Monday, August 26, 2013

Pick Yourself Up on Monday

Beautiful Meltdown

You know exactly what I mean by that phrase don't you? Nothing is wrong with you. Everything you're feeling is valid and justified. Each ache and pain is legitimate and raw. The world has invited you to a stacked talent show and upstaged every hard-won magic trick you've got in your tattered little book. 

You're down. You're freaking OUT. None of your usual coping techniques seem to have any effect on your MACK truck of emotions that's freakishly accelerating toward unquestionable disaster. You can't seem to apply the breaks because there ARE NONE.

This is a Red Alert Freak Out. You could be hyperventilating, holding your breath, starving or overeating, yelling, shaking, sweating....

Sh*t just got bad. You could easily cross the line into permanent damage - to yourself and those around you.

Oh, you've taken that manic joy ride too?! Ok, here's my question:

What the BLEEP do you DO?!

This weekend, I had the rare delight of wanting to shave the skin off my palms just to chanel some of my internal torment OUTSIDE my body. I'll also confess strong desires to wield a bat on several occasions. ;) I also had a compelling urge to splash crimson paint over the interior walls of my house. (Don't ask why...)

Here's some of the emergency advice I've heard: 

"Go for a run - that always eases my stress." 
" Eat a spinach salad." (Because THAT's what I'm craving under pressure!)
"Soak in the tub."
"Read a good book." 
"Just acknowledge that you're exacerbating a frustrating reality."

All good, solid advice - pure to the core and very effective. But what about the times when you need MORE?! Like a super high dose of Anti-CRAZY?! I ended up just doing a ton of these type of things on this list - one right after the other. Normally any one activity or practice would alleviate the pain, but this beautiful meltdown took all the antidotes I have in my medicine belt. 

I don't know that my solution was the best response to King-Kong crisis, especially because it's not always physically possible to go for a run or soak in a tub when your psyche most needs them. 

I want to hear what you strong, beautiful people do. Please comment! Anyone out there conquered their meltdowns? :) I pray so!


Whew! That last section was pretty heavy, so here's a fun, stimulating new app I found this weekend! Couldn't put the darn thing DOWN!
I searched for "puzzles" in the iTunes store and rambled into this Myst-style, room-by-room challenge that hides keys, combo locks, and other contraptions for you to solve or assemble to escape oto the next room! 

Gorgeous graphics. Gradually increasing challenge (but never TOO hard!). ADDICTING! :) Play it on your tablet for best effect.
Here it is: Can You Escape

Try it out and let me know what level you get to! If you're stuck, I may be able to send you a hint, but shhhh don't tell! ;) 

Superhero UP!

A dear FB friend of mine Amy Kauffman (here she is with her blog "Amplifying Specs of Life"), posted this absolutely, show STOPPING motivational, Monday morning wakeup rally written by Daniella LaPorte! My spirit was giving Daniella a standing ovation after only the first couple paragraphs. Read! And then go forth and kick-butt, my friends! :) 

"I’m all for mental health days. And gentleness. And I think the world should take the month of December off. And, for the love of all things holy, a four-day workweek would revolutionize the collective human spirit and, thus, health care.

But this pep talk isn’t about taking it easy. This is about another form of self-care: doing whatever it takes.

Just got dumped? Lace up your runners and move your body.
Under the weather? Go to work anyway, wearing your favorite sweater.
Up to your earrings in deadlines? Go cheer on your friend. Show up at the bake sale. Call your mother.
Crying before show time? Put some tea bags on your eyes. Say a prayer. Enter stage left.

Push. Turn up the volume. Go hard. Go harder.
Re-prioritize your aches and pains.
Infuse your sensitivities with courage.
Tell fear to Eff off.
Devote to Done.

There are soul-justified reasons to cancel. There are times to just stop. This isn’t one of them. Keep going. Show up. Full on. Full tilt. Full out.

Decide to be one of those people who pull it off.

Do what you say you’re going to do.
Don’t let us down.

Decide to rise.

Why decide to rise? Not for the reasons you might think. In fact, these are the reasons that will make you sick and tired:

Do not rise out of obligation. Do not rise because of feared consequences. Do not rise because you think being tough makes you smarter (it doesn’t).

Decide to rise because you want to expand your being, your life, your possibilities.

Decide to rise because super powers are meant to be activated and applied in everyday life.

Decide to rise to explore your place in the universe.

On the other side of deciding to rise is illumination, ecstasy, insight. And the angel of your strength is there waiting, smiling, and applauding with a goblet of endorphins for you. Drink up.

When you transcend circumstances, you get special privileges. You get evidence that you are indeed amazing and irrefutable proof that what your heart and mind choose is what matters. And you get the deep knowing that life wants you to win.

