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5 Jan

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(image via)

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?

 

fall / winter booklist part 2

21 Sep

Happy Monday!

Here is part 2 of my fall/winter desired reading list. I realize it’s a strange mix of books! Everything from the history of Alice In Wonderland to a book about the human brain and it’s powers- I like to keep it varied.

Rising Strong by Brene Brown

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Social scientist Brené Brown has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: Vulnerability—the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome—is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. But living a brave life is not always easy: We are, inevitably, going to stumble and fall.

It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people—from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents—shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean in to discomfort.

Walking into our stories of hurt can feel dangerous. But the process of regaining our footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. Our stories of struggle can be big ones, like the loss of a job or the end of a relationship, or smaller ones, like a conflict with a friend or colleague. Regardless of magnitude or circumstance, the rising strong process is the same: We reckon with our emotions and get curious about what we’re feeling; we rumble with our stories until we get to a place of truth; and we live this process, every day, until it becomes a practice and creates nothing short of a revolution in our lives. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness. It’s the process, Brown writes, that teaches us the most about who we are.

Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling

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In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)

Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.

Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan

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Mutant Message Down Under is the fictional account of an American woman’s spiritual odyssey through outback Australia. An underground bestseller in its original self-published edition, Marlo Morgan’s powerful tale of challenge and endurance has a message for us all.

Summoned by a remote tribe of nomadic Aborigines to accompany them on walkabout, the woman makes a four-month-long journey and learns how they thrive in natural harmony with the plants and animals that exist in the rugged lands of Australia’s bush. From the first day of her adventure, Morgan is challenged by the physical requirements of the journey—she faces daily tests of her endurance, challenges that ultimately contribute to her personal transformation.

By traveling with this extraordinary community, Morgan becomes a witness to their essential way of being in a world based on the ancient wisdom and philosophy of a culture that is more than 50,000 years old.

Get In Trouble Stories by Kelly Link

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She has been hailed by Michael Chabon as “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction” and by Neil Gaiman as “a national treasure.” Now Kelly Link’s eagerly awaited new collection—her first for adult readers in a decade—proves indelibly that this bewitchingly original writer is among the finest we have.

Link has won an ardent following for her ability, with each new short story, to take readers deeply into an unforgettable, brilliantly constructed fictional universe. The nine exquisite examples in this collection show her in full command of her formidable powers. In “The Summer People,” a young girl in rural North Carolina serves as uneasy caretaker to the mysterious, never-quite-glimpsed visitors who inhabit the cottage behind her house. In “I Can See Right Through You,” a middle-aged movie star makes a disturbing trip to the Florida swamp where his former on- and off-screen love interest is shooting a ghost-hunting reality show. In “The New Boyfriend,” a suburban slumber party takes an unusual turn, and a teenage friendship is tested, when the spoiled birthday girl opens her big present: a life-size animated doll.

Hurricanes, astronauts, evil twins, bootleggers, Ouija boards, iguanas, The Wizard of Oz, superheroes, the Pyramids . . . These are just some of the talismans of an imagination as capacious and as full of wonder as that of any writer today. But as fantastical as these stories can be, they are always grounded by sly humor and an innate generosity of feeling for the frailty—and the hidden strengths—of human beings. In Get in Trouble, this one-of-a-kind talent expands the boundaries of what short fiction can do.

The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

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Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

Adventures For Your Soul by Shannon Kaiser

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Sometimes the one thing you need to make a change is to see things from a fresh perspective. Discover twenty-one innovative emotional explorations to boldly confront the habits that are holding you back in this breakthrough guide that provides the tools you need to fearlessly embrace your innermost desires.

Drawing from her own transformational experiences, Shannon Kaiser’s program utilizes an empowering process that encourages you to go on adventures for your soul so you can:

• Achieve your goals
• Remove limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging patterns
• Feel freedom from fear and live with purpose and passion
• Be unapologetic about your innermost desires
• And make happiness your natural way of life

By focusing on how your life feels instead of how it looks on the outside, you can passionately experience your own life adventures. By changing the way you see yourself, you can ultimately live life to the fullest.

