You Fat Idiot

Don’t Talk to Strangers

I had an encounter this morning on my bike ride that rocked me to my core. I was on the sidewalk and there was a woman in front of me.
I slowed down, “excuse me,” nothing, “excuse me,” a little louder.
She turned around and yelled “YOU NEED TO BE 6 FEET AWAY FROM ME! YOU CAN’T BE ON THE SIDEWALK!”
I was startled and the only thing I could muster was, “I just want to pass you.”
“GET OFF THE SIDEWALK YOU FAT IDIOT!”
I don’t remember how I eventually passed this lady because I blacked out from the pain to my gut those words felt like.

 

“You Fat Idiot”

Is it so obvious? How did she know? I so deeply believe those words to be true that when she said it, it broke me. I cried the rest of the bike ride. I had to end the ride early to go home and continue crying in the shower.
I proclaimed –
“I’m going to write a letter to the Mayor about a stranger calling me a fat idiot”
I quickly realized that doesn’t make sense. The letter will just make him feel uncomfortable and think, “And the sky is blue and dogs have tongues that hang too low.”
It was her choice in words that struck me the hardest. I could handle being screamed at by a grumpy British lady but those words are my kryptonite.

The event stayed with me all day. I couldn’t shake it off.
I was sitting by the kitchen table at the end of the day, feeling exhausted from hauling this sentiment around all day, like a kangaroo with a baby in their pouch.
Ezzy walked in and said, “You’re giving this nasty woman too much power. You are so much more than that.”

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I felt broken because I heard her say what I’ve said to myself so many times.
This woman’s words echoed what I already had bouncing around in my head.
I had given her permission to make me feel small and inferior because I had given myself permission to do so as well.

Last week a Britsih blonde lady called me a fat idiot while I was riding my bike.

This week I told myself I am powerful and deserving.

Let’s see what happens next week

 

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“fatidiot”

Going Live with @StyledbySheva

We’re Live

Sheva and I know each other because her mother and my mother are sisters.
We have an understanding of why we’re both a little crazy and we support each other through it. She invited me to do a Live with her where she would ask me questions about design, style, and life. I wrote down some of the questions and my answers beforehand to give myself an idea of what I was going to talk about.
Thank you to all of you who tuned it and for those that didn’t consider this write up for you 🙂

 

What is your relationship with Instagram?
I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. I scroll through my feed and feel inspired. That inspiration is quickly overshadowed by fear of me not doing enough or my feed not being curated enough. When I find myself overwhelmed by Instagram, it means I need to take a step back because I’m too invested. I do better when I take myself and Instagram less seriously.

 

How to shop on a budget?
There are a few ways you can do that.
-First of all curbside pick up is a real option. I’ve picked up furniture pieces from the street many times. I have a beautiful wood mirror that I got 6 years ago and brought with me when I moved into my house.
-If you have more self-dignity than I do, thrift shops are great resources. Have in mind that it will take time to find your treasure, so stay patient and committed. Finding treasures aren’t easy. That’s why they’re treasures.
– I hate these words but they’re true, get creative. Especially with art which can be a real budget killer. Art is expensive and personal so I’ve always taken the route of creating my own. I bought a canvas from Michaels, painted it then wrapped brown wrapping paper around it. I was convinced I would be able to submit it to Art Basel. Thank G-d I have people in my life who helped guide me away from that decision. A  year later I was inspired by the Wynwood Flower walls and hot glue gunned flowers to a canvas to create an art piece for my daughter’s room.
– Frame objects you love. I took three colorful headscarves and framed them. If you have a scarf that you love looking at it, frame it. My mother bought this cute t-shirt from a market in South Africa and framed it. That souvenir is now on her wall.
-Hang a quilt on your wall. I did that in my guestroom. I went to Target and bought a quilt for $70 and just nailed it onto the wall. Now the entire wall is a backdrop
– Surround yourself with images you love. Buying a lot of frames adds up when you’re on a budget – pinboards are such a great way to bring life into your home. And it doesn’t need to be chaotic. You can have all your pictures in 5×7 and black and white. You can create the structure. You are in charge.

 

How to spruce up your space during this time?
I like to think of my space as an experience and now is a really good time to upgrade that experience. Tap into all your senses to create the experience you want in your home. I use scented candles a lot in my home. When I’m feeling dragged down by the mess I light a candle and it literally motivates me to slowly put things away and clean. Music does the same thing for me.
If your couch is bothering you but you’re not buying a new couch right now, buy a throw blanket that will make you smile when sitting on the couch to read a book. It will add an element of warmth and texture.
-Everyone is foraging right now, so take advantage. Flowers and greenery literally bring life to your home. Don’t underestimate that. Once a week go out and cut, pick or buy yourself some flowers that you like. It can be roses, tulips or eucalyptus. Keep them close to where you work or spend the most time.
-Use beautiful objects in the mundane areas of your life. My mother in law bought me these two beautiful wooden trays from South Africa and I use them for lemons on my kitchen counter. Drink wine out of your nicest glasses. Use a marble bowl for your salt. Drink coffee from a handmade mug. Use the softest handtowels. We’re in our kitchens so much take something that you love and incorporate it into those spaces that are usually forgotten about. 

