5 Reasons This Week Will Rock!

5 Reasons LogoHappy (almost) fall! As we gear up for another Monday, the first day of fall tomorrow, and a very busy week ahead, I’m particularly excited about a few things coming down the pipeline. Here are 5 reasons this week will rock…


1. Pumpkin spice everything.

1-New folder (2){Last year’s celebratory salute to all things pumpkin.}

You may have seen the article floating around about how Starbucks’ ever popular Pumpkin Spice Latte apparently has everything in it but actual pumpkin! It certainly is causing a pretty polarizing discussion around its supposed ingredients and its relationship to your health. Some are arguing that the original article is simply shedding light on what’s in our favorite fall beverage with the aim to help you make a more educated decision about what you put in your body, while others are touting that the article that caused a stir (no pun intended) is not “scientifically validated.” Look, I’m not going to get into whether one should or shouldn’t here. To each his own. What I will share is that seeing as how it’s Monday, that I’m going to need a pick me up (and hello, it’s fall!), I’m likely standing in line to grab my very first celebratory Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season as you read this. My motto: everything in moderation. (But yes, nothing probably beats real pumpkin.)

2. More radiant skin arrives in the mail.

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When I learned Birchbox sold the highly-acclaimed and universally loved Clarasonic Mia, I immediately started saving my Birchbox points to join the legion of worshipers. Nine long months of reviewing products (oh, the agony of playing with make-up!) to save up points, along with a sexy $10 off coupon and I finally placed my order over the weekend! I can’t wait to join the Clarasonic family to see what all the fuss is about. It arrives in a few short days. I’ll keep you posted on if this thing is worth the hype, but I already suspect it is. More radiant skin is on the way!

3. Date night with a twist.

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What would typically be another uneventful Wednesday night probably settling in for a solo evening of homemade pasta and my Kindle, has me excited to see the usually more prim and proper Dan Stevens (of Downton Abbey fame) in the well-received new thriller/mystery film, The Guest. Fans of Adam Wingard’s You’re Next, are apparently in for a treat. The Guest is at an uber impressive 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Sometimes a gal just needs her guy, a good thriller, and some sort of sugary candy fix to look forward to. Uneventful Wednesday night plans, cancelled.

4. One more dose of David.

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I’ve spoken much love toward my yoga instructor, David. Needless to say that when he announced he was leaving for Nepal for one month I was selfishly not a happy camper. It’s like discovering national treasure itself when you find an instructor that equally challenges and pushes you, but always makes you feel okay with listening to your body and doing what’s best for you. The good news is that I get one more dose of David in class tonight before he leaves. I plan to take it all in, be present, and get my yoga on with my favorite instructor. Once I’ve had my last dose and roll up my mat tonight in a more calm, focused space, I’ll do the “yogic” thing and wish him well on his travels…but not a minute before. Nepal is very lucky to have him.

5. “It’s handled.”1-Fullscreen capture 9302013 122013 PM

Don’t bother me this Thursday night. I’m unavailable. Scandal is back! Who-hoo! And now that my beloved Kerry Washington has popped, we get more Olivia Pope and less awkward framing and camera work to hide the baby bump. The icing on the cake? I’m super excited to see Viola Davis in the equally anticipated new drama How to Get Away with MurderLet me re-iterate: no phone calls, texts, Facebook comments, Instagram likes, or unexpected visits at my front door this Thursday night… and every other Thursday night until further notice. I’m busy. 🙂

I hope this Monday finds you looking forward to a rockin’ week, too!

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Peace, Peace, Peace.

May Peace Prevail on Earth ATG FINAL


Where: Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens
Location: 3500 West Adams Boulevard, Mid-City
Cost: Free


Peace Awareness Labyrinth Exterior ATG FINAL


“Peace, peace, peace.”

David, my yoga instructor, always closes with these three simple, yet powerful words at the end of every practice. I always catch this slight difference from the more commonly used “namaste” that’s traditionally expressed in my experience at the end of a class. And while “namaste” has an equally powerful connotation by giving the deepest levels of respect when greeting or parting from a person – there’s something about being told to leave in “peace” that decidedly has me going out into the world a little more calmer, perhaps awakened…but almost always in a more harmonious, focused space than when I arrived 90 minutes prior.

