The Art of Life

Oh, the holiday season... It's the time of year when we eat too much, spend too much and laugh a lot. We come out of it swearing to never do it again but the next year we land ourselves right back where we started. But thus is the art of life.
At some point in the next 15 hours you'll be ringing in the new year. 2010 will be a calendar awaiting it's turn in the dumpster and 2011 will be roaring ahead whether we like it or not. The question tonight: what will 2011 look like for you?
On the rare occasion I have time to post I talk about some quote, recipe or album I've found. But as incredible as the art that surrounds us there is a work far more intriguing in our lives on a daily basis: ourselves. 
You are art. Your life is a painting with texture and colors you could never imagine. It screams a beauty only designed by the creator. It's an art that we can never master but is an incredible thing to experience.
You can make all kinds of resolutions this year: to climb this mountain, run this race, lose that weight. But whatever you do, don't get so caught up in creating the art that you forget to enjoy the painting. You are the art of your life, enjoy your beauty. =)


What's in your holiday cup?

It is officially my favorite time of year. I love the cold weather, that is when Florida decides it should be cold. I love bundling up in clothes, curling up with a good cup of whatever drink is desired and digging into a good book or movie (or at current: Smallville). 
I drink enormous amounts of coffee this time a year, which isn't any different than normal I guess, but I do love hot chocolate, apple cider and tea. My preferences for how each is made varies accordingly. Tonight I wanted to share one of my favorites with you: Hot Chocolate.
I found this recipe a few years back and love it. I like to add nutmeg to mine but it's up to you. This holiday season when you need something new and with a twist try it. 
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!


You Are Art.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." -Ralph Emerson 



Nothing new to post about tonight. I decided to leave a bread crumb trail to my other blog. Enjoy! =)


Something Old

As a college student if there is one topic I can relate to it is lack of funds. Or as my mother puts it, my bank account isn't quite aware that it is rich yet. Either way, some times it is all you can do to rub two pennies together until the next paycheck comes. Meanwhile you feel very music deprived which isn't good either. 
Over the years I've collected my fair share of CDs. Some of them I've driven into the ground within the first month of ownership. Others were listened to for a while and haven't reached my ears in quite some time. They've been shoved aside in my itunes library, so to speak, and haven't racked up any play time in a while. My suggestion for today: find that old music. 
You may not have ten dollars to your name but you may have several hundred dollars worth of neglected CDs. I have CDs I never gave much time to, CDs that have been forgotten about and CDs I've over-listened to. So in order to fit my budget I've done something free! Free always fits the budget.
There are plenty of artists I discovered in high school and haven't thought about since. Not only has rediscovering these artists been amazing but it has also brought back some good memories. We grow up so fast that while we are living our very art filled lives we don't always take time to enjoy them. 
Take that time. Scroll through your itunes, ipod or other music collection and find that album. You'll fall in love again with that artist that once resonated constantly in your mind. You'll also save money.
Sometimes you don't need the new. Sometimes the old is even better.

My current album:
Chasing Cars
(I'm addicted to it currently)


A Picture Says a Thousand Words...

So as of late it feels as though every friend I have is engaged or rather close to it. While it seems overwhelming, as my wallet cries in agony, I am so very excited for every single one of them. My post tonight is inspired by them in a way.
 Facebook is a giver of many things. For some they find knowledge, aka stalking. Others find ideas or new bands and much more. Tonight I was looking through a friend's engagement pictures and it got me to thinking.
I could see their love radiating out of every snap shot. I never felt a moment was fake or particularly posed. I felt a new hope in the world once I got done.
Now while I understand this is a great bit to expect from the world, it inspires me. It caused me to take a different look. So tonight the art I ask you to look at in the world is a picture. 
Ask yourself what is really there. Look beyond the surface and to the heart of the subjects and the artists. A picture says quite a few words for more than just the person featured in it. 


Look A Little Closer

I LOVE rainy weather. I'm from Florida, the sunshine state, so maybe this is just life's irony. Perhaps I should move somewhere that provides more of this weather. Or maybe it is just because growing up you learn to make peace with hurricanes. They provide you with days out of school. What kid doesn't love that? If I can't have a snow day then please provide me with something else. However, my love for this particular weather is not the complete source of this post.
I'm learning not to be a person who speaks merely because she has a voice, or because I have internet access. So whether or not I'm providing you with information that makes you think I am unaware. However, please take heart that I am trying to make the correct use of my words. 
This afternoon, as I was staring out my rather large window which overlooks our driveway, I was thinking about how much I love this weather. But I was also thinking about how it is beautiful in its own way. This lead to think about art and how we deem is something worth of the title ART.
There are times when I believe generally accepted definitions of things are necessary. For example, I would prefer that one doctor have the same definition as every other doctor as to what exactly is cancer. But that is an extreme example. Art and beauty, however cliche, are determined by the beholder
So tonight, in the sleepy little town I know as home, the clouds are think meeting the subtle shades of red claiming the horizon. The rain is intermittent and the traffic is light. But to me it is beautiful. 
Every rain drop is it's own piece of something larger. Looking at the horizon I know that somewhere else in the world a person whom I've yet to meet is sharing the same sky with me. 
We are privy to an incredible world. I bet if you look a little loser you may find something you consider art. Maybe even something you think is beautiful. 



