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22 Feb

 

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our attempts at a family selfie

reading:

If the book has to do with birthing a child or raising it…I probably own it. The pile of books next to my bed keeps growing. So many points of view on everything! So many details! I might just give up on reading them all and wing it.

looking forward to:

A trip to Sedona (one of my favorite places) this Friday for Brian’s birthday. I’m a little bummed I won’t be able to do as much hiking as I normally do (my OB has put a stop to overly strenuous physical activity) when we go but I’m sure I will find other ways to decompress. Maybe I’ll drink lots of wine instead….kiddddding. Most likely I will just do a lot of reading and if the weather permits I may take this baby bump for a swim in the pool.

I’m also looking forward to a few days in San Francisco in early March. Brian has to go for work so I decided to tag along. He will most likely be working non-stop so I plan to wander the city alone (well, I guess I’m never really alone right now am I?). I actually enjoy this…I can be such a loner sometimes. Any recommendations on places I should visit or eat?

Showering this baby boy! My mom and step mom are throwing a shower for baby boy on April 3rd and my mother in law and aunt are throwing another one for him on April 17th. Something about a baby shower makes it all feel very real…and his arrival  soon.

thinking about: 

birthing a small human. Brian and I toured the hospital a few weeks ago and let’s just say it made the fact that this babe has to make an exit at some point a harsh reality. I’ve been so focused on all the other stuff…baby names, baby room, baby shower, baby clothes….etc that I haven’t really thought about the birth in great detail. Well, the tour changed that. It was all going so well until I happened to notice the huge spotlights above the labor and delivery bed. There’s going to be a stage production happening at my vagina people! I started to break out in cold sweats when I saw those puppies. I keep reminding myself that people have babies every day. I am not special. I too will survive this. I think.

enjoying: 

The downtime I have been able to enjoy before the baby arrives. I haven’t not worked since I was seventeen! Although baby boy and I have done some fit modeling work for maternity lines. Clearly, I believe in child labor at a very early age. But mostly my days are filled with walks, lunches with friends, reading, nesting at home & writing in coffee shops. It’s amazing how fast the day goes when you don’t do anything.

loving: 

my husband, decaf iced lattes from le pain quotidien, pinteresting ideas for the nursery, feeling my son move in my belly, mangos & my girlfriends.

watching:

togetherness, girls, walking dead, life in pieces, grey’s anatomy, how to get away with murder…oh and house hunters international (it speaks to my soul!)

my morning with a shaman

2 Feb

shaman

I was in the mood for something recently. By something I was thinking maybe a physic reading. I was not thinking…a session with a shaman. I’m not even sure what I was seeking at the time but I was feeling open to some guidance. The past year has been filled with so many transitions- it feels like my soul has been on a wild ride and with motherhood around the corner I don’t see the ride coming to an end anytime soon. I’ve been feeling so much energy surging through my body- negative energy that I’ve been trying to shed and positive energy that I’ve been trying to embrace. It was making me feel scattered.

I was in the process of compiling a list of physic referrals (yes, this is possible when you live in Los Angeles) when one friend instead recommended a shaman. A shaman? Now that’s one I have never been to before, I thought. My interest was immediately peaked. I asked her what she got from her session and she could only describe it as…a clearer vision. She said it was hard to put the experience into words. Even with little to go on something about it seemed…right. So I took the shaman’s contact information. It actually took me a few months to reach out to her. I think I was a bit intimidated by the word “shaman”. What little I did know about them, I’ve learned from the movies. Did you ever see the Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts movie, “While We’re Young”? There’s a hysterical scene in which they attend a ayahuasca ceremony in a shaman’s home. Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic brew from the Amazon that people drink in the hopes it will bring them personal insights through optic and auditory hallucinations. While that does sound like it could be quite an interesting experience, that is most definitely not what I am currently seeking. Can you understand my hesitation now?

In search of more information I googled…”what is a shaman”?…good ol’ wikipedia had this for me…

A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing.

Shamanism encompasses the premise that shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds. Shamans are said to treat ailments/illness by mending the soul. Alleviating traumas affecting the soul/spirit restores the physical body of the individual to balance and wholeness. The shaman also enters supernatural realms or dimensions to obtain solutions to problems afflicting the community. Shamans may visit other worlds/dimensions to bring guidance to misguided souls and to ameliorate illnesses of the human soul caused by foreign elements. The shaman operates primarily within the spiritual world, which in turn affects the human world. The restoration of balance results in the elimination of the ailment.

