being scared is a good thing

I want to be good for something.  Don't we all?  I know, I know, it's enough just to love and be loved.  I realize that.  But as a creative person, I feel this deep desire to be good for something more.  I'm realizing that the possibilities are endless when it comes to leading a creative life these days.  It seems like every other second someone is deciding to sell their cute hand-lettered stationary or retro-inspired tea towels...or whatever!  You get my idea.  The accessibility is overwhelming, and I know I have some of the tools to put this sort of work out there into the world.  But then, why don't I?  I've been trying to convince myself.  Kaylie.  You're a creative, poor college student.  Get your ass to your sewing machine and make some damn tea towels with quirky embroidery.  Do something.

And I say No. It's not a hard answer to deliver--I feel repulsed by the very idea of putting something like that out into the world.  It was just now that I realized why. It's not because I'm scared of "putting myself out there" or "I'm not good enough."  Making a collection of tea towels or stationary or whatever does not inspire me.  I love tea towels as much if not more than the average twenty-something blogger, but I don't have a burning passion to make them for others.  Simple as that.

Which leads me to my point. If you're not scared, it's probably because you're not challenging your best creative self.  If your gut doesn't say, "Wait, wait, wait, hold on, I don't know about this, this is too scary" then it's probably because you're taking the easy way out. We spoke in my thesis class last week about "stakes" and how they are important to making good art.  I guess I agree with that.  Making something good is scary and hard and it's not easy and formulaic.

What exactly am I trying to say right now?  You tell me, because frankly, I'm getting lost too.  But my point is that I'm going to start paying attention to the things that scare me, because those are the things that obviously mean a lot to me and that I should be paying closer attention to and chasing after, as terrifying as that may seem.

what i'm doing right now

What I'm doing right now: Watching Girls, eating heart-shaped Reese's, and freaking out about this last-semester-of-school-ever thing.  

Like, what?  What even is this thing that is happening to me right now?  After 17 years of being of school, it seems unfathomable to think I will be done with the whole thing in less than four months.  Just like that.  

Well, I mean, there are a few things to do before being done.  A lot of things, actually.  But four months?  A relatively short amount of time. 

The reality of everything is finally hitting me, and I don't think I have enough chocolate to sustain the anxiety that is brewing. Don't let me forget to hit up those after-Valentine's Day sales at the grocery store.  

january to-make list

A woven mat I have a ton of random yarn that I could use for this project, and if it turns out nicely, I'd love to buy some more fun, colorful, textured yarns and trimmings to make another one.  Currently my house is covered in yarn (shh, don't tell my housemates--I'll vacuum before they get back) because it's been weaving central for the past week or so.  I love weaving because it helps me stay in the moment and embrace the uncertainty of it.  I never plan out a design--I just wing it.  And that feels so, so good.  Especially when it turns out super special (and most likely really weird).  However, I do want to start weaving more practical things, so this tiny mat would make a nice transition into household items that aren't just artsy wall hangings.
Homemade valentines. Back in high school I use to have a tradition of making them while watching Love in the Afternoon and then hand them out at the lunch table on Valentine's Day.  One year, almost everyone else did the same and I actually went home with a bag full of valentines for the first time since elementary school!  Some traditions should never fade once we get older, and telling your friends you love them for no reason whatsoever other than it's a sparkly, lovey-dovey holiday is one of them.  I hope to get them done in January because 1) Holidays are my life and 2) I have the time before going back to school and 3) PINK! RED! GLITTER GLUE!
Meals that don't include pasta.  This is a toughie, because pasta is just so easy and just so delicious.  But I'm trying.  I really am.  Look, instead of pasta one time, I used spaghetti squash.  I'm getting there, I really am.  With the help of my momma, some new recipe books (one devoted solely to french fries--it is a revelation; thank you Erin), and some blogs, I will conquer my fear of cooking.

Anything on your list this month?  Any easy recipes you want to share with my poor soul?

one year ago

It's been one year since I arrived in London.  Can anyone believe that?  Because I honestly am having a hard time.  The experience still feels so close to my heart in so many ways.  I've said this before, and I will say it again--London healed my soul.  It sounds completely dramatic and superlative, but I believe it with all of my aforementioned soul. 2013 was the hardest year of my young life so far.  I was emotionally not in a happy place, and the one thing that kept me positive and motivated to go to class or even leave the house was the promise of London.