I was driving home tonight in one of the most perfect weather nights I have seen since I've been home this summer. My windows were down and flooding through my stereo was a playlist that I've frequented lately.  I clicked through several songs searching for something else when I guess I finally got caught by one. And it wasn't the story of the song, the heart break of a melody or the catchy guitar solo that caught my attention. It was the title of the song. 
My mind went through a series of thoughts before becoming what led me to this blog tonight. For days I've waited for creativity to provide me with something worth speaking about. And whether or not you find it useful tonight I still hope you'll hear it.
At some point every word becomes defined. Every positive or negative connotation that comes by the sheer mention of a word was developed in it's own time. We choose to define words. And our actions define them. But the word that got me thinking tonight: alone.
There is a chill that goes with that word for most of us. Some times pathetic underlies it. Maybe we associate it with someone who is lonely. Or maybe you define it as an escape. But the simplistic meaning  is having no one else around. 
I can do many posts on alone in another context but tonight that isn't what this is about. Tonight I want you to think about how you define things. Are the words you are using what you really want to say? Are you defining the words or letting them define you? Maybe start there and then ask yourself what you have to redefine. 


Symphony of Life

Music is an incredible thing. Some days when words fail even the most savvy and loquacious writer, the swell of a stringed quartet or a hum of a rotary organ touches the emotions that words can't seem to explain. But finding music that meets these exceeding requirements is beyond rare
Some times I'll buy an album and it will take me months to find time to listen to it. Other times it will be the most played thing in my ears for weeks. And I honestly can't say I've listened to every piece of music my itunes collection holds. There are quite a few albums that I've mistakenly bought.
But there is something about music that does more than words. We connect to it in a way that transcends beyond our imaginations. We could read the lyrics to a song but it is still missing something. We connect to the emotion. We connect to the memory.
Some of my favorite albums are just that because of the memories I have with them. There are some artists that I just don't listen to for the same reason. But whatever season we are in we have a symphony.
I love putting my ipod of shuffle. Most days it becomes a dangerous thing. But then there are other days when the right song illuminates the place within me I've been searching to explain. 
Today I encourage you to find that symphony. Cut out the world, put those headphones in and get lost in rhythm of the notes. Figure out what background music you would have playing in your life. Some times the tone says it all.

My Current Listen:
(an old favorite)


Aspire to Inspire

I started this blog for a reason, I want to share the things in this world that I love with everyone else. I want the things that inspire me to be more than just things. I want to share those incredible things with everyone else. 
But this post isn't going to be like any other thus far. Today I have no recipe to share or book that might brighten your day. Today I only have the words streaming through my head to share in hopes that you too might be inspired
We are given one life. We have this one really big shot to take it all in and experience it all. So why do so many of us choose to live it in fear and weighed down?
The future has been a constant thought treading the paths of my mind. But it isn't a heavy thought. Before I can begin to take a step forward I've had to stop myself and consider what I want. When it is just me laying in bed what will make me happy? What do I dream about having?
Some day I want a family to come home to. I want someone to share my life with. But I don't want to live for the some day. 
Every day you converse with another person you leave a mark on them. The words that we speak to others can breathe life into them or tear them down. And somewhere, at some point, someone is going to be watching us to see just how we are doing it. 
We do it every day. We unknowingly compare our lives to others. We consider what they have in accordance to what we want or think we need. 
So today I challenge you to do more. Share grace and love with the world. Don't take a second of life for granted. If you can dream it go for it. Don't spend your life wishing you had someone else's. Go for it. 
We have an incredible chance. And every second we are still here is a chance to do more, change more and live better. 
Dream big, laugh often and love with a capacity that knows no bounds. You'll not only bring a light upon your own life but you'll help shine one on someone else's.

