Wednesday, March 30, 2011

working my way


This recent post from the Shutter Sisters has reaffirmed my thoughts lately about self. Have a look, if you're interested.

I'd like to explore photography a bit more now--I feel as though I've hit a stagnant spot and my creative bones just aren't being used. I see so many inspiring artists and photos out there and it's sometimes difficult to remain inspired and not wander over the line into envious. 

 I want to explore angles and subjects and self portraits and processing. I think creativity needs room to breathe, space to roam around, permission to grow. I think I need to dedicate more time to creating and doing what makes me happy.

I think that may be the hardest part about starting, though.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"home" comforts

Two years ago, I graduated from college. I moved back home, tried to make a semblance of a plan, and reassured myself that it wouldn't be permanent.

It's two years later.

And it's taken me a bit longer than I hoped for to come up with a plan. It's difficult to explain. I wasn't ready to move out of my parents' house, to decide where I wanted to live and find a job and feel good about it. I'm still not.

But I'm getting closer. So much closer. One year ago, I don't think I would have survived if I had moved out on my own. Today, I could do it, and keep my mental well-being. But it's not quite ready yet. We're getting there.

In the meantime, I'm living in my teeny tiny bedroom in my parents' home (and I mean really teeny tiny). And I've learned the importance of making this bedroom mine. I'd rather have a kitchen and living room and bathroom all to myself too, but in the meantime, I'm finding small ways to create a space filled with love and positivity and comfort:

Lots of green plants. Awhile ago I felt inspired for living things and stocked up.

Mini Tibetan prayer flags strung over my desk.

Sticky notes strewn about, as reminders.

My Valentines Day heart garland (I think it's a year-round decoration).

My Mary Oliver quote on canvas, watercolored.

A (fake) candle and stones ornamenting my desk.

And one more little note to myself :)

Some days all I want to do is sit in my room by myself in silence and think of more ways I can make it my own. It's rather fun!

Monday, March 28, 2011

a dapple of my weekend

Sometimes good weekends are proven by the lack of photos.

I bowled Friday night and drank far too much beer*, had a Mexican lunch date on Saturday with my mother and aunt, went to a local holistic health fair, celebrated UConn's win with friends Saturday night at Plan B, grocery shopped my little heart out Sunday in preparation for this week's spring detox cleanse, and then ended the weekend with grilling and a movie night (yes, it's still far too cold here to grill, we found out).

setting sunlooking upwoods sunsethiding stellahomemade nutrigrain bar

Weekends like this, though, that are whirlwind and exhausting and leave you feeling unprepared for the week come Sunday night, are so much better when you feel complete with how you spent your time. This is a skill I'm slowly learning.

*Bowling is one of those things I think hate, then decide to give one more chance, only to realize I really do hate it.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Just as soon as I got so excited for 100 followers and posted a giveaway in celebration (and even got up to 102!),

I dropped down to 99.

Such is life.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

mid-night revelations

Friday night, at Kripalu, I woke suddenly in the middle of the night. It took me a moment to remember where I was.

And why my room was blindingly bright.

My bed was bathed in a bright white light, as if the overhead lights had been turned on. It was so bright, I had to squint. I looked around and saw that my seven other roommates lay sound asleep, oblivious to this phenomenon I was trying to decipher in my half-asleep state. I looked down at my hands only to discover that they, too, were cast in an eerie, almost other-worldly light. Confused, I looked about frantically. It was 3am.

And that's when I saw it--from my top bunk by the window, through the slats in the shades, sat the moon. She bobbed there right outside my window, smiling and peering in at me. I blinked. I noted the time. Thinking back, I'm not sure why I was so shocked to see the moon, but I remember thinking I must be dreaming.

The next morning, I did think I had dreamt it. The hazy sleepiness, the heavenly light, the overwhelming calm and peace that washed over me--surely not the work of the moon.

That night, I wondered if the moon would visit me again. I fell asleep in the hopes of being awakened at 3am again by that bright, bright light.

At 3am, I woke up. The room was dark. I thought I had missed it or the clouds had hidden it. I fell back to sleep disappointed. But at 4:30am, I woke suddenly.

She was back. The same full orb sat in my window, seemingly taking up the entire frame. I lay back, smiling, looking again at my glowing hands. I felt as if an old friend had come to visit again. I felt reassured, soothed, at peace. And I meditated in front of that super moon in the middle of the night in the Berkshires amidst sleeping strangers.

