Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Making it Through.

I have been crazed for the the last couple of weeks. The ugly truth of it, is that I was unprepared and unorganized. I've been making my rings and it's not a full blown business yet, so I was unprepared for the busyness of it all. The rush kicked my butt a bit. That in conjunction with my darling husband turning 40, and trying to throw him a surprise party on Christmas night nonetheless, also helped with the butt kicking.

The holiday boutiques, the scheduling, the production time... was and is all new to me. All proceeds went to both Christmas and the party, and not knowing what the proceeds would actually be...added to my craziness. I was a ring making machine, all consumed. Next year, I will be entering the holiday season with with a definite plan of attack, and earlier than I thought I needed to this year. Once I got through the last of the boutiques, I went into full blown birthday mode! I ran around picking up the cake, decorations, beverages, food, etc. While spinning tales and misleading my husband all the way. The good news is that the party went off without a hitch (a few hiccups, of course!). And we survived Christmas. The next morning we headed to Vegas to celebrate a dear friend's 40th birthday. Tired yes. Exhausted yes. Happy Yes. Fun Yes. Happy it's over?...Yes.

Through it all, the one thing that I have been feeling a bit melancholy about, is not keeping up with the Gwen Bell's Best of 2009 Blog Challenge . I have the tendancy to create hurdles for myself. I create expectations for myself. I let the gremlins creep in and whisper mean things. And I was starting down the road. You know the one?... Or do you? That long and winding road. It takes me to a place at the bottom of a steep hill, the place from which if I allow myself to, I can look up and think about what I should have done. What I could have done. And how far of a climb it will be to get back to where I was. Though this time...I thwarted those pesky gremlins! I felt it for a few moments, and then decided that it's all been worth it. If I could go back and do it all again...sure I would be more organized, more prepared. I would blog every single day. I would have allowed for some more breathing time for myself. But in the end the outcome is all that really matters. And I did it. I made it through. I enjoyed myself most of the time. I threw a kick ass surprise party. I got to spend quality time with friends and family. And I asked for help when I needed it - that is huge.

So in this moment. I am happy with where I'm at. Will I finish out the rest of the #best09 challenge? I plan to. But if I don't make it, will I be any less? No.  Hot damn...does that feel good! I am liking the way 2010 is looking already.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Best Project of 2009. Me.

December 21. Project. What did you start this year that you're proud of?

Things have been strange this year. I was contracting myself to another designer throughout '08, and for the first several months of this year. Things had slowed down so much for her business that we all took a hiatus for a few weeks. And that few weeks has turned into months. Normally I would have panicked, but this time I made a conscious decision to enjoy the moment. Embrace the time. Do something new. Spend time with friends.

I started with a sewing class. I discovered that I am not bad at it! In fact I actually enjoy it, and really enjoy sewing zippers in. Why that is, I'm not sure...but I love me some zippers! I also started making rings this year. I opened an etsy shop . I went with things a little more than usual. I struggled with the details of starting a business. I tried to jump in and not worry about all of the minute details. I challenged myself to step out of the shadows, to interact with people more. I practiced being present. I trusted that what I needed would be provided, even if I wasn't sure exactly how. I got back to exercising. I ate healthier (that is until the holidays snuck up on me). I forgave others. I'm starting to forgive myself. I took time to breathe. I enjoyed the beauty of  nature. I started a blog. I started to step into my authenticity - into "me".

I guess the project that I started this year, the thing that I am most proud of, is a little project called "me". I think that 2010 is going to be a continuation of what was begun in '09. And I'm looking forward to diving in head first, with complete abandon!

* this post is part of Gwen Bell's - The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Best Car Ride of 2009.

December 19.  Car ride of 2009. What did you see? How did it smell? Did you eat anything as you drove there? Who were you with? This prompt is part of  Gwen Bell's Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. A look back at my personal "bests" of 2009.

This feels like cheating...but it really was my best car ride of 2009! 

The only thing that I think will hold a candle to it, will happen after today (actually after Christmas). We will be road tripping it to Vegas with our friends...how can that not be fun? Right? Two couples on a road trip = double the fun. At least that's how I am envisioning it! And since I haven't lived it yet....the other car ride is definitely it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

beach walk peace

December 8 Moment of peace. An hour or a day or a week of solitude. What was the quality of your breath? The state of your mind? How did you get there?

My beach walk has brought me both the most and best moments of peace this year. It's easy to take for granted the things in our life that are plentiful. This last year I have made it a point to be present as much as I can, when I can. One of the ways I've accomplished this is to spend more time at the ocean. I don't live far less than 5 miles, in fact. I feel centered there. I feel connected there. I feel joyful there. I feel peaceful there. I feel there.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Best Blog Discoveries of 2009.

December 7 Blog find of the year. That gem of a blog you can't believe you didn't know about until this year.

Being a designer I've had an unending list of design inspired blogs that I regularly read; however this was a year of personal growth and admiration for women who are open, courageous, and authentic. Because of that, there are so many new blogs that I discovered this year {in fact, this is a gentle reminder to get a full list of my faves up on olive & hope}. One of the coolest things ever is discovering a new blog! I have a long list of those I religiously read, but of course...the question is best of 2009. So here we go. A few of the blogs I found this year, and sometimes wonder, what was life like before I found them??

lisa field-elliot of doorways traveler  amazing, raw, inspired, beautiful

Brene Brown of Ordinary Courage how did I live without reading your blog??

