Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: beach

#30daysofdresses – day 7

Or where we finally get to the new Dunkin’ Donuts…

Sunday I woke up and mentioned donuts. H responded with us going to the new (and only) Dunkin’ Donuts in Santa Monica.

Done.

While H waited in the line – out the door and about 20min total – I walked Carter around the block. I decided to wear my new Jimmy Eat World t-shirt from the show the other night and a jean skirt. I know this is technically not a dress, but like I mentioned, the heat is making wearing a dress really unappealing.

The shirt is awesome because it’s navy (my fav), has constellation-like writing (also fav), and it’s of my favorite Jimmy Eat World album.

I never wear this skirt, and wanted to ditch it when Jess and I met up last year. Apparently, every girl should have a jean skirt, especially those that live in sunny SoCal like me. But it always felt like it was riding up and not sitting right.

Solution – tuck in a shirt and wear a belt. Ta-da. Plus the belt and tucked-in action up the put-together-ness action of the outfit, so even though I’m technically just wearing a shorts + t-short combo, I look way more like I care than normal Sunday coffee-run outfits.

 

Winning all around.

With our Dunkin’ Donuts food in hand, we drove down to the beach path above the ocean, found a bench in the shade, and hung out. H was all excited for his fantasy hockey league draft and Carter checked out the squirrels and other dogs. The view was a pristine blue – possibly the only benefit from an LA heat wave.

I can’t wait for it to cool off…

Skirt is Gap, from a long time ago, per usual. Shirt is merch from Jimmy Eat World. Belt is originally from this dress. Flip-flops from Kohl’s.

PS – Happy birthday to my dad!

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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

 

July (My Favorite)

I’m off this week in Newport Beach with my parents, celebrating the 4th. It’s the first time all year that being out of the office = actual time off. All the other days I was traveling or running around with people – basically, not relaxing.

This morning had a similar start where I had a work call reschedule, then cancel, emails to go through and people who think they need my attention… and after 30 min of that, I decided I was done and unplugging from work completely the rest of the week. It will all go one without me. My work is not my worth.

A helper in this is that the wifi at the vacation home is sucky and basically a waste of time. So I wanted to post a quick hello here, to update you on my absence and also welcome in July.

2014 is 1/2 over, and it’s been a whirlwind to say the least. I’m not sure how time is going so quickly.

Despite the lack of internet, I’m writing blog posts and (hopefully) coming up with a bit of a schedule. I have so much to share but I just don’t get around to it. Working to change that.

After the work crap this AM, I took myself down to the beach – walked the wet sand, shot a few photos and felt the humid, salty wind on my face. The ocean. The month of July. They really are my favorite.

Hope you’re off to a great summer-time. xo

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 of 52: Year of Ocean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Sunday, after a full day of rock climbing, my friends took me to the New Hampshire coast so I could see the ocean. It was exactly the way to end this perfect summer day.

The sun had just set, so the whole beach was cast in a dark gray glow – the kind that makes me think of slate, and castles, and deep waters. We walked out onto the rocks, but cut back up the beach when we realized how much the ground was really just a bed of seaweed. The tide was as far out as can be. It smelled like salt water and seashells and wet sand. We stepped with careful feet, so we didn’t crush any of the thousands of snails nestled in the shallow water. I picked up their empty shells and slipped them into my pocket. The little tunnel of a home void of an animal anymore, just specks of sand and sea water filling it now.

It was cool to hear one friend talk about how he visited this beach as a kid – it’s the main beach for grade school field trips. I love how coastal town living is ingrained in me and my friends. That rocky beaches are the norm. That we’re used to the jagged coastline of the east, large sediments left behind by glaciers, instead of the pure, sandy beaches of the west.

I asked if they ever visit in the winter. They said no. I felt it would be such a perfect beach for those shorter, darker days, with snow covering the earth. Where the wind whips off the ocean like a cutting blade.

Walking the gravel brought my heart right back to New England – the cold winters, the lush summers, and the ocean. Always, the ocean.

9 of 52: Year of Ocean

 

 

I thought the other day how, even though LA doesn’t really have seasons, I do. And so it seems appropriate I haven’t been to the beach much or that things have felt a tad internal rather than external for the past five and a half months. And that I haven’t felt interested in this project until yesterday morning, when I woke up with a strong urge to go swim in the ocean.

