amy chizmeshya

A business college grad becoming a self-proclaimed student of fashion.

Writing Can be Such a Bitch

Every morning, after I’ve spent what feels like an hour of dozing in and out but actually totals to the excruciating nine minutes of my snooze option, I heave myself out of bed, stumble to the kitchen to make coffee and validate the necessity of “getting ready” for work by splashing my sleepy, warm face with water and calling it a job well done… and I started this position with a vow to wear make up and plan my outfits each day day. After all, this was the only way to exude my A-game and show my professionalism.

As you can conclude, I’ve taken the new approach of simply getting to work on time, staying late and working my ass off to get noticed for a promotion. Let’s just admit that this is as cosmetically lazy as it is a stance on feminism or whatever legitimate logic I feel like masquerading.

Coffee

Morning Coffee

 

 

My true intention in the morning is to get coffee in my system and savor 20 minutes devoted to peaceful, twinkly music, blog posts from my favorite writers and happy feelings only. No stress allowed. No reminder that by 7:30 I’ll be out the door, transforming from an individual with soul and sentimentality and peace to a speck in a sea of commuters and emerging on the 11th floor of my office as a focused and caffeinated professional. A link in a big chain of massive strides by myself, as a department and as a company.

 

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Working in Financial District, San Francisco

This past week I was so sad about my bloggers. They let me down! Not a single legit post all week. What the heck? Where was my morning dose of happy and pretty? How was I going to ease myself into a Manic Monday without some goods words and  carefully selected pictures from a $1,000 Cannon that could make trash dump look like a trendy day trip location?  Well, my friends, its because they were busy becoming more legit than they already were… if that’s possible? Apparently, I really have a taste for a particular type of writing because all my go-to’s ended up taking some writers retreat and emerging even more soulful, relatable and awesome than before with an emphasis on bearing it all via writing.

Of course, this lead me to question my own writing. I began this blog as a type of documentation for my fashion sketches, meek sewing attempts and a little bit of writing for necessary content. Well, big surprise, it grew into a blog much more about pictures and writing than the aforementioned purpose? Really striking it out with that unique blog, right? ;)

I couldn’t help myself though. These crazy-good writers, they’ve reminded me of the beauty in life’s grey. Writing is a way to dissect and make the hazy things clear. It’s not about being frank – putting a strong divide of this is black and this is white, but a slow unfolding of this is why this makes me think, feel, do this way… maybe that’s what you feel too? They somehow know how to sift through the sand of daily drudgery or stress and find the flecks of gold that make life so clear. Not only do they hit the nail on the head but they seem to articulate it just ever so perfectly so, as a reader, you think, “Yes! This is what I was feeling but I couldn’t think of how to explain it, even to myself!”

I know more than anyone else that it takes a sort of mental clarity to be able to dig that deep in your brain and emotion to really find how you feel and its relevance to your life. It’s a soulfulness that I’m guilty to admit has been lost with the onset of my own life path to adulthood. Regardless of being more hormonal and uber-girly than I care to divulge, I have a tendency to be strangely masculine with my communications. Honest, blunt words feel easy and just flow while I realize that its still not enough. It isn’t digging deep enough to satisfy that itch of getting through, putting words to the sensation. I mean, these writers really now how to make things just sound right. They could be explaining the way the take a shit and I would come out of that post thinking, “Man, that’s exactly right! I need to do that too! It’s the perfect scenario and it sounds amazing! Such good writing!”

All in all, I’ve felt a loud reminder to knock down the laziness or hesitation or “writers block,” to try to dig a little deeper. Maybe it will result in a post like this, maybe I will take 770 words to finally get to what I’m trying to say… Sorry, 12th grade AP English teacher, I’m not getting to the point very well but DGAF this is my blog ;) I wake up every morning trying to defy the reality of the remainder of my day… perhaps my morning routine is actually a better way to get in touch with a whole new level of reality in life… that it isn’t just about the strides but also the reflection.

Gown

Gown

La Family

Hello again. It’s been a while.

Life in the past few weeks has been a bit of a whirlwind and, consequently, blogging has been sitting on the back burner of my brain. I started my new job and had my family  (minus my endearingly travel-adverse dad) visit all in one chunk of time. A nice little blend of comfort and newness. While both of these topics are relatable and relevant, I’ll save the job stuff for another post. Family usually takes precedence in my life and so it should do the same in my blog.

San Francisco

San Francisco

A lot of people say that family doesn’t have to be a blood relative but someone you choose to love. I agree. I have a couple loved ones who have massively surpassed every token moment of friendship or romance and nestled into my heart as a feeling of home. I also recognize that I’m ridiculously lucky to be close to all of my immediate family – my mom, dad and two sisters.

Upon meeting my family, people are either pleasantly surprised or uncomfortable. As one of my friends so perfectly stated, my family has a candid, genuine vibe of closeness that is both alarming to some and relieving to others. It is clearly visible that we love each, value each other, need each other, miss each other… and all at once have zero hesitation to call each other out on our bullshit and  dispel  our venomous discontent with one another.

