Category Archives: Uncategorized

How To Not Go Batshit Crazy This Christmas

The holidays are here – well almost, but it feels like they’re snowballing in and we’re about to run and take cover until they hit and are over.

Oh wait. That’s just me.

You see, my holidays are straight up “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” – yep, exactly like the movie. Now don’t get me wrong and please do not misinterpret that – I am beyond grateful that I am able to travel and see all my loved ones and for all the love and abundance I have in my life and these incredible peeps who love me even after they know everything about me – but holy crap, the holidays can sometimes do a doozie on ya. Who’s with me? From the travel, and gifts, and invites and cards and food, and drinking – it’s a lot. And it can be overwhelming. Even if you love the holidays and are down to celebrate the festivus for the rest of us – it can still be a bit daunting.

I could not help but share this ridiculously hilarious blog post I came across. Not only was I dying with laughter at how perfectly real and witty this is written but literally laughed even harder at the comments from other readers below it. Hallelujiah other people think like me!

Even if you loooooooooove the holidays (and seriously, good for you) and are completely disgusted that I am even remotely showing any stress over them – you will still find funny. Whether you’re a mom with limited time, pooped from working too much, broke from life in general or just like to have an edgy attitude once in awhile – I promise you will enjoy just a tad, wee bit :).

Happy Holidays! Now clean up your damn dishes.

Re-blogged from Highly-Irritable 

How To Not Go Batshit Crazy This Christmas

Every year we all say that “next year” will be the one when we won’t stress as much during the holidays, and that we won’t “do so much.” There’s sometimes even crazy talk after a glass of mulled wine about doing a “handmade-only gift exchange next year” but anyone who’s tried to handcraft a gift for a teenage girl who doesn’t happen to be building an Amish hope-chest understands that this is what I refer to as “crazy talk.”  No, sir! you protest. Next year will be different!  Well, that’s bullshit and you know it and I know it, but for the sake of not wanting to alienate a reader, I’ll let the assertion stand.

But you know you’re lying; by this time next year your holiday gift list will have grown exponentially and you’ll probably be hosting that neighbourhood mixer you swore you’d never participate in. And what’s that? Oh yes; I even see a cookie exchange in your future. So yeah; you’re a liar, but it’s okay because so am I, and I’ll be right there with you trading Air Miles for something “Extra-Blaster-Turbo-Action-Starter-Pack” for my son despite the mountain of gifts for him already under the tree. We mean well and what counts when the fiery end finally comes is that we meant well, right? (I am no fun at Christmas parties.)… To keep reading click here

10 Fun Facts About Brussels Sprouts

I know what you’re thinking after reading a headline like that – who could resist reading this post?! Or wow, she is so good at catchy titles! Precisely. Thanks for the compliment.

So lately I’ve become a bit obssessed with brussels sprouts – cooking them, ordering them, eating them, thinking about them. If you’ve been over for dinner lately, I’ve probably served you some brussels sprouts. I dont know what it is but I have just fallen in love with these delicious little nuggets. So in honor of my mildly creepy addiction I thought I would share 10 fun facts about them in the hopes that you will get on this bandwagon too.

1. They originate in Brussels (Belgium). You’re just as shocked as I am by this news, right?

2. There’s a game called brussel sprouts that I do not understand one bit, but that people like to play. With a pencil. Strange.

3. Brussels sprouts (the food, not the game) are good for ya! Packed with Vitamin A, C, Folic Acid and Fiber.

4. Most of the US’s production of them are right here in my home state – California. Neat-o.

5. I used to hate them. Yep. Like would have to stay at the dinner table until I finished them but fell asleep instead from sitting so long hate them. I’ve come so far.

6. I musta been a pretty smart kid because brussel sprouts are the most hated vegetable in the U.S. Why such a bad rap mr. sprout?

7. They only smell bad when you overcook them. You know – that smell. That gross smell that reminds you of brussel sprouts.

8. Drizzling bacon or bleu cheese on them fresh out of the oven when they’re nice and crispy makes them oh-so-much-better.

9. They’re one of the easiest vegetables to make! Literally – I toss them in olive oil, salt, pepper (ok lots of salt and pepper), put in the oven at 350 for 25-30 minutes and voila – crunchy, crispy, chip like heaven. Check out my pictures below from dinner this week.

And the final fun fact about brussel sprouts? Ok I ran out of facts, but maybe #10 could be that you’re going to try them if you already haven’t?

Yep. They’re good. I’m telling you! Go on and get yourself some today before the season is over my friends.

Word.

Rinse
Rinse
Sprinkle
Sprinkle
Enjoy!
Enjoy!

The times they are a changin…

Everything changes – the weather, the seasons, you, me, what’s fashionable, what’s not, friendships, relationships, family, jobs. Change, as we all know, are the facts of life (Insert Tootie & Blair – god what a great show). But what we choose to do with change is really all that matters – because that is what becomes our reality.

Resisting what is inevitable only makes it worse and will delay everything that is meant to be and all that you will experience anyways. It’s funny because I think you go through change just like you do any other process, grieving for example; you’re angry, then sad, then confused, then happy, then ready, then maybe somewhere deep down, some far day down the road – you finally accept. But then it could start all over again and you’re back at square one. Sometimes in the same week or even the same day. You’re kind of all over the place and sometimes a mess. Change is so fun, right?

There’s no rhyme or reason as to why we change and why the things around us transform and become different – but they must, and we adapt.  This really big guy I used to know with huge hands and large white teeth used to say that if you don’t grow, and you don’t change, then you will die. Yep, it’s as simple as that. It’s black and white.

A friend of mine once gave me a magnet that said “If you’re going through hell – keep going”. I like that. Now I’m not saying that change is always hell, but I like the concept because the same applies to change. You can’t stop it.

You fight to hold on to it and then you fight to let go of it.