How long that feeling lasts before the chaos of the world starts to seep into my peace bubble varies from practice to practice.

I’ve heard more than once that it’s a life-long journey toward cultivating and maintaining an unshakable sense of peace as we maneuver through our days. I like to think of it as exercising a muscle. The more you do it, the stronger you become at it. It’s something that must be a priority and sought consistently to reap the rewards. And like weight training, if you stop too long, you may have to start from square one to build that muscle again.

How you go about your peace exercises differs. Perhaps it’s through a sitting meditation, yoga, or going for walk. For some, peace comes from treating yourself to a massage or facial, going to see a movie alone, reading a good book, or journaling. The point is, on some level, it’s something that we as human beings are seeking constantly – a space or a moment in time where you feel grounded in an ever-changing, uncontrollable world.

Much to my surprise, right in the middle of Los Angeles in the most unsuspecting of places lies an entire sanctuary to assist in the journey. A few weeks ago, I learned of the The Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens and instantly was on-board to check it out. Their mission: to provide an oasis for anyone looking to reconnect with themselves, to take a moment away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and just breathe.

Peace Awareness Property

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Set on the estate of a restored mansion along the busy Adams Boulevard, the stunning property welcomes you just beyond wrought iron gates. Behind the historic manor boasts a labyrinth and exquisitely designed meditation garden, the entire space fabricated with the goal to envelop all things beauty and peace.

The labyrinth might find you in the midst of a calming walking meditation as the wind chimes that hang on the trees nearby gently sing. No matter where you sit in the neighboring mediation garden, the soothing sounds of water surround you as you gaze at the endless greenery, the bamboo particularly prevalent, and the lily pond complete with fish.

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Lily Pond ATG FINAL

I’ve sat in many beautiful gardens in my time. I’ve experienced many attempts (and admitted failures) at learning the art of meditation. And yet, there was something about this place in particular that takes the experience of peace to another realm by simply inviting yourself there and being present to the gifts around you. You find that you don’t need to work so hard at quieting the mind, the setting does it for you.

Peace Awareness Fountain

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Interestingly, I lived a few blocks away from the Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens for a year after college and never knew about such a special place less than 5 minutes away from my duplex. What I think is unique about retreats such as these when thinking about those aforementioned “peace exercises” is using it as a resource in a manner that feels right for you, no pressure involved.

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Mediation Garden View ATG FINAL

In fact, it’s best said by directly quoting from their website,”PAL&G is here to promote peace and help you reconnect and renew spiritually in your own way.” I suppose all I needed in that moment on that beautiful Sunday was a space to kick my feet up, sit still, and just breathe – the perfect supplement toward strengthening that muscle and building a stronger peace bubble.

“Peace, peace, peace” be to you as well. x

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5 Reasons This Week Will Rock!

5 Reasons ATG FINAL Sept 8 2014


Another week boys and girls!

It was insanely hot here in LA this past weekend, with temperatures just over 100°. I was surprised my car didn’t melt before me in protest.  As such, it was quite the surprise to wake to the sounds of a light rain this morning. Not to worry though, today’s high find us at a healthy 87° – looks like we’ll be back on track for another warm summer week ahead. I suppose that the wet morning welcome was a sign that the weather gods know our plight (and our drought situation) and that relief is on the way…someday.

As we make our way through the second week of September, it occurred to me while sitting in traffic (more on that below) that I could use a little perspective boost. I have much to look forward to over the next week and it’s keeping me excited and in a more zen place until the weekend finds us again. (This is essentially how I trick myself into dealing with Mondays.)