My Beautiful Mom

My Beautiful Mom

Big Sister

Big Sister

Little Sister

Little Sister

Perhaps this is why I have never kept a filter with others and “played nice” in my relationships when I was truly put off.  I pride myself on being fair and kind but I don’t hold my frustrations inside. I’ve always felt that love and honesty go hand in hand – if you love someone very much and they love you too – those petty little irritations can be brought up with a momentary air of shittiness and settle back into “yeah, but I think you’re the best anyway.”

My big sister, little sister, mom and dad – we’re all different. We all have a very definitive stance on each others strengths and weaknesses (which usually have something to do with one another). While I can complain that my little sister is being too sensitive to my prying, if I hear one of her catty, pre-teen friends dish the same criticism, my inner mother bear will undoubtedly shine.  Same goes for anyone else in my family. Its a beautiful kind of hypocrisy that I’ll never give up. We nag each other and build each other up every single day. The ferocity of my belief in their value is unparalleled. I don’t believe in God and only sometimes believe in fate, but man, someone really did good making us a family. I got lucky and I know it.

Say Hello to My Little Friend, Anxiety

This past weekend I got a lot of love and it made me feel like a big sigh… like my entire life just took a nice big sigh of relief and that is all I was… a sigh made of flesh and bones.

I almost feel comical writing this as though I have something to sigh about.  My life is recognizably good  right now. I don’t have any true hardships. I live in a world of love and peace and pleasures and wealth of all sorts, not just the monetary kind. Still, leave me without a defined purpose and you might as well put me in a straight jacket. Me, my brain and I… we can go places… shitty, cryptic, cynical places. Without intention but in full throttle, my lack of purpose will drive me to feel like something is wrong and I’ll put it on everything and suck the enjoyment out of my life- my relationships, my habits, my health, my anything.

The Confession: 

As a truly sunny person with an general enthusiasm for life, I feel almost like a traitor admitting that I have some legit anxiety issues. Not the kind that leaves me hyperventilating and sweating from a panic attack (I feel for anyone who does deal with this), but enough to know that it affects my health and peace of mind. Some people think worry warts are funny “HA HA HA that silly woman, she is sooo hilarious with all her goofy worries, she is so endearing like the main chick in a rom com, HA HA HA…” And I make fun of it too. I make light of my own pain because humor makes me happy and it’s a way to express my thoughts without making people uncomfortable.  I also feel like anxiety is somehow self indulgent and should not be openly soothed. Crying from my own worries never fails to make me feel like a self-pitying idiot. So, here I am, getting emotionally naked for the world, letting them know that I can be a restless, worrisome piece of poo, all with a blog that has my goddamn  full name on it. I am (possibly against my better judgement) branding myself in a less-than-perfect light with hope it will bring solace to anyone else who suffers the reality of anxiety.

The Sentence:

According to my dad, I got this wonderful trait of worry and anxiety from my mom. If she doesn’t have something to worry about, she’ll find something. And so it goes, we share this wretched fate and vent to one another. Thank goodness for her, with 45ish years of learning and a wisdom that’s quiet but vast, she reminds me that life is too short to worry about the what if’s and that it is better to just enjoy the moment. All you sentimental, mush-ball, mommy-blog quotes, you’re right –  I am becoming my mother –  but happily so because she has also become my beacon of sanity when our shared trait rears its ugly head.

The Situation: 

Well, like eluded to earlier, I had a bit of a freak out this last week. While I was supposed to be SO EXCITED about my two weeks of funemployment – that beautiful crazy stretch of time between accepting a job offer and starting your position – I actually had to maintain  my sanity when I was left with all this time to do whatever the hell I wanted. I’ve somehow come to the life conclusion that I am most happy when I’m most overloaded with ridiculous amounts of work. I’ve finally accepted that I like to place my anxiety into a funnel of purpose. Having a complex, crazy task at hand keeps me sane. I am fully aware that some people like the peace and quiet of no work, they dream of winning the lottery and ditching their jobs, however, I am not one of them. My drive is my sanity. Call me an addict – I won’t be offended and I’ll probably never stop.

The week went on and little by little I grew a mental monster of anxiety and doom. About what you may ask? Everything and for absolutely no reason. Logically I understand that things are great but emotionally, I had a bit too much time to dig myself into a black hole of “lets analyze my whole life.”  Despite the brief spurts of relief – spending quality time with my best friend,  side projects, dinner dates, happy hours with the most fabulous people and trips to shop with emergency retail-therapy money, my mind lingered into undefined restlessness.

With a hefty salve of mental elbow grease, goods words and even better hugs I got past my own spontaneous paranoia. So here it is – my best remedy of taming the wild beast of anxiety – that intangible but massively present asshole that gets to us time and again.

Remember That It’s All In Your Head  - I find mental health to be such a strange thing  - the way it blends chemicals/hormones that we cannot control  and our very much controllable outlook – how we chose to react to it. There is no doubt in my mind that happiness is part what we do with our minds and part what is out of our hands. When I really feel like I’m getting in over my head with anxiety, I have to remember that it is all in my head  - this is both calming in that I can tame it and relieving in the sense that it is something that just happens and I have to roll with the punches. It can be good to remember that your anxiety isn’t always the result of a life circumstance that you need to worry about and fix, but just your head, being silly.