But in the end – you have to just go with it. You have to keep going. Just roll and flow with the change babay.

We can all look back at something that scared us, something we didn’t want to do, a jump or a leap of faith we were terrified of making – and see what happened. Well A – if you’re reading this you’re still alive, so that’s good. And B – you’re still alive! Yep. We survive change, but we forget that in the middle of it. It’s tough to see a friendship change but it’s probably harder to resist letting it. It’s hard to say goodbye to a job or person that you love, but being so grateful that it was in your life in the first place is what you should be trying to hold on to.

A new house, a new city, new friends, a loss, a farewell, a new marriage, a new baby, a new job, a new haircut (no really, this can be a huge deal for people) – the list goes on. It may not be easy, and no one else may understand why this is harder on me and that is harder on you – but we deal, we overcome, and we blossom. It’s not easy and sometimes it really sucks, but we get over it because change creates us.

I guess in the end the most important thing about change is what we do with it.

I want to be glad it happened and not sad that it’s over.

But actually experiencing it that way can be the hardest part…

change 1

The Story of Thanksgiving

By now I’m sure your newsfeed is jammed up with all the things your 490 Facebook friends are grateful for, #foodporn pictures of Pinterest recipes on your Instagram and all the talk around holiday plans, travel, etc.

But what is it that we’re celebrating again? (Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?)

Need a little refresher on what Thanksgiving is all about as it quickly approaches? Well unfortunately you’re not going to get that from this video, instead you will get some hilarious renditions of what today’s youth think Thanksgiving is all about.

Too ridiculously amazing to not share. Enjoy!

39 DIY Gifts You’d Actually Want to Receive

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and then it’s almost Christmas – and if you’re anything like me, that means it’s almost time to start figuring out what to make people at this special time of year.

Yep. I’m one of those people. The crafter. The person that hands you a gift that you slowly open because you’re slightly scared and uncomfortable at what you’re about to uncover under the wrapping, because if it came from me, there is a good chance it is homemade. It’s just how it is. I like making them, I like receiving them – they’re special, and unique, and conversation starters, and memory holders, and…well, you get the drift. I likey.

Will it be a homemade macaroni necklace? A felt ornament with mom’s old mis-matched buttons on it? Or if you’re real lucky – a book of homemade coupons that you can use at your disposal for activities I don’t mind doing? It may be. But these days it’s more likely to be a necklace, some earrings, maybe a random book of some sorts, maps from your favorite city turned into coasters – and so on and so on.

Now – though I will still continue to put my heart and soul into my thoughtful gifts (yeah, I said it, they’re thoughtful) – I do realize and can actually appreciate a good, awkward face upon opening said gift, followed up by the “Omg! You made this?” comment. Come on, the jig is up, we both know I made it.

So you can imagine how tickled I was when a friend sent me a link to this blog post today. Hmph. What a concept. DIY gifts that you’d actually want to receive. I know you like receiving mine too (vintage blocks with black/white photos of your favorite person on them much?), but these are pretty rad as well. And I’ve already picked out which ones I want to try.

Can’t wait to smile and scream with excitement with a “Yay! You made me my gift!”when you hand me one of these 39 DIY gifts.

My favorite kind.

Re-blogged from Buzzfeed….http://www.buzzfeed.com/alannaokun/39-diy-gifts-youd-actually-want-to-receive

There is nothing worse than when someone opens your gift and is all “Oh! You…made this [backs away slowly].” Avoid that crestfallen look with these awesome crafty ideas.

1. Terrarium Kit

Terrarium Kit

It’s like a tiny jungle you can own. Directions here.

2. Painted Camera Strap

Painted Camera Strap

For the one person in your life who doesn’t just Instagram everything. Directions here.

3. Instagram Coasters

Instagram Coasters

And for everybody else. Find out how here.

4. Studded iPhone Case

Studded iPhone Case

Directions here.

5. Decorated Tea Towels

Decorated Tea Towels

That nobody will ever want to get dirty. Directions here.

6. Nebula Pillow

Nebula Pillow

Because the only thing better than a pillow fight is a SPACE PILLOW FIGHT. Directions here.

7. Geode Ring

Geode Ring

Directions here.

8. Shark Hoodie Towel

Shark Hoodie Towel

Directions here.

9. Fabric Clock

Fabric Clock

Directions here.

10. Personalized Cork Coasters

Personalized Cork Coasters

Find out how here.

11. Artsy Mug

Artsy Mug

Directions here. Again with the German.

You could also make these easily with a Sharpie.

12. Gold-Leaf Papier-Mâché Bowls

Gold-Leaf Papier-Mâché Bowls

FInd out how here.

13. Chalkboard Tray

Chalkboard Tray

Directions here.

14. Catnip Feather Toy

Catnip Feather Toy

For the feline who has everything. Directions here.

15. Painted Pouch

Painted Pouch

You can put ANYTHING YOU WANT IN IT, like an engagement ring or a Snickers. Directions here.

16. Fabric Painted Mousepad

Fabric Painted Mousepad

Adorable baby not included. Directions here.

17. Stamped Tote

Stamped Tote

You can use potatoes as the stamp! Directions here.

18. Gold Bead Bracelets

Gold Bead Bracelets

Directions here (they’re in German, but ay yo, Google Translate).

19. Lace Cement Votive Holders

Lace Cement Votive Holders

Directions here.

20. Homemade Cat Treats

Homemade Cat Treats

Directions here. And here is a recipe for dog biscuits, just to prove that we’re not totally cat-biased.

21. Gold Leaf Notebooks

Gold Leaf Notebooks

For anyone with thoughts they need to jot down. Directions here.

22. Lana-del-Rey-ified Sunglasses

Lana-del-Rey-ified Sunglasses

For divas only. Directions here.

23. Laptop Case

Laptop Case

Directions here.

