Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: wedding

Wedding Weekend






Over Labor Day weekend, we traveled up to the central coast for our dear friends’ wedding weekend. Obviously, weddings celebrate love, family and commitment, but those values were at the absolute forefront for this couple’s special day.

There were mason jars and lemonade and burlap and lace. There was dancing and photoboothing and drinking. There were math jokes and a custom corn hole and lawn jenga. There was the hot sun and the cool night. There were serious vows and funny speeches. There were details, details, details. The bride put so much work into everything – while staying gorgeous and graceful. The groom was smitten and so proud. Both were laughing and crying the entire weekend.

And at one point during the dancing, H and our friend mimed picking something off the ground, moving to opposite ends of the dance floor and began swinging their arms in rhythm as if they had double-dutch jump ropes. Immediately people caught on and we had a double-dutch dance off. I know.

It was freakin’ awesome.

The rehearsal was Friday morning, so H and I left LA at 6:30am to make it to there by 10am. We were 15min late, but otherwise all went well.

After the rehearsal, the bridal party & family went to Apple Farm restaurant where we all hung out eating, talking and spending time together. Unfortunately, I had a sinus infection, so my ear was clogged and the sinus pressure was tough, but it just meant I was readily able to cry along with everyone else’s happy tears haha.

During lunch, both the bride & groom made speeches about each member of their bridal party. Since H was in the wedding, our friend said a little something about him. He said H makes him a better teacher, that they share a sense of humor other people don’t understand, and that H is truly one of “our people”. It was so touching. I was so proud to call the groom a friend and H my husband.

After the cake was cut, the toasts were made and we sent the bride and groom off in their limo, we all helped pack stuff up from the venue and reconvened at the guest house on the property. We had 13 people staying in the house and many other guests came to hang out afterwards.

I wasn’t too thrilled with a house full of drunk people, but I rallied by making everyone frozen pizza and downing as much water as possible. Somehow everyone left and H and I found ourselves invited to lay outside in the dark to watch the stars.

We joined two of our friends and two bridesmaids and headed out across the field where the venue parks cars, all the way back to the grassy side of the property. There we put down a blanket and all laid in a cross-section pattern of heads to shoulders, a star-shape of feet sticking out from the center where our heads lay.

The sky was crisp and clear with the most saturated smattering of stars I’ve seen in a long while. (I think the only sky to rival it was the night we slept over in the Grand Canyon). We could see the Milky Way, a few planets and so many stars the constellations were difficult to pick out.

We all hoped to see a shooting star and we ended up seeing a bunch – at one point most of us caught a huge one streaking across the sky, right above our heads. We all shouted with amazement. All of us, some type of tipsy from the wedding, tired from the weekend’s events, chilly from the desert air, huddled together and laughing – it felt like the best night of summer camp all over again.

And it was magic.

Animal Spirits

This weekend we were in Santa Margarita for our friends’ wedding (more on that later) and I kept encountering animals.

There were deer on the property. They came into the yard of the house we were staying in, nibbling on grasses, their tails and lips and ears twitching.

I went for a run with another girl staying in the house and we had a group of horses come right out of the field they were grazing in and trot over to us. They came within arms reach and stood there, their muscular bodies taunt but calm, watching us with liquid eyes.

Later on the run, a silhouette of a dog popped up on the horizon. I thought it was a coyote at first, but as it started to run directly towards us, I realized it was a cattle dog. He ran big, looping circles up a hill and back to us, where he joined two girls on horseback and followed them off down the path.

We saw a male deer, antlers flashing in the sun, running through a field of tall grass.

That afternoon, I visited Autry Cellars and while we were chatting with Steve Autry (the owner), his tasting room guy came in and pulled Steve to the front room. A falcon had landed on the deck outside and was perched there, not moving.

There was a very large picture window between all of the people in the tasting room and the falcon on his ledge outside.

Mr. Autry said this was unusual behavior for this type of bird. He sees falcons flying low over the outskirts of the property, but never landing on the main building, especially this close to people. He also pointed out that the bird didn’t have a tag.

Two different times the bird lifted his wings, caught the wind and let it carry him towards the window – testing the pane, knocking into it to see if it was really there. After the second time, he flew away, around the side of the building. Mr. Autry said the bird was outside on another spot, closer to the building than he’d ever seen them before.

When I look up falcons as animal totems, I read this:

When a falcon flies into your life: You are being asked to be vigilant. An opportunity for big positive changes in your life is close at hand and it will require good planning and strategy as well as action on your part. You are reminded that you have all the tools and knowledge to take advantage of this opportunity and that your success depends on your quick reactions. Stay focused and grateful for all that is coming your way. Know that you have the ability to soar high and see things with greater vision!

This could not be more perfect for how I’m feeling since returning from Alaska. It’s as if, all of a sudden, my life is shifting – moving from one level to another – that I am growing or have grown in ways I didn’t realize until this very weekend.

