Category

Heart

Elegy for a Tree

In Heart

The Wholesome Handbook - Elegy for a Tree

All day, the buzzing of a chainsaw.

Outside the window, there was a man in the box of a white bucket truck, wearing a fluorescent orange vest with silver reflectors down the shoulders and slim alien-eye sunglasses. The man was hoisted up into the sky, and he was slicing the branches off of the grand old tree next door. One by one, they fell to the ground in a sickening whoosh, early autumn leaves and sawdust erupting into the air on impact, like confetti from a cannon.

The little blue house next door, home of the tree, has been empty for a whole year. The last tenants had a ratty old hammock that they strung up between the branches of that tree. Jackrabbits would nap between the roots. The neighbourhood cats, illegally outdoors, would watch with hunter’s anxiety as the squirrels darted up and around the trunk, chattering incessantly about whatever squirrels talk about. Crows would gather on the branches, noble and noisy, surveying the alleyway below.

The sky looks naked now. The light in my living room is different.

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I’m Not Special, and That’s Okay.

In Heart

This last birthday, my 28th, was rough.

That beautiful June day, I woke up at five in an anxious sweat, pulled on a sweater, climbed the hill, and watched the sun rise over the city. And although I knew that I should be relishing the wet dew of the morning, the apricot light glinting from the face of the Bow, and the fact that I managed to make it another year without pitching my life into total disaster, I sat on that hill and I cried and cried and cried.

I remember joking as a teenager that I’d never live past 27, because what was the point? All the greats die young, and I was certain I was meant to be great. On that hill, tear-stained and panicking, all the nasty little voices that like to hang out in my head repeated it again. My life is over. I wasted it. I’m used up. I missed all my chances.

I went back to bed. And I spent the entire day there, sleeping, thinking, and mourning. I mourned what I saw as a wasted youth. I mourned my ‘deteriorating’ looks. I mourned my worth as a human being – turns out that being cognizant of the fact that women are socialized to understand that our societal value (read: our fuckability) plummets after 20 doesn’t mean you’re immune to feeling like crap about it. I felt shoved off of a throne I didn’t even know I sat upon. I mourned opportunity. I mourned wonder.

Birthdays used to feel like a new opportunity, every new age a new identity to try out. Now they’re just terrifying. I used to laugh at women who dreaded getting older, chalking it up to vanity and frivolousness. Now I get it. I do.

When you’re young, you feel like you’re going to be young forever. And then one day, you’re not.

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The WH Gift Guide // 2016

In Heart

The Wholesome Handbook - 2016 Gift Guide

This year’s gift list is for the gal in your life with poetry in her soul. You know the one. The dreamer. The one with her head in the clouds and her feet (which are usually bare) only skimming the ground. The one with stars in her eyes. She’s always off in her own world, probably riding a celestial unicorn or something, but sometimes she touches back down to earth just long enough to make it onto your Christmas list.

This collection was curated to inspire her, spark her imagination, and to make her feel as pretty as Cassiopeia herself. There’s a bit of sparkle, some artisan charm, and I can’t believe it, but I’m disclosing my favourite under-the-radar antique place. Continue reading

Married

In Heart

paige andrew married 0386

On September 5th, we were married in a relic of a hay barn, surrounded by century-old schoolhouses, a clutch of little marks on an endless stretch of Alberta prairie. The heavens gifted us the good omen of torrential rain and freezing winds.

Nothing on this day was not touched by the hands that also made us. My mother, with an army of our nearest and dearest, hung swaths of silk from the rafters and laid vintage saris down for an aisle. My aunt crafted the most beautiful florals I have ever set my eyes upon. My grandmother guided my hands and told me stories from her farm-grown childhood as we baked 20 pies together in my mother’s kitchen, a dozen dogs patiently waiting at our feet for scraps.

My little brothers worked tirelessly – escorting folks through the rain, running errands, rescuing bridesmaids. Our brother-in-law married us with the kindness and humour we love him for. My girls kept me sane. Every last person helped us set up, party, and tear down.

And our incomparably talented friend Brittany captured it all for us. These are a few of my favourite images from the day.

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Surviving the World With a Tender Heart

In Heart, Soul

Surviving the World With a Tender Heart - The Wholesome Handbook

I’m sensitive.

I have a heart that breaks every single day. I frequently suffer from sensory overload – I get anxious in crowds, in cars. I hate bars and parties. I’m easily spooked and easily offended. Cereal commercials make me cry.