Melissa of  Operation Nice  The do-gooder in me loves you.

amanda oaks and jenn gibson of kind over matter always full of kind minded good stuff.

Valentina Ramos of feeling inspired  Your artwork makes me smile, and so does your spirit.

Gwen Bell of gwenbell.com - Big Love in a Small World You inspire me to take on the world. Perhaps while wearing a sassy dress and drinking a good beer.

These are just a few of the blogs that I fell in love with this year. My heart is full of admiration for all of the talented, brave, open, perfectly imperfect and exceptionally fabulous women I have discovered this year.  I am looking forward to another year with all of my current blog loves (both old and new), and to a new year of blog finds.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Best of Books 2009.

December 4 Book. What book - fiction or non - touched you?

This book was recently loaned to me by a new friend. It's amazing how the universe brings amazing people and situations into your life, just at the right time. The book is amazing, and resonates with me on so many levels. The concept is simple, but oh so powerful. I am struggling with how to describe the book and do it justice. In a nutshell, it's about the power of raising our vibrational level, being able to step out of seeing ourselves as victims, seeing all of the people in our lives as partners in healing, healing from severe illnesses through forgiveness - which causes a shift in energy and allows great things to happen, the release of stuck energy caused by both forgiving and being forgiven, and seeing the perfection in seemingly imperfect situations and relationships, etc.

I can definitely apply this book in my personal life, in situations big and small; but to think of the concept being applied throughout the world blows my mind. Talk about the possibilty of world peace...I can start with me, and if you did it as well, think of the change that could happen....Like the shampoo commercial (the brand is escaping me - was it even shampoo?), and she told two friends.... and so on, and so on.....I don't know if I did a great job of conveying the message, but pick it up if you haven't read it, it's worth the read.

On a slightly less deep note, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Twilight Saga. I read the books, I'll admit it...I'm not ashamed! It was a blissful 5 or 6 days of pure escapism. I devoured the books. I read, and read, and read. My husband came home 2 days in a row with the next book in the series for me. Now that's a great husband! I have since put my books into circulation, and my friends are enjoying them as much as I did. Those are a few of my best reads of 2009.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Best Restaurant Moment 2009.

December 2. Restaurant moment. Share the best restaurant experience you had this year.

My moment has nothing to do with how great the food was, or how fancy the restaurant was. It has more to do with the company that I was in. I had three nights with my Grandparents and it was fabulous! I don't get to spend as much time with them as I would like, and this was several days of visiting F-U-N. We kicked around at the harbor, went to the pier, and walked along a beautiful beach path or two. And while the entire visit was great, the night at the restaurant stands out. Maybe it's because Grandma joined us for a margarita? That was a nice surprise... and I love surprises! {Hope Grandma doesn't mind a good surprise, like seeing her picture on my blog}.

Grandma enjoying a margarita that's as big as her!

Time spent with friends and family is one of the things that I cherish most. I'm just as easily wowed by a meal at home with them, as I am out at a restaurant {besides, my husband is a great cook!}. One of the most beautiful things about 2009 for me, was the time spent with those I love. Getting back to what really matters. That it's not about going out and spending money. It's about laughter, good times, getting creative, good food, a great circle of trust, and love. Don't get me wrong...we love a good night out at a great restaurant, this has just been a year filled with lots of reflection. And I am thankful for it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Best Trip of 2009.

So today I am rolling out the Best of 2009 Blog Challenge inspired by Gwen Bell . A question of the day (every day) for the month of December, to prompt a look back at my personal bests for 2009. Do you want to play along?.... Please do. Either via your own blog, or feel free to play by leaving your own bests in my comments section.

December 1. Trip. What was your best trip in 2009?

traffic jam coming in to Santa Cruz

My husband had to take a business trip to Northern California, and uh oh...he snuck and took me along! We were supposed to go all the way up to San Fran, we didn't make it which was a disappointment, but we didn't let it put a damper on our trip. Part of the fun of the whole thing, was the fact that I was a stowaway. It was a secret mission of sorts (well... I guess I was the secret).

It was a true road trip in every sense, and we had a blast! We listened to satellite radio, we laughed, we ate snacks in the car, we played games, we ate at a couple of drive-thrus, we bickered, we sang, I took notes during his business calls, and we talked. I smile just thinking about it.

We had one night in a dowtown area that was absolutely scary. The hotel actually told us it would be better for us to stay in, since it was dark. Our hotel was like an island, and we were happily stranded.

On our way in to Santa Cruz, we had a traffic jam of epic proportions. But it was the most beautiful place to be stopped. It was so woodsy and beautiful, that I spent most of the time waiting just soaking in the scenery. I wish I had brought my camera along, because my cell phone camera does not do it's beauty any justice in the photo above.

On the next day there were a few tense moments. While driving around the streets of Monterey looking for Italian food, I thought we might actually strangle each other. The street signs are very hard to see in Monterey; they are so light in color that they just sort of blend in (especially at dusk). We did many laps around town. We had fits. We fought with the GPS. And eventually ended up grabbing a bottle of wine, and a pizza and taking it back to our room. We went from visions of a nice Italian dinner in town to dining in room, but I have to say that it was absolutely perfect!

The whole thing was not the best planned trip by any means, in fact most of the time we were flying by the seat of our pants. But there was a lesson in that trip. One about not always having to know all of the answers. About diving in with complete abandon. Giving yourself over to what may be. Letting go and just being in the moment. And take a look at the outcome....My best trip of 2009!