Feeling safer with this new information I decided to reach out to the shaman. I was surprised to find myself  on the phone with a woman named Samantha. Don’t lie…you were expecting some elaborate “shaman name” like Angakok or Sheripiari too, right? We had a great conversation and I loved her energy over the phone so I decided to move forward with booking a session. Before hanging up she said to keep a lookout for an email that would have notes on how to prepare for our session. A few hours later I received these…

1) What help or healing do you want in your life at this time? Tell me briefly what is most important when we meet. When we meet be prepared to share a brief spoken life review of main facts and key events – no more than 15-20 minutes.
2) Please no alcohol or recreational drugs for at least 24 hrs. before/after our session, preferably more. Prescription meds or supplements are fine, but please advise if you take meds such as anti-depressants, anti-anxiety or anti-psychotics. For balanced blood sugar, please eat before session.
3) Several nights before meeting, ask for help or healing information in your dreams re: our work together. If anything comes, make note of it and tell me. Sometimes other recent dreams may be helpful.
4) Bring a small gift to thank the spirits.

The perfectionist in me immediately focused on “bring a small gift to thank the spirits” and felt anxiety. What the hell do I bring a spirit as a gift? I have a hard enough time finding a gift for Brian for Christmas. If the spirits don’t like my gift will they send me bad mojo? What stores do spirits like to shop? Do I wrap this small gift? After days of intense thought about what to get the spirits I settled on a tiny gold elephant with its trunk in the air (a sign of prosperity). I still don’t know if it was well received by the spirits and yes I still wonder.

The morning of my session I made sure to follow directions and eat breakfast (although, at six months pregnant I’ll admit I don’t skip many meals) and packed my bag with my life review notes and my gift for the spirits. Our session was held in a yurt nestled in the Topanga Canyon mountains. For those of you who have never been to Topanga Canyon, it really is a world unto itself. You don’t even feel like you are in Los Angeles and I think the people who live there like it that way. I asked Samantha how often she makes it down the mountain and she answered, “As little as possible”. The yurt was adorned with ethnic rugs, bright artwork & a table full of crystals and feathers. It felt so magical in there- I wanted to spend an afternoon reading or writing in it. I went into the session with an open mind. I decided to be fearlessly honest about my “stuff”. Luckily, she is a very easy person to open up to. You feel zero judgment from her. Truth is she really didn’t want to get into the details. She reminded me that she’s not a therapist. The broad strokes were all she needed. After probably 1/2 an hour or so of talking she asked me to lie down on the couch. She covered me in a warm blanket, put a pillow under my head and covered my eyes with a cloth. She then led me through a meditation which was followed by chanting, rain makers, bird noises, her soft touch on my head and the feeling of her breath on my throat. This went on for at least an hour. I felt like I was shedding layers in the process- that’s the only way I can describe it. I felt lighter and lighter as our time together passed. There was an understanding that everything was and is in its perfect order. Gratitude washed over me. A calmness. A sense of peace and acceptance. A few tears ran down my face. When she chanted the baby would move so I put my hand on my belly. I think he was a fan. When it was all said and done she swept me down with an eagle feather. Almost as if she was dusting away the “bad” stuff. I didn’t ask a single question about what any of it meant or was supposed to mean. It didn’t matter. I felt light.

After the session she shared with me that my spirit animal- a wolf- showed up. A wolf! Don’t think I don’t have  tons of photographs of wolves around my house now- kidding. But I do have a new love affair with all things wolf.

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“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

happy list…

15 Jan

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image via 

things that have been making me happy recently…

– feeling baby boy move. After the bad news about the location of the placenta I wasn’t expecting to feel him move for quite some time and then BAM I felt him! Now I feel him move all the time (he has certain times of day he is most active). It truly is one of the most magical things I have ever experienced

– my alloted one cup of coffee. Now that I can only have the one each day I look forward to it immensely each morning. Who knew I could be so grateful for a cup of coffee

– my super snuggly pup. He’s been such a lover recently. Maybe he knows his time as an only child is limited?

