monthly goals: october

I’ve been manic for the past few days. I have this sudden urge to do, make, complete. But it feels unhealthy, because I’m never satisfied and I’m always on edge. Perhaps starting up a Monthly Goals post series will redirect my activity to something a bit more satisfying.

october must list

October Goals:

  • List items for Platinum & Rust every week.
  • Go to Carter Mountain Orchard.
  • Visit Skyline Drive and take lots of photos.
  • Find a nice candle and burn it often.
  • Finish painting bookshelves and get the library back in order.
  • Watch Hocus Pocus while eating homemade popcorn.
  • Cut my bangs.

What are your goals this month? 

follow through


My single greatest weakness is an inability to follow through.

It’s not apathy or distraction or immaturity. It’s debilitating fear.

I hate to do things I’m not good at. And if you tell me I’m not good at something, I have an unhealthy tendency to agree with you and shun my own perception.


I love(d) to sing. I was in choir, sang at church, competed at vocal association conferences, toured with a high school worship band, and participated in my high school pageant. But then I didn’t get into my college’s school of music. And I wasn’t selected for the co-ed a Capella group. And the first church I attended in college had an inhospitable-bordering-on-hostile worship team. And the community choir was full of prima donnas and angry old women. And it slowly faded away until I stopped thinking of myself as a singer, until I started telling people, “I used to sing” and “this is what I did.” All in past tense, a resignation.

I like(d) to write poetry. It began in high school and grew wild and frequent by my sophomore year of college. I received positive feedback in my intro to poetry class. I published regularly on my blog. But then I didn’t get into poetry workshops. And I was convinced if was because my poetry didn’t stack up. And I write now, a little, but the inspiration comes slow, painfully, with trepidation. With boundaries and boxes and prompts only.

I like(d) customer service. I was great at small talk and banter. I was intuitive, useful, understanding. I recognized the challenges of navigating interactions with strangers in an environment of economic exchange – how awkward it can be to maintain politeness when you feel you’ve been wronged, embarrassed, treated inhumanely. But then I was told I wasn’t happy/charismatic/friendly enough to do customer service. That I was hard to read and seemed unenthusiastic. And it flew in the face of everything I perceived about myself in the context of my work environments. And it challenged my social relationships. Do I make a bad first impression? Am I awkward or hostile or pessimistic?

It seems that the problem isn’t fear of failure alone, but fear that the negative feedback I receive is beyond overcoming. I want to succeed. I want to be a success. And the best way to do that is to prune away at my failings, to stop growth and redirect that energy to making myself look better elsewhere.

But the more I prune away, the less I’m left with. I’ve cut off all the buds before they’ve bloomed and I’m left settling into a darkness of my own making. And I’m browning and wrinkling and crunching under the feet of those who tread on my aspirations – my delights – in the first place.

I’m afraid of not being good enough. So my ears are trained on the voices that tell me what I fear. You can’t sing. You can’t write. You can’t interact. You aren’t happy. You won’t ever be good enough.

But I’ve freaking had enough! And maybe when I think about follow through I should imagine pushing through the brambles of criticism instead of resigning myself to an innate weakness. If I fail at the very end of that path to success (and who can determine an end anyway?), I’ll still have overcome the roadblock set before me by my critics.

I’ll still be better than enough.

image source

the time will pass anyway: navigating life in your twenties


“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – Earl Nighingale

This idea as a life framework has been on my mind for the past several weeks. I realized – in the back of my mind at first but now clearly – that it was always a lie that success was waiting just around the corner from graduation day. Success coupled with fulfillment takes time. And it’s always taken time. And the fact that the Mid-Life Crisis is a fixture of our society is proof that people have been telling each other and themselves the lie for decades, and that the delusion eventually wears off.

Life in my twenties, and maybe for its entirety, is about finding the balance between financial survival and personal fulfillment. And they don’t always arrive together, at the same time or as part of the same activity. And being content with that, and knowing I’m ok, and continuing to strive regardless, is the big life lesson.

What I’m still trying to figure out is if we need to rework what we say to kids about following their dreams or if we would cling to that idealism even if we weren’t told it. Maybe we would go through the crap of realizing in our guts that life is hard, that we can’t always get what we want, that life isn’t fair, even if attempts were made to let us down easy in the beginning.