Saturday night we went to a clothing swap / poker night and didn’t get home until the wee hours of Sunday morning. I woke up after 4 hours of sleep with a slight headache and major hankering to swim. My schedule was double-booked for the afternoon (a birthday party for Steph & a BBQ with my sis) but I had just enough time to go for a run & swim down at Venice Beach (like I did the first week of January).

I ran from my parking spot, up the beach path – past vendors, homeless backpackers, puppies on leashes, people with expensive video equipment, skateboarders and incense clouds – to somewhere in Santa Monica. I felt like I could’ve gone forever, but I was on a time crunch.

Along the area where I got onto the path, I walked out on the sand, asked a young girl if she’d watch my stuff, Then, I walked straight into the ocean. It felt glorious.

The Pacific feels so much more powerful than the Atlantic ever did when I was growing up – so I don’t go in past my waist. But I swam a bit, ducked under a few waves, submerged my body.

It was exactly what I needed. Glad I listened to that small voice telling me to go.

So, yes – the Year of Ocean project is back! It may have been too ambitious to think I could go to the ocean & come up with new content here weekly, but I’m OK with this being as many visits as I can get… if I don’t hit 52 before 2015 or it takes me 2 years, it’ll still be a fun project.

*See all of my Year of Ocean

Fake First Day of Summer

The longer I live in LA, the more I fucking love June.

H finishes up school, our friends who are teachers also have summer break, the days are longer, the sun wakes me up at 5:30am through the sliding glass door, the heat feels good in my bones, and I have more energy. So much more energy.

As we biked to Venice Beach yesterday, It reminded me of June 1st 2013. And all of June 2013 last year – when I felt like I finally surfaced from the fog that was the first half of the year, and started enjoying my life.

And I realize now as I write this that the act of taking these photos, of noticing my life, gives value to where I’m at, allowing myself to do what I want with these precious minutes I’m given each day. And it brings creative fulfillment, which brings me deep happiness with myself and my life. ~ 6.28.14

And this year, Astrobarry’s horoscope for Pisces:

Your monthly fresh-start provided by Wednesday’s new moon is even more of an internal one than usual, Pisces… meaning that I strongly encourage you to take a few moments mid-week to consciously reset your emotional barometer, silently identifying and tapping into the overall attitudinal sense you’d most like to feel throughout the lunar-cycle ahead, and then imprinting that intention onto your inner self-regulating process. With both Venus and Mercury moving into more explicitly extroverted zones of your solar-chart during the week ahead, you can expect your attentions to become more immediately impacted by the social goings-on, who you’re hanging with and what’s up with them—and, if you haven’t taken the advice I’m offering above, you could easily find yourself carried away on a wave of pleasant-enough chit-chat… which could inspire you to totally forget the very considerations that are most personally important for you to hold close to your heart, as part of your individual process at this time…”

That’s what is feels like – resetting my emotional barometer. How perfect is that? And that’s exactly how it feels – an emotional reboot. Yes.

So welcome, June – it’s so good to see you again.

Making Our Own Happiness

Took Carter down to the beach for a walk this morning – it was already getting busy. Surfers were out riding the waves, runners were flying by us beaded with sweat. We sat on a bench at the end of this new path with a pair of older women, one in a wheel chair. They were going through little rehabilitation exercises in some other language than English. Carter was frustrated we weren’t walking and howled.

We wanted to eat at a restaurant we like with patio seating, but all the outdoor seats were full. Each place we stopped seemed to be not quite right. One had no outdoor seating, another wouldn’t let Carter on the patio, and one place I suggested was closed, gone completely.

It felt frustrating enough that we gave up and headed home, where I cooked us over-easy eggs on buttered toast with English Breakfast tea. I have mine with milk and sugar, he takes his with lemon and honey.

Now H is napping (we partied hard yesterday) before we head up to the Valley for another small BBQ at a friend’s house.

I just read this quote on Brainpickings:

This is where we run into trouble in terms of being fulfilled… You have to make your own happiness, wherever you are. Your job isn’t going to make you happy, your spouse isn’t going to make you happy, the weather isn’t going to make you happy… You have to decide what you want, and you have to find that way of doing it, whether or not the outside circumstances are going to participate in your success… You have to be able to create your own happiness, period. And if you can’t, then you need to find a good shrink who can help you figure out what it’s going to take. ~Debbie Millman

And thought – yes. Yes, I want to go to a friend’s house instead of napping, yes I want to be outside, yes I want to post a little blog here… b/c I want to create my own happiness, lame breakfast places or not.

