Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: travel

Flow: Month Four

April was a lot like March, if March was on speed.

The craziness that was the second half of March took over ALL of April.

Traveled to Boston, where I spent a night with my parents, went climbing outdoors for the first time, worked three 12-hour days, had an all-night happier with friends, took the 7am EST flight back (at this point, I was on no time zone what-so-ever), returned to LA to find the entire downstairs of the apartment in upheaval, as H decided he was going to finally change out the floors, with his entire family landing at LAX the next afternoon. Then on to them visiting us for 12 days – including going to Six Flags, Universal Studios, and doing a crazy hike in hot weather – and then packing up and going to Stagecoach country music festival for 4 days.


In each circumstance, with each day, came a new reason to go with the flow.

Traveling for work is nothing if it’s not just showing up and doing my best.

Coming home with the expectation that H and I would relax before his family arrived, only to have the apartment in upheaval for the next two weeks, gave me the opportunity to repeat “it’ll get done…and we’ll finally have new floors”.

Staring at a massive pile of stuff in our office while said floors were replaced let me cut myself a break and know that, when I had the energy, I would put it all back together again.

Being whipped around time zones, with no routine, lots of restaurant food and family in town made me listen to my body more. Was I thirsty? Grab a glass of water. Was I tired? Let’s take a nap. Did I need to burn off some energy? How about a run.

Attending a music festival with 60k people and camping off-site meant the control-freak in me could only do so much. I really just had to see what came up next and go with it. With sixty-thousand other people. Haha.

Getting not one, but TWO, flat tires on the drive to the festival gave me the chance to ask for help, hang with my sister (where she took the awesome picture  of me above) and really trust that things would work out.

And y’know what? They did. They do. Over and over again. Things work out, timing makes sense, people stop by, strangers speak up and things I thought were imperative end up being kind of… whatever.

I already wrote this here, but my therapist said it best “Justine. You’re doing really well. You’re just rolling with the punches”.

Crazy thing is, I don’t feel like I’m rolling with the punches – I hardly feel like I’m being punched anymore. Nothing seems that dire right now (and of course, I’m lucky/grateful that’s the case). But it used to be that my car stereo not working could send me into a tailspin, and somehow having two flat tires was, like, nothing. We were safe, we had food and water, we called for help and we figured it out. A total pain, but relatively easy in the grand scheme of my life.

So despite how chaotic my schedule is lately, I am feeling pretty awesome. I know it won’t always be like this, and I def have days where I cry or just want to watch TV and zone out, but I am proud of myself, again, for cultivating a sense of well-being, of confidence that I can figure it out, of trust that things will work out…

For trusting and honoring flow.

Read about how my OLW ~flow~ worked for me in January, February and March. xo

Us in San Diego








A few weeks ago, I asked H if we could go to San Diego for a one-night trip. He obliged, and with a credit, he bought us a night at the Andaz Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter.

We left Saturday morning, and with a stop at Starbucks, we were on the road by 10am. The drive was easy as we listened to comedians on Pandora stations and OK Go’s Oh No.

We parked at the hotel, checked into our room and headed back out to tour the USS Midway. I’ve never been on a navel ship, but H’s dad was in the navy, and took him on a ship when he was little. He was as excited as a nine year old with each turn saying “Oh, I remember this!” multiple times. He even said it smelled the same, which his dad later explained was the paint they use that can withstand the salty sea air.

Of course, I was geeking out at how similar many of the areas of the ship were to Battlestar Galactica (which we binged-watched this summer) I even snapped a picture of the XO’s chair in the Ready Room. It was awesome! I’m pretty sure I also embarrassed H a bit.

The ship is 900 feet long, so it took us a few hours to make our way around and see it all. Once back on land our feet were sore enough to hop on a pedi-cab to take us back. Our driver (biker?) played 70s r&b tunes and talked to us about how he recently moved to San Diego from Wisconsin. We surprised him with a huge tip. Felt good to think we made his day.

Lunch was apps and beers, sipped on the patio as H scanned his Zillow app to see if we could afford anything in the area (short answer: No).

