“In this modern age everything, everywhere seems to lead the senses outward and away from oneself. Don’t be afraid of quiet. Find the time for peace and introversion, and life will have new meaning.”
~ “The way of Tea” by Aaron Fisher
This Holiday I spent some quality time with my family. They flew here from Wales and brought with them a new light; I took a step back and soaked in some quiet – we took peaceful walks around New York where my eyes were wide open looking for unexpected beauty. And, we snuggled on the sofa with our tummies full of hearty foods until we drifted asleep. Christmas goes way too fast, don’t you think? But hey, another celebration is soon to come, New Years Eve and then a brand new year to look forward too!
Taking pictures and styling clothes, my thirst for creativity and inspiration was well satiated that day. The euphoria of childlike happiness tightened my cheeks and pulled the corners of my mouth up into a googely grin that never left my face. Shooting and collaborating with these beautiful & talented bloggers was something of an out of body experience – one where you pinch yourself… hard. Myself six months ago, the girl who liked to dink around with the camera gifted by her parents (one of the best gifts I’ve ever received btw), would never have thought I’d be doing this. I’ve always enjoyed photography as a side thing – especially the portrait and fashion genres, but I sort of stumbled into getting to do it on the regular for work. Free People has opened doors to explore my hobby in ways I’d never imagined.
I love being at work & I love what I do, but outside of the office I’ve been pretty busy too. I’m always sure to fill my weekends with adventures: brunching, city jaunts, record sorting, flea markets, nights out with friends, and of course, shopping. It keeps me moving and it keeps me inspired. Life has been a whirlwind of fun and love.
I’ve snapped some photos along the way to document…
By now I’m sure you all know who Abigail is. And, from her frequent popping up here on the blog, you can probably tell that she and I are attached at the hip. She is a loyal and loving companion who trots along next to me wherever I go. When people say that they and their pet were meant to be, I completely understand. Abigail’s my goof and I’m her ball, we’re two peas in a pod…
She doesn’t chew, she doesn’t bite, she comes when she’s called, but Abigail has another problem…
Abigail barks. She doesn’t do it when I’m home, but as soon as I leave, she raises an objection that bothers my neighbor to no end. I get it. I wouldn’t want to listen to it either. But for Abigail the separation anxiety is too much to handle, and she doesn’t know what else to do.
I’ve decided that this isn’t a matter I’m just going to give up on, so a friend of mine put me in touch with her friend that is a dog behaviorist. Stressed and desperate, I got on the phone with her to explore possible solutions.
The psychology behind separation anxiety in dogs turns out to be a fascinating topic. It seems that one of the major solutions is steadily training your dog over time to understand that you are the alpha dog, not them. Since I’ve learned this, I verbally remind Abigail every morning as she stretches awake that I am in fact the alpha dog (this wasn’t one of the trainer’s suggestions, but it’s nonetheless effective and entertaining). The idea behind establishing your dominance is that they will understand it as their duty to be left behind.
So how am I establishing myself in my new role? Little tricks like running my hand through her food and not letting her eat till I say so. With my permission to eat food coated with my scent, she understands that the food she is getting is a generous act of kindness. I am the alpha dog. We’ve also been working on perfecting heel. Abigail should never lead – I walk out the door first; I set the pace; I choose where we go; and it all needs to be done with calm. Her world needs to be zen so that the general state of being will transfer to moments when I’m not around.
Another thing the trainer suggested to calm her down is a Thundershirt (pictured below). Derived from technology used in children with Autism, the contraption fits the dog snuggly and has a calming, anti-anxiety effect. Each time I mention it, I like to shout the word “Thundershirt!” as if it were a superhero call, think, “superman!” (not normal, but I’m the alpha dog so whatever…). To keep it clear – the way in which it should be said – I will include an exclamation mark to spell it out.
The Thundershirt! directions instructed that the Thundershirt! make a peace offering the first time it’s presented to the dog
As you can tell, I’m trying to have a lighthearted approach to the situation, but I’m not going to lie – it’s tough at times. I have amazing support from my friends, yet there are still moments where I can’t help but think how free I’d feel should I hand her off to my parents (who would gladly steal her from me as it is). Whenever I’m questioning if it’s worth it, she’ll conveniently plop her head down on my leg and stare up at me – her big brown eyes peeking out behind wild tufts of hair and melting my heart. It reminds me that I can’t give up on her.
Stay tuned for updates on Abigail’s journey to the bottom of the pack (or should I say my journey to Alpha dogness?). If any of you have gone through similar issues, or have tips on how to deal with separation anxiety in dogs, please share. My ears are open and I’d love to hear what you all have to say.
This weekend I suffered from nostalgia, thoughts of home over consumed me and made me quite homesick heavy; it’s always this time of year that I feel this way maybe it’s the dark nights or the grey dreary weather that brings England into my mind… who knows. I spent my days this weekend thinking about Sunday Roasts, long strolls around Notting Hill, and lazy days inside a cozy pub chatting with friends. Here are some snap shots that helped me get through the feeling this weekend. Even though I get like this from time to time, America is where I am and I’m going to give it my all. You only live once, right?
