Yesterday was the most glorious day up here in Seattle. Blue, sunny, and warm enough to wear a t-shirt if you were out doing something energetic like leaf-blowing, hiking to a pretty lake, or lugging 30lb tubs of cat litter from your car to the garage. I wasn’t doing any of those things, but if I had been I’d have been in a t-shirt for sure. The weather was all the more remarkable because it was November 8th. NOVEMBER 8th!!! Last weekend the sun was setting at 6 pm, this week it’s dipping its lights at 4:40. Suddenly it’s all go to work in the dark and come home from work in the dark. And it all happened so quickly. Looking back, the whole year happened quickly, although it sure didn’t feel like it for much of the time.
November a year ago I was just getting ready to embark upon my third cookbook. On a side note, I made this dish from that book on Friday night when a friend came over for dinner, and boy! did we both have happy mouths afterwards.
This November I have just come off 2 heady months of fantastical road-tripping and shooting. How’s that for a shifting of gears and focus.
So much has happened in the last 12 months, and it’s a whole new world over at the Brown house and Marmalade HQ – all of it unexpected, and all of it good – but I am definitely having to recalibrate my thinking in order to navigate these new territories I find myself charting. One of those territories is self-care. Self-care has taken on a completely new meaning this last year, and it has become a hugely important aspect of my being in the world.
I learned that self-care – which looks different for everyone – is vital to surviving and thriving in this crazy world. I learned that self-care – a happy, healthy, balanced Carrie – is the best thing that I can offer to the people who are important to me. When I mention ‘people that are important to me’, I want you to know that includes you. Yes, YOU. Even though I know almost none of you personally, I care about your health and well-being. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this blog or creating new *SANE recipes for you. During the course of what has been an entirely crazy year, it has occurred to me more than a few hundred times that for me to give you what you deserve from my work, I need to be the best Carrie I can be – and that requires self-care. You don’t deserve a tired, stressed, overwhelmed, and out-of-balance Carrie. You deserve the best – my whole creative self, my energy, my passion, and yes, my love. Sorry for the sap but it’s true. Just keepin’ it real.
So this year I’ve been working on self-care, although admittedly it took a crisis for me to recognize that it was vital to my existence as well as making me more useful to the world. In addition I learned that being healthy includes so many more things than eating good food and exercising. Like pedicures. Pedicures are definitely included in my own personal version of self-care.
It used to be that I equated pedicures with getting color on my toenails, something that I was more than capable of achieving myself and without having to get dressed, pull the car out the garage, drive, be trapped in a chair for an hour with someone who spoke a different language, wait, pay $30, and then drive again. Yes. I could definitely paint my own toenails – so much faster, cheaper, and more effectively than having someone else do it. Nowadays I see pedicures in a whole new light, which is why today I had a pedicure that did not include getting color on my toenails. Wait. What??
Pedicures mean a blissful hour out of the house and away from the bajillion things within it clamoring for my attention. For an hour I sit still and listen to beautiful, soothing music. My back and neck get a relaxing deep tissue massage while I loll in an oh-so-comfortable leather chair. For 60 magical minutes I experience the healing powers of human touch as my feet and lower legs are massaged, exfoliated, and richly moisturized. One glorious hour of freedom from all forms of technology. Heavens to Betsy! That’s time to think – or not – as the mood takes me. The rough, gnarly bits that build up on my heels are gently smoothed away. There’s toenail and cuticle trimming, and swathes of skin-softening moisturizer. Which all adds up to an hour of peace, quiet, rest, and relaxation – something that is impossible to build into a 2½-minute lick of color to my toenails while sitting crouched on my bathroom floor listening to the *ping, ping, ping* of my cell phone and laptop merrily demanding attention. Toenail polish aside, when you’re in the house how hard is it to just sit and be for an hour? How often do you allow yourself to lie on the couch listening to beautiful music after having switched off all forms of electronic gadgetry? Yep. One year later and I’m all about the health benefits of getting my tootsies done at a salon.
So I just wanted to stop by and share my new-found take on the magical powers of the humble pedicure. Pedicures, I have concluded, are sane. Maybe not all in capitals, given that they are not something one ingests, but definitely sane. Over the last year I have come to recognize that not only do we need *SANE, we also need sane. Things like the things in this list. And pedicures. Go on, go get yourself one.
Whatever makes you feel good, do more of that.