Have a great weekend.

It just might make it to 60° today! And this weekend promises mid-60°s and sunny. ♥ I have plans to finish my spring cleaning (Need a boost? Read this.), coax my hair out of hibernation with a deep conditioning, and hit up the (Capital Area) Greenway—find trails via this handy app!

Some links from around the www

A forest year.

What’s the difference between the Internet and the Web? What’s Github?

A calendar to remind you that: Everything is going to be OK.

Super cute summer wedges and polka-dot sneakers from Keds.

Pooh just is.

Honest beauty and cleaning products at grocery store prices from Jessica Alba.

An organization that helps artists connect and create during their first 10 years.

Local posts you might have missed: Why saving Dix Park matters and shop reviews: Furbish (home decor) and Stitch (handcrafted bags).

Writer Spotlight: Joan Didion

“We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not.” 

Why she keeps a notebook. And, thoughts from New York Magazine: “Possibly the best living American essayist and probably the most influential, Didion has always maintained that she doesn’t know what she’s thinking until she writes it down.”

P.S. Another list like this one.

Furbish this. Stitch that.

To continue this week’s theme of pairs, here’s a look into the home decor store, Furbish, and the handcrafted-bag shop, Stitch.

Shops like these are part of the quintessential downtown Raleigh shopping experience—which is not what the typical Triangle shopper might expect. You’re never too sure what you’ll find or if the current selection of handpicked items will fit what you’re looking for. But, these shops are like thought leaders in an industry. They do the best things really well, helping you generate new ideas, flesh out concepts, and hone your tastes.

I’ve personally become quite fond of this type of shopping and have combined it with online shopping as my go-to method for creating a wardrobe and living space that is a reflection of me and that I’m proud of. And it actually prevents me from overspending in one fell swoop! It’s a fun skill that my blogger friend, Nicole from Intentionally Small, has made a hobby too.

(More from her on shopping habits, and lookout for a post soon on this blog on clothing swaps!)

Furbish

Jamie Meares is the designer and store owner. Her curated collections can be seen in all of these magazines.

Shop online or at 312 W. Johnson Street (off of Peace Street).

Store hours are: Monday-Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 11am-5pm.

furbish store bed

Dip Dye. Bali stripes. Ikat.

furbish store couch

Throws. Prints. Garden stools.

Stitch

Holly Aiken is the designer and store owner. Watch them build a bag!

Shop online or at 20 East Hargett Street (corner of Wilmington Street). Shop hours are: Monday-Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday 1pm-6pm.

IMG_3022

Sweet Rey-Rey welcoming shoppers.

stitch ladies shop

“Ladies Shop” decal leftover from the 30s.

More shops like these: Father & Son, Deco Raleigh, Epona & Oak, and Revolver Consignment.

Purchased: Furbish & Stitch

My purchases for the day:

Laptop sleeve (vinyl, Jade/Orange) from Stitch and Lotus candle holder (ceramic, Pink) from Furbish.

Green spaces worth investing in

The Dorothea Dix property and The Wedge, a community garden near Hillsborough Street, don’t have a lot in common, but they do have two big things:

1. they are both green spaces

2. they both have passionate groups of folks behind them

These groups help transform and maintain these green spaces, and so they enrich the lives of those living nearby. And, green spaces are said to reduce or eliminate brain fatigue, which is a condition that makes us agitated and forgetful when there’s just too much going on. So, take a walk. Stretch your legs. Observe a leaf. How boring? But, maybe it’s just what the doctor ordered.

Dorothea Lynde Dix was an American activist on behalf of the indigent insane who, through a vigorous program of lobbying state legislatures and the United States Congress, created the first generation of American mental asylums.

The hill where Dorothea Dix Hospital was once an active institution now lies amid a struggle for who will gain control of over its destiny. The property was signed over from the state to the City of Raleigh as former Governor Bev Perdue was on her way out of office. Now, senate members are saying it was a shady deal, so they voted to revoke the lease.

