The Trouble With Wanting, Is I Want You

It’s Tuesday and I’m feeling all sorts of feelings today. I’m also diving into another freaking re-write of A Thousand Years. Sometimes I think it’s torture to be a writer {can I get a witness?}. This would be the third reincarnation of this love story. Maybe the third times the charm.

Here are some random musings & three four of my favorite songs this week:

  1. Missing what’s missing, today. I’m missing the person that is missing. But I’m still content. Does that make sense?
  2. Feeling resigned to my fate, today. I’m learning to be at peace with this. Maybe my new adventure needs to cook a little while longer? Perhaps it will come when it’s good and ready?
  3. I am enjoying a glass of cheap cabernet sauvignon {Winemakers Selection} tonight. I haven’t bought wine in a while because my old lady metabolism needed some drastic help to get working again {getting older as a woman, is just plain rude}. I’ve lost 10 pounds so I’m having a little treat. Also, for a cheap wine, it’s pretty good.
  4. Below are three of my newly discovered favorite songs for the week. Into the Mystic by Van Morrison is an honorable mention. I’d forgotten how much I love this song “I wanna rock your gypsy soul…” How do I get a hold of the man that will rock my gypsy soul? I picked him out already – just wondering how I get a hold of him. Also, why is Van Morrison so good? Oh! The second honorable mention goes to the stunning Joy Williams with The Trouble with Wanting. Oh shoot, maybe that’s my favorite this week? I just added it. “The trouble with wanting is I want you/And I want you all the time.”
  5. I love planning events. I’m currently in the process of planning two – with a small get-together happening this Friday {the first of three}. It gives me such joy. I’m an entertainer & hostess at heart. I don’t know why – but it truly brings me joy.
  6. I’m currently procrastinating starting the third re-write of A Thousand Years. Someone tell me to go write.
  7. Okay, I started working. But I’m easily distracted. I think I might as well formally set up my “office.” Perhaps that will help me stay on target? I’m currently lounging on the couch like a bum. Not the most conducive for writing. Maybe that’s my project for this weekend?
  8. I promise this post has taken me quite some time to write. I am actually accomplishing something.
  9. I think that’s the end of the random, this evening…

Self-Care Sunday

self care sunday, elaina m. avalos, elaina avalos, self compassion

I’m not sure how often I’ll make time for these posts on Sundays, but I’m working on some new aspects of self-care right now. And when I discover something that’s useful, I will share. First, I am in therapy. I think there’s goodness in therapy for many. For some reason, many of us are uncomfortable with admitting or talking about this, however. But what could be better than talking to someone about things in our lives we want to change, learn, or heal from? Both of the things I’m sharing today were suggested by my therapist. Second, when I first tried the mediation practice below, a number of months ago, I wasn’t into it. In fact, I could barely go a minute without being totally distracted. I don’t think I truly heard enough to really know whether it was a useful tool or not. So, all that to say that if you’ve wondered how meditation could help you with anxiety or anything else for that matter – give it a shot and if it doesn’t quite feel right, give it time and try again. Or maybe search for a different one.

Self-Compassion:
The concept of self-compassion honestly felt weird to me. I didn’t really get it. And the first time I tried this, I don’t think I was at a place where I understood it or even would have accepted it. But in recent weeks, some things have changed for me and for the first time, this concept of self-compassion makes sense. It doesn’t just make sense though, I feel it in my heart. I’ve seen where in my life I have been “at war” with myself and have allowed messages of unworthiness to be reiterated over and over again – but in my own thought processes – which then in turn repeats in circumstances in my life. If you find yourself noticing in your thought life that you’re super hard on yourself, expecting perfection or warring with yourself over things you can and can’t control, you may feel some release from this practice of self-compassion.