24. Peppermint Sugar Scrub

Peppermint Sugar Scrub

It looks edible. It is not. Directions here.

25. Honey Lip Balm

Honey Lip Balm

It’s nicer than saying “Your entire mouth is gross and chapped.” Directions here.

26. Magnetic Tote Bag

Magnetic Tote Bag

Spell out a crytic message with alphabet letters. Get the tutorial here.

27. Dip-Dyed Candles

Dip-Dyed Candles

Directions here.

28. Skinny Tie

Skinny Tie

For a dapper dude. Or a dude who you wish were dapper-er. Directions here.

29. Planter Box

Planter Box

Directions here.

30. Travel Art Kit

Travel Art Kit

For long car rides (and short ones too). Find out how here.

31. Printed Leather Jewelry

Printed Leather Jewelry

Because sometimes someone just really loves her cat, and you should acknowledge that. Directions here.

32. Floor Cushion

Floor Cushion

Beanbag chairs for grown-ups! Genius. Directions here.

33. Handmade Soap

Handmade Soap

Everyone will be unbelievably impressed and also they will smell however you would like them to, which is really a great deal of power. Directions here.

34. Tassel Bracelet

Tassel Bracelet

Directions here.

35. Stenciled Jar Vase

Stenciled Jar Vase

Directions here.

36. Glitter Bottle Necklaces

Glitter Bottle Necklaces

Because no matter how many necklaces a person owns, she probably doesn’t have one that’s filled with glitter. Directions here.

37. Jewelry Storage Frame

Jewelry Storage Frame

The perfect place to house all those glitter-filled necklaces. Directions here.

38. Candle Luminaries

Candle Luminaries

These are made from decorative aluminum sheets you can easily find at Home Depot. They’d also make really nice desk organizers or pen holders.

39. Animal Bookends

Animal Bookends

Because nothing says “I love you” like a bright-blue hippo. Directions here.

Overnight Oats – The Hype is Legit

So I’ve been hearing and wondering about what the heck “Overnight Oats” are for like ever now. Ok maybe only a few months, but seriously, I’m intrigued. I decided to finally see what the hype was all about, so I cooked them up last night (and when I say cook, I mean threw the items into a jar) and tried it out this morning. Um delish! I’m a huge fan. And want you to be too.

It’s super easy to make – requires very few ingredients – encourages you to be creative and make it however you want – and can keep you full and satisifed all morning! Yes. Please.

So you start with some rolled oats (not instant, have to be the real deal), milk (I used almond but you can use any kind you want), yogurt, a fruit of some sort (I chose raspberries) and any other fun stuff you want to throw in. I added in sliced almond slivers and chia seeds. Yes, cha-cha-cha chia! Those seeds. I also finally learned all about the benefits of these little gems and am excited to throw them in all my culinary creations going forward.

overnight oats pic 2(Yes. I’m slightly obssessed with Trader Joe’s if you can’t tell)

Ok here comes the fun! You literally layer them up and put the ingredients in as you wish. There are exact measurements you’re suppose to follow, but if you know me, you know that’s not how I roll. I prefer to throw those delicious ingredients in however I want. (And yes, I mistakenly, regularly leave key ingredients out of recipes because I forget to follow the receipe…butternut squash soup much? A certain someone knows what I’m talking about).

So what are you going to put your delicious overnight oats in? I chose these super cute mini mason jars – but you can do anything! Plastic cups, red solo keg cups, wine glasses, whatever your little heart desires. You’ll need a lid though – so keep that in mind when choosing.

overnight oats pic 3

I tried to layer them in so they’d look pretty but it ended up looking like this instead, fail. Oh well – I will get the hang of it in no time. And why do I want it pretty? Because it will taste better duh.

                            overnight oats pic 4      overnight oats pic 5

Ok. So once you’ve got all your super fun and creative ingredients in, you give your creation a good shake. And voila. You’re ready for the fridge. Somehow the chilly fridge and combo of the liquid ingredients actually cook the oatmeal – crazy concept right? I made 4 jars last night so I could have my breakfast ready each morning  this week in kind of a grab-n-go fashion, but you could just do one at a time too.

overnight oats pic 6I sliced up bananas to put on top of it this morning and enjoyed. Mmmmmm.

overnight oats pic 1

It’s easy to make, keeps you satisfied and is super low cost if you’re trying to stretch your dollars.

I think my next creations will involve chocolate, or peanut butter, maybe some mango – and even possibly a green one with kale, spinach, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Enjoy 🙂

 

The Middle

You know what’s awesome? When you say you’re going to do something and you don’t. When you keep putting it off until you this…or when you finally that…just as soon as you…Oh wait. That’s not really that awesome, but it’s what we all do – or at least it’s what I do.

I haven’t blogged in umteen months for what reason? Because I kept telling myself I would write when this would happen, or when I saw this, or when I reflected on that…but the days kept passing and my writing never started. Like I didn’t know where to start. I write for myself, and because I enjoy it, but sometimes I write for others. I’m constantly learning things from the people around me – because everyone’s experience of the same exact thing can be extremely different. Well it doesn’t matter that I stopped doing something, I guess it just matters that I started again right? Even if it is just jotting down my silly thoughts….silly thoughts that I of course appreciate you reading :).

Since my last post when I quit my job a lot has changed, and maybe that’s why I haven’t written much. We all have the beginnings and the endings in our lives – those moments and memories and chapters that are everything we always wanted, or something we strived for that finally came true. But what about that other part? The in between part? The part that you forgot about, or didn’t expect to happen or didn’t know you’d be in. Well that’s where I think I’m at. Hello middle-in-between-slightly-awkward-and-uncomfortable world, nice to meet you.