The bill’s sponsors said Raleigh can still have its park, but the price tag will be higher. Under the 2012 lease, the state retains ownership of the land; the city pays $500,000 a year, plus 1.5 percent annual increases, in a deal worth $68 million over 75 years.

Breaking news: Around 300 people showed up yesterday evening (Monday, March 25) to support building a grand, central Raleigh park on Dix Hill and to show their opposition to the state’s plans to void the agreement; one that took a lot of previous work, time, effort and money to be approved in the first place. Recall these signs around town?

This group of local civic activists have also started and signed this petition and list a host of other things you can do right from where you sit while reading this post.

Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin: “I think we have to fight for this.”

As for me, I’m off to send an email to the new governor.

(Share this blog post link with your neighborhood listserv!)

Will you join me?


Governor Pat McCrory

919-733-5811

[email protected]

Raleigh yoga studio gets hot

The only flexibility you will need in class is the flexibility in your mind, the rest will come. Be happy. Be healthy. Be strong.

Indigo Hot Yoga opened in the fall last year, right around the time I was earnestly searching for a place to lay my mat. I had taken a few hot yoga classes before while living in Brooklyn (2008-2009), so though it had been awhile and I wasn’t in the best shape, I thought no problemo. (Or maybe something more like, it won’t kill me.) Only now, in hindsight, is it no surprise that I had a lot of trouble holding poses and lunges in a room heated to 105° with 50-60% humidity!

After my first class with Renee, I went back again and took a class with Claudine. Together they co-own and operate the studio, and are both insightful and beautifully strong teachers.

The Barkan Method is practiced at Indigo Hot Yoga.

For the past 7 months, I’ve made hot yoga a part of every week. Some weeks more, some less. But always practicing in some way. A few months into it, a classmate asked me in the locker room how often I made it to class and generally how I plan my time for it. I told her, “I just try to come everyday. And because that’s not likely for me, I end up coming 2-4 times a week. But everything flows better when I consider it each day.”

A reader commented on a post earlier this week, saying that we all need a third place—somewhere that isn’t home or work—to spend some of our time, whether that’s a mailing list with friends, a weekly tradition with family, or a place where everybody knows your name—or all three. I say we also need a fourth place, just for ourselves.

Yoga is one of mine. It’s a place that allows me to create strength in a way that is mindful and softness/peace in a way that is lasting. In class you have to work with strengthening your thoughts in order to perform the movements and hold the poses/asanas. And, you’re working with creating space, in poses and in giving yourself the room you need to make the best decisions for you and only you.

Other studios I like:

Blue Lotus (West Street) and Evolve Movement (Oberlin Road) are both full of light and happy faces.

Do you practice yoga? Do you have a fourth place? I’d love to hear your stories and advice in the comments.

Mailing Lists and Misadventures

I’m going to become wonderful. It’s a new beginning. Like a Phoenix rising… (Liz Lemon is run over by a biker). Or maybe this is going to be the worst day ever.

A few of my lady friends and I are part of an email chain / group, called Fancy Girls. We gab about much of the stuff that you’d see on blogs like A Cup of Jo and Twisted Sifter: clothes, food, travel, exercise, and whatever else goes on or is passing through our headspaces. When I created it, I thought: This will be a place where we can get it out. Vent. Share. Quiet the storm. Yet, what we actually manage to do is: Stir the pot. Fan the flame. And, send in the brigade. To us, we become an unstoppable force of nature.

You wouldn’t think it given our name, Fancy Girls, or the fact that we regularly start oh-so-serious emails with subject lines like: Who’s your #1 celebrity crush? and cry from laughter over songs like Cry For You, circa 1993 by a young Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling. In good humor, we aren’t very fancy either. We don’t typically wear heels or cashmere or lipstick—but do regularly exclaim how awesome Leslie and Ann of Parks & Rec look in their pink and purple hues while leading their government pals around Indiana.

