Mon, 19 June 2017
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #160
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"'How does one become a butterfly?' she asked pensively. You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar." —Trina PaulusIn a blink of an eye, in an unexpected, ordinary moment, the unimaginable can materialize before your eyes. And in such a moment, due to its magnificence, a feeling of surreality washes over you and you stand confounded, yet buoyant as it feels you've reached the surface finally after much hard work, planning, and hoping what seemed against hope. Butterflies have always been a source of spontaneous glee for me. As I shared more than six years ago, spotting a butterfly is a reminder: “This was what the struggle was all about. Now you have the knowledge. Now you know how to fly on your own and reveal your gifts to the world without disguising yourself to fit in.” Much like the people that come into our lives and the opportunities that cross our paths, we cannot know when the butterfly will metamorphosize from the stage of being a caterpillar. Two weekends ago, we decided to go paddle boarding, and along the way, the butterflies began to dance around me. Like a child giddy at the sight of a new puppy, I all but tap danced on my board. As we continued to paddle, I noticed they were puddling, and it seemed endless butterflies were all clustered at this one wet, muddy puddle area on the side of the river. Never before had I been surrounded by so many fluttering wings, paying me no mind and going about their nutrient gathering behavior. Then again this past weekend, as Norman and I were on a walk amongst the pines, more than a handful of butterflies joined us as we took our weekly constitutional. And I couldn't help but remember how six years ago, the butterfly was on the other side of the picture window and Norman was intent on watching it, trying to make sense of what it was. Now, the butterflies walk with us and Norman doesn't bat more than an eye or a quick nod. And so I began to ponder further lessons butterflies can teach us. Always trying to remember the lesson of the butterfly, as mentioned above, these most recent encounters made me take note that no matter how badly we might want to become something or evolve into something, sometimes it is our intense focus that blinds us and prevents what we desire from materializing. While we must put out into the world, and know within ourselves what it is we seek, what it is we wish to become, once these truths become clear, we need to step back and just go about the everyday tasks, take the necessary risks and take on the uncomfortable challenges so that we can gradually grow and evolve into the person we wish to be. At that point, we don't know when we will attract the similar energy of others or jobs or beautiful life moments that take on the guise of the "blink of an eye" moment mentioned at the top of the post. We cannot know. Just as I couldn't know about the many butterflies I was going to paddle into when I placed my board onto the water that morning. But here's the lesson, we have to keep putting our board in the water. We have to keep paddling in order for those moments to have an opportunity to be discovered. You may be wondering, Okay, Shannon, speak to me directly. What are you talking about? How can I apply this to my life right now? Two things: First decide what you want and how to attain it, followed by focusing on what you've decided and letting go of what isn't part of the equation. Now what you've just ascertained will be unique to each of us, but something that is universal which will help you along your journey is to strengthen these 11 skills, focus more on your "to be" list rather than your "to do" list, cultivate everyday habits that build a life of true contentment, and become comfortable in your own unique skin. In tending to each of these, you let go of your strangle-hold on the outcome and hold fast to what you can elevate (yourself and the person you bring to the table each and everyday). And in so doing, the life that is meant to be yours will cross your path and you and it will begin to intertwine as you recognize how well the two entities work together. This is the butterfly moment. The natural coming together, and the ability to recognize it and appreciate it and be reminded that the life you've built did take work and will continue to take work, but the work enables the quality of your life experiences as you travel together with the partner you have found, with the friendships you have built, with the career you have invested in, to be heightened to a level you may not have truly trusted was possible. Edith Wharton says it beautifully regarding when the moment you've hoped for will happen (the butterfly moment so to speak), "They seemed to suddenly come upon happiness as if they had surprised a butterfly in a winter wood." You truly cannot know when it will all come together, but at least you know you'll be ready to walk with it when it crosses your path. And it all begins with what the first quote at the top of the post brings to our attention, decide to let go of being a caterpillar, in order for your wings to break through and reveal themselves to not only the world, but to you. You may just be amazed at what is hidden in the depths of your being if only you would allow it to come forth. ~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
