Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: books

Recently (February 2015)

finishing editing meeting minutes for a big deal meeting. this is much harder than I anticipated.

rolling with doing work when I have the energy, ignoring time and day of the week

going to so.many.places, starting with Austin next week.

updating the blog, moving it to a new home with a new look. Stay tuned!

watching Fargo (my Martin Freeman crush is deep). Walking Dead. Hockey. Can’t wait to binge-watch House of Cards.

reading Station 11. Just finished The Bone Clocks and Me Talk Pretty One Day.

remembering being read to as a kid, especially Charlotte’s Web at school and Little Women by my grandmother at home.

quitting alcohol, going on 3 weeks

thinking about creating a podcast

celebrating my birthday

loving H’s support, and how he’s obsessed with listening to a book on tape.

drinking hot chocolate with coffee

dreaming of babies #notpregnant

wearing a random assortment of pajama-like clothing

missing Stephanie

listening to Book Riot, Raise Your Hand Say Yes, Dabbles vs Doers and the Nerdist podcasts.

planning many, many trips

embracing the next few months are not what I thought they’d be, including 6 flights, but it should all still be pretty awesome.

spending less money, despite said trip planning travels.

wishing I could read in the bathtub all day, everyday. Actually, wishing for a better tub in general. (Birthday gift?)

feeling grateful this post-event season feels easier than other years

obsessed with Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (you’re welcome)

Advertisements

Library Haul – February 2015

The other day, I was feeling pretty crappy, but after a hot shower & a mug of hot chocolate spiked with coffee, my energy was on the mend. I ventured out to run a bunch of errands (including buying my bridesmaid dress for L&T’s wedding – woo!), and found myself at the public library.

I fucking love the library.

The quiet, the stacks of books, the gathering of people all minding their own business. It’s an introvert’s dream. Any time I feel out of sorts, a trip to the library always helps. Not to mention it feeds a need to have new items – but the great thing about library books is, if I don’t like them, they’re due to be returned in 4 weeks or less. #winwin

Recently, all things reading have taken up residence in the forefront of my mind. I have a stack of fiction books waiting for my attention (explains why most of the titles above are non-fiction). I discovered BookRiot and Reading Lives podcasts. I even had a reading date with Billye where we both sat together on her front porch, reading our own books, separately, together. It was great.

Hoping to share more of my reading life here, since I think a lot of you are readers yourselves. So we’ll start with my library haul updates and I’ll share what I’ve been reading soon. And I would love for you to share anything you’d like about your reading life in the comments.

You can check out my (outdated) history of reading here. I find it hard to be recommended books, but Lindsey has yet to steer me wrong. Happy reading.

Day Alone – Last Bookstore

Since yesterday was Veterans Day (and work was closed) I took Monday off as well, creating a 4-day weekend (after 4 days of travel for work). It was the perfect way to get grounded.

I did a HITT exercise, gave the dog a bath and then ran 2m with him. I met a friend pretty early for breakfast at Paper or Plastik Cafe (where the “no laptop” pic was taken above – Hi Julie!) and then picked up a weaving Jessica O’Brien made and gave away for free via Twitter (heart the Internet).

Some time that morning I thought about The Last Bookstore in downtown LA – I’d never been. Having the entire day to myself seemed like a good enough reason to go.

The drive downtown was pretty easy with the help of GPS and I found a metered spot across the street. #bonus

Inside it is all sorts of used-bookstore-goodness. There are shelves and shelves of books, grouped in the usual categories, but the endcaps had random assortments of new and used volumes. The tables in the middle held art or coffee table books – the themes not entirely obvious at first glance. There were a bunch of very worn, very old chairs strewn around, some with people lounging and reading. And there were PA speakers set up, with a random playlist going, though I caught some Conor Oberst, which made me super happy.

I walked around for over an hour, collecting a few books that I thought were worth owning. And by worth owning, I mean, books whose pages I may want to write in the margins of. I love reading but I don’t buy books often anymore. In the interest of more open space in our apartment, I gave away most of my books in the past few years – getting our living room down to one bookcase and the bookcase upstairs holding other things besides just books.

But that dry, paper smell of stacks of books? That never gets old.

I drove from the bookstore to a Starbucks. I tried writing some, but my brain felt so overwhelmed with ideas, it seemed blank. After an hour of scratching around, I left to pick up groceries.

At home I unpacked the groceries, biked the dog around the neighborhood, cooked Mexican food for dinner, and pulled the 9 of Cups from the tarot deck: It is a sign to enjoy the abundance of life and to feel each of your emotions as if you had never felt any of them before. See the perfection all around you.

Yes, another day alone. Just like my day in Pasadena last month, it was a much needed luxury of spending time with myself, and creating space to just be.

Perfection.

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 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

Recently

Finishing up work emails and projects before our vacation tomorrow.

Rolling with the lack of routine. And up and down energy. And weird heat + humidity.

Going to the beach path on Saturdays for a run while H takes Carter on a walk via longboard, then heading to a new coffee shop called Amelia’s.

Creating more Project Life spreads – so fun to spend weekend time printing photos & playing with paper.

Buying sorely needed gym clothes, running sneakers and hiking boots. Much of the clothing and the running shoes (above) are hot pink. Not my usual color but seems to be the cheaper option most times.

Becoming more in-tuned to my over-done strength of being good in a crisis. And saying no.

Watching Orange Is The New Black Season 2

Reading All The Light We Cannot See (finished), The Giver (for fun) and books about Alaska & the Iditarod.

Quitting devaluing my own projects / creativity for things that aren’t the work I’m meant to do in this world (that’s the goal, anyways – probably will be more of a transition than cold turkey).

Learning so much about inspiration & design from the Here & There class at Big Picture Classes.

Smelling the surprise of rain in LA this weekend.

Celebrating OH MY GOSH OUR ALASKA TRIP STARTS TOMORROW.

Loving having H home for summer break with time to talk and be together. And life coaching sessions with Heidi.

Working on our money goals with a financial planner. And co-working with Billye.

Eating healthier and a little less at times, trying to fuel my body with good things.

Drinking less alcohol (win) and enjoying coffee more and more lately. Like, a lot more.

Wearing my hair a bit too short. And new clothes / boots (see above).

Listening to H play video games, to the drizzle of rain outside, to Carter clickety-clacking around on the vinyl floors (he needs his nails cut).

Feeling TOO EXCITED TO SLEEP

Obsessed with AnnMarie’s blog (and baby watch) and Alaska, Alaska, Alaska, Alaska, Alaska, Alaska

Piqued

“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

Piqued

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

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.