But this is where the wine gets fine. For our group, it’s all about balance. Last week, GIF for Every Occasion was deemed a favorite and a surprising number of us joined the hand-picked and delivered to your home clothing service, Stitch Fix. We told each other: You are beautiful. You are brave. You are alive. And, like many other female-matters groups, we discussed what we think the COO of Facebook really means in her new book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. (Listen to her interview with Diane Rehm on NPR, here.)

We often feel empowered. We experience the a pull of opposing perspectives. We reflect on whether a hectic, busy, successful professional life or a more calm, introspective, hobby/friend/family-oriented existence is better. We know that balance is slippery and propose that we can have whatever life we want.

Then, a post comes through of the Dalai Lama meeting Mr. Rodgers and we all take a deep breath and relax knowing that…

Maybe it’s impossible to have it all. The career, the family. But, if anybody can figure out how to do it, it’s me.

P.S. Quotes are from 30 Rock and featured in this video smashup: The Many Misadventures of Liz Lemon

P.P.S. My friend, Hollis, writes this blog about her adventures while running and running around in sunny California: The Misadventures of a Red Head

Get Around: The bus (+ interview)

This is the first post of a series called, Get Around. Today’s post features: The bus. Other posts will cover bikes, trains, walking, and even rickshaws!

First, some local transit info…

Your local Transit Authority is comprised of nine citizens who are appointed by the Raleigh City Council and serve for two years without pay, i.e. as volunteers. They conduct regularly scheduled, monthly business meetings that are open to the public. Today, the Raleigh Transit Authority (RTA) will meet at 3:30pm to discuss the current agenda (in City Council Chambers, Room 201 on 222 West Hargett Street). Email these folks you’d like to speak or inquire about an issue at this or any of their meetings.

An interview with…

Transit is a hot topic right now in Raleigh. How will it evolve? What are we already doing right? What major construction will we undertake? When will people begin to realize our transit potential? So, I asked a local resident to share with me what it’s like to not own or use a car to get around. But get around she does! Rebecca Rousseau lives in Cameron Village and loves to explore Raleigh.

Check out my interview with her below!


Which forms of local transit do you use?

I use the bus, walk, train, and Zipcar.

Are there certain times of day or for certain errands or trips that you choose to use one over the other?

There’s a definite pattern to what I use and when. I take the bus to my jobs. I’m an artist and art instructor and substitute teach in the public schools. I take the bus to schools and then frequently walk home. It’s generally a half hour walk. I bus back and forth to the art museum when I work out there.

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I’m teaching myself how to ride a bike after not having one for 40 years, so, in time, I’d like to ride my bike to the museum and more around town. When I teach at the Durham Arts Council or at the hospital in Chapel Hill I take those wonderful express buses back and forth. When I have an art show I get a Zipcar, it’s so easy! I load it up with my artwork and I’m all set.

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I live a half block from two grocery stores and a drugstore, so I pick things up as I get home each day, and on the weekend ride my bike a couple miles to my favorite grocery store.

What caused you to start using local transit?

Do you ever drive yourself?

I’ve never been a fan of owning a vehicle. The expense, the pollution, the worry of it all. I thought I’d try local transit while I still had my car. I thought if I liked it I’d sell the car, if not I’d keep it. I was amazed at how easy it was getting around without it. Knowing that the Zipcar is within reach is a comfort, but I generally only use that twice a month, never more. When I did have my car I only put 3000 miles a year on it. I’ve always flown or taken the train when I go out of town.

How much walking do you do a week, a day?

I walk probably one to two miles a day. On the weekend I walk anywhere from a mile to 3 or 4. The more I walk the easier it gets.

Are local transit and walking just as important as the other?

Local transit is key. It’s so easy and inexpensive. I pay $36 for a month for an unlimited ride pass. It’s a 10 minute bus ride to the main hub where all the connector buses meet, so that makes it all the easier. I live close to a lot of places I frequent (the library, grocery stores, restaurants), so walking is important, too.

How do you think people will learn to evolve when it comes to public transportation?