Talk to Somebody - I kind went overboard with this because I have a personal bias to vent to my loved ones. I spoke to my mom…. then my dad and eventually had a little teary-eyed, narcissistic bout of despair to my boyfriend.  It feels good to just say all your crazy thoughts and to get outward approval that these worries are just that – worries. Not fortune-telling, not a soon-to-be reality, but your own mental bug to squish. While everything might feel so real and plausible and hopeless, your loved ones will happily remind you that life is good, you’re okay and things will be OK.

Don’t Always Trust Your Gut Thoughts –  By this I mean, don’t automatically assume its your gut or your intuitive wisdom, sometimes its just your own worries or biases, that defy logic and keep you from accepting things that might be in your favor. As a naturally intuitive person, I’ve frequently sought counsel from my feelings rather than the obvious facts in front of me. I’ve had countless bouts of good and bad “gut” feelings about something that I really just hadn’t felt or experienced before like traveling around Europe on my own – not always easy and breezy or intuitively chosen but massively worth it… or the amount of times that I became infatuated with a slippery snake of a dude in college because “I feel like we just had this crazy connection.” The older I get, the more I believe that life is a lot of choosing things by both logic and emotion. Sometimes, our worries can mask themselves as intuition and hold us back from true growth.

Try. And Then Keep Trying More - This sounds simple but it can be very hard. It’s oftentimes much easier to keep stuck in our own ugly feelings, to let our minds run wild and lose ourselves in doubt or worry… justifying it because you felt it so it must be valid and noted and dissected. But to truly try to defy your own thoughts, to hush them and stomp them out with the positive.. you have to be mentally strong and you have to have perseverance. Trust me – I know what a messy web anxiety creates. You start with a worry, then you have to understand why you are worried about this one thing, then it leads to another worry and etc., etc., until you have come to the conclusion that your whole life is awful and upside down. The best method for me is to quell my worries by countering them with a positive about life. Example: Say I’m worried about if I’ll ever find a job… because this was totally a worry for me about a month ago. Instead of going down the path of “the economy is still sketchy, no one wants a 20-something, there are so many other qualified candidates, OMG OMG OMG my life is such a fail *imagine myself depressed and homeless in 4 months*” I rethink – “OK this takes patience, a lot of people go through this and find jobs, I have a lot of people who love me, I’ve experienced some great things *flashback to happy moments with people I love.” This helps. This made me want to look at that blank screen and type up another cover letter. Sometimes you have to re-start your brain with positive thoughts. Think happy thoughts! You might not fly like Peter Pan but you will get places.

Do Something – And this time, do trust your gut. Will you benefit more from doing something productive or something fun? Because, FYI, you will still feel like a restless poohead if you choose the wrong one. Trust your feeling on this – do you need a break or do you need to get your hands dirty? Whatever it is, get to it. STOP brooding, but your brain to work in more productive ways and get something done.

 Let In The Good Stuff – I am definitely guilty of muddying the color in my life. When I feel subconsciously raked with anxiety, I’ll just go through the motions of my day and wait till it passes. Moments that are colorful and vibrant are turned a slight grey and filled with that nagging feeling of “ehhhh… I can’t place it but something is just bugging me.” Let it go. It’s not that easy but the best way to try is to live in the moment and savor the stuff in front of you. All self-help, life, happiness, etc. blogs say this…  so this shouldn’t be news to you. But its very important and very true. Stop over-analyzing and just live in it. Experience it. Don’t just watch from the sidelines. I’m a bit too young to be sure but according to various sources, life is short and goes by too quickly. It is better to spend time experiencing it rather than dissecting it. 

Work Out – Also, something a lot of blogs say but fuck, its so true. You don’t have to be an Olympian just take a fast walk. Put on some good music, drown out your own mind and instead envision the strength of your stride, take in the fresh air (or smoggy city air that still feels fresh) and just get lost in the physicality of working out. 

So there it is – my personally tested remedy for an anxious mind. My ugly half. My not-so-cool truth. And SCREW anxiety… ain’t got nothin’ on you ;)

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Am I Doing It Right?

You walk into a building and know you’re supposed to get to room XYZ but have no freakin clue where that is because you’ve never been here before. You walk over to the illuminated directory with determination, scanning the list, matching room XYZ to its correlating blue-ish color blocked out on the map. Nope. Still no fucking clue where you’re going. Your determined, purposefully inquisitive stance turns to meek confusion as you look back at the security guard, wait for eye contact and give the hesitant “Help me, I’m stupid” look.

This is my 20′s in a nutshell. I act like I know what I’m doing. I probably have a good idea…I think I am going in the right direction… No. Nope. I still want to ask if its the right direction… is it the right way? Let me check…

And you know what I’ve learned the most so far? There is no way to check – no certified O.K… There is no crystal ball. There is no singular person who is going to tell me if what I’m doing is right or wrong. It’s all subjective. There are no letter grades or pass/fails in life. I just have to feel it out for myself and decide what fits.

