Intentionality

Intentionality is a philosophical concept defined as “the power of minds to be about, to represent, or to stand for, things, properties and states of affairs.” – Standard Encyclopedia of Philosophy

What does it mean to be intentional? Both in my daily comings and goings as well as an overall approach to life? How do I dig deeper to lead myself, and those entrusted to me, with greater awareness? How do I shape my personal, relational, spiritual, and physical goals in a way that pushes my boundaries?

These are all questions I’ve been grappling with as I set goals for the year ahead. What am I hoping to accomplish in 2020? How do they shape who I am today, who I will become, and how that impacts those around me? Existential much? You betcha.

As February unfolds I’ve been thinking and praying over the word* that will shape this year and intentionality has hit me over and over again. No matter what goal I set, no matter the topic, the theme presents itself. As I increase my self awareness the importance of being both conscientious and proactive comes to the forefront. And there’s no better word to summarize those two concepts than the word intentionality.

*A special thanks and shout out to Pastors Jeff Thompson and Ed Ollie for challenging me to pick a word to guide me through the year.

So what are some of the areas in which I want to put intentionality in action? Here’s a small sample:

– Relationships: more time with God, my family, and friends

– Waste: minimize use of plastics, compost. invest in reusable and refillable products, buy less, make more, switch to “the cup”

– Health: eat the rainbow, run weekly, strengthen my core, take daily vitamins, uphold the sabbath

– Finances: take control, make a budget and stick to it

And that’s just a handful! So where to begin?

To be intentional requires a magical mix of elements: awareness, attentiveness, and discipline. I hate that last one.

To be aware means constant re-education on the topic I’m unpacking. Whether that’s health, sustainable living, relationship building, or another area I’m looking to grow in, I have to be in-the-know, all the time. That can be exhausting but the alternative is going around blindly and becoming complacent. Awareness also includes doing a regular self inventory so I know where I stand in my quest for greatness. Just kidding – it’s not about ego – it’s about self accountability.

And that leads to attentiveness. This one’s tricky because I love “newness.” I’m like a magpie spotting a shiny object on the ground. “Ooh, ooh, forget my flight plan there’s something sparkly down there!” This includes the excitement of adding a new bit of decor to my home as well as the thrill of a new idea or endeavor. So remaining attentive to the goals I’ve set is crucial if I hope to stay on track. One of the ways to increase my focus is by having a plan which includes developing routines and checkpoints to keep me in line. If the goal is to eat a wider range of colorful foods, for example, than being impulsive will result in immediate failure. I need to make a weekly meal plan before I pick up groceries and that plan needs to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Recognize this as a S.M.A.R.T. goal? That’s because you’re of so clever!

Ugh. Discipline. Lack thereof leads to the demise of many goals and resolutions. Developing good habits starts with the painful realization that success requires having a plan (see above), focus, and a community to keep you on task. That can be a friend, family member, coworker, your cat, or as in this case, a blog post. Over the course of this year I will be sharing my goals and progress updates here each month. And I will be doing it with intentionality.

Do you have a word that’s guiding you through 2020? If so – what is it? Share below!

What We Save Saves Us

what we save saves us by rob jones

Maybe it’s thanks to my recent trip to Starved Rock National Park – but something about this beautiful art print by Rob Jones has my mind racing. Such a simple message, such an elegant design, and yet, there’s so much more that can be read between the lines and layers of the sketch.

Conservation, environmentalism, green living – all of these are ways we describe an ethic, a lifestyle, in which we aim to protect the natural world around us. We try to advocate for the planet, for creation, for all the beautiful things within it. We attempt altruism – but in the end – it’s not just saving for saving’s sake – it’s also about saving ourselves – isn’t it?

But then again, maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones that drew me to this image. The thought of bringing a babe into a world fraught with poisons, pilfering, pollution and social injustice is enough to make any parent’s head spin. And add to that the very tangible fear that the welfare of future generations is literally at stake – and boy! Do you have one worry-warted mama-to-be!

Maybe I’m drawn to this print  because I’m in the midst of reading Thomas Friedman’s book Hot, Flat and Crowded, a book that calls us to arms to change the current state of global politics and infrastructure to preserve the planet for future generations.

And yet, maybe it’s something else still. Maybe it’s the hopeful message that resounds in this piece that elevates my spirit. Maybe it’s the reminder that we’re all in this together – whether bi-pedal, bark-laden or microscopic. We’re all connected and the reminder of this brings me hope. Seeing the stacked layers of a tree’s lifespan fills me with a wonder and awe – and propels me to want to make a difference.