I hope you’re having a lovely 3-day weekend if you’re here in the US – enjoying the start of summer after that crazy-long east coast winter. And obviously, a special thank you to all the service men and women who serve our country, keep us safe and protect our freedoms.

5 of 52: Year of Ocean

Friday took me down to Santa Monica for a meeting, and I walked the beach for a quick moment afterwards. We’re having a hell of a winter drought, which is awesome for our days of sun, but terrible for the environment. And I miss the cold, crispness of February in Los Angeles, but I know this is better than the snow being dumped on the East Coast.

Decided to shoot my photos with the Hipstamatic app – I was going for that sunburst of heat and SoCal living, but instead I think I captured it all too blown out. Which is appropriate, since that’s how I’ve felt the past few weeks.

It’s my 30th birthday this week and I’m wavering between catching up / recovery from so much work while still being proud and reflective about how far I’ve come. I find it difficult, often, to experience, capture, reflect and understand my life as it goes by. It all seems so much to take in, so much to process and feel and comprehend. I am caught up in the details and then sometimes manically speak about life epiphanies and it all just makes me want to blog more. To process and reflect in this little corner of the internets, to keep throwing down place markers and sign posts – this is new or I’ve been here before, no? – a map of some sort. 

Anyways, that’s where I’m at. I missed a calendar week for this little project, but I  am not letting that deter me. This venture to the ocean on Friday proved my point. I sat on my shoes in the sand, in a dress, set the timer on my iPhone, and just stared at the ocean.

I needed that, and I think I’m going to continue needing it this whole year. xo

**See all of my Year of Ocean

Flow: Month One

Looking back over January, I have one word for myself: proud.

I’m proud that I managed my anxiety with four major events in 21 days, kept up my workload, gave myself space when I needed it and listened to my intuition.

There was the upswing of anxiety with events – planning, preparing, all hurry-up-and-wait.

There was plunging exhaustion with so much adrenaline coursing through me I only slept 8 hours in 2 days.

There was the serendipity of being asked, “What are you proud of?” the day after the last event played off.

That night, getting coconut milk ice cream with these ladies, I experienced a deja vu, only to have the store clerk say “That means you’re on the right path.”

There was Heidi’s advice via Instagram: “lots of deep breathing to help slow your body down. Generous amounts of kindness and compassion for yourself especially in recounting the event and your delivery of it. Listen to your body and do your best to give yourself permission to give it what it needs most. Hang in, Justine. You have a great sense of awareness around your HSP so I trust you will know what you need. 🙂 …the tears are a great sign that you are releasing. The more you can give into them, allow for them, and not judge them, the more peace you will find. Be gentle with your process.”

I gave into the tears, so hot and heaving one morning, I thought they wouldn’t end. And I was gentle.

I shared on Facebook:
This weekend I was the gal in the arena “who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if (s)he fails, at least fails while daring greatly”

I had almost 500 people show up to one event. We had 3 events total. I leaned heavily on my coworkers & husband. I didn’t sleep. I took good care of myself. I laughed with people and almost cried under pressure. Then actually cried in the shower. I chose green juice and then downed margaritas. I answered email from bed, walked the beach and checked Instagram too many times. I was focused, scattered, grateful, pissed and everything in between.

Risk requires vulnerability and vulnerability requires trust & love & really good people in the arena with you. The critics don’t count b/c their not even in the game. Remember that. xo

And then I posted this: Brene Brown – Listening To Shame

I drank too much (again) and took naps at 5pm in the afternoon. I did a ton of work and then soaked in a hot tub. Twice. H and I went to San Diego for a night. I hiked during the day and checked email late at night. I swam in the ocean. I went out on runs with Carter and then took over a week off from exercise because of a terrible cold. And stress.

I started pulling tarot cards – tuning into whatever magic the Universe whispers through signs. I pulled the Eight of Pentacles (focusing on the task) and The World (fulfillment of a grand project) multiple times. It’s become a morning ritual.

Somehow, it is what we’d call a “net win” – coming out at the end of January feeling confident in myself, trusting and moving along with whatever reality brought me.

It truly felt like a month of ebb and flow, week to week, day to day, even hour to hour.

And I was determined to not put my living on hold while I was awash in the anxieties of these work pressures, and I succeeded. I asked for help and received it. I was open to whatever came my way. I risked and was rewarded.

I think I grew more this past month than in other month’s combine. And I’m proud. I went with the flow. I was the girl in the arena. And I dared greatly.