The Story Of Alice by Robert Douglas- Fairhurst

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Following his acclaimed life of Dickens, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst illuminates the tangled history of two lives and two books. Drawing on numerous unpublished sources, he examines in detail the peculiar friendship between the Oxford mathematician Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and Alice Liddell, the child for whom he invented the Alice stories, and analyzes how this relationship stirred Carroll’s imagination and influenced the creation of Wonderland. It also explains why Alice in Wonderland (1865) and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass (1871), took on an unstoppable cultural momentum in the Victorian era and why, a century and a half later, they continue to enthrall and delight readers of all ages.

The Story of Alice reveals Carroll as both an innovator and a stodgy traditionalist, entrenched in habits and routines. He had a keen double interest in keeping things moving and keeping them just as they are. (In Looking-Glass Land, Alice must run faster and faster just to stay in one place.) Tracing the development of the Alice books from their inception in 1862 to Liddell’s death in 1934, Douglas-Fairhurst also provides a keyhole through which to observe a larger, shifting cultural landscape: the birth of photography, changing definitions of childhood, murky questions about sex and sexuality, and the relationship between Carroll’s books and other works of Victorian literature.

In the stormy transition from the Victorian to the modern era, Douglas-Fairhurst shows, Wonderland became a sheltered world apart, where the line between the actual and the possible was continually blurred.

You Are The Placebo by Dr. Joe Dispenza

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Is it possible to heal by thought alone—without drugs or surgery? The truth is that it happens more often than you might expect. In You Are the Placebo,Dr. Joe Dispenza shares numerous documented cases of those who reversed cancer, heart disease, depression, crippling arthritis, and even the tremors of Parkinson’s disease by believing in a placebo. Similarly, Dr. Joe tells of how others have gotten sick and even died the victims of a hex or voodoo curse—or after being misdiagnosed with a fatal illness. Belief can be so strong that pharmaceutical companies use double- and triple-blind randomized studies to try to exclude the power of the mind over the body when evaluating new drugs.

Dr. Joe does more than simply explore the history and the physiology of the placebo effect. He asks the question: “Is it possible to teach the principles of the placebo, and without relying on any external substance, produce the same internal changes in a person’s health and ultimately in his or her life?” Then he shares scientific evidence (including color brain scans) of amazing healings from his workshops, in which participants learn his model of personal transformation, based on practical applications of the so-called placebo effect. The book ends with a “how-to” meditation for changing beliefs and perceptions that hold us back—the first step in healing.

You Are the Placebo combines the latest research in neuroscience, biology, psychology, hypnosis, behavioral conditioning, and quantum physics to demystify the workings of the placebo effect . . . and show how the seemingly impossible can become possible.

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my fall/winter book list: part 1

17 Sep

I realize that I am setting myself up for failure with the length of my desired fall / winter reading list. But I can’t help it! There are so many books I’ve been wanting to read. I figure if I read half of them, I’d be happy. I’ve decided to split my list into two posts to make it more digestible. So here goes…the first seven books I’d like to read this fall/winter.

I’d love to hear what you guys are reading too….maybe I’ll add to my list! ha.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

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Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia’s older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it’s the youngest of the family—Hannah—who observes far more than anyone realizes and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened.

The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

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As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that’s bigger than it first appears.

The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

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Fates and Furies is a literary masterpiece that defies expectation. A dazzling examination of a marriage, it is also a portrait of creative partnership written by one of the best writers of her generation.

Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.

At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed. With stunning revelations and multiple threads, and in prose that is vibrantly alive and original, Groff delivers a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity, and power that is unlike anything that has come before it. Profound, surprising, propulsive, and emotionally riveting, it stirs both the mind and the heart.