– Brian got another promotion at work. That makes two in one year! I’m just so damn proud of him. He works so hard and to see him get the recognition he deserves brings me joy

– the green dream smoothie (almond milk, green apple, frozen banana, kale a parsley) from Kreation. I want one every day right now

– a prenatal yoga class held at a doulas house that totally blissed me out

– long walks on grey days

– watching episodes of “Girlfriends Guide To Divorce”. They are mindless fun and give me a laugh

– my growing baby bump. I have such an appreciation for my body these days

– a bright light filled space that makes being home more right now manageable

– a trip we are taking next weekend to Carmel by the sea for a friend’s wedding. I’m looking forward to celebrating the nuptials and being up north. It’s so pretty up there

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What’s been making you guys happy recently??

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
Dalai Lama

 

Dalai Lama

 

around these parts…

5 Jan

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Happy New Year lovely people!! I’m always a bit shocked when a new year arrives. Time seems to be moving at warp speed. Where did 2015 go, you know? Although, I’m ok with putting 2015 to bed…I like the sound of 2016. The number just feels good rolling off my tongue and I love the energy that a new year brings. 2015, was an intense year for me- intensely hard and intensely beautiful. I said it on my instagram account but it felt as if 2015 had two acts. Act one kicked my ass- it was filled with lessons, hard work, big questions & uncomfortable (albeit needed) personal growth. I can’t say I enjoyed that period but I know that it lead me to a better version of me, so, high-five Universe! Thanks for dragging me through the shit! I truly believe that we must go through dark periods to earn and appreciate the lighter ones, and act two of 2015 was just that…a big bright light. It was  one of the sweetest periods I can ever remember experiencing. I’m so grateful for the gifts it brought me.

This new year feels different from most for me. I’m usually all about starting the year off with big goals to accomplish in the 365 days I have. While I do still have goals this year (working on a new vision board now) my intention for this year is less about attaining things and more about enjoying things. It’s shaping up to be a year that I will have to be ok with things moving at a slower pace than I am used to. I officially stopped working last week until the babe arrives in May. I knew it was coming considering my job as a fit model is based on my measurements and they have certainly changed dramatically in the last few months. Even with the preparation, it was a hard pill for me to swallow. I really enjoy working and the idea of stopping sounded less than ideal. All my clients were great about it though. They were very supportive and reassuring that they would have me back when I was ready. So my plan is to go back a few months after he is born (granted I can get back to my measurements!). Even with their reassurance I found it hard to turn all my clients over to another fit model. I felt such a lack of control! I had to remind myself that change is inevitable and letting go was ok. There will always be new clients. On to a new adventure, right?!

So what am I going to do with myself for the next 4 1/2 months before he arrives? Your guess is as good as mine. Someone told me I could spend it getting his nursery ready. This idea made me giggle…who needs 4 1/2 months to ready a nursery? God help me if it takes that long! I’m hoping to fill my time with more writing & blogging. I’ve really neglected both for some time. I used to blog every damn day and now I’m lucky if I do once a week. I also hope to fall into a regular yoga practice. I haven’t gone to one class since finding out I was pregnant (In the beginning I was scared that I would hurt the baby but I think I am moving past my “scared of everything” phase). Ok so I definitely have blogging, writing & yoga to fill my days. My other ideas include a once a week artist date with myself, baking (because what better time to take up baking than when you are pregnant…I’m already getting bigger so why not just throw myself all in, you know?) & home projects (it’s so funny how strong the urge is to nest and ready your space before the baby arrives. Like he is going to care about the new credenza or which shade of grey I paint the walls!). Any other brilliant ideas about how I should spend the next few months?

 

life according to my iPhone lately

1 Dec

Life according to my iPhone lately…well, the last two months.

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early morning family selfie

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snug as a bug

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baby Glodney’s first photo…don’t worry we couldn’t spot the baby either

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new morning routine

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Franks thoughts about walking the neighborhood in his halloween costume

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early morning hike

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baby Glodney’s second photo…my how you’ve grown!

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decaf coffee is just not the same

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celebrating two years of marriage

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bed head

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exploring a hollywood parklet

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visiting my step father Irv in Kansas City

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fall colors in Kansas City

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more fall colors!

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exploring the Nelson-Atkins museum

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you must eat bbq when in Kansas City, right?

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arriving in Atlanta to visit my friend Chantal

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her sweet little guy helping me with my bag

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love that sweet boy

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love his mama too

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our best attempt at a group photo

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giving the baby thing a test run

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oh, hi!

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street art in Atlanta

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appetizer spread at a little dinner party we hosted

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these two

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Oh, hi baby Glodney! Looking cozy

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morning coffee with Rachel and Ben

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more baby test runs

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your baby is a…

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BOY!!

