A Friend is a Gift— Not a Choice


photo | molly herron

I’m sitting down with a blank card and a pen, but my thoughts wander from the task at hand.  The task is a pleasant one; I’m to write a birthday wish to my friend for the fourteenth time.  We’ve been friends for that long and that’s what baffles me.  Why is she my friend, why my best friend?

I never set out to have a best friend.  The concept didn’t fit my life at all.  I grew up with brothers always there, our friends and cousins mutually intertwined.  We were connected to each other like grapes on a vine, forming a conglomerate friendship of many.  It never occurred to me that one friend should shine above the rest because the whole lot was the friend I needed.

Then I moved and the grapevine broke.  Sometimes we’d reunite and pick up where we left off, but the space between the times apart and the moment of reunion left many gaps in our friendship because we missed the growth in each other.  As life went on I moved, again and again, I traveled, got involved in different things, worked different jobs and made friends along the way.  But the same thing happened.  Once the job was over or distance slid between, we got acquaintance-zoned.

It’s not so, with my best friend.  Distance parted us when we lived on opposite sides of the country and in separate nations.  There were times when we got involved in unrelated things, had diverse interests, lived in different circles and were seemingly different beings.

Somehow the closeness never broke.  Miles did not shield our growth from each other.  I saw her changing perspectives, reformed ideas, and evolving beliefs.  I watched her relationships blossom and wither.  No matter how different our lives were or how far we lived from each other— it was as if she was right there.  She never went further than close, even while trotting on the opposite side of the world.

This is what baffles me.  I’ve connected with hundreds of people throughout my life, but when so many bonds decapitate, why is this one resilient?

Some say that we choose our friends.  But that doesn’t seem true— or rather not true in the way the statement implies.

I don’t think that a lifelong friend is a choice, at least not the sort of choice we make when we add something into our shopping cart.  The only choice we have is to accept or reject.  Like when a gift is presented to us, we choose to either take it, or decline it.  We don’t choose the gift— we don’t choose the friend.

So in the end, my birthday wish is this continued friendship— forever.

Happy Birthday, Molly.

Just Drive | The Message Band

You know those moments when you just want to drive?  Really fast to go nowhere, or somewhere.

Really fast to go nowhere, or somewhere. I’m driving over the Skyway Bridge going nowhere. Windows open, sun glistening. Florida is good for this sort of winter’s drive.

My mp3 is on shuffle and a song I’ve not heard in ages goes on.  I turn it up enough to swallow the sounds of the road and listen to the Russian words, skipping in and out the swirling rhythm of, Унеси Mеня by The Message Band.  It’s magical.

Something like:

Dreams of you and I, like birds flying through the open skies. Take me to the place my heart desires, where there’s no grief. Fly me there, I want to soar. Help me lift these wings etched with faith to rise above my earthly cares and reach that place…la-la-la, la-la.

When it comes to poetry, Russian is impossible to translate to English without killing it completely. English words aren’t pliable enough to relay both melody and meaning so I’m not even going to try to translate this song, but if you could just thel lyrics the way they’re meant to be heard!

The Message is a group of Belarusian musicians based out of Clearwater, Florida.  If you or anyone you know speaks Russian, check out their music.

And just as a side note, I had the opportunity to contribute lyrics for one of their songs in their last album: Мысли Чувства Слова (Thoughts Feelings Words) check it out!

Check them out at: Website  |  ITunes  |  Google Play


Melanie Rodriguez Girl with HatPHOTO | MELANIE RODRIGUEZ | ♡ HER WORK

Christmas is just around the corner and as I was thinking of ways to make it meaningful, I had an opportunity to share a post on SheKnows, where I offered tips on how to write thoughtful notes to the people we cherish.
At the end of the season, people don’t really remember all of those things we spend so much time on, sometimes they even forget the gifts they received.  However, what we all remember are the words that moved us to feel something or to bring us closer to each other.  Why not make words a priority this Christmas?  You can follow the link below to get the full post:
Write a Memorable Christmas Note People will Cherish for Years
I hope you find time to think about the people that make your life worth living and before the Christmas hustle begins, write something meaningful that will stay with them forever.

Painting Walls [Part 3]— For Personal Appearance

 ANA LUÍSA PINTO - The Invisible Girl


Another aspect to consider when choosing a wall color, is you.  When designing our spaces, we look at them forgetting to see ourselves against them.  It’s enough hassle to coordinate what we see, but what do others see when they visit?

While reading Emily Post’s, The Personality of a House, I learned that the coloring of our surroundings can actually detract from our own personal appearance. It makes sense when I think photography. When looking at pictures taken against different backgrounds, the effect is obvious.  Some backgrounds drown us out, others clash with our hair or skin colors, while some magically enhance everything about us.  Same with wall colors, they are the natural backgrounds to our lives and considering how they effect our personal appearance is worth the effort.

Emily Post focuses on women, but this can be applied to the man of the house if he wishes to conquer his domain.  She divides women into categories by hair color.  When she first published her book in the early 1900’s, hair color was one of those traits that people were born with.  In our day, hair color is a choice– one that can easily change with the seasons so this concept may be less stable today, but nevertheless.