Their eyes were watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

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When Janie, at sixteen, is caught kissing shiftless Johnny Taylor, her grandmother swiftly marries her off to an old man with sixty acres. Janie endures two stifling marriages before meeting the man of her dreams, who offers not diamonds, but a packet of flowering seeds …

‘For me, THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD is one of the very greatest American novels of the 20th century. It is so lyrical it should be sentimental; it is so passionate it should be overwrought, but it is instead a rigorous, convincing and dazzling piece of prose, as emotionally satisfying as it is impressive. There is no novel I love more.’ Zadie Smith

We should all be feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed Tedx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun. With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences—in the U.S., in her native Nigeria, and abroad—offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike. Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

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From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

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fall / winter 2015

9 Sep

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(image found via pinterest)

With 2015 nearing to a close…I know, I know, we still have four full months, but once September hits I can’t help but reflect on how I want the year to wrap up. September – December always seems to fly by and I find myself surprised every year on January 1st- it almost seems impossible that we are there again. The next four months also happen to be my absolute favorite time of year- I find myself most creatively alive during this time. I also love everything to do with the holidays and what they represent- family dinners, our wedding anniversary, carving pumpkins, dressing Frankie up for Halloween, cooking, warmth, bundling up, decorating trees, cuddling & new beginnings.

The last eight months have been an introspective time for me. Rather than exploring the world around me, as I usually do, I have been instead making the journey within. I knew at the start of 2015 that something was off.  I had baggage that I still hadn’t worked through and I was dragging it around with me. I couldn’t hide from it anymore. It was time to do the hard work, even if that meant that other things had to be put on the back burner. Something very hard for a person who desires immediate results like me to come to terms with. Instead I had to trust the process. It reminded me of that quote by Zora Neale Hurston –  “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” Thus far this year has most definitely been asking me some questions. Ones that needed answering and ones that positively shifted something in me once I did. I feel empowered and for that I am incredibly grateful.

Life man, such a wild ride sometimes, right?

When reflecting about how I want the next few months to unfold, it was clear to me that I want them to feed my soul, creative mind, relationships, home & belly. I want to soak in every bit of goodness that 2015 has left to offer me. I have a feeling the next four months will bring an entirely different energy than the first eight did and I am ready for that new energy.

Some of the ways I would like to spend the next few months…

Deepening my meditation practice. I know I have only been scratching at the surface and I am feeling a pull towards more. In addition to developing a stronger home practice I want to explore Unplug Meditation, Against The Stream & Shambhala Center.

Reading! There are fifteen (I might be setting myself up for failure on this one) books I would love to read before the end of the year. I’ll share them in a later post.

Cooking- I plan on spending some quality time in the kitchen! Again, there is something about fall and winter that inspire me to want to cook. I love hearty recipes and the feeling of warmth that comes from the kitchen this time of year.

I would love to put a small dinner party together in our home each month to bring our family and friends together. I want to make a point to enjoy the ones that matter most in my life. I also love to entertain.

I want to finish a few work projects that have been on the back burner for many many many months. As I mentioned previously, I put some things on the back burner to focus on me and it’s time to dust them off. They involve getting two book proposals finished and ready to submit in the new year and revamping my personal website which has been in purgatory for the last six months.

Practicing yoga. I want to make my yoga practice more of a priority over the next few months. My love for it has been renewed recently and I would love to keep the love affair going. My body just feels so much more balanced when I am practicing regularly.

I would love to finally find a property for the business Brian and I have been building with a few partners this past year. I can’t wait to share about it in the new year! Granted we find a property and the ball gets moving.

My home life- one of the most important aspects of my life. It has been in an incredibly solid and fulfilling place and I want to continue to watch it grow.

*

There are years that ask questions and years that answer,

Years that

fall apart

and years that come together…

There are years that cry and years that laugh,

Years that wonder

And years that strike and clap and thunder.

