Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Proper Modern Mountain Woman: Laura Leavitt

I am inspired by people and their stories, that's why I love reading blogs so much. When it comes to juicy gossip in tabloid magazines or knowing more of the thoughts and every day doings of the people around me... I would definitely choose the later. I am especially interested by every day women and womanhood. There are so many of us living such different lives, pushing along, growing, and bettering ourselves. We all have different challenges and mountains to climb. I believe that as women we are all inspired by different kinds of beauty and also creating beauty in our own lives. I feel strengthened and inspired when I get to learn the details of those things in other ladies.

I'm starting a new segment here on the Girls Pearls and Powder blog called 'Better Know a Proper Mountain Woman'. Each segment will feature a different woman answering the same ten questions. I've interviewed three ladies so far, and was delighted at how differently they answered the questions! I hope it somehow inspires you, like it inspires me, in your own proper mountain woman pursuits...

Better Know a Proper Mountain Woman: Laura Leavitt
Laura is a 30 year-old graphic designer who currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and new born baby daughter. She is one of my favorite people in the world, and has inspired me to be a better person for over a decade now. I was going through her blog today, trying to find the perfect picture to use here, and ran into this post she did in 2008... Woman's Study. Read it and find out why she is one of my favorite proper mountain woman, to be a lady who can "skin a cat and wear it" is my ultimate goal in life.

1. Where is your favorite outdoor refuge where you live right now?

We are lucky to live across the street from Prospect Park. It's the park from storybooks and movies. There are all kinds of dogs with their matching human dog-walkers, picnics, book readers, runners, cyclists, unicyclists, squirrels, raccoons, cardinals, acorns, ducks, swans, turtles sunning themselves, waterfalls, rolling hills, dense woods, old gazebos, a lake, an ice skating rink that turns roller-skating in the summertime, spiders, rastafarians, orthodox jews, yuppies, celebs, wedding couples getting photos taken, quincenara girls, and the best playgrounds for kids you've ever seen. I'm not kidding. This park is such a great public space. And you really can find your own little space to hang out without being bothered. Unlike Central Park, there aren't tourists. I love it.

My other refuge is cycling 18 miles to work and back most days of the week. It's an endless path of lethal obstacles on cracking concrete, but that's what's fun about it. It feels adventurous. You feel really free on a bike here.

2. What do you do to feel creative? What is your creative outlet?

Oh man. Although I work as a designer, it's tough to get a project that actually feels like a creative outlet. I guess my answer is that I'm a dreamer. I've got plans. I'm simultaneously working right now on a language-learning iphone app, a stop motion film, ideas for an etsy shop, writing a comic blog and a novel. These plans are important to me because they make me feel free from my usual role as just someone's employee. And I seriously hope they all get done someday.

3. What is your favorite mountain? 

My hometown sky would topple over without Timpanogos holding it up. I just can't do without Timp. But there's a piece of my heart in Zion canyon too. No matter how many times I go, Zion's sheer cliff faces still shock me.

4. What would you say is a mountain that you have conquered in life?

Isn't just living and breathing saying you've conquered a million mountains? Sometimes my life feels like that. There's always some ugly, stupid, muddy mountain you've got to climb and just shut up about. I guess right now I'm really proud that I took the leap to marry my husband, Wayne, although he stopped believing in Mormonism years before we got married. It was a really tough decision to make for me because I definitely still believe and the church is very important to me. I think there are and will always be people who are disappointed about it, maybe just passers-by at church who don't know Wayne and see me sitting alone with my daughter. Sometimes people approach me with a little wink and a nod like we'll secretly work together to bring him back behind his back. Sometimes it's just internally hard to know that you're socially positioned just left of your own culture and people; there are definitely instances when I label myself as a little bit of an outsider, especially compared to stay at home moms at church. But I don't think God sees me or Wayne like that. I think we're both still his sheep climbing our mountains and each trying to live the best life we can.

5. Your sweet little girl will be one this summer, have you thought about teaching your little one etiquette? Do you know how you will do that? Is etiquette important to you?

Right now one of her favorite things is grabbing handfuls of buttery pasta and throwing it on the ground so it's hard to imagine Mable using etiquette someday. I'm traditionally a complete clod when it comes to manners, but Wayne is absolutely suave and considerate. I learn from him all the time. He refills your glass before you can ask, teaches me how to properly set the table based on silverware assortment, and actually uses a folded napkin in his lap, even at home. I am very glad that he's around to teach Mable proper etiquette.

6. What do you do to feel motivated when you are feeling lazy, or you feel like you are in a rut?

I just have to drag myself out of bed and keep going. Sometimes that's all I can do. I try so hard not to compare myself and avoid looking at people's perfect life pictures on resumes and social media. For me, I've got to stay grateful and remember how my all-loving Heavenly Father sees me. Otherwise I start comparing myself and start reliving every time I was ever rejected by a job, a boyfriend, etc. That sort of thinking is the worst.

7. What daily routine do you have to help you feel more feminine or more like a proper lady?

I look better with just a quick application of eye liner and mascara. I do it most days. I'm a pretty passionate breastfeeder too. To me, breastfeeding feels noble, like a worthy and loving sacrifice I'm willing to make for my daughter.

8. What is your favorite fingernail polish brand and color?

I'm up in the air about brands right now. Any recommendations out there? I'm so into bright colors these days: reds, oranges, neons? Yes. I'll take them.

9. What is your favorite song that you've been listening to?

"Dark in My Heart" by Lee Hazelwood. It's just so good. And he's a cowboy.

10. What new hobbies or skills are you currently pursuing? Do you ever feel nervous about trying something new?

I like to prove to myself that I can do new, scary things. It's something I have to do to feel more alive no matter how much it hurts. Things I have done to prove a point to myself: scuba diving and swimming classes, long-distance running, learning new software, coding tutorials. I was an nonathletic luddite growing up. I'm currently enrolled in a user experience design class that's a bit out of my comfort zone.

I'd like to thank Laura for letting me interview her for this blog. I chose these questions based on the theme of the blog... climbing mountains, etiquette, trying new things, and being feminine. I hope it is as inspiring and fun to read for you, as it is for me.

Peace and pine trees,

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