Thoughts on Asking for and Giving Forgiveness



Today is Yom Kippur, the most sacred day in the Jewish liturgical tradition. It starts with the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, and ends almost two weeks later with what is known as "The Day of Repentance." In reality, it's only the final day of repentance. In the time between the New Year and Yom Kippur, the observant ask for forgiveness from all the people they've done wrong in the previous year, the "10 days of repentance." This all culminates on Yom Kippur, the final day, when you are supposed to ask G-d for forgiveness, essentially acknowledging that all things are His creation, and that when you do wrongs against them you do them against Him as well. This idea is taken even a step further in the Kabbalistic idea that everything was created when G-d exploded himself, leaving a spark of the divine in every single thing on earth.

Don't ask me how I know all this, at one time I had a memory like a USB stick. Everything I read, everything I was told, stuck inside me as if I had pressed control S.

What does it mean if every single thing on earth has a spark of divine in it? How should we treat it? How should we treat ourselves?

It's a question I used to ask a lot during my days as a Jewish educator, one which I heard echoed in my practice of yoga and meditation and one which I try to hold onto even now that I consider myself more "spiritual" than "religious".

On this day - this special, sacred day - I am not at services. I am lying in bed. I am fasting, but not because I am doing penance - because eating still makes me feel terrible. It is a selfish act, and one that has caused me to lose almost 17 pounds since my mastectomy surgery. It's forced me to spend way more time than feels comfortable in my bed, in my apartment, with nothing but my "divine" puppy to keep me company.

Being sick makes you selfish. It's a survival instinct. I need help, and I have learned to ask for that help, to monitor my body for the slightest twinge or lump or irregularity lest I miss something that speaks of spreading disease. I regret this selfishness, while also feeling powerless to do anything about it. I am sorry for so many things, so many mistakes, that I have done to others - whether knowingly or because of inattention. I want to start this year with a slate wiped clean just like everyone else. So I turned to my church, the church of writing.

There is a sharp line in my mind between regrets - which can feel like poison - and apology. Regrets are things I'm sorry I didn't do because they had direct consequences that impacted my life. I regret not knowing the cancer had metastasized to my bones before enduring chemo and all it's side effects. I regret not meeting my husband 10 years before and suffering through my twenties dating other people. Apology for me is not about wishing you could change things in the past. It's not a time machine to save yourself from pain. Apology is about growing as a person. It's about knowing you've done something that wasn't the best that you are capable of, and committing to doing a better job in the future.  I hope, with this list, to tread lightly on the place where those two things intersect.

Here are the things I am so sorry for right now:

I am sorry if you sent me a note, or a gift, or a text, or any other kind of tangible or intangible act of love and I did not get back to you with a personal and deeply heartfelt message of gratitude. I read them all, I need them to survive, but sometimes the act of expressing that is intolerable. I am scared of how much help I still need, terrified of how inadequate the words are, and also shamed by the time between my responses. I hope that if you read this you will know how truly grateful I am for your time and attention, and how much it heals me.

I am sorry for being selfish. For all the times you asked how I was doing and I did not ask back. I could blame it on exhaustion, or not feeling well, but at the end of the day I know that that's not good enough. I want to know how you are too, I really do, and for my thoughtless lack of attention to you I apologize.

I apologize if I indirectly made you feel bad about yourself. I know how deeply words and actions can cut, and I try whenever possible not to, but it still happens. Every single time it does it haunts me, because I can see so clearly where I could've done better. Hindsight is 20/20, but thoughtlessness can cut just as deeply as intentional wounds. For this I am so sorry.

I am sorry for caring about frivolous things when there are so many serious things in the world. I feel powerless against even fighting my own disease, and the problems of the world start to overwhelm me with their scope. I know giving up and focusing on superficial things is not the answer, but boy is it easier. I am sorry for taking the easy way out.

I'm sorry for gossiping behind peoples backs. I want to say it's because I care so deeply about other people and their lives - but it hurts when people talk about me behind my back, and I feel guilty for doing the same. I'm sorry for taking the easy way out and processing my feelings with other people instead of bringing them to you so we can work on them together. I'm sorry for not being a better friend.

Most of all I am sorry for not being grateful for every single blessing I do have. I'm sorry for feeling jealous, left behind, left out, isolated. I am truly blessed every single day, and when I let the dark thoughts creep in it only makes me feel worse. I'm sorry for counting someone else's blessings instead of counting my own.

I hope that you will except these apologies with what they are intended, a promise to try harder not to make the same mistakes in the coming year. If you forgive me, I promise to cherish that hard won gift and to pass it on to someone else. And if you need my forgiveness for something, you have it - I'm wiping last years slate clean and starting fresh this year for you also.

Lots of love on this day,
Dena




Book Club


I'm forming a book club with some of my friends and we are making a list of possible books. Would love some thoughts, feedback, suggestions, additions, subtractions, ideas for recipes and anything else we need to make a kick ass book club. Here's what's on our list right now...


Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll 


Popular by Lauren Urasek 


Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins




Are you wearing enough flair?




I predict this will be a thing very soon, slash already is....

For example, I've already seen a full page spread on a "flair" covered leather jacket and this Anya Hindmarch sticker bag has been popping up all over NYFW.