You’re not really in a “stuck” kind of place, though really not a “together” place either – just a middle place. And I think I kept feeling like I didn’t have anything to talk about until I was at that next place I should be again. That life I should be living. The place where I should look a certain way, and feel a certain way – but that perfect little should place never came. And is that a bad thing? Most definitely not. Who made up that stupid should world anyway? 🙂

For some reason while walking my crazy dog tonight it all came to me (Dude. Daylight savings has seriously ruined my ability to quickly spot the poo, pick it up and be on my merry way. Damn darkness has me hunting around for minutes). And I digress…I’m at that in between part…the part where you’re just looking to the end and seeing how you want it to end and how you will feel and be and look when you’re in the final stretch…but the in between part is less desirable. You’re a bit of a mess, you’re kind of all over the place and you don’t know whether to look back or look forward. I think whatever makes you feel better is always the best route and way to look – there’s no right or wrong way, there is just your way. And that’s always the best way. I know you know what I’m talking about – that place after the high, and even after the lows. The middle. The awkward, uncomfortable middle spot of wondering what’s next.

Now of course I realize this is no third world problem – and being in the middle is not necessarily a bad thing. Don’t get me wrong – I am so grateful for all that I have and all that I know is to come, I’m just saying that the middle part is a bid weird.

I definitely don’t have it all together, and I’m pretty sure I never will (come on, who does), but I think it’s important that I remember this middle place is just fine. Because it won’t last for me, and it wont last for you. Though the end may not be in sight anymore, you know there will be an end, there always is. This middle place is sometimes what really shapes us and creates us. Think of your most challenging times in life, those times when you just wished they’d be over – what happened when they were? You learned. You overcame. You were proud. And you were so damn grateful it was over with. …but then something else came up and you were back to that middle place. The middle adds something to your life, it’s just how it is and always will be.

It’s inevitable. We all get stuck. We all live in this middle place for a little bit, but it really is temporary. It’s the lull to our low’s and highs. It’s the grey day to our sun and thunderstorms. It’s awkward and uncomfortable but it’s probably one of the most real things we’ll ever experience. Why? Because we didn’t ask for it. We didn’t try to be here – it just happens and we adjust.

My man sent this to me today, out of the blue, and I found my reaction to it so interesting.

Wild Horse

 

At first I didn’t know what to think, but then I really thought about it, and I so appreciated it. What a rad thing to be acknowledged and loved for marching to your own, internal drummer.

 

 

 

 

We’ve all got a little bit of a wild, messy, unpredictable spirit in us and it comes out at various and random times. But we always come back. We always come back to our best selves and what we were meant to be.

I may be stuck in the middle, but I’m not stuck for good. And either are you (told ya I don’t just write for myself).

To quote one of my ALL time favorite songs, I think I just have to let it be. And let it ride. And enjoy the middle.

Learning to fly

Fear. It’s what confines us.

Bravery. To me –  that’s what defines us.

I took a huge leap of faith and quit my job. I left. I left without a net, without another opportunity. I left without anything better on the horizon – because even that in itself was still better for me than staying. I finally listened to everyone who kept telling me I could do better, and more importantly, I listened to myself. Silly ol me who may have never believed I could. Maybe I couldn’t fathom that something I was so good at was bad for me. That something I put so much blood, sweat and tears into wouldn’t love me back the same way I loved it. And if it did love me back, it was only just convenient love. My love was their convenience. How on earth could something be so toxic that at the same time was something that brought me joy? I really, truly couldn’t make sense of it. Things like that dont exist in my realtiy, and in my “this makes sense and this doesn’t” world.

Funny. Because this sounds like I’m talking about a relationship, or a bad break-up. And I guess in a way, it is. And it was. And the same logic applies.

It’s only been a few weeks, but I feel like I’m actually going through the process of greiving. Greiving the end, greiving what it was and what it wasn’t, and now greiving that’s it over. I’m mad, and sad, and miss it, and hate it – all at once, sometimes one at a time, and ever so randomly throughout the day.

I’m scared. You know, scared like – Will I get a job? When will I get it?  Was this the right decision? What if my next job is worse? Wait. Stop. It wont be. It just can’t be. Because now I know. I know what I deserve, and what I want, and what will make my life better. This job, and this bad breakup – they’re both setting my new standard.

I just got a little more ballsy, a lot tougher and big time courageous.

There’s no going back, I wont let myself. I was tough enough to leave – so now’s the time to be brave. There were so many other times I told myself that it was the end, that I was finally going to leave, that it was finally going to be over. I would tell people that, and I would tell myself that – yet I would do nothing. I kept telling myself that it wasn’t the right time, and that maybe if I waited it out it would just get better – but is it ever the right time to get gutsy?

Now’s the time to get real with what it is you want in life (this is me saying this to myself in the mirror in the morning), even when that stupid, logical voice inside your head is maybe trying to convince you otherwise.

Now is the time to get uncomfortable. Now is the time to get weird.

I decided to do this, so now I must embrace it and run with it and go with it and see what happens.

And sure – not everyone may be supportive. Of course there are going to be those that are weary of decisions we make in our lives that start a new path, or a road less traveled – or whatever cliche you want me to reference. Maybe their silent judgement with the “Did you really quit your job?” or “There’s still time to get it back though, right?” questions are just because they’re scared too. Maybe your decision isn’t in their logical world – in their world that says it’s okay to take risks. Maybe they dont understand it. But that’s ok. You and I may not be the same. You may not have that strong, intuitive gut feeling that you will be okay, and that this will only lead to better things. You dont have to understand it. It’s okay to be scared. Hell, I am too! But that’s the exciting part.

And then you will have those that are supportive. Those that are proud of you, and believe in you. The ones that say the right thing at the time time, just for that split second where you started to doubt yourself, and your choices and your path. Those people in your life, that just like you, truly do know that you will be just fine. And hallelujiah for them 😉 Because that feels good.