A quick note – if you are someone that is uncomfortable with meditation because your Christian worldview has led you to believe it’s not okay – I get it. But, I would say that what I’ve come to over the years is that God does use many things around us to teach, heal, and open our eyes. Where meditation or yoga or whatever, feels uncomfortable, it’s very easy to replace terms or foundations with Biblical truth. This idea of self-compassion should truly be seen from the perspective of how God views us as His children. This meditation allows us to connect with the person we truly are, absent of the constantly repeating messages of our own unworthiness. Which also means that we are seeing ourselves in our identity in Him. If you find that you’re repeating negative thought patterns that are impacting you in the day to day, give this a shot. I am honestly blown away by not only the emotion I felt through this practice, but in how at peace I felt as I acknowledged how I’m feeling about myself and then practiced a little of the compassion and grace I need (that, oh by the way, God offers me so freely).

Podcasts:

I’ve been adding podcasts to my weekly lists of to-dos. I love learning, experiencing life through other’s views, and finding ways to grow as a person. But honestly, for a long time, I’ve kind of shut off this curiosity in me. National Public Radio has always met this need for me and as I’ve been listening again to some of my favorites, it has gotten me into the habit of seeking out podcasts that meet this curiosity and desire for growth. Below are a few of the podcasts I’m listening to on a rotating basis. But for today, I wanted to share Untangle. I subscribe through my Apple podcast app – but you can find it at the link, too.

If you’re looking for some understanding about relationships, I highly recommend the February 16th episode, called “Navigating Love and Relationships Anytime” with Daphne Rose Kingma (see link for one of her many books on relationships – this one called Coming Apart: How to Heal Your Broken Heart). While I could see myself listening to this again, one of the things I took from this was being at peace with what a relationship brings to your life – even when it doesn’t last. Additionally, I learned a little about accepting a man’s ability or inability to be expressive of emotion. Good stuff.

Here are a few others I am listening to:
This American Life
The Bible Recap
Being Well
The Moth

Do you have any favorite podcasts {in the self-care or self-help genre}? What is something you have to do each week {or every day} for your own self-care?

A Meal Shared

elaina avalos, live well be well

In the late days of spring, when the chill is gone and summer sits right at the gate, quietly whispering its promise, I’ll cook a meal, our first to be eaten outside for months. The table will be surrounded by candles and white lights. The flowers I found at the farmer’s market gracing the table with pops of color.

In the kitchen, with Pandora choosing our soundtrack, I’ll dance around, my spirit light and full of hope. I don’t know why it is that cooking does this for me {or maybe I do}, but it gives me joy.

Coq Au Vin, parsley potatoes and if I want to really Julia Child it, buttered green peas. There’s a joy that takes over me when in the kitchen, but it increases when I’m cooking for others. The routine of chopping, pouring and measuring is better than therapy. Cooking for another increases this soul satisfaction.

When the food is ready and we sit to eat, you’ll pour the wine – perhaps a red from the southern Rhone Valley? I’ll wait for you to take the first bite. And then I will wait for your approval (which, I will get). But I’ll wait with anticipation just the same.

There’s something so absolutely beautiful about a meal shared. Food, made well, and with passion, is sensual and life-giving. It meets a basic need for nourishment. And yet, there’s something so luxurious about the process of creating. And then, the slow process of savoring a meal with company you treasure, begins.

If You Were Coming in the Fall

Emily Dickinson, If you were coming in the fall, elaina avalos, elaina m. avalos

Emily sure knew how to write them.

Part Three: Love

VI

IF you were coming in the fall,
I ’d brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn,
As housewives do a fly.

If I could see you in a year,
I ’d wind the months in balls,
And put them each in separate drawers,
Until their time befalls.

If only centuries delayed,
I ’d count them on my hand,
Subtracting till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemen’s land.

If certain, when this life was out,
That yours and mine should be,
I ’d toss it yonder like a rind,
And taste eternity.

But now, all ignorant of the length
Of time’s uncertain wing,
It goads me, like the goblin bee,
That will not state its sting.

If you’re not a big fan of poetry, this is a good {and quick} analysis. In short, this is a poem about love, longing, and I’d say – anxiety too – as Emily ponders how long their separation will last {and weighs if it will end}.

