Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Category: Creating

Five Year Plan

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” ~Annie Dillard

I believe that small, daily habits build our lives, so of course I love the idea of this 5 year, one-line-per-day journal. Since I received this little book as a Christmas gift (thanks E!) I started January 1st 2015.

Each night, I write a little bit about the day. So far, I’ve missed an evening or two (usually b/c I’m tired and turn off the light before I remember) but it’s simple enough to fill it in the next morning. It has 5 entries per page, with each page being one day of the year. You fill in the year and a little blurb about your day.

I’m only 6 weeks into it, so there’s no spectacular a-ha moment. The nightly reflection is nice, but the real reward will be over the next few years, as I revisit my previous entry for each date. So much can happen in 5 years…

Since 2010:
– this blog was started
– we adopted Carter Cash
– we got engaged (and then married)
– we went on our epic Grand Canyon trip (and had yet to visit Hawaii or Alaska)
– my job was different and has only gotten better
– my siblings didn’t live near me in CA
– my relationship with my parents was not so good
– I attended my first retreat, and took many an online class
– a few of my really good girlfriends still lived here
– I started therapy
– I was just beginning to experiment with photography again
– I’d never had a life coach
rock climbing was not a thing
– I was still in my 20s
– I didn’t know how to take care of myself. I certainly hustled for my worthiness.
– I hadn’t read Harry Potter yet.

So yeah, a lot can happen in 5 years. Looking forward to having this small, memory-keeping habit capture and reflect on my days and our lives.

Welcoming December

November was a month full of travel – leaving home for work once and fun twice.

December is home-bound all the way.

We got back from our Thanksgiving trip to Joshua Tree yesterday afternoon – driving home in the rain that visited SoCal (gosh, we need it). We spent the later afternoon reading (me) and napping (H & Carter Cash). It was a very active, fun, adventurous weekend. I plan on writing more about it this week.

This morning I welcomed in December with a quick trip to Starbucks to write out all of the swirling ToDos in my head. Getting things down on paper is not only a relief, but also gives me a solid way to keep track of the next thing I want to / need to work on.

The season of red cups, Christmas music and gift-list making is upon us. We have family visiting in T-2.5 weeks and we’re hosting everyone for Christmas, officially, for the first time this year.

After work I am going to pack up the Thanksgiving decorations and pull out the Christmas ones. The weather plus end of daylight savings time has made the evenings dark and long. I think it’s 6pm when it’s only 4pm. I think it’s time for bed around 7pm. We’re asleep most night by 9:30pm, and sleep 8hrs straight. We wake before the sunrise, moving through the dark apartment by 5:30am.

But it’s part of the season, part of the change, part of the flow. I can’t believe we’re in the last month of 2014, I’m holding on to every last bit of it as the days go by.

The photo above is for day 1 of December Reflections, hosted by Susannah Conway. I don’t plan on sharing the photos here in that exact capacity, but feel free to follow / join over on Instagram.

And lastly, a happy 50th birthday to my awesome MIL who embodies the spirit of the (Sagittarius) with her enthusiasm for life. xo

#30daysofdresses – day 30

A little late, but better than never.

Wore this cuteness on my work trip in Boston last week. And that about wraps up #30daysofdresses.

You can see all 30 days here.

It was an interesting way to blog a month. I learned a few things:

1. I choose outfits based on my feelings – either how I am feeling or how I want to feel that day. Having a pre-determined outfit that I have to wear never makes me feel good.

2. Wearing dresses is fun when it’s a choice. So glad I was born in the 1980s and not the 1680s.

3. My personal style hasn’t evolved so much in the last 2 years, as I’ve gained clarity about why I wear the clothes I wear.

4. 30 day challenges are not for me. 2 weeks, tops.

5. Blogging every day is fun and this challenge made me think about having an editorial calendar again… we’ll see.

6. I am not cut out to be a life-style blogger.

Literally, the walking dead

Happy Halloween from us, the literal walking dead.

We’re kind of obsessed with AMC’s The Walking Dead so when H found a zombie bar crawl, I was all for it.

Cue the fake blood, slashed clothes from the thrift shop and white make-up.

I think we did a damn good job, especially since so many people who attended this ZOMBIE bar crawl didn’t dress as zombies, or even anything.