 

How to create a gallery wall?
– When starting with a gallery wall, begin with collecting all your favorite pictures. Once you have them all in front of you, pay attention to a theme. What’s standing out? Are they mostly portraits? Are they mostly pictures of when you were traveling? Are they a mix? Find a common thread.
– When it comes to framing my rule is there are no rules. Having said that I always advise finding a common thread either in pictures of frames to help create a cohesive look.
– Decide the style of the gallery wall. Symmetrical, asymmetrical, collected, a mix of everything
– Patience. anything in life that’s beautiful takes time – time creates a collected ad curated look which is ALWAYS the best
– You need to love everything on your wall
– If you want to create a gallery wall based on your season, that’s an option too.
If you’re a winter your gallery wall will have more used colors more symmetrical layout and use bold ad striking pictures
– My main piece of advice is to do it! The act of starting it will inspire you enough to get through those decisions that are making you feel stuck right now.

 

What are the benefits of anxiety in a creative job?
Being an anxious person to me, means that I live with my feelings charged way more often than they need to be. This happens mostly because I spend a lot of time worrying and thinking about the worst-case scenarios. When I start a job, I’m always nervous and those nerves push me to try harder. I’m always at the brink of being a failure so I work harder and commit myself to every job.
Anxious people feel all the feels which work in my favor because I use my instincts when it comes to design. So being really in tune with what’s going on definitely helps produce work that is a definite “hell yes” – that’s what #mytherapistsays

 

How do you shop for clothing before you’re comfortable with your body?
That’s a good question. I’ve learned through working with an intuitive eating coach ( 1.5 years ago) that healing your relationship with food and your body is one that takes a lot of time and acceptance. The biggest improvement has been giving myself more compassion and permission. That doesn’t mean I’m at the weight I want to be. I’m still figuring that part out.
I  want to be thinner but I’m not going to hate myself until I get there.
That’s what I have come to realize. I held onto a belief for a very long time that my heaviness took away from my value. I didn’t want to be in pictures with my kids or want to be part of videos because of my “fat” body.
At the time I told myself, I’ll be in pictures when I’m thinner. Now 8 years and thank G-d four children later, I’m still in this body.
What did I do with that time? I spent 8  years denying myself of love. I spent 8 years killing myself internally.
I’ve learned to let myself live regardless of my size. I’ve learned to accept that yes I do want to be thinner and that’s okay. I can want my body to change and accept my body right now. This is my body right now. Regardless of its size I will take care of it and love it because it is carrying me through this life and I am so grateful for that.

 

Thank you for having me on Sheva.

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Keep Notes

Welcome to the Live Feed Inside My Head

Recently I’ve been biking by the beach early in the morning.
While I bike, I stop to write down all the wonders that are my thoughts and I observe the people around me. The combination of these two activities has been such a resource for me, especially during a time when most of my day is spent hauled up in my home talking to Lego people.

So I decided to share some of those thoughts. Buckle up, this is going to be ordinary.

Wednesday, April 29

There’s the blonde woman who runs every day. Neither of us acknowledge each other. She runs in shorts and a crop top. She has a perfect tan, killer body, and some mornings she’s running and pushing her toddler in a stroller. I’m not sure why I think she might be Russian.

 

There’s the older lady who wears a frilly dress and cute hat. She once asked, “Isn’t that something?” while we were admiring the sunrise.

Then there’s the older woman who sits on a bench and meditates with her palms resting on her knees. I think her eyes are closed. She wears glasses. I would love to take a picture of her but I’m not sure if that crosses the line. If I could guarantee her eyes were closed I would just snap. 

Thursday, April 30

I just walked past a corner in my house that’s full of boxes. In my head, I had returned them. In reality I printed labels, stuck them on the boxes, and told myself the corner of my house was the UPS store.

 

Sunday, May 04
The fuckin pigeons! They don’t get out of my way until the wheel of my bike nudges their feathery behinds. I feel like the homeless lady in central park from Home Alone.
I thought George Castanza got to the bottom of pigeons knowing their place with human traffic. Apparently, he did not.

Tuesday, May 05
Today I saw the older lady with the cute hat talking to the Russian sled runner. I almost stopped from the excitement of seeing these two women, who I’ve been observing, interacting. But I didn’t.