. . .

Your job isn’t to know — not right now, not quite yet.

Your job is simply

to breathe,

to trust,

to rest

To know that it is all a part of the path —

The mystery and the clarity

The hardship and delight

The darkness and the light alike.

. . .

Dear One,

Haven’t you heard?

“This place where you are right now

God circled on a map for you.”

*

weekend

10 Aug

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(meeting our friends beautiful baby boy Ben)

Friday

When Brian got home from work on Friday night we decided to take Frankie on a walk to get dinner. Walking to get dinner in our hood (Marina arts district) is a new thing for us. When we first moved into our place over two years ago the area felt very industrial. We both missed our old walking neighborhood in Santa Monica. Seriously, when you live in Los Angles you just want to park your car on the weekend and be done with traffic for a few days. Luckily, over the last few years our neighborhood has changed dramatically- restaurants, coffee shops & stores are popping up everywhere! We are so happy to be on foot again. We walked to get Omusubi for dinner at Sunny Blue. Omusubi are Japanese rice balls with various fillings inside and wrapped in seaweed. Supposedly people in Japan eat omusubi everyday like we eat sandwiches here in the United States. They are delicious, healthy and SO incredibly filling. I usually get the same order- a spicy salmon (cured salmon with chili seasoning), a tuna mayo (albacore tuna with mayo sauce) & a kara tuna (albacore tuna with dices cucumber and onions and spicy mayo sauce). Clearly, I have a seafood theme but they have many other options! Brian usually sticks with a meat filled theme.

When we got home we from dinner we watched the new Netflix documentary Tig. Have you seen it? I loved it! I’ve found myself thinking about it all weekend and recommending it to everyone I came into contact with. The film follows comedian Tig Notaro and focuses on the stand up routine she performed one day after finding out she had breast cancer. I’m sure it sounds like a dark film but it’s just the opposite. She is able to find humor and joy in the darkest of times and I found it incredibly inspiring. Here’s the trailer…

Saturday

After a lazy morning in bed with a stack of magazines and a few too many cups of coffee we headed to Mendocino Farms to pick up sandwiches to bring over to our dear friends Rachel and PJ’s house for lunch. They welcomed a gorgeous baby boy named Ben into the world last week. He is absolute perfection and so teeny! Every time I see a newborn I am in awe of how tiny they are. It takes my breath away. He is an especially gorgeous newborn with perfect little features and soft blonde hair. It was such a nice afternoon hanging with the new family. It’s always such a beautiful thing to see people you love become parents. The circle of life never disappoints.

On Saturday night Brian and I walked down the street (yet again!) to get Indian food for dinner. We’ve passed this Indian restaurant a million times and have never stepped foot in it despite both loving Indian food. It was oh so good. We ordered much too much food and spent our walk home talking about how full we both were.

When we got home we flipped through on demand in search of a movie to watch. We ended up settling on “Cake” with Jennifer Aniston. I had been intrigued to see her performance considering she got such rave reviews for it. While I loved her performance I wasn’t in love with the movie in general.

Sunday

On Sunday morning I met a few girlfriends for a sweaty and upbeat yoga class at Maha yoga in Brentwood. I used to frequent this studio often but I haven’t gone recently and I forgot how much I loved it there! The class we took was accompanied by loud rap music- I know, sounds weird right? But sometimes you just need a rap filled Sunday morning yoga class, you know? It was followed by a long quiet meditation and the combination was exactly what I needed. I’m really trying to get back into daily meditation. I feel such a difference in my attitude when I make it a priority. After class we brunched at Farmshop in the Brentwood Country Mart. I ordered a mushroom frittata that was honestly the most delectable egg dish I have ever had. I also saw Laura Dern at the restaurant so it was a total win.