And what do you think? How does this art print speak to you? Do you find the message to be inspiring, discouraging or a mix of both?

Inspiration: Advanced Style

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There is no wont of fashion blogs on the webosphere. From street style to specific looks and aesthetics, there seems to be a little something out there for everyone. Well – almost. As is fully known in the world of runways and glossy zine pages, beauty is portrayed within a tight age demographic. Once in a blue moon there may be a feature or front page of an actress or actor who is advanced in years – but it’s a rarity and exception to the rule. That’s why the blog “Advanced Style” is so incredible.

Created by photographer and fashion lover Ari Seth Cohen, the blog captures the bold, eccentric and elevated elegance of men and women who we wouldn’t typically see in the folds of the typical fashion spread. Ari searches the streets of the Big Apple, to find men and women in their golden years who can teach us a thing, or two (or three!) about what it means to have style and class.

“I roam the streets of New York looking for the most stylish and creative older folks. Respect your elders and let these ladies and gents teach you a thing or two about living life to the fullest. Advanced Style offers proof from the wise and silver-haired set that personal style advances with age.”

So if you’re looking for your next bit of inspiration, or want to fix your gaze beyond mainstream beauty, take some time to explore Ari’s blog. You won’t be disappointed by what you find!

Inspiration: Live Simply

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As another Mother’s Day sneaks up on us with Memorial Day on its heals, summer, outdoor adventures, traveling, vacations and more soon after it, I find it’s a good time to stop and reflect. To try to minimize the static. To simplify. And to each individual that means something different.

To some it may be cutting back on the shopping, collecting and gathering (definitely my recent vice!). To others it may mean slowing down and enjoying life moment by moment. And yet to someone else it may mean taking a big step back and seeing the bigger picture. 

No matter where you’re at, and what you’re planning for the coming season, keep this thought in mind: Live Simply.

Inspiration: Grey & Gold – Navy & Brass

Pierogi Picnic: Spring/Summer Collection

Nothing feels better to me than getting lost in piles of fabric, color and texture on an early Saturday morning. With my goblins at my feet and a steamy earl grey on my desk, I spent hours upon hours this past weekend sewing up a storm. The result?! Awesomeness of course!

Focusing in on a unique color palette for spring, the new Pierogi Picnic collection is relying heavily on neutrals unexpectedly combined with bright metallics. Curious to see how things are turning out? Then stay tuned! I’m hosting a photo session to show off the new pieces later this month!

In the meantime – be sure you like us on Facebook for sneak peeks and check out my Pinterest board dedicated to the inspirations behind the new collection.

Enjoy!

The Little Things

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Sigh. Spring feels so good. Good for the skin, spirit and everything in between!

This season of awakening senses reminds me how incredibly important it is to stop and appreciate all the little things in life. The smell of the air just before a rain. The satisfying smoky taste of freshly made espresso. The feel of the lake-side breeze. The slow blink of a kitty cat. The warm fuzzy feeling we get when we think about someone we love.

Sure, I’m being totally sappy here but isn’t life too short to let these moment drift by without notice? I don’t want to take any feeling, internal or external, for granted. That’s why I decided to keep things simple with today’s post and just focus on some of the everyday moments that fill my heart with joy.

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IMG_20130429_093042Pierogi Picnic: The Little Things

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Inspiration: Jayson Home

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It’s winter in Chicago which means I’m starving for visual inspiration. There’s only so much pinning a girl can do! So on a recent Saturday afternoon I embarked with my equally eager hubby to Jayson Home to get my creative juices moving again.

If there’s ever been a place to whisk away the winter-blues it’s this eccentrically elegant home and garden center in the heart of the Lincoln Park shopping district. Filled with a cacophony of furniture odds and design ends this beautiful boutique expertly choreographs each and every display. Moody reupholstered furniture combine with brightly colored accent pieces, one-of-a-kind handmade dishware and fair-trade imports. To bring together such a wide variety of aesthetics and make it seem this fluid is artistry at its finest.

Setting trends in furnishing and design, Jayson home is the perfect place to escape on a dreary gray afternoon. Snapping pictures left and right, I know I took lots of notes and will be playing out some of their ideas in my own place. Whether it be with pops of potted plants or delightfully tacky prints, this is the place to go for a fresh dose of inspiration for the home this season!


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