The past few days I found myself in a bit of a funk. I felt out of it and I was getting down on myself for feeling out of it. I’m typically a pretty upbeat happy person, so when I get like this, it’s really unsettling. My mind quickly shoots to, how am I going to make this better?I find myself acknowledging what is wrong – what it is that I don’t like about myself, and how I’m going to work to fix it. I come up with plans in my head: certain practices or consistent efforts that I think will combat my troubling flaws.
In retrospect, I realized how important it is to make note at times like this. We all have faults, and sometimes it’s good to mindfully recognize what they are. You can assess how you feel about them – if they’re something that really bothers you and something that you want to change. It’s about acknowledgement. Actively acknowledging how you feel and what’s making you upset. Without it, you can’t change.
On the flip side – it’s also important to acknowledge the things that make you happy. Take note of what those things are, and work to incorporate them into your life as much as possible. It sounds easy – but sometimes it’s really hard to know what you want and what you don’t.
Either way, happy or sad, it’s productive to acknowledge how you’re feeling and why.
I am 100% without a doubt a summer person – I love the heat, I love the sun and the feeling of freedom that hangs in the humid air, even though you still have work. But I will admit, there is no better time of year for a good weekend hike than the fall. The crisp air is much more comfortable to work up a slight sweat, and the scenery is breathtaking. Not to mention, I love the sound of leaves shuffling under foot. Here are some photos from a fall hike in Fairmount Park – a place that lets you forget you’re in a city and reconnect with nature.
I love Thanksgiving. It’s one of the holidays that my family does best – centered on good food and warm sentiments. Each year, my mother wakes up at the crack of dawn to get cooking – something she’s been doing ever since she was eight years old. She starts with the pies – so when you turn up all bleary eyed from your bed, the sweet scent fills your nostrils and puts a drunk smile on your face. A fire is already blazing in the wood oven, and we all plop down on the couch with blankets, dogs, and the Thanksgiving Day parade. Quickly, hot cups of Jo are distributed, and you couldn’t be happier.
This year, once the caffeine had hit my brain, and I was able to pull my couch-loving-self together, I whipped out my camera to document. In the past year I’ve gotten a lot more into food photography. Not just looking at it on the pages of periodicals, but also practicing it a bit myself. Thanksgiving is a visual playground of food, and this seemed like the perfect chance to mess around…
My Aunt came from Italy and we prepared one of my favorite Italian desserts – Monte Bianco. It’s made with a puree of roasted chestnuts and whipped cream.
Abigail looking very guilty after trying to steal some turkey…
I had to include how beautiful the sky was at sunset. Hope you all had a great thanksgiving! xx
“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?”
My birthday was last week… its funny how as you get older, you start to worry about birthdays more, and want to acknowledge them less. I’ve always felt that the day itself doesn’t really hold much significance, but whenever it comes around I think of it as a time to reflect on the past year, and also think about the year ahead and what I want to do with it.
My dad got me a new camera. As someone who once aspired to be a professional photographer, and built a darkroom in his parents basement, he appreciates photography and has always been incredibly supportive of my little “hobby.” I’ve taken photography classes in the past, but with film, not digital – and this year I want to make a conscious effort to work on it.
So over the past week I’ve been playing around with the new camera a lot, and using it to capture little bits of what I’ve been up to…
My friend made homemade apple cider using tea-bags filled with spices (and a little bit of rum)… YUM!
And after several months of living in my current apartment, I FINALLY got around to hanging up some artwork! The fish is by my sister’s super talented boyfriend; one of my best friends had the painting on the left below done of my shore house –the sweetest gift I’ve ever gotten.
I spent some time yesterday working on a DIY with these fun colors of embroidery floss! Can’t wait to share :)
And lastly, I thought I’d share a few of the Free People items i can’t stop wearing lately! The velvet extreme flares are the most comfortable, luxurious pants I’ve ever worn – they’re getting a lot of wear this season. My sister got me the marled yarn pullover in this lovely wine color and it’s my new favorite sweater! And technically my Gola sneakers are from February of last year when we sold them before, but I still love them just as much today and am contemplating getting another color… put together these items make a cute outfit too!
And, my kitten Jam, who always wants to be the center of attention :)
Oh and to answer the question I started with… I think I would think I’m in my early twenties. How about you??
This weekend I enjoyed the feeling of Fall, the leaves have turned all fiery here in Philly. The rustic leaves brings a vintage feel, a feeling of age and decay that I’m drawn to; throughout my life I’ve loved the juxtaposition of the beautiful and the ugly finding old buildings and seeing the beauty in them. This nostalgic feeling comes flowing into me during fall – the trees decay ready to transform into something beautiful come spring. I kinda love that.
After a scrumptious brunch at one of my favorite restaurants here in Philly “Parc” that recalls the chic brasseries of Paris and a long walk in my vintage French military boots I returned home and got be-dazzled by party hats for these coming festive months – DIY soon perhaps!
Our creative director just sent me this beautiful story and video… read on, and watch the video below!
“This is a couple I spent some time with in my youth. Their son, Fabby was like my little brother for awhile. Beatrix was the 1st beautiful eccentric I had ever met. She taught me about surrealism and holistic medicine and that it was okay to adore clothes. I remember when I first saw her at the Foxfeild horse races she pulled up in this very old silver Rolls Royce and when she got out of the car I was dumbfounded by her elaborate way of dressing. I love it that she is showing up on blogs now!”