Decide to rise.

Lean in. Listen up. Closely.
It’s your soul speaking, and she says,
Get UP! I need you. I want you. I am you. Choose me.
Lean in. Listen up. Closely.

Decide to rise."

-Danielle LaPorte, "The Grand Pep Talk," on Positively Positive

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Monologue Madness


I made a total fool of myself. But it was all for a good cause! This week in Act Now Studio's comedy acting class, I delivered my very first.....


I sucked. It's not that I didn't bust my lady balls practicing and prepping.... it's just that I've had ZERO prior coaching on  monologues specifically and am a beginner (gosh, that word chaps my hide!).

The class and instructor were very kind to me, but gave precise and decisive feedback confirming what I knew - imma total newbie!

So here's why I'm sharing this with you: I could see this "failure" coming from a long way away. All week, even after making serious progress understanding the reversals, antitheticals, point of view, and voice, I KNEW in my core that my best effort would still fall drastically short of my usual expectation of elegant, timeless....


No pressure, right?! Standing in front of an inevitable outcome of "insufficient" and allowing my ego and mind to stay malleable to the learning process is taxing. Everything in me wanted to run away from the growth-producing stress and back toward the calm, soothing water's of Tara's Comfort Zone. But I didn't.

Nothing too earth shattering came of it acting-wise - that will take years of dedicated practice before I even scratch the surface of acting competency! - but I took HUGE risks and strengthened my humility muscle. Along with actively accepting life outside of the normal, the comfortable, the competent.

Pertinent pic shared by Shara and Nancy from the outstanding Queen of Your Own Life

So, how have you stretched yourself and done something that FREAKED you? Please comment below and share with us what's worked for you! :) Keep being awesome and I'll talk to ya soon!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What I Found at Hunt and Gather + Lizard Lounge

Enchanted Garden

After a long week of commercial landscape design (which pays the bills and buys the espresso), one of my favorite, FAVORITE cheap and magical pastimes is to go nursery exploring! From my previous review of Pistils, you can probably tell that I FREAK on the whole green design thing - nature, design, mood, environment, botany, travel, decor.

Cistus on Sauvie Island was the destination of choice. Steering clear of the island's nude beach (at least for today! ;D ), we nearly missed the thickly vegetated driveway down to the curated garden center that is the retreat of Sean Hogan - a veritable horticultural Indian Jones who frequents New Zealand in search of crazy cool varieties that will transition well to our NW climate.

Having some retail garden center experience myself, I'm also so attune to presentation, signage, plant staging, and foot traffic flow. It may be because I was hot and a bit punchy, but the nursery wasn't laid out as crisply and "shoppable" as I like to shop when I go hunting for specific varieties - it has more of a vintage rummage sale feel. Perfect for the ruminating plant collector to browse and breathe in the steamy goodness of plants transpiring. None-the-less, I LOVED the selection. 

No boring laurel.
No lackluster rhododendrons.
No daylilies!

All have their place.....but this collection is such a treat for the experienced plant nut!

One of two, patio arrangements showcasing Sean's design services.  Sweet sedum chandelier!

Chocolate Tasting

So....what's one of the WORST things to befall a girl? 

Discovering she has a mild but irritating allergic reaction to CHOCOLATE!

For several years starting at puberty, I had to completely swear off chocolate or end up with uncomfortable red bumps on my skin - ouchy! (Not to mention unsightly). However, a few months ago, my genius nutritionist suggested that perhaps it wasn't the chocolate but the soy and soy lecithin that is frequently included in chocolate bars that was the nasty culprit. 

After tentatively sampling several raw chocolate bars with various flavors like cherry, orange, and salty nut, I've found some soy-free kinds in health food sections and Chocolate is now permanently BACK ON THE MENU! :):):):) 


To celebrate my new found liberty, I headed down to Cacao to expand my options further.
Cacao is a DELIGHT. 

Imagine a shop themed after an old East India Trading Co British import office - decadent, exotic, rare. The experience is phenomenal. Select four boutique bars of chocolate and the staff will provide you with a little sampling tray with recommendations on which bar to sample first, second, and so on. Luscious.....

Didn't get a chance to try their drinking chocolate, but holy MOTHER it looked like creamy, brown silk in the little shot glasses held luxuriously by the other patrons I saw clustered casually at intimate bistro tables.

Oh Cacao, I'll be back to experience you again soon!

Interior of Cacoa

Sandal Update!

So I really DID get some design work done this weekend! :) I purposefully went down to Lizard Lounge and hunt & Gather for inspiration for my new sandals and to get ideas of the type of products my target demographic is into. Here's what I FOUND - a wired chalcedony bracelet and some soft leather sandals.

