Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Just back from a weekend in Vegas and wanted to drop a quick line to say hello.

After the emotional chaos of a few weeks ago, work events and busyness (not to mention Mercury Retrograde) this week is quiet coming, and I am thankful for that.

The pic of above is from our hotel room early in the morning on Saturday. We stayed at The Paris and traveled in to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday and my parent’s 33rd wedding anniversary. Amazing milestones, to say the least.

As someone who is embracing being a highly-sensitive person, Vegas is.so.naht.my.place. but with those milestone celebrations, I couldn’t say no. So H and I packed up the car, drove the 6hrs each way and spent the weekend eating, drinking and gambling with my family.

And while I would rather have been out in the desert, out where those clouds touched the mountains, it’s always good to have the whole family (plus our significant others now) all together at one time.

This week is quiet as far as work / social commitments go, but we’re in for another eclipse and things pick up again for me in about 10 days, so I’m going to use this week to downshift a bit. I’m still continuing the #30daysofdresses challenge. Been wearing a dress almost every single day, just going to find some time tonight to write up the posts.

If you’re looking for something cool to listen to this week, check out the Back To work podcast where David Sparks guest appears. I loved hearing him speak about executing projects, balancing all of the things he’s into and his presentations field guide (which I plan on pick up). So yeah, dig around in that if you’re looking for some inspiration.

Have a great week xo

#30daysofdresses – day 15

Finally, a normal day.

Drove to work blasting It’s Blitz by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Listen to Zero and rock out.

Got to work early, answered emails, attended a meeting that wasn’t a complete waste of time, finished a project, had another meeting. A full day at the office and not one instance of drama.

Gosh, it’s been a while.

Maybe it was / is Mercury Retrograde or my own sensitivity… but I finally feel better (at least, I feel good as I’m writing this).

I liked the blazer over this dress, love the length and material of this dress, and overall felt super comfy all day.

Also, I’m growing my hair out some and it’s in a weird stage where I have to bobby pin it on one side.

That is all.

#30daysofdresses – day 14

I had Monday off and decided to take the afternoon and go on a little day trip alone.

The best kind.

I wore a dress my mom bought me for my honeymoon. It’s strapless, cotton, doesn’t require a bra and has pockets. It’s pretty awesome.

Read more about my day alone in Pasadena.

Day Alone In Pasadena

Monday I had the day off and decided to go to Pasadena alone.

I’m not sure why I wanted to visit Old Pasadena, but the idea popped into my head and off I went. Well, first I had to pick up and return tables from a work event. And I had to drive kind of far in mid-day traffic.

But once I found parking, I was off.

To lots of walking around.

I started near a park and wove my way up past Castle Green and then on to the main drag of shops. I’m always surprised how much of a place is generic – the same stores as anywhere else in the country.

It was hot out, the sun beating down on me as I walked with a fabric backpack on. I stopped at The Juice Farm. Sipped on this deliciousness while I walked around The Paper Source store and past a bunch of other places.

I love the old buildings – the brick and fired stone.

My original plan was to go to Intelligentsia (how cooooool does this place look??) and write and read in the cool darkness of a hipster coffee shop while sipping a fancy latte.

But the public restroom gods conspired against me. Or, I guess, the lack of public restroom gods… because it was hot out I drank a lot of water, then I had that smoothie, and then I needed to pee. Really badly, but there didn’t seem to be a public restroom anywhere. I even walked all the way down back down to the park to try some port-a-potties I saw and they were locked. LOCKED. Port-a-potties with big locks on them. WTF.

I wanted to spend my lunch money somewhere I’ve never been, but the need for a bathroom became the priority. When I did a loop through the coffee shop I didn’t see a restroom at all. I wasn’t that hungry yet so I felt frustrated – here I was trekking all over, trying to figure out where to eat lunch just to use a restroom.

Did I mention it was very, very hot?

With time running out, I stepped into Crepes de Paris, saw they had a restroom, and ordered food immediately. It was pretty much empty, so I had my pick of tables. Ate my egg and cheese crepe with a latte that was unbelievably strong and not worth drinking. I read a book and sat in the quiet.

It was magnificent.

I don’t know why people feel uncomfortable eating alone in restaurants. I find it relaxing and super enjoyable. I read more of The Highly Sensitive Person, stared into space, jotted some notes in my journal and enjoyed the a/c when the main door to the patio wasn’t open.

It started to get late and I was worried about traffic (was about 25m away from home, but in LA that could mean a 2hr drive). And I had one more stop to make…

Vroman’s Bookstore.