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with the new man in my life…

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big magic

2 Nov

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I just finished reading “Big Magic : Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert for my book club. I’ve been a fan of Gilbert’s work ever since I read “Eat, Pray, Love”- a book that people either seem to love or hate. I personally loved it. I remember devouring it in a few short days and being consumed with her journey. Considering I am also a travel nut I enjoyed reading about Italy, India & Indonesia. That book planted a seed in me to one day visit Bali and the famous medicine man Ketut, who she receives a reading when in Bali and I did both last year on our honeymoon. I was feeling very connected to the lovely Elizabeth Gilbert in that moment!

“Big Magic” is a guide of sorts on how to live a creative life. That doesn’t mean just writing (although Elizabeth does talk a lot about writing because it happens to be her creative passion) but encompasses something larger: instead exploring any activity that takes you out of yourself and opens you to the experience of wonder and joy. This could mean weaving, drawing, dancing, it could mean running a farm, tap dancing, learning a new lanugaue…the options are endless!

I have been seeking inspiration recently so this book spoke to me. It made me think about the times in my life that I have been most fulfilled and it is most definitely when I feel creatively alive. I think back to when I started this blog- I was in a funk at the time and instinctively knew that to break free from its hold, I had to create, write, explore & learn. I had to get back in touch with the part of myself that comes alive when I am living a creative and inspired existence. That year I learned how to cook, I learned how to tango, I drove across the country taking photos and writing. All these activities brought me such profound joy and isn’t that the point of living? Why don’t we give our creative pursuits more energy?

This book reminded me that it’s ok to spend an afternoon painting for no other reason than it feels good and makes you happy…and that is a life worth living in my opinion.

Here are a few of my favorite lines from the book…

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”

“Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest.”

“So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”

“creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that—merely by being here—you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.”

“But to yell at your creativity, saying, “You must earn money for me!” is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about, and all you’re doing is scaring it away, because you’re making really loud noises and your face looks weird when you do that.”

“The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust—and those elements are universally accessible. Which does not mean that creative living is always easy; it merely means that creative living is always possible.”

“Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome.”

“But never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even their comprehension) in order to make your own creative work.”

“Because often what keeps you from creative living is your self-absorption (your self-doubt, your self-disgust, your self-judgment, your crushing sense of self-protection).”

“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make space for all the paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise- you can make anything. So please calm down now and get back to work, okay? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”

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Gilbert explored some of the ideas in the book in two TED talks, 2009’s “Your Elusive Creative Genius” and 2014’s “Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating.”

fusilli alla vodka

26 Oct

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I’m a pasta girl. If it was appropriate to eat pasta for every meal I would happily oblige. In addition to enjoying the art of eating pasta I also enjoy preparing it. They are so easy to throw together and you can pretty much add any ingredient to them and it works…meat, veggies, spice, dairy, seafood…anything! Last night we had Brian’s parents over for dinner and we decided to make our new favorite pasta dish…spicy fusilli alla vodka. We first made this dish a few weeks ago when we had our friends Rachel & Pj (and their new baby Ben!) over for dinner. It was a big hit that night so we decided to give it another go, this time we upped the spice factor. Brian likes to sweat when he eats food. While I enjoy spicy, he takes it to another level. I gotta keep my eye on him when he’s adding the spices to our meals.

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I found the recipe on Bon Appetite’s website (they pulled it from the Italian restaurant Jon & Vinny’s in Los Angeles. I’ve been dying to try this place so we made reservations for our wedding anniversary in November. I plan to eat lots of pasta that night) The dish is incredibly easy to make, we usually make the sauce before our guests arrive and then reheat it once we are ready to eat.

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Frank is absolutely no help unless food makes it onto the floor and needs to be cleaned up. Otherwise he sleeps nearby with his beloved tennis ball.

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Voila! Dinner is ready- we served the pasta with an Italian salad & fresh bread.

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ingredients-
servings: 4
¼ cup olive oil
½ shallot, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
½ cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons vodka
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 pound fusilli
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ounce finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
¼ cup chopped fresh basil

directions-

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until paste is brick-red and starts to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add vodka and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add cream and red pepper flakes and stir until well blended. Season with salt and pepper; remove from heat.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Add pasta to skillet with sauce along with butter and ½ cup pasta cooking liquid. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until butter has melted and a thick, glossy sauce has formed, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add 1 oz. Parmesan, tossing to coat. Divide pasta among bowls, then top with basil and more Parmesan.

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