Highlights

On combating restlessness…

Since we last caught up, that was something I aimed for as I maneuvered through the week, understanding that when this feeling arises in life, it’s likely a sign from the universe to shake things up, however big or small you choose. And while I began the process of working through a big area in my life by becoming really honest with myself  – I chose to take the smaller, more subtle route, for much of it.

Little tweaks here and there: experimenting with a new make-up technique, listening to new music, subscribing to a new magazine (and only $5 thanks to Groupon!); or taking a conscious moment to enjoy the simplest of pleasures: connecting with other bloggers during an engaging Twitter chat, watching YouTube videos for much-needed life inspiration from my favorite thought-provokers…along with a few of these special moments, started to add up and help combat that unwelcome feeling:

Urth Waffles

{Taking myself to lunch for the first in ages at one of my favorite places. And trust me, waffles help with whatever is going on in life. Immensely.}

1-DSC01307

{Enjoying a bright nail polish after a relaxing at home pedicure.}

FLOWERS

{They say money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy a $4 bouquet of flowers for myself from Trader Joe’s and that’s pretty much the same thing.}

Let all your life out

{Words that spoke to me while visiting  the “Made in LA” exhibition at the Hammer Museum: “Let all your life out.”}

Looking forward to a warm weekend ahead. We’re headed out to my old stomping grounds, The O.C. as you may know, to The Orange County Fair. I promise NOT to overindulge…well, too much. Have a great weekend! xx Blog Signature Official_FINAL


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Highlights

ATG FINAL

{Laguna Beach, dusk.}

There’s nothing like a summer night. I was at a wedding last weekend where I stepped outside for a few minutes and saw this incredible view! We were about 2 blocks from the beach. What a sight to see the sun setting over the water. What is it about staring at the ocean and inhaling the gentle breeze that just makes the mind start to wander?

And wander it did.

Truth be told, I’ve been restless lately. I’m taking it as a sign that it’s time for some changes. I suppose it’s life’s way of nudging us forward…or in an entirely new direction altogether. I can pinpoint exactly where this restlessness is coming from. It’s just a matter of making a decision on what to do about it and acting on it. It’s when you don’t, that it seems to seep into just about everything else in your life – or at least that’s my experience with it.

Despite this feeling that’s been following me around lately, it’s been a good week overall. I’m gearing up to co-produce a pretty intense, yet deliciously interesting documentary project, which means the summer is about to get busier!

I also went to my first yoga class in ages this week and boy, have I missed my practice. Even when I’m laying in shavasana thinking about how I can’t wait to get home and eat that aforementioned chicken lasagna (which you’re NOT supposed to be doing if you’re performing the pose right), it still felt so invigorating to be back in a yoga studio, breathing deeply, and doing something completely good for myself. This is what yoga is for me: a space in which I know, without fail, that I am consciously taking the time to take care of and connect with myself. Perhaps as I continue with my practice and think through my restlessness, answers will find their way to me much more gracefully and naturally, than me trying to fight my way toward them.

I’ve been wondering as I write this how others deal when life becomes a little too restless. This seems to be part of a larger cycle in life. And not in a sense where it’s just a day or two here and there, but when you have a feeling that somehow the days just melt into one another. Does a drastic change help? Do smaller alterations make the difference? Is it as simple as adjusting my routine? A new hairstyle? Expanding my circle?

The good news is that in spite of all this, I know that there’s much to be grateful for and always look for that when that wandering mind takes over.

It’ll be another low-key weekend here. And perhaps this is part of the problem now that I think about it. I enjoy quiet weekends as much as anyone. Oftentimes, you need that slower pace to re-charge. But I think my spirit is telling me that that road trip I’ve always wanted to take to the Grand Canyon needs to happen sooner than later. Perhaps my spirit just needs a little more adventure, to stop with all the planning, and get to the business of doing.

Have a nice weekend! I hope it finds you far from restless and taking in these amazing summer nights!

Highlights

Life Lately ATG FINAL


You know how the moment you mentally pat yourself on the back about something, the universe has a way of having the last laugh?

I was just telling someone not too long ago that it’s been awhile since I’ve had a “brush with the law.” Let me preface this by saying that we’re not talking arrests here, boys and girls. I’m referring to traffic-related incidents of the speeding/parking ticket variety only. I’ve made it a point to be on-top of being an upstanding citizen. I don’t have a record (and plan to keep it that way), but this phrase just sounds so much more deliciously dramatic!