The weirdest part is I don’t know quite what fits because this is my first round of everything grown up. I’ve got my grown up pants on and I don’t even know if they feel good… please just give me some yoga pants that I wore in college. Those were lazy, comfy, easy and slimming. Everyone is telling me everything gets harder and harder, worth it, valuable, survivable, doable but harder. I want to grow, I want to develop and all that good stuff but I don’t want it to be harder. UGH. I want to have my cake and eat it too. (seriously I love cake… chocolate boxed cake)

Me Trying to Be a Grown Up

Me Trying to Get Over “Being an Adult”

To be honest I really had no worries about my post-college life. I thought it would just go on and laa-dee-daa, I would survive and it would be different from college but not that different. Well, the adjustment proved to be quite a bitch… and while finally I feel as though I have a steady footing, I still feel… unsure… see the trend here? All the additional pauses. Hah WELCOME to my life story.

So Innocent. So Unaware of Life After Graduation.

So Innocent. So Unaware of Life After Graduation.

Not to go all Britney Spears (circa 2001) on you here but I am not a girl, not yet a woman. I feel as though life is coming at me too fast. Like everything that happens to me is retorted with a “but I’m only 23! I’m so young, this is for old people!!” and then realize that I don’t want the same standards I held for myself in college. Ohhh college… life was so beautifully organized with the ebb and flow of semesters, finals, stressing the fuck out and then the serenity of a long break after all the pandemonium. A valid excuse for everything. I had to stay up late to study and watch Downton Abbey. I didn’t have enough money to invest in a really beautiful apartment but I sure as hell saved for that spring break cruise to Cabo. Life no longer swings on a pendulum between breaks and getting down to business. I have to decide when the breaks are and, quite frankly, I’m bad at it. Even if I’m on break no one else is and I feel like I have to work and should be buzzing around like the rest of the adult population. Le sigh… THIS is my main bitch about adult life. I run the show. 100%. And while its considered freedom it feels anything but. Trust me – several months of unemployed freedom never felt so confining. Moving to big ass city never felt so invigorating frightening.

 

 

What have I learned so far in this post-graduation life? Almost 2 years after taking a blind leap that I had know flippin idea I was taking? I’ve learned to accept whatever people are doing with their lives too. I’m in no place to judge. You wanna take a year off and screw your way around Europe? You wanna marry your long-term boyfriend and put a down payment on a house?  Or maybe a little mix of both… get engaged to that lazy-ass, albeit charismatic dude you’ve been dating for 4 months? Sure! Just please consider getting a part time job because you want to secure yourselves financially (and I am worried that his bead art at First Fridays isn’t going to pay the rent)…  Ok. Awesome. Lets grab some coffee or, better yet, wine and I want to hear all about it. I want to respect you for your bravery. I want to laugh with you about your fuck ups. I want to embrace your life because I no longer feel like any of us have a god damn clue what is right or wrong, just what works for us at the time.

The more I live the more I feel okay to say – live and let live. It’s not laid back. It’s not “liberal,” it means embracing even the ones who do not embrace in their own nature. It’s realistic. It’s the best way to get by in life, meeting all the random people you meet. There is ALWAYS a status-quo, a social norm, a competitor to out-do… But the only person who you should live for is you and the only person you have room to critique is yourself. It took me 23 years to figure that out and its still very much in progress.

Hope this post brings you relief of a familiar feeling or relief that you might actually have a good idea of what the heck you’re doing in life. Cheers to those who’ve found it or are at least looking :)

Mini :)

Mini :)

City by the Sea

Over the weekend my boyfriend and I traded in the city lights and loud, busy streets for a day trip down the California coast. It’s funny to see how quickly the landscape changes from infinite rows of pastel-colored houses to views of the infinite sea and just a few homes tucked away in the mountains – small dots in a flurry of green.

The Coastal Silhouette

The Coastal Silhouette

Always a bit weary of new things, my man is a creature of habit. While I’ve learned that its helpful to present my plans strategically – this is where I want to go, this is exactly how we’ll get there, this is how much time it will take, this is what we can do there – this never actually happens. I usually vocalize my plan off the top of my head with little elaboration, receive a skeptical stamp of approval muttered under his breath… weeks later I “surprise attack,” reminding him this weekend is the one and find him sighing under the sheets and grunting like an angry little boy. 

Similar to my own relationship, my mom has learned to coerce/butter-up/corner my dad into traveling. I’ve seen these grudging techniques and, well, this isn’t my first rodeo ;) Despite the huffing and puffing and the blank stare that says “your compliments are ineffective” when I told him he looked so handsome today, he tied up his shoelaces, grabbed his keys and out the door we went.

We stopped at Whole Foods for a quick lunch  - picking up a bit of road trip loot too – (highly decadent) coconut macaroons and (logical, not decadent) water.

Park On The Side of The Road and Ta-daaaa

Park On The Side of The Road and Ta-daaaa

The hesitant traveler

The hesitant traveler

In effort to show he was a little bit interested in the travel and a lot interested in making me happy, the boyfriend suggested we take the longer route to our final destination of the Redwood trees. Instead of the tedious, inland highway, we were to take the coast and endure the nutty “stop and go traffic “parts for the beautiful “wow, we LIVE here” parts. SO WORTH IT.