To add to this layer of knowing I have all the tools and knowledge I need to move forward, I read that falcons and hawks serve the same symbolic purpose.

Ever since feathers became a symbol for me, I’ve wished for a hawk feather. In true intuitive fashion, I have no idea what a hawk feather actually looks like, but I thought surely one different enough from the black crow and white seagull feathers in my collection.

Amazingly, hawks represent both focus / day-to-day and big picture / higher-level perspective. Which is exactly where my strengths align for my INFJ Meyers-Briggs type.

A specific way the hawk guidance works is to use a high level and yet clear and focused vision to guide your action. Hawk Spirit Animal

Adding to that, I feel many women in the blogging community who identify as INFJs also see their spirit animal as a wolf. While wolves are incredible animals, I wasn’t feeling them for me. But falcons…

If falcons are your animal totem: You are independent and need to have alone time in order to be happy. You have a sharp mind and are very agile. You know how to mentally work out problems and are always three steps ahead of your peers and workmates. You have the patience to wait in order to get the most out of any opportunity that comes your way. You have impeccable timing and know exactly when to strike for the greatest benefit to yourself.

It seems that I’ve been secretly wishing for hawks / falcons this entire time.

And after that falcon knocked into that window trying to get our attention, I just knew he was there for me.

Cheers To Two Years

Photo by Seba Photography


Celebrating two years of marriage today and I am still smitten by this guy. In the past year he’s cooked me dinners, walked Carter so I didn’t have to, let me nap all afternoon without judgement, learned how to make a mean omelet, graduated grad school (team effort), supported my dreams, stood up for me when I wasn’t standing up for myself, misplaced his wedding band and bought a new one (whoops) and took me to a rock climbing class that now has me hooked. He calls me honey, picks up the groceries and doesn’t expect me to do everything for our home life myself. He knows my style so well that if he picks clothes out for me, I am sure to buy them. He laughs at my jokes, doesn’t bat an eye at how neurotic I can be, and plays any song I request on guitar.

Oh, and I did I mention he put new floors in our apartment… by himself? #marriedagoodone

He is the calmest, smartest person I know and I’m a better person because of him.

Love you HJW. xo

We Must Make the Most of the Time We Have Together – One Year of Marriage

Honestly, I didn’t think getting married would change much, but I was wrong.

I had hopes. Hopes that marriage would feel the way I feel when I hear another couple is getting hitched. Words like romance and commitment. Standing together, united as husband and wife.

I also thought I was above it. I’d considered having the Goldie Hawn / Kurt Russell chat long before we were engaged. Maybe we didn’t need to get married. We loved each other and knew we were committed. What did a piece of paper or a rings matter?

But, it turns out, they do. To me, to us. They matter.

Soon after our wedding, H started grad school. Two months later, my sister moved in with us. Needless to say, this is not how I pictured our first year of marriage. I felt like we weren’t on the same page – we didn’t have similar goals. I felt responsible for much of our home-life. He filled his time with work and grad school. My sister crashed on the floor in our office. I traveled a lot for work and was lonely. We were caught up in the every day.

Life took us for a ride this year – work, promotions, traveling, family, my sister living with us, grad school, celebrating friends, combining our finances, beginning the house hunt. All of it was good, but stressful. It pulled us away from each other.
And like all things, I put too much pressure on it. Being Married. On us. Being husband and wife. I thought, “how can you love, and be that vulnerable and not make a Big Deal out of it?”

It brings me back to a core problem, the “shoulds” vs the “wants”. As in, because we’re married, we should do this / act like this / be like this / love like this…

Twelve months later, here is what I know:

I want more of US creating the lives we want TOGETHER.

H has amazing intentions, is an awesome husband and his job is incredibly demanding.

We are fiercely supportive of each other.

I am responsible for my own happiness.

We had the luxury of a 4-day weekend for our anniversary, and that quality time was just what we needed. In the beautiful card H gave me, he wrote “I can only assume the time will continue to fly by and the years will pass, without any concern for us. This reinforces the idea that we must make the most of the time we have together.”

(I knew I married the right guy.)

Today, I feel like we’ve come full circle… that a year into marriage, I finally have the peace, the love, the romance that I hoped a wedding would bring us. And H is right – we must make the most of our time together. Life is precious and short and flies by.

Getting married was transformative. And it wasn’t. We are the same people we were before marriage, and yet, we’re not. It’s vulnerable and it’s peaceful. There’s a solidity to it. And I can only hope our love deepens in this next year, no matter what life throws our way. And that we make the most of the time we have together, always.

How We Celebrated

Our one year anniversary was on 7.7.13 and we celebrated exactly as we do – in quiet, at home.

We had a four-day weekend because of the holiday. H went for the 1st anniversary sentiment of paper. He created a photobook of our wedding photos – something I had yet to do. It’s beautiful. I cried looking through it.