I’m in the mood of a fresh tuna salad.

I just ate 3 bowls of leftover pasta.

Friday, May 08
My right elbow is tingling.  Is this the end for me?
If I continue to massage it, will the tingling go away?

 

Monday, May 11
I just ate my 7th biscotti, should I stop baking them?

If I stop baking them, what will I do with my time?

My friend just called me a nerd because I hung up on her to scrapbook.

Tuesday, May 12

I’m at the pier now, there’s a man standing here smiling and watching me take pictures. Is he expecting a conversation? Is he expecting directions on how to take good pictures? 

I’m doing neither of those things.

I just baked again.

 

Wednesday, May 13
I just drove past a sign that read,
“Bicycles permitted on the beach path 9am to 5pm ONLY.”
I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that sign.

The older lady with the cute hat just stopped me,
“They made a new rule about bike riders. You can’t be here before 9am.”
I hate her stupid hat.

Today I feel like giving up.

I told Ezzy my right elbow is tingling and feels weird. He has no response.
The massaging hasn’t helped either.

Thursday, May 14

There are police officers everywhere blocking the bike path to the pier.
He’s telling me the elderly people complained about the “bikers whizzing by.”

I’m sure there’s another way to ease the all this worry about the”whizzing” without closing the bike path until 9 a.m.
I feel like my last freedom was just taken away from me.

It’s 3:30 p.m.

It’s 3:32 p.m. Still too early to be drunk?


Friday, May 15

I’m taking action today. I’m writing a letter to express my frustration with this new restriction. I will fight for my freedom!

Dear Mayor of Bal Harbor

I have been bike riding every morning for the last couple of months. I get up early to be on the path by 6:15 am so I can get in some time to myself, so I can exercise and take advantage of this beautiful city.

This past Thursday I was told I can no longer bike on the bike path before 9 am or after 5 pm. The bike path is open between 9 am and 5 pm.

The hours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. I am feeding my children breakfast, signing them into their zoom classes, playing with them, preparing dinner, reading with them, feeding them lunch, playing outside, feeding them, coloring with them, feeding them and taking care of them. I can’t bike between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

We are over 2 months into lockdown. Schools are closed, camps are canceled, parks are closed, pools are closed, beaches are closed and now the bike path is only available for me to use when I am home because of all the other consequences of lockdown and isolation.
The morning bike rides are my lifeline. I am sure they are for many people choosing to start their day off with a bike ride and fresh air.

I am reaching out to explain how disappointed I am about this restriction and hoping it can be reversed.

Sincerely,
A mother who is passionate about mental wellbeing during quarantine.


Sunday, May 17
My letter was received and the response was kind but this new restriction isn’t changing any time soon.
How many letters about freedom to bike is considered too many?

Tomorrow is May 18, the day we start to re-open and go back to normal.
My question is, how do we learn to live with Corona when 2 months ago it was the very thing that locked us all away?

 

 

 

 

 

I’m at Rock Bottom, How Are You ?

Quarantine Parenting, Don’t try it at home.

Before Corona I would consider myself an okay parent. I adore my kids, document their every move, tell them ‘I love you’ before they go to sleep, remember to floss their teeth, give them eye contact for 5 minutes a day, tell them their feelings are valid, and take pride in their accomplishments.

During Corona the challenge has been trying to stay an okay parent. Now I scream at my kids from my bed instead of getting up to do it. If my kids get wet outside while playing with the hose, they are now bathed. If I drop cheese on the floor and they eat it, dinner has been served. If they’re wearing underwear, I consider them dressed. If there’s no fighting, I consider them happy.

My 3-year-old son Yosef has picked up two new habits recently.
He started throwing furniture around the house. An older sibling will take his seat or take some tiny piece of Lego and he’ll quickly transform into an angry bird. We’re all shocked at how he goes from not being able to wipe himself to being able to lift side tables above his head.
He’s found a new love for the Hot Lava game. The players of the game need to avoid any area deemed hot lava or else it’s game over for them.
“1, 2, 3, the floor’s hot lava!” Everyone who’s standing on the floor is out. My son Yosef does this without any warning and the intention of getting everyone to burn in hot lava. I’m a terrible player. I never attempt to move. “1,2,3 the chair you’re sitting on is hot lava!” Ok… so now that I’m burning in hot lava do I get to finish reading my book? I’m trying to figure out what the game will do for me in terms of peace and quiet. My 1-year-old daughter loves the hot lava game because she’s rarely standing on the actual floor. She’s either on a chair or a table so for the hours she’s awake, she’s kicking ass at this game.