The Strange and Beautiful  Rocks of the Coastal Beaches

The Strange and Beautiful Rocks of the Coastal Beaches

Tide Pools of Sorts

Tide Pools of Sorts

He then proceeded to tell me that I shouldn’t get too close to the edge of the rocks because a huge wave could pull me in and drown me! After all,  that is what happened to several (now deceased) brides when they were taking their wind-blown wedding shots. Uhhh… thank you Mr. Morbid? These strictly logical and unpoetic statements are part of the reason I love you.

We made our way down the coast and finally hit our last stop  - Felton, CA – the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. However, Google Maps made a bit of an oopsie and took us to a closed campsite. We got out and realized this was not the part of the park we were looking for. Along with several ticketed cars in the parking lot we found this beautiful scenery and quickly hopped back in the car to finds those darn Redwoods.

The Closed Campsite

The Closed Campsite

Alas… we found it. A beautiful state park – Redwood trees, creek, little deer and epic photo ops included. Let the beauty ensue…

Driving Into the Park (cute little deer in field to left no t pictured)

Driving Into the Park (cute little deer in field to left no t pictured)

The Enchanted Looking Trail for the Redwood Forest.

The Enchanted Looking Trail for the Redwood Forest.

Look How Big They Are!

Look How Big They Are!

Did you know… 20-second hugs are scientifically proven to make you feel better? We’ve tried it out. It works. Maybe not on trees, but for us :)

Look How Tall They Are!

Look How Tall They Are!

Look at Their Leaves! Okay... Not As Exciting But Stunning None the Less

Look at Their Leaves! Okay… Not As Exciting But Stunning None the Less

Reflections in the Creek

Reflections in the Creek

The Perfect Hang Out for Summer Sun

The Perfect Hang Out for Summer Sun

It’s too hard to see in the photo, but the trees above the creek had ropes hanging down with knots to grip – ideal for swinging into the water when its warm and sunny.

We headed into the city and grabbed a mellow dinner with some friends. At the beginning of the day I told him I wanted to get out of the house. We didn’t get home until 11pm. Mission accomplished :)

A Wind-Swept Gown for Our Windy Trip

A Wind-Swept Gown for Our Windy Trip

BOOM

Last week I almost pissed my pants with excitement…don’t you love posts that start like that? Upon turning on my Netflix and toggling through the different shows/movies of been there and done that,  I came upon Baby Boom. For those of you who are unfamiliar with glorious 80′s comedies, this one really takes the cake in being a goofy, fill-my-heart-with-joy movie chock-full of hideous 80′s clothes, era-specific references and all the pastels necessary to appease my nostalgic mind.

Baby Boom - 1987

Baby Boom – 1987

Photo Credit: Hooked On Houses 

To clarify I am a 90′s baby – 1990 to be exact. I know, I KNOW – I shouldn’t credit myself an 80′s buff but you must know, I grew up on these movies and would absolutely take a time warp back to 1985. God, how I wish upon a star… Anyways, there are plenty of completely valid (some not so-valid) reasons why Baby Boom is one of the best movies ever:

The Fashion

Before going into gory detail about shoulder pads, can I please just point out that the movie begins with a bunch of business savvy women commuting to their high-powered jobs in New York City and they flash to a women walking and talking (very importantly) into a RECORDER. Ahh. I die. I love it. She looks so absurd with her crazy plastic/stone/mystery material accessories and has this massive recorder in her hand that is probably 4 times the size of an Iphone. Ohh the birth of technology. So bulky. So awkward. So wonderful.

I digress… especially when it comes to 80′s fashion. Diane Keaton’s character, J.C. is called the Tiger Lady. Rawr. She sports THE 80′s powerhouses look- shoulder pads galore, a cinched waste and strangely large bows plopped right between her collarbones. Lets not forget the infinitely feathered bob – 80′s mandate states that bangs are an absolute necessity.  On top of her super fresh look, baby Elizabeth has got the whole “I’m a porcelain doll, no, I’m a baby” look. She is constantly toted around in little matching dresses with lace and pastels so eminent in my own childhood.

Business Woman - Then and Now

Business Woman – Then and Now

The Working Woman

It’s quite possible that this movie resonates so strongly with my young self because I adored the idea of being some high-powered bad ass when I was a little girl. I was a strange bird. It was assumed that I’d have a husband, kids, whatever – but all I dreamed about was the job I’d have and the city I would live in. All of my some-day-over-the-rainbows were based off of individual success and J.C. Wiatt was who I wanted to be. She did her own thing. She didn’t take no for an answer. She worked her literal ass off. She was taken seriously by her colleagues (until they became poo heads).

Baby Boom is so rad because in every single sense, they made it so evident that she was completely self-reliant. Even in the end, when she fell in love, it was by choice, not necessity. She didn’t throw away her dreams. She decided to keep the crazy going and try to do it all. This isn’t uncommon these days but, man, back in the day that seemed SO awesome to me.

The Baby

This is small attribute (pun intended) because I just think baby’s are cute and I love the dynamic that reminded people you don’t have to be naturally maternal to love a child. All relationships, even with little humans, take time to really develop. While I find it unlikely that a woman in her case would actually take on a child there is a small part of me that believes it. While J.C. wasn’t the most loving person, she still seemed logical enough to recognize that she could provide Elizabeth with a good upbringing. She eventually fell in love with the child and relished in their relationship.

