Monday, April 29, 2013

My Birthday Wish for Myself

     My birthday turned out to be a great success despite an initial bump in the road. On Wednesday night, before the big day, I had a nearly one hour long crying spell over...well, basically everything. The Boston tragedy! The world today! Missing Nonnie! Time moves too quickly! I don't volunteer enough! Everything. 
     I was making all the tragedies in life mine and wearing them around like some sort of shawl. Not having made any plans for my birthday didn't help, either. Sometimes birthday plans are the perfect distraction for people like yours truly who experience disillusionment at the slightest bit of change in their lives (I wonder how old I'll be when this passes...?). Talking to Scott, talking to my mom on the phone and reading blog posts from around the internet (distraction!) finally helped me get it together, although I never made a firm decision about what we were going to do on my birthday. 

     The day of, I had a great time nannying my little buddy who claimed that it was his birthday and proceeded to sing happy birthday to himself repeatedly which of course made me laugh and sort of took the pressure off this day being all about me. After work, I arrived at my parent's house to find my sister and mom serving one of my favorite pasta salads for lunch (I'll try to post the recipe sometime soon). I went for a surf, meeting some friends out in the water who gave me special birthday waves. Afterwards, my mom, Danielle and I did a beach clean-up inspired by my new commitment to live more outside of myself. Danielle got an unfortunate call that her rent was doubling in NYC, causing her quite a bit of stress that she somehow managed to stuff away for the majority of my birthday and I went for another surf in the evening while Scott swam around snapping some photos. After the sun went down, we went in to town for Thai food, had cake at the house and finished the day watching home movies. 

    Friday and Saturday passed in similar ways: working, surfing, eating, drinking, watching home movies, until it was time to take Danielle to the airport on Saturday night. Her living situation now sorted out, we felt less apprehensive about sending her east, even though it was still tough. On Sunday, Scott and I went to the church from my childhood in Laguna Beach and wandered some of my favorite beaches where I first fell in love with the ocean. Throughout the day, Scott had to listen to me start all of my stories with "At Junior Lifeguards..." I love a good trip down memory lane. It makes me feel like, even though time has passed, those times can still come to life again. This was an important incorporation to my birthday festivities.

     We settled at Shaw's Cove in north Laguna where we both fell asleep face down on our towels almost immediately. When I woke, I had some time to read. It was a mostly quiet day filled with the still moments I was craving following the eventful week. After all the celebrations and conversations I needed some time to sort through my mind. The memories from the past week had gathered like tiny spider webs in my head-stuck, but tangled. I relied on this slow Sunday to sort through them and put them in their rightful place-on an imaginary shelf in my mind where I could see those moments and pull them out again when the time was right, just like I had today with my recollections from Jr. Guards. 
     We finished the day at a cozy restaurant just south of the hub of town after paying the meter again even on a Sunday (rude). I pulled out my journal while Scott took in the warm, but dim surroundings that made me call this place a tavern in my journal, even though it wasn't.

     What's the lesson here? I found myself asking of the past few days. I love when I experience something and come through it with some kind of new understanding, but what is that this time? Finally, as my tea arrived with a bit of honey in it, I thought of one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite books, The Secret Life of Bees. It goes like this:

August: "You know some things don't matter that much, Lily. Like the color of a house. How big is that in the overall scheme of life? But lifting a person's heart, now that matters. The whole problem with people is--"

Lily: "They don't know what matters and what doesn't"

August: "I was gonna say, the problem is they know what matters, but they don't choose it. I love May, but it was so hard to choose Caribbean Pink for the house [a color she hated that made her sister happy]....The hardest thing on earth is choosing what matters".  

    I want to focus more on choosing what matters from here on out. Have I failed at this in the past? I mean, I am one of those wackos that quit their job to follow their heart, potentially making it seem like I choose to live it up instead of having a reliable career, but I think the character in this book means more than that (ya think?). I want to do more to make other people happy, to put other's first more often. I'm not the worst, but I could do better. Of everything I've experienced since I was born, from the good memories to the deaths to the world tragedies, right up until my recent birthday meltdown, I think that's what matters most of all.

