Category Archives: Ramblings

Show your strength // #BewareofAngels + Being a woman today

// a thousand threads
What does it mean to be a woman today? That’s a question I’ve been struggling with since I was given the chance to collaborate with Thierry Mugler Angel on their #BewareofAngels campaign. Past campaigns have focused on women’s strength and fellowship in a way I deeply respect, so I want to do justice to the question. But where do I begin?

Being a woman today means being a little bit of everything, and a little bit of anything you like. In many ways, we are more confident and able than ever, with the ability to choose our own future, define our desires, and own our intentions. In other ways, we still find ourselves caught between our past and future selves.

The transformation from just our grandmothers’ generation, some of the first to be born into an America where women were allowed to vote, to our own is almost beyond comprehension. To think that such a metamorphosis has taken place in such a short time, it’s no wonder we sometimes struggle with our own perception of what it means to succeed as a woman today.

I won’t lie, I struggle with blogging a lot… with why we do it and what we have to contribute to the world. I believe in my soul that what we have to give is valuable. I also believe that this is hard work. It takes talent to be a successful blogger (and sometimes years of work to develop that talent.) But many women bloggers, especially those who’ve chosen to be stay at home – or work at home – moms, still face harsh criticism from those who feel they might be doing some sort of injustice to the feminist cause. Or worse, marrying for money and having babies for pageviews. Living meaningless lives on nothing more than rainbows and hugs.

But would you say the same to a professional photographer, writer, or designer?

Meaning is, in many ways, ambiguous. We find meaning in helping others, but we also find meaning in our passions and our pursuits.

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turning thirty // a thousand threads
I’ve been putting this annual birthday post off, partly because I’ll actually be away next week on my birthday, and partly because I don’t think I’ve quite had the time to let the whole 30 thing sink in.

For most of my life I’ve assumed that the inevitable approach of that birthday that’s not the new black would be terrible. But then, I’ve made a lot of assumptions over the years, and most of them turned out to be far from the truth.

At 20, if I didn’t think I’d be running the world by 35, I at least thought I’d be pretty well on my way.

I assumed I’d get a good job straight out of college. I assumed my first marriage would stick. I assumed I was analytical – as opposed to creative – and would be satisfied with a purely analytical job.

At 20, I tried very hard to fit myself into a box. I assumed that if I was one thing, I couldn’t be another.

I thought I had to choose. But at 30, I still can’t.

The difference is that now I’d never try.

I love politics and the issues I work on during the day. Surprises like the majority leader’s defeat and the ongoing shakeup in Washington give me an almost childlike thrill. I love to dig deeply into a subject and try to understand its inner workings, to monitor negotiations in Iran and attempt, somehow, to predict an outcome… but I also love to spend the whole day in the kitchen surrounded by a mess, with scorched hands and sore feet, creating something I can touch and feel. And I love to see the joy on someone’s face when they take their first bite.

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Failure and envy and moving on

churchill quote // a thousand threads
Lately I’ve noticed, to my dismay, that every time I post a picture on Instagram, I both gain and lose one follower — like I’m stuck in some social media purgatory where the mediocre bloggers go to die. I guess I’m lucky that I’m not just losing them in droves, but it eats at me. It eats at me like the little green monster that wishes it had the talent of some and the luck of others… the same little green monster that just gets mad and doesn’t bother to look around for some perspective.

… and sometimes it eats at me so much it makes me want to erase everything I just wrote, put big black censor bars over the top and pretend I’ve got it all figured out.

Except I don’t.

… I didn’t get into any of the PhD programs I applied to.

I have a lot of excuses lined up to recite whenever someone asks: I applied to the toughest programs; I needed funding; my GPA and experience are good, but they’ll never stand up to the many applications I read every month from plucky potential interns with straight A’s and internships at the UN.

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My day to day // Keeping up with work, life, and everything in between

my day to day schedule / a thousand threads
Since I run this blog and work a full-time job, I get asked a lot about my schedule, work-life balance, and how I fit it all in.

I also get asked a lot about my commute, which is about an hour and a half each way, split between a short drive and a slightly longer train ride (although when the traffic feels the need to reach out and ruin my day, that short drive can easily become a whole lot longer…).

I won’t lie and say its easy, but I’m also the kind of person who thrives on being busy… so I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Here’s what my schedule looks like day to day…

///// Monday /////
I’m lucky right now to work a flex schedule that allows me to condense my work week into four 10-hour days. That doesn’t mean I’m not available for phone calls or even the occasional assignment on my day off (Monday) but it does mean that at least I can do it from home, which saves me about 3 hours of round-trip commuting time to DC.

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5 Fantastic Things // August & September

5 fantastic things / a thousand threads

I want to remember…

1 // Taking the long way home from Raleigh to watch the sun set over the Shenandoah Mountains.
2 // Sharing hot pastrami and cheesecake with my parents on a makeshift concrete picnic table (otherwise known as a sidewalk) in Newark. My parents and a flock of pushy pigeons…
3 // The best little progressive dinner party ever, with some of my favorite friends.
4 // Hearing that two of my favorite people in the whole wide world are engaged.
5 // Coming home to the sweetest little concrete diamond… Mark said I asked, so he did. (Where did I find this wonderful man?)

I’m looking forward to…

1 // Halloween decorating, hot cider, falling leaves… all the good things.
2 // Celebrating Mark’s birthday (and very soon after that, our first anniversary)!
3 // Getting a little more organized… fall always feels like a good time to purge and start again.
4 // Using this little program to up my writing productivity, and filing away a few more bits and pieces that might one day, by some stroke of luck, become a book.
5 // I hope – maybe, don’t quote me on this one – finishing off our bedroom. Then at least one room in the house will be done (and then I can share!).