Come on, you didn’t think my day alone would include walking, eating alone, coffee, reading and writing and not include a stop in a bookstore??

I kind of wish I’d gone here first – I could’ve just eaten in their bakery and I found a little mall on my walk over that had public restrooms. At least now I know for the next time I visit where everything is.

The store was large and pretty noisy. People talking, telephones ringing and kids roaming around. I felt jittery and uncomfortable from the latte and the heat. I was pretty tired by this point and had a mile walk back to my car.

But I tried to enjoy wandering the stacks, reading the little tags that employees had written recommendations on, and basically satiating myself with books. I was overwhelmed and inspired – I wanted to go home and read and write forever. There were so many books, how could I even get to a small portion of them in my lifetime? I thought about taking notes on the ones that jumped out at me, creating a To Read Later list. I wanted to buy a few but also wanted to save money. It made me miss tangible, paper books in a really deep way.

On the walk back to the car, I enjoyed the late afternoon light, even though it was still hot out. I figured out where my car was and cranked the a/c while I drove home. I didn’t hit any traffic and the rest of the evening was relaxing.

After the chaos last week, I’m really glad I had a chance to travel alone for a day, even though I didn’t leave LA.

When I first read Mae Cheverette’s blog, and how she travels alone, I was so intrigued, her posts pulled at my heartstrings. Then there’s The Noisy Plume’s travels and my own day trip around SF 2 years ago now that I remember so fondly, and the deep pull Alaska had on me.

There is something about being in a new place, walking a lot, observing and experiencing without really having to talk to anyone, that opens my heart up. It feels so luxurious, so new, so silly that it can have that affect on me, but it does. It also feels selfish, but in a really indulgent, put-myself-first way. It’s exactly what Julia Cameron calls an artist date – “assigned play”.

I needed this break from routine, from my neighborhood and from the emotional turmoil I felt all last week. I’m so glad I went. xo

#30daysofdresses – day 13

Friday night I hosted an event for work and wore one of my favorite new dresses.

The little yellow belt was in play again, and I wore nude colored heels. This is also the dress I wore during the wedding weekend last month.

H picked it out for me at Forever 21 – he loves the cut of it, I love the color and texture. It feels way more expensive than a $25 dress at F21. Also, the back has an interesting opening though I don’t have a photo of that to share with you.

The event went really well – mostly b/c I made the executive decision to bump up the budget and cover everything well enough. Cutting corners is just not working for our events anymore. And I had my temp overseeing two volunteers – and the three of them rocked check-in, so I didn’t have to spend a moment dealing with the door.

It was the first time I felt like I hosted an event – instead of running around like a crazy person (but I already said that in Saturday’s post). Yay me. #levelup

Oh – and the bracelet is Alex and Ani (a trend that has yet to hit the west coast) from my awesome coworker (a thank you gift for helping her with her crazy event in June). While I’m not into super trendy things, I love that it’s from A and also that it means energy which is EXACTLY what I need when working events, and reminds me to protect my energy levels as much as possible.

Short post for a short dress ;)

#30daysofdresses – day 12

Where in I get to spend an entire day with one of my best friends from college…

(Technically, this is day 13 but I have yet to get a photo from the work event for day 12’s dress, so yeah.)

Saturday morning we were up and out fairly early to pick up Jo & L. Jo and I have been friends since freshman year at college in Boston. (Also, she sang at my wedding, so she’s kind of a big deal.) They were visiting LA this weekend and had all day Saturday to hang with me.

We took them up to a short 3m hike in Malibu to see the ocean view through the haze, back to our house to drop off the dog, and out to Plan Check Kitchen for lunch (one of my fav burgers ever). Jo thanked me for “not killing” her on the hike and we reminisced about living together and tried to catch up on all the people we know collectively from that time. We ate burgers and drank Mexican Cokes out of glass bottles. We talked about music and our parents. We filled each other in on work, school and daily lives. We shared our dreams of relocating, living near friends, getting out of the cities we’ve been in.

We took the afternoon off – H gave Carter another bath and I vacuumed and finally put down some diatomaceous earth on the throw rug to combat the fleas (note: now 3 days later, this seems to have worked #boom). We showered and napped.

Back on the road, we picked up Jo and L and took them to Wurstkuche for beer and brats. When we walked into the back a dj was spinning, the lights were low and the room noise was loud, full of people talking and eating. “Welcome to the quintessential LA restaurant,” I said to Jo. She ended up being too full from lunch to finish her brat. L ate two brats and drank two beers. He was a fan. We spotted the cool chick who cuts our hair and waved to her from our table. H came back from getting a glass of water smiling – and pulled his wedding band out of his shirt pocket – where it has been “lost” for at least 6 months.

