Think of All the Things You CAN Do.

The other day, I was complaining (again) about not being able to run. The whole tendonitis thing was really getting to me, and I was wallowing in a sea of “why me?”, until a friend said these words to me:

Think of all the things you CAN do.

So, I did.

I can take a cycling class. So the next morning, I took one at the gym. I can use the good old elliptical machine. So, I rocked out a 7 miler. I can do do yoga. I can swim. I can still ride my bike. I was already doing these things, but for some reason it didn’t matter. I was stuck on the one thing I couldn’t do.

Wah.

Wah.

Getting stuck is the worst. Sometimes you don’t even realize you’re stuck until you become unstuck. And more often than not, it’s the words of an outside observer that gives you that push to unstick yourself.

Besides all these things things, I began thinking about all of the things that I CAN do that I don’t spend nearly enough time appreciating: I can see; I can hear: I can smell, touch, and taste. I can work. I can think. I can write. I can dream. I can love.

TLF.

Wedding bliss.

Wow. There are a ton of truly amazing things I CAN do. Not only am I thankful for all of these things, I’m thankful to the wonderful friend who pointed it out to me.

Besties.

Besties.

Gratitude really can make all the difference. No more wallowing. I have absolutely no reason to. The world is too good for it.

With that being said, I think I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon doing one other thing that I can do, and pretty well at that – bake a pumpkin spice cake. ūüôā

You do what you must do, and you do it well.

You do what you must do, and you do it well.

Eat, Write, Retreat – Renew.

ewr1

Over this past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Eat, Write, Retreat!¬†conference, which just so happened to take place this year in my home city of Philadelphia. In addition to the conference being amazing and totally inspiring, I had the opportunity to see the city I grew up in through the eyes of a tourist. Many of the people I met at the conference were not from around here – some of them had never even been to Philly before. There’s something to be said for looking at a place you know better than any other through new eyes – its like John Lennon said, “All these memories lose their meaning, when I think of love as something new.”

Indeed.

The conference started on Friday afternoon, and even as I made my way down the oh-so-familiar street known around these parts affectionately as “Broad Street” (heck, I even ran 10 miles down this street on foot – twice!) it for some reason, seemed entirely new. So, I began snapping photos, as any good tourist would do.

all these places i remember...

all these places i remember…

I can’t really quite explain how all of a sudden, old familiar scenes were being graced with such newness and seemed to come alive – but I’ll take it.

The conference itself was a truly wonderful experience as well. I was beginning to lose faith in my dream of writing/baking/traveling/photographing; I was questioning my “purpose” and if I was still on the right path. Eat, Write, Retreat and all the fabulous folks I had the luck of crossing paths with put those fears to rest. I believe again. Maybe it had something to do with all the watermelon we ate. I do love me some watermelon.

a spiritual experience?

a spiritual experience?

Seriously, although the watermelon was delicious, it was the people that I met that gave me confidence again – through their various presentations, to off-the-cuff sharing of tips and knowledge, to nothing-to-do-with-blogging-at-all friendly walking and talking around the city.

Philly's very own Magic Garden.

Philly’s very own Magic Garden.

Meeting new people has always been one of my favorite things to do – I dare say I even thrive on it. Halfway through the conference, I had already had so many great conversations and connections, I wasn’t sure if it could get any better — but it did. And not only because there was cheese (although it certainly didn’t hurt).

everything's better with cheese.

everything’s better with cheese.

The very last thing we did was called “Pitch to the Pros,” in which we had a chance to sit with more established bloggers and ask them anything we wanted. I was rather nervous – I had nothing planned and didn’t even begin to know what to ask…I considered bailing out of fear and lack of preparedness; but I knew that would be the worst thing I could do. So onward I trudged, deciding to do my best just winging it.

It was those conversations that wound up restoring my faith the most – reminding me why I’m doing this to begin with. I love writing. I love baking. I love taking pictures. And as much as I love traveling, I can find all of these in my very own hometown, if I just look around once in a while.

who knew mushrooms could look this cool?

who knew mushrooms could look this cool?

I have to say, that in addition to the conference, there have been some wonderful and amazing things going on in my personal life recently that I believe I owe a large portion of this new perspective to, as well. May you all find someone who awakens that light within – who makes everything exciting and new again – even good old Broad Street.

in my life, i love you more.

in my life, i love you more.

Up from below.

Sometimes we fall in love with a person. And sometimes, we fall in love with a place.

I am in love again, with what is probably the farthest city in the continental U.S. from my current crib – that would be the lovely, lavish, and lush city of Seattle, WA.

“But Jeanine, you’re a sun¬†worshipper! How could you live in a place where it always rains?” I hear the voices saying. This is true, but it’s not as if there is no sun EVER. And the crazy thing is that I’ve been to Seattle twice now, for a total of two weeks – and in all of that time, it rained for approximately 1 hour. The first time, I assumed I¬†just got really lucky. But after the second trip of blue skies, sun, and humidity-free air, I’m starting to wonder if this whole “rainy city” thing is a myth to keep people from relocating. Besides, what kind of city would pride itself on its giant outdoor market, if it rained so much that no on could enjoy it? Come on, Seattle, I’m on to you.