Anywho…

So there I was watching someone get a ticket for what appeared to be a moving violation of some sort and turning and saying, “You know what? I can’t even remember the last ticket I got? It’s been forever, years!” I mentally smiled to myself and moved on about my day.

It’s a near daily thing to see someone get pulled over in LA. Likely for texting while driving, perhaps speeding; but it’s ALL too common to see parking tickets being handed out like free perfume samples in a department store. I mean, if you have ever experienced parking a car in Los Angeles – you have to (HAVE TO) develop a fine-tuned skill set at reading parking signs. And I thought I had mastered that…until last Wednesday night.

After an engaging book club discussion at one of my favorite cafes – I thought I would treat myself to a piece of cake to take home from their bakery. This required standing in line again. I didn’t care. I just pictured myself freshly showered, curled up in bed with a huge slice of cake on my lap, and my Kindle in my hand losing myself in my most recent book once I got home to end a good day.

I know exactly where things went wrong. As I walked away from my car (on the exact same street I’ve parked several times before, no less!) I wasn’t thinking and mis-read the sign. The street becomes permit parking only after 9:00pm. I’m usually done with my book club a few minutes before then, but that night we got into the most fascinating discussion…then I went on a mission for that slice of cake.

As I walked back to my car with my $7.00 slice of blue velvet cake, I recall being happy after some much-needed female bonding time. However, the closer I got to my car, the more something didn’t feel right. And there it was. Bright, white, and glaring at me. A parking ticket.

And you know what? I didn’t get mad at all. In fact, I started laughing.

Naturally, the moment I declared how great I had been at avoiding those infamous parking tickets, a few weeks later, one arrives, breaking my 6 year record. (There really is something to the “Law of Attraction.”)

I looked at the time on the dash when I got into my car: 9:24pm. I looked at the time on the ticket: 9:04pm. I missed it by 20 minutes…because of a frosted covered carb craving.

So I did what any gal had to do. As I drove home, I started to rethink my budget to accommodate this unexpected expense.

Once I updated my records with the new game plan after arriving home, I moved on with my evening as planned. I showered, grabbed my now $75.00 slice of blue velvet cake, read for an hour or so, and went to bed.

The highlight of my week? The universe having the last laugh at me…and me laughing along. 🙂

Aside from this small tale, I’m happy to share that I’m crossing things off my summer bucket list! I found a great new yoga studio and look forward to my first class this weekend.

With that, the weekend will also find me hastily finalizing my look for a beach wedding I’m going to on Saturday evening….and, of course, taking care of that $68.00 parking ticket.

And p.s. – it’s not something I’d make a habit of…but that slice of cake gave me two night’s worth of dessert and was totally worth it!

Happy weekend to you! xx


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100 Happy Days: The 1st 50

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I’m nearing the end of the 100 Happy Days Challenge, with 9 days left to go! By nature, I always try to find gratitude in my life and in every situation, even when things aren’t going so well. This doesn’t mean that I don’t ever sulk because I certainly can, and do. But even during those times, I make it a point to always find a piece of joy in the day and be grateful for it. (Then I might feel better and move on, or continue to sulk – it just depends). 🙂

So the challenge for me wasn’t so much in finding something to smile about everyday, but remembering to document it and keep track of what day I was on! And even though I’ve spent much of my time over the last few years really being mindful about finding the joy in the little things, this was still different. Over the last 91 days, I’ve had to consciously stop at least once in the day to think about what I wanted my 100 Happy Days post to be, while also being completely accountable at consistency. And that’s where the challenge lies, to keep going no matter what type of day (or series of days) you’re having. You’re still looking for that moment that brought even the tiniest sprinkle of happiness, snapping a picture, and posting it. Every. Single. Day. For 100 days.

Admittedly, there was one day where I took the picture, but forgot to post it. (Doh!) I simply put it up on Twitter first thing the next morning when I realized I’d forgotten, found a new post for that day later in the afternoon, and kept going.

I thought it would be fun to look back at the 1st 50 days on the challenge and reminisce. Interestingly (though not surprisingly), it seems many of my days find that moment of joy when there’s good food or iced vanilla lattes involved (don’t judge!). But, I also adore the simplicity of many of the posts – I’m not necessarily out doing anything big or special. I can clearly see that joy did and does come in the small things most days. It’s in looking up at the sky admiring that trademark LA sunshine through the trees and clouds, it’s starting a new book on my kindle, smelling a beautiful bouquet of roses that my boyfriend gave me, drinking a cup of tea, or watching an old movie.