(Why do people go out on Halloween sans-costume?)

We now have enough fake blood for costumes for ourselves and future kids for the next 5 years. Sheesh.

Fav moments of the night:

Dancing with H at one bar, standing outside under heat lamps chatting with T at another. H pretending to zombie attack our friends while I snapped a photo (major photoboming abilities) Best costumes were fully suited up ghost busters and I spotted more than one Mary Poppins (I’m thinking zombie Mary Poppins is a great outfit for my future costumes list). All four of us eating nachos at the last bar. The downpour of rain. Running back to the car in the rain (it never rains here – this was a big deal!).

#30daysofdresses – day 4

Or the plight of this little black dress…

I’m realizing quickly that 30 days of my own outfits is starting to feel a little… self-indulgent. It would be silly to think that anyone wants to read about dresses when they come from stores like Kohl’s or H&M, or see 30 pictures of me.

I snapped this on Thursday – it was a helluva day at work. I ended up taking the afternoon off because, like all first world white girls, I COULD NOT EVEN.

So the combo of needing a boost of creative time in between meetings, and the self-consciousness of not wanting to post 30 selfies, produced this photo. And I thought about my friend Nina who takes these awesome self-portraits and a whole world of options expanded before me.

Yes – it’s #30daysofdresses – but more importantly, it’s 30 days of sharing my creativity, my story, of me inside and out.

So that’s where I was at when I took this photo.

I’ve owned this dress for a very long time… definitely before I moved to LA.

When I first moved here and started working at my internship, I had a boatload of new business clothes (thanks mom!) from Ann Taylor Loft and was basically terribly overdressed for the occasion. One day, a coworker said “You wear a lot of black” as if this wasn’t a good thing. “Well, I’m from New York,” I said, because in New York everyone wears black (just look at my Google search). It’s classic, powerful and creates a good silhouette. Plus, people are hardworking, driven, serious – any pop of color, like the crazy teals and neons LA-ers wear – could be seen as not taking things seriously enough. 

And who the f-has time to be all bright and happy when it’s 30* outside and you’re working a 10hr day?

But, I digress.

As I shopped for myself and tried the SoCal style on for size, I started pulling navy, instead of black as my base neutral. I didn’t realize this until Jess pointed it out. Awesome. So what do I do with this black dress I didn’t care much about? Jess suggested I keep it, since it was cute, light-weight and versatile.

Then another 18 months went by and I didn’t wear it.

It wasn’t because it didn’t fit right, or it was black, or that I don’t own black boots (working on that).

It was because the last time I wore this dress, I wore it to a funeral.

It was July 2011 and we had plans to be on the east coast for our two engagement parties (long story). One in PA and one in NY. A few days before our departure, we woke up to a slew of calls on H’s cellphone saying that his granddad had passed away overnight.

I don’t remember the actual timeline of things, if we flew in early or traveled back and forth from PA to NY a few times, but it was such a huge blow to H’s mom’s side of the family – completely unexpected.

His grandfather was quiet, but super warm and friendly, and so kind-hearted. He really was the nicest. He always treated me like I was part of the family, long before H and I were engaged.

And this is the dress I wore to his funeral – the only part of which I remember being in a room where people were giving speeches about him – and we were all laughing and crying. There was music. I hung out with H’s little sister who seemed to know that I needed the company more than she needed me – mostly b/c this wasn’t my family. I felt a little out of place. And I just remember, as everyone wrapped up the speeches and went to move on to the restaurant, people picking up purses and organizing carpools, I started to cry. H hugged me and I remember saying into his chest, “It’s just so sad” because it was.

We’d lost a really good person. I could cry writing this.

Some time later, I remember his daughter, H’s aunt, saying that now when she sees monarchs, she thinks it’s her dad visiting her. And our LA neighborhood is full of monarchs, so now I always think of him too. And of course, when I wear this dress.

Dress is Old Navy. Boots are Kohl’s. Necklace is the shape of an arrow.

 

#30daysofdresses – day 3

Day 3 – or – the answer is always yellow.

Snapped this in the bathroom at my therapist’s office building before running off to a coffee meeting, 2 phone calls and a boat-load of emails. It turned out to be a pretty successful day.