Jo and I traded stories of ruining things because we’re clumsy. She spilled a bottle of carrot juice and also dumped a cup of coffee into their bed. I said, “Pen. Everything I own is covered in pen.” H nodded in agreement.

Our last stop was to an improv show – can’t beat $10 for an hour of laughter. That’s where we took the photo above. It was awesome to be with someone who’s known me for so long.

When we said goodbye, we hugged tightly and whispered good things to each other. I’m so proud of where she’s going and what she’s doing – and happy she’s happy. Lindsey said it best in her post I linked to this weekend on friendship:

“I’m always amazed by how swiftly we slip back into comfortable patterns and by how easy it is to be around each other, because so much of our history is known and doesn’t need to be explained.”

It’s been two years since we saw each other and it felt just like it used to when she’d walk into my bedroom (which was the living room of our 1-bed split) and sit at the table, eating breakfast and talking my ear off about how she couldn’t find her shoes… or keys… or homework.

I didn’t know it then, but the friendships I made in college truly shaped who I am today.
Love you Jo
xoxo

October’s Mercury Retrograde

You all  know I’ve been feeling the retrograde (and the eclipse last week). I thought I would put together a few links in case you wanted to dive a bit deeper into this month’s pause/reflect period. It’s a lot of information to take in so read what you can, take what resonates and leave the rest. xo

Notes of Updating October by astrobarry. (Note: I also love his weekly horoscopes).

October is a month for updating ourselves to the revamped reality which recently downloaded into our matrix….

Put another way, this Mercury retrograde is a chance for more discussing and processing of the past couple months’ developments… with both a modest bit of distance from the most intense in-the-moment feelings and a thoughtful reconsideration of how these developments can be best integrated into whatever personal aims we tinkered and toiled to achieve earlier in ’14. With a dignified Venus in her home sign of Libra through Oct 23, we might finally get some peace, whether in an unsettled relationship or within our conflicted selves, as a result of this retrograde reprise.

Darkstar Astrology shares these thoughts in Becoming Brilliant:

Mercury generally zips between two worlds, or rather, the two hemispheres of our brain. So during the retrograde period it feels like Mercury has gone down into the Underworld. In this realm closer to spirit we become more right-brain orientated. It is dark, so other senses are heightened. We will feel extra sensitive here, psychic even. Everything will seem hyper-real… you will notice things you had overlooked before. This will prompt you to re-evaluate, renovate, re-form, and re-invent. It’s true you might have to redo things, because Mercury will hit the same degree three times, but what this transit won’t let you do is to go into autopilot.

Cafe Astrology is always a good resource. Capturing the overall timeline below – click through to the link to read more specific timing information.

With Mercury retrograde in Scorpio and Libra: This is an excellent period for getting in touch with our instincts, motivations, and “dark” side, particularly from October 4-10. Our society generally doesn’t value emotional communication as much as more rational approaches, but now is the time to explore our more intimate and emotional natures and how these affect our decision making processes. Increased sensitivity, or emotional “radar”, is likely. We should watch that we don’t get into a paranoid frame of mind, or read too much negativity into what others say. Retrograde Mercury periods tend to send us to the past for more or previously hidden information, and while in Scorpio, this is especially the case. Retrograde Mercury in Libra, from October 10-25, is especially slow to reach a decision – possibly painfully slow, as our minds bounce back and forth between the alternatives, finding merits for any and all of them. This period may affect our close partnerships the most. We might rethink old positions and relationships, and there can be a tendency for our observations to be especially idealized. Retrograde Mercury aligns with the Sun on the 16th in the sign of Libra, bringing illumination to our thoughts. It’s a favorable time for processing recent events and ideas, and for beginning to look at problems or issues from a new perspective and with a new understanding. Significant new ideas can be birthed at this time.

How to have a happy Mercury retrograde by the Tarot Lady: “…you want to think about adding “RE” to every action: rethink, redo, renovate, replenish, reflect, relax, recycle, repeat, etc.  This little tip alone sums up the entire mindset behind proactive astrology.”

A long read The Way of Peace by Celestial Space Astrology blog.

And maybe Sorry, You Can’t Blame Everything On Mercury In Retrograde: “…ready yourself for a loving takedown: planets do not make us do anything…In our helter-skelter lives, a better reframe of the Mercury retrograde phenomenon is to feel grateful for this period as one in which we can slow down, become more present, and pay attention to where we can improve in life and business.”

