Monthly Archives

September 2015

blogs, culture, reading

Friday Reading

Let’s face it. The first week of work in September is always a slog. Summers over and you never did get to that cottage. Fall is in the air and you start thinking…maybe I should go back to school (probably you shouldn’t). Regardless, there’s no way any of you are going to be productive after 3pm today. So here are some links to keep you occupied…
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These drawings by Aiden Koch.
Karly’s defense of Tinder and hookup culture.
This scathing inditement of positive affirmations.
This sweet reflection on the benefits of traveling solo.

diy

FLOWER DRYING RACK

IMG_2500.JPG When I’m lucky enough to be gifted a bunch of flowers, I secretly look forward to them dying. Okay wait…that sounds bad. I look forward to them drying. Ever since I was a little girl I loved dried flowers almost more than the real deal. Their muted colours, their antique qualities – they seemed like the kind of thing that should be hanging in the house of an eccentric aunt (which it’s my lifegoal to become).

The problem is that in my apartment now there’s never anywhere good to hang them. I end up awkwardly taping flowers to the wall where they inevitably fall down or hanging them from my bedposts (which houseguests have informed me makes me look definitively crazy). So last weekend I designed this minimalist flower drying rack so I could always keep beautifully preserved dry flowers in my home without coming off like a Sanderson sister.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 coil of flexible copper wire
  • 8-10 copper fitting reducers 
  • 3 nails
  • a hammer
  • several bunches of dried herbs or flowers (I used lavender and rosemary)

What to do:

  1. Begin by measuring out the size of wire you’ll need. Mine was about 6 ft since I was using a large wall.
  2. Using a tape measure and a level, hammer your two nails into the wall equidistant from each other.
  3. String a taught line of copper wire between the two nails. I just wrapped the copper wire in tight circles around the nail to secure it. Hammer your third nail in the middle of the wire for stability.
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  4. Now, cut a length of copper wire about the size of your forearm. Begin by wrapping some copper wire around the end of the flower stem to secure it, then string flowers through your copper reducers. The stem should come out of smaller end of the pipe. Thread the remaining copper wire through the pipe and wrap it around to hold it in place.
  5. Hang flowers in their pipe “vases” from your copper string using additional wire or small mental hooks.
    IMG_2533.JPGC’est fin! 
mental health, reflections

HOW TO MAKE DECISIONS

IMG_2105.JPGI am chronically indecisive. Otherwise known as a libra.

I had my first panic attack at a Japanese restaurant when I was 12, deciding between the spicy tuna and the unagi. At 21, after hearing the news that I’d been accepted to a prestigious Masters program overseas, I was so paralyzed by the decision I contracted a stress-related viral infection usually reserved for octogenarians. Decisions – big and small – have the ability to bring even confident, self-assured people to their knees. There are many reasons for this but here are a few of the ones I tend to get stuck on:

  1. Decisions require us to commit to a path while it is still uncertain. We have to take a chance. Take the classic airplane conundrum: “Chicken or beef?” You can watch as each passenger on the plane goes through a mini-existential crisis over the question. But it’s because we’re forced to make the decision before we really know which is the better option. And, in that case, there is always a better option.
  2. Decisions mean choosing one thing over another (potentially) better thing. If you’re the anxious type, the ambitious type or the curious type, this is simply unacceptable. When you give something up you might never have the opportunity to get it again. What if this is the best unagi in the world and I missed my chance to eat it? Like FOMO, but for commitment.
  3. Decisions require us to take responsibility for ourselves. When you make a decision, the result – good or bad – falls on you. Suggest a dinner spot to a group of friends? If they love it, great. But if they think it’s too expensive or loud or there aren’t enough gluten-free menu options, all eyes side-glance to Mr. Know-it-all.  When you avoid committing to a decision you can say “it wasn’t really up to me” or “I never wanted to do this in the first place.” Those are much easier to say than, “I was wrong.”

With all of that said, the benefits of committing to a decision are limitless. Your Saturday night is more fun when don’t you troll facebook obsessing over which event will be the most fun, you just pick something and go for it. Your career flourishes when you put your all into it and don’t criticize yourself for “selling out” or doing the wrong thing. Your relationship will be more rewarding when you’re all-in and not constantly considering who else might be out there. The best way to counteract decision paralysis is to do the hard work of finding out what you honestly want. Once you know that, it’s so much easier to go after.

So…how do you figure out what you want? There’s no easy way to do this. Self-awareness is a process that takes time. But there are a few questions I have started to ask myself when I feel deep-leveindecision that have helped me figure out what my real desires are.

The first question is HOW DOES THIS MAKE ME FEEL? Think short-term and long-term here. Does it feel good today? Will it keep feeling good in a week? A month?  Which brings up the next question CAN I ENVISION THIS IN MY FUTURE? If you can’t seem to picture it, you probably don’t want it. Even if you want to want it. The last question, and the one that has helped most is DOES THIS MAKE ME PROUD? In my experience, if you don’t want to shout it from the rooftops or brag about it to the people you care about you probably don’t really want it.

Figuring out what you want takes time, patience and practice. But saving yourself the struggle of indecision or (worse) decisions made for the wrong reasons makes it a worthy effort.