O what a beautiful day.

Anyway, as I mentioned in my last post,¬†what brought me back to Seattle was the BlogHer Food¬†Conference, which was an amazing experience for me. I¬†left feeling so inspired –¬†I have so many new ideas now for the blog, for photography, for baking…all the things I love the most! (I guess I’ll just need to write a song about it, too). And I already started working on not one, but TWO new books. I’m so pumped,¬†right now, I feel like going out and running up the¬†Art Museum steps,¬†blasting the Rocky¬†theme song (which, by the way, a fish market fellow – upon being¬†informed that I¬†was from Philadelphia –¬†asked me if I liked¬†the Rocky theme song and listened to it a lot).

i will break you.

So, now it’s time to get down to work. I’ve got¬†new recipes to craft, new tales to post, and new days to embrace!

the wheels are in motion.

Thank you Seattle, for the joy and inspiration you’ve given me. Fearless living, here I come.

you can only go up from here.

 

One day more.

So this is it. By this time tomorrow, I will officially be a pastry school graduate. I remember my very first day of class, and how nervous I was, even as an adult. Am I dressed right? What if I get lost? What if I make no friends? What if I’m incapable of learning anything because my brain is already full? (I know, I have some issues). I was dressed just fine. I did not get lost. I made a ton of amazing friends, and I learned more than I could have ever imagined – not only about baking and pastries, but about myself and what I’m truly¬†capable of:¬†which is ultimately¬†whatever I decide to do. We’re all amazing beyond our own understanding of ourselves. We’re capable of so much, if we only let go of our fears. Not only do I remember my first day of class, but I remember with great clarity the day I decided to go to pastry school. Sometimes, you know what you want, but it takes someone else telling you what that is to make you think, “hmmm….maybe that’s not such a far-fetched idea. Maybe, just maybe, I could go back to school and study my passion. And just maybe, I’ll actually do well. And, who knows, maybe I’ll even actually make and decorate a full-blown wedding cake.”

 

i did it.

We all shine on. Don’t be afraid to do what you love. Will you get hurt? Absolutely. But you’re gonna get hurt at some point no matter what you do, so you might as well¬†jump in with¬†both feet and reach for the stars with both arms, and¬†live with your eyes open. So let go, jump in. ¬†It’s so amazing here.¬†

“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us”. ‚Äď Marianne Williamson¬†¬†

Thank you for your encouragement. I’ll never forget that.

All I Really Need to Know I Learned this Summer.

Ok, that’s not entirely true. It’s more like All I Really Need to Know in order to be Happy I Learned this Summer. Now obviously even this statement is not 100% accurate. Let’s just suffice it to say that over the course of this past summer, I have learned a great many things: about life, love, friendship, happiness, baking, and myself. As the summer comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on all of these things, and in the tradition of the “What I Did Over My Summer Vacation” essay, I’ve compiled them into a written opus, which I would now like to read in front of the class. I hope you find it interesting, and maybe even a little inspiring. ūüôā

What I Learned this Summer, in no particular order:

– That all things do pass.

George was on to something.

– That the love between friends knows no bounds.

– That in order to have people support you, you have to first allow them to.

– That not everyone will like you, nor do you need them to.

when in doubt, think of Stuart.

– That s single woman can efficiently, effectively AND happily maintain and inhabit her own home.

– That laughing with friends is a million times more fun than drinking with friends.

– How to make Tiramisu.

it will change your life.

– That whenever you feel the need to make an excuse for yourself, you’ve done something wrong.

– That truly “letting go” also means “forgiving.”

– That there really is a God.

– That help will always come if you ask for it, though often in ways you did not expect or imagine.

– That a heart must be broken in order to get inside to the good stuff.

some are even filled with chocolates.

– How to make homemade tomato sauce.

– That the body is capable of amazing things, if you just push yourself a little.

– That yoga is not only a great physcial workout, but benefits the mind and nourishes the soul as well.

i'm not quite there yet...but i will be.

– That there is such a thing as being “too connected.”

– That it’s ok if some people aren’t in your life anymore.

– That one of the greatest “healers” is the unconditional love of a pet.

best. cat. ever.

That the chance to tell the truth will always be given to you, if you seek it.

– That respecting both yourself and others means taking full responsibilty for your actions.

–¬†That no one’s life is perfect, so don’t spend your time wishing for someone else’s, but rather focus your time and energy enjoying your own.

– That being blissfully ignorant is no way to go through life.

exactly.

– That¬†it’s ok to get really angry.¬†

– That your soul mate may not be the person you’re meant to spend your life with – they¬†are meant to¬†rekindle your inner spirit¬†and remind you of how great it is to be alive.

– That a beautiful outside does not necessarily make a beautiful inside.

– That you can’t always get what you want, and you should be damn thankful for that.

but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.

– That the only thing you can control is how you react.

So folks, there you have it. As we say goodbye to summer, I leave you with these sentiments, spoken by a truly wise and happy man:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Ferris Bueller, you're my hero.