Happy New Year, friends. I’m back after taking a little time off to try to take care of my heart. We had to make the heartbreaking choice to put our dear dog, Zelda, to sleep before her increasingly complicated medical conditions pushed her into a painful and traumatic heart episode. She was there with me during the hardest times I’ve ever been through and she was the being that I spent the most time with over the past thirteen years. I knew it would be devastating, but I wasn’t prepared to face how much I truly needed her spirit, sweetness, and tactile, unconditional love. To be honest, I’m still feeling a bit lost in the woods right now.
This loss, combined with the rise of fascism and dementia in our country has created a perfect storm of sadness, anger, fear, love, and defiance in my belly. This makes my 2017 intentions based in digging my heels in, getting stronger physically and mentally, and trying to help hold up the people in this space, in my local community, and around me. It’s about building strength in mind, body, spirit, and character.
Please let me know what you think and I’d LOVE to hear your intentions, resolutions, and thoughts about 2017 and the current state of the world. You all inspire me so much. ♥
MY 2017 INTENTIONS…
Continue supporting and promoting independent businesses. In this space and in my every day life. I’m not going to lie, I’ve struggled a lot with my sense of purpose here since the election and inauguration. With so much tumult and the blatant crimes against humanity and our country happening right before our eyes, it’s been hard to jump into the fray and talk about fashion and lifestyle. The reality is that I am proud to have a space that celebrates independently owned businesses that are primarily owned and operated by women. After a lot of thought, I’ve come to the understanding that what I do here is important and maybe even more so now with corporations and billionaires riding our backs and being given even more tax breaks. I’m in this and I don’t want to stop talking about design, art, home, and the talented people creating it all. That said, I’m going to add in more talk about feelings, the resistance, charitable dollars, community events, and ways to help.
Make sure to spend time on self-care. Mantra: “You can’t fight in the resistance if you don’t take care of yourself.” When I’m overwhelmed by the world around me, I suck at basic personal care. I’ve learned through counseling that growing up without emotional support, respect, or validation at home makes me inherently more likely than others to drop taking care of myself when things get tough. I’ve also learned that one of the biggest triggers for me is gaslighting and the fight or flight anxiety that comes with recognizing it from a mile away. Survivors of malignant narcissist parents out there know what I’m talking about.
Help others spend time on self-care. Talking more about what I’m doing to create self-care rituals and routines might help others with their own personal care. Also, checking in with my friends to make sure they are remembering to do it too and seeing if I can help.
Take better care of my people. I want to participate even more in my community and stay more tuned in to the lives of my friends and family. Texting, calling, emailing, checking in, and making plans to hang out, meet, and march.
Get fit. Mantra: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” I want to lose some weight, get much stronger physically, become more agile, and take some self-defense classes.
Feed my brain. Read more books and articles that help prepare for what’s happening now and the years to come. I also love listening to audiobooks when driving. I don’t particularly want to be listening to the Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939 audiobook right now, but I feel stronger when I’m more informed about history and what we’re up against, so I will. It has been widely reported for decades that our new president obsessively studies Hitler’s speeches and ascent (starting long before he ran for office) and the parallels are all there, unfortunately. I also just picked up A Train In Winter — An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance In Occupied France. I’m thinking about taking some language classes, too.
Learn about foster to adopt. I’d appreciate any advice. It’s an avenue to becoming a parent that I wasn’t open to in the past because of fear of more heartbreak, but I feel ready to pursue this and learn about the process. All help and insight in this matter is very welcome!
Get personal. I have some life experiences that could help other people not feel so alone and maybe help others understand where some feelings might come from. A few topics I’d like to talk about: Childlessness and feelings of alienation, surviving a narcissistic parent, gaslighting, fertility/infertility and the assumptions people make, what not to say to people who can’t have children, the intersectional feminist need for others to support and show up for people who can’t have children, friendship, and lots more.
Amplify and show up. I talked about this a bit after the election — read HERE. I want to help amplify the voices of people of color, women, LGBTQ people, and the fight against ableism. I want to continue to address my own ingrained racism and privilege and show up to marches in my city to show support for the people who have struggles I don’t have to deal with because I am a white, middle class, heterosexual, cisgender lady. I will also continue to call out the subtle ingrained sexism of my well-meaning, liberal husband and the men, women, and non-binary people around me. I can do better.
Get my house in order. Enough with the nonsense. I want to purge, clean, and organize every corner of our home. I am an HSP that finds clutter, mess, unfinished projects, and excess chaotic and ultimately stifling for creativity, work, progress, and happiness. I want to be realistic and remove known obstacles to my own productivity. This includes some disaster supply preparedness, protecting important documents, and updating passports. Become a better planner!
Garden and go for long walks every day. These two things help me sort out my place in the world and provide so much relief and joy. Now I see that committing to doing them falls under self-care and self-love.
Make art. Picking up paints, pens, and pencils helps me light up parts of my brain that are clever and kind and spry.
Travel. We haven’t been on a trip in a really long time. Seeing new vistas helps recharge my spirit and strength. Go see friends near and far. And plan some romantic getaways.
Remember that I am loved by some truly wonderful people. Even if my mind tells me something different and even if it doesn’t include some of the people I wish it did. I’m working on it. ♥
PHOTO: Tallulah Bankhead. “Like her family, Bankhead was a Democrat, but broke with many Southerners by campaigning for Harry Truman’s reelection in 1948. She is credited with having helped Truman immeasurably by belittling his rival, New York’s Governor Thomas E. Dewey. After Truman was elected, Bankhead was invited to sit with the President during his inauguration. While viewing the inauguration parade, she booed the South Carolina float which carried then-Governor and segregationist Strom Thurmond, who had recently run against Truman on the Dixiecrat ticket. Tallulah hailed from the Brockman Bankheads, a prominent Alabama political family — her grandfather and uncle were U.S. Senators and her father served as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Tallulah’s support of liberal causes such as civil rights broke with the tendency of the Southern Democrats to support a more conservative agenda and she often openly opposed her own family publicly.”
I’m planning out some paint, wallpaper and large prints in a couple different rooms at home and I found myself back in the amazing Debbie Carlos print shop. I own the deliriously dreamy Pink Clouds Print (you can see the Pink Clouds in my bedroom) and the huge Clouds Poster. Debbie’s prints are on beautifully thick, heavyweight luster photo paper and I think it makes them a bit more special as well as more sturdy. The posters are on nice paper as well and I think they are especially good for creating a fun, large impact in a room at lower price point so you can switch it up. The smile-inducing new Debbie Carlos lookbook below was shot by Ola Onda — so great! I currently have my eye on the Fog Print, the big black and white Roses Poster, the color Flowers Poster, and the Lake Print. I love that Debbie is offering clips and wooden poster hanging kits now — super handy. More HERE.
Hello, friends! Here is a handy list of the generous shopping codes from my 2016 Spring Faves roundups! Get something sweet from one of these wonderful shops for yourself, your mom, your BFF, your wife, your baby mama, your sweetheart, your nana, your auntie or some other amazingly kind soul in your life. Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday, May 8 and this can be a wonderful day, a difficult day (hi! I’m with you!) or somewhere in-between for a multitude of reasons, so I’m treading lightly with the pomp and circumstance and sending love to all you remarkable ladies out there who do so much for so many people. xo Jen P.S. Here are some flowers from my garden for you! ♥
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PHOTOS: Flowers from my garden this year. I’m in love with growing flowers after years of having a not so green thumb. I post a lot of pics about it at @honeykennedy on Instagram.