Tag Archives: inspiring

LA marathon lights

16 Mar



Brian and I decided to change-up our normal routine of sitting on the couch with takeout and a movie on Friday night (welcome to married life) and instead ventured out to Hollywood (gasp!) to get a view of the LA marathon lights. For those of you who don’t live in Los Angeles, this weekend was the LA marathon. For a gal who doesn’t run unless in danger of being hit by oncoming traffic, I am completely wowed and inspired by the people who conquer the 26.2 mile run. It’s simply mind-blowing to me. I still can’t fathom how it’s humanly possible to make it from Dodger Stadium to The Santa Monica pier using only your legs.

In celebration of the marathons 30th anniversary, Asics, the official sponsor of this years event lit up each mile, using 124 spotlights from 8:40 pm to 10:15 pm on Friday night. In hopes of getting a good view of it, Brian and I headed to the top of Runyon Canyon. We decided to make it a family affair and brought Frank along for the adventure. When we arrived we quickly realized we weren’t the only ones that had the brilliant idea to view the lights from Runyon Canyon- there were people everywhere. It was actually rather cool to see swarms of people come out to support the event and get a view of the lights.

Hiking up to the lookout in the dark with only a headlamp for light proved interesting. Especially wearing only flip-flops for foot support (I’ve had better ideas) while being dragged by an excited pup (seriously, I think it was Franks favorite Friday night to date. Homeboy was jazzed.) The whole scene was very reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project.



Once we made it up to the top, Brian set up his camera equipment while Frank and I said our “hellos” to the people around us. Frank is quite the diplomat. For as long as I have lived in Los Angeles I have never seen this view of LA at night. Probably because it is illegal to be within Runyon Canyon after dark- strength in numbers, people! The view of the sparkling city below was breathtaking. It was so clear. I could spot so many landmarks. At 8:40 pm sharp the marathon spotlights were turned on and there was an audible gasp. It was so beautiful and so inspiring.





To see the panoramic photograph (it’s pretty epic) along with Brian’s blog post click here




project 30 – gillian

15 Jan


Gillian, 32

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

There is magic in the seemingly mundane, everyday stuff. All you have to do is look for it. Stop thinking about your life, and start living it. Show up. Be where you are. Keep an open mind, and look for the good in yourself and others. Let each situation be what it is instead of what you think it should be .The answers to your questions are far less complicated than you think.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

Cultivating self-love and self-respect. Looking inward instead of outside myself for validation and praise.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

What others thought about me. Or rather, what I thought others thought about me.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

The first memory that comes to mind is the afternoon my younger brother, Jake, told me and my two other younger brothers, Luke and Henry, that he was going to propose to his long time girlfriend, Vanessa. It was a gorgeous day, and we were sitting in the grass outside of LACMA. I remember feeling so happy that Jake had found such a wonderful woman to share his life with, excited to finally have a sister on the way, inspired by how much Jake and Vanessa loved and respected each other, and grateful for the special bond I share with my brothers. Their joy is my joy.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

I thought I would be living in either Boston or New York building my practice as a Psychologist or Social Worker, after having earned a graduate degree in either field.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

Well, it looked nothing like I’d thought it would. Thirty was actually a pretty tough year. I was working as a pilates instructor and taking classes to finish up earning my BA in Psychology so I could apply to grad school. I felt pretty uninspired during this time. I wasn’t living a life I loved, but I also didn’t know what changes to make or how to make them. I didn’t know it at the time, but acknowledging that changes needed to be made was the first step that set the wheels of change in motion.

