Home/Tag: love

New Art: You Are My Very Favorite

You are my very favorite! Come see the latest original Art work by Stephanie Martel. Click through to read more about where the inspiration for this piece came from. Prints available on Etsy.

“Be with those who help your being”  -Rumi

This sweet girl came from a spot of honest truth, because who doesn’t like to be a favorite?

Some people feel it’s taboo to pick favorites, but I think in life it’s ok to let some know that they are your #1.  (Even if it’s just for a short time.)  We all need to be appreciated deeply and this girl will help you say it.

So go ahead, tell someone today that they are your very favorite.  You’ll both be thrilled.

Prints available in my shop.

Love, Steph

New Art: You Are My Very Favorite2018-03-29T20:23:07-04:00

I Got Married.

wedding kiss

I’ve been a little MIA on here, but I have a good reason…

On May 16th I married a kind-hearted and generous man, who is the love of my life. The morning started with a rain shower, but ultimately, the day was perfect.  It was something I had always dreamed of–not the actual wedding, but marrying someone I loved with every ounce of my being.

It was a dream I held close to my heart but as time went on, I wasn’t sure it was going to happen.  It felt like maybe that feeling, that sort of life, was for other people–not me.  I was getting older, the odds began to feel like they were stacked against me.

Still, I kept my heart open. I knew that if I had faith and stayed true to myself, I would end up in the right spot. And that, I did.

That’s when I found Chris.  Thanks to chance, good timing and my big mouth, three years ago we were set up on a blind date.  From the very beginning we both played no games and put it all out there–who we were, what we wanted + why.  I’m not saying we didn’t hit some bumps along the way, (because we did) but we came together as two complete people looking to share ourselves.  It was invigorating.

So if you’re out there still searching for love, please don’t ever give up hope; it’s never too late and there is always time. You, as much as anyone else, deserve love unconditionally.

I promise this kind of love, the take-your-breath-away-is-this-really-happening kind,  is waiting for you too.






I Got Married.2018-03-29T20:23:10-04:00

New Art: You Are So Very Special

I may not know you, but I know you’re special.   And here’s why: no matter who you are , there is good in you that you share everyday.  You have been kind to people and shown them love.  Sharing this love + kindness is what connects us all and brings us together.  And how you do that is what makes you special; there are so many ways.

That’s where the inspiration for this painting came from–it’s so important for us all to remember how special we are because when we feel loved and appreciated for who we are, we can share that feeling with others, and help them do the same.  It’s a win-win, friends.

So very special

This sweet girl is a new print in my shop and I had so much fun making her! The sentiment has been in my mind for some time, I was just waiting for the right girl to use it on (my favorite is the butterfly at her collar, by the way.)  And she came to me at the perfect time to share with you.

So here is Lola, the newest addition to my girls series.  Here’s what the print looks like:

desk shot you are so special

I hope you enjoy her as much as I do!  You are so very special, friend. <3


New Art: You Are So Very Special2019-01-09T21:28:05-05:00

My Day With The Dalai Lama

You guys!  The Dalai Lama came to Princeton a few weeks ago and I got to see him speak.  I like to think of myself as a buddho-christian so this was an exciting opportunity for me–only 4ooo tickets were available for the event and his last speaking engagement was to over 100,000 people.  Whoa.  Luckily, my sister worked a little magic and…voila!  We were in.  I was beyond excited.

Me and liv

I have always been intrigued by Buddhism; something about this religion’s message always resonated in a deep part of me.  I’ve dabbled in meditation + chanting, and I’m a big fan of Pema Chodron, but I was raised Catholic.  And, well,  sometimes I feel conflict about connecting with the ideas and a leader of a different religion, even as an adult.  Almost like I’m cheating on my religion?  Anyway, I’m getting over it; I just can’t ignore the peace + clarity that the Buddhist beliefs bring me.

And it was even more so after visiting India and Nepal seven years ago.  It’s a long story, but I pretty much ended up on my death bed in the middle of a Nepalese village.  It was a medically freak occurrence that brought me to a precarious state, but the kind people I encountered there saved my life.  Their way of life makes so much sense to me–they believe in compassion, forgiveness and tolerance; they value human lives over things.  I’m convinced their practice of these beliefs is how I made it back home in one piece.

dalai lama signSo when I got home from that trip, I started digging around about Buddhism–I wanted to understand it better.  And the more I dug, the more I liked it.

For example: the Dalai Lama believes that despite philosophical differences, all major world religions have the same potential to create good human beings.  That really resonates with me because, isn’t that what it’s all about?  Individual choice to believe our own way of becoming a better version of ourselves?

We all want to be ‘good human beings’.  And the ability to practice religion is such a precious and necessary component of any culture–multiple and different religions offer a range of perspectives–that’s how we learn and grow.  It’s how we become tolerant, how we learn acceptance.

Suppporters of the Dalai Lama

So armed with this information I’ve gathered over the years, I understandably felt a little buzzed on the day of the Dalai Lama talk.  I was going to see THE man.

The amazing energy of all of the kind, compassionate + devoted people that gathered for the day brought a peaceful, but  intense feeling to the campus.  There were groups from communities all over, showing support and respect for their holy leader.  They sang and danced and dressed in their beautiful robes–I literally got choked up a few times watching them!


Even though we were in the upper level for the talk, it still felt like a small gathering–you could literally hear a pin drop.  Everyone was in awe of him; I think it was because we all felt like we were in the presence of a living legend.  Regardless of your religion, it’s hard to dispute the fact that the Dalai Lama has had a major impact on humanity + the world as a whole with his teachings.

