I have been feeling a not-so-healthy dose of stress recently. Maybe it's all the snow. And my foot - while healing - is still, you know, une problème. I was talking to my mom about it yesterday, and she said, "Kate, do what you tell me to do: go find your happy." And she was so right.
I decided to take a quick gander at my Pinterest boards and see if anything might get me going. My "Home Inspiration" board is my most "free-wheeling" board, if you will, and contains all sorts of things that inspire me, many of which are not at all home-related, but which, in my mind, inspire the way a home might be decorated. I found a collection of pins that all fell within the same sort of color family - a hot pink meets coral meets peach meets sunset - and suddenly inspiration hit.
There is a perfect color of orangy-pink that only a truly perfect sunset can produce, and that has long been my favorite color. When I was a child, my parents decided to call the color "Kate Hufft Pink" (Hufft is my maiden name) because I'd get so darn excited about really good sunsets (still do), and now, in my adult life, Matt has, in jest, decided to call it "KHP" (Kate Hufft Pink) and mocks me mercilessly whenever we see a sunset (the running joke of our vacations now is that we always end up going to places that supposedly have incredible sunsets -- Bali, California, etc. -- and then never see a sunset because of clouds or fog). I used to hate when he joked about KHP, but I've since learned to embrace it and allow the experience to further hone what I do believe to be the most perfect color on earth.
"Is that KHP?" (said in the Zooey Deschanel "Is that rain?" voice from the 2012 Apple iPhone commercial)
"There's not enough orange."
"Yes. It's not even close. Not every sunset is KHP."
"It's too pale. The color isn't saturated enough."
"I don't know why, ask a scientist. And that purply-blue color is gross."
"Because it is."
"Don't you think it's gross? It's murky and sad without a deep orange to offset it. I want it to be vibrant and happy."
"[Sigh.] I don't know, Matt. I just do."
He asks "why" like a 5-year-old (purposefully), and I allow it to happen until I hit the end of my ability to critique the not-quite-right sunset. Often it's not the sunset that makes the color. It's the sunset juxtaposed against whatever else is going on. It's the textures, the patterns, the feeling of being outdoors in the warmth of fresh air. It's the sensation of spring and summer. Of a day ending and an evening just beginning. It's the need for darkness and shadows to be present to bring out the vibrancy of the light but saturated bright, pink-y orange. It's that bright pink-y orange. Really, it's that deep, reddish orange. But more than that, it's realizing that, when we're not able to chase down the perfect sunset (or even have a chance to see one), we can help create our own -- through imagination, inspiration, and the beauty of the world that surrounds us.
And that is what inspired me for today's post. It's not just sunsets that can create the color. It's flowers and fashion and textiles and... everything else. No single image is quite right, but together they start to paint the picture of my favorite color. A color that's ephemeral, that must be chased, that doesn't truly exist on its own, but that nonetheless surrounds us and reminds us of the passage of time (in a good way, in a carpe diem kind of way). It's the color that reminds me of childhood and vacations and chasing dreams. The color that combats the winter blues and inspires me (and hopefully you!) to keep looking for all that is beautiful in the world. The color that makes me truly happy.
Below are some representations of my favorite color. What's your favorite color? And why?
(Thanks, Mom, for helping me find my happy.)
Happy inspiring! Happy color hunting!
I have a little "daily quote" posted to the "wall" of my "office" at work (an open air cubicle pod). It is from an old "funny thoughts for women" daily calendar that a work friend of mine, Dana, gave me as a Secret Santa gift years ago. I dutifully ripped away each day's little piece of paper for a year (chuckling along the way) until December 29, 2009, when I happened upon the one that is still posted to my desk "wall" (and I am someone aggressively opposed to those "life imperative" posters that are so trendy right now, so you know it has to mean something to me):
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."
I didn't think the quote was particularly funny, but it was certainly poignant -- poignant enough that, nearly four years later, I still have it tacked to my "office" "wall" (and not necessarily because I'm a hoarder, though my coworkers may beg to differ). The quote is so simple and yet, says so much. It's applicable to every facet of life, and I find myself looking at it daily, reminding myself to either make a change or adjust my attitude.
With the daily grind weighing on us day in and day out, it is often easy to fall into a pattern of complaining and not appreciating the lives that we have and the people that have touched us. When bogged down with stress, the day-to-day can seem exhausting, and we often forget that we have the power to effect change - both in our own lives and in the lives of others. Whether things are going swimmingly or things could be going better, we have to remember to look around, to smell the roses, to be inspired - by others, by the world around us, and in particular by ourselves - and to appreciate the lives that we have, messy as they may be at times (after all, isn't there a certain beauty in chaos?).