I’m proud to say, I can see the finish line just a few more days ahead. I look forward to sharing the last 50 days with you when I complete the challenge in early July.

This has truly been a great exercise in finding happiness in my day, every day. Here are the moments from Day #1 to Day #50 that made me smile!

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Highlights

Day65ATGFINAL

{Day 65: Tell everyone.}

As of late, my spirit has been craving a simpler time in life, at least my perception of things associated with a more carefree time in life. Then again, I can’t say I that I was ever the type to be totally carefree now that I think about it. It just wasn’t, nor has it ever been my personality.

I’m sure if I met my 17 year-old self, I’d still have a slew of concerns that all normal teens do that had me carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, things that might even seem pretty trivial to my now adult self in certain instances.

I envy those to some extent who can channel a completely carefree attitude. But luckily, I still do recall a more simpler time that brings a lighter, happier feeling.

I won’t go into the particulars of what’s sparked this craving, because as I’ve now had a full week to process everything, it’s not about the incident itself so much as the wider context and meaning of it. So, let’s just leave it at:

I had a “set back” happen last week and it was a blow to me on many levels because I just couldn’t get past the whole “why?” and “is the universe just out to get me?” mentality.

Even as I type that last sentence it sounds slightly ridiculous (okay, more than slightly), but if I were to be completely honest with you it’s where I was for DAYS after said “set back.”

Perhaps my not-so-mature initial reaction was due to the building tension from everything that seems to be going on lately, that this was simply the final straw that really set me off. I mean, I was PISSED, then just flat out disappointed. Suffice to say, I immediately called my boyfriend and had a meltdown on the phone with him as I shifted from pissed-om to disappointment, going into what all Oprah fans adoringly know as “the ugly cry.” (Kudos to him for enduring that, by the way.)

Admittedly, this was fueled by the internal dialogue that went on in my head where I kept making the argument to myself that I’m a good person! In other words, I always make a conscious effort to be a good, kind, responsible human being and therefore, felt so cheated that the universe wasn’t rewarding me for that by placing me in said “set back.” Again, I can now see how ridiculous this sounds. The funny thing is that logically you know this, even as it’s happening, but emotion seems to override logic at times – especially when that emotion is so raw and fresh.

As I’ve stood back and taken some time to process things since said “set back”, which while it absolutely STILL SUCKS in my mind, I have to express gratitude that it’s ultimately very minor in the grand scheme of this thing we call life. More specifically, the question “will this matter a year from now?” is the best way to measure how unimportant this truly is. I have much to be grateful for and I need to keep my head to the sky and a smile on my face.

And so, the Highlights of this week came as I found solace during this experience by saturating myself in the nostalgic, wanting to cling to anything that made me feel happy and comforted. Fortuitously, I found it in the most basic of ways. Watching movies from the late 80s and 90s that brought me to a different time, to my younger self made me feel exactly that. Digging out my old CD collection and rockin’ out in the car to music that took me back to my high school and college years for some reason pushed me through and helped give me the distance I needed to really evaluate the situation. (I won’t embarrass myself any further by disclosing what that music was made up of, but let’s just say boy bands were very popular during those years and I just sat and laughed and laughed at how that type of music was considered so “cool” back then.)

The best advice I got from my boyfriend during the middle of that “ugly cry” phone call was when he said something to the effect of : “There isn’t a reason for it. You’re not being punished. Shit happens and the lesson here is just to learn how to deal with it and not destroy yourself in the process.” (He’s a wise guy, that one.)

So, this is what I’m choosing to do.

And I still went strong on the 100 Happy Days Challenge, photos posted as usual.

I’ll end the week with my favorite Dr. Maya Angelou poem that couldn’t be more appropriate right now. In fact, I had this very poem posted on my dorm room wall during my sophomore year of college and would look at it often. I was saddened to hear of her passing a few days ago. What a life to be celebrated as the purest epitome of the type of woman and human being we should all aspire to be. I don’t imagine her ever feeling cheated by the universe during set backs in her life, but welcoming them to push her higher.

Have a great weekend….and keep rising.