I recently spoke to a child therapist about the difficulty I’m having with the furniture throwing habit. I told her about my difficulty with being a lot more reactive than proactive. “It’s really normal to be struggling to stay calm now when everyone is home and there’s less structure.”
I told the therapist my response to this behavior was coming up with a new version of hide and seek where I hide without telling my kids to come look for me. I’m not a game person but this is hands down my favorite one.
I’ve been hearing this a lot, “Right now we all just need to survive.”
I think for me, surviving means being okay with being mediocre. I’m really scared of being mediocre. I spend a lot of time trying to stand out as original. But thanks to corona, I’ve been renting out this space called “Rock Bottom.”
I’ve been making an effort to take care of myself. I virtually see my therapist once a week so I can quote her on Instagram through #mytherapistsays. I’ve read Lori Gottlieb’s book, “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone.” I’ve listened to Brene Brown’s podcasts. I know that all pain is real pain. I’m very developed and self enlightened.
And yet
 I’ve been berating myself for weeks based on the belief that my pain isn’t deserving enough. This question keeps coming up, “I’m self caring so well, why isn’t it working ?”

“If the queen had balls, she would be a king.”

This sentence from Lorri Gotlieb is hitting home for me right now. I am not different than who I am. I am where I am. I feel what I feel. Just verbalizing that simple truth has power to it. I don’t know why I’m struggling more than what seems like normal. I don’t know why I feel rage and sadness and then joy so close together.
I am who I am and I am where I am.

Rock Bottom. It’s been in this space that I’ve pushed myself to exercise every morning. It’s been in this space that I’ve pushed myself to journal every day because who knows, maybe one day it will be published as a book. It’s been in this space where I’ve pushed myself to create more space to breathe deeply. It happens to be that my rock bottom involves moments of me slamming chrome books onto the couch and ripping up the economist magazine because I know how much my husband loves that magazine. The bottom of our rocks are going to look different from one another’s but I think it’s through seeing the bottom that we start to see the beginning of a new route.

Anyways, I’m at rock bottom, how are you?

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A Mother Like No Other

Call me Itty, Call me Ingrid, Call me Crazy

When I was 11 years old my mother and I were on the way to Synagogue. My mother was wearing a long black wool vest, a white shirt and a tie. It was 1998. “Don’t I look like Diane Keaton?” she asked me. I just nodded my head up and down. Her question was clearly rhetorical. I couldn’t break her heart. I wish instead my mother would have asked me how I felt because my answer would be, ‘You’re not Diane Keaton. Take the tie off, make a different choice.’ We walked into the Synagogue together and just as I had predicted, every woman and their daughter turned around and watched us walk up the stairs and find our seats. “Itty! What are you wearing?” Could they all tell I wanted to melt into the ground? Because their plan was working, their stares were burning me from the inside out.

But her unapologetic love for Diane Keaton wasn’t the only reason she stood out. My mother had a slew of O.C.D. tendencies that were considered quirky when I was growing up. She would fold her t-shirts and stack them on top of each other with great pride. There were many times I wandered into her room to find her standing there tapping her t-shirts into perfection. She thought the tapping of t-shirts was productive, I thought the tapping of t-shirts was abusive. She would put a container away in her closet and then touch it at least 5 times to make sure it didn’t go anywhere. She was constantly lining things up and then counting them. She was also constantly cleaning. When I was younger, cleaning products were part of the pillars that brought us up.  I was number 6 out of 7 children so by the time I came around, nothing mattered. I’m pretty sure I was bottle fed Windex as a baby. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you cleaner.


I think it’s important to say that my mother’s style and obsessive cleanliness didn’t take away from her ability to create close friendship and connections. Every person she encountered, ever in her life, became her friend. Everyone was treated as equals. The guy at the laundromat, the guy working at the fruit market, the receptionist at the doctors office, the high school kid working at blockbuster, the seamstress, the lady doing her nails, a pigeon, the stewardess, the lady cleaning the house, the outcast, the misunderstood, the popular, the unpopular. When she would pick us up after school, the carpool line turned into this short stopping nightmare. She stopped at every car, window rolled down with her hand stretched out, to talk to every person there. It didn’t matter that her kids were in the back seat with their heads rolled back from exhaustion and nausea. As her children we were also treated like equals. This gave us confusion when we were looking for parental advice or guidance. When giving advice my mother would either ask, “What do you feel?” or “What does your gut say?”
What do I feel? I feel like you ask me how I’m feeling too often. Discipline me.
What does my gut say? Who the hell is a gut
. Where can I find it?