The Lesson

My absolute favorite part of this movie was the VERY real truth that people who rock will persevere and always make it. Case in point – J.C. quits her job, moves to the boonies and somehow still manages to make a killer company out of gourmet baby food… a beautiful outcome of her ridiculous work ethic and new interests. While the movie chooses to ignore other huge factors of making her small business a success (like… idk MONEY), it does show something that I love – where you live, where you’re at in life, all your obstacles, etc., etc., they can’t hold a candle to your drive. Incredibly savvy, ambitious people will always make shit happen.

Diane Keaton

You either love her or you hate her. She typically plays the same character but, well, I love that character… with her endearing chatter, her determined (albeit frazzled) demeanor and her all around nutty charm. I find it completely fabulous that she isn’t a smooth talker, she seems quick-witted but wonderfully scattered. I think this is a realistic portrayal of many brilliant people I know. They are charming in their quirky ways… I can see their gears turning as they speak. They’re always on go and its so refreshingly honest how many times they interrupt themselves, trip over their thoughts and actions. Some people find this annoying – I find it invigorating.

And, of course, her infamous and unparalleled freak outs…

(pardon the quality of the video but this scene is perfect)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M77mHX3YwE4

I hope to god I don’t look this ridiculous but I totally feel like this when I’m having a mental breakdown. Thank you, Diane Keaton, for always exemplifying exactly how erratic I feel when shit hits the fan.

So there it is –  the various reasons why Baby Boom is a must-see. If you love 80′s movies, the disturbing fashion that ensues and the story of an endearingly nutty, successful woman, you have to give it a shot.

Love Thyself

Since my early teens, I’ve celebrated Valentine’s Day with a tradition of treating myself. Don’t get pervy, don’t take this out of context… I buy myself a pair of really cute, Valentine-colored panties and where them on V-Day. It’s nice because no one else can revel in them, see them or appreciate them. It is the most personal gift I can give myself and it’s just a tradition I’ve held onto.

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In lieu of this love-devout day, I think its nice to recognize the person you should love most – yourself. I kind of hate when people literally say, “I love myself.” I sit there and I’m like, “Okay, conceded. You need to douse out that flame of narcissism with a heavy dose of humble.” And usually I find that the people who vocalize how much love themselves tend to be insecure. Much like the occasional, barftastically publicized relationships that are validated through excessive FB statuses and kissing Instagram pictures, if you’re confident in your love, it feels nice to share, but you don’t NEED to share it. Being comfortable in your love means feeling it without anyone else’s approval. 

I also find it obnoxious when relationship articles say you have to love yourself before you love someone else. It’s 100% true – you can’t rely on someone to fill a void that you need to fill yourself – but its  SO vague? Well, how do I know if I love myself? There are so many ways to love someone else, how can I even tell if I’m loving myself?!

While love is universally known to be magnificent, there are so many forms and its hard to pinpoint. However, I think loving someone involves  a few general qualities. To know if you really love yourself, you should see if you do/believe in these things for yourself too.

How to tell if you Love Someone (and Yourself):

1.) You Forgive   – When we love someone, we tend to recognize there deficiencies, but their qualities  are important to us , so we can see past the less-than-awesome stuff. We know that they have an ugly side, but we choose to see their good side.

Yourself: Forgive yourself for your flaws. When you imagine your loved ones getting older and chubby and wrinkly do you think you’re gonna love them less for these things? No! So why worry about the changes in your own appearance? When your loved one forgets something big or fucks-up one time, do you forgive them? Usually :) Practice forgiveness on yourself too.

2.) You Love Them Because You Just Do – Sometimes (oftentimes) love can’t be explained. We don’t know why we choose to see the good more than the bad and why we hold that person higher than most of society. Whether its immediate or takes some time to embrace, we give in to love and let it fill us up with goodness.

Yourself: So you might not have written a best-selling novel, you might be a crabby jerk when you wake up or you might have $3 in your bank account. Do you love your friends, family and sig. other because they’re trillionaires or because they never-ever get mad at anyone? NO. Because no one is like that. It’s unexplained why you love them to the amount you do. You just do because they fit you like crazy puzzle. Fit yourself too. Love yourself because you’re just you.

3.) You Appreciate – Loving someone, you recognize the effort they put into things, whether it relates to you or just reflects on their character and you feel grateful or proud of them. You don’t take them for granted because they are a big part of your heart and thoughts.

Yourself: When you’ve done something big or well or kind or anything positive, recognize that you are doing well. Life ebb  and flows, so things can get blah again, but when you’ve done something phenomenal, be happy for yourself. Appreciate the work you do – regardless of the haters.

4.) You Do Nice Little Things for Them – Love makes us want to be nice. It can also makes us want to pull our hair out, because our general source of peace and happiness is also human and can disagree, conflict, piss off… but in general, love makes us want to go the extra mile for that person. It feels good to treat the person you love.

Yourself: Sometimes life really takes us for a spin and its easy to lose focus on our own discomforts. Things get so fast paced and your so eyeballs deep in work and/or your social life,  you forget to breath, you forget that you haven’t eaten for 8 hrs or you need sleep. It’s good to be ambitious but its also good to do nice things for yourself. Take a break just for you. Feel worthy of doing nice things for yourself. Say no to whomever and say yes to you. Selfishness can be healthy in the right circumstances.