I just jumped. And I’ll figure out the rest on the way down.

I’m going on job interviews, and applying for things out of my comfort zone, and even turning down a few job offers to know what it is I truly want, but more importantly, what I deserve. Kind of like dating around 🙂

I’m soaking up a little San Diego love so I know I can give love back into my new job, and my life, and to those around me. In order to be my best self I really needed to get back to the core of what and who I am, and what brings me joy and energy and peace. So I’m doing just that!

Got my canines cleaned, my locks trimmed, my nails did, my skin a little sun kissed and my heart fired up again. My days right now consist of yoga, and beach walks, and reading, and writing (more frequent blog posts coming soon) and cooking and eating more healthy. In a way its like I’m doing my own version of a cleanse. A life cleanse of some sort I guess. And why not now? Why not get good at being me before I dive back into a new job where I will spend more than 3000 hours a year at and pour more blood, sweat and tears into. I think it’s important we all take the time to do something like that if we can – even if it’s just for a day, or a weekend.

I’m purging out all that was bad in order to make room for greatness to enter into my life.

Ironically – the timing of the seasons couldn’t be more aligned – this is definitely my spring cleaning 🙂

To you it may sound crazy that I’m saying all of this just about a job, but to me, maybe it wasn’t just a job. It was a place where I found value in myself, where I grew and blossomed – a place where I was silly and laughed all day. A place where I met best friends. Friends that will be in my life until the end.

It wasn’t just a job – it was a place that became a part of me. A place that changed my life, and my future and my fate. The good, the bad and the ugly – it was a super long and large chapter in my life.

And now it’s over.

I may fail. This may not be all roses and sunshine and smiles. In fact, I know it wont. It may get tough, and hard. I may go really broke, and have to be super creative and resourceful until I find my new and perfect job. Oh wait. Those don’t exist? Damn.

But that’s ok. It was a risk I was willing to take. Risks aren’t meant to be easy or else we’d do them all the time. I feel alive. And back in the drivers seat. And in charge of me and my life and my fate.

And I bet you could do this too. You can walk away from something bad, or finally chase that dream you always thought was so far and distant. Deep down we’re all the same – we just show it and express it and live it differently. We’ve all got it in us. We’ve all got guts.

So that’s me. And that’s where I’m currently at.

I jumped. And I may be falling.

But I’m learning to fly.

And it’s pretty neat.

 

Be. Period.

Sometimes we forget how much we block, or try to control, or change – at least I know I do.

We feel tired – we caffeinate. We feel sad – we eat, or drink, or destroy. We feel happy – we’re happy, unless someone around us isn’t, then we most certainly should hide how happy we are. If they’re not happy, I surely can’t show them how happy I am! We feel proud – we think we may be being cocky, so we stop. We love – but then we quickly feel the need to make sure we’re loved back.

Oftentimes we can never just be. Or feel. Or do – without having some kind of thought creep in about it. And the why behind it. And if it’s okay that we’re doing it, or feeling it and…you know those convos you have.

Today in yoga, I realized how nice it was to just lay on my mat and feel. I could be happy, I could be sad, I could suck, I could be great, I could be whatever the hell I wanted. I didn’t have to put on a pretty face if I was down in the dumps, I didn’t have to act like I cared when someone was blabbing on and on about something I really didn’t give a crap about (yeah, I said it), I didn’t have to be a peacekeeper, or a great employee, or a good cook, or a good girlfriend (I’m not saying I’m any of those things, I’m just giving examples. Ok, well maybe I am one or two of those). I could just be whatever I wanted to be, in that moment.

We all have a place that just allows us to “just be”. Maybe it’s when you lace up your shoes and hit the streets for an early morning run, maybe it’s when you lay on the beach, or read a book, or paint, or cook, or whatever. That thing that allows you to just let your mind be still.

Well maybe you should do “that thing” a little more often. Life is so fast and changes and moves and twists and turns right before our eyes  – sometimes it’s hard to keep up… with ourselves. We realize we’ve been running and running and moving along with everything that’s flying by us, but then all of a sudden, we realize we left the music at home.

You blink and things change. And your first instict is to run. Or to crumble, or to adjust or fit into it.

Robert Frost’s great quote quickly comes to mind “The best way out is always through.”

Agreed.

My Girl

So last night I ran into Vons to grab some money from the ATM. (Turns out there is some sort of odd stigma of writing a check when you dont have any cash on you. Potential blog post coming soon.) So as I’m walking in I see an older, Grandpa-like aged man encouraging people to donate $10 to be able to buy a bag of food for the San Diego Food Bank. Most people are ignoring him, pretending to look the other way, or saying they dont have any money on them (Us San Diegan’s have become very good at saying no to panhandlers, it’s like this acquired skill that becomes really refined the longer you live here).

Happy Old Man

I get in line for the ATM and literally right behind me, in my ear, I hear what I think is this same, older, Grandpa-like aged man singing “My Girl”. Yep. “I guess. . you’d say. . what could make me feel this way. . My Girl”. And he sounds incredible! And what is it about that song that just makes you feel love? Well I obviously felt very strange because I felt like he may have been singing this to me. Turns out – he was. I turn around and there he is. Singing and dancing with the grocery bag of food right in front of me that he wants me to buy and then donate. I just stand there and stare. Not because he is making a fool of himself, or standing way too close to me. Definitely not because he is singing and dancing in public (I myself am a huge fan of that) – I stare because this man is SO damn happy!

I didn’t know such happiness could exist at 5 p.m. on a Thursday night at the almost end of a crazy work week (I kid I kid, but no really, I only feel that happy on Fridays after work).

And right before my eyes (yes I’m still waiting in line, it was a very long line) I hear something crazy come out of his mouth. As if I’m not already a bit surprised at the amount of holly and jolly this old creature feels around this Holiday time, but another Vons employee comes up to him and tells him to not sing so loudly, that he’s really “causing a scene”.