Where we went in Laguna:
+ Food The Stand-Lots of healthy vegetarian choices, reasonable prices, good atmosphere, but we have a place like this by our house in SD that we both think has better food.
+Beach Shaw's Cove, one of my favorites. Great tide pools, relaxing mostly local atmosphere.
+Drinks The Beach House- I ordered the "Pure Joy" and let me tell you, it was! I've never eaten here, however, so I'm not sure how the food is.

Friday, April 26, 2013

10 Things I Learned This Year

Yesterday, on my birthday, I wanted to reflect on the things I have learned this year (and, let's be honest, things I'm still learning all the time).  Today, I decided to share it with you. 

Here's my list:

1.) Life is a process. I am in process. 

2.) Be honest with yourself about everything. Dissect your thoughts. 

3.) It's ok to allow yourself moments to be still. Inspiration and clarity can be found here.

4.) Reading makes me a better writer, speller and conversationalist. It's important to read about a variety of things, even books, articles and blogs that don't necessarily correspond with my outlook. Be a sponge. Be open minded. Take it all in. 

5.) Scott needs me, too. 

6.) This country is remarkable and I'm happy we got to see it at a closer angle.

7.) Being perfect isn't a thing. I will always make mistakes. I need to accept that.

8.) I need to use more sunscreen on my hands. I need to do my physical therapy exercises for my shoulders.

9.) If you think you totally grasp someone or something look them over again, then do it again. p.s. Nothing other people do is really about you. For realz. 

10.) I don't want to be famously successful like I thought I did, I just want to reach my creative potential. 

Does any of this resonate with you? What is one of the most important things you've learned recently?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Best Surprise!

     I woke up last Friday morning not expecting anything out of the ordinary. I surfed in teeny tiny waves, tidied the house, responded to e-mails, paid the bills and made a ginormous mess in the backyard while painting a small picture of a sandpiper for my mom's birthday present before heading to my parent's house in the evening for happy hour. Happy hour is a rather sacred hour of the day in my family, I guess you could say. When we are together on weekends and holidays and five o'clock rolls around we know exactly what to do and where to be with our beverage of choice in hand. We sit together and talk, often watching the sunset, always hoping to see the elusive green flash that only my mom has seen.

     Kevin, my non-biological uncle came over, my mom opened a few small gifts and we sat talking. My friend Lisa, gave me the great idea of asking the birthday girl to mention her favorite memory from each decade of her life so far. For my mom, zero to ten was learning to ride a bike. Ten to twenty was sneaking out of her house as a teenager and meeting a girlfriend in the middle of the night to bike around the neighborhood in the Santa Ana winds. These stories made me happy we got my mom a new bike seat for her beach cruiser. 

    When I got up to go to the bathroom at one point, Scott seemed extra-inquisitive about my whereabouts (what the heckkk man, I have to pee!). A few minutes after I returned it was clear why- a surprise he had helped plan was on its way to our backyard all the way from NYC. Once I sat back down, she came running into the yard. Danielle. My little sister. My middle sister. And when I hugged her I had an odd flashback of me kissing her soft baby-haired head. I swear I could smell the way that little scalp used to smell and feel when I would kiss it (careful to stay away from that creepy soft spot). 

     When she first came into my life, I'm not so sure she was what I wanted. At three years old I was used to being the center of attention and I liked it that way, as you do at three. But now, as an adult, she is what I've always wanted. Along with my other sister Maddie, she is one of the best gifts I've ever received and here she was as a gift again.

    We played with my dad's remote control helicopter, which I crashed into a palm tree almost immediately, chopping some of the leaves with its tiny blades, celebrated my Mom, who can't be celebrated enough, and surfed together. I'm so happy Danielle's here all week.

