Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Category: Photographing

August Break For Alaska

au·gust
[aw-guhst]
adjective
1.inspiring reverence or admiration; of supreme dignity or grandeur; majestic.
2.venerable; eminent.

I said last month that July is my favorite – and it is – but it was also hard. The writing I posted was deeper, and was well received, but I lost my words the past week or so. Where my writing dried up a bit, my focus on healthy eating and exercising stepped up a notch. Things always level-out, so I’m not worried.

Welcoming in August with a full day of work today, trying to officially catch-up / dig out / set up some buffers for the 2 weeks I’ll be traveling through Alaska.

What? Alaska, you say? Yes – I’m thinking the definition of “august” above is right in line with this epic family trip.

I can not wait. It could not come at a better time.

Participating in August Break again. Last year (August 2013) it started to feel like too much pressure, so I don’t know if I’ll be posting on the blog, but you can follow me on Instagram.

Stay cool & dry out there lovies.

11 of 52: Year of Ocean

Friday seems to be about taking the dog out on roller-blades. This time I headed down to Venice Beach.

I’m realizing that this Year of Ocean project could get pretty repetitive. As soon as I skated onto the beach path, I thought “how the heck can I photograph this differently from the last time?”.

I decided to shoot with my iPhone, no filters, horizontal view and concentrate on the sketchy, hippy, early morning vibe of Venice.

Before the booths hawking hemp bracelets are set up.

Before the smell of incense and hoards of tourists fill the air.

Before the garbage trucks are done with their beep beep beep of backing up, breaking the quiet.

Before things are taken out of their packaging, before security gates are lifted, before the summer campers run on to the sand for their surf lessons.

It was a quick little jaunt, mostly for the dog to get some exercise, but it was a good visit, Venice locals and all.

*See all of my Year of Ocean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 of 52: Year of Ocean

The weather for this family walk yesterday was gorgeous. Gloriously sunny, breezy, warm. Nothing like last week’s weather. Spring has definitely sprung here in LA (though the time change springing us forward does not a happy Justine make).

After an incredibly busy week, where one or both of us were out every night, sometimes not getting to bed until midnight, we woke up Saturday refreshed. Being asleep by 10pm on a Friday night has its advantages.

H decided on a beach walk for Carter, and of course I tagged along. We ended up south of the Venice pier, walking on the beach, Carter saying Hi to other dogs. We took our shoes off and put our toes in the very chilly sand. (Putting my feet in sand feels like vacation every.single.time.)

South down the beach and then East, we ended up on the Ballona creek / westlands footpath, which I didn’t even know existed. Isn’t it crazy we’ve here for almost 5 years and I’ve never known walked this footpath?

We made our way back to the streets, fantasizing about living in the water-front homes, and ended up at the Cow’s End in Venice.

We ate bacon, egg and cheese on bagels, sipped coffee and tea, and watched the other doggies walk by with their owners. The sun was warm and turned my cheeks red. It was a perfect morning walk and I was grateful for the quiet, alone time with H. Carter was pretty satisfied too.

*See all of my Year of Ocean

6 of 52: Year of Ocean

Biked down to Venice Beach alone. Went to Menotti’s Coffee Shop for a latte. Walked down to the water, snapping photos along the way. Sat myself down on a beach towel, ate a peanut butter sandwich, and wrote my morning pages.

I welcomed this year by swimming in the waves. And I can see that this visit was a way to welcome in my thirtieth year, but I didn’t do anything symbolic.

In my writing, I noted that I am feeling better: Like I finally caught a wave after sitting on my board for a while. I have ideas, inklings, things I want to do + feel I have the energy for it.

And then I wrote:

It’s not that the fuzziness is gone, not that I’ve reached clarity or a higher consciousness. And def haven’t heard from God, but it’s as if I was in a dark and musty room. Cobwebs of regret strung between walls hung with failures and x-marks the spot of where I could’ve done better (can’t we always? but it’s not productive to dwell) It’s actually as if a door cracked open. That there is now a beam of sun, however weak, but warm, reaching through to guide me out. Beckoning me, that this time of darkness is almost over. And I will soon be able to see.

Cheers to the ocean, to writing, and to feeling lighter. Being able to see again.

*See all of my Year of Ocean

4 of 52, Year of Ocean

Last week was challenging. I could say “What a way to start off 2014” but it’s how I start every year – with events that are bigger than me, with more work than I can handle alone, with an abusive amount of stress and socializing.

What was different this year is that I had a team. A few coworkers that came out to attend and assist at the events that actually helped.

