There was a time when I thought journal writing was pretentious. It seemed silly and self-absorbed and for someone who’d end up with a career as a professional writer, it’s almost comical how much I didn’t “get it.”
In the late spring of 2004, I’d find myself sitting at The Hacienda in Pasadena, California at my dear friend Lisa’s wedding. Lisa’s brother was sitting and talking with my friend Lorraine at our table about the gift of a new journal and my eyes were rolling back in my head at the thought of, “Oh no, not them too.” Back then, it seemed that no matter where I was, I kept hearing about people and their journal writing. It probably didn’t help that I was also seeing a plethora of black notebooks in the “What’s in your bag” photo group on Flickr.
But the thing that finally pushed me over the edge, and into the realm of the inky pen happened while I was watching TV. Flipping through the channels, I stopped on one of the shopping networks and they were selling, get this- a gardening journal. I watched as the host oohd and ahhd over this book like it was the greatest invention since sliced bread and I laughed out loud. A gardening journal? That’s just ridiculous!
But something about that book stuck with me that I can’t explain. I think it was a five year journal and it might have been something about being able to see things from one year to the next within the same book- a comparison of sorts, because not long after, I found myself at Blick (on Sept. 14th 2005 to be exact) standing in front of a display of black notebooks. Sitting in my car and taking the plastic off of the book, what I didn’t know then was that my entire world was forever changed in that moment – the moment I’d become a writer.
Writing has been my creative outlet, my therapy, and a big part of my career.
Back to the gardening journal – I totally get it now, because I wish I was keeping one for my first ever gardening experience this year but I just haven’t had the time. I wanted to document which seeds I bought from each company and why I’d chosen them. The dates I’d planted each seed. Which method I’d used to start them, (peat pellets or garden soil) and how long until each sprouted. Which products I’d used to prepare the garden beds. Why? Because it is exciting to describe an event or process and then look back upon it to see how it’s grown. Both literally and figuratively.
Do you keep a gardening journal?
I usually go to the grocery store without a list and come home with things we need as well as a variety of flexible ingredients that I know can be used in a number of different dishes. Unfortunately, my husband Jeff does not share in this ability and requests that I give him a specific list of things to buy which pains me as much as I’m guessing it does when I tell him to just “go get groceries.”
I decided to try and see if we could meet half way by my showing him a few meals that could be made from common ingredients that could be put on a list of things to “always buy if we are out” when he goes to the store. Knowing how much Jeff loves meatloaf, I also challenged him to search for a recipe so he could better see how these common ingredients are used across different recipes. His first choice was this Martha Stewart Classic Meatloaf recipe which we made together and is in the oven as we speak.
11 days until Christmas and you could use a few more Rhodia products for under the tree? Meeting Book for Uncle Harry, #8 Shopping List notepads for Mom, Rhodia pencils for your little sister the artist? Check out our list of online retailers on Rhodia-Pads.com. Some of these retailers offer expedited shipping options so you should be able to get everything you need in time for Santa to come down the chimney.
PS: Don’t forget to leave out a treat (typically carrots) for Santa’s reindeer.
Image courtesy of Alejandro C Finy. Follow acfiny on Instagram.
Ever since the introduction of online shopping, I’ve found it a challenge to rely on what my local retailers stock when I want to buy something. Continue Readering »
I am a decent cook. Mom was a decent cook. Gram was a very good cook. (It was her job for 18 years to cook for the elderly at an extended care facility.) I watch lots and lots of Food Network programming and shows with Gorden Ramsey. I am not afraid to try new things and typically throw things together rather than follow recipes. I also tend to shop without a list which means that sometimes, things can fall by the wayside. Continue Readering »
With spring and warmer weather on it’s way to the US, many of our seasonal local farmers’ markets are getting ready to start back up. I live in a metropolitan region of 800+ thousand (3rd largest in PA behind only Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) and we’ve got more than a few mainstays with regards to local markets. Continue Readering »
Many towns have some kind of First Friday events. In Bethlehem, we have a celebration of SouthSide businesses with music, food and wine tastings scattered throughout the shopping district.
Tonight at the Banana Factory where I am a current artist in residence, there will be 4 exhibit openings, including the resident artist “White Works” show. There will be live music, glass blowing, ceramic, and jewelry making demonstrations and much more! It all happens from 6-9pm – so if you can, be sure to stop by my studio #249 to say hello!
My 10×10″ acrylic painting on canvas above, “Hayden’s Adventure” was inspired by my friend’s young son and is also the piece I submitted into the White Works exhibit .
© Stephanie Smith All Rights Reserved.
The day following Thanksgiving in the US is commonly known as “Black Friday” and though not a holiday, it is the official start of the holiday shopping season when most non-retail employees have the day off and retailers offer incredible deals to encourage spending.
Sale items are often offered so low (and in limited quantities) that people will camp overnight (or longer!) to be one of the 1st people to buy the designated item. The excitement to receive a low price large screen TV or laptop has resulted in people being trampled and sometimes even killed by frenzied shoppers.
I just don’t understand. I can’t think of a single thing that would get me to go through that much time, effort & chaos. But then again- I don’t have children and maybe that adds a layer I’ll never understand.
Are you going to do any Black Friday shopping?
I know some people like to shop early, but I am not one for early decorations and blaring holiday music the minute the clock strikes midnight on November 1st. The only shopping I really love is at the art store or book store, though I can’t deny the amount of cool stuff in the stores that only seems to show up around this time of year.
As the variety of online retailers continues to climb, people are able to experience shopping from the convenience of their homes to avoid the rampant holiday commercialism but I think maybe something is lost during that process. I worked in a mall for 10 years and dreaded every holiday season but once I left, it was easier to see how special and magical a time of year it can be to the wee ones. One thing that I did enjoy was that everyone in the world seemed to show up to that tiny mall around the holidays – I got to see everyone.
Most people I hear from are not a fan of the early holiday retail push – what do you think about it? Does it help to get you in the holiday mood? Or do you simply tune it out?
Something for Everyone! Stationery, Cards & Envelopes, Notebooks, Organizational Products, Calligraphy Items, Fountain Pen Inks… Plenty of bargains and lots to choose from. You will find discontinued cover styles and samples from France. (This will not include items from the current catalog) Continue Readering »
Wilson Hines, author of the blog A Journey thru Academia wrote to tell us about Office Supplies and More in Chapel Hill, NC Wilson says the store is flat out amazing. “To boil it down, if you turn too quick you will knock something over! I love it! He had three different displays which had Rhodia and he also had an equally impressive Clairfontaine selection.” Continue Readering »
In response to our post “Show us where you buy your Rhodia,” Father Matthew Thurman’s wife spotted some Rhodia notebooks & pads in Borders Books while on a recent vacation in Sandusky, OH.
Will you show us where you buy your Rhodia?
Levenger, a company known for it’s high quality products and useful tools for readers and writers, is now stocking a limited selection of Rhodia products. To see them, you can either enter “Rhodia” into the search box on the top of any page, or click on the “First Look” section from the home page.