The best gifts are the people in our lives.

p.s. earrings from Marolsha

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day, Mom's Birthday

     We had a great weekend with a special surprise visitor. You may know this already if you follow me on Instagram, but I can't wait to fill you in. Fortunately, it was really warm the past few days. It can be kind of a toss up here along the coast as we move towards the arrival of a persistent marine layer and the renaming of the early summer months from May and June to "May Grey" and "June Gloom". We were thankful to the Earth for the sun. I hope I always remember to be thankful for little things like that. Sun on my back, on my belly button, turning my hair yellow, and the way it makes me feel six years old. 
      Earth Day also happens to be my mom's birthday. Isn't that awesome? Mine's the 25th and, although I love that day and all the ways it has spoiled me, I guess it would be nice to feel like the Earth and I had something in common. Maybe it would feel like a sign or something. Like the Earth and I were meant to share this day because we are connected and I was meant to love it. Well, I do love it regardless of dates, but I love my mom most. I know everyone says this, but my mom is special. She is so very special to me. I actually told her at her birthday dinner Saturday night, after a few drinks no doubt, "You are such a special lady". "A lady?!" she mocked. "A special lady?" she repeated through hysterical laughter. "That's something you say to your cashier at the grocery store or someone you don't know very well". We all laughed for a good four minutes about how my mom didn't want to be called a lady. Well, I guess what I meant is this: She isn't like anyone else I've ever seen or met and I wouldn't love my life the same way I do if I didn't know her. I wouldn't know myself the way I do if she wasn't my mom. I wouldn't laugh as often without her. She is special to me. So very special. 
     I can't wait to tell you about the rest of the weekend, but until then, happy Earth Day! 

Here are a few Earth-minded links to check out:

+Nutritious Coconut Water Mint Juice (this just sounds so refreshing and healthy)

+Earth Day Exercises  (brought to you by yours truly)

p.s. eating vegetarian saves more land, energy and water than any other choice you can make, just sayin' ;)

p.p.s. if you've got any other eco-friendly links feel free to share them!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Earth Day Exercises,

Hey guys,
I'm stoked to be over on Roxy's Blog today with some Earth Day exercises. Stoked is kind of an understatement, but, ya know, I gotta keep my cool around here ;)

Earth Day Exercises

I like to celebrate Earth Day by exercising in nature and caring for the earth the way I feel it’s taken care of me. Running sprints on the beach while picking up trash makes me feel like I'm helping seagulls and sandpipers have a cleaner, safer home. It's not their fault there's a hair clip and a lobster trap line on their dinner table.

Here’s an Earth minded workout routine:

Start by picking two trashcans on the beach that are at least 100 yards apart from one another.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pictures, Prayers

     I worry I don't have the right words to say when tragedies like the one in Boston distort our lives. All I have is pictures of good things and prayers. 
     At first, it was weird to me that people were still jogging, swimming, talking, but I guess I am, too. I guess that's what we need to do so that evil doesn't prevail. We are supposed to move on, but we are also supposed to remember. I will try to remember anyone who has lost their life because of some unforeseen tragedy as I go through mine seeing the things I do: the sunset, blooming flowers, different waves, smiles. Who's to say, maybe those who have passed are watching me enjoy these things now. I feel like they are, the way God does. I don't have the right words, but I have my prayers and maybe they will hear them.
     Did you hear that Mr. Roger's quote floating around the Internet? There were many quotes out there. Everyone is trying to make sense of this, find the good words, say something to help us all keep going and continue our enthusiasm for humanity. The Mr. Roger's quote stuck with me most. In case you missed it, here it is "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'"-Fred Rogers. Thank you helpers! I want to be one of you. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Birthday Wishlist

Summer Dress: Quiksilver's Wax Flower Dress is so simple and girly. Perfect for a summer barbecue or party, I think. I love all white anything.

