Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: vacation

And we’re off!

For some reason I can’t recall, I’ve felt a serious kinship and obsession with Alaska (see also Maine, Italy, and Everest). So I was flabbergasted when H told me that his family’s next vacation would be to this vast state. I mean, did his step-mom really understand how I pined for Alaska, that it’s on my Top 5 place to visit list, and that I consume all Alaska-based shows on Netflix? No, she probably didn’t. It was a perfect coincidence, but H was pretty stoked to watch my face when he broke the news.

This trip has been 2 years in the making. I am beyond grateful to be part of such a giving and adventurous family. We’ve jokingly used the hashtag #myfamilyvacationsharderthanyours if that’s an indication for what I’m in for haha.

We fly today and our adventure begins in Anchorage. After that, it’s a whirlwind, dream itinerary trip. I’m not sure how much I’ll be posting but watch my SIL’s blog Attention to Balance (where she’s already posted the agenda) and my Instagram for when I feel like sharing… but really, I just want to be in the moment, soaking in this magical time in a magical place.

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

Flow: Month Five


Like I wrote here about my jury duty experience, May was a befitting challenge to my OWL ~flow~ because I spent two weeks in a situation I did not want to be in.

It was all about giving in to reality, like how H told me to float on my back that time we were caught in a rip current, but I didn’t know it, and the waves kept crashing over my head, and my body went into full panic.

Give in to the fact that the house feels like a disaster between moving everything around for the new floors, not being home and not cleaning. It will all eventually get done.

Give in to the fact that some nights it felt too hot to sleep, that the heat wave made us all cranky, that even after jury duty, I had stressful dreams for a while. Turn on the a/c even if it makes us feel like bad people, and get some rest.

Give in to the fact that I couldn’t go see my therapist. Up the self-care & be my own supportive voice.

Give in to the fact that I couldn’t get work done, or didn’t have the energy, or things were taking forever. If it absolutely needs to get done, it’ll get done. If it doesn’t, it won’t.

Give in to the fact that I had to tell people “no” and deal with their reactions. Can’t please them all.

Give in to the fact that I had a ton of energy and wasn’t sure where to put it. Go out for more runs.

And while it seemed the month went by in a blink, I did get two long posts out – one, a blog hop Jill invited me to, and another about climbing outdoors (for the first time). I ran more miles in May than any other month so far this year (and for the past 12 months, only rivaling November 2013. Both months ran for a total of over 40miles). I printed pictures and bought an Instax camera and drank a lot of coffee (which made me happy).

We are deep into binge-watching Game of Thrones (which started me on a Kit Harington/Jon Snow bender) and finally visited with some friends who had a baby. We celebrated H’s 30th birthday. We went to an observatory and I looked into the night sky through a big-deal telescope, and then looked for the light. And I finally got to Joshua Tree, to the desert.

Even when life is stressful, we find our days resemble some sense of vacation because we have the luxury of living in SoCal. Just the other day, as I biked home from a coffee date with a friend, I felt pretty lucky to be where I’m at, jury duty, work, messy house and all. To remind myself, I checked in and refocused.

All of that pent up frustration of having to sit still in a spot I didn’t want to be, seemed to create enough pressure to spring me into an idea-creating frenzy. I am excited to follow that thread. It’s scary how fast May flew by, but lately June is my favorite, so I’m pretty happy to be right here again. Flowing through 2014.

How’s your one little word for the year going?

You can see all of my OLW ~flow~ posts here.

p.s. Mercury, the messenger of the Gods, goes retrograde tomorrow. If there was ever a good time to back-up your files, double-check your work, go with the flow and enjoy the journey, now until July 1st would be a good time.

day 9: taste

Missed the opportunity to photograph all I ate today – smoothie, Wahoo’s Fish Taco lunch, Peet’s Coffee and Tea chai latte, a soft pretzel and a coke. Written all down, what a terrible day of eating, but not as bad as the crazy East Coast eating we did on vacation.