It’s so amusing to see the reactions I get when I say I don’t have a car. I could buy a car tomorrow, but people tend to either look at me like you poor dear, how do you do it?, or go on the defensive explaining why it’s not feasible for them. It’s just the culture in Raleigh and I haven’t found that to be true in large cities where public transportation use is the norm.

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I think if people would try it for two weeks a good number of them would turn in their cars. I really was stunned at how easy it is for me to get from point A to point B without the car. I think people will evolve when it’s perceived as the norm and the more we talk about it the closer it’ll get to that.

How does Raleigh’s growth and subsequent increased traffic play a role?

I’ve written to City Council in that regard. They replied and told me about the BPAC – Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission. I think with growth will come a greater demand for public transportation and Raleigh has been looking at ways to make the roads easier on pedestrians and bicyclers. No doubt, there are areas of town that are very difficult to navigate as a pedestrian at this point, but I see that improving in the future.

Have your actions changed anyone’s mind to use more public transportation?

I had a dear friend ask me last night if I’d teach her how to ride the bus. I have sparked people’s interest, but I’m not certain many have followed suit. If you have kids, or live out in the country, it’s almost impossible in the Triangle. I have a friend who made me question how I get around and it made me change how I travel. She’s an avid biker and lives in-town, too. She manages very well.

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I’m not living this way to sell anyone on it, I’m just proof that it’s a possibility.

Do your friends, family, and neighbors think it’s interesting and/or “different” to use public transit like you do?

I grew up outside of NYC, lived in Miami, and southern California, so no one close to me thinks of it as too odd b/c we grew up around mass transit. Anytime I go out of town (even when I owned a vehicle) I took the train and then a bus to where I was going. My family and friends think it’s just something I would do. I do have a pesky neighbor who’s itching to know where my car got off too, but she always asks me as I’m running to catch a bus!

What do you get in return for spending a little more time traveling via public transit?

There’s no getting around the fact that what use to be a 10 minute drive might take 30 minutes of time, between waiting for a bus and a bus ride. What a great trade off to sit next to a big window on a bus and watch the world go by for a pleasant 20 minutes versus 10 minutes of wondering what the new squeaky belt sound is coming out of the engine, or thinking it’s time to stop and get $4 a gallon gas. People say it must be nice to read a book on a bus, but I prefer looking out the window and people watching.

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Walking and taking the bus puts you in a position of seeing more of what you’ve whizzed by before. My bicycler friend and I agree we see the world as it is now that we’re walking and biking, rather than racing by it. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 15 years and there are many things I walk by that I never knew existed. I love it.

How has using it eased your life?

There’s not enough time to explain how it’s eased my life! No more car taxes, inspections, AAA calls, repairs that wipe out vacation funds, looking out the rearview mirror and seeing that plume of heavy smoke coming from my vehicle, I passed an Inspection station on my way into town the other day and sighed with relief knowing that I didn’t have to squeeze that in! I’m genuinely more relaxed.

What are 3 things every Raleigh resident can do today to get more used to the idea?

I think they could just visit the idea of taking a bus somewhere to demystify the notion. A couple of people have told me they were concerned about how to figure out the bus system. CAT customer service is always one phone call away and they’re very knowledgeable.

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The Internet has all kinds of info, from hopstop.com to the CAT site. I noticed Google maps put in a bus icon, too, that tells which bus to take along with your directions on how to get somewhere. It’s only as difficult as getting the address of where you’re going and plugging it into a website.

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Three things people could do are, take a fun weekend bus trip to a favorite local destination to see what it’s like riding a bus, have a conversation with someone who’s not car-dependent, and come to realize that a lot of people in the world don’t own a car and have very full and rewarding.


If you’re interested in mass transit, be sure to visit the sites Rebecca mentions above! HopSpot.com is a comprehensive yet easy to use platform that provides directions, maps, schedules, nearby stations, and City Guides (restaurants, bars, and more). The CAT site has bus routes and a trip planner. Also, as Rebecca notes, CAT customer service is always available at 919-485-RIDE (7433), which is also printed on the signs. The operators can help you with information like when the next bus is stopping near your location.