And after the crazy weekend, we had some time together – sipping coffee, walking Santa Monica beach, eating at Cafe Gratitude and talking for hours. Of course we were still working – one of us would step aside to take a phone call while the other two looked in shops. They took photos of the ocean while I sent important post-event emails. But it was exactly what I needed after the pressure, the exhaustion and the work.

These two gals are my support group at work, despite us working 3,000 miles apart. We vent, laugh, work, challenge and discuss so much. We call ourselves Team DAJ and one day hope to take over the world.

But I think what’s most important to mention here is that they’re kind, hard-working people with smart opinions that set very high bars for themselves. They may have traveled out here to work my event, but the whole thing would’ve sank without them.

I was offered Grammy tickets as a thank you for my hard work, but the Grammys were right after my biggest event on Sunday, and there’s no way I would’ve made it there without crying. I was able to extend the offer to these ladies and they took it with glee. It was the perfect topper for their LA trip, despite the very long day they endured.

And as they were getting ready in the bathroom at the venue, while I still had guests mingling outside, and was waiting for the rental company to come and break down all of the tables and chairs, I listened to them chatter with excitement between stalls. They.were.so.excited. And I felt like a proud older sister, ushering them along to the next Hollywood adventure. As one skipped out of her stall so I could pee, and the other asked me to zip up her dress, I felt like, for the first time in a very long time, I had girlfriends. Not individual women who I shared deep conversations with, but a tight group of girls who gossiped and joked with their own group language, full of inside jokes and shared experiences.

So for the first time ever, I came out of the eventful weekend happy with my work, and I give most of the credit to feeling like, for the first time ever, that I had a team.

Team DAJ. #loveyameanit

**See all of my Year of Ocean

Year of Ocean

The ocean is sacred to me.

Since growing up on Long Island, I feel it when I’m far from the water. The semester I lived in Nashville, I knew I was land-locked. My love of Los Angeles increased the closer we moved to the Pacific. Spending even a half-hour staring at the waves brightens my spirits and calms my mind.

This idea came to me before I chose my One Little Word for the year, so it seems only appropriate I chose flow. (more on this soon…)

I wanted another year long project (like Project Life). I wanted something that would be a challenge, but nourishing for my soul. Something I “had to do” that was good for me. Something that would inspire me and make me take advantage of how close we live to the beach. If / when we buy a house, this will cease to be our norm. I may never live this close to the ocean again (though, secretly, I doubt that, you never know).

And so here is my project: a year of ocean. 52 weekly posts of pictures and words about a trip to water. The weather, the company, and certainly whatever comes up. I think it’ll keep my one little word at the forefront of my mind and allow me clear space, which is something that’s come up since the retreat in October.

And speaking of that retreat – I read this post On Patience by Laurie the other day and she spoke right to me (also my experience of her in person). As I’m moving into this new year, I have my hopes but I’m feeling a bit whiplashed.

She mentions two things that give me permission: a practice of not doing anything (what I’ve been craving) and a friend who rests in his self-care habits (what I’ve been practicing).

Space and self-care… flow. Year of Ocean seems like a perfect way to declare, track, and record my experience of both of those things.

**I’ll be using a tag Year of Ocean here and on Instagram if you wanted to follow along. Better yet, start your own thing and let me know so I can follow you.

Back Home

Pretty sure Carter Cash loves his time with his auntie (my sister) when we’re out of town, but he’s usually pretty dang cuddly when we return.
Clearly, his one little word for 2014 is “handsomest”

Sleepy-deepy

Post run snuggle face. Happy Saturday xo

Puppy-Stretch

 

 

Wishing you a peaceful November weekend.

August Break Recap

 

For the month of August, I followed prompts and took a photo (or a 5) a day for an online challenge created by Susannah Conway called August Break. Looking at the photo grid above, I am really happy with the results.

Buuuttttttt…. I didn’t love doing it.

It’s supposed to be a great excuse to take a break from serious blogging over a summer month, but since I’d just gotten into the swing of posting via an editorial calendar in July, it was mostly a distraction. Aka – total derail. And I started to dread it. I stopped on day 21.

What I learned from all of this is that scheduling blog content and pre-posting (by a day or two) is actually more engaging for me than the “pressure” of taking photos and posting daily. I also love love love collecting* all of these photos in the calendar grid as a recap of the month. That’s definitely a bonus. And I started following some lovely women on Instagram I found only because of the hashtag. Live and learn.

You can see all of my August Break posts here. *Calendar grid made with the Collect App – free in the iTunes app store. I don’t :heart: it, but it works.

Did you participate in August Break this year or something similar before? How was your experience?