Ferris, you’re on to something.

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Imagine this: You’re at one of 25 wonders of the world emersed in nature’s thermal bath surrounded by ethereal views, watching the sun rise and with it– selfie sticks.  Everywhere you look, you’re in the fucking twilight zone of social media.

When I was in Iceland, I had to wonder, is it still possible to stray from the idea that life is a perfectly curated photo collage?  I know it’s not.  I’ve seen it wild and off the beaten path.  Some of the best times I’ve ever had traveling were when the character of the cafes and boutiques led me to wander down a street, not because a blogger told me to.

I’ve always tried to explore with a journal and my 35mm camera.  Mostly, I just enjoy shooting with analog film because it forces me to be in that one place in time.  It’s crucial to take it all in and snap off one precious shot.  Sometimes, I’m rewarded when they develop crisp and clear, while other times I only have memory to remind me of the beauty I saw.  I have to use smell, taste and breathe still using all of my senses to capture that moment in my mind.  That’s what my fondest memories are made of.  Not hundreds of photos in my iPhone that I’ll probably never look back at.

I’ve found that in worrying all your time into how good you look in your bikini or making sure you get just the right angle of your dinner, all from behind the screen, you’re actually taking away from your own adventure of submersing yourself in the warm, silky water, feeling the sun touch your skin or savoring each bite.  Just being.

It’s incredibly convenient in the digital age to constantly “share” and on some level, that’s really amazing.  We are able to communicate faster and easier than ever with our friends and family, letting them take a little part in our time away from them.  My partner always tells me, “The best camera is the one you have on you.”  I do agree.  I also feel it’s equally important to ask yourself sometimes if it’s gotten to the point where we’re now unable to have an experience without documenting it, in order to say we had one?  There’s a time and place for everything, maybe an incredible meal at a top-notch restaurant or a meditative place in nature isn’t it.  Ferris Bueler had a pretty valid point when he said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”  Maybe in this case, just look up.

 

Gather.

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I love entertaining.  I especially love any reason to have friends over.  (Hello, winter barbecue!)  This holiday season, get rid of all the expectations you’ve built up around hosting and invest in the lost art of reconnecting through entertaining.  Now is the time to build your gathering kind.

While food can be very comforting to most people, so is time with a friend.  I have made it a point to host regular gathering nights for dinner, drinks and real conversation.  These are our nights to laugh, bitch, cry with no judgement and give the best advice we can after the second bottle of wine is corked.  We aren’t on our phone every five minutes.  We are there.  In real life.  For each other.

Now, everyone knows Martha Stewart is a fucking boss.  But I don’t think she’d mind if we strayed from the ‘hostess with the mostest’ rules.  I’d suggest inviting some friends that you’d like to know better, who you think would also connect well with each other.  If it’s your first one or you’re too pooped to party, take some of the weight off and cook the meal together.  It’s the perfect excuse to make great food surrounded by great people.

“One key to creating a relaxing vibe is to never strive for perfection.  Don’t assume it has to be all white china plates.”

If parties just aren’t your thing, keep it simple with a preset menu of one to two cocktails (or wine and beer) and three to four easy, make-ahead appetizers.  Do what makes you a happy host.  Your friends and family want to spend time with you, too.  That doesn’t include watching you frantically running around the kitchen.  So if that means ditching Pinterest for one night and opting in for a store-bought veggie tray, go for it!  It’s an endearing gesture just to have people in your home.  Slow it on down.

Whether it’s a casual dinner or a more elaborate cocktail party, take the time to show the folks that you care about that you appreciate their company.  Because after all, it’s not just the food.  It’s nourishing the conversations over those meals together that bring us closer.  When it comes to feeding the soul, I promise, a little slower goes a long way.

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

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It seems so simple to live a simple life.  There’s this romantic notion I have of living 50 miles outta town, having no cell service, making my own way.  But then I remember when real life calls that simply, sometimes, just isn’t.

In today’s increasingly fast-paced world, we have to work harder than ever just to slow down.  We are always “on” and our work weeks are getting longer (and anxiety is getting higher) because of it.  We are living in a culture where we value the level of our success by how ‘busy’ we are.  It’s bullshit.

But how do you make your first attempt to kick it down a notch, without sacrificing your work ethic and social life on the side?  Balance my, friends.

In our home, we have:

  • Digital sunset: from 7:30pm- 7:30am, we set aside at least one hour each evening and morning of undivided time with our family without phones.
  • No phones with meals. Whether we are at home or eating out, it doesn’t matter.  No phones at the table.
  • No phones in bed.  Besides stating the obvious that it’s not very sexy when your partner is more engaged with a screen than you, screen time before bed kills your sleep cycle.  The bed is a sacred place for rest and… not resting.

Seems easy enough, right?  Establishing boundaries is, however, always adhering to them is another story.  Do we break the rules on occasion?  Yup.  We’re still human, after all.  There are some nights that you’ll need to prepare for the next days pitch or even catch up on the weeks overflow and that is life as we know it these days.  I get it.  But just even having a few mindful tech habits in place that you can go back to is incredibly helpful for a work-life balance.  Try it, find what works for you.

Who knows, you might even like it slow.