1. A scene? Really? Come on. He’s trying to get people’s attention to donate. I found it very creative (well, when he wasn’t singing in my ear I did. Not at that exact moment). 2. He sounded incredible! Like you could really tell this guy sang for a living, or on the side, or was in some sort of chorus. I mean he was really, really good.

As suspected, the happy Vons singer did not look pleased, in fact, he looked confused. And then he said this.

“I’m sorry. Since I have so much fun working here on my time off I thought it might get people in a better state of mind while they’re shopping if they hear music while walking in. I thought maybe it would bring them peace”.

Did he just say “time off”? Yep. He was nice, thoughtful AND retired (I’m really good at eavesdropping). You got it folks. He was working to be social. He was working to keep his mind sharp. He was working to stay happy – even though he financially didn’t have to.

And then I had this REALLY crazy thought on the way home – what if I was “volunteering” (so to speak) at my job? (Ok. No. No one in their right mind would volunteer where I work). But seriously – what would I feel like if I knew that I wasn’t relying on this job to pay my bills? And allow me to travel? And allow me to have fun in life? Would I be any different at work? More importantly, would I treat people differently?

Well I ended up donating. And before I left I heard that same former rude employee come back up to the guy and apologize and say,

“My boss is a jerk. He told me to say that. I think it’s cool you like coming to work and enjoy being here. Plus we’re getting a lot more donations because of what you’re doing”

“Like” coming to work? What a concept.

Maybe this old fart was really on to something.

I think it might be kind of neat, just for a day, to pretend that you’re a volunteer where you work. Because some how “volunteering” brings a sense of lightness to anything that requires work. It feels like you’re doing it for the greater good. To really make a difference – instead of being a slave to the man. I imagine myself saying “I volunteered today!” – feeling so accomplished, so proud. Instead of “I worked today”. So not the same.

So today at “work” I may try pretending I’m a rich, retired, old son of a b*tch who is only here because I want to be social and keep my mind sharp. Maybe that will make me feel happier at my old, stale desk.

If all else fails, maybe I’ll just break into song and dance.

And yes, I hummed the melody all the way home.

]

Birds Of A Feather Flock Together

Team. What does that word mean to you?

According to wikepedia (you know, the most trusted source of definitions on the internet, wink wink) a team “Comprises a group of people or animals linked in a common purpose”.

A team comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. For some of us we have teams in our life that are profund and some that aren’t. Maybe yours is the sports team you’re on, or the club you recently joined. It could be your drinking team, a workout group, a support group of some sort. Whatever it is – no doubt that team has had an impact on your life, and the way you may feel on a daily basis.

To me (besides my family and friends of course), the most profoud team in my life would definitely have to be my colleagues.

They highlight my strengths, and surely highlight my weaknesses.

They get on my every last nerve and stick up for me when the going gets tough.

I fight with them, I love them and I don’t like them – all at the same time somedays.

They are those people that are down in the trenches with you and oftentimes know exactly what you need and require to get back on top of the world again.

Hell – if you’re spending at least 40+ hours a week with your team you might as well appreciate what’s great and good about it and be grateful that you have what you do.

Right now I’m almost positive you wouldn’t be able to think about something incredible you accomplished at work, or in a game, or at a gym class – without attributing your success to your team or a specific team mate.

Even if you yourself are a rockstar (and duh of course you are), it’s the ones around you that allow you to achieve greatness on a daily basis.

Babe Ruth once said “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”

I think sometimes we forget how lucky we are to have a great team, and how good it feels to hear that you’re appreciated on one. We get so consumed on being a “Rockstar!” or being “The Best!” that we fail to realize we wouldn’t be able to shine so brightly if we didn’t have people surrounding us.

(The infamous highschool junior Meghan Vogel helping her opposing runner across the finish line after she collapsed)

How ironic that the people we may not even realize we’re competing against – are the same people that carry us through to the finish at the end.

So be thankful, and be grateful for your team.

It could be your friends, your family, your fellow yogis, your classmates – anyone that lets you shine.

Whoever they are – stick with them and flock together.

Because in the end – you’re probably all searching for the same thing.

(Penguins migrating for love)

5 Things I Love About Fall

It’s official. Fall is here – and I love it. The smells, the sights, the styles, the sounds – I love. All. Of. It.

What do I love about it most you ask? Well let me tell you!

1. Pumpkin. Pumpkin everything! Latte, doughnuts, beer, candles, chapstick, bread, lotion, air fresheners, pies. Mmm pumpkin pies. Fact – since I’ve been little I’ve had a pumpkin pie every year for my birthday instead of cake. I hate cake. I am a pumpkin fanatic.

If only people were posting more pictures of pumpkin fill in the blank‘s instead of political views and unpleasant baby status updates on Facebook, I’m telling you – the world would be a much happier place.

 

 

2. Chilly weather. Yep. A chill is definitely in the air. Even when we have warm days (which are so annoyingly frequent here in San Diego, wink wink), there is a chill in the feel of the warm air. It’s cool. And you know what chilly weather means right? Boots, sweaters and scarves – oh my! Cozy blankets, nights by the fireplace, warm glasses of wine – chilly weather brings so much warmth. Oh the irony.

One of my favorite things to do out here is go to the beach, with a blanket. It’s invigorating. Watching the waves, admiring the surfers who are still out there catching a wave or two, getting a red nose and chills, and swallowing yourself up in a big, warm, cozy blanket. Just because it’s colder out doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy summer activities – sometimes it makes them even neater.

