Archives for the month of: July, 2010

friday in pictures. inspiration for the week ahead. 

Today’s quote was inspired by yesterday’s Google doodle, a tribute to designer Josef Frank. His patterns are stunning–forward and edgy, but truly timeless (Frank was designing in the early 1900’s)– and there is no question that for decades his patterns have been the direct inspiration for the most popular collections from home retailers such as Pottery Barn and Anthropologie.

The content of today’s quote resonates with my own design aesthetic, and I love the simplicity and clarity of Frank’s words.

The photo was taken at a favorite brunch spot that is so cozy, it feels like home.

My husband likes to tease me about my blog. I think he’s just jealous of my little slice of the www. When I pulled out my camera last night to to document what was to be my lengthy homemade bread baking adventure, his somewhat sarcastic response was, “This looks like a blog post in the making.”  Then he asked –because I was complaining about how long the process was going to take–if the title of the post was going to be; “Good Things Come to Those Who Wait.” I was annoyed at his mocking, but also satisfied with this comment because if he came up with that theme, then he must, in fact, be a diligent reader of the citysteps blog.

I documented my bread baking last night because it was the first time I’ve ever done it. Elenor Roosevelt said to do one thing every day that scares you. I don’t like to be scared, so my version of her wise words is to try to do one thing every day that I’ve never done before. Similar concept with same end goal; keep pushing yourself towards personal and professional growth. Plus, I heard someone talking about eating a slice of warm just-out-of-the-oven bread about a week ago, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.

I bought a mix, but it seemed OK to me to do this because it was Bob’s Red Mill and their stuff = healthful and sustainable.

The first obsticle was discovering that we must have left “bread pan” off the wedding registry because there was not one to be found. Time to improvise:


Check out that solid construction!

Now that I had something to bake the bread in, the hardest part was the (prescribed) “8-10 minutes” of kneading the dough. I made it to 7 minutes, which felt like a very long time. Not so sure how effective the directions were at this point – if you give someone a choice to knead dough for 8 minutes or 10 minutes, I can guarantee they will knead for 8. Or less.

My next task was to find a moist, warm place for the bread to rise …


My shower was the best place I could think of, and reminded me why you should think twice before eating things at the office that other people have prepared at home.

As I debated whether or not it was OK to place the bowl of bread beside the Pantene ProV , I was also reminded of the time my Dad was in AZ to help my sister remodel her kitchen.  As a thanks for his work, she prepared a crock-pot dinner – which he later came to find out had been simmering for hours on the back of the toilet in the guest bathroom – apparently the closest working plug to the kitchen. Yum.

After the long waiting game of allowing time for the bread to rise, “punching” it down, and letting it rise again, the loaf was finally oven ready at 10:30pm.

And about 30 minutes later… success!

 FINALLY, well past 11pm, I got to enjoy a warm slice of fresh homemade bread with Irish butter and strawberry jam. Delish!

M. gets home tomorrow from a work trip – I thought about taking rest of the bread to my office today and telling him, “Sorry, none left for you, but don’t worry – good things come to those who wait.”  

But I decided to be sweet and save it for him instead — or maybe I just forgot this morning to bring the bread ;)

I used to get told pretty frequently that I looked a lot like Jennifer Aniston. I did sport “The Rachel” when I was in middle school, but besides our mutual affinity for singersongwriter manboys who think our body-is-a-wonderland, my copy of her famous ‘do is clearly the only trait we’ve ever shared. Here are recent shots of Aniston from, effortlessly bounding down the street in stilletos:

A far cry from my heel-clad run to catch the bus last night. The result, below.

(What this picture doesn’t show is the impressive distance my purse flew down the street, the newsstand I managed to bring down with me, and the looks of shock and/or apathy dispelled from the bus riders who witnesses the whole excruciating event)


Maybe I just tripped. But I don’t think so. I’m convinced my fall by the bus was a physical manifestation of the fact that I let negative emotions take over my thoughts at that time. The mind/body connection at its best –and worst– all at once!

You see, just before I ate cement, I was throwing around frustrating and negative thoughts in my head. The last time I fell and skinned my knees, I was thinking pessimistic thoughts as well. It was 4 years ago during a ½ marathon training run. It was hot, sticky, humid, and I was wishing the run was over before it even started. I got my wish less than a quarter mile into the run when I tripped on a brick, and went down on all fours. I turned back to the house, and that was the end of that.

Medical science has proven that ongoing feelings of stress, worry, and anxiousness often lead to physical ailments such as high blood pressure, back pain, headaches, etc. Similarly, I think in both of these cases, my onslaught of negative emotion had something to do with my falls.

After I got over the initial shock and embarrassment, I learned a couple of things from the whole experience.

The first take-away: If intense negative thoughts can contribute to a literal downfall, then I can only imagine what my positive thoughts have done — and can continue to do — for me.

And the second thing I learned?  Nothing will make you feel like a little kid again faster than a pair of skinned knees.