Slightly buzzed, we walked to a few stores. I tried on a bathing suit in Roxy, which H assured me looked hot and in which I felt gross (haha) and then he almost lost his wallet there when it slipped out of his pocket. Up the street, we found ourselves at The Tipsy Crow, a place my sister recommended for happy hour, and landed us a seat right at the bar.

Their happy hour consists of a “drink exchange” in which the prices of certain drinks go up & down based on their popularity – like a stock market for bar flies. This totally promotes mixing, so with the acoustic band playing songs by Of Monsters and Men and taking shots themselves, we drank on for a long while. This was my favorite part of the whole day ❤

We somehow decamped to our hotel room just in time for me to take a nice nap, shower and get ready to head back out for dinner. H picked La Puerta, which turned out to have a 90 min wait for a table. Because he is a genius, he asked the bouncer if we could order food at the bar, and just as we walked the perimeter, two seats opened up. It was perfect. The food was delicious, our bar tender was spot-on and we didn’t have to wait at all.

From there we went back to The Tipsy Crow for dancing (which didn’t work out), a bar with a zoned-out 80s cover band and weird crowd, and then to Double Deuce, which had country music and no one upstairs. Sold. We had a few more drinks, watched the bartenders dance and pour shots into the crowd below and took advantage of the photo booth.

The next day we slept in, watched some football, showered and packed up. We had breakfast comped at the rooftop restaurant, where we ordered eggs and coffee and baked in the sun. The service was slow, but the view was worth it.

Unfortunately, there was no time to lounge, as we wanted to rent bikes and head back up to LA.

Biking from the Gaslamp to Balboa Park was harder than I planned (all uphill) but there is seriously nothing like touring a city by bike (like that time I went to San Francisco by myself). I love it.

At the park we saw the outdoor pipe organ, artist paintings, and gardens. We ate pretzals and people watched. And then we biked back down to the hotel to leave. Right before we got back to the hotel, we stopped in an Urban Outfitters, where I serendipitously found the tarot cards I’d been coveting since October. And H bought a rad backpack that looks like a boarding school bag.

Our ride home was quiet, with a pink and purple sunset over the ocean.

It was the perfect overnight trip for us to have fun together and not worry one bit about all of the work pressures piling up the next few weeks. I’m so glad we made the time and I really want to make trips like this a priority. We’re lucky to have the time and each other.

Boston Summer

Returned from Boston last Thursday evening, after a very pleasant JetBlue flight. The trip felt long, probably b/c I was visiting friends the weekend before I worked. And I never seemed to switch time zones, so extreme sleepiness would hit around 3pm each day, and then I’d feel wired around 11pm.

This trip feels too big to write about (though not much happened). I’m going to steal a template from Amy Tangerine to see if I can cover it all…

Digging: Boston in the summer, a run along the Charles river, staying at a friends house (house!), getting to dance to Tom Boates Everybody, traveling alone, using said friend’s Keurig, daily workouts (even if they were short), seeing friends, and walking back to the hotel along my old “commute” that I took from my South End apartment to college.

Not digging: the culture of my workplace. There are some really cool people and then some not-so-cool people. Turbulence on the flight home. Humidity.

Drinking: a delish white wine, 5 cucumber collins (it was a long night), soda, gross well vodka drinks, tea,  sangria, lattes and chai. And probably not enough water.

Eating: bacon-wrapped figs, a bucket of mussels, catered food for work meetings, a bagel with lox, chinese food, an entire order of nachos myself, sushi and salad.

Watching: I was bad and watched a marathon of the Real Housewives of Atlanta on the plane ride home. Plus the movie The Ant Bully. Neither were great, but at least it made the flight feel fast.

Wearing: all of the cute dresses I own now from being styled, plus a new one that I love.

Reading: Made To Stick (for work)

Feeling: overwhelmed, wired but tired, good overall. Nostalgic, but also so happy that we live in LA.

Weather: 80s, humidity and general mugginess. Felt like I was underwater the last day. Definitely August on the east coast.

Wanting: to spend more time with my awesome coworkers and a girlfriend who is moving to Chicago.

Needing: sleep! I experienced some manic jet-lag and hardly slept the entire trip.

Thinking: my new boss could be the best thing to happen to my department in a long while. I want to create cleaning and meal plans for the apartment.