Another site to check out is Raleigh Rides. It’s accessible via your phone and gives up-to-the minute information on where exactly buses are at all times so you can more easily plan you day using public transit.

Thanks Rebecca!

What is MS?

It’s Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week, March 11-17.

I bet you didn’t know, on average, living with MS costs that person $69,000/year. With the median income at $49,000 and MS putting most people out of work within 10 years (or less), there’s a great need to find a cure. And, at the very least we can influence progress enough to offer those with MS more than 8 disease-modifying options. Because, MS is very difference for each person who has it, and it varies throughout their life. Some modifications may work for a short time or not at all. For those who are debilitated due to the disease, a cure is at the heart of their hopes and dreams.

I personally have two friends with parents who have MS.

Who do you know?

Watch this 4 minute video for more facts.

Check out this blog for events and stories in the Triangle area.

Tune to News 14 on Wednesday, March 13 for an interview with the Walk MS Development Coordinator, Monica Tierney.

For your Monday.

This weekend I went to Adventure Landing off of Capital Boulevard with a few awesome peeps for a round of Putt Putt and some arcade games. Favorites include: Skeeball, Hot Rods, a shoot-em-alien game, and Guitar Hero. On the way over we discussed the City’s plans for improving “Capital” as a major thoroughfare and gateway to downtown. As it is now, and has been for my more than 10 years as a Raleigh resident, the two-lanes north and south-bound are surrounded by a desert of businesses that are by-and-large on the brink of desperation. Blessed by only a handful of oases, like Barbecue Lodge, Capital Boulevard needs a life-giving hug. Recently, when my sister and her fiance were home-shopping their Realtor gave them a copy of what’s to come for the area. And to my delight, the City plans to restructure traffic patterns and replace a section of sketchy businesses and parking lots with a City park, among other changes. From a barren business-land, and from our own wintry hibernation, springs new life!

A song for your Monday.

Another one for my friend’s birthday this week!

Cute spring jacket. And love ShopSosie’s new arrivals for springtime!

Great quote by a Spanish writer.

An open source tool that let’s you add notes to any web page.

Short film of the Year on the wonderful site, Short of the Week.

This one is beautiful and provoking.

Did you love the Grey Poupon commercials in the 80s too? Lost footage here.

A timeline of notable women leaders in history. And, I would like prints of these.

Leave notes about the places you go, everywhere you go. You’ll learn something.

Mind the gap. Or, put your cat on the map.

Upstart Business Journal features our own downtown-located footware company, Feelgoodz.

Find out more about Wake County, consistently rated as a top location for business.

Have a great week!

Take the time….

Take the time.

To be in the process of whatever it is your doing. During busy weeks I often find myself on the side of waiting for something and analyzing everything. Anticipation for down time, or to be with someone you love, or for the weekend — is a good thing. But find balance. Don’t let it rush you through the life you’re living in all the moments in between. And, analyzing is just part of the human thinking process. Which I hope you’re doing! I hope you’re in the driver’s seat of your life. If you’re not. Take the time to make the changes to get there.

First book by local citizen

Open source all the cities is the crowdfunding campaign for Jason Hibbet’s new book: The foundation for an open source city.

He writes with decisive commitment to the idea that Raleigh could be, and may very well already be, the first open source city. A claim that comes from years of experience working for an open source software company, Red Hat, who announced their headquarters move to downtown Raleigh last fall. And from working alongside citizens in cities all over the country who want a more transparent, open, and effective government.

For more on Red Hat, read: Chief Executive Collaborator: Jim Whitehurst leads Red Hat downtown and beyond

Raleigh initiatives to bring its citizens into the conversation in order to better hear their opinions and ideas are highlighted throughout the book.  If you’ve ever wanted to get a better view of where the City of Raleigh stands as we continue into the Information Age, help fund the publication of the book and get a free copy hot off the press! Other incentives include an invite to the release party or dinner with the author.

As an editor for the book, I look forward to it!