Stay open, stay safe and let me know how you’re doing during this time. Hope this helps. xo

#30daysofdresses – day 11

In where I’m finally feeling better. Ah, relief…

When I woke up on this day, I could tell something had shifted. I still felt anxious but I didn’t feel crushed under the weight of a dark cloud.

Got up, wrote morning pages, ran 2m with Carter, vacuumed the house (again, the fleas) and had one more good cry. Still no idea where the flood of emotions is coming from, but finally showered and out the door, I felt pretty good.

Work was easy – I had to drive really far to pick up some rentals for the work event Friday night and then went to the office. I did work in quiet, alone, listening to Jimmy Eat World and drinking a grande whole milk chai tea latte (these are my weakness lately – not so great for the calories, but wonderful for the comfort).

And I noticed that I felt… fine. Not crazy, not upset, not angry. Just totally me. Normal.

Awesome.

H had to work late, so I took Carter out for a bike ride as the sun was going down. The air was cool, it felt a little grey and chilly, and I was happy. Riding a bike, the dog trotting next to me, the sun light fading – whatever had been dragging me down seemed to dissipate and I could enjoy my life again.

That afternoon, as I waited for my Starbucks, a barrista blew by and said, “I love your dress, it’s so cute!”. Now, after 10 days of dresses, I know this dress is cute, but it’s not the cutest one I’ve worn. Nope. I’m thinking that I finally looked cute – like someone who was happy to compliment, giving off good vibes, and feeling good in my skin.

With H not home, I took full advantage and started watching Girls. Cooked myself a random dinner (whenever H isn’t home, I eat the weirdest combo of things. This night it was broccoli, Italian sausage, black beans and cheddar cheese). And just relaxed. Like, actually felt like I was relaxed.

So yeah – no fast and easy quick, no 10 Ways To Stop Losing Your Shit here… just what my friend Katie wrote in the comments on day 9: “…we’re like waves floating around; sometimes the water gets a little rough but it always passes and we float along again, rocking back and forth. Embrace whatever the water is doing, “just keep swimming” and know soon enough, the water will calm down”

Wise words. Happy Sunday xo.

Dress is Forever 21, belt is off a dress from Kohl’s and sandals are Kohl’s.

Piqued

The week continued to be a doozy. It seems after the meltdown on Wednesday, things were looking up again. Thursday was quiet. Easy. Good.

Then Friday I ran around and hosted a big event. The amazing thing is that I have an assistant now and he rocks. This was the first time I felt like I was actually hosting an event and not just running around like a crazy person for 5hrs.

But back at home that night I cried and cried again – getting into an actual argument with H and melting down for the 2nd time in a few days.

What the heck?

Yes, it’s definitely hormones, but besides that, I still don’t know. And I’m not sure I’ll figure it out. But I have today to hang out with a good friend from college, tomorrow a video chat with another longtime friend and then completely free. Monday I plan to take an entire day to myself and go wander Pasadena, taking photos, sitting in cafes and exploring.

The above picture is of Cater in a large box from a hiking backpack H ordered. Carter knows tons of commands, so with a little food bribing, we can get him to do lots of cool things. Like climb into a box and lay down, b/c it’s funny… but then he stayed there! So we gave him his duckie and towel and he chilled out for a while. Proving again, he is secretly part cat. Also, animals are so weird. And the best.

So now, some links:

Elizabeth Gilbert on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Yes, I linked to this in other posts, but I love E. Gilbert and I will watch anything she’s on.

The internet has created the Facebook engagement reveal, blog-featured wedding, and Pinterest-worthy baby’s rooms – so of course announcing a pregnancy is also swept up in this series of public displays of “my life is awesome”. A couple announced their pregnancy by creating a Wes Anderson parody and I loved everything about it.

I want to set a calendar reminder to reread A Cup of Jo’s post 10 Things I’ve Learned In My Career every month.

She also linked an article she wrote for the New York Magazine about people who only wear one color. Being almost 38% done with my #30daysofdresses challenge, I am finding it more constricting than liberating. So I’m not sure I could wear only one color, but I do love me some navy.

Elise is sharing This Is My Business Story in installments and I can’t get enough. The details, the timeline of things, the practicality and the reflection. Elise is a planner, works super hard and really values the behind-the-scenes sharing which, in my opinion, is a great use of the internet and the other side of the coin to the above paragraph about everyone’s fabulous version of their life they share online. And as someone who is considering updating her blog / changing the path of my career, I love that she’s kept every one of her posts live, all the way back to the beginning. How’s that for behind-the-scenes?

