Thing #31 – Three of Wands

It had been weeks since I touched my tarot cards. They sit on my bedside table, along with hippy-dippy accoutrements and books I flip through before I fall asleep – ones about yoga, tarot, chakras, angels and the like. Things that are generally met with a polite, cynical smile from my huzzbot on the other side of the bed. 

I know it isn’t for everyone. But I’ve long been a believer that the universe gives us signs. There are times when the universe whispers. I catch it on the breeze and let it flutter away. But after ignoring its whispers for long enough, the universe sits on my shoulder and screams in my ear. 

When I hear the screams, feel transitional shifts in my life, or notice an unusually high number of coincidences around me, I make a point to get a tarot reading. Tarot helps me align the cues spinning around me with something more tangible. It validates the signs and gives them structure.

A few years ago when I decided to commit … Read the rest

Thing #30 – Decade in Review

Around New Year’s Eve, I perform a “Year in Review” with myself. It involves me going on a wine or coffee date with my journal and evaluating various buckets of my life. Work, love, travel, creativity, health, home, learning, etc…I reflect on highs, lows, surprises and lessons in each bucket. 

While it’s nice to recap the past 12 months, it’s also an illuminating way to reveal what I want to do more or less of in the new year. Through this process, I get clarity on the person I want to be in the year ahead and how to prioritize my time. It’s not so much about setting resolutions as it is creating a pie chart for how I want to spend my time.

As I closed out my 20s and peered into my 30s, I constructed a vision for how I wished to move through my new decade. Fresh from my trip to Europe and eager to conquer the next phase in my adulthood, I created a platform. I reviewed my 20s, sifted away … Read the rest

Thing # 29 – Blue Journal

Blue Journal

If I told you one of my best friends is a journal from 2009, you might think I’m a sad, lonely hermit. I have countless journals that live in a box in the basement, but this one – my blue journal – stays in my bedside drawer. 

While I’ve intermittently kept a journal my whole life, it wasn’t until 15 years ago that I made it a consistent practice. My journal serves different purposes at different times. Sometimes it keeps secrets or helps breed new ideas, but usually it’s a safe space to store the chaos that gunks up my head. Most importantly, my journal is my companion. I’m rarely without it. It keeps me company like an old friend, and when I ask questions, it responds in its own way. 

Ten years ago, I wanted to commemorate my 30th birthday with something bold and memorable, so I traveled to Europe for a couple weeks. I went alone but never felt alone. Between the daily cast of characters that came into my life and the … Read the rest

Thing #28 – Blood on the Tracks

When I was in high school, I started playing guitar and writing songs. The typical folksy, three-chord masterpieces you’d expect from a teenage girl. In those early years, I was endlessly inspired by Bob Dylan.

I’d listen to Blood on the Tracks and dream of an adulthood rich with travel, intrigue, love and adventure. I was plagued by the restless longing of waiting for life to start and was desperate for a rambling, wandering, Dylan-esque world where I turned every drop of life into poetry. 

In college, I’d write songs about nights as they unfolded. Impromptu tales of shenanigans, complete with singalong choruses designed to make my friends laugh. 

Not long after, I recorded a couple albums of girl-power jams in my apartment, experimenting with layers of sound as I melted into new depths of love, sadness and longing. It was the best way I could process the cliche emotions of my mid-20s. I still love each of those songs like they were children.

Although that songwriting life slowly fell away from me, we parted … Read the rest

Thing #27 – Quebec City

Most mornings we walk past our neighborhood bakery and I say, “Mmmm, smells like a train station!” Fresh bread floating in the morning air gives me memories of filling my purse with pastries in Munich.

The smell of a bakery instantly whooshes you into a memory. And it’s personal for everyone. Bakers have the magic power to transport you. And the stories behind their recipes are often rooted in something deeper than we realize. This is why I initially started my blog, after all.

I was reminded of this in Quebec City when I went into a bakery for a baguette and left with an education on French literature.

At Le Paingrüel, we had the treat of talking with the baker of arguably the best artisanal breads in town. He uses traditional baking practices and has committed to studying and perfecting them.

During our visit, we got a crash course on baguettes and learned the Swiss-style baguette was discovered as a result of a mistake. (A delicious one, incidentally.)

He stood alongside a rack … Read the rest

Thing #26 – Bagels

There wasn’t a day in Quebec where we didn’t eat french fries for at least one meal. And I indulged in so many buttery pastries that I had to delete some of my photos because my greasy fingerprints made the camera lens too blurry.

But this is what vacation is for. Tasting all the flavors, walking all the miles and sleeping all the hours without setting an alarm. (I can easily go uninterrupted for 11 hours.)

It’s no secret that the province of Quebec has the charm of Europe with a fraction of the travel time. It’s one of the reasons we visited. But more importantly, I went for the bagels.

There’s a longstanding rivalry between New York and Montreal bagels. Moreso, there’s a rivalry between two bagel shops in Montreal. We hit up Fairmount and St. Viateur back-to-back on Thursday morning to see what the fuss was about.

Both stores were small and understated. Get in, get bagels, leave. Maybe they have napkins, maybe not. This is because Montreal bagels are all about the … Read the rest