I mentioned our love of Wawa but I’m not sure I mentioned that we ate there 3x in 24 hours. A new record perhaps?

Breakfast two times and lunch once. I actually consumed a sausage, egg and cheese on a biscuit – like the big fluffy southern biscuits that you eat with gravy. What a fatty, but so delicious. (It was good I did too because it held me over through our entire 10hr trip home. Also, isn’t it nuts that we can get from a suburb of Philly back to our apartment in Los Angeles in less than 12 hrs?!)

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See all of my August Break 2013 posts here

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.

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See all of my August Break 2013 posts here

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.

August Break 2013

I could not be more excited for this year’s August Break, originally created by Susannah Conway. I’ve participated in my own way for two years now. 2011’s post is here and 2012’s is here.

I haven’t put a ton of thought into what this “break” means but I’ve felt very excited for it, the way one is giddy before vacation and can’t wait for the socially-acceptable reason to stay the heck off the grid. Luckily, the start of this break overlaps my trip back East.

Perfect timing.

I’m planning to post at least a photo every day, in the true sense of August Break – but include stories as I’d like. July was the first full month I followed an editorial calendar for this little space, and I really enjoyed it. I don’t want to lose that momentum, and I’m continuously thinking about what stories I want to capture and how I want to capture them.


If you’d like to join, you can add your name to the blog-roll here.

Recent Obsessions

In my attempt to do more of what I need (and living the SoCal life), I’ve been trying to relax this week. It’s a 3-day week due to July 4th tomorrow (yay vacation!).

I started Battlestar Galactica on a whim. I know, right? Nerd. But it was just what I was looking for. Action, suspense, good story-lines and pretty good acting… like reading a fantasy novel. Great break from everything lately. Plus, H is into it, so we’ve watched 8 in the past 3 days. Sshh – don’t tell. #nojudging

Then today, I stumbled upon Rhonna Farrer‘s new app and I am obsessed. It’s tiny digital scrap-booking. I’ve already made two and I have ideas for more. Hoping I can add it on the iPad, since my iPhone screen feels too small to really get into the app. And there are sooooo many options. I love it. Love, love, love.

And thirdly, avocado, kiwi, cucumber salad. Delish. I basically made this up from a homemade version I tasted at a bridal shower a few weeks ago and this recipe online. I went for fresh vs strong, so I added cucumber, left out all of the spicy stuff, and added ginger. Freakin’ yum.

So that’s what I’m obsessing about, here on the even of the 4th of July. How’s your week going? xo

Weekend Away




We went up to Ojai, CA this weekend for a wedding. Even though Ojai is only 90min north of Los Angeles, we decided to go up on Friday and spend the extra night away from home.

This turned out to be a perfect idea.

Not only did we need the change of scenery and time together, but our little adventure was so much fun. It was relaxing, easy-going, and really just fun. While our honeymoon was jam-packed with craziness, this weekend was more inline with how I believe we should vacation: pick a few things we want to do, and then wander.

-Drive up to Ojai from Malibu, CA. Gorgeous drive up the coast.
-Check into adorable hotel. We stayed at the Capri Hotel. I didn’t snap a photo, but our room is pictured above. Friends who also stayed thought it wasn’t great, but I loved it. The only issue was super thin walls (and the obnoxious kid next door). We had room 108, which the manager said is he favorite.
-Nap for a bit. Kiss for a bit. Lounge.
-Head out for dinner. We walked the main street (less than 1 mile long) and chose to eat at the Ojai Pizza place. It was clearly a local joint. I don’t recommend. For what we ate and paid, it wasn’t worth it. But we weren’t interested in a fancier dinner being on a budget, so it worked fine for us.
-Eat a oreo ice cream
-Go back to the room and pick out a movie. Try the hot tub first. It is luke warm at best. We last no more than 8 minutes in it and go back to the room. I brew chamomile tea.
-Watch Alien, the 1979 science-fiction horror film on VHS. When H realizes he has to rewind the tape, he has a weird momentary flash-back to being in middle school. It’s been on my mind to watch this entire trilogy and low and behold, the hotel had a copy.

