desk nest shelf

mental health and other creative projects


January 2016

the most diy of diys


Colored hairpins are trendy! But they are more expensive than brown hairpins. Do you want them?

Continue reading “the most diy of diys”

shea butter winter cream

Since my herbal salve-making adventure I’ve been itching, though not literally, (harr harr see what I did there?) to try making something new.

A few weeks ago I found this recipe for shea butter hair mousse on the blog The Sweet Plantain. I had the suspicion that it might be too heavy for my curls but it just looked so nice that decided to try it out, figuring that I would like it as a body lotion even if it doesn’t quite work for my finicky hair.

We recently had a good snow and the glare outside made for some dramatic mid-morning light coming in through the kitchen windows. The fluffy, bright white mix caught the light and reminded me of the snow outside. So while this recipe isn’t entirely my own–I only tweaked it a wee bit– I’m taking the liberty of calling it winter cream. It looks clean and snowy, and harsh winters are when skin really needs some extra care.  Continue reading “shea butter winter cream”


“The thing that you are most afraid of has already happened.”


I heard this on the podcast “Magic Lessons”  with Elizabeth Gilbert; she attributes it to her therapist. The episode was discussing the relationship between creativity and fear of failure.

This makes a whole lot of sense to me because I’ve recently started to understand how much our present fears come from past experiences that left us hurt. That doesn’t mean that none of it is valid or that we should ignore our current fears because they’re ‘not rational’. I think it means that –so long as this process won’t be overly damaging to us right now– we can learn a lot about ourselves by starting to investigate where our fears were planted and fed.


“We speak not only to tell other people what we think, but to tell ourselves what we think.” -Oliver Sachs

I think this goes,too: We write not only to tell other people what we think, but to tell ourselves what we think. (I’m not always convinced that I think something just from saying it. Writing is where I can really work through different possibilities.)

identity (i win at vague titles)

I tend to wander away from abstract ‘what-ifs’ but am endlessly fascinated by the nuts and bolts. I usually make decisions by weighing feelings over logic, and I prefer to reside in gray areas instead of forming solid opinions when issues are complex.

I’m very introspective, and spend much of my time (maybe even most of my time) thinking about identity — questioning it, playing with it, wondering about it. Basically, trying to understand myself, and to validate myself, to myself, almost all of the time. This search is endlessly fascinating, but usually sends me to bed at night exhausted. I’ve been at least vaguely aware since my teens that this need to probe into identity is usually the drive behind my writing and art. I am constantly wondering who I am today, who I was in the past, and who I will become, and I never feel satisfied that I’ve even remotely begun to understand any of it. Continue reading “identity (i win at vague titles)”

little finds

For the past year I’ve had the lovely privilege of working a few days a week near Harvard University’s Natural History Museum, and during my lunch breaks I sometimes go there for a quick walk around. It’s not a huge museum, but it is packed with interesting finds. I like to go in and spend a few minutes looking more closely at just a few things.

It struck me today that I could share with you my little little finds and do a little bit of basic internet research beyond the museum signage. I visit the museum most weeks so it could be a fairly regular series of blog posts.


Continue reading “little finds”

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