Here are 5 reasons this week will rock…


1. I’ll make peace with traffic.

LA and traffic go together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s just apart of living here. You learn at a young age (if you’re native like myself) or new in town very quickly to plan ahead, leave early, and make the Google Maps app your friend. I thought I made peace with LA traffic…then September comes. Since I no longer personally deal with a school schedule, nor do I have children of my own to remind me, I always forget that just after Labor Day through mid-November (when I guess the dropout rate peaks and traffic thins out again) that school is in session. It seems the first few months of a new school year completely screw with the balance of “normal” LA traffic (which I have made peace with) and gives you the “I just want to charter a private jet to get to work unbearable traffic” in the mornings (which I have to make peace with again every September). Last week, I’m ashamed to admit that I got to the office more than once already totally annoyed because what takes 25 minutes in “normal” terrible LA traffic, took me an hour in “private jet unbearable traffic!” Not a good way to start a new day. This week, I’ll leave earlier, mentally preparing myself better. I’ll make sure I have a cup of coffee in drink holder and music as loud as I can stand to get me through each morning with a smile on my face. This week will rock because I’m determined to make peace with traffic…again. And pray that November gets here…like now.

2. Yoga works if you work it. It’s worth it.

What is sure to help keep my zen in check is going to my favorite yoga class tonight. Though I’ve been attending this  Hatha Yoga class for about 6 weeks now, I think I’m finally getting back into my yoga groove. I can feel myself improving, growing stronger, and I absolutely love the feeling and the space I’m in when I leave. I adore the instructor, David, a true yogi through and through. He challenges us and pushes us, but has the most gentle way of encouraging us to listen to our body and modifies any pose as-needed without making you feel shameful about it. The ironic thing is that I have to get back into my car and drive some more to get home, but at 9:00pm traffic is never a problem.

3. My lips love me.

I don’t know about you, but this time of year is when my skin starts to rebel against me. Every part of me starts to dry out: my hands, my lips, essentially, any part of me involving skin. I was stoked when I stumbled across Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Tinted Color Lip Balm over the weekend. This stuff is incredible. It’s moisturizing, has a slight shine, and a hint of color. My lips love me right now for thinking of them and not waiting until they’re totally chapped to address the seasonal elephant in the room.

4. The Good Girl.

I started a new read on my Kindle and I can’t put it down. Every minute of free time I have this week will be to see what happens to “The Good Girl” by Mary Kubica. It’s a thriller/mystery novel that has a delicious set-up. I’m only about 30% through – so I can’t say much about its merits. I oftentimes love the build-up when it comes to a good thriller narrative, then become disappointed at the climax (insert: Gone Girl here). I’ll keep you posted.

5. Fireworks / The Hollywood Bowl.

I’m SO looking forward to finally making it to the Hollywood Bowl this weekend just in time to catch a concert before the end of summer. The icing on the cake is that this is the last of the Bowl’s summer series featuring the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra along with a fun tribute this year to The Simpsons 25th Anniversary. A large fireworks spectacular, the whole cast, one of the best orchestras in the world, and a picnic under the stars couldn’t sound more appealing. Look for a full post on that special night to come.

Have an amazing week ahead guys! And if you’re in the LA area, just make peace with the traffic. We’re all in hell right now. 🙂

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 Image Sources: Fireworks: By Thomas Hawk from San Francisco via Wikimedia Commons // Traffic: By Saad Akhtar, both used under CC BY (all others are mine.)

Highlights

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{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!

5 Reasons This Week Will Rock!

5 Reasons ATG FINAL


It was one of those weekends that just didn’t feel long enough. All I seem to recall was a wedding on Saturday night, seeing another gal rock pretty much the exact same dress as me at said wedding (but to help with the sting some, it did look slightly better on me. 😉 ); 2 lemon drops, a trip to Target, a stop at Trader Joe’s and somehow it’s already Monday. I’m not too stoked about this, but understand that one cannot just wish their life away incessantly waiting for the weekend to arrive once again. This new week brings a few fun things to look forward to.

Here are 5 reasons this week will rock:

#1. Two words: Restorative. Yoga. (I’m so excited about my first restorative yoga class in ages! Yes, this is about the easiest form of yoga you can do – you basically pay to take a nap for an hour and a half…and I’m okay with this.)