Originally, another dress was on my mind for day 3, but once I was out of the shower the original pick felt too heavy / clingy / formal. Enter one of my favorite things – jersey – and this dress was much more in line with the mood / energy I needed for the day. It served me well.

The purse was a bridal shower gift from my cousin and his wife. The dress and boots are from Kohl’s. Jean jacket is from Forever 21…But the magic is in that tiny yellow belt.

I pulled if off of a black & white dress from Kohls, which I wore for the rehearsal dinner of my wedding weekend. (You can see the very top of that dress here.) Some how, a few months after getting styled, I had this epiphany that I can mix and match things – like, actually cut pieces off of one item to wear with another. The belt was originally attached to that dress – it was like a crazy light bulb going off in my head when I realized I could snip the ties and use it with any outfit. I felt like an f-ing genius, that I’d somehow graduated to a new stage of personal style. ::boom::

One time, I read that Ann-Marie always adds a yellow accent to any scrapbook page she’s working on. The answer is always yellow.

And being that navy is my life, yellow is an obvious accent color – that basically never occurred to me until I was daredevil enough to snatch that belt from one dress and wear it with another.

So there you have it. Keep your eyes peeled for more of that yellow belt, I promise it’ll show up again.

#30daysofdresses

This weekend, I went on a little shopping trip with Jess of Hell Or High Fashion. I learned so much during the first time we went out. What I learned made shopping for myself much easier. Everything I bought during that original trip felt like such a refresher, I haven’t been gunning for new clothes in a while.

I’ve been in love with my closet ever since.

But as the seasons have changed, I wanted to add a few things (romper, jean vest, mustard everything) to my closet and so I hired Jess for a quick trip this weekend. She did not disappoint.

We shopped at Forever 21 and H&M, and I left with enough pieces to reinvigorate my wardrobe for the next 6 months.

Back at home, I thought I would go through and pull out a few things to donate – new stuff in, old stuff out. But it seemed that adding in these new clothes created two problems:
1. I fell in love with all of my clothes again and
2. I suddenly felt like I had too much clothing

One of the benefits of doing the closet consultation with Jess in Feb ’13 was that I got rid of many things that clouded my wardrobe vision. In fact, I don’t think I even had a vision and I certainly didn’t know how to shop for my personal style. Example: before Jess’ help, I had 5 ill-fitting pairs of jeans I would guiltily avoid while wearing the same perfect-fitting pair of jeans every day forever. Getting styled gave me permission to ditch the old / ill-fitting pants and just live in the one to two pairs that I loved.

But, back to Sunday. I found that I had many a clothing item in my closet and dresser. In fact, I pulled out all of my dresses and counted.

40.

Somehow I went from someone who, pre-styled, wasn’t sure if she liked dresses, to acquiring a large stack of them in under 2 years.

On top of that, I was reading about Elise’s attempt at a capsule wardrobe and remembering the tiny house doc we watched, and I suddenly didn’t feel so good.

Had I over-shopped? Should I have purchased one amazing pair of jeans instead of the 3 dresses or 4 shirts I picked up? Did I need to donate stuff I still loved just to make room for the new?

It was too much at the time, so in that moment, I gave up, and instead of organizing my clothes, I cleaned the living room and set up our October decorations. Much better use of my energy.

But I still wanted to do something to feel better about the (what felt like) immense amount of clothing I now owned.

As I wore a new dress to work on Monday and then again yesterday, I thought about the number of dresses I had… and then the idea for a small personal challenge popped into my head.

#30daysofdresses

The rules are simple – I plan to wear one dress per day for the month of October without duplication. I’m pre-posting, so I’ll be a few days ahead of schedule (as of right now, 3 days to be exact). And I plan to share some little story or vibe about each day/dress.

And we’ll see how it goes.

 

Valuing My Life

For over a week now, I’ve been walking around gunning to create a scrapbook page.

I know – who am I?

But seriously, I don’t write about it much here, but I do randomly create project life pages. At times it can feel overwhelming to print photos & document my life, but I love the finished pages. Going back through the pages I made for the weeks of 2013 and the (very) few weeks of 2014 make me happy.

And I’ve been listening to a lot of Paperclipping Roundtable. So I assume that also has something to do with it.

