Tag Archives: Los angeles

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

home decor – patio

30 Mar

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Considering it is officially spring, our patio space has once again become my focus. Let the outdoor living begin! Our loft was designed to be an indoor / outdoor space. It’s one of my favorite things about our home. When we bought the place the previous owners were nice enough to leave behind an outdoor couch, coffee table and a slew of planters- which was amazing because we had zero outdoor furniture when we moved in.The only problem…none of it is really our style. Our loft is very modern and all of it is rather traditional looking. Because of this I have been wanting to give the patio a makeover. The only things we have added over the last two years…a few bright green planters (which Brian has begun planting his dream garden in), a grill, an umbrella & Franks “special” patch of grass.

Current patio space…

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My new vision for the patio…

modern furniture with bright pops of color!! Oh and a designated garden area for my love.

Here are my inspiration photos…

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LA marathon lights

16 Mar

 

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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.

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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.

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ALL PHOTOS BY BRIAN GLODNEY PHOTOGRAPHY 

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

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inspiration photos / spring road trip

11 Nov

After our mini road trip to Ojai this past weekend planning our spring road trip from Los Angeles to Seattle is front and center on my mind. I love being on the open road with Brian. We are both at our happiest when exploring- Brian equipped with his camera and me my journal. There is also nothing I love more than planning road trips! I get such a high researching every little detail. Although, I imagine planning this road trip will be far less time consuming than when I drove across the country with One Part Gypsy.

At the moment the itinerary is…Los Angeles, Big Sur, Carmel, San Francisco, Tomales Bay, Ashland, Eugene, Portland, Olympia & Seattle. Thoughts? Has anyone ever done this route? Are there other places you think that we should make a point to stop?

Brian and I have only ever made it as far as Tomales Bay so any tips (hotels, restaurants, things to do/see) are welcome in any of the cities.

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“Once the travel bug bites you there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected for the rest of my life.”

Michael Palin

Ojai

10 Nov

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To celebrate our first wedding anniversary yesterday, Brian and I drove up to Ojai for the day- a sleepy little town 80 miles from Los Angeles. Ojai holds a special place in my heart. One of the last times I was there was for a weekend Manifestation Retreat with my dear friend Jen Pastiloff. That was the same weekend I drove home to a house filled with candles and roses and one very adorable and nervous boyfriend standing in the center of it all with a diamond ring in a box. Talk about manifestation! Now every time I think about getting engaged to Bri, I invariably think about Ojai.

So it seemed like a perfect place to get away for the day to celebrate year one of marriage.

The plan was to wake up early and be out the door by 8am but like most plans go we weren’t on the road until 10am. Mapquest advised us to take a different route then either of us had ever taken before. One that had us coming in the back way instead of the coastal route. Brian and I like driving new routes so we went with it. The weather was absolutely perfect for a drive through the mountains. The light was simply perfection. I kept excitedly pointing out the window and saying….Seriously?!?! How gorgeous is that?!??

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On the itinerary for the day…

A stop at Meditation Mount, a 32 acre garden perched above Ojai with a gorgeous view of the valley. We wandered the grounds taking in the natural beauty- it was so serene.

After Meditation Mount we strolled through the main drag of town exploring all the little shops. I fell in love with a new store called Fig Curated Living. If I could have, I would have purchased every single thing in that store. But since that wasn’t an option, we settled on a new Christmas tree ornament in the shape of the state of California. We thought it would be a sweet reminder every holiday season of our first wedding anniversary spent in Ojai.

Next up was lunch at Osteria Monte Grappa, an Italian place in town. We sipped on wine and beer and dined on bruschetta, avocado salad and spicy sausage pasta.

After filling our bellies we made the short drive to Old Creek Ranch Winery to go wine tasting. The last time we went to this winery it was for Brian’s 30th birthday and it was pouring rain. So this was the first time we got a good view of the property and it is lovely, it’s surrounded by rolling yellow hills. After wine tasting indoors (which is an incredible deal…ten different wines for ten dollars) we both picked our favorite (a glass of rose for me and a glass of grenache for Brian) and found a spot on the patio over looking out over the hills and took in the warm afternoon sunlight.

After finishing our glasses of wine we decided to make the drive back home, this time taking the coastal route in hopes we would catch a beautiful sunset over the water. Boy did we time it right…it was the perfect way to end the most perfect 1st anniversary.