Wishing: it wasn’t back-to-school so soon. That H and I could visit Boston together.

Hoping: it’s nice, crisp fall weather on my next work trip. And that my new boss ends up rocking the house.

Enjoying: spending time with my good friend, who moved from LA back in December. Just getting time to chat with her, napping pool-side in the sun and dancing all night with her was awesome.

Loving: how my friend’s pup put her little paw on me, like she didn’t want me to leave. Recording video footage with a coworker and our dynamic duo performance. The entire day of Public Narrative workshop.

The workshop was, by far, the highlight of the work aspect of my trip. All of my non-work time was just phenomenal – I’m lucky I get to hang out with such awesome people.

day 19: white

Back to Boston, for work, staying at my favorite hotel. Today was full of meetings that probably won’t pan out into anything. We hit a bunch of traffic this morning and I never really ate breakfast. Got to have dinner with the friend I visited all weekend (one of my bridesmaids / our wedding planner) and our other college roommate (who officiated the ceremony). Great conversation that went by too quickly. Lots of sushi consumed.

Tomorrow is one big long meeting, as is Wednesday. Not really looking forward to it at all. I figure I’ll just show up, be myself and see how things go. And pray there’s an endless supply of tea.

For some reason H thinks it’s a good idea to pursue concrete house-hunting when I’m not physically in Los Angeles. We’ve had our realtor send over an offer, but 8hrs after the fact, I don’t want to print and sign it. In fact, I want a new relator. And to put this whole house thing on hold.

Because of the time change, I can’t discuss any of this with him for another hour, so I’ll just enjoy some Piano Concerti on Pandora and a hot shower in the best hotel ever.

Fingers crossed I get a run in along the Charles tomorrow since I missed the opportunity this evening. 

– – – 

See all of my August Break 2013 posts here.

day 7: skyline

Up at 5am EDT for a shower and another stop at Wawa before we headed to the airport. Crazily enough, 13 hours later, I am back in Los Angeles, sitting at my kitchen table, writing this.

We came home to our apartment cleaned and flowers on the table thanks to my AWESOME sister. The pup is very tired, and may be sick. We walked him, ate burritos, and food shopped. Laundry is in the dryer. We still have to unpack. H is napping before grad school tonight and I’m trying my best to get organized and run with the energy this little break gave me, while trying to avoid a nap myself.

Just made a list of everyone’s birthdays. I want to get better at sending snail mail…

Vacation (and the Sun in Virgo) makes me want to get better about everything family and household related, down to the tiniest details.

Guess we’ll see how long that lasts.

day 6: diagonals

A trip home to PA is not complete without a trip to Wawa. We went not once, but TWICE today, where we ate egg sandwiches the first trip and hoagies the second. I love how they have tons of coffee, tea and milk options, not to mention healthy food options.

It really is the best convenience store ever.

– – –

See all of my August Break 2013 posts here

day 4: love

Yesterday we had an entire day in Philly. It was SO MUCH FUN. I plan on sharing a longer post , but for now, here’s a shot in honor of August Break. See all of my August Break 2013 posts here.

day 3: yellow

See all of my August Break 2013 posts here.

day 2: circles

Adjusting to the time zone, enjoying H’s family and going for a hike. Vacation is my fav.

day 1: breakfast


We’ve arrived safely on the East Coast this morning (9 AM EDT, 6 AM PDT) after a very long flight. Red-eyes are never as quick or restful as you hope. This time we had the added frustration of someone’s screaming baby. For two straight hours. Sleep didn’t happen.

Luckily I had some energy to write and listen to podcasts.

H’s dad picked us up and I slept on the car ride home. I’m writing this from my in-law’s new house – this is the first time I’ve seen it. It’s fabulous. It’s been raining, which is such a treat. If there’s one thing I miss from the East coast it’s thunderstorms.

H’s step-mom made the egg bake above – so delicious, the perfect food to fuel you after a night of sleepless travel. At some point, I took a 3-hour nap that I wasn’t sure I could get up from.

And now the late afternoon sun is coming out, the wet ground heating up, turning the air even muggier than before. We’re watching the 3rd Harry Potter, cooking dinner and possibly going with H’s sister to trivia night.

I am tired, but we’re officially on vacation.