Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Category: Reading


“When really, he thinks, it’s a glowing puddle you carry in your hands; you should spend all your energy protecting it. Fighting for it. Working so hard not to spill one single drop.”
― character talking about time,
Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

It was a pretty quiet week again, though I’m getting ready for our trip to ALASKA ::celebration emoji::

On the Alaska note, one of my favorite Instagram feeds is Seablanket – she’s been living in Alaska for over a year, and her pictures are stunning. You can follow her blog here.

I didn’t know this, but the Alaskan flag is 8 gold stars, in the shape of “the big dipper”, on a blue background. The North Star is larger than the other 7. Tell me that isn’t my love of Alaska + stars + astrology combining into another sign that I am meant to visit this grand state.

And if anyone knew anything about being in the great outdoors, it was John Muir:

“I am los­ing pre­cious days. I am degen­er­at­ing into a machine for mak­ing money. I am learn­ing noth­ing in this triv­ial world of men. I must break away and get out into the moun­tains to learn the news.”
– Alaska Days with John Muir by Samuel Hall Young

I don’t plan on scrapbooking on the trip like this, but I love Kelly Purkey’s way of doing it.

Found this post about Seeing Red In The Gene Pool (or the lack thereof) interesting, especially because I love red heads.

I finished All The Light We Cannot Seehighly recommend. I found it both a simple and stunning read.

And I’m participating in August Break again – if you’d like to follow along – join here.

My sister-in-law Renee plans to blog while we’re in Alaska, but I am undecided. I am really feeling the need to unplug and let my mind drift far, far away from work and every-day dramas. I do plan on sharing pictures via Instagram if we have wifi, and you can follow me @jtaormino21.

Take care xo


This week I felt back on track.

I did work, hung out at home, watched season 2 of Orange Is The New Black, went running and ate healthier. I took Monday off, which was much needed. We went to the climbing gym & guys, Kal Drogo aka Jason Momoa works out at my climbing gym! (What a beautiful, beautiful man. Even H was staring.) I co-worked with my friend Billye and swam in her pool. Overall, it was a good week – quiet, productive, and pretty drama free.

I am looking for book recommendations, always. While chatting with my friend Chelsea (a big reader like me) she suggested I check out your summer reading list on the TedBlog. If YOU have suggestions for ME – would love to hear about them in the comments!

You can’t do your job well if your job is all do, from the Artifact Uprising blog. Love this blog. And can I just say, with T-10 days to go until our epic Alaska trip, I am already pinning over the AU book(s) I plan to make from our vacation photos.

But I didn’t pay for beans and water. I paid for the experience, the story, the instagram photo and to satiate my curiosity.

Pricing + marketing by Ari: $12 cup of coffee experience.

Saw Wish I Was Here last weekend. I loved Garden State, and while this movie wasn’t that good, I did enjoy it. And Zach Braff isn’t hard to look out, mmhhh. And yay for movies that have soundtracks, especially ones that include the Bon Iver song in the video below. Which, by the way, was filmed in Iceland but I like to pretend this song is on my mind right now b/c ALASKA.

Oh gosh, and this video made me tear up with how magical it is: Roadtrippers’ time-lapse of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

And to continue on the teary-eyes: This little story of a guy racing his dad’s ghost in the machine of his Xbox hit me pretty hard.

If you missed it, my post about Support got a lot of shares last week. And THANK YOU x10 for reading. I’m writing for you. xo


I spend a lot of time online – reading and absorbing. And I’ve seen how other bloggers post link round-ups, but I hesitate to do the same b/c I don’t want to create more entry points to the black hole of the internet. So I’ve decided to have a (hopefully) weekly post where I collect things that have caught my eye, sharing them with you, but mostly throwing down a snapshot of my brain in web-links.

Oh, and it will (hopefully) include a weekly photo of Carter Cash b/c…
Carter Cash.

Last night, we sat in OVER AN HOUR of traffic at MIDNIGHT because the 405 was CLOSED. Happy Mercury retrograde!!!

Abide With Me and Staying Near, by Lindsey Mead (and the quote below) made me feel and think, but I’m finding Lindsey’s writing often does that to me:

Just being – ourselves, with someone else, aware – is no small feat for most of us. Being present to someone else with our conscious self. Bearing witness to someone else without judgment. Listening to someone else without agenda. This is a true gift.

Medium: started by the founder of Twitter & Blogger, Ev Williams, a new platform for longer stories. I’ve been thinking about longer stories and how I want my blog to hold space for that kind of writing. Will share if I actually sign up & post on Medium.