~Paris Can Wait, starring Diane Lane, directed by Eleanor Coppola
~View theaters and times here~If you are in Bend, it plays at the Tin Pan Theater through this Thursday June 22nd. Over the weekend, the small boutique theater in Bend brought to its small screen the film written, directed and produced by Eleanor Coppola. Yes, that Eleanor Coppola, wife of Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather series, The Outsiders, etc.) for 54 years. Debuting at the Tribeca Film Festival this past May, Paris Can Wait is Eleanor's first narrative feature film, but you wouldn't have known. Now, not all the critics are loving it: The Boston Globe felt it was strained and relied too heavily on clichés, even those who thought they would love it came away unsure due to the ambitious ending, but it is precisely the different approach to making the film that makes it lovely. Coppola has shared that the film's plot was inspired by her own life (be sure to read the San Francisco Chronicle's interview with her here), but not every piece and parcel of the story (there was no male companion). Along with the struggle Diane Lane's character (Anne) wrestles with is what Coppola herself did as well, the "'inner conflict, the push and pull' she’s felt her whole adult life about pursuing her own creative ambitions while raising three children and supporting her husband’s career". As well, both women (the character and Coppola) have suffered the loss of a child which is briefly, but touchingly included in the film. Some readers have shared with me, they didn't enjoy the insinuation of infidelity, but I think that may be taking it further than Coppola intended as nothing occurred, merely adoration and a woman (Anne) who was keenly aware and steadfast. What Anne's journey does do for her is awaken her to her strengths, to her passions, to the realization yes of her imperfect, but still very adoring husband. And by not giving viewers the concrete ending, leaving us wondering, Coppola does something I must applaud her for: She doesn't tell us how to think. As someone who has been immersed in Hollywood due to her husband, then daughter and son's successful involvement with silver screen productions, she doesn't fall prey to the formula. Maybe she does have a sequel in mind, but I hope not only because this film, as she has stated, took six years to raise funds as it wasn't full of "aliens, nobody dies, there are no guns and no car crashes. There was nothing that an investor wants to invest in. No sex, no violence". Rather it was a piece of her life she wanted to share and explore, and in so doing, she allows the viewers to ponder what we don't often see in movies: a leading female role who is complete all by herself so long as she embraces her passions, lets herself feel what she feels, appreciates her allure which may be initially noticed due to her beauty but is profoundly powerful and substantive due to her intellect and character. And whether or not she remains with her husband (who isn't perfect) or explores her attraction to Jacques, played by Arnaud Viard (who also isn't perfect or ideal either) shouldn't be needed for a happy ending. What the happy ending is is liberation for Anne who hears the reminder from Jacques to share her talents with her husband (and perhaps the world if she so chooses), and to savor the pleasures of everyday moments and food without rushing to Paris. https://youtu.be/LGyZnzjm7Og Download the Episode
Mon, 12 June 2017
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #159
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"Style trickles into everything you do, who you are, and who and what you attract in life. Whittle down your style to what matters and project what's meaningful to the world: Be the lighthouse. Be honest. Be real." —Kate Schelter
Settling on a style that is our own can be overwhelming. Beginning with the style that adorns our bodies, but also the style with which we approach life, our routines, our hobbies, our habits, our way of contemplating and dancing with the life we have, and journeying toward the life we want. With so many options, ideas, seasons, and lifestyle icons to draw inspiration from, there is such a thing as paralysis by abundance.
Creative director and stylist Kate Schelter understands the quandary which is why she wrote her new book Classic Style: Hand It Down, Dress It Up, Wear It Out. Having read through the style resource, I picked 18 gems of wisdom I have found to serve as trustworthy guideposts when it comes to homing in on our individual classic style. There are of course many more as well as a wealth of examples which is why I encourage you to take a look at the book, but until then, let me offer you a taste to assuage the fear that curating your style might be impossible. Quite to the contrary, you can do it, and these sage descriptors of classic style will help you do so.~Be sure to tune into the audio episode of the podcast as I dive into each item on the list in-depth, sharing specific examples. Below merely touches on the surface of the content that is shared.