On Sunday night we met my Dad and Pamela for Mexican at La Cabana in Venice. As I write this blog post I am realizing just just how much heavy eating we did the last few days.  I can safely say that I am still full on Monday morning. Dinner with my family was the perfect way end to a perfect weekend. We always spend our time together laughing and it fills my heart.

Hope you all had a beautiful weekend! Happy Monday!

I’ll leave you with this photo of Frank from the weekend…

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enjoying where you are

6 Aug

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I’ve been thinking a lot about how much time we spend as human beings wishing we were already at the next step- turning 10, driving, turning 21, graduating, turning 30, more successful, thinner, richer, a home owner, married, a parent, a parent of two, retired etc. The list goes on. We are conditioned to always be wishing we were somewhere else. I am guilty of this. I often find that I forget to take in the step in which I am currently residing. Being present exactly were I am. The step I once longed to obtain that now feels like no big deal. There was a time not too long ago that I longed to be a wife, a home owner, working steadily as a fit model & of course a frenchie owner (!) If you would have told me that I would attain all those things I would have told you that I would be content. But that’s never the case, is it? Now that all those things are mine, I find myself longing to be in the next steps…motherhood, living in a bigger house with a bigger yard, a small business owner, making money full-time as a writer and an owner of two frenchies! Well, I’m kind of kidding about the two frenchies. I don’t think Frank would approve. He’s a one man show.

While I’m sure all those things that I wish for will bring me great joy when and if they happen, I am trying to instead pull great joy from what already is. Being grateful for what my life already looks like and let go of all the things I am hoping to get to next. I want to absorb every single joy, lesson, laugh and moment that my life has to offer me today.

Because it all passes by too quickly.

Just the other day I was reminiscing about our old apartment. Missing it, actually.  Granted when we lived in that apartment I couldn’t wait to get out of it. And now look, I miss it. I miss the simplicity of it. Life continues to get bigger and richer and fuller. I’m pretty sure as my life continues to grow, I will look back at this exact time in my life and miss it. When there are children running around our house, I’m sure I will miss the quiet I now take for granted. When we move to that bigger house with a bigger yard one day, I’m sure I will miss the place we live in now. I’ll probably feel overwhelmed with the new lawn. When we open our small business, I’m sure there are going to be days that will be completely overwhelming and I will wish I could go back to the simplicity and freedom of working as a fit model. I’ll long for the days when I tried on clothes for a living. When I finally do publish my first book, I’m sure I will start thinking about what the next one should be.

The cycle never seems to end. When are we ever happy with what is? Without immediately trying to get to the next step?

So today I am trying to remain completely present in what life currently looks like with no attachment to all that is still to come…or not to come…or might come.

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“True happiness is… to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

 

the four rooms

21 Jul

 

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There is an Indian proverb that says “everyone is a house with four rooms, a mental, a physical, an emotional, and a spiritual. It is said that most of us live in one room most of the time but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not complete person.” Interesting thought, don’t you agree? The idea is based on the principle that when our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual selves are in alignment – we can more fully manifest the life we desire. This idea resonates with me. I find that when one of my rooms is out of sorts it affects everything in my life. I feel unbalanced. Off kilter. Anxious. Reactive.

So how does one balance their four rooms?

I pulled some excerpts from the beautiful site The Intentional Workplace that explain how to tend to your four rooms. Again, not my words. Enjoy!

Room one- the mental room 

The power of thought is one of the most creative forces in the Universe. Some would say – the most powerful. We don’t usually give a second thought to thinking, but our thoughts are constantly creating our experiences.

The language we use – to think and speak – is the narrative of our inner and outer world . Look around the room you are sitting in now; in the purest sense, everything in it is the product of someone’s thought. Our thoughts are the domain in which we can exercise our greatest control. Not rigid or authoritarian control, but choice. In the moment to moment choices we make, we demonstrate the power of our thought.