Ultimately, it’s worthwhile to work toward hard, big, important goals. It’s easier to keep going, though, when we don’t put ourselves on a timeline, when we realize we won’t implode if we don’t get from point A to point B by age 25. I don’t think my generation suffers from a case of adultlescence. I think prior generations were simply deferring the hard questions for mid-life. And some within my generation have been intimidated into deferring it, too. But I believe that:

“Contrary to a belief popular among older people, the Quarterlife Crisis is not the idle whining of a coddled, presumptuous post-adolescent. It is the response to reaching the turning point between young adulthood and adulthood; it is the amalgamation of doubt, confusion, and fear that comes with facing an overwhelming set of identity issues and societal expectations at once.” – Alexandra Robbins, It’s a Wonderful Lie

If we do it now, maybe we can avoid it later. And that’s ultimately healthier because we’re less tied down now. We have the space – and the physical health – to move past the false expectations and self doubt and maybe arrive at a place of contentment and self-understanding in a decade or so. And we get a whole, long life to work toward our dreams instead of scrambling for it at age 50, ill-equipped and emotionally shattered.

Know that, as long you’re dreaming and reading and working toward something, you’re fine. You don’t need to have arrived. And you might never arrive. It’s the working toward something with hope and diligence that ultimately makes you a success as a human being. Believe in that and find rest.

“…The pursuit of meaning is what makes human beings uniquely human. By putting aside our selfish interests to serve someone or something larger than ourselves — by devoting our lives to “giving” rather than “taking” — we are not only expressing our fundamental humanity, but are also acknowledging that that there is more to the good life than the pursuit of simple happiness.” – There’s More to Life than Being Happy, The Atlantic

photo source: CNN

images & inspiration

  1. I love the composition and timeliness of this photograph by Elizabeth Messina for The Huffington Post.
  2. Stripes and polka dots in fall colors appeal to me.
  3. Inspired by Downton Abbey’s Season 3 wardrobe.
  4. I’ve seen a few building projects that use unfinished crates from Michael’s, but this is one I might actually do.
  5. The setting of this image makes very little sense, but I like the outfit and the stacks of books.
  6. A photo by Paper Crowns, a Charlottesville blogger!

It’s almost time to write a four months in Charlottesville post. Isn’t it weird that it’s practically December?

on wearing pants

I do not like pants. I’d much prefer to wear a skirt or dress every day. There are a few reasons why I turned my back on pants: 1. my hips (ahem, and behind) grew disproportionate to my waist during my growing-up years (but really, who’s to say what’s disproportionate?); 2. the search for proper fitting jeans is endless, mind-numbing, and degrading; 3. skinny jeans with too little stretch are rather constricting; 4. I lived in Florida, so I didn’t really need to wear pants.

But now I live in a clime where fall and winter are real events, not just markers of time. The weather has been mild for the most part, but I’m beginning to regret walking from my car to work in a dress and knee high socks. My thighs are numb by the time I arrive. I need to suck it up and wear some pants (that sounds like a sexist metaphor, but if it weren’t sexist, I’d say that I just created a pretty great double meaning in that sentence).

I forced myself to brainstorm outfits that aren’t atrocious to get myself excited about jeans-wearing.

jeans outfits
  1. Sheer shirt layered over tee + pattern mixing
  2. Striped shirt + cardigan and moccasins
  3. Casual graphic tee + cozy accessories
  4. Tunic and flats + oversized sweater

Do you like jeans? How do you dress for cold weather?

pinterest roundup

I don’t care much for the social aspect of Pinterest and I never search for images within the site itself. But I love it for organizing my favorite images from around the web. I’ve been particularly interested in home design and art photography as of late, in addition to personal style inspiration photos.

sources: graphic shirt and dress/kendi everyday/coffee bar/mountaintop wedding/living room/unconventional needle art/ballerina project

  1. I enjoy discovering style inspiration images that align with what I already have in my closet. I wore an outfit similar to this Monday and plan on doing so again with a vintage dress I still need to alter. My personal style is all about casual polish.
  2. That Leah Goren cat print is everywhere. I’m glad to have the same name as the cat-obsessed artist and print maker.
  3. I think I could just fit a coffee bar in my tiny kitchen. If I end up purchasing an espresso machine and a proper grinder, I’ll practically need one.
  4. Mountains + wedding = perfection
  5. I like every component of that little sitting area: the eclectic, simple frames; the chair and throw; and the industrial lamp are design elements that would easily fit into my current living space.
  6. I saw needle art all the time when I worked at a craft store. Company wide, it was the single most framed item. And I never liked any of it. But this woman gets it. She’s manages to make needle art very cool.
  7. I am always intrigued by beauty among broken things. I love the juxtaposition of grace and elegance with grunge and utility in this Ballerina Project photograph.