#2. Joy the Baker’s Fresh Blueberry and Mint Lemonade (hello!) coming to a taste bud near me! This looks so refreshing, I can’t stand it nor wait to whip up a batch. The only hurdle is that I neglected to get the blueberries when I was at the grocery store yesterday. No worries. I’m all over it and will report back.

#3. I’m REALLY trying to get into Orange is the New Black. I was semi-interested after the first episode, totally bored by the second, though much less bored by the third. I’m aiming to give it some time to see what all the fuss is about. It’s one of the most buzzed about shows on TV currently, however, I’m just not seeing why as of yet. I’m giving it 3 more episodes/nights on the couch to suck me in, otherwise I’m moving on.

#4. Trader Joe’s Chicken Lasagna. Picture this: a $4.99 lasagna that’s pre-made in the refrigerated section that merely requires a gal to pop it in the oven for 45 minutes (I like it almost burnt), have a gourmet meal, AND get at least 3 nights worth of grub out of it? This gem, my current obsession, will be my dining companion over Orange is the New Black.

#5. Starting my next book club read: MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche.

These are 5 reasons this week will rock! I hope yours does too!

See you Wednesday!

Summer Bucket List

Summer Bucket List

It’s beginning to look a lot like summer! And I’m just giddy about it. Ever since summer joined us not so long ago, I’ve been thinking about my bucket list – things I’m looking forward to doing and accomplishing to celebrate my favorite time of year. Outside of plenty of time on the beach, nursing iced lattes, and keeping sandal-ready toes – there are few personal goals, activities, and random to-do’s I have in mind. In honor of the start to summer, I thought I’d share my list – just in time for what I consider to be the epitome of summer fun in the sun, the 4th of July.

Summer 2014 Bucket List:

  1. Find a new yoga studio.
  2. Reorganize my closet.
  3. Spend a lazy Saturday at Paradise Cove.
  4. Buy a new iPod and load it with tons of new tunes. (Mine officially died in May and it’s been torture not having it.)
  5. Hit the Hollywood Bowl for a night of music under the stars. (You can read about past Hollywood Bowl awesome-ness here and here.)
  6. Dust off my tools/supplies and get back into jewelry making.
  7. Take one of the L.A. Conservancy’s Walking Tours of Downtown L.A.
  8. Attend a baseball game.
  9. Spend more time with girlfriends.
  10. Go for a picnic in Griffith Park.

With that, I’ll be out the rest of the week enjoying the long holiday weekend ahead. Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

See you next week!

Highlights

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{Slowly starting to feel like my old self again. Who-hoo!}

Between the common cold and  general life stresses, the last few weeks have been rough. The great news is that things are falling somewhat back into place and I’m starting to feel like my old self again. I’m happy to report that I even went to my first yoga class after a month off, and while it wasn’t at my fancy schmansy yoga studio, it was a lovely class better suited to my price range and it was so nice to get back on the mat.

Otherwise, this week has been all about re-balancing things and trying to enjoy life’s little pleasures. I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying the taste of food again since my sinuses finally cleared up. And the fact that I can actually breathe in and out without much effort is quite divine. It’s when you get sick that you once you recover you really start to appreciate even the simplest of things as this.

I don’t have much going on this weekend as of typing this, but I do have a lot of life and errand catching up to do since I was bed-ridden all last weekend. I’m looking forward to starting a new novel (though I’m not sure what yet) after finishing And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. While I found the book to one of the most eloquently written I think I’ve ever read, with engaging stories and characters, the book turned out to be rather anti-climatic for some reason to me in the end. I was waiting for the life-altering bomb to drop that would throw the narrative into a surprising new direction. I realize that because each chapter focuses on the perspective of one person among a group of interconnected characters over many generations, that it may be hard to do this – but I felt rather unsatisfied as I finished the last page. Perhaps it’s time to shake things up with a good mystery/thriller!

So as we close out another week, I’m grateful I made it through my first cold in years and ready to enjoy the rest of the summer. Cheers to a great weekend!

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{How to survive the common cold: lots of Kleenex and a day with the girls.}

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{On dessert duty for girl’s night at Buttercelli.}

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{Enjoying a moment in the grass.}