London did not disappoint.  It picked me up into its warm, yet slightly reserved and tentative arms and I haven't let it put me down since, like a kiddo who refuses to leave the arms of someone who lets them see over a tall fence (not like I know this feeling at 21 or anything...). Sure, there were times when it was hard to be in a big city far away--I missed my family and friends, and times I felt like a sore, colorful thumb in a posh city full of attractive black-wearing career types.  But the magical thing is that these moments shrink in comparison to the times that I felt like the luckiest lady in the world, living in one of the culture centers of the world, soaking up each moment like the highest industrial grade sponge.  I was always ready for the next adventure, big or small.  Sometimes it meant getting a pastry in South Ken on my way back to the flat or taking a train to an English village for the weekend with friends.  I took this adventurous spirit with me throughout Europe, and continue to feel it bubbling in me each day back in the states.   I can't wait to travel more! I think about it everyday! I want to so bad!  Please!?  Now if I could just get better at saving my money...

Every moment in London was an opportunity and each moment, even the mundane ones like grocery shopping were magic (the subtle kind that usually included Cadbury chocolate).  Eventually I felt like I was truly a part of the city, one of the locals just swiping their oyster card to get to their third theatre performance that week (okay, maybe that's not so normal) or heading to their favorite tea house in the East End to get some homework done.  I found the places in London that felt like home and left knowing there is so much more left of London for me to still discover and claim as my own.

I miss you, London.  I will be back.

eat here: bollywood theater in portland, or

So Ted did this awesome thing where he tricked me into thinking I was spending New Year's Eve alone (everyone is still at home on break).  I was enjoying my night, embracing it with some champagne in the bath, and making dinner while singing and dancing embarrassingly in the kitchen.  Ted told me that he was also making the same dinner, and we would eat together over FaceTime and ring in the new year together.  

Well, that happened, but in an even better way.  He actually showed up on my doorstep at 10:30pm!  I had convienently just finished dinner, and thankfully my eyes are bigger than my stomach, and I had enough for both of us!  These past few days have been a delightful surprise--we've been spending every day together, and I feel so grateful for his early return!  

Yesterday was spent exploring SE Division, which is an area we're not as familiar with, but love the vibe of.  We daydreamed about living in a posh apartment we can't afford, and I bought a cute duffle bag on sale at Adorn with big dreams of taking it on 329439 road trips.  We even got sentimental about London (my favorite pastime).  After meeting up with some friends for tea at Townshend's Tea, we made our way to Bollywood Theater, an Indian restaurant that Ted has been wanting to go to.  We ate some Samosas, Paneer Kita Rolls, and Pork Vindaloo and got homesick for London's Brick Lane, where we would wander the streets covered in street art drinking up the smells of Indian food while we munched on some samosas.  My favorite London food memory by far.  Take me back!  For now, the delicious flavors of Bollywood Theater will have to suffice.  

the old year // the new year

Amsterdam, April 2014
This year has definitely been my most eventful.  I'm pleased to report this year has been my happiest yet, and let me tell you the "cliche" advice I finally took to get there.

1. Push your limits.
This year I traveled to seven different countries.  As a proud homebody, I would have never guessed that I would live in one of the biggest, most vibrant cities in the world for almost four months and absolutely fall in love with it.  I would have never guessed that after this busy London lifestyle that I would choose to spend the next month traveling around England, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Greece (France is the seventh country, by the way--I spent an unforgettable spring break/birthday week in Nice and Paris).  I'm continually surprising myself with my more adventurous side, and I love that.

2. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
It's one of the hardest things a person can do, but they'll be stronger for it.  Yep, stronger.  Asking for help doesn't make you weak--it makes you smart, courageous, and willing to learn from others.  I've learned so much about myself this year from the help of friends, family, and strangers.  I'm eternally grateful for all of them.

3. Say yes to opportunities.
Being in another country helped me with this.  I learned to embrace uncertainty instead of always playing it safe.  I said "Yes" more than "No" for the first time in my life.  And it was awesome.  As an introvert, I forced myself to do things more than I usually would.  The great thing about this is that after a while, it wasn't forcing myself-- it was 100% by choice.

4. Forgive yourself.
I make mistakes.  A lot. We all do.  All you can really do is cry and mope for a bit, and then pick yourself up again and keep going.  It's hard and sometimes embarrassing, but that's growing up for ya.

5. It's okay to not know what you're doing.
I keep trying to convince myself this.  I'm only 21, I repeat.  I'm only 21.  I have time to discover my purpose.  I have time to pursue my dreams.

Which leads me to my goals for this year!

1. Become a better cook.

2. Plan a cross-country road trip.

3. Save money.  Really.

4. Chase my dreams in a real way.

5. Stay focused on my goals.  Cut out some of the lazy in my life.

2015, LET'S GO!