5.) You Call Them Out on Their Shit – Love and trust have a good mix. When you love someone, it feels okay to call them out on their crap because they know you love them anyways, they value your opinion and recognize that you’re trying to help them (instead of taking  out your own frustration because there is a difference between helping and bitching).

Yourself: I’ve seen a quote floating around that says something along the lines of your “soul mate” really turning you inside out, challenging you to develop the strengths you didn’t know you had and opening your eyes to the restrictions you place on yourself. Call yourself on your own bullshit. Know when you’re being a dick or lazy or depressing. You have this thing called gut feelings. Evaluate what you’re doing wrong, stop and take a plan of action to become better. Most importantly, remember that you’ll forgive yourself and give yourself that second chance.

6.) You’re There For Them When Shit Hits the Fan – Stuff might get rough but you remember the good times or maybe you remember the times you had it bad and they helped you. When the cards are down, you are there for the people you love. It’s unconditional.

Yourself: This is important. You cannot be your own enemy when life happens. You have to have faith that the storm will pass and be there for yourself. Don’t jump ship. Don’t support someone who doesn’t support you because you believe they’re right about your shortcomings. Fuck them. Be there for yourself in the hard times. After all, you’re the one who has to wake up in your own body, live your own life and the repercussions every single day.

Love You. Love Whomever. Embrace love. 

<3

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Steps to a Better Day. Even Indulgent Ones.

If you can’t tell, I’ve been on a bit of a step binge lately… listing A, B and C  or bullet pointing for how to become this or that. This could be a result of learning how to code lists… but I would like to continue this with a post about how to have a better day, any day.

 **Disclaimer: I’m a hypocrite. Sometimes I don’t practice these things. BUT when I do I feel better, so hopefully you will too.**

1.) Wake up positive! Ok – Just kidding. When it is 6am and you’re totally feeling like the only thing getting up this morning is your middle finger, being positive is such a hard thing to do. But there are steps to feel like you’re ready to face the day:

  • Open the blinds, let the sunlight in. We all have a biological predisposition to feel awake and possibly energized by light, use it!
  • Act like your about to start an important day.This definitely involves a little childhood make-believe. Sometimes you’re just going to work and anticipate a dull day. BUT it always helps to feel pumped, like you’re living with purpose. It’s not taking yourself seriously, its taking your life seriously. Look in the mirror, feel your life movie reel, remember you’re makin shit happen. If this takes a bit of music motivation, put in those headphones. If this means feeling empowered by working out pre heading into the office, do it! (that’s a whole other can of worms that involves a shit ton of self discipline so this recommendation is optional)

2.) Keep in touch.

  • Text or email someone personal each day. Whether its the same person or a different one each day, I’ve always found that keeping up with friends is a great way to remind myself I have a life outside of work, a happy place that stretches beyond my ambition and is also a great way to make plans to see friends as well. While it might just be my extrovert guilt, I feel bad when I’ve been a hermit. This helps me keep up with my relationships and stay in touch with the real world (outside of social networks and work).
  • Talk to someone you love. While this could fall into the previous category, I feel like its particularly good to talk to someone who gives you a surge of comfort and happiness. For me, that could be my mom or sister. They can be total pooheads and call out all my flaws, they can also be my rock and remind me life is more than my immediate stresses. Even if its a 5 minute check-in call, loved ones make you feel loved. DUH.

3.) Treat yourself. All day, errryday.

  • Put cream and sugar in your coffee. It’s all about moderation – but add the good stuff to life. These are the times you have to imagine, what if something tragic happened to me tomorrow? Would I want to skimp on the lollipop jar in the kitchen? Would I really want to skip my break of painting my nails, watching my 30 min show before making dinner? No. I want to do silly little things that make me happy. Emphasis on little things. Don’t spend your whole day indulging. You will feel guilt. You will feel useless. And those both SUCK.
  • Buy the clearance item or chocolate that isn’t on your grocery lists. I am positive that any personal finance article will completely defy this rule, saying it is the way to get yourself into trouble and induce buyers remorse. But I don’t. Whether it makes me an addict or human, I get a rush from shopping and more so, from getting deals. Love me a bargain. My rule of thumb? If I spent more on lunch that day, its justified. So $7 on a sandwich but $5 for a cool top from target on 70% clearance. Ok – mine! Made my lunch? Nope. No shopping for meh. My other rule of thumb? Don’t put it in your cart. If you really want it you’ll go back to it, if you’re just being impulsive, you’ll be to lazy to go back.

4.) Do the thing that haunts you. This is the total opposite of step #3 but an absolute necessary counterpart. You must have both. Indulge too much and you’ll feel like ass. 100% discipline is just boring. You need both.

  • Contact the person you hate or brainstorm the task you fear. We all have that token horrific client or that project you are petrified to dissect or that company you’re afraid to reach out towards. This IS a happiness article cliche but its because its freakin works: Conquer that thing that is killing you slowly. Usually its a fear of a person or tasks. Time yourself for 45 min and get crackin. If I really get eyeballs deep in something for 45 min, I’ll finish it out no matter how much it pains me.
  • Put your headphones in and get moving. This could honestly be just doing household chores or running errands or legit running. But moving, feeling physically productive makes a MASSIVE difference for a good day. I don’t care if its walking to City Target and lugging back a massive bag of groceries or doing a 10 minute high intensity workout video, get off your ass. You’ll never regret it.