When I was 14 years old my mother was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread muscular pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. That basically means, some days my mother is feeling ok and some days my mother can’t get out of bed due to pain and fatigue. On her bad days my mother would refer to herself as Ingrid – her english name, after the actress Ingrid Bergman, thank you Mrs. Fellig. Every time I call and she’s tired and not feeling well she tells me “I don’t know what’s wrong with me” and I always answer “you have Fibromyalgia Ingrid.”  She didn’t relate to the person who was in bed with pain. She wanted to be the person out of bed with her friends and feeding her children bottles of Windex. I think this diagnosis has been the hardest reality for my mother to accept. I think it’s because she feels that it took away from her being able to do more or be more for us when we were younger. It did take away from her physically being there but it didn’t take away from her being there for us in every other way, at any moment of any day and for that I am grateful.

When I was struggling through my first marriage my mother was one of the only people I turned to for advice and support. I can’t say her advice took away the pain and struggle but her support was priceless. I was young and I was insecure for not being able to figure out how to be married well like my friends. In a period where I felt lonely and small, my mother was there to pull me up and show me strength.


My mother lives with tremendous passion. Everything in her life is amazing all the time. She surpasses the saying, ‘Seeing the world through rose colored glasses.’ My mother sees the world through rainbow colored glasses with unicorns and dolphins diving in and out. My mother’s sense of wonder is the same as that of a 4 year old’.
“Doesn’t this tree look magnificent?”
“Aren’t you happy we have a 9 hour drive so we can talk for 9 hours straight?”
“Doesn’t the air smell amazing?”
“Did you see how yellow the sun is today?”
“Have you ever seen a sidewalk like this?”
“This is amazing – when I drink water, I’m not thirsty.”
“Look at those clouds. Aren’t they amazing?”
“This coffee is delicious. I feel so energized!”
I know I will never be able to match my mother’s pure enthusiasm for life but it’s inspiring to watch.

My intention for writing this is to say that my mother is not perfect. I think I’ve made it clear she’s far from perfect. Combined with all those imperfections, my mother’s love and compassion is what really stands out to me as I look back at my upbringing with her.

I’m here so my 33 year old self can tell my 11 year old self,
“I understand the embarrassment you felt but now I see the truth. What I can see now is my mother’s ability to stand out in a crowd and how comfortable she is to truly show herself. What I can see now is how creative and courageous my mother is. She took something she was inspired by and brought it to life. If only I had known how cool my mother was, back then I just thought she was experimenting with cross dressing.

I’m here so my 33 year old self can say my mother’s no guidance was guidance in itself. The way she always went back to asking me how I feel has taught me to lead my life with my heart and trust my intuition. Perfection doesn’t exist. I’m so happy I am able to experience imperfection through my mother.

My mother has always said, “We call come into this world the same way and we all leave this world the same way.” I believe it’s through this sentiment that love and humility are born. I believe this sentiment is why my mother truly does stand out. It’s this sentiment that has brought me to realize all her quirks and crazy have taught me so much and enriched my life.

I can tell you that through the beautiful moments and deepest hardships, my mother always loves intensely, laughs with tears, speaks with wisdom, cooks minimally – if ever,  lives with passion, counts her objects, dresses in menswear, listens with no judgement and stays true to who she is. My mother is unusual in every way and it’s been in those unusual ways that I have learned to be true and honest and kind.
To my mother, this message is for you, from my heart to yours, please continue to live your life with the same level of intensity and insanity. 


I love you always, Happy Mother’s Day

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The Corona Edition

Quarantine #DayWhoTheHellCares

 