So for the extra $200 to be there a day early, eat crappy local pizza, and watch a movie on VHS, maybe it doesn’t seem like it was worth it – but after having a roommate for the past 5+ months, it was exactly the quality time I needed with H.

-I wanted to hike, but H forgot to pack sneakers (of course). He was exhausted anyways, so we walked into town instead. Ate breakfast at Bonnie Lu’s Country Cafe. Again, nothing remarkable. Certainly not our local joint here in LA. The staff was extremely friendly, but the food was meh. It was so nice to just sit and chat with H about work and his ideas about stuff he’s doing for grad school.
-On the walk back we picked up a card and a toothbrush (I forgot mine). We wandered through a few thrift stores. We wanted to window shop more but walked the wrong way, distracted by another issue, and ended up back at the hotel.
-We stopped by a garage sale that had a super old radio – the kind with dials and warm speaker sounds. It was $110. We didn’t splurge on it, but we definitely contemplated it.
-Back at the hotel, we reviewed the trail maps and headed out to the Old Baldwin Rd trailhead.
-Walked a loop for about an hour. It was slow and easy (again, H didn’t have shoes), kind of boring but better than nothing. Would love to go back and do a ridge hike.
-Back at the hotel again, H naps. I play around on Instagram and try napping, but the noisy kid next door doesn’t stop ALL DAY. It is super overcast or else I could sit by the pool. Finally around 2:30pm it clears and the sun comes out.
-Sit by the pool for 45 min. The sun is strong and the pool area is quiet. Bliss.
-Get ready for the wedding and head over
-Enjoy the wedding, dancing, food and friends.

-We eat breakfast in the lobby – they provide some small items, coffee and tea. I have a hot chocolate.
-Shower, pack up and head out.
-I drive so H can do work in the car
-I am super sleepy. We make good time home and I promptly take a nap for the rest of the afternoon.

It may seem boring but this weekend really was just what I needed. I thrive on quality time with H and easy-going traveling to new places like that. I love to wander, eat, window shop, nap, relax and read. The weekend had everything I could’ve wanted (well, more sun and quiet room, but close enough). Really happy we went.

Twas a Good Day

Today was exceptionally wonderful – a great start to our holiday vacation.

I was up early – not because I meant to be, but because alcohol from last night disrupted my sleep. I wrote morning pages and read a book. We straightened up the downstairs some, both of us a tad cranky. We’d planned breakfast out and then shopping, but H suggested we take the dog along with us and swing by the puppy park first.

The boys played at the park while I sat in the car relaxing. I noticed the change in seasons in the gray light and crisp air. The atmosphere finally matches the shift in our energy since Daylight Savings Time ended.

At breakfast we chatted about plans to stay in this apartment for at least another 18 months or so, and my dream from August about replacing the carpet and couch and repainting may finally come to fruition in a few weeks. H is on board. He feels “we’re just visiting now”. I could hear an ache for “home” when he spoke. I admit, this caught me off guard some, as he’s hardly been home since grad school started in September. But hardly being here probably just exaggerates his feeling of just visiting. It made me even more driven to nest; clean, decorate and create our space with intention.

We drove up to Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade – part outdoor mall, part tourist trap. I had to go to an Apple store for part of H’s gift. He went into Express and Urban Outfitters. We traded off waiting outside with the dog. It felt relaxing until the crowds swelled, so we left.

We ran laundry, wrapped gifts and watched football. I read some more. We ate frozen pizza. H and my sister drank some beers and are watching a movie. I’m tucked upstairs, after a hot shower, blogging from bed with the dog curled at my feet.

‘Twas a good day.