10 priorities to focus on in your twenties

Ireland
Traipsing through Glendalough, Ireland.

This week, I turn 29 years old. While not officially 30, I feel it’s close enough to merit some reflection on the past almost-decade.

In fact, “29” feels a little odd to me—like the space between two stair steps. Like I’m reaching for something ahead, but not there quite yet. Those two digits that have evolved, at least in contemporary American culture, to suggest that now there are no more excuses to put off adulthood. Your career should be well on its way; if you’re not married yet, thinking about it should factor into your every decision (hate to say it, but especially for women). Your twenties are for exploring and experimenting. Your thirties are for adulting.

Is that all true? Or are these unfair expectations we’ve attached arbitrarily to a numerical value? Continue reading “10 priorities to focus on in your twenties”

Cultivating creativity + community

Cultivating creativity + community in Paris

I recently returned from a trip to Paris, during which my priorities were shaken up, stirred, and reordered. Still stuffed with French butter, baguette, and chocolat noir, I spent my plane ride home drifting in and out of sleep and melting memories of those things that make Paris Paris: the gray and cream cityscape at dusk, the steep ascent to the hill at Montmartre, the assurance of perfect croissants on every block. I’ve been to the city many times, but this particular trip moved me in such a way that I’ll be processing, remembering, and living in it for weeks and months to come. Continue reading “Cultivating creativity + community”

How to fail forward

How to fail forward

Here’s to being vulnerable: for most of my life I’ve struggled with perfectionism. I’ve felt I had to make the right choice in every single situation, however seemingly inconsequential. Did I study the right subject in school? Did I say the right thing in that conversation? Am I wearing the right outfit? Did I eat the right thing for lunch? I used to obsess over every decision I had made, agonizing over whether I had made the “wrong” one and whether that would taint a (ridiculous) aspiration to live perfectly. Continue reading “How to fail forward”

Why you should schedule rest

Why you should schedule rest

One of my favorite French phrases borrowed from the English language is le week-end. In French, “week” is semaine and “end” is dernier. I guess the French allowed week-end to slip through the typically impenetrable fortress of the French language to make it just a little easier to reference those glorious two days at the end of every work week.

In theory,  we rest and recuperate on Saturday and Sunday. Le probleme is that the French- and many other cultures- do le week-end so much better than most Americans do. When we do have “time off”- which is often rare- we have the tendency to fill those extra hours with more scheduled time. Grocery store runs, hours at the gym, and quick coffee dates with friends end up dominating days off, or hours after work. Continue reading “Why you should schedule rest”

When fulfilling your dream takes longer than you think it should

Fulfilling your dream
Embracing the journey

When it’s possible to run a business out of your purse, learn a foreign language on your phone, or become famous overnight on YouTube, the future seems like a menu of possibilities for those of a certain generation. As children, many of us were told to follow our dreams, which, as it turns out is both terrifying and wonderful. It can leave us paralyzed with indecision, or- in the best case scenario- it can motivate us to move forward and actually do it: venture into an intersection where faith meets action; where uncertainty about our abilities is eclipsed by a jolt of confidence that we can and will achieve what we want to.

Whether it’s starting a business, making a big move, or just giving up a conventional career to make your side gig your full-time gig, making the big leap into pursuing your passion at the expense of security can be scary. But there’s a greater challenge ahead on the Oregon trail of your following your dream: and that is remaining on the path, even when it begins to be an uphill climb, there’s a river bypass, your horses die, or your wagon wheels break. Your business may fail, you may run out of money, your submissions and auditions rejected. Challenges are almost always inevitable, especially if we want to do something great. Continue reading “When fulfilling your dream takes longer than you think it should”

Resolutions for 2017

Resolutions for 2017
Dwell in possibility

1. Dream More.

In 2017, I want to dwell in all the possibilities of what could be. Backpacking around New Zealand, micro-financing small businesses for women in third-world countries, learning to surf, heck, buying a really nice car. My dreams may go poof and disappear, or they may materialize in front of me. Regardless, I’m going there—and I’m not allowing “what if’s” or “but’s” to stand in my way. Continue reading “Resolutions for 2017”

Feed your friends: 4 cultures of hospitality, grace & good eats

Hospitality

‘Tis the season to feed and to be fed. Christmas and the surrounding holidays have got me thinking a lot about why we celebrate special occasions by feeding each other- our family, our friends, those we love, and maybe even those we don’t know particularly well. In the U.S. we don’t normally spend too much time in the kitchen, preparing, cooking, and plating labor-intensive dishes- but come November and December, we’re roasting 20 lb. turkeys, sugaring hundreds of tiny cookies, melting chocolate for ganache truffles, peeling apples for pie, and kneading all sorts of crusts and breads—all for the sake of others (okay, maybe we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor a little).

It’s an exceptional time of the year to be hospitable. But in other parts of the world, and in other cultures, hospitality is a year-round tradition, expectation, and joy. Since I’ve had the awesome opportunity to do a good bit of traveling to different countries, I’ve had the equally awesome opportunity to eat my way around the world, in the kitchens (and living room floors, and straw huts) of some of the most talented and generous cooks I’ve ever known. They’re not professionals, but their capacity to wow on an often limited budget is just as impressive as any restaurant chef—if not more. Here, a few of my favorite experiences… Continue reading “Feed your friends: 4 cultures of hospitality, grace & good eats”