For the first 2 weeks all I did was cry. While I cooked, cleaned, folded laundry, signed into zoom classes, signed out of zoom classes. I was either holding back tears or crying. Crying from disbelief, anger, shock, fear. I’m an already anxious person who spends most days living in my head playing out worst case scenarios so that I am “prepared” for anything. (Is this how all people stay prepared and protected?)
Then Corona. The virus that changed everything. The virus that changed every aspect of everyone’s life all over the world. Whoever I spoke to in Australia, South Africa, Montreal, they were all going through the same devastating turn of events. I wanted it to stop, I wanted to go back in time. No I don’t want to home school my kids, why can’t they just play outside in their underwear and come inside when they feel heat stroke?
No I don’t want to prepare 16 meals for my kids throughout the day. Why can’t I leave bowls of water around the house for them for when they’re thirsty?
No I don’t want to social distance, I like warm hugs.
No I don’t want to make my own hand sanitizer because the world ran out. Why can’t I drink alcohol instead?
It hadn’t dawned on me the amount of free time I had before. I could make appointments and then go to them. I could make a call and then have a conversation. I could make a coffee and then drink it. I could take a walk which I never did. I could spend time planning and preparing dinner which I never did. The point is that I COULD do all these things. The freedom.
That freedom also came at a price. I felt guilt all the time. I talked myself out of it of course. It’s OK to leave my baby home with someone who I trust and loves her so I can go to appointments, make phone calls and have coffees. It’s OK that when I pick up my kids after school, it doesn’t take long for me to want to drop them back off at school.
I recently told my therapist in one of our sessions that I feel like I’ve re- engaged with my life. She thought that sentiment was beautiful. Yay for me, I impressed my therapist. She must have known it was a big deal for me to hear that because she knows I have an irritating need for constant validation. #workingonit And no I don’t want to talk about it, unless you want to compliment me, then yes I want to talk about it.
So now I don’t have the freedom but I don’t have the guilt, which one feels better ?
After 2 weeks of crying I started to get into the routine and reality of this new life. I felt more at peace and more uplifted. I can do this, I can figure out zoom and print out the lessons and do the homework and mop the floor and do the laundry and prepare dinner and wear a cute apron. I essentially turned into an octopus and found myself doing 8 different things all at the same time.
Then the adrenaline wore off and I was in a fog worse than in the beginning. In the beginning it was hard but it was new. The grief and reality and sadness of what was and what is now became so real. The realness of the situation then turned into me feeling like I need to ‘show’ my husband how hard everything is. This involved a lot of very loud sighs whenever he walked by. It involved a lot of me asking “I’m drowning over here why aren’t you?” I thank G-d I married a kind and patient man because I have been neither one of those things.
We need to flatten the curve. We need more tests. We need to wear masks outside. We need to wipe down all packages – after letting them sit outside for 24 hours. We need to wash down our fruit and vegetables with water and soap. We need to stay away from friends and family. We need to home school our kids indefinitely. The virus can be transmitted from direct contact. The virus can be transmitted through droplets 6 feet a part. The virus can be transmitted through the air from 13 feet apart. The virus can be transmitted through being alive. Stay safe. Stay home.
You know what I’ve learned over the last who the hell knows how many days? I’ve learned that in the end, I don’t know and you don’t know and none of us know. Without any knowledge of what will be, we are still here living and loving. Maybe that’s what Gd wanted from us, to do and to love before we know and understand.
Quick but important question, does drinking wine out of a crystal glass make it ok to start drinking at 3 p.m? Asking for myself.
TIA
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Transformations & Baby Nesting

So I’m a designer, I get paid to make homes beautiful and I’m good at it; for myself, its been a much longer process. We moved into our home 3 and a half years ago and have mainly bought furniture pieces here and there for the house. We hadn’t done any work to the house, we were waiting. We like waiting. Apparently procrastination is good when making decisions.

This summer we were looking to expand on our guestroom, that’s off the laundry that was converted from a garage by the previous owners. This is our “fourth” bedroom. It was the size of a closet, so it just fit two beds, so guests were able to sleep there and nothing else. Because it was off the laundry room which was a converted garage, there was no AC. We had a small unit in the window but that will not do in Miami between the months of March – February. Our guests are also usually family so they would come often and stay a while – so we were ready to create a bigger space for them that was more outside of our space. We were originally thinking to move the wall over to make the room 3 or 4 feet bigger and have a smaller laundry / storage room – Ezzy, not me the designer, but the husband of me the designer, said we should just knock down the wall entirely leaving one big open space. This turned out to be an amazing idea, now we have one big, light open guestroom and a spacious and beautiful laundry room /storage room. We feel like we have literally expanded our house and we love being in this space. We love it so much that we are no longer open to having people stay at our house. We need to make a fifth bedroom now for guests #anyideas?

Thanks to Ingrid, we have finished the organizing phase and it feels amazing. Ingrid is very good at what she does. I want to talk a little bit about the difference between Ingrid and Kon Marie. I did the Kon Marie method 2 years ago – went through all my clothing, accessories and books. I did the kids clothing and toys because they’re too young to really know what brings them joy.  And I have to say that from two years ago, I still only have the essentials that make me truly happy. I know exactly where everything is. I also take care of my things better now, Kon Marie is a big believer in “talking to your clothes” at the end of the day and I took that on two years ago. I don’t start up conversations with my clothing but after I wear them instead of hanging them up right away, I lay them out on my bed and let them “breathe.”