If you were coming in the Fall,
I’d brush the Summer by

Decorating for Christmas on a Budget

decorating for christmas on a budget, elaina avalos, elaina m. avalos

I love Christmas. I love the lights, the music, the movies, and the childlike hope of it all. Decorating for Christmas is a pure joy for me. But one thing I’ve never done is spend a lot of money on Christmas decorations. I like to see Christmas everywhere I look, so that includes additional bedrooms and bathrooms. And while that’s not hard to do in my tiny apartment, this is only the second Christmas in ages I’ve lived in an apartment {thank you, Hurricane Florence}. Decorating my houses took a bit more effort.

But I have a lot of decorations now, so when I finally get back into a house again, I’m all set. So how does one decorate on a budget? I know the temptations this time of year. When you don’t, won’t, or can’t use credit to create a Christmas like you see on TV, or one that keeps up with the Joneses next door, how do you create the beauty you envision, without the price tag that comes with it?

I wanted to share a few of the things I’ve done over the years to create a collection I love – even though the vast majority has cost me very little. If you want to add to or change your decor and don’t have a lot of cash to do so, it just takes a little patience to get there.

First – Start with a goal. Do you want a color or theme? Do you want a variety of themes? Are you a white lights on the tree person, or a color light person? Once you have that figured out, there are some great ways to start your tree out inexpensively and then add from there.

Decorating Your TreeDollar Tree is your best friend. If you’ve never bought Dollar Tree ornaments, you’re missing out. The photo above is the first set of ornaments I bought about eight years ago. They’re sold in sleeves of multiples – so for $1.00 you get, depending on the colors, at least 6. I believe the larger packages have 10-12. When I wanted to change over from a red/gold theme, to something more coastal, I went with the white and silver. I honestly bought more than I needed, over a couple of holiday seasons. Filling the tree with those ornaments, plus the silver beads shown, allowed me to fill in as I could, with the various shades of blue I’ve added. While I’d hoped to link the balls at Dollar Tree, they’re not on the website {but likely still in your local store}. These are similar and reasonably priced at $7.99 for 24 pieces.

Now that I’ve added more ornaments to my tree, some of the white and silver ornaments have found their way to vases, trays, etc. for other rooms in the house.

Decorative Hooks – While this might sound kind of silly, one of my favorite inexpensive finds was the pretty decorative hooks I found at Wal Mart originally. They add a nice touch, in my opinion. These ornament hooks can be found just about anywhere – including Target, Wal Mart, and Amazon – like these.

I went with a variety of shades of blue and silver as my accent colors. When I receive ornaments as gifts that are either clear glass or silver, I also add these to the main tree that sits in my living room. Because I adore all things vintage and mid-century, I bought blue, glass, or silver ornaments, when priced right, at thrift stores, small boutiques, or antique stores.

When Hobby Lobby starts it 50% off sale on Christmas decor, I also purchase 1-2 boxes of ornaments using them around the house – not just on the tree. This Santa came as a set of three. There is one on the tree and the other two are around the house.

Also purchased in the Hobby Lobby half-off sales – two different types of icicle ornaments in shades of blue.

I spent full price on two sets of glass ornaments in the last few years. But that’s a rarity. I love them though!

When I decorate around the house, I remove much of my day to day decor, placing it in the same boxes as my ornaments. It’s a one for one switch. My shelves {what little space I have for them in this apartment} are all decorated. The small glitter houses I use on the display below, have been added to my collection over the last few years. I have never spent more than a couple of bucks {Wal Mart, Hobby Lobby, or Big Lots} on each piece with the exception of two of them – which are ceramic. Those were purchased at Hobby Lobby on sale and came to about $10.00 for the two.

Most of these are ornaments take up a couple of shelves {top & bottom} with my white ceramic Nativity set {given to me by my mom} in the middle. I highly recommend buying multiple sets of glitter Christmas trees for a village like this, as it adds to the sparkle. They can be used and moved anywhere for new displays. They are sometimes sold in sets, but are often available individually for very little.

Because of my love for vintage decor, any time I was offered ornaments or decorations from my Grandma Light, Mom, or my Aunts, I said, “YES!” That includes my Grandma’s ceramic Christmas tree. I usually display it with some of the colorful ornaments I’ve started buying in recent years that aren’t mid-century – but have that look.