Still I Rise

Maya Angelou1928 – 2014

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Day63ATGINAL

{Day #63: Morning coffee and Jennie Garth’s memoir. Talk about returning to the nostalgic. I was a huge 90210 fan…mind you, I was also like 10.}

Day60ATGFINAL

{Day 60: Faux bling on the key chain. Always looking for ways to accessorize.}

Day62ATGFINAL

{Day 62: Breakfast in bed. }

Day64ATGFINAL

{Day 64: I scream, you scream. We all scream for ice cream…sandwiches!}

Highlights

Day50atgfinal

{Day 50: I read this quote years ago, wrote it on a post-it note and stuck it on my desk. It always makes me smile.}

Transitioning back to the real world is always slightly jarring after such an enjoyable vacation. In this case, I also happen to be fighting yet another cold as well (while in the middle of a big editing project at the moment). Aside from kicking this cold, my first week back to life was a good one overall. I made a consorted effort to try to ease back into things as much as possible, not losing the spirit of my time off, hanging on to as much of that relaxed state as I could muster. Unfortunately, all too soon you start to slowly lose that vibe – up until you feel the need for another vacation.

Though I had a pretty packed week originally planned, many of those plans were subsequently canceled in favor of a book and getting to bed early many nights to tackle my cold. I did make it out one night this week when I felt a little better and wasn’t contagious to meet with my book club gals to talk about Wally Lamb’s We Are Water. I can’t say it was better than the other book of his that I really like, She’s Come Undone, but it did spark an interesting conversation – what human beings go through, how we’re all connected, how every action has a consequence, and how we are constantly flowing with life and adapting simply because we have to.

With that, I’m looking on to my next read (aside from The Body Book, of course). The plan this weekend is to rest up and figure out what’s next on my Kindle. Hopefully, I’ll be feeling a bit more like myself to catch-up on the plans that I kept having to cancel this week.

Today is day #53 on the 100 Happy Days Challenge. I’m halfway there. It’s been awhile since we’ve caught up – here are some of my favorite moments.

Have a great weekend!

Day47atgfinal

{Day 47:  The day I died and went to organic blueberry muffin heaven on a leisurely Saturday afternoon at The Sycamore Kitchen.}

Day44atgfinal

{Day 44: A stop at the Camarillo Outlets while on vacay last week, led to a birthday present to myself…and a little Calvin Klein in my life.}

Day46atgfinal

{Day 46: A night out the world famous Groundlings.}

Day48atgfinal

{Day 48: My 1st Oprah Chai (though I cheated and added a shot of espresso). Let’s just say it’s a DO!}

Highlights

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{Day 34: My BF left to run an errand & came home with 2 Sunday favs: fresh flowers & bacon!}


This has been one of the most chaotic and exhausting weeks I have had in quite awhile boys and girls. I knew going into it that it would be a challenging one on all levels –  mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And while I’m not really in a head space to delve into the particulars of everything that seems to be piling up at the moment, I am happy on this heat wave induced Friday in LA to say…I made it. I’m still in the middle of said storm that I know I’ve been rather elusive about, but the rain has lifted a bit since the beginning of the week. What I will share is that The Universe is making it very clear that the sunshine will prevail…even at 94° outside as I literally write this.

I know that I’m equipped to deal with everything that’s going on, it’s just funny how in life it tends to happen at the most inconvenient moment and the struggle is just accepting reality (which I’ve done), getting past the mental kicking (still working on it), while anxious about how everything will turn out (I’m a total worrywart, so still working on this, too).  Then again, what I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older, is that there’s never a convenient time. You really just have to roll with life and hope for the best. As I reflect back over the last week, I found myself constantly remembering to focus on the positive so I can see how my perspective is shifting often – and I smile because I can clearly see where things could always be much worse. I hope this inspires you, no matter what’s happening at this particular moment, to focus on the good. In fact, cling to it.

My week-long vacation starts in just a few more hours. I’m taking some time off from life for a while to celebrate my birthday on Tuesday and recharge. I really need it. I’m looking forward to spending some time with my boyfriend in Ojai for my birthday for a few days, then heading back home for a much-needed staycation to have the time to relax, catch-up on life, and think about the next steps.

As such, I’m also taking some time off from the blog, but not to worry – I’ll be back! I hope you’ll still be here.

Have an amazing weekend and week ahead.

I still made it a point to find that one thing a day, that brought a smile to my face, even during this crazy week. Here are some of my favorite moments from the 100 Happy Days Challenge.

Talk soon! x

Day39ATG

{Day 39: 9:52am today. Heat wave in progress, and I’m lovin’ it. Another LA Friday has arrived.}

Day37

{Day 37: A fresh homemade strawberry smoothie to start another busy day.}

Day33ATG

{Day 33: French films, festivals, and nights in Hollywood. Win, win.}

Day38ATG

{Day 38: Dropping your phone from a second story building to meet its fate with the concrete, not cool. Getting a replacement phone in 24 hours because you were smart enough to always get phone insurance, now smiling.}


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