The Pros and Cons of Living in a Stepford Neighborhood

a thousand threads
I love our neighborhood. It’s quiet, beautiful, lots of young families with white picket fences… it’s eerily perfect, and I wonder fairly frequently which husband might be pumping out robotic beauties in the basement (maybe those ones that are always at the pool…).

So, along with a few shots we snapped last night on a little family walk, I thought I’d share some pros and cons that go along with living where we do…

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A Thousand Miles // The Long and Winding Road

training for a marathon / a thousand threads
One-Mile Pace: 7:50
Long Run: No long run this week.
Weekly Mileage: 17 Miles

I’m still learning that marathon training is never the straight path I feel it’s supposed to be… life happens, and you have to adjust accordingly. But adjusting always drives me crazy. The little naysayers in my head take over and I start to worry that I won’t make it back.

Whether I like it or not, though, here I am. After a few busy weeks and a bit of a detour, I’m ready to get back on the road… and working to overcome the nagging feeling that I can’t.

Three weeks of no distance means that right now I’m running shorter distances more days and working back up to my regular weekly mileage. 17 this week, 20 next. Soon I’ll take the plunge back into a long run, and then it’s on to the finish.

I’m at a point in my training now where I need some smooth sailing, so here’s hoping that nothing else gets in the way.

If you ever find yourself in the same boat (we all do) here’s a great guide for how to get yourself back on track.


Envy and Accomplishment

the best to eye, to buy, to make, and to bake / a thousand threads
You guys — I really love these discussions of ours. Thanks for chiming in yesterday on your struggles with Insta-envy! It was oddly reassuring to me to hear that we’re pretty much all dealing with the same thing. And, of course, to hear all of your good advice and reassurances. It’s so important to remember, both with social media and with blogging, that what we all put out there for the public is just a tiny snippet of our lives… and however messed up they might really be (or however messed up we just think they are… we’re always a whole lot more critical of ourselves than others might be, right?) they probably look pretty perfect to someone else. You never truly know what’s on the inside until you get to know someone for real.

That said, I hope to make a point to be honest here on this little blog (and I hope that I have in the past). Please feel free to call me out if you’re ever feeling annoyed — because like most of us, when I look at myself I usually see the imperfections first… and obviously try to cover them up (ha). But if things ever start to err on the side of “I’ll kill you if you say one more thing about your damn tomatoes” — or something, I don’t know, let me know. I’m happy to throw in a few notes of reality… how tough it is to juggle all of the jobs I work, how much I worry, how much I’m sure Mark worries about me. Nothing is perfect, but in the end we’re all working to create a life that is as close to our own version of perfect as it gets (whatever that might be). We’re all trying hard to do the the right thing, and live the right life for us, and that’s all we can do.

I was driving home yesterday, thinking about all of the things I “need” to do, worrying about not getting enough done, worrying about falling behind… worrying about the wide gulf that still exists between where I am, and where I’d like to be, and suddenly some part of me said, “You’re working as hard as you can possibly work… how stupid can you be to beat yourself up over the things you’re not doing? You should be congratulating yourself for all of the things that you are doing.”

And that’s the sum of my life, right there. I’m rarely happy when I’m not working on something… I like to be busy. Blame my parents for involving me in so many extracurricular activities as a kid. But no matter how busy I am, I always worry that I could be doing more. And that’s a terrible fault, because so often, it robs me of the satisfaction and happiness I might get from enjoying my accomplishments.

So today and for the future, I’m going to try hard to make it a point to resist the urge to pick and occasionally give myself a little pat on the back… and I’d love it if you would too. Because ladies, I’ve seen some of your Instagram accounts… and they’re pretty freaking fantastic.

Just sayin’.

Love you all, have an amazing weekend.

Eye this simple, perfect home.

Buy anything and everything (and especially this apron) from Food52’s new Provisions.

Make this adorable diy pet food station.

Bake these cardamom caramel ice cream sandwiches.

I think I need a puppy room.

This is a few weeks old, but somehow I managed to miss it… and dear god, please someone get me a croissant loaf right now.

On putting a dollar value on your content.

On ridiculously worded dress codes.

On hipsters’ impact on the economy (apparently razor sales are down… ha).

Say it in llama.

Lessons in motherhood.

The happiest states in America.


Don’t Call Portland ‘Weird’

kirk crippens portraitlandia / a thousand threads
As a once and always Oregonian, I have to admit that Portland’s recent rise to fame can sometimes get on my nerves. It’s a little bit like the feeling you might have when your favorite kind-of-secret and kind-of-all-yours band, who you’ve always been able to see up close and personal in the tiniest venues, signs a big fat record deal and sells out in 5 seconds so you can’t even see them at all… the band just doesn’t feel quite like it’s yours anymore… now its identity is shaped by seemingly everyone on earth… people you don’t really feel know the band like you do… who might not have as deep a connection.

It’s the height of selfishness, this feeling, but it happens… and every time I see some new Portland love, I have to admit… it happens to me.

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On Never Giving Up

bob new morning
Mark and I almost never do gifts on Valentines Day… we have a fantastic dinner and tell each other how crazy happy the other one makes us, and then we go home and curl up with our little dog, just like every other night.

But this year he surprised me and came home with two shiny, not at all new records (vinyl I mean… the good stuff). He knows how obsessed I am with their sound and how much I want to build our collection, but because life is busy I’ve barely gotten a start… so that sweet sweet man who knows me so well brought me two albums from two of my very favorites… Bob Dylan and Freddie Mercury. The boys are an offbeat pair, but to me… they are perfection. I’ve been listening to the two albums over and over since and on vinyl my god those voices… they really do shine.

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