The white tree is a mid-century piece owned by my Grandma Light. It is an appetizer holder {see small holds for toothpicks}. The others are new but fit my vintage Christmas theme in the kitchen.

Finally, I had always wanted a Christmas village, but couldn’t ever imagine paying full price for any items for it. I’m such a cheapskate. And honestly, I wouldn’t want to trade my mismatched one now. I’ve included a special set of items from my Grandma’s collection and then added to it over the last couple of holiday seasons with . . . you guessed it, Dollar Tree, Wal Mart, and Big Lots. Big Lots has some fun sets {for around $16.00} that come as complete scenes. These are fun ways to add to your village or finish one. I used their sets for inspiration {for instance a Christmas tree lot} and made my own. I found the bridge at a flea market. The silver barn is from the Target “Dollar Spot” and has battery operated lights inside.

I have two Christmas trees. But this post is long and my Sunday afternoon responsibilities are calling me. The second tree is all of my childhood ornaments, things my kiddo made me, and eventually will be come a vintage-themed tree. I am ridiculous for fitting two trees into this tiny place, but whatever. I’m fine with being ridiculous.

Additionally, I haven’t shared the other decor I have around the house. But my Nacimiento in the entry way and the small trays or vases used in other rooms – all make me just as happy to see – even in rooms I’m not in as often.

This sits on the side table, next to my couch. The vintage ornaments are sitting in a vintage glass appetizer tray. But DT’s silver trays work great for this purpose too.

Use Pinterest and even those pesky IG influencers, with their perfect houses to inspire you. But don’t feel like you can’t decorate your home in a way that makes you happy, when you can’t afford to keep up with others. Find what you like online to inspire you & then keep your eyes peeled for sales, glittery baubles that look expensive – but aren’t, and go to Dollar Tree {even if you have to find one in another town that’s better than yours}.

Do you have an heirloom pieces or favorite decor that has cost you very little but has become a favorite over the years? I’d love to hear about it!

Coastal Decor Ideas & Inspiration

coastal decor ideas & inspiration test two

I’m moving. Again. In the words of my Grandma, “Ai, yi, yi.” It is what it is. I am already dreaming of settling in to that next home – wherever that is and whenever that is. Making a home gives me joy.

Unpacking boxes of books and placing those precious books on shelves {in a very specific order by the way} and setting out all of the pretty things I’ve spent years collecting, is fun for me.

ebd designs, elaina avalos, coastal decor
Photo by: ebd designs

After Hurricane Florence, we {my foster son & I} lived in a rental that was, to say the least, less than ideal. I couldn’t bring myself to decorate. I did set out some things I loved the most. But most of my decorating stuff sat in boxes. I didn’t hang a single thing on the walls of that house. And I’m still not quite in a permanent home.

I deal with the waiting and dreaming of home by putting together my wish list of the new lovelies I look forward to adding, when I’m settled. Below are a few of the treasures I’ve found while I dream. My coastal decor needs some updating.

A few notes . . .

I currently live near the coast of North Carolina, lived on a brackish river {that often reminded me of the sea} several times the last 18 years, and grew up on the beaches of Orange County, California. I need reminders of the sea around me. In some form, I think the light and airy colors of the ocean will always find their way into my home even if my preferred decor evolves over time.

I aspire to have an awesome gallery wall, like the one above, when I get settled. You can find ebd designs post, bringing spring into your living room, for more of her lovely coastal home. I have a great start already. But I will be adding a basket or two as well as a shadow box with shells. P.S. I have a very serious problem picking up shells and rocks when I’m at the beach. I have more than I can count.

I’m aiming to add couple of frames like this, too:

mixed-coastal-gallery-wall-art-shadow-box-sea-life
Photo by: Pottery Barn

You can find some beautiful Pottery Barn coastal decor, here.

Here are a few other coastal decor ideas & inspiration for my decor refresh, after I move . . .

For my entry way – 

For my living room – 

For my kitchen –

I love dreaming about my home & can’t wait to get settled.

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