Monthly Archives: March 2011


I recently came upon this video by Liz Song who is a Visual Communications Designer for HopeLab. She was asked to share her personal photography at the 2011 TEDActive conference. Liz was given four minutes on stage and with this time she curated three years worth of photographs, timed it with a beautiful song called Mile Marker by Amy Seeley, and paired it with an articulation of her life journey. This is what emerged:

Wow. How ridiculously beautiful.

The TED2011 conference theme was The Rediscovery of Wonder. It’s basically one big inspiration fest. Before seeing this video I had never heard of TED, so I did a little research. It’s mission is based on “Ideas Worth Spreading” and it’s goal is to leverage the power of ideas to change the world. You HAVE to check out the website:

What an absolutely ingenious initiative!


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Love Will Decide Everything

The following poem is one that a Mrs. Nancy Bates shared with my class our sophomore year of high school. She gave it to us on a bookmark and it has been with me ever since. It sat on my desk all throughout college and it sits on my dresser now at home, so that I get to glance at it every day. For me, it speaks to the importance of love. And to the importance of really, truly, deeply caring about something. Anything. Whether it be people, the things we’re passionate about, our life’s calling, our spirituality… I just think it’s kind of beautiful.

nothing is more practical

than finding God,

that is,

than falling in love

in a quite absolute,

final way.


what you are in love with,

what seizes your imagination,

will affect everything.


it will decide what will get

you out of bed in the morning,

what you will do with your


how you will spend your


what you read,

who you know,

what breaks your heart,

what amazes you with joy

and gratitude.


fall in love,

stay in love,

and it will decide




-Pedro Arrupe


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The Alchemist

If you haven’t read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho you need to get on right now and order it. Coelho is, by far, one of my favorite authors and The Alchemist is my favorite book of his. I’ve already read it three times and every time it means something a little different to me. I think it’s the perfect graduation gift and I would recommend opening it up after you graduate from high school, after you graduate from college and then any time you deem necessary after that. Basically, it’s a fantastic fairy tale about following your dreams.

Coelho writes in this whimsical, magical way that just puts me in awe of his imagination. I’ve read a few of his other novels as well, and the best word I can come up with to describe him is wise.

I don’t want to give too much about the story away, but The Alchemist follows the journey of a boy named Santiago, and it speaks to the importance of our dreams and how crucial it is to listen to our hearts.

There are so many thought-provoking themes throughout the novel that I can’t even begin to write about them all. I’ll depart by offering you a few quotes in hopes that they persuade you to get your hands on your own copy of the book. Only then will you truly understand Coelho’s extraordinary gift.

“It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend.”

“To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation.”

“…wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure.”

“People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them.”

“…we all need to be aware of our personal calling. What is a personal calling? It is God’s blessing, it is the path that God chose for you here on Earth. Whenever we do something that fills us with enthusiasm, we are following our legend. However, we don’t all have the courage to confront our own dream.”

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”


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One Wild and Precious Life

It was never my intention to have this blog be about poetry. In fact, I never would have said that I’m a great lover of poems, but for some reason, they seem to be popping up everywhere lately. I’ve already had two entries that include them and I’ve found a couple others lying around my room that I’ve been dying to share, but I wanted to mix things up a bit. However, I did say this was supposed to be an outlet for all things that inspire me and I was going to try and not give it too much structure (which as most of you who know me well know, is quite difficult for me). So right now I’d have to say that poetry is what has been encouraging me, and I’m just going to go with it.

My mind and energy is currently so focused on finding a job (a grown-up one, with a salary), but then there’s also this nagging voice in the back of my head telling me I need to remember to keep searching for my “calling.” I would definitely say it’s the major theme of this stage in my life, so most of the poems that I’m relating to are the ones that talk about finding that one thing that you love. That one thing you feel like you need to do. That you take pleasure in. That you crave. That brings you joy. There are so many people that have put this into words better than I can, so I am apologizing now for the bombarding of poetry that is to come in the following posts, but hopefully one of them will mean something special to you, like they have for me.

One of my favorite English teachers in high school, Mrs. Kathy Gibbons, introduced me to the poet Mary Oliver. I recently came upon this interview she gave to Maria Shriver:

There are so many things she says throughout their discussion that I completely relate to, but these are some that stood out to me:

MARIA: How do you know when something is a calling?

MARY: When you can’t help but go there. We all have a hungry heart, and one of the things we hunger for is happiness.  So as much as I possibly could, I stayed where I was happy.

MARIA: You were talking earlier about how you felt happy writing about being in nature, so you moved toward happiness.

MARY: I don’t usually mess around with what makes me unhappy when I’m writing. I want to write poems that will comfort, maybe amuse, enliven other people. I don’t mean that the world is all great and wonderful. But I’m careful to—I try to keep the emphasis on the good and the hopeful.

MARIA: One line of yours I often quote is, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” What do you think you have done with your one wild and precious life?

MARY: What I have done is learn to love and learn to be loved. That didn’t come easy. And I learned to consider my life an amazing gift. Those are the things.

The line that Maria Shriver quoted above is one of my all time favorites. It comes from “The Summer Day” by Oliver. My senior year of high school, Mrs. Gibbons had our class write a paper about this quote. I still have it and sometimes I’ll go back and read it. It’s amazing how much life can change in just six short years, but most of the things that I said I wanted then, I still do now. The heart and core of who I am and want I want is probably never going to change much. And so far, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve done with this one wild and precious life. I hope that at 75, if someone asks me this question, I will still feel the same way and have a great story to share with them.