Pretty fun, am-I-right?! I'm going to remake these sandals with more natural stone detailing. Trinkets and treasures BELONG on artisan footwear, don't you think? 

Time for show and tell! Do you have a family treasure, cool pebble, lucky coin, or just some favorite beads? Wouldn't they be better displayed or worn than shoved in a drawer???? Comment below with what your little "talisman" is and if you'd show it off if you knew the right wear to wear it, pin it, or fashion it into your daily apparel. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Shakespeare's Sonnet 54

"The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem 
For that sweet odour which doth in it live." 

Soft, baby pink roses are completely covering this pole.
Here's a lovely treat for you -
some gorgeous flowers from Portland's Rose Garden!

August is obviously an AWESOME time to visit as almost every variety was cloaked in blooms. I was completely overwhelmed with the experience!

After tucking my nose into dozens of roses, I can now say with confidence that roses have decidedly different "odours," as the Bard refers to their scent. A two-toned red and pink variety called "Rock and Roll" smelled sweet, punchy, and spicy while a full-formed soft mauve rose gave off a light, but consistent aroma that smelled like Parisian memories.

What a lush and unexpected experience!
What fun place will you go explore?

I want a HUGE bouquet in my office! <3

This one reminds me of Starburst fruit chews!

Can you spy Portland ? :)

This is only one of the main alleys

Playing Alice in Wonderland. Keep an eye out for the angry Queen of Hearts!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mood, Mindset, and a Movie

What the HECK is a MoodPanda?!

Ever notice how you feel like a BILLION bucks at some point in the day, only to have a few hours pass and your practically ready to slit your wrists???? If you're like me, this pattern gets EXHAUSTING.

Here's my latest plan (along with healthy eating, proper sleep, exercise...): track my moods throughout the day at 5 key times for a month and analyze the data to see if I can outsmart myself and circumvent some (underscore "some") of the crazy! :)

Found this cool app called "MoodPanda" in the app store. It uses a sliding scale from 0-10 to help you rate your mood along with a space for a few lines of text describing what's up. Although it's very social-media-y and I see plenty of whining worldwide, I'm using it as a private tracker. Love the graphs and little diary that allows you to look back over your thoughts. Pretty sweet.

I had to set a reminder in my iPhone for 9:30am, 12:30pm, 3:30pm, 6:30pm, and 9:30pm so I always take note at the same time daily.

Here's the scale I'm using to keep the number ratings consistent:

10. I'm invincible and fully realized! There are no limits

9. Just one more thing...and everything's perfect!

8. Pretty good:) 

7. Optimistic and cheery

6. Positive contentment. I'm on the right path.

5. Neutral

4. Slight anxiety

3. I'm in a funk

2. K, now I'm angry/mad/grumpy

1. I feel totally worthless. I add no value to this world. F this.

0. I'm dead.

This research project will definitely be intriguing. Hope I can learn some new, personal cheat codes! :)

Mindset and Movie

Movies that change you are the successful ones. Just watched one that inspired some SERIOUS action-taking! :)

 After watching Erin Brockovich with Julia Roberts, I immediately opened my laptop and tackled some copywriting that I had been avoiding for WEEKS. Seeing Erin scrape by with her babies and hours and HOURS of hot, sweaty, thankless work before she finally accomplished a seeminly impossible task was a fabulous reminder to fight and pursue the things that are important to you. Thinking big picture and long term is tough....but reflecting on her pigheaded determination and how it was the only thing that brought some relief to hundreds of people, gave me some extra juice to sucker-punch my duties.

If you feel like an underdog (and are tired of watching Rocky!;)   ), flip on E.B. You won't regret it.

Sandal Update!

Tiny update for the sandal project! 

1. I've finished the colored pencil sketches (after finally tracking down my Prismacolors! Phew!). 
2. The graphic artists are going to create the computer renderings this week!
3. Still looking for a local prototyper. Everyone wants to work in bulk or just doesn't get these kind of requests. :/ Okay, no biggie...I'll keep searching. There's got to be a PDX cobbler or leather worker interested! 
4. Messaging a few folks on Etsy to see if they could remotely create my samples off of the sketches.

Here's this week's action items: 

1. Identify some similar blogs, FB pages were I can find some ladies (or guys!) who would be interested in pre-ordering!
2. Settling on a name! Yikes - so many to choose from.
3. Popping up my website. 

Enjoy the pics below and bounce me a message or comment sharing the status of YOUR latest project! :)
Can't wait to see what you amazing people are up to! 

Scattered art....soon to be REALITY!

Wedgie! :)