I lived in a pretty uncomfortable state of “not-knowing” for a few months until one day in February of 2014 I agreed to help out on a low-bugdet short film that a family friend was directing. The director, Greg LaVoi, was (and is) a very talented and successful Costume Designer, who was spreading his wings and directing a film for the first time. A month later, Greg hired me as a costume assistant on a pilot he was designing. I fell in love with the work almost immediately and Greg became and still is a true mentor. Over the past year, I have worked as a costume assistant on 2 short films, a feature film, a commercial, styled four photoshoots featuring local designers, and I have been the head wardrobe stylist on 2 music videos. It’s been a truly amazing year and I’m so grateful for it.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

I was more worried about getting in my own way, staying stuck. I found that once I opened myself up to having a new experience, opportunities started to present themselves. Once I realized that I wanted to be a wardrobe stylist, I promised myself that I would say yes to every job no matter how small or how daunting.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

For me, the greatest gift has been the shift in my perspective. These days, I’m much more focused on being a positive presence in my relationships and in my work. I want to contribute, and I’m willing to make mistakes. First and foremost, I want to continue to learn and grow.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

I hope to be in a healthy, loving relationship, have a successful career as a wardrobe stylist, and maybe a couple kiddos.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

It’s as true today as it ever was, he who seeks beauty will find it”– Bill Cunningham


Connect with the lovely Gillian / website / instagram @gillianfield

project 30 – tobi

18 Sep


Tobi, 30 / Hunting 4 Bliss

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

You are just where you need to be. Stop worrying about getting your shit together—it’s a process and this is just one small step of your journey. Be kind to yourself.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

Only one thing, because I was far too serious…I wish I would have taken my bachelor’s degree more seriously. I studied Spanish because I wanted to travel, and I love language, but the degree is almost completely useless to me.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

Literally, everything, from my love life, to myself, to what others thought of me.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Traveling with my husband, Matt. My favorite trip was to Uganda, where we drove a 4×4 and camped for three weeks. It was dirty, beautiful, challenging, magical…ah, it was bliss!

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

Honestly, I wasn’t sure. I was studying Spanish and my goal was to teach English abroad. At times I thought I would have a few kids and be staying at home, which seemed more realistic than the adventurous traveling life.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

I feel like I got the best of both worlds. While I haven’t taught English abroad or thrived in a career, I have had the opportunity to continue my education, work, start a family, and to travel. I’m currently married to the best guy in the world, working on a Master’s degree in mental health, doing makeup artistry part time, and growing twin babies (coming in December)! Life is way better than I could’ve imagined in my early twenties.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

As much as I try to fight the fear, I still worry a lot! I wish I didn’t, but it’s sort of in my nature. These days I mostly about finances and finishing school with twins, but somewhere inside I know that it will most definitely fall into place. The key is not trying to control every outcome and accepting the fear and uncertainty.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

I’m fairly new to my thirties, so I’m not exactly sure what the greatest gift will be. So far I would have to say that it’s the confidence, grace, and direction that I did not have going in to my twenties.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

I hope to be healthy, grounded, and at peace with wherever I’m at. If we must get technical, I hope to have my own private counseling practice, working with various feminine issues. I want to be a good wife and mom with well-adjusted kids and a happy hubby.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

I’m such a quote/mantra junkie, so this is hard! I’ve narrowed it down to three.

“Follow your bliss and the Universe will open doors where there were only walls.” ~Joseph Campbell

“Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” ~Joseph Campbell

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi

connect with Tobi : blog 


inspiration, gratitude & surprises

1 Aug


We are off on another weekend getaway with the Garahan’s! This time we are going camping. I’ve definitely warmed up to the whole idea of paying to sleep in the dirt since the first time I camped with Brian in Big Sur a few years ago. This will be my third time camping (last year we did Mammoth with Mike & Loni). This weekend we choose a campground a little closer to home and are heading to Ojai. Considering camping was on Brian’s “summer to do list” I know he’s very excited about the next few days. Surprisingly, I’m actually looking forward to it too. Nothing better for the soul then a little nature, right?

what inspired me this week?