Sunday morning during 6:30am yoga, the first thing our instructor asked us was if we had seen the super moon that weekend. He told us of how full moons can signify cultivation and abundance and clarity in our journeys and brought back our entire practice that morning to the power of the moon.

Imagine that.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

giveaway winner

Thank you all for entering the giveaway :) I'm so grateful for all you readers.

 The randomly selected winner is one of my dear internet-friends, m. heart! Congratulations, Melanie. I'll be emailing you :)

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, March 21, 2011

my trip to kripalu

Where do I even begin? Kripalu is lovely. It's beautiful. It's perfect. I love everything about it. If you haven't been and you've ever entertained the thought of going: go. Go now. It will change you.

I'll admit--I was way more nervous about this weekend retreat than even I realized. I didn't know what to expect and I only knew a handful of people from my local yoga studio. This was way outside of my comfort zone.

But usually moving outside of your everyday sphere is a good thing. In this case, it was an extraordinary thing.

I arrived Friday afternoon to gorgeous views and 70 degree weather.

kripalustockbridge bowlkripalu

I literally had to try hard all weekend not to grin too ridiculously everywhere I went. The view of the Stockbridge Bowl took my breath away every time I glanced at it. I had lovely roommates from all over the country (even one from southern CA--ahem Carmella) who I wished could have been my roommates in college. The food was my kind of food--the Kripalu kitchen is just as amazing as I'd heard. (And breakfast is silent--SILENT! What a glorious way to start the day.) I don't think I wore a stitch of underwear all weekend (shh don't tell!). I left my hair loose and wild and free and I can count on one hand the amount of times I looked in a mirror. In the hallways, the other retreat participants actually look at you and smile. I felt that I could be myself around them, knowing they too were there for the same thing. Everyone gives each other space to be exactly as you feel.

endless food at kripalustockbridge bowl

The environment was exactly what I needed to discover a spring of clarity and support that made my every decision and action so intuitive and easy. Saturday morning, instead of waking up early for 6:30am yoga, I fell back to sleep in my little top-bunk bed-nest under the cloudy gray sky and woke up feeling alive and refreshed, glad to have listened to my body. As much as I loved my workshop presenter (she reminded me of Diane Keaton!), the workshop itself wasn't as informative as I thought it'd be, so I decided to skip my Saturday afternoon session. Instead, I walked the labyrinth (my new favorite activity), visited the meditation garden, journaled in The Sunroom, and practiced yoga. I drank endless amounts of tea from the dining hall, danced to an amazing concert Saturday night, stood outside forever staring at the Super Moon (we may have even howled at it...), and furiously copied down the quotes plastered in the stairwells. I spent hours in the shop, browsing books and trying on jewelry and coming away with mala beads and colorful stones and prayer flags and Deepak Chopra books. I even discovered my soul color (it's purple, of course).

gloomy day at kripaluentrance to the labyrinthOMloved this dancing goddess!center of the labyrinththe earth altarswami kripalu meditation gardenrushing creekthe super moon!impulse ensemblethe sunroom

Kripalu was perfect. I had to drag myself away Sunday afternoon. It fed my soul. It allowed me to exist. Peacefully. That was all I wanted.


(Last chance to enter the giveaway! I'll select a winner tomorrow :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

off to: kripalu

I'm off! I'll be away from this space for the weekend at Kripalu, participating in a yoga and meditation workshop. Yikes!

I'll be back here Monday with lots of photos and stories. Enjoy your weekend :)

(And don't forget about the giveaway while I'm gone! Comments will now close Monday 3/21 at 11:59pm EST. Good luck!)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

a shop update

blooming daffodils

I just added some new prints to the shop! Click on over and have a look :)

(And if you like what you see, be sure to enter my giveaway to win your favorite print!)

an elton celebration.

If any of you who read this blog know my little sister, you'd immediately associate her with a love for Elton John.

Yes, that's right--my sister is 11, and she's been a die hard Elton John fan for years. I happen to think it's adorable.

So when I saw that Elton John was coming to the area a few months ago, I couldn't help but get her hopes up and tell her all about it and then proceed to try winning tickets on the radio. Needless to say, we didn't win them, and didn't have $300 to shell out for each ticket, and so we tossed that hoped-for idea away. Cue in a few weeks ago, when we decided we'd try Googling any last chance contests to win tickets, and miraculously discovered that Elton would be playing in another venue just a bit farther away for way less than half the cost that we had originally presumed. A few hours later, Mary had begged and pleaded and jumped up and down in excitement enough to convince my parents to buy tickets. We found just two tickets in a not-so-good section of the huge convention center, which meant Mary and I would be taking a trip to Worcester all on our own for her first concert. Ever.