Saturday we slept in as much as one can with the usual LA September heatwave. We originally planned to go to the climbing gym when it opened, but the heat + void moon had other ideas.

We decided to take Carter down to the beach path and eat breakfast at our new favorite place, Amelia’s.

When I think about scrapbooking, I usually feel overwhelmed with the decisions – which pictures to print, what sizes, what papers, what stickers, what’s the story I’m trying to tell, etc – and then I give up that idea and write a blog post or worse, do nothing.

But I really do want more creative actions in my life – and these supplies aren’t going to use themselves up – so as we went about our morning, I took a few pictures.

We got stuck in traffic on Abbot Kinney due to hundreds of motorcycles lining the street. We sang along to Jimmy Eat World on H’s phone. We parked, got the dog out of the car and walked him over to Amelia’s. We waited for a table, ordered food at the counter, and watched the parade of motorcycles go by. We ate our food and sipped our foamy drinks. After eating, we walked the dog down to the beach and out on this wooden path they put on the sand. At the very end is a bench we like to sit on b/c it allows us to be near the water and still have Carter with us on the sand.

Carter was howling away in frustration at us, restless that he wanted more exercise. We looped back up to Main Street and back to the car.

The whole little adventure took less than 3 hrs but it is the epitome of a perfect morning for me. Music, going out for breakfast, delicious chai, walking the dog, the ocean, wearing a sundress, and quality time with H. Each one of these days feels like a dream, but it’s my actual life.

And I know the whole only thing constant is change, so it felt important to me to capture this morning on a page. To print some photos, write a little story and have it as a reminder, as a reflection, of the awesome life we’re experiencing.

“We live 3 miles from one of the best beaches in the country and we have the time and freedom to enjoy it. Our little family, and my life, is pretty rad”

Making this page was a creative act, and allowing myself creative acts feels like the ultimate way to value life. Just in the way that I go for a run or take a nap because I value my energy, or say no to dramatic people because I value my sanity, creative acts are a way to value my being. To hold it in high regard. To honor what I’ve built as a creative person – my marriage, my awesome dog, my talents. Documenting is something I’ve always done, but I’m finally beginning to understand that telling my story is a way of valuing ME.

{More Info}

I started memory keeping with Project Life.

Some of my very favorite memory-keepers:
Ali Edwards
Kelly Purkey
Amy Tangerine
Shimelle
Pink Ronnie
Elise Blaha Cripe

 

The Day After

September 12th

I remember that day,
as we all do
And I remember the day after.

The sky a crystal clear blue
The air crisp but warm
the way it is with
summer in September.
The school field glistening with dew.

I’m sure I was wearing
some big knitted sweater,
the kind that you paired
with Birkenstocks
and twine bracelets
and smelled like wool.

Earthy + itchy + full of love.

I’m sure my parents went to
work that day,
though maybe my mom stayed home,
folding load after load
of laundry
in front of the endless news cycle
of a plan crashing into a
building
on a
loop.

Even though I grew up on Long Island
I didn’t understand
what or where the
“Twin Towers” were
But as we walked outside
with our science lab supplies,
off to collect samples of
dirt, or ants, or leaves
I remember smelling something else
on the wind
Like hot tar or burning rubber.

And my science teacher, in her bravery
to treat us like adults said,

“It’s the city burning.”

We were only 50 miles away
from it all.

And that is when it became real,
this weight that I carry
as a high school kid
from New York
the day after the towers fell.

Quick Re-Focus

The internet is wonderful.

I found Kristen via Instagram, I’m sure by way of Project Life or some other paper crafting topic. She has a little process where she jots down her “right now” on these adorable Currently cards.

Back to the work grind this week – it’s probably been 2 months since I’ve worked 5 days straight, mostly from the office. Yesterday, a mid-day slump hit and then I saw Kristen tweet about using a Currently card to re-focus. So I did just that.

I’d just made the little card while on the phone with my mom and it seemed like the perfect canvas for my right now.

No need to reiterate it as the picture speaks for itself, except to say that Game of Thrones? I GET IT NOW. I apologize for my delay in hopping on that wagon. We’ve watched all of season 1 in 4 days and are straight into season 2. Probably have watched 30 hours of TV in the next week and a half. Sheesh.

Happy Thursday xo