Book: The Man Who Ate Everything. I'm curious. Obviously I don't eat everything, specifically the entire meat food group, but I do enjoy conversations about food. After reading about Steingarten's book in Pamela Drukerman's Brining Up Bébé, I felt it was something I wanted to know more about. Here's the description that got me "Jeffery Steingarten writes that when he was named food critic for Vogue, he decided that his personal food preferences made him unfairly biased. 'I feared I could be no more objective than an art critic who detests the color yellow,' he writes. He embarks on a project to see if he can make himself like the food he despises. His hated foods include kimichi (the fermented cabbage that's a national dish of Korea), swordfish, anchovies, dill, clams, lard, and desserts in Indian restaurants..." 
I wanna know what happens. Is he going to end up liking these foods after eating them over and over again? Can that happen? I like to think I'm not a picky eater (I choose not to eat meat), but could I learn to like milk? Jicama? Radishes? Could I become a more adventurous eater if I continuously exposed myself to the foods I typically shy away from? I never used to like beets until I had them a few times, cooked different ways. It's definitely an interesting topic. 

Jewelry: Marolsha is one of my favorite jewelry shops. I saw this pressed chrysanthemum necklace on her facebook page the other day and immediately added it to my wishlist.

Swimsuit: Truth-I wouldn't have been caught dead in a one piece 5 years ago. They seemed too modest and "momish", but today? I love the look. They're so flattering and cute these days! Am I wrong? This is the Roxy Lapped One Piece which is part of their new fitness line. I have a few items from the line already and I love them. They are really comfortable and well made.

Sandals: I love getting new sandals. They're just an easy way to give your wardrobe more life and variety. Plus, feeling the sun on my feet puts me in a good mood. You? I love the Mardi Gras sandals from Roxy and The Saltwater Sandal on Modcloth.

Music: I've been basically obsessed with anything sung by Gregory Alan Isakov lately. His music makes me feel everything I need to feel. I listened to Big Black Car 27 times in one day last week and the Stable Song always reminds me of our American road trip. Warm weather also makes me want to listen to oldies. The soundtrack from Now and Then is a favorite of mine. Hearing these songs play out of this old school radio or record player seems so classic and nostalgic to me. I saw this one on Oh Dear Drea in her new living room tour and I immediately emailed her to find out where it came from. Turns out, it's one of a kind, but they do have some retro radios at Target. 

Surf: Summer's on the way and that means smaller waves. This "Unibrow" and the "Dominator" boards by Firewire have been on my mind for a while. They're high-perfornamce boards with a little more thickness and width to help you keep your speed on smaller, less powerful waves. You can never have too many surfboards! 

     Obviously I don't expect to get most of this. I'm honestly considering asking for a lighter down comforter for our bed since the one we have now is too warm for summer (and spring!) and I don't want to have to spend money on that. But that's boring and I just love making wishlists and daydreaming about cute outfits, good books and new surfboards. How about you? What's on your wishlist?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Ferris Wheels are Freaky + Lisa Leonard Giveaway!

     On our way home from our spring break trip, I talk Scott into going to the Santa Monica Pier as our one last vacation "hurrah". I convince him to pay the mandatory $12 parking fee by telling him "Don't you want this to be around for our kids?" We have to support this establishment!" (as if 2,000 other people aren't doing exactly that on this very day). 
     Once inside, I allow Scott to pick the ride since I have been so pushy about this experience so far. He picks the ferris wheel. I love rides and amusement parks, that's why I want to do this, but the ferris wheel freaks. me. out. 
     Once they close the flimsy little door to our bucket I confess "I hate ferris wheels! They're freaking scary!" 
     "What?!" He replies, in a perplexed tone. I'm too busy holding on to respond. As we raise higher and higher into the sky, Scott fills the silence by saying "Wait, I do too! Why did I pick this? Why is this so shaky?" 
    We finish the ride, which seems to last at least 10 minutes longer than necessary, feeling sheer terror and not at all distracted by the gorgeous views of Santa Monica on this sunny day. The only thing that keeps my mind off the height is taking pictures and looking at my gold Lisa Leonard shell necklace. I love it. It is simple, organic, unique and pretty. I feel like it ties me to ocean when I'm not in it.
     We get off the ferris wheel and I kiss Scott right on the mouth as a child screams beside us about wanting more cotton candy. Now, whenever I look at this necklace I am not only reminded of the sea, but of this silly-scary-fun experience with Scott on the Santa Monica Pier ferris wheel. 

Want to win this gold fossil necklace for yourself?


Winner: Lisa Ng!