Lord, can that girl scream.

ready for the concertelton johnelton johnthe ultimate 11-year-old elton john fanme and mary at the concert

We heard a bunch of classics that Mary was hoping to hear and had probably some of the best seats in the house! We thought we'd need binoculars to even see him, but we ended up with seats on the side of the stage (and the right side too, so we could see his face as he played the piano and not his back) and since we were so far to the side it actually made us closer to the stage! It could not have been more perfect. (This made up for the fact that we although we arrived early, we decided to drive two miles away from the theater to get dinner, thereby getting stuck in traffic for an hour to drive back the way we came and then couldn't find parking and ran into the show an hour late and with people in our seats! Argh.)

Mary found crazy glasses to channel Elton, and even made her own t-shirt for the occasion. And as we were getting ready to leave, she declared, "Ruth, I think tonight is a red lipstick night!" and even got to wear a little makeup. Ah, the things that excite pre-teens.

I'm so glad she got to see Elton John, and enjoyed her very first concert. I think we must make this a habit, Mary.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

a happy one hundred.

hundred followers :)

When I began writing this blog over two years ago, I didn't take it seriously. I wrote random thoughts and pleased my professor and sometimes went weeks without posting. It was a new venture and I had no idea what I was doing. But I knew that I loved it, and so I kept it up even after I graduated.

Now, so many posts later, I notice I have 100 readers subscribed to my blog. One hundred! I'm not really one for watching stats and counting followers and promoting my site, but knowing that so many strangers have stumbled upon my little blog and wanted to continue reading just melts my heart. Hurray!

Because I'm so delighted that I have such a dedicated following, I'd like to thank you, dear readers. In celebration of one hundred followers (and counting!), I'd like to give away one print of your choice from my brand new Etsy shop, A Comfort Given Photography.

Just visit the shop, share what your favorite print is in a comment, and be entered to win it! Follower or non-follower, lurker or commenter--anyone is welcome to enter :)

The giveaway will close on Sunday March 20th at 11:59pm EST. A winner will be selected at random. Edited: Comments will now close on Monday, March 21st at 11:59pm EST. Extra day!

Good luck! And thank you for reading :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

on its way

cloudy march skyfallen treesheart!reflectionsmurky waters and skunk cabbagesmysterious tracksmini waterfallssurprise geeseover the pond

I went out into the woods on Saturday, able to walk the familiar paths without the hindrance of three feet of snow for the first time in months. The sight of brown ground seemed absolutely absurd, and glorious.

I went out for breath, for spirit, for rejuvenation, for inspiration. If there's one thing I've learned from the past three months of record snowfall in New England history (and subsequent cabin fever), it's that I need the outdoors. My soul literally requires the fresh air and the enormous trees and the existence among other natural beings. I have no problem doing this in cold weather, but three feet of snow makes just walking to the edge of the field an arduous task.

I'm so happy the snow is finally melting and the temperature is slowly climbing upwards.

Spring, you're welcome here. Come on your way.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

a dapple of my weekend

Oh, the weekend. The weekend was full and vibrant and exact and exhausting and one-of-a-kind.

Friday there was Whipped vodka with ginger ale and the cutest little brownies with caramel inside and getting to bed early(ish).

Saturday there was sleeping in and warm coconut oil left to saturate my hair and scalp and purging unnecessary clutter from my bedroom (it felt so good). There was a walk through the melting woods and lots of hot, half-caf coffee and another attempt at granola bars (FAIL. I don't think I'm meant to get those right...but the crumbles were delicious). Then there was a trip to Worcester to visit Mr. Elton John in concert, with Mary who is quite possibly the biggest 11-year-old Elton John fan you ever will see. We had a fabulous time.

granola prepyummy honeysnow melting!over the pondelton john

Sunday there was more sleeping in (a late night out on top of losing an hour, ouch) and breakfast for lunch with freshly made maple syrup from the boiler by the barn and a very successful trip to the health food store and finally getting my taxes filed.

This weekend swelled with new emotions and a new satisfaction that I think I like.

Here's to a magical, fruitful week ahead :)