A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness. – Leo Tolstoy
In a culture of constant scrolling and comparisons, it’s easy to become critical of what/who we are and hyper sensitive to what we lack. The truth is, sometimes the day to day can make life feel small. What I am also finding, though, is that there is beauty to be found in the intimate details of ordinary life.
When it comes to our wants and desires, I think we are all guilty of romanticizing the unknown. Why? It’s mysterious, right?! Have you ever met a man or woman for a split second on the street, had a beautiful encounter, and spent the entire rest of the week daydreaming about what could have been if you had only gotten their number and continued the connection? Now, I’m not suggesting that getting their number wouldn’t have resulted in a lifetime of happiness fit for a Nicholas Sparks novel. However, there is danger in the daydream when taken to extremes. When it becomes a habit, it leads to a lack of presence. Because when the grass is always greener, the grass will always be greener.
I’m starting a new series on the blog here called romanticizing your reality. I’m not doing this to crush dreams or encourage anyone not to have plans or goals. I am a HUGE goal digger and I firmly believe in dreaming big dreams. But what I’m seeing in our world today is a massive lack of balance. I don’t see encouragement for the here and now — the beauty of the present. I’m going to be sharing some of my favorite ways to romanticize my reality and fall in love with my life on a daily basis, even through the most typical and mundane of seasons.
One of the easiest areas for me to get swept away in comparison, want, and discontentment is when it comes to my home. I LOVE my home, but I am always dreaming of a bigger place, a place that I own, space for more gardening, farming — you know, really easily attainable dreams for Los Angeles. While I haven’t given up on the goal setting and saving for when that time comes, I have been really falling in love with my home in a new way recently. How? Through romanticizing the hell out of it.
On those days when I wish I was living on a farm in the French country side, I take a deep breath and cultivate that atmosphere in my current environment. I put on a record each morning, light candles, bake fresh biscuits, open the windows and smell the fresh mountain air. I look down at my yellow vintage kitchen counter tops as I knead the dough, and I fall in love with the colors and textures around me.
As a photographer, there is something new that occurred to me while having dinner with some clients in the desert last weekend. I’m always asking people why they decided to book me — in a city with SO many talented professional photographers, what set me apart? While they obviously found value in my work and talent, they expressed that there was a feeling in my photos. It dawned on me — we value experience. It matters how a moment makes us feel. That’s what romance is all about. It matters that I take the time to talk, laugh, adventure and have meals with my clients. It creates an experience that goes far beyond a photoshoot. While it has always been easy for me to give this gift to others, I am learning how to do it for myself in my own home.
One of my favorite ways to change the feeling and atmosphere of my home is through plants and living things. My grandmother was a florist, and I love using florals as a way to add romance, drama, life and beauty to each corner of my humble home. My secret to romanticizing your reality with flowers is to purchase one large bouquet from your local market/grocery store. Instead of placing all of the flowers in a large vase, collect as many tiny jars as you can, cut the flowers down to size, and place them in every single room. I mean it — EVERY room. There are flowers in my kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom and closet library. No area is too small or insignificant for life. Feeling luxurious doesn’t have to be expensive — all of the flowers in my home and in these photos came from the same $6 bouquet.
I challenge you to grab some flowers this week and romance yourself. No matter what your space is like, regardless of size or location, this is one small way that you can find a little more joy in the moment. Extra points if you comment below and share your experience/photos with me! Stay tuned for more tips coming soon. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to fall in love.