Friday, January 21, 2011


I've got this new plan taking shape. It begins at the Rustica Coffee Shop in the mornings anywhere between 9 and 10 am when I open my satchel, take out my computer, big Panasonic headphones, and this awesome paper tablet that flips vertically. I guess it sort of brings me back to college, reminding me of big white pads of paper that professors use with faded sharpies to list important themes or ideas from films that rarely deserved that part of a tree. Thankfully, my hardcover tablet perfectly houses one-day-per page lists of my freelance writing priorities, future plans, and of course, the occasional yoga class schedule. Oh yeah, and always comes with a ballpoint pen to make life seem more fluid.

Life has changed a great deal since 2010. One month. That's all you need. Maybe only a day, in fact. That seems a bit more accurate. In just 24 hours my life smacked me upside the head, emptying out any loose parts and leaving me with the bare minimum - something I've grown quite accustomed to over the past two years with no home or security.

To be honest, I'm enjoying the transition a little bit. Going from a very random life overseas that focused a lot on the world of cycling, pizza, and a lack of friends, the move back to Minnesota has been a joy. I rarely think about how most of my life is packed into two suitcases that still reside in Lucca, Italy since there is no use in stressing about stuff. I've learned that incrementally, with time. Part of my plan has resulted in my having little to nothing to worry about other than writing about design and outdoor living to survive. Literally, just to survive - not to have things at all. Just great days, great people, and the occasional good coffee - followed by more great things.

For those of you who think this sounds like a glamorous lifestyle, I must have a way with words. Either that or you've watched too many movies where the protagonist is a writer who sits at cafes and drinks a martini with friends every other night. On the contrary, there's nothing lovely about penny-pinching. The cool thing is that I can pick up and go anywhere that has an internet connection. I may spend all of my hard-earned freelance cash just getting there though, which means I feel like my job is half writing and half trying to figure out how to pay my student loans. I've considered a full-time position or two, but to be honest, I can still afford a Rustica chocolate croissant each day.

I guess this post is just a checking in point. I've been off the radar for some time now - posting nothing but images of soul-searching travels through California and Minnesota in December and crazy experiences that my friend Dre has gone through lately. Maybe someday I'll explain more about what's really happening in my world, but for right now, it's not exactly public. It doesn't belong to facebook, to twitter, to any of my Designer Pages blogposts. This information is mine and mine alone unless included is some form of ancient communication - like coming to visit me for a coffee, a tea, or maybe just a walk around the frozen lake. It is then and only then when I will feel comfortable sharing the whole story.

That said, if I were a person who preached anything to anyone... ever... I would suggest that we all reconnect with our purpose for 2011 instead of distracting our already busy lives with counter-intuitive actions like spending too much time in front of screens - unless of course you're learning something. And if you are, awesome. Just invest in a small pad of paper and a good pen. It's about the little things after all, isn't it?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

'Til the Next Big Show...

Andrea "Dre" "Wiley One 1982" Wiley and I have been friends since the moment I moved to San Francisco. Although I wasn't sure we'd get along right off the bat, since the girl is so absolutely cool - and I was, well, not - we bonded over busy Medjool nights of high maintenance, tapa-consuming guests.

You see, Dre has this outgoing Bay Area style that's colorful and vibrant, with cool high sneakers and insane Halloween costumes, not to mention her undying devotion to being in attendance of each and every worthy show that came to the Bay Area. Lest I forget her collection of Simpsons (and other) memorabilia, her love for hiding easter eggs and having us search for them dressed in pimped out fur coats, and her innate ability to talk to everyone she meets with ease. I was a bright-eyed SF newbie who looked up to the confidence and vigor for life that Dre so candidly expressed minute by minute.

That is Dre in a nutshell. She, just like the colors of hoodies and high tops she owns, is the definition of an epic friend. Recently, Dre informed the world that she has been fighting breast cancer. At 28 years old. Living without health care down in Venice Beach, she has documented her story for the world to see.

In each and every minute of her first two videos shown below, you'll see the strength and comedic relief of the Dre I've grown to adore shine through in the only way this woman knows how...unedited, and bursting with a love for living life everyday.

This one's for you, Dre. Stay amazing.