The method of Kon Marie is very useful when you need to go through and get rid of things that you’ve held onto for years. The order in which she tells you what to do and the technique of only keeping what brings you “joy” is very effective. However, realistically, I cant get rid of everything that doesn’t bring me “joy”- like my kids make weird shit all day long that not only doesn’t bring me joy but irritates me. I can’t get rid of it, they made it and it’s special to them. So in this realistic lifestyle Ingrid is an amazing solution for figuring out how to find a place for everything that makes you miserable and then being able to easily access it, therefore maintaining the organization. My kids love to take paper, cut it out and make books – so cute right? Wrong – because I have a bunch of tiny useless books that I need to consider whenever I’m putting things away. So after a few days of finding some drawer for these tiny useless books – I start to feel my blood pressure rise. This is when I call Ingrid and say “find a place for your grandchildren’s things so you don’t lose your daughter to mental insanity. ” My kids also love to collect rocks from around our house and call them “treasures.” Even if I don’t agree with it, these treasures need shelter and outside under a garbage can isn’t considered shelter, at least not to my kids. So ultimately I think when one is organizing their home, really knowing and understanding their lifestyle will help tremendously in maintaining a home that feels organized.

Thank you for watching along as I went through the process of #INGRIDYOURSELF. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

CW Design; The Mommy Edition

In general, posting personal things on social media makes me uneasy. I’m not talking about personal content that’s design related or mother related – I feel that if I didn’t share that I would be doing a disservice to the world. I’m talking about personal content like my relationship with my husband, my kids, my pregnancy. Those topics feel more untouchable to me, for whatever reason and it’s completely personal to me. I’m not here to advocate for one way or the other (anyone else here sweating right now?) Having said that, I’m going through this funny thing where I feel like I haven’t been pregnant for the last (almost 10 months) because I didn’t post a picture of myself in front of a wall with my hand over my belly. I didn’t post a picture with a two paragraph caption about being pregnant, so does that make it less real? I didn’t post pictures every couple of weeks of my growing belly with a hashtag of the number of weeks. Is my pregnancy less important now? The rational answer is, of course not. That makes no sense. But for some reason that answer is harder for me to internalize than I would like to admit. It got me thinking about how I struggle in general with feeling  content and happy without external validation. I shouldn’t need people to validate what I’m doing in order for it to feel real or for people to follow me on social media to feel relevant, and yet with every new follower I feel like I’m one step closer to being the female Moses leading the masses to redemption. In this case, redemption being my obliterating talents when it comes to design.

I want out of this way of thinking, I want to do things differently this time. I want to make choices that are true to me and what I value (as long as Ezzy agrees with them) I pay way too much attention to all the noise around me. All that loud, contradicting noise. It’s like I’m a bird who was born while its mother was out hunting food & any time I hear an opinion my initial reaction is “mama?” as if that’s what I’ve been looking for.
I end up taking on all these opinions & then those opinions cause me inner turmoil for 3 days. It makes me question what I’m already doing and think it’s not good enough. Then I feel overwhelmed by the thought of needing to change what I’ve been doing, do something new, and worry about all that time I spent doing the “wrong” thing.

When I’m working I feel guilty I’m not spending enough time with my kids. When I’m not working I feel guilty for not contributing, as if contributing to my kids isn’t enough.
When I’m spending all my time with my kids, I feel exhausted and worn out. When I take time to do things for myself, I feel guilty and selfish. When I’m involved in everything my kids do, I feel that I’m stifling them. When I take a step back and forget to feed them for 3 days, I feel like I’m neglecting them.

My goal is to gain strength from within ME, within my quiet self who is far from perfect. Who doesn’t buy organic fruits and vegetables, who has a daughter who doesn’t eat her vegetables, who has a two year old who leaves the house in a diaper and nothing else (but isn’t he cold?) maybe, but I’m too lazy to get him dressed 3 times a day. I need to gain strength from someone who brushes her kids teeth twice a day but also lets them eat an abundance of sugar, from someone who is screen free around her kids but has the patience level of a 72 year old man, from someone who needs visual confirmation every time she drops her kids off at school or camp. Yes this person, which is me, is who I need to gain strength from because this person is the only person who can change me and help me grow.

I just got a mosquito bite, zika?

CW Design, The Summer Edition

Right now I decided not to take on any more projects. After finishing the boys bedroom, I was approached to come onto a few projects, two bigger, commercial projects and then two smaller spaces. After going back and forth about it in my head I ultimately decided to take on less, I’m going to be doing work on a small apartment in South Beach and free up some of my time.

My kids are in day camp for the summer and we’re not travelling this summer, due to a pending delivery in August (Gd Willing) For those who don’t know or weren’t sure about that last sentence, I’m pregnant. So I decided instead of working full time, I wanted to work less & use my time productively to focus on things that are always being pushed to the side all the time, like changing my last name or sending out thank you cards from my wedding. No, its not too late and I will be sending them out. I actually wrote them all out and thanked everyone personally and then let them sit in a box. Once they entered that box, it was all over for them. This summer they will be exiting the box, labeled with addresses and kissed with a stamp… so whoever gifted us back in 2011 get ready for a sweet little thank you coming your way this summer.

