They are dangerous because they let air seep into the outside rim of the tire, which eventually bursts.
Rebecca and I got some more fun news for Crush that we can announce on Monday. It’s so awesome to have a film that’s doing well with festivals…it gives you many opportunities to network, see new places and get inspiration from others. The first film I made in 2006, Piece of Cake, had a harder time getting accepted for several reasons – most likely length and genre. Which is why I am even more grateful to finally experience what it’s like to have your work viewed by so many audiences!
I have an idea!!! Thought of it yesterday as I was completing my blog entry. I’d like to start telling stories about people who’ve accomplished a personal dream. Wouldn’t that be awesome? I haven’t figured out an exact schedule yet, but I went through a list of inspirational people off the top of my head and there are plenty to get started with. In fact, I’ve already nailed my first one down and I plan to share her story with you guys next week. My hope is to share relatable stories of everyday people making their dreams a reality by describing their process. By seeing others do, it will in turn generate a positive momentum for the rest of us. I will let you know soon when you can expect the first story and overall schedule. It’s exciting to have a new assignment for my blog!
Speaking of announcements, I have one more for today. I’m officially putting my hat in for the Georgia Marathon (in Atlanta) next March! Eeeeeeeks. I’m really excited, and also a tad bit nervous. Will my knee be ok? I think so. It will be almost two years to date from when I injured it in my first attempt at the marathon (small inner meniscus tear). Looking back, I know now it was from overtraining and not listening to my body. I’ve been told by more than one doctor/therapist that as long as I do my stability exercises, stop when there is pain and ice after workouts, I should be more than able to complete the distance. Pretty exciting to think about. As of right now, I can do 6-7 miles with no problems. Going downhill is really rough on my knee, so I take it extra easy while descending. What will probably be most difficult for me is trying not to have an unrealistic time goal. Someone please remind me that I said that a few months from now!
I have several other dreams waiting patiently for their turn in the sidelines. I’d like to do a full Ironman one day (not necessarily any time soon), finish my book, make a feature film (then make many more!) and continue to let happiness be a way of life. I guess goals do take more than one form – hard deadline, recurring, ongoing, etc. Some are physical, some are spiritual, some are cause oriented. All equally as important. As long as we are either thinking about or are actually in the process of accomplishing something important to ourselves, then our lives will always be worth living.