Your classic style will . . .
1. Bring you joy
2. Be functional for your lifestyle
3. Be deeply simple
4. Add a touch of a signature
5. Be unmistakably beautiful to you
6. Free you from constraint
7. Move toward what you fear
"The jitters are love in disguise, reminding you that you're getting closer to what you want. Face it. Go toward it. Do it. Dive into your most meaningful experiences and relationships —the ones that make you feel like you're alive. Don't worry if you can't access what you want just yet. It will come. "
8. Have no expiration date in sight
9. Be a reflection of your character
10. Will use a limited color palette
11. Offer proper proportion and scale
12. Will focus on less rather than more
Schelter suggests shopping like an editor, "Turn down the volume. Tune in to yourself. You really don't need much."
13. Involve creating your own personal classics
"Find fabrics, colors, cuts and shapes that work on you. Then Repeat-wear and rely on them without a second thought. Know that they are yours to trust."
14. Find a balance when it comes to personal grooming
"Just the right amount of grooming: not too much, not too little."
15. Require quality tailoring
16. Involve investing in what you love
With patience, saving up and waiting for what you know will work and what you know you love will earn you the reward of "quality, craftsmanship, and charm".
17. Require you to not buy based on the size, but buy what looks best on your body
18. Not knowing is actually a positive sign, so long as you keep your eyes open
"When you embrace not having a set direction, you may experience the "dead zone" (dormancy, fear, dread, confusion, self-doubt), but that always comes before the spark of spring . . . When you give up expectations and rules you sow seeds for creative thought; you give yourself room to find your individuality and your own vocabulary. You are no longer defining yourself in someone else's terms."
Listen to your life. Listen to what puts you at ease, what makes you feel beautiful, what fires up your confidence. And then ask yourself why. When you listen, when you tune in to what your life is revealing to you, your true personal classic style will come forth.
"The key to personal style is simple: Forget what's cool and trust your gut. The magic is in your mix. When you draw confidence from your classics — pieces that you come back to again and again — your style is your own. Classics let you do more, and be more, with less." —Kate Schelter author of Classic Style
Mon, 5 June 2017
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #158
~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadioPerhaps you've seen her pottery: simple, purposefully imperfect, white with black singular font, whether for your morning tea cup, the salt and pepper holder on the stovetop or a dish for your furry best friend. Rae Dunn's passion for simple and functional pottery has brought her deserved recognition. And it is with her eye for the simple everyday that led to her new book of French inspiration titled France: Inspiration du Jour. An artistic sketchbook of Rae's travels through Paris and Provence, be swept away to France no matter where you live as you peruse the pages. With pictures of everyday life in France paired with watercolor illustrations of the scenery, food, drink and daily activities, discover why Rae finds beauty in the everyday moments. Today on the podcast, Rae Dunn joins me to talk about how the concept of the sketchbook came about, why it's important not to overthink anything you are curious to try or explore and rather just step forward and feel your way, the power of serendipity, the realization of where true beauty resides and the importance of treasuring the imperfect. The discussion is one with a successful woman who simply followed what she loved and in so doing created a successful business which reminds us all to "notice and appreciate the small things". Have a listen to the interview and discover more than a few simple pleasures at the end of our conversation as Rae reveals this week's Petit Plaisirs. ~Rae Dunn's website ~Follow Rae Dunn: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram (a new illustration each day) ~Shop Rae Dunn pottery here and here ~Learn more about her new book France: Inspiration du Jour here ~Sharon's Art Studio in Golden Gate State Park ~Rae Dunn's recommendation for what to visit in France: Picasso Museum in Arles, France - Musée Réattu
~a sampling of Rae Dunn's daily illustrations on Instagram~
~samples of Rae Dunn pottery~
Petit Plaisir:~Find more episodes of The Simple Sophisticate podcast here.