As the art critic Harold Rosenberg once wrote: “Being loved is a kind of fame.”
And, in America, we seem to see anonymity as being the polar opposite of what we all believe we value most: authenticity.
Authenticity is this God-term that encapsulates what we as Americans find sacred and it is the heart our culture of romantic individuality.
I’ll define authenticity as that which what we feel is most real, true and original about ourselves.
And authenticity has this interesting correlation with fame.
As in: the more I’m seen and known, the more famous I am, the more authentic I am.
Despite the fact that fame, as we all know, is in its essence a kind of persona or mask and also a kind of un-reality.

(Above quote) Speaking of longer stories, my friend Steve, who is the person who suggested that I should try therapy b/c I would probably enjoy it – is blogging! We have these epic 3-hour-long lunches where we talk & discuss & delve deeper than regular conversations, and reading his blog gives me that same feeling, and though it doesn’t replace our convos, it’s a good bridge till the next time.

I met Jen Lee and watched her film, Indie Kindred, when she toured last year. I felt so special Jen took time to chat with me one on one – it was like she was there just to see me. She’s one of my creative heroes and I’m happy to share Indie Kindred was released in streaming form online this past week – and also, I’m included in the trailer. Weeeeeeee!

I have to admit, when I heard Elise was launching a podcast, Elise Gets Crafty, I felt jelz. Like, really. I want a podcast haha. But I’m only 6 episodes in, and I have to say, where it lacks in polish, it more than makes up for it in awesome information & discussions. It’s a testament to having an idea, launching, and figuring it out as you go – which is more than most people can say. Episode 3 is my fav so far.

West Coast – Lana Del Rey. This song is officially my summer jam. I don’t know many songs that make me want to dance and make out.

Down on the West Coast, they got their icons
Their silver starlets, their Queens of Saigon
And you’ve got the music, you’ve got the music
In you, don’t you?

Down on the West Coast, they love their movies
Their golden gods and rock and roll groupies
And you’ve got the music, you’ve got the music
In you, don’t you?


Annnnddddddd a few of my favorite link round-ups:
Something Good, by Jill Salahub
Five on Friday, by Kelly Purkey
Web Time Wasters, by Yes and Yes



finishing the crazy new floors project (blog post coming soon)

rolling with the punches, with my energy, with whatever comes up

going to the dog park and getting coffee on Saturday mornings with H

storing most all of my 17+ years of journals to make room for open space (and, hopefully, plants)

becoming a morning person again, with the sun blazing in at 6am

watching Sherlock and Drunk History

reading Island Beneath The Sea which I am enjoying even though it’s not superbly written

quitting How To Be Good by Nick Hornby – it just made me frustrated and cranky

smelling the deliciousness that is SoCal spring, especially at night. jasmine and honeysuckle blooming, cut grass, BBQ and clean, dry air.

celebrating H’s 30th birthday with friends

loving going out for happy hour to watch the hockey playoffs (see you next season Flyers)

eating out at restaurants a lot, and hoping to get back into home cooking soon

enjoying having a/c in my car again after years of it not working (and just in time for this heat wave, SoCal)

wearing jean shorts I made out of cutting the legs off an old pair of jeans (fist pump)

collecting blog ideas and pictures from the past 2 months of nut-so living

listening to podcasts like Elise Gets Crafty

working on putting my own creative work first

trying to bring some sense of order to our 2nd bedroom/office. now that the downstairs in almost done, the upstairs feels like a cyclone blew through

wishing for some alone time, preferably at a secluded cabin near the ocean

feeling so fucking thankful to be home with no traveling to be had for another 5+ weeks

obsessed with Charlie Worsham‘s record Rubberband. we saw him live at Stagecoach last weekend and he was, by far, one of the best performers. can’t wait to see where his career goes.

lifted this list from Elise Blaha Cripe’s January “Currently” list

Much Needed Rest

The month of high-pressure events, networking and hustling is over. And even though I’m exhausted, I survived, remarkably better than previous years.

I welcome February, my birthday month, with open arms.

I took yesterday off and spent it devouring The Goldfinch, biking with Carter, and talking with a friend at a marathon lunch at the library cafe.

Today we’re headed to see the Flyers play the Kings and I’m hoping the rest of the weekend (and the month) involves a lot of much needed rest. xo

Steve Martin and Being Right Where You’re Supposed To Be

Last month I found myself at the library, checking out a pile of books. One of the books at the top of my list for a while was Born Standing Up by Steve Martin, the memoir if his 18 years developing his stage show and then leaving this aspect of his career at the height of its success.

I’m not sure why I wanted to read this book so badly. I haven’t seen many Steve Martin movies or read any of his other books, but I do love stand-up and I thought it would contain some gems about his process.