3. Coziness. Everything just seems cozy. Maybe it’s because the weather is colder that people are closer together. Coffee shops seem more bustling, bookstore couches and chairs are all full of readers, parties seem more packed and restaurants seem to have more love and laughter. Seriously – just start to look in a few more windows you pass by while shopping and notice all the coziness happening. Fires are everywhere – in your living room, at your campsite, in your backyard. When I was growing up – having a fire in the family room with everyone in there was pretty much standard. To this day, I still take building a fire very seriously – I help chop the wood, stack the wood and make the fire in my own house now. Woman make fire. Woman make fire big. Dad would be so proud.

4. Excitement. There seems to be a quiet, chaotic excitement in the air when fall hits for some reason. Everyone is traveling more, spending more time with family and friends and loved ones, work seems to get crazy. Everything seems a bit chaotic- but in an exciting way. It’s not overwhelming, it’s just busy. But a good busy. The kind of busy you sometimes forgot that you craved during those slow and peaceful summer months.

5. Fall beauty. With fall brings the best surprise ever – the changing of the weather. The leaves, the wind, the colors, the smells. ….the rain. Oh the rain. I think my mid-western roots really come out when it rains. It reminds me of home. It reminds me of love. But most importantly – it reminds me that everything can be washed away and started new. Rain is a fresh start. Add in some beautiful colored leaves and the crackle and pop of walking on them (oh I love that sound), and you have found yourself in an eclectic fall wonderland.

To me, the changing of the seasons always brings something new.

And fall – brings love.

People seem happier. Love seems endless. And more beauty seems to be in in our spirit and surroundings.

Enjoy the change – because it won’t last.

Go on and wrap yourself up in a big blanket, grab someone you love, and crack open a pumpkin ale beer.

Ahh, fall is here 😉

 

 

 

 

Move

Last night I went over to a friends house to do some water color painting, eating, drinking and all-around being merry-ness. Insert my immediate panic, fear and all around nervousness when I heard the word “painting”. I have things I’m good at, and I surely have things I’m bad at – and painting, my friend, is something I’m bad at. Drawing. Sketching. Art. Be creative! Use this as inspiration! Words and phrases like that make me bite my bottom lip.

I have creative outlets, and I’m creative in my own way – and drawing, I assure you, is definitely not one of those ways (if you are one of the unlucky friends of mine that plays Draw Something with me you can attest to this). But I thought what the heck – she did say we’d be drinking and eating too, so how bad can this be?

She gave me a very thorough tutorial on the sketch pad, what paints were what, what the acryllics did vs. the water colors, etc. You know – lots of artist lingo going on 🙂 Oh, and did I forgot to mention she is really good at drawing, like really, really good? Yep. She’s good. So you know, not like there was any pressure for me to be great or anything…..sigh.

So we started. And by “started” I mean sat there. Staring. At a blank canvas. (Me of course – not her)

I knew how I wanted it to end up. I knew what I wanted it to look like. Hell, I was even beginning to imagine where I would hang the damn thing or who I would give it to. But I couldn’t start it.

All I was thinking about was the end. Finishing it. Being proud of it. And having it be something really profound, and really meaningful. I mean this painting just had to be a reflection of myself and my life didn’t it?

So I just started drawing. And painting. And mixing colors. And being artful. And being creative.  And following the same kind of concepts she had drawn on the pages before me. Pages that told stories of places she had been, and places she wanted to go.

I started doing these really, simple, easy things that – once I got started – really created little thought. Turns out most times, your biggest critic is yourself.

When I was finished, I liked what I saw. I don’t know what it means. I don’t know what it’s suppose to be. Hell, I don’t even know what I’m going to do with it – but at least I friggin painted something. My favorite part was the random newspaper clippings at the bottom that had words like “dream” “journey” and “imagine” on them. Very crafty.

 

Today when I’m looking at my finished piece I see how silly it was that I was stressed about how to start, or  what to do first, or how to get there. Sure it looks like a 5 year old did it. I mean yes, maybe it was suppose to be abstract and ended up being so literal. But do we ever really truly ever know how to take the first step?

We think, we ponder, we analyze, and sometimes we don’t even move. We imagine, we envision, and yet most times – we stand still.

We just wait. For whatever reason, we wait. We know what we want – we know how we want the story to end up, but we just stay still.

I think when I look at this painting (wherever she may end up), I want to remind myself how important it is not not just focus on the end. But to focus on all of the blunders, absurdities and other distractions that crept in along the way (thanks Ralph Waldo Emerson card on my bulletin board). Because of those lil creepers – the ending tells the story it was always meant to tell.

I guess it really doesn’t matter where we end up – it’s the journey of how we got there that matters (SO cliche I know but damnit it’s true!).

And of course – whoever we held onto during those bumpy rides that counts.

 

 

10 Things I Wish I Knew 10 Years Ago

Rituals are funny. My morning ritual at work has turned into making my breakfast, running through the un-godly amount of emails in my inbox and starting some project plans – and then settling back into my ghetto office chair from 19 million years ago that I’m always afraid will awkwardly tip over some day, and checking out some of my favorite new blogs for some inspirational or thought-provoking reads for the day.

A post I came across today really made me think. We are all constantly facing seemingly insurmountable challenges on a daily basis. Sometimes big, sometimes small – sometimes they are one after another – wham, bam thank you m’am. Let’s see how many more life lessons we can really teach you all at once. Let’s see if you truly know how to dance in the rain.

So I wanted to share today’s great find. I really love www.marcandangel.com – their blog isn’t too sappy – it’s real and simple and just makes sense to me. So enjoy.

One or more of these thoughts may really speak to you – so let it. And soak it in baby.

As quoted below “Sometimes you have to journey through hell on Earth to find heaven on Earth.”

10 Things I Wish I Knew 10 Years Ago

Re-blogged from www.marcandangel.com

10 Things I Wish I Had Known 10 Years Ago

Stay in tune with your spirit. Be calm and think. Listen to your inner voice. Anticipate and plan. Take 100% responsibility for your life. Lean into your struggles. Act with courage. Maintain an open mind. Practice kindness and compassion. Keep your promises. Forgive, let go, and move forward. This is how you get from where you are to where you want to be.