I am also intuitive, empathetic, passionate, and poetic. I see beauty in humble places. The smallest things manage to take my breath away in wonder and awe. I am easily moved and quick to love.

There is a lot of shame surrounding sensitivity. We don’t exactly live in a culture that celebrates those of us who walk a softer, more complicated path. But I happen to think that we are badass warriors, blessed with a deeper understanding of joy, pain, sorrow, and beauty. We are so significantly affected by people, places, and other stimuli because we understand the implications, the repercussions, the rich complexity behind every minor detail.

It’s tough out there for those of us who feel deeply. It took me 26 years to figure out what I needed to not merely survive, but to thrive as a sensitive person. Of course, I wholly believe that you’ve got this – but if you’re ever in need of a little respite, it helps to remember a few simple things.

 

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DIY Gold-Dipped Ring Cones

In Heart

DIY Ring Cones - The Wholesome Handbook

Saturday’s full Wolf Moon has got me reeling, feeling chaotic and inspired and stressed right out. All this week I’ve been squeezing blood from stones and peering over cliff edges into the vast abyss of uncertainty. I impulsively sheared nine inches (and thus five years) of hair off. It’s been a weird couple of days.

Sometimes when I’m feeling a little out of control, it helps to make something simple and pretty, to return to that blessed place of creativity and concentration. It’s my home. It’s where I find peace. And I was in serious need of some jewelry storage options, so here we are.

These ring cones turned out even better than I had hoped – I especially love the marbled ones! They would make lovely and unique gifts for the girl who has everything, and they take less than an hour from start to finish.

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Love Potion No. 1 – DIY Rosewater

In Heart

DIY Rosewater - The Wholesome Handbook

Roses have enchanted humanity for centuries. They’re voluptuous, sweet, and intoxicating, with petals as fragrant and soft as the curve of a lover’s wrist. They’re a metaphor for life itself – the buds unfurling into audacious and flamboyant beauty, the thorns eager to draw blood at the first unassuming touch.

Cleopatra loved roses. It is said that her vast estates were carpeted with petals, and that servants and royalty alike walked barefoot upon them, anklets chiming. When Aphrodite emerged from the ocean, dripping and glorious, the seafoam that slid down her divine breasts bloomed into roses of the purest white. Clay tablets from the ancient temples of Ur detail a delivery of 30,000 jars of rosewater to the Sultan of Baghdad’s harem. Roses are tokens of love and beauty, the most iconic of les fleurs, the goddesses of greenery. They’re Love Potion No. 1.

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Simple Wreath DIY

In Heart

Simple Wreath DIY - The Wholesome Handbook

I’m a heartfelt advocate for making things by hand. If you don’t mind a bit of a mess, if you have a little bit more time to invest, and if the resources are readily available, I always say you should try making something at least once. You end up appreciating the fruits of your handiwork so much more than a store-bought version. The result is always far more charming, wonderfully soulful and imperfect. Luckily, the holiday season is upon us, and there are infinite opportunities to stretch your DIY muscles – gifts, food, decor – the world is your oyster. Wreaths are a good start – ridiculously easy to make, inexpensive, and a very fragrant and lovely way to spend an afternoon.

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Small Gifts for the Wild Woman

In Heart

 

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The trees are skeletal, the rabbits are turning a brilliant white, and the wind has teeth. If you’re anything like me, it’s starting to feel like the first flirtations of Christmas.

I love this time of year. It’s the smell of spiced cider and roast meat, the warmth of furs and candlelight, the high spirits and low inhibitions. Christmas is a season of love and music and human connection, comfort and wonder. It is, of course, also a time to give.

We all know a wild woman. She practices pleasure and beauty and indulgence. She doesn’t shy from the mysteries or the darkness. She walks barefoot in the world, so to speak, and asks many questions. The ideal gift for such a woman could be anything from a perfectly ripe pomegranate to an ancient manuscript, but if you’ve only got $15  and a list of other folks to ruminate on, I recommend the following.

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Cabin in the Woods

In Heart

The Wholesome Handbook

The Wholesome Handbook

The Wholesome Handbook

The Wholesome Handbook

The Wholesome Handbook

The Wholesome Handbook

The Wholesome Handbook

The Wholesome Handbook

The Wholesome Handbook
We took this last week off and escaped to a little woodfire-heated cabin off the grid. We ate bacon and eggs and strong coffee, wandered in snowy foothills, and visited with the horses. I read an entire book by candlelight in one sitting, the fire crackling merrily away in the corner, and Andrew worked on his novel. We didn’t see another soul for three entire days. It was utter bliss.