I saw the movie “Boyhood” and simply loved it! Such a beautiful and poetic film. I think Richard Linklater is a genius

 “Things don’t happen to you- they happen for you”

this quote…”Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.” – unknown

This weeks project 30 post

what am I grateful for this week?

the arrival of baby Liam

Erin Haslag for letting me know about the brilliant website Skillshare. What an amazing resource. I’ve already watched a bunch of online classes on photography. love

what surprised me this week?

when I received a bill from my the surgeon who performed my gallbladder surgery for 63,000….yes 63,000!! After I had a full blown panic attack, I called his office, only to learn that they had made a mistake and forgot to include my insurance. I actually owe 0…yes 0. Seriously, they could have killed me!


find me elsewhere: instagram / facebook / twitter

project 30 – erin

31 Jul


Erin of Coined LIfe, 30

What would your thirty something self tell your twenty something self?

Be kind to yourself – you’re learning. My 20’s were a time of self-discovery. It wasn’t until after I finished grad school in my mid-twenties before I fully understood that I could do ANYTHING I wanted with my life. Including creating a life for myself that had nothing to do with my formal education. That it’s more about the quality of life and taking risks than the security of a traditional job for me (it’s not for everyone, but I do know it isn’t for me!). I had a hard time focusing at work knowing I was supposed to be at my assigned spot for a set number of hours each week. I realized early into my “career” I should have had the “World’s Worst Employee” coffee cup in my cubicle!

What do you wish you took more seriously in your twenties?

I took myself TOO seriously in my 20’s. The only area I could have taken more seriously was better financial planning. I spent most of my 20’s living in expensive cities like Washington D.C. and L.A. and added travel and becoming a freelance web designer to the mix. Really, I have no regrets. It was well-worth it to have those experiences. Without taking those risks I wouldn’t be who I am nor where I am as a business owner. I’m taking my financial future more seriously in my 30’s (as one probably should).

What do you wish you took less seriously in your twenties?

Ummm… myself! After grad school I put myself in a position to move in a very professional trajectory with my career. Two years as a junior at a consulting firm. Go back and get my PhD (paid for by the firm, of course!). And then “working my way up” in D.C. Two years into my D.C. days I made the decision to follow my heart and moved to L.A. for my relationship at that time, which took me off course from the “original plan”. I stressed a lot about my decision to not follow “the plan” for a solid 2.5 years, but eventually L.A.’s creative vibe and my fellow creative friends (like Kate!) helped me to chill and not take myself too seriously.

Favorite memory from your twenties?

I traveled to Greece when I was 21 as part of a study abroad trip. That trip changed my worldview on so many levels – how I looked at food, cultivating relationships, politics and history. I grew up in a small town (pop. 500) and had gone to undergrad in a small town (pop. 17,000 with college students!). The experiences of traveling aside, I made a deep, unshakable friendship with one of my fellow travelers. She’s my soulmate in many ways. I can’t imagine that trip or my life without her.

In your early twenties where did you think you would be (live, work etc) by 30?

I thought I would be in D.C. doing the career thing!

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

By the age of 30 I had lived in Detroit for a year, followed by D.C. for two years, then onto Los Angeles for four years and finally moved back to the midwest in October of 2013 (at the age of 30). I have lived out of bags and boxes for most of the time since then as I transitioned into a new home and lifestyle. My boyfriend and I bought a home in June of this year in Columbia, Missouri. We’re settling in, blissfully awaiting the arrival of our first child in December of this year. Life is nothing like I pictured in my early 30’s; it is better than I could have ever imagined.

Where you ever worried it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Absolutely. In 2013 I went through a major breakup. I had been with my boyfriend at the time for almost 8 years and engaged to him for almost 2 years. One day in September of last year I had this moment of intense, acute clarity. I couldn’t see myself spending my life with nor marrying him, which had been my plan for many years. Most of my worry about what life would look like and how it would come together had been on my mind for the better part of a year before that day. In that day and in that moment of clarity I felt at peace, finally. Once I made the decision to end the relationship, I trusted everything would work out the way it should. It has worked out beyond any expectations I could have had.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

Knowing the value of my time. I was a “yes” person and a people-pleaser most of my life. Owning my own business and gaining wisdom (I hope!) with each passing year has given me the confidence to say “no” and not feel guilty for drawing a line. I know my priorities and value my time.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

Traveling with my now-boyfriend / soon-to-be husband and our two amazing kids in the summertime, working and running my business(es!) during the rest of the year. We have our first child arriving in December of this year and would love to have one more after that. Being surrounded with lots of love and family time. I love the thought of having incredible little people in our life who are curious and having the means to share the world and fulfill their curiosities in my 40’s.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” – Paulo Coelho (really anything by him “gets” my soul and the way I feel about life).