As far as what’s to come? As far as what my plans are? I’m not exactly sure, but I think that’s okay. I think it makes this kind of exciting and unpredictable. It’s important to always keep this question in mind though. To remind yourself that this IS a wild journey that we’re on and that this life IS so precious. We get one shot. One chance to experience all this life has to offer. To find what we’re good at. To love. To be loved. To learn. To be challenged. To give of ourselves and hopefully, leave a little mark on this world. Talk about pressure! 🙂

Maria Shriver is quoted as saying, “Poetry can startle you, awaken you, make you fall in love, take your breath away. When those words sink in, you’ll never look at your life or your journey the same way again.” When you put it that way, maybe I am a great lover of poems. Or maybe I’m just a great lover of the written word. Maybe that’s why I’m loving blogging. Essentially, it’s just a journal that I get to share. And maybe that’s why journaling was never enough. Maybe writing, in one form or another is my calling. I guess we’ll see…


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Top O’ The Mornin’ To Ya!

Even though I’m not Irish, after having lived in Chicago this holiday now holds a special place in my heart. LA can’t quite compete with the green river, but I’ll be doing my best to celebrate the right way! You all better be wearing your green today! Luck o’ the Irish to ya!

I’ll leave you with a couple of my favorite Irish Blessings:

For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.

May you live a long life
Full of gladness and health,
With a pocket full of gold
As the least of your wealth.
May the dreams you hold dearest,
Be those which come true,
The kindness you spread,
Keep returning to you.

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I Heart Jason Wu

Alright, it’s time for another one of my more shallow posts because sometimes you just need something light.

It’s that wonderful time of the fashion year again – the Fall 2011 Ready-To-Wear shows have recently come and gone in New York, London, Milan and Paris. It’s on my bucket list to one day attend a show during NY Fashion Week, but for now I will have to rely on for the daily coverage.

While I was finally getting a chance to review the shows, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Jason Wu’s collection. I really am such a sucker for a pretty dress. I know this sounds a little dramatic, but seriously, you need to take a look at some of these dresses. Here are my favorite looks:

I am loving the whole prim, lady-like vibe. Everything about the collection, down to the smallest details, is just gorgeous. All the accessories, from the shoes, to the bags, to the jewelry, to the models’ nails, to their tights are just beautiful. I love the elegant and classic feel it all has. And don’t get me started on all the lace and feathers and sequins! Absolutely stunning! It just makes my girly little heart go pitter-patter. I’m really going to try and refrain from using the word “love” one more time in this entry, but truly, you have to just appreciate these clothes for beauty’s sake. I’d pretty much kill for any of the pieces. Basically, Jason Wu is a genius.

Copy and paste the link below to see the entire collection:

“Here’s the reality: People can say what they want about fashion, but arguably as many people are touched by it as they are by politics; we all have to get dressed in the morning. And so what we wear is inevitably a political statement – about the values we espouse, about where our materials are sourced and our respect for artisanship, about hidden aspects of ourselves that we want to put out there publicly.” –Unknown

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The Talk

I think everyone has their own horror story of how they got “The Talk” from their parents. I know my friends and I have swapped some pretty great ones. And even if they never talked to you about sex, I think that’s usually just as awful and sometimes worse. It’s something that is just simply uncomfortable for all parties involved and unfortunately, is usually one of those terrible moments that is forever embedded in our memories. So you would think parents would put more of an effort in trying to get it right, but that’s just usually not the case.

This week I was watching Glee, and the theme of the episode was sex education. If you haven’t watched it, you should.  Not only because I think it’s one of the best shows on television, but also because it has the best talk about the birds and the bees that I’ve ever heard. I was watching it with my mom and after we heard Burt Hummel (Mike O’Malley) give his gay son, Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer), “The Talk” she immediately turned to me and said that I needed to blog about it because it was just too good not to.

Below I have the dialogue for you to take a look at. I just think it’s so heartfelt, so honest and so perfect. I love it. If only this could be “The Talk” we all could get…

Burt: Hey! You think this is easy for me? Okay, believe me, I want to do this even less than you do. This is gonna suck for both of us, but we’re gonna get through it together and we will both be better men because of it.

Burt: First, most of the mechanics of what you are gonna be doing is covered in the pamphlets, so I want you to read them and then I want you to come talk to me about it. Deal?

Burt: For most guys, sex is just, you know, this thing we always want to do. You know, it’s fun. It feels great. But, we’re not really thinking too much about how it makes us feel on the inside or, you know, how the other person feels about it.

Kurt: Women are different?

Burt: Only because they get that it’s about something more than just the physical. You know, when you’re intimate with somebody in, that way, you’re exposing yourself. You know, you’re never going to be more vulnerable, and that scares the hell out of a lot of guys. Believe me, I can’t tell you how many buddies I’ve got who have gotten in way too deep with a girl who said she was cool with just hooking up.

Kurt: But that’s not gonna happen to me, Dad.

Burt: No, it’s gonna be worse okay, because it’s two guys. With two guys, you’ve got two people who think that sex is just sex. It’s gonna be easier to come by, and once you start doing this stuff you’re not gonna want to stop. You see, you’ve got to know that it means something. It’s doing something to you, to your heart, to your self-esteem, even though it feels like you’re just having fun…

Kurt: So…you’re saying I shouldn’t have sex?

Burt: I think on your 30th birthday it’s a great gift to yourself.

Burt: Kurt, when you’re ready, I want you to be able to do everything, but when you’re ready, I want you to use it as a way to connect to another person. Don’t throw yourself around, like you don’t matter. Because you matter, Kurt.

Kurt: Is that it?

Burt: That’s it for now. Can I make you some toast?

You can watch the clip here:

If you’ve got a funny story to share, whether you are a parent who has given “The Talk” or someone who has received it, I would love to hear it!

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