Pins are very personal, and the best ones reflect you. If you hated unicorns, you would never put a unicorn in your sticker book. This is like a more expensive, wearable adult sticker book.


Some great places to find pins + patches include:
Shopbop (for Anya Hindmarch)
Etsy I'm obsessed with the eye patches from CouCou Suzette, the tiny teeth from Hooptedoodle, and the delicately detailed nature pins from We Are Out of Office
Rosehound Apparel (who's limited and coveted designs frequently sell out, like these little darlings above that I scored last week)
Amazon (if you know exactly what you want, like a peace fingers emoji)
Valley Cruise Press (home of the BFF Dancing Girls Emoji pin)

Here they are on one of my vintage etsy purses (YES, pins leave holes, so don't stick them in anything too valuable, mmkay?) I feel like they took a very simple outfit and made it into something surprising and fun, that represented me. And isn't that what "Fashion" is all about?






The Prettiest Little DIY Fruit Fly Trap EVER




If you live somewhere warm you have probably dealt with fruit flies- those persistent little flying annoyances that seem to pop up at the end of summer/beginning of fall just to ruin the last few days of good weather. They are attracted to... fruit. But not just any fruit, fruit that is starting to break down, releasing its heady and beckoning sweetness.


Ripe or overripe fruit. They also love vinegar and anything else fermented because it's the ultimate in "rotten" fruit, distillers down to its most potent sweetness and bug appeal. Which is why this little trick works so well! What is wine/beer/sake/vinegar besides rotten fruit? Beautifully packaged of course! So instead of some ugly trap, why not nip these pests in the bud and also put out something that won't ruin your Pinterest worthy decor! 



what you need: 
Wine/vinegar/sake bottles that have not been rinsed out yet 
Liquid soap 
Water 

Fill the bottles almost to the top with water then add the liquid soap. The smell of the contents will attract the bugs into the bottle, then the soap makes it too slippery for them to fly out again and hey drown. Place in spots where you notice bugs congregating after doing a through cleaning and making sure any fruits/veg are properly and tightly stored. Empty traps daily and refill. I like to have different fill levels for different areas, sometimes they are lazy but sometimes they get away so you need to get them into that bottle! (two different levels pictured)

Note: If you can't smell the bottles anymore neither can the bugs, time to switch out for new ones!


Similar Decor Picks Under $30: Mason Jars | Faux Flowers  | Marble "tray" | Gold Tray  | Gold Cocktail Shaker 




The Bandana Dress

Bandana Dress | Janessa Leone Straw Hat | Black Sandals (similar, really REALLY want these!)




Galavanting around Jack London Square in My Bandana Dress

HH and I used to live in Jack London Square. He misses it a lot. I miss all the great photo backdrops (and the food and having our wine club within walking distance.) I also miss how funny it was when Fenway growled at Jack London's wolf statue. Ample sunshine equals abundant outdoor seating, which makes this an ideal spot for some oysters, some time with family and some photos.


See more of the bandana dress



















Bandana Dress | Janessa Leone Straw Hat | Black Sandals (similar, really want these!) | On HH: JCrew Men's Tall Shirt | Khorts (that's Khaki + Shorts) | Green Ball Cap (sim)

Classic white buttondown + YSL Camera Bag + Delicate Gold Accessories



I read on instagram that if you start dressing like it's fall then it becomes fall. Since I believe everything I read on the internt** I decided to try it but by using my summer staples (like light linen and my beloved clogs) put together with more fall pieces. The result is very Uma Thurman in pulp fiction because of the light hair... but I care not at all. Enjoy the pictures!













Jcrew Perfect Shirt in Linen (ON SUPER SALE!!) | Super Tiny Smiley Face Necklace | Thing Gold Bangle | Ruby Ring (family heirloom, try this thrifty alternative) | Bandana | YSL Camera Bag in Fuschia (on sale on Overstock!!) | Paige Jeans | Swedish Hasbeens Clogs  

Super fresh lob + Dark hair + Flares for Fall = perfect outfit






Steve is has been, in the gentlest and most loving way possible, letting me know that I am always gorgeous but... that he likes my hair dark. So I went dark. And after bathing in a luscious sea of compliments I was left with the unsettling thought... What else could he be right about?

So I dug through my clothes to find a pair of flares. Steve is obsessed with this look, and has made no secret of it. I had a pair which I had never warn (or gotten around to hemming) and threw them on in lieu of the yoga pants I live in. Nothing fancy here, just a basic tank and shoes high enough to protect the virgin hem. Grabbed my bag* and ran out the door. Again, people were so complimentary! Maybe they were just being nice, maybe it's because it's something new and therefore noticeable, but whatever, I will take it. Based on the amount of self-portraits I've been putting up I'm clearly not feeling amazing about how I look and asking for affirmation from the larger world. (Shocked that I know this about myself? I might be a narcissist but I am nothing if not self aware..)

What else could he be right about? I'm better at dressing him then he is at dressing himself... Could it be the inverse is also true? Mind. Blown.



*yes, I keep that bandana on there... I'm so into it right now!

Everlane Tote | Bandana  Basic Tank | Super Tiny Smiley Face Necklace |  FlaresKaren Walker Glasses





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