Lindsey never ceases to amaze me with her words on memories, living, time and life. Time Folds Like An Accordion made me aware of my own life again, it’s little details as I sit here typing this for you, for me – to remember – H napping on the couch, Carter napping in the chair, a vase of flowers on the table, and arrangement I made for the event on Friday night. How time slips and slides and truly does fold back on itself.

And because I saw Gone Girl last weekend and b/c Jennifer Garner is gracious and adorable while being asked about her husband’s success with the movie even though she has TWO movies of her own out (ahem)… watch her on Ellen.

Think that’s enough for now. xo

See all Piqued posts.

#30daysofdresses – day 10

In where I lose my shit…

I look pretty put together in this pic, but this is the day I hit a wall.

Yesterday I mentioned feeling like crap and turning to the women who I admire for support.

After I took this photo, I drove across town for a meeting. The kind of meeting where you wonder why it was planned b/c the people in attendance don’t seem to care much. Or forgot you were coming. Or have to leave early.

It’s hot, and you’re sweating through your dress. Again. And you’re wondering when you get to go back home, but the drive home is a whole other story, because now it’s sweltering in your car, and there’s traffic and you’re gonna sit in some pretty blazing sun traveling west.

I planned to take myself out for lunch after the meeting. Take advantage of the void moon. Try to fill the well.

Found parking, ordered food, took a table. And found I’d made the mistake I often do in public places – I sat near the LOUD TALKER.

Now you could argue that everyone has the right to speak to their table-mate in public places. That I am just being sensitive and overreacting.

And you would be right.

Because I sat there – still completely overheated from the weather and the car ride, a headache pressing on my temples (didn’t realize it then, but I hadn’t had any caffeine the whole day), and now extra on fire from the chili I ordered – steaming with anxiety, trying to read a book…

The woman next to me blab on and on about how she “cried for two weeks when they had to turn down a house in Malibu”. #killme. I texted Stephanie to try and make a joke out of it: accidentally sat next to the quintessential 40 year old Santa Monica mom who won’t shut up about primrose water and full moon yoga.

I moved tables. And then I gave up and left.

Before I even got to my car, the hot tears began streaming down my face behind my sunglasses.

I cried the whole 1/2 mile home, in the garage in my car after I turned it off, in the house on the couch with the dog, and then finally upstairs in my bed. I cried like a torrential rain, a tidal wave. I cried the way toddlers cry when you get the trifecta of a meltdown – hungry, hot and tired.

And I felt sorry for myself. My head was killing me, the day felt like a waste, the $11 I spent on lunch sure was, and why couldn’t I stop crying? Why do I always feel like such shit some days?

I was mad myself. Mad for being sensitive, for not being able to adapt, for exhaustion and emotions and feeling so raw and overwhelmed by the simplest things.

And then I remembered. Highly sensitive person.

Heidi and I chatted about being an HSP – did I identify as one? I had said no, that the term felt weak and a bit much, and I wasn’t that sensitive actually. I was resourceful, practical, tough. None of this needing special treatment BS.

But again, I turned to books and downloaded The Highly Sensitive Person and felt myself come home a little:

The biggest cost to us of being highly sensitive, however, is that our nervous system can become overloadedWe simply reach that point sooner than others.

“HSPs simply process everything more, relating and comparing what they notice to their past experience with other similar things. They do it whether they are aware of it or not.

If you are going to notice every little thing in a situation, and if the situation is complicated (many things to remember), intense (noisy, cluttered, etc.), or goes on too long (a two-hour commute), it seems obvious that you will also tend to wear out sooner from having to process so much.”

Page after page, I could feel the grip I had on myself loosen. Here was someone telling me, assuring me that what I was feeling had a cause, that it was manageable, and the best piece: “To sum it up again, you pick up on the subtleties that others miss and so naturally you also arrive quickly at the level of arousal past which you are no longer comfortable. That first fact about you could not be true without the second being true as well. It’s a package deal, and a very good package”

I can look back over the past few weeks and note many causes – mercury retrograde, the lead up to the full moon, the eclipse that evening, work, events, hormones. And I can list all the reasons why I maybe started to feel better – the release of emotions from crying, the rest I kept taking finally being enough, talking to my therapist, my friends, H…

But whatever the cause of the down cycle and whatever the cause of the upswing… that evening, I finally started feeling normal again.

And thank goodness for that.

Dress is Forever 21. Shoes are Mudd, and no surprise here, think I bought them Kohl’s.

Note: I wrote this on Thursday about my experience on Wednesday. Currently, I am feeling better and I hope you’re having a good weekend. xo

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