Love you, Mr. Glodney! Here’s to many many many more.

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all photos by Brian Glodney 

my husband, the pickle man

1 Oct

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I’ve always said that Brian would make a better housewife (man) than I would. Seriously, he’s just better at it most home related things then I am. If he is left alone at our house for the day you can pretty much guarantee you’re coming home to a few loads of laundry done (and folded meticulously. Although he never manages to put any of it away? ), our garden pruned and watered (as well as all the bounty he picked in a big bowl on the kitchen island), Frank walked and bathed & the house straightened.

He’s kinda the perfect husband.

He also happens to be really good in kitchen. He can confidently follow any recipe as well as free style it with random ingredients in the fridge. But he really shines once a year when he pickles. He takes pickling pretty seriously. It all begins in March when he dutifully goes to our local Home Depot and buys a few special pickling cucumber seedlings and then spends many months nurturing them in preparation for his big pickling day in early September.

Sadly, I missed shooting the big day because I was out. He gave me no notice!! I happened to call him to check in and he said he couldn’t talk because he was busy pickling his cucumbers…oh and green beans & okra. Both new additions to his process.

Sure enough when I got home there were eight jars of goodness lined up in our fridge. I was so excited to try them that I quickly reached into one of the jars without thinking. I was reminded by the “pickle man” that I had to wait a week for the magic to happen.

Clearly, I am not a pickler nor am I known for my patience.

A few days ago it was finally time to try the pickles and let me tell you they were SO good. Although, I am warning you now that he calls his recipe “Brian’s Atomic Pickle Recipe”. They are spicy as shit! We love them but I realize not everyone has a death wish so if you do indeed use his recipe, feel free to tone it down.

ps...Brian was very reluctant to share “his” special atomic pickle recipe. HA. He made me agree last night that if he gave me the recipe I would promise to ask readers to share any pickle recipes they might have. He’s clearly trying to start a pickling movement and community!! So, if any of you have one…please share! Although, he also wanted me to make it very clear that he does not like sweet pickle recipes. So, there you have it folks.

(photo taken last year on pickling day when I was actually present)

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Brians Atomic Pickle Recipe

Ingredients

8 cloves garlic peeled
1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh dill still on the stem
8 cups water
3/4 cups cider vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 to 1/3 cup kosher salt
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 pounds pickling cucumbers, quartered or sliced in rounds
Hot peppers to taste (I use 4 halved cayenne peppers per jar)
Instructions

Combine the water, vinegar, salt, mustard seed, and dried dill in a large pot and bring to a boil and cook until the salt dissolves.
Meanwhile, place peeled garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, peppercorn and 1/2 of the dill on the bottom of a 1 gallon jar or two 1/2 gallon jars (divide ingredients evenly if using 2 jars). Pack cucumbers in jar(s) and put remaining dill on top.
Pour the brine over the cucumbers and cover the jar(s). Let the jars sit on your counter, but not in direct sunlight until cooled, about an hour, and then put them in the fridge. The cucumbers will have begun pickling after 24 hours, but wait a full week if you want them to be fully pickled.

 

love

8 Jan

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The blog world can be such a funny world! Many months ago when I was “Freshly Pressed” on WordPress, a lovely woman named Sophia found my blog. Since then we’ve become internet friends- exchanging emails on different topics and such. I always enjoy her witty, funny and thoughtful emails and comments. Cut to a month ago when she emailed me that she was coming to LA (she lives in North Carolina) for a trip and wondered if 1. I would like to meet up and 2. If Brian and I would be open to shooting some engagement photos with her (did I forget to mention she’s a talented photographer with a beautiful blog?).

I immediately thought it sounded fun. Brian on the other hand thought it sounded “not so fun”. A little known fact about Brian; he hates being in front of the camera. HATES. He much prefers being behind the camera. So he thought this whole shooting photos with a complete stranger sounded like a terrible, no-good idea. But luckily I can be persuasive and got him to agree to do it. And guess what?? Brian was proven wrong and Sophia was lovely and shooting with her was an easy, fun and comfortable experience. She even got Brian to smile- A BUNCH!

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Thanks, Sophia for a lovely afternoon and for these beautiful photos. It was such fun to spend time with you. xo