Martin’s dad moved the family to Los Angeles to pursue his own Hollywood dreams. That failed pretty quickly, and Martin found himself 10 years old and in biking distance of the brand-new Disneyland of Anaheim, CA. The combination of accessibility, loose child-labor laws and Martin’s budding fascination with both comedy and magic made him perfect for a job selling maps to Disneyland visitors. That gig led to his working in the joke and magic shops within the park, along with a free pass to wander when he wasn’t working. Those jobs delivered him to his first mentors, colleagues and bosses who also worked at the park. The park also provided a stage for him to work out his own interest in comedy shows – meshing magic and humor into a show he then shopped to other venues in the Socal area. And the rest, they say, is history…

The book itself was good, well-written but not life-changing. That’s OK. Because what I really pulled from it is this:

It seemed to me that forces were working to support Martin’s path way before he understood what this path would be. Before he understood what he would become. It’s incredible to read this book and not see the connections and opportunities he was perfectly primed for. Now, I understand that this is all the expertise of memoir – creating themes and links between events – the very example of hind-sight.

But I also started to think about my own life, and the stories that people share with me, of how event A didn’t lead directly to event B but flew off the path and created some new path stretching out from event Q. People talk all of the time about how they ended up where they are through a combination of planning, hard work and luck (the definition of success as one famous quote puts it) but what struck me recently is that, if this is all true, then we’re all exactly where we’re supposed to be.

I’m not writing this to dismantle your hardships or send the encouraging (but pain in the ass message) that everything happens for a reason, but the more I listen to people’s stories (or read ones like Steve Martin’s) I have a hard time believing anything else is true.

You’re right where you’re supposed to be.

That job, opportunity, offer, connection, project that just crossed your path this week? I truly believe that you can step into that without hesitations that you’re not the “right” person for the job because, if you weren’t, you wouldn’t be in this position in the first place.

Does that make sense?

So, for whatever that’s worth, I hope it leaves your day a bit brighter. And if you have a story to share about being right where you’re supposed to be, feel free to post in the comments. And if that’s too public for you, leave a comment that I should email you – and I will.



Pop Culture Much?

Well – hello again.

Technically, work’s been super quiet, and I’m taking advantage. BUT I’m really just stock-piling reserves for the craziness that is the end of January string of events. Not to mention most of 2014 being blocked out already. Found out a venue we usually use is booked (FML) so I’m searching for a new option. There’s a bit more drama there, but it’s a total waste of energy to bring it into this space.

I am loving my new iPhone because of the PicTapGo app (see photo above for example). The “lights on” filter basically gives you the look of more light on any photo, plus it tracks the filters you use most frequently. Like, I have a style. Go figure.

And speaking of style – check out this hotness: 5 Days of Dresses by Hell of High Fashion. Jess is the gal who styled me back in February (happy bday to myself) and I’ve been in love with my closet ever since. Gotta do a post soon on the new outfits I purchased a few weeks ago. All I am gonna say is YAY NAVY.

Been talk talk talking about ideas for this little space, my own career and magic in general… conversations with friends, colleagues and lots of cool people. Like the few coffee meetings with Max of Shmedia Media who wrote out a little plan-of-action for me to make on move. First of which involves getting a Pinterest account. Because I need another internet rabbit hole to dive down… but when a guy who knows social media say “You are the reason Pinterest exist” one shuts her mouth and creates an account. More TBD.

We’re almost done with Orange Is The New Black. It’s awesome. Go watch it. The End.

I finally connected my love of Chris Hardwick to the downloading of The Nerdist podcast and my head basically exploded. This podcast is the epitome of everything I care about: art, creating, pulling the curtain back, interviews, real conversations and pop culture (minus deep nerd culture).

Blasting music by Haim and Lucius‘ new record Wildewoman.

And I’m reading The Book Thief and going to see Catching Fire tomorrow with my sister – so if anyone ever says I’m not into pop-culture enough, please remind me to send them this post.

happy weekending.





Book Love Rekindled

Last week, I took a trip to my favorite library – the Santa Monica Public Library’s Main branch – and went to town taking books out. I thought I would share a slightly messy list of my notes.
Got it! – Steve Martin – Born Standing Up – 791.4092 MARTIN
Couldn’t find – Marukami – Running – 921
Yes, but not now – Wakefield 153.3 – Creating from the spirit
Didn’t find – On Becoming An Artist – 153.3 Langer
Didn’t look for it – Maisel – Book Proposal 808.02
Not really good – Note To Self – O’Shea – Journaling 808.066
Took this book out a long time ago – decided no this time – 158.12 Bliss – writing journaling
Couldn’t find it – A Walk Between Heaven and Earth – Holzer 818
Didn’t look – The Blue Jay’s Dance – 921 Erdrich
Got it! – A Drink Before the War – Mystery – MF Lehane, Dennis
Got it! – Donald Miller – A Million Miles in a Thousand Years – 921 Miller

Reading is important to me. A priority, you could say. It calms and energizes me at the same time. My reading habit is a direct reflection of how I’m feeling. Interestingly enough, the happier I am, the more I’m reading (at least this year). Wish it were the other way, since when I’m feeling crappy, I probably need that comfort even more. There’s a big gap in my reading from about April to August this year. Yes – I read a few things, but it wasn’t joyful. It felt forced, dull and exhausting (much life how I feel about that time in my life hah).