Connect with the lovely Erin!

blog, twitter and instagram @erinhaslag



artist date : a sunny balcony & a book

4 Feb

Artist date # 2


It’s been a looooong time since I took myself on an artist date. It could be the very reason I’ve been feeling creatively challenged recently. Now that we are finally settled in our new home I decided to pencil in an artist date with myself every Friday afternoon. I was planning on going to the museum last Friday but switched it up last-minute and decided to spend some time with my new Marianne Williamson book instead.

Marianne is a internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer. Six of her ten published books have been New York Times Best Sellers. I went to one of her lectures (she speaks every Monday night in LA! I’m going tonight!) many years ago and loved her. She’s incredibly inspiring. I picked up her book “A Return To Love” last week because I have been feeling tapped out from my spiritual place recently. I always that I am disconnected when I start feeling anxious…all the time- about everything and nothing. My anxiety is a huge red flag that I am not in a trusting, connected and spiritual head space. Because really there’s nothing to feel anxious about.

The day of my date, I almost ditched it to tackle the million and one other things I had to do…like unpack more boxes, wedding planning stuff (ugh…wedding planning stuff is a full-time gig!), writing, errands blah blah blah. I felt bad about spending a Friday afternoon reading…for enjoyment. I felt like I could be doing more productive things with my time. But, then I realized that reading for enjoyment is productive! It’s feeding my soul! My creativity! Why the hell would I feel bad about that? Isn’t it crazy how taking time for yourself can feel decadent?

So I went for it and I spent Friday afternoon…sitting in the sun on our new deck with a diet coke, a luna bar and Marianne. I had SOOO many AH-HA moments (as Oprah would say) while reading it. Thought I’d share a few of my favorite excerpts.

~ A Return To Love ~

When we were born, we were programmed perfectly. We had a natural tendency to focus on love. Our imaginations were creative and flourishing, and we knew how to use them. We were connected to a world much richer than the one we connect to now, a world full of enchantment and a sense of the miraculous. So what happened? Why is it that we reached a certain age, looked around, and the enchantment was gone?

Because we were taught to focus elsewhere. We were taught to think unnaturally. We were taught  a very bad philosophy, a way of looking at the world that contradicts who we are. We were taught to think thoughts like competition, struggle, sickness, finite resources, limitation, guilt, bad, death, scarcity, and loss. We began to think these things, and so we began to know them. We were taught that things like grades, being good enough, money, and doing things the right way, are more important than love. We were taught that we’re separate from other people, that we have to compete to get ahead, that we’re not quite good enough the way we are. 


You’d think we’d have some compassion for ourselves, bound up in emotional chains the we are, but we don’t. We’re just disgusted with ourselves, because we think we should be better by now. Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking other people don’t have as much fear as we do, which only makes us more afraid. Maybe they know something we don’t know. Maybe we’re missing a chromosome.


Love casts out sin or fear the way light casts out darkness. The shift from fear to love is a miracle.


A course in miracles likens us to sunbeams thinking we’re separate from the sun, or waves thinking we’re separate from the ocean. Just as a sunbeam can’t separate itself from the sun, and wave can’t separate itself from the ocean, we can’t separate ourselves from one another. We are all part of vast sea of love, one indivisible divine mind. The truth of who we really are doesn’t change; we just forget it. We identify with the motion of a small separate self, instead of the idea of reality we share with everyone. 


27 Aug

Dear Paris,

You alone have inspired me to speak French. So, congrats to you. I happen to think you are the most romantic, sexy, beautiful, intoxicating, inspiring, stimulating, charming, elegant and creative city I have ever experienced. I am in love with you and I plan on getting lost in your streets again very soon. Although, this time I will be armed with the French language.

Love, Kate