Our wedding was not just the happiest day because we spoke our love in front of our family and friends, but because it was proof that we are a team – that we could work together to achieve something so wonderful, to be experienced by everyone in our lives. That we could combine our intentions and talents and love and create bliss

He cooked the most delicious dinner of lemon chicken and rice. He ordered a cake like the one from our wedding – vanilla cake and frosting, with strawberry filling. We put our cake topper on it and used the Lenox cake set for good measure.

He wrote me a heart-felt card. I wrote one back.

I ordered us a map from the mad mapper on Etsy. It’ll be of our neighborhood, of this apartment, where we came together as a family, where H proposed, our hub for wedding planning, and where we adopted Carter.

And while the day wasn’t a wild celebration of hotels, vacation, wine and adventure, it was us. Quiet, private, loving and reflective of our homelife.

Just like our proposal, our wedding, our love… our one year was perfect.

And if you feel like dancing with your honey… try our wedding song:

Happy One Year

The 4th



Happy 4th of July weekend.

The 4th holds many memories for me: driving from Long Island to Philly in traffic after our engagement party. That could’ve been the year H’s grandpa passed away suddenly. Another visit to Philly had us laid out on blankets in a park, in walking distance from his other grandparents’ home, watching fireworks. One year H went back East and I stayed here at this same apartment, walking miles with a friend to see the same firework show I saw tonight. Some years we didn’t see fireworks at all, like when my cousin got married and it was pouring rain. Or last year before our wedding, when the fireworks were scheduled for a day that wasn’t the 4th.

Back in high school, we’d all go down to Pirate’s Cove and camp… dragging supplies of grills, tents, beer and food in backpacks and via little boats. Walking, we had to beat the tide or else we wouldn’t be able to get around. I remember someone had a portable grill with a griddle and was frying eggs the next morning. I don’t remember sleeping, ever. It seems like a dream now, those nights. Walking the dunes, making out with a boyfriend, peeing in bushes…

There was one 4th that I fell hard for a guy that was all wrong for me. It’s so long ago, sometimes it feels like it didn’t happen. But it did.

And yesterday was the most normal July 4th I’ve had in forever. We slept in, took the dog to the park. We went out to our favorite breakfast place and ate pancakes and french toast and sipped coffee that was mostly creamer. We cleaned up and packed up and drove to the beach. Somehow received a parking miracle and found a patch of sand. It was crowded. We met my sister and some friends, but for a while, it was just H and I. He surfed. I read a book. Friends arrived and there were drinks. We left to go back home to feed and walk the dog, shower, and then biked back. It felt so good to be flying through the streets on my cruiser. We hung out in a bar, walked a ways to the firework show, and made it just in time.

They were huge, and magical, and loud. H kissed me with excitement. At the prettiest ones, the big golden ones that seem to shimmer and wave into the darkness, I would hear a small sound come out of my mouth – an actual “ohh” or “ahh”. They are so wonderful. I wish we had them at other times in the year. Checking that off the summer manifesto list.

I love fireworks. And I love July for all of its summer loving.


Wrote this very early this morning, up with a sick pup. It’s working out though, since I’m not very tired anyways. 

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.

I Was Made For You

Just attended the wedding of some great friends up in Ojai, CA. They were married in the garden of the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, which is beyond gorgeous. The groom sang Brandi Carlile’s “I Was Made For You” during the ceremony (he invited us to her concert back in the fall). Their vows were adorable, the food was delicious, and the custom mix the groom made was so much fun to dance to all night.

And let’s just take a moment to stare in awe at her dress…

H and I had a ball dancing up a storm, drinking custom cocktails and thoroughly enjoying our time together. It’s been a while since we’ve partied together like that. So worth it.

It was a wedding full of love and commitment by two people who really do seem like they were made for each other. Sending them lots of congratulations.



7 Months & 7 Days

We’re not officially celebrating until Saturday – H has a scavenger hunt + dinner thing planned. No idea really, and the control freak in me is like TELL ME WHAT WE’RE DOING, but I’m trying to enjoy the possibilities. Trust and all..

After a work day filled with random stuff, I got stuck in major traffic… I mean, 2 hours to go my normal 13 miles / 30min. It was stupid. Basically gave up and parked in a neighborhood to wait it out… 2 miles from my apartment. So dumb.

Once home though, family life greeted me. H ordered the most beautiful bouquet of flowers of our 10 years together and my sister made us homemade fajitas and cupcakes with three different types of frosting (vanilla, chocolate and strawberry). I am one spoiled girl.

The craziest thing is today is our 7 month and 7 day wedding anniversary – and we just happened to get married on 7.7! How fun is it that it falls on Valentine’s Day? Yay.

Been getting my bearings back, now that I’m feeling better, and today was just delightful. I feel so loved.

Hope you and yours are wonderful xo