Promise yourself to live your life as a revolution and not just a process of evolution.
- Anthony J. D'Angelo


Melody or Melancholy

I am quickly exhausting all my initial ideas. And thus the cycle of what new thing to write about will begin very quickly. However, while I am still at the beginning phase of this blog I figure why not post a ton. 
I've wanted to find a piece of music to recommend to you all. But I realize that I would be branding myself in a way with that particular artist. And I also realize that my musical selection is far too large to narrow it down to one. So before I get lost farther in this stream of consciousness I will step back to what I do want to share. 
Have you ever thought about what you could learn about a person just by merely looking at their top 25 played songs on itunes? Now I do have to say that for me it isn't always the most accurate count of what I listen to during the day because I have a sleep playlist that generally takes charge on top played. But besides that point, it says a lot about a person. Five minutes reading this playlist would tell you far more about where a person is in their life vs. a five minute conversation.
Don't believe me? Check out some of the celebrity playlists on itunes. You would be surprised. Some of the playlists spoke more volumes than a novel ever could and were very disturbing at that. 
We surround ourselves with our emotions. We search for the things we can relate to in our place of life. Our choice in novels, movies, friends, music all relates back to who we are as a person. A part of who we are becomes the reflection of what we surround ourselves with. So I'll share with you my top 25 played tonight. Some of the songs are my happy music, others represent the melody I love, and some just happen to be played more frequently in the sleep cycle that others. But it is your peek into something else. 
You want to know someone, know what they surround themselves with and then take a deeper look.


Food = Art

The first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one. Well today I have a confession to make: I am a Food Network addict. Well I feel much better now. But in all seriousness I do love food network. As I am writing this post the food network channel plays in my peripheral vision. 
I LOVE to try new recipes though. And I have two male best friends that are my willing guinea pigs. So today I want to share a recipe with you that I am in love with. 
The other day Paula Deen did a segment on desserts. And this dish is one I recommend: White Chocolate-Coconut Cookies. Now I make A LOT of desserts. It is really rare though that I find one that I am in love with. This is one of them though. It is so simple to make. The only I had a little issue doing was melting the white chocolate for dipping. I recommend a little kyro syrup to make it smooth and a little water if it gets too brittle. I also warn that it's best to use a fork or only dip one end in the chocolate because it gets really HOT as I learned the hard way. But these cookies make for a nice, decadent snack. Good with tea, coffee or a small after dinner sweet-tooth quencher.  So that is my recommendation for the day. However, if you are trying to lose weight do not make these; you won't be able to stop eating them. =)


Laugh a little, or a lot.

There are some days when I just want to get lost in a book. I want to escape the ever crowding reality that is my own life and release my mind into the world of another. So I grab a book off my bookshelf, start a pot of coffee, curl up into some pillows and place my phone on the opposite side of the room (sorry kj). 
Picking the book can be hard. Sometimes I'm ready to dive into a new story. I long to meet new characters and challenge my mind to imagine a world new to its boundaries. Other days, well I just don't want the newness. There are those days that I just want comfort because I need to know how it all ends. On those days the world doesn't make since there is one particular series that always makes me smile.
 Miss Match (Lauren Holbrook Series, Book 1)
The Lauren Hollbrook Series by Erynn Mangum is most certainly one of them. Miss Match is the first in this 3 novel series. And you can ask my roommate from freshmen year, I was laughing from the beginning. Mangum writes a very witty but relatable girl with Laurie. The novel is a mix between Pride and Prejudice and Emma. What girl couldn't use a little Jane Austen to brighten her day?
Laurie has taken on matchmaking tendencies as a hobby, all the while inhaling coffee at every chance and figuring out that maybe she doesn't know as much about God as she thinks.  Erynn Mangum did a great job writing this novel. She leaves you with a smile on your face and an urgency for coffee or something chocolate laced
So for any girl who needs a pick-me-up or a modern relation of a Jane Austen classic this is my recommendation for today. Grab your coffee or dr. pepper (or water if that is all you drink like my best friend) and dive into the "the fast-changing and multifaceted world of Lauren Emma Hollbrook". Trust me, you'll feel better. =)


The Place

I am a Panama City native. Born and raised in this tourist town. For me that means I LOVE local places. If I have a choice between a Starbucks or a local coffee place (like our recently closed Rabbit Hole) I try to pick the local place. This really goes for restaurants. "The Place" is no exception to this rule.
"The Place" is my recommendation of the day. It's located in a historic downtown with a feel that I absolutely adore. This local restaurant has been one of my favorites places to get a good and reasonably priced meal since high school. They make incredible sweet potato fries. Or if you are picky like some of my friends the chicken melt is always a plus.
Today I got their Jenks Burger (bacon cheeseburger for all of you non-locals). It was the monday special. My meal with tip was less than 10 dollars which is in my budget. =) It is the first time I've tried their burgers, and I was very satisfied with my order. And so far I haven't had a meal I didn't like.

The First Line

Every story has that first line. The one that enthralls you and keeps you coming back for more. Every writer wants their first line to find that space inside the read that just resonates bringing them deeper into the heart of the characters. Well this is that story for me.

I'm a writer, a reader, a daughter, an artist (in a loose sense of the word), a lover (of God and all his creations which is too long to list)... I could continue this pattern but you don't have all day to read now do you? I want the world to be my playground. I want to live every second of this life with all I have.

So that is where you dear reader come in. I want to share it with you. This isn't my first blog. And what exactly this blog will be is not something I'm so sure of yet. But I want a place to share everything I love with the rest of the world. No guarantees though.