For those following my stories on Instagram, you know about another project that’s been happening, Ingrid Yourself. This project is focused on highlighting my mothers talents and abilities to create an organized and well run space no matter where you live or who you are. My mother’s English name is Ingrid, so that’s where the concept comes from and the rest is me documenting who she is and sharing it for all of you who weren’t privileged enough to be brought up by someone who gave us way too much love and not enough boundaries (yes there are down falls to that)

There’s also some work to do around my house – all small jobs – like knocking down a wall in the laundry room to create a guest room, fixing up my kids bedroom with a bunk bed/ paint and reupholstering some furniture. All these projects are small but will have big impact so I’m excited about them. All these projects will be documented for you guys of course – my client, Ezzy is very frugal, he believes in spending money on necessities before “things we don’t need.” If any of you understand this concept please reach out and explain it to me, because it holds no weight for me. Nonetheless, we’re moving forward with the above projects and I can’t wait to share them with you. So have no fear, I may be working less, but I’m still interesting, creative and worth watching/ following on Instagram (tell your friends.)

On a personal note, I started meditating this month which has been calming but also really stressful because going beyond all the chatter in brain is exhausting. Ok, bye.

 

Why I’m Choosing to Meditate

First I walked every day for 30 days, then I stopped using my phone from 330-630 pm every afternoon and now for the next 30 days I choose to meditate every day for 15 minutes. I will continue to implement the no phone rule because it brought me quiet time and focus during a time that’s usually chaotic. I love how the no phone in the afternoon has helped me in other areas too. I started to leave my room in the morning without my phone. I now get up, get out of bed and leave my phone on the charger. I head to the kitchen for the routine coffee while giving my kids cereal and milk. They fight over where they want to sit, which spoon they want to use, who gets to look at the back of the cereal box, someone spills milk, someone splashes their hands in the spilt milk – I get to be present for all of this.
I got a lot of questions like, what if someone needs to reach you or something really urgent happens? Those are valid points and to that and to my future, my phone will be on silent for all notifications and if someone calls and it’s urgent, I will answer. For this challenge though, I didn’t want to be available for any phone calls or messages. I was happy to take a break from the “yanni” or “laurel” drama. (btw its laurel) I also realized that I wasn’t missing out on that much. Once I was able to let go of what I was “missing,” I was able to lean into my actual life and what was happening right in front of me.

Not having my phone in the afternoons also gave me the ability to time travel. When picking something up, I would pull up in my car and beep – I needed to beep a horn for some acknowledgment. If the beep didn’t give me the acknowledgment I needed, I said things  like “go knock on the door and tell them we’re here.” I had never said that to my  kids before this challenge. On the drives home from school it was hard because I didn’t have my music (Spotify) or podcasts to listen to. I had to listen to my kids or wait for a red light and look for a CD to play. One day I needed to drop off a friend from school and realized I didn’t know the exact address. I circled around a few blocks, pulled up to one or two wrong homes but in the end I found the  right house. I know it sounds extreme to put all these limitations on myself – what is the harm in picking up my phone when I need an address or want to listen to a song. There is no real harm. It’s just refreshing to relearn the ability to figure things out. It’s ok to not have something right now, it’s ok to be bored right now, it’s ok to not listen to what you want right now. There is magic in the “dull” moments and we’re only ever going to see them if we challenge ourselves to put the phone down, even if it’s for an hour.

People talk a lot about anxiety these days. I feel like anxiety has become the new kale of mental illness. When I was growing up it was not this popular, no one in my class thought it was cool when my pinky touched my notebook and I then spent 5 minutes making sure every other finger of mine touched the notebook. Anxiety or having anxious thoughts or thinking I can control my environment by making sure both my elbows hit the wall is not a nee thing for me (unfortunately) I go to therapy weekly for anxiety – I am learning to manage the feeling of something catastrophic happening at any moment. The other day my pinky was bothering me, so I started writing letters to my kids thinking the pain was an early sign of any type of life threatening illness and my thoughts and love for my children needed to be preserved. I do have some appreciation for this aspect of my personality – when travelling, I’m the one watching the safety video on the plane. I make sure to get a visual of every exit so I’m prepared. If you’re on a plane with me that’s going down, you’re welcome because I will guide your ass off that plane with speed and precision.

So the above is what got me to make the decision to meditate every day for 15 minutes for the next 30 days. I’m choosing to meditate because I think it’s time to internalize the saying “let go and let Gd” (is that how it goes?) and live a life that feels lighter mentally and physically. My insides are starting to feel like the hunchback of Notre Dame, I’m so tired of ringing that bell of alarm but I cant stop & love doesn’t seem to cure it like Disney would have us believe. I hope this next challenge will bring me more peace, happiness and help “unhunch” my insides.