I’ve learned these concepts gradually over the last decade. Together they have helped me live a life of purpose. Had I understood these things 10 years ago, I could have avoided quite a bit of confusion and grief. So today I figured I’d share a few more things I wish I had known sooner. My hope is that they help you hurdle over some of the barriers I stumbled into on the road of life.

  1. Loving someone should not mean losing YOU. – True love empowers you, it doesn’t erase you. True love allows human beings to build amazing things, by working together through passion, kindness, and good will. So be strong enough to stand alone, be yourself enough to stand apart, but be wise enough to share your love and stand together when the time comes. Read The Mastery of Love.
  2. Getting even doesn’t help you get ahead. – You will never get ahead of anyone as long as you try to get even with them. Sometimes we don’t forgive people because they deserve it. We forgive them because they need it, because we need it, and because we cannot move forward without it. To forgive is to rediscover the inner peace and purpose that at first you thought someone took away when they betrayed you.
  3. You attract what you show to the world. – So if you want it, reflect it. Happiness, freedom, and peace of mind are always attained by giving them out to others without expectation. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are eventually helped. You have two hands; one to help yourself, the second to help those around you.
  4. Failure is success when you learn from it. – Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want. Obstacles can’t stop you. Problems can’t stop you. Other people can’t stop you. These barriers are temporary – they come and go. Which is why, over the course of a lifetime, the only barrier that can truly stop you, is YOU. So don’t give up. Sometimes you have to journey through hell on Earth to find heaven on Earth.
  5. You are not what you have done, but what you have overcome. – All the hardships. All the mistakes. All the rejections. All the pain. All the times you questioned why. All of these things have given birth to the wisdom and strength that will help you shine your light on the world, even in the darkest of hours. Read Emotional Freedom.
  6. Your past can only hurt you today if you let it. – Do not pay any attention to what the past whispers if all it’s doing is bad-mouthing what today has to offer. There are times when you need to release the bitterness and grab a firm hold of happiness, without permission and without reason. The only way to get over the past is to leave it behind. If you spend your time re-living moments that are gone forever, you might miss the special moments that are yet to come.
  7. It’s never too late to become the person you are capable of being. – Repeat after me: “I AM FREE.” You can fulfill your life purpose by starting here, in this moment. The purpose of life is not to simply be happy, but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to make some kind of difference that you have lived at all. Remember, life is constant change, but growth is optional. Choose wisely, starting now.
  8. Passion is important. – If you are trapped between your dreams and what other people think is right for you, always travel the route that makes you happy – unless you want everybody to be happy, except you. And whatever you do, don’t chase the money. Catch up to the ideas and activities that make you come alive. Go for the things of greater value – the things money can’t buy – and use them to create a relevant profession. Read Quitter.
  9. The pain is worth it. – You can’t really begin to appreciate life until it has knocked you down a few times. You can’t really begin to appreciate love until your heart has been broken. You can’t really begin to appreciate happiness until you’ve known sadness. You have to struggle up the mountainside to appreciate the breathtaking view at the mountaintop.
  10. Sometimes what you don’t want is what you need. – Sometimes the things you can’t change end up changing you for the better. Master your responses to external events; don’t always attempt to control them. You will rarely end up exactly where you wanted to go, but you will always end up exactly where you need to be.

Stand Proud

Today is the anniversary of September 11th. A day that took the lives of 3,000 people after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City.

I’m sure you can remember exactly what you were doing that day – where you were when you heard, what you did after, how you felt, who you wanted to call – Everything. 9/11 brings back the smells, the sounds, the feelings of that exact day – and it was over 11 years ago. It’s astonishing really, I mean sometimes I can’t even remember what I ate for breakfast a few days ago,let alone what street I lived on 11 years ago. But that day took something away from Americans – our innocence, or maybe our belief that we’d always be okay. That day will always be ingrained in our heads.

Every year on 9/11 we remember the victims, the families, the workers, the rescuers – everyone who suffered.

But we also remember where we were, who we were with, and what we were doing when we heard of the horrific news.

So as I’m reading all of the heroic and sad stories today I keep reading mentions of the “Survivor Tree” and then I realized why it sounded so familiar to me – I saw that tree when I was at Ground Zero 2 years ago and I took a picture of it, not really knowing the story behind it.

It’s a medium sized pear tree that was discovered among the rubble, and horrific sight of the aftermath of the morning we’d all never forget. Workers rescued it, freed it from all of the death around it and managed to bring it back to life – it’s limbs, roots and trunk slowly healing and flourishing back into life.

The obvious decision was to re-plant the tree at Ground Zero – maybe as a symbol of hope, or one of strength, maybe as a place of rememberance – not knowing whether or not it would survive.

This year at the start of spring that same broken, hopeless and lifeless tree started to miraculously blossom. And not only did it blossom – it flourished. It now rises taller, higher and prouder than all of the other trees in the Memorial Plaza at the World Trade Center.

Yes, a tree can be prouder.

Just like this tree, I feel that we have each had a smiliar story – maybe the anniversary of 9/11 reminds you of someone you once were, a place you once lived – a story you once told yourself.

You most likely have come a long way in the past 11 years – like me.

Just like this tree, each of us have risen up against all odds, have needed to lean on someone, or be leaned on, and have ultimately stood proud.

11 years ago I was someone completely different than I am today, and I am so much prouder of that.

While all other trees at this Memorial site die and shed dead leaves earlier and faster, this Surivor Tree grows –  a renewed life after an unimaginable loss.

Sometimes we all need a tree like this to remind us of our own inner strength, and to remind us that it’s okay to lean on others to help bring you back to the beautiful, proud tree you were always meant to be.