But I’m back in the swing of things – both in reading and in life – woo! Thanks to a friend who recommended Divergent, an amateur version of Hunger Games, it made reading feel fun again. Engaging, like rekindling a love affair with my Kindle (see what I did there). And I’ve devoured a 4-5 books in the past 6 weeks. Feels good. Feels real good.

I’m in the middle of A Light Between Oceans and can.not.wait to read the Steve Martin memoir.
Would love to hear your book recommendations or what you’re currently reading. Please share with me. If you’d like to see a list of books I’ve read this year, visit my library.

I Am Not the Voice

I’ve come to understand that all the chatter inside my head is not useful.

A few years ago, when I first started therapy, I had a breakthrough. I was panicking about my to-do list, about how I’d power through the beginning of a week, running on the reserve of energy I gathered over the weekend, and experience this intense despair by Wednesday evening.

My therapist suggested that I was setting this unreachable bar for myself. No one else was asking these things of me. That it was completely unfair because even though I would reach my mark, completing my to-do list, it would never be enough. My mind would turn right around and find the next thing to obsess about accomplishing.

If I sound dramatic, it’s because I am was.

My therapist said that instead of becoming more efficient / effective / productive, I needed to learn to deal with the anxiety of not accomplishing things. Because that is the actual state of our days – things need doing, things get done, and we start again. There will never be a day that everything is Done.

When I read Hand Wash Cold it reiterated this idea. That I am here to do (and not freak out about) things like laundry, paying bills, and kissing my husband. That these daily tasks were a path into self-awareness and a type of enlightenment. Very much the basis of the human experience. To love, to be.

That was a light-bulb moment.

Then I found Byron Katie and her ideas of questioning our thoughts. That when we attach to, and believe, our thoughts, we bring ourselves into chaos. That negative feelings are a reflection of our mind believing thoughts that do not line-up with reality. She’s created something called The Work, which allows people to question and reconcile their thoughts with the world.

That was a light-bulb moment.

And now I’m reading The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. From the start, Singer focuses on the idea that you not only don’t have to believe your thoughts, you don’t even have to listen to them at all.

Our inner dialogue can be like living with a manic-depressive, a crazy roommate who continually grabs our attention. Singer suggests:

“The best way to free yourself from this incessant chatter is to step back and view it objectively…the only way to get your distance from this voice is to stop differentiating what it’s saying. Stop feeling that one thing it says is you and the other thing it says is not you… You are the one who hears the voice”

I am not the voice. I am the one who hears it.

An holy wow, doesn’t that create some distance between the craziness in my head and the gorgeous view of life I have when I’m not feeling insane?

It never occurred to me to disregard the internal chatter completely. To just separate from it, in my mind. To stop arguing with it, or trying to soothe it. To just, be.

As I’m reading, I understand.

“True personal growth is about transcending the part of you that is not okay and needs protection”

WIth each lesson learned, with each experience, each light-bulb moment, I am moving away from controlling an protecting myself, to living my life.

And it feels really good.

I don’t care where I die, I care where I live…

Charlie: You know what made me ready?

Jude: No. What?

Charlie: The body on the heath. I told you about it, didn’t I? I watched them digging around in the muck and the rain for two days and I kept thinking, What a fucking life this is! No way out except feet first. I was ready to slip my wrists, and I probably would have done it except that you appeared, and I remembered the way I felt about you when I first saw you. I remembered feeling as though something miraculous was happening, as though I was reclaiming something I’d lost. And I thought, If I believe in one miracle I may as well believe in them all. Even Oscar’s. Even his talk about the Imajica, and the Dominions in the Imajica, and the people there, and the cities. I just thought, Why not… embrace it all before I lose the chance? Before I’m a body lying out in the rain.

Jude: You won’t die in the rain.

Charlie: I don’t care where I die, Jude, I care where I live, and I want to live in some kind of hope. I want to live with you.

Excerpt from Imajica by Clive Barker pg 196 in the 2002 soft-cover edition.