View of talk

Throughout the talk, he was happy + childlike, which was an amazing surprise; he giggled a lot and was playful.  He got a Princeton baseball hat as a gift when he was introduced, and  he popped it on + wore it for most of the talk.  Such a cool dude.

DL in baseball cap

There were even peaceful protestors outside before and after the event!  They were able to share their truth, too. (SO important.)


 So here are a few basic ideas I took away from his talk:

  • Affection and kindness are the answer; no amount of money can create true happiness and inner peace.
  • Compassion and kindness expand the human nervous system.  Anger and hatred shrinks the brain in development. (I’m pretty sure he cited some studies of this)
  • We need more education about inner values–how to develop them within ourselves–and create this secular education of whole heartedness in schools.
  • Trust and fear cannot go together.
  • The real meaning of forgiveness is reacting without anger.
  • Read different views of topics that come up in your life and use critical thinking to come to your own conclusions.  Don’t accept things at face value or how they are presented.
  • Our life depends on hope and the belief that it exists; when you don’t have hope, there is no purpose and it’s easy to give up + believe in the bad.
  • We are closest as a society when we feel we are all the same and are connected.

The levity of his talk stayed with me for days and made me feel really, really good. It was a confirmation that even though it’s not the religion I was born into, I can explore other ideologies when they ring true with me (and not be afraid).  Trusting the path of growing and learning new things can be a wonderful, enlightening experience–peace + joy come in many forms.  And I feel like challenging myself occasionally about what I believe + stand for, helps me grow.






My Day With The Dalai Lama2018-03-29T20:23:13-04:00

The Beauty of Rituals. {How a Bridal Shower Opened My Heart.}


Rituals are a part of most growth moments. Click through to read how I had my own moment at a bridal shower and how it's changed my view of them forever.


What’s the first word you think of when you hear you’re invited to a bridal shower? The ones that come to my mind usually are: ‘ugh’, ‘boring’ and ‘I hope they’re serving wine’.  But I have to admit–I was caught off guard at a recent shower.  It was inspiring and moving in ways I didn’t anticipate.

It got me thinking about rituals and the purpose they serve in our lives. I was raised a strict catholic, so I am no stranger to rites and rituals–I can say pretty much the whole catholic mass verbatim (the old version, anyway), so I was ready for the onslaught of typical shower events.  But this shower was different;  It wasn’t so much about the pomp +circumstance (it was a display shower! How cool is that?!), but it was more about blending families and having fun.

It reminded me that rituals are actually pretty cool.  They’re about the progression of life–being present as we shed the old and embrace the new.  With a ritual, we share our transition and move forward to a new phase of our lives; It’s presence + love + growth in action.  

Because rituals are the markers we use to recognize our growth; it’s how we distinguish one life event from the next. And the tribe we share it with, helps us through that transition. They support us as we say, I’m changing and I want you to see how.

From this experience, I realized my view of showers had been a tad immature: from the outside, these events often felt a little boring and repetitive. But maybe it was just me; because if I was paying attention, I would have seen past the gifts + cake + games. I would have appreciated the day for what it was: a gathering of a tribe.

It got me thinking about my own personal milestones and the people who have carried me through them: family, friends and even strangers helping me to that next step of life.  I have been blessed by gentle souls ushering me through my own journey and yet I often took it for granted.  Now I understand why my mom was so adamant about a sweet 16 party for me (when I could care less); she wanted to move me along to adulthood and  wanted the people in my life to support that growth, too.

At the end of the shower, I was a little sad to leave the happy bubble. Maybe it was just the sparkle of the sun or me enjoying my new perspective, but I carried that warmth with me for the next couple of days. That’s the great thing about rituals–the things you look at can change in an instant, all you have to do is be open to seeing them differently.





The Beauty of Rituals. {How a Bridal Shower Opened My Heart.}2018-03-29T20:23:17-04:00

Link Love + A Golden Anniversary

Hey there!  Here are some ramblings from my week/end…

Before C and I set out on our road trip to Connecticut on Saturday, we stopped by Cafe Volan for some tea and biscuits (how very British).  They get their pastries from Balthazar Bakery in the city– yum!


After revving up with coffee/tea and biscuits, C and I headed north for my aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary party. Talk about monumental!  When was the last time you heard someone being married for 50 years?  It’s a wonderful testament to their love.

I was touched to be a part of the fun night–they renewed their vows, and we danced and ate the night away.  I even talked to a few cousins I had never met before!  It was an inspiring and love filled night~I carried the feeling home with me that anything is possible…


On Sunday, the pumpkin garden officially became spooky!  Here are the before, during and after pictures–the carving was fun and I think the end result was pretty awesome.  The glow of the lit up pumpkins reminded me of all the loot I collected from trick-or-treating.  I remember making that candy stretch until Easter some years!


Link Love

Some of my favorite links around the web this week:

I just got these Shiva Oil Paintstiks, I can’t wait to use them this week!

Mikael Cho says physical clutter overloads your senses, making you feel stressed, and impairs your ability to think creatively so here are 4 ways to master clutter.

Frye boots are made so amazingly!  I’m swooning over these booties: Carmen X Stitch Short.

Introducing Blondie, the living room lion.  These pictures are wild!

What can I say?  Love is in the air from the celebration this weekend–here’s a cute post on how you can define love.





Link Love + A Golden Anniversary2018-03-29T20:23:22-04:00
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