The two major hair categories are blondes and brunettes.  These are then subdivided: a blonde: can be the noonday blonde, the moon blonde, the drab blonde or the red-haired blonde.  Brunettes can have: white skin, blue eyes, or darker skin and brown eyes.  There are obviously many variations, but I’ll stick to this.


THE NOONDAY BLONDE is characterized by white skin, golden hair, cream and coral coloring.  Her own colors are best magnified when set to a simple background.  Too bright, or too many colors around her can make her look chintzy.  Robin’s egg blue is best avoided and the colors that would give most quality to her beauty are: grays, taupes, gray-blues, very gray yellow-greens and certain pallid yellows.

THE MOON BLONDE is naturally pale and surrounding herself with colors like: robin’s egg blue, apple-green, mauve, white, black, steel, emerald and lemon yellow will enhance her.  Rooms with decorated with soft romantic feminine vibe seem to suit her best because strong colors can wash her out.

THE DRAB BLONDE, despite the unflattering description, this hair color has the most thoroughbred natural appearance.  The drab blonde fits well into the sorts of houses that appeal to men.  Monotone backgrounds, deep cream colored walls, dark wood, pine, and a bit of red or orange naturally complement her appearance.

THE RED-HAIRED BLONDE is accentuated in herself, she takes the spotlight and being of the red-orange-copper family, her discord is: red violet, mulberry, or bluish crimson.



DARK HAIR, BLUE EYES.  The dark haired, fair skinned, blue eyed Irish type of brunette can look equally attractive in the light of all colors.  A good design tactic to bring out her eyes, is adding a blue chair or sofa in a shade slightly deeper than her eyes.

IRISH BRUNETTE with skin of snow and watermelon-ice and blue, blue-gray or blue-violet eyes is lucky, all colors suit her even those that despoil any other type.  Colors of a less thick quality are more becoming to her coloring.  Orchid rather than salmon, apple-green rather than olive, a white room, brilliant colored flowers, loads of watermelon-pink work in her favor.

TRUE BRUNETTE. The entire range of reds and yellows is the best background for a true brunette.  Women with black hair and dark skin benefit from a shade of yellow-red, red-yellow or very yellow-green.  Following the scale of yellows helps to bring out her beauty while, blues, blue-greens, violets and rooms painted black or gray are not to her benefit.

On the flip side, if your house is painted to perfection, but you now realize that the colors are all wrong in light of your brunette hair.  Hold off on the paint rollers.  Step into a hair salon, they’ll fix the problem from the other side.

I hope you enjoyed the last three posts on Painting Walls, I started writing them while trying to decide on paint colors for my current project.  Emily Post’s advice guided my decision and the result is satisfying.  I have a few more things to tweak and I’ll post pictures of my final project.  I’d love to know what you think about the colors I chose.


The Personality of a House by Emily Post

Lowes and Designer Paint

 for paint and painting supplies.

Living it Down— Comfortable Minimalism


Even a tiny studio can get comfortable, once you get comfortable with minimalism.

Minimalism half allures me. I like clean, open space, and disregard for mindless consumption, but empty homes with blank walls and sharp lines make me shiver a little. I like having scope for the imagination, things to roll my eyes over.

Aesthetics aside, minimalism grew practical after moving into this smallish 350 square-foot studio in Portland. For the first time, I realized how comfortable a small space can be. It took a while to figure things out, but in the end, I unraveled the mystery of maximizing space without sacrificing style.

I am on the verge of moving out, but before I leave, I want to share the big things I learned in this small space.

Less Is More

This overused phrase means exactly what it implies. Less junk means more space. It means shopping mindfully, canceling the Costco membership and buying only what is needed, when it is needed. I just stuck to one soap variaty, one shampoo instead of all of them. It was enlightening to find that one good bar of soap and my favorite shampoo will last many months. Once I use that up, I can get another. It’s the tiniest things that cause the most clutter.

Give and Get

The best way to avoid overcapacity is the habit of giving. The concept turned into a sort of rule: every time I buy something, I give something else away. Giving is the best way to keep any space alive. Not only is it ever changing, but there is strong energy that comes from giving and I always want to have that energy flowing through my home. Hoarding has the opposite effect. All of those deadlocked things are lifeless; they become burdens weighing down space and the people living in it.

Bath1Quality over Quantity

Focusing on quality allows at least eighty-five percent of all things sold to get crossed off the list. It makes shopping easier and things more enjoyable. Buying good quality usually costs more at first, but pays for itself seven times over. Quality lasts longer and saves the time, energy, and money of constantly having to replace the same thing over and over. Then, of course, it’s more pleasurable and if it gets tiresome, it can be passed on to someone else because many well-made things can last a lifetime. Poor quality quickly becomes an eyesore and you keep replacing it, because why not it was cheap and then starts the never-ending cycle of consumerism.

Color Consort

In a small space, color is important. Too many loud colors have this way of overwhelming a room and lack of coordination makes any space look like a bazaar. Even when there is not much stuff, the discord of color makes a room look cluttered. Subdued tones create a comfortable ambiance and sticking with natural hues makes everything flow.


Studio living was an enjoyable experiment, but I miss having space to really stretch out in. You know, to scream without alarming the neighbors.