Category Archives: Home Decor

call me, maybe: 5 things friday

Welcome to the first edition of 5 Things Friday: Unplugged, where I’ll post five things that inspired me and put me into my happy place throughout the past week.

Have you ever thought about what made you go after a certain sport, growing up? What made you decide to like movies, or love reading? What motivations are behind your hobbies and interests?

This post over at budding author Ollin Morales’s blog Courage 2 Create differentiates passions versus callings. Morales writes, “The best way I can describe the difference between a passion and a calling is that a passion is like the love of a friend or a family member… But finding your calling is like falling in love. A calling requires that you hold a commitment to something. To commit to a calling is just like getting married… you are totally fine with the pursuit of your calling taking up your whole entire life.”

What are your callings? What are your passions? Here are five things that motivated mine this week.

1. Recently, I spent a rainy afternoon writing at the Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy, where I experienced an authentic quarter-life crisis and masked the entire feeling behind this one image. I’m currently writing this blog from a Starbucks, another place where I can pretend to write while I people-watch.

Thomas Crane Public Library

Banned the internet and entrenched myself at this Quincy library for a while. It was a lot better than my sad home desk – and it felt very official.

2. This picture is the most brilliant juxtaposition of dance and writing. It was like a Beauty and the Beast style sliding ladder full of organized pointe shoes. Right around the corner from Harry’s Bar in Paris was Repetto, which is a store full of ballerina bliss.

Repetto Paris

rows of pointe shoes complete with a sliding ladder. library meets ballet.

3. A new notebook AND new calligraphy ink. Nerd alert.

 

 

 

 

Composition

Nothing better than a blank notebook.

4. I’m so over snowstorms, so this J. Crew display made me want to kick off my cold winter boots and strip off every spare piece of clothing I can find.

rainbow belts and lovely lighting

rainbow belts and lovely lighting

5. Last but not least: a significant sign went up on our new house today!

 

Sold house

I guess this makes it official.

So: what’s inspired you this week?

the secrets to working from home, volume two: unplugged.

“So okay – there you are in your room with the shade down and the door shut and the plug pulled out of the base of the telephone. You’ve blown up your TV and committed yourself to a thousand words a day, come hell or high water. Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. ”

― Stephen King, On Writing

Welcome to the second installment of how to successfully work from home. Check out the first.

Unlike most internet flame-throwers, I’m less concerned about being technology-dependent and more focused about how much it distracts me from putting a pen to page. I think Kate Spade understood this when she designed my iPhone cover. I can at least pretend I’m using a notebook when I Google “how long does chicken take on the grill” or “Robert Longo poster decorations.”

NMS_0383

Kate Spade composition iPhone cover – a great gift for the writer in your life.

Like I said, I’m not so worried about being technology dependent – on the contrary, I’m worried about Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Instagram seizing my productive hours. Thus, here’s my solution.

Step Two in the Secrets to Successfully Working From Home: Unplug yourself.

Computer? Off.

Music? Off.

TV? Goes without saying – off. (In fact, I have a no-TV-during-daylight-hours rule that I strictly adhere to.)

Phone goes on silent, because God forbid I miss any important phone calls or Tweets — I work from home, after all, so there are days when I don’t use my voice for eight hours straight — but it stays facedown and out of reach from where I’m sitting. If something is out of reach from where I am, then I’m not going to have it in my hand until the next time I have to pee. Fact.

Schedule goes into place. Scheduling out your day is extremely key for a successful WFH day. It should be “step three,” but it’s a boring step. Needless to say,  I begin and end my workday by completing my online teaching goals for the day.

I then set an alarm on my out-of-reach iPhone, and “unplug” myself to write in my very own timeout corner:

Desk

My depressing desk.

Computer’s there for show. I write everything by hand and type it later, typically on days when my brain hurts, when I’m tired, or when I’m feeling particularly uninspired.

Word Count vs. Time Count: Unlike many authors, who set word count goals for the day, I set time goals. There are days when I can write 4,000 words, and days where I can write 4. If I put myself in the corner, though, and know I have to stay there for a set amount of time, that’s usually enough incentive to work through any mental blocks I might have that day. (I don’t quite believe in writer’s block; I do believe in wandering brains.)

DSC_0387

Curious? The box to the left holds an old Super Nintendo that my brother got us for a wedding gift.

In high school, a friend of mine had this… decorative doll. It stood in the corner of her house and faced the wall. Her family called him Time-Out Timmy. Every day, I think of Time-Out Timmy when I chain myself to my boring desk. I’m very much looking forward to our move in April and May, when I’ll have a giant home office all to myself.

Another note on being unplugged: musicians have long learned the value of unplugging. It probably explains my weird affinity for listening to slow jams on Sunday mornings. I secretly love being in the car then. I adore Sunday Mornings Over Easy and Acoustic Sunrise.

 

pencilpaperJFS

tiny apartments and the six-word story challenge

A couple of weeks ago, I was editing a chapter when I got distracted because I broke one of my cardinal rules: I hadn’t banned myself from the internet while working. Thus, this tweet from Boston’s WCVB caught my eye:

Twitter WCVB Boston

Struck by a mix of awe and panic, I immediately abandoned all of my work in favor of ferociously Googling tiny apartments. I found everything from a minute and sparse 78 sq. ft. space in NYC, and then I found… these. These action-packed and architecturally interesting apartments are small, yes — but they certainly have a lot going on.

Like this one, a 270 sq. ft. space in Montmartre, Paris:

montmatre-apartment-Freshome-022

Photo Credit: freshome.com

Or this extra-modern, citrusy loft, which clocks in at less than 625 sq. ft.

loftapt

Photo Credit: freshome.com

Naturally, once I glanced down and saw my abandoned edits, I wrestled with my guilt… and reasoned that these tiny places were a lot like bite-sized stories. Specifically, 6-word stories.

I’ve done these before as exercises after writing a short story. I take what I’ve written and rewrite it in only six words. It’s almost impossible, and very frustrating. It does help me understand what the gist of a story is, though.

For this week’s challenge, try your hand at writing a story in exactly a half dozen words. You won’t likely end up with an overwhelming narrative arc. That’s okay.

Some famous examples:

“Found true love. Married someone else.” –Author and Screenwriter Dave Eggers

“For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.” –Reportedly written (source is undetermined) by Ernest Hemingway

“Well, I thought it was funny.” –Comedian Stephen Colbert

“Almost a victim of my family.” –Chuck Sangster

See how much these stories are saying while using only six words? Feel free to share yours in the comment section.