The scope of our control over thought continues to be understood through neuroscience. According to a recent study discussed in Nature, researchers stated,“Individuals can rapidly, consciously and voluntarily control neurons deep inside their head.” While it is important not to underestimate the challenge of controlling our thinking (especially where there is history of emotional or physical trauma) the news from science is very encouraging.

We’re entering an era where we understand that our thoughts need not be victims to external influence, but are the epicenter of our own life force and behavioral direction.

Room two- the emotional room 

This is the room where our feelings reside. Neuroscience has shown that our feelings do not simply emanate from one part of our brain (the limbic system), so we can imagine that this room is vast. It encompasses our entire body. You have more neural networks for feeling in your stomach and heart than anywhere else in your body.

Some of us ignore this room. It’s like the extra back room, filled with clutter, that seems like just too much work to organize. Others spend way too much time in the emotional room, reacting on auto-pilot to life’s events, rather than using the knowledge of the mental room for balance.

The tools of emotional intelligence can give us a whole new level of freedom in which to explore this room. We tend to think of this room as a messy place filled with anger, anxiety, resentment, impatience and frustration. While there should be a welcome sign on this room’s door for all of our feelings, remember that this is also the room where calmness, confidence, contentment, satisfaction, love, joy, empathy and compassion live. There is room for all.

The way we breathe is an important clue to how we relate to our emotions. Feelings of anger, fear, jealousy, resentment and frustration are all emotions that contracts us physically (and mentally). These feelings pull us in, forcing our breathing to become very shallow, even halting. Yet, when we experience feelings of contentment, calmness, elation and gratitude, we feel a sense of breathing out – of expansion. Even emotions that some might think of as sad, such as empathy and compassion – provide us with a feeling of release.

I have long contended that every emotion has the potential to be a resource in our lives. Feelings are an exquisite source of information about our experience. They do not lie. They are a blueprint of the truth of our experience. They reliably chart whether we are living our values or not. They brilliantly point to how we are meeting our needs or not.

The emotional room is a powerful place to reflect on your truth. Visit it with curiosity (one of the “neutral” emotions) and leave your judgment by the door. You are there to listen, learn and be humbled by your humanness.

Room three- the physical room 

Being awake and alive requires many of us to basically shift our relationship to our bodies. Most of us are spending too much time “in our heads,” cut off from our senses and the messages from our bodies. Most of the time, we’re not listening – we’re pushing. Our miraculous bodies often take a beating from us and deserve more TLC.

More rest. Better nutrition. More movement. Better posture. More hydration. Less criticism. Less stress. More self-love. It all counts. The body serves us over and over even when we deny its basics needs. How often do we “thank you?”

The core of our being is our breath or Prana in Sanskrit, Ha in Hawaiian and Chi in Chinese. In order to regain our natural connection to our body’s life force, we need to change our relationship to how we breathe. It is the key that unlocks the door between the mind and the body.

As we race from one task to the other, we rarely given our bodies a thought. Too many of our bodies are anesthetized by busyness. The reclamation of our relationships to our bodies should be one of our highest priorities.

Enter the physical room often. Bring your appreciation. Bring your respect. Celebrate this glorious temple of your life.

Room four- the spiritual room 

This room isn’t about doing – it’s about being. It’s doesn’t have to be about religion or ideology. It is the room where your spirit comes alive – where it feels free. It is the room that reflects and shares the immensity of YOU. So many wonderful gifts live in this room – too many untouched.

The gifts in this room don’t have to be marketable, branded, explained, justified or perfect. They simply need the space to go where your intuitive sense takes them.

Living in this room requires that we more closely define what inspires and brings us joy. Whatever the experience – being in nature, working with passion, being with those we love, sharing ideas, caring for those in need, painting a picture, creating a wonderful meal, traveling to places we love – bring us into alignment with the spiritual room.

Whenever we visit this room, we integrate all four rooms in harmony. In this room, we find new sources of creativity, energy and peace. Here we discover what truly feeds us – the source of the real needs behind the endless quest for self-expression.

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