If we don't have the power to change certain circumstances within our current situation, we certainly have the power to change our attitude about those circumstances. We have the power to be grateful. Proust said:
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
Isn't that just the most fabulous imagery? As Thanksgiving is upon us and a Nor'easter is hitting the East Coast (as bad weather conveniently does so well during the holiday season), making travel to loved ones difficult, the time seems right to take a moment and give thanks to and for those around us who give us shelter from the storm, who make us happy and help our souls blossom.
I am grateful for family, for friends, for the kindness of strangers, and for the beauty of the world around us. For promo codes and Craigslist deals, for antique lamps and room diffusers. For Spotify, for sunsets, for slimming jeans and sleeping in. For ikats and iPhones and Tasti D-lite's Peanut Butter "ice cream." For color, color, everywhere. For sky, sun and smiles. For the warmth of summer and the bite of winter. For animals in general, for dogs in particular, and specifically for my parents' two big poodles and in-law's Norwich terrier, who greet me with the enthusiasm that only family dogs can. I am grateful for love, for lavender, for the lessons I have been taught. For Pinterest, for anticipation, and for putting pen to paper. For this kid who made me laugh today, for my brother-in-law for sending that link to me (and for everything else he does), for the joy that whatshouldwecallme inexplicably brings me, and for traveling the world one journey at a time. For the fact that every moment in New York reminds me of an episode of "Seinfeld" and that I really do feel like I'm friends with the friends on "Friends." For new friends and old friends and lifelong friends who are always there. For family here and there and near and far. For coworkers, who are their own type of family and who are there for us in good times and bad. For my husband, who has proven time and again that he's in this for better or for worse. For gold paint and miracles and throw pillows aplenty. For creativity and sympathy and, above all, for empathy. For the beauty in everything - for big things, for little things and for everything in between. For life as it is, messy as it is - though in some cases not.
As you think about your own Thanksgiving, who you will or won't be spending it with and what you are grateful for, I hope that it brings a smile to your face, that life's joys outweigh life's burdens. Proust said to "always try to keep a patch of sky above your life." Let's remember to be grateful. To say thanks. To be inspired. To wait out the storm(s) and always to look for the patch of sky that may be hiding at times. It's there -- sometimes we just have to change our attitude to find it.
Gratitude is the ultimate gift. And we can show our gratitude by doing something kind -- big or small -- for those around us, particularly for those who could use some shelter from the storm, whatever that storm may be. People don't always ask for help when they need it - and often they want to, but pride gets in the way. We can offer a helping hand and, together, weather any storm, keep a patch of sky visible, and, in the process, help one another's souls blossom.
We can also take the time to capture our gratitude in writing. And what better way to capture our thoughts than in a beautiful notebook? One that beckons to you to bear your soul as much or as little as you dare. My mom recently told me about these Fortuny notebooks, $55-$105, at Gumps - expensive but seriously gorgeouso (and an excellent holiday gift). I also found this fabulous Nepali paper silk brocade notebook, $25, on Etsy - that color is another thing I'm grateful for (there's only one available, and if you don't buy it, I will!). If simple and to the point is your style, you can't go wrong with a classic Moleskine black softcover or hardcover notebook, $12.95, from Moleskine. Whatever your outlet of choice, it's fun and gratifying to capture and share life's happiness. To be grateful to ourselves for "showing up" and being present each day (something they teach in yoga) and to be grateful to and for those charming gardeners around us who make our lives beautiful.
We can give new meaning to having a 'tude.
Thank you everyone! And Happy Thanksgiving!
Welcome to my blog "A La Recherche" and to Kate Kelly Design! This is something I've wanted to do for a verrrry long time, and I am so very excited to get started. A little bit about me and the inspiration for this blog: When I was growing up, I wanted to be many things -- an architect, a fashion designer, a psychologist, a writer and an editor (all at the same time, naturally). I have flirted with bits and pieces of each to varying degrees over time, but I eventually settled into a career in finance and just finished my MBA. While I love finance, I have always felt a strong pull towards design, and now, in my "old age," I have found that while I am none of those dreamy childhood aspirations per se, interior design, personal styling and helping others find the things they're searching for allows me to fulfill those childhood dreams. Design has been a hobby of mine forever, and I am so excited to get started in a more tangible and real way.
I am a designer and financial professional with a background in comparative literature, business and design. I live in New York with my overworked lawyer husband and sweet, art-and-design-loving toddler son and spend much of my free time dreaming about how to enhance the aesthetics of our little world. I am endlessly inspired and always in search of something new. This is a blog about my search, my inspiration and things I just really, really like or want.
Blogs/Sites I Love
A Lovely Being
Cote de Texas
Little Green Notebook
Paper + Pearls
Sadie + Stella
SF Girl by Bay
The CHICago Life
The Pink Pagoda