Do you have something that makes your day better, no matter what day it is? Let me know :)

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Life Lessons from a Bonafide Bad Ass – My Grandma

Those of you who know me quite well, know that I have a massive fondness for my late Grandma. Although she lived far away (in Canada) and I absolutely dreaded visiting her farm when I was a little girl (desolate places give me the heebie geebies), I’ve grew a serious respect for her in my early adult life and can truly say she was one of kind.

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A little background on this pistol of a person: My Grandma was born in the 1920′s, lived through WWII in Croatia, saw some seriously horrific shit and turned out to be the most positive, simplistically beautiful person I had ever met. Although life threw her A LOT of curve balls, she took a lesson out of each of them, stuck to her guns and kept on going. Her life lessons are realistic, applicable to all, and legacy of her beautifully strong sense of self:

  • Be You – And Screw Everything Else.

    While I obviously loved my Grandma, she wasn’t always the most pleasant person. She stood by her opinion and threw social graces to the wind. Ever since I could remember she had a few enemies because she was always a bit intense and wouldn’t bother with people who weren’t a fan of it. She wore ridiculous clothes because all she cared about was comfort and health. She dated a physicist for 12 YEARS and then dumped him to move to Canada – mind you, this was in the 40′s/50′s when nothing but a marriage would suffice for social normality… she had he first kid at 38 years old in the 60′s. Social norms were never her thing, she practically invited the term “You do you.” I remember visiting a discounted goods store as a child, being rung up at the register and my Grandma essentially saying “screw you” to the cashier because they tried to charge her more than the listed price. Whether it was her mistake (she was legally blind with macular degeneration from a previous accident) or the person was actually cheating her out, she didn’t give a flying fuck what they thought of her. She stood by her notions. As a little girl, I was embarrassed. As an adult I realized it was a natural state for her – be yourself and no one else, no matter the circumstances.

  • Be Curious – Endlessly Curious.

    It makes me sad to think that my Grandma didn’t have a true chance at this decade. I would be surprised if she didn’t become a company’s first female CEO… she would have LOVED the internet and all the information at her fingertips. Back in the day when female education was shitty and not expected, she got a bachelors degree in ECONOMICS, simply because she loved to learn. Upon moving to Canada in her 30′s, she got a job at a bank. Time and again, she outdid many of her senior male colleagues, but was literally refused a higher position because she was a women. Still, she kept on learning. She took up a passion in personal health, gardening and maintained an artistic inclination through a variety of beautiful, successful hobbies. My earliest memory of her home was the massive collection of books. She was always reading, always expanding, always wanting to know more and wonder more.

  • Enjoy the little things, especially nature.

    My grandma was mother nature. Upon retiring, gardening was her life. She grew and lived off of her own vegetable garden. She maintained an entire farm with vineyards, a greenhouse, a forest, fields and a pond. When she came to visit our family in Arizona she helped us revamp our whole backyard into a Garden of Eden – flowers and luscious lettuce, zucchini and tomato plants. She also loved to tell me that I wasn’t meant for hard labor… uhh thanks Grandma? (backhanded insult to my childhood laziness). While she was logical and realistic to the core, much of her letters to me insisted on appreciating our natural environment and all of which God gave us. Although I was quite atheist even at that age, my Grandma’s East European background insisted that every good thing came from God and Nature. She often claimed the complexities and hardships of life are from other humans and that we should be so thankful to have the safe haven of nature within our grasps. I’m getting a bit Pocohantos-status here, but every time I’m in nature, I think of her. I think of the peace that we overlook in the day to day – the beauty that is absolutely free and magnificent.

  • There is no such thing as boredom – There is always something to do.

    My grandma passed away of a massive stroke at 87. Up until this point she lived on her own (my Grandpa passed away 12 years prior) even though she was legally blind and deaf. She relied on no one but herself to run errands, eat, exercise and keep up her home. She was always moving, always thinking and the most beautifully agile senior I had ever known – quite possibly more quick-witted than any of her much younger descendants. She always said everything was chalked up to keeping busy. You must always see purpose in everything you do. There is an absolute necessity to working towards something, at all times. And laziness is death. When tomorrow seems scary or yesterday was exhausting, I find comfort in her advice and keep myself busy – cleaning the kitchen up or organizing my junk piles can really clear my mind, build productivity and feel good.

  • Life can be tragic, but seek beauty and you shall find it.

    Like mentioned before, my Grandma had a painfully logical sense to her. As a child, her practicality and harsh words stung my happy little brain. She scoffed at my laziness, selfishness or self pity. There was absolutely no excuse for any bad behavior and being charming or cute got me no where. NO WHERE. Still, she instilled in me a value for seeing the beauty in life. She believed that surrounding yourself with kind people was a fortunate gift, that information was a blessing and that life was never something to take for granted. She’d seen so much pain and death that she very well could have lived in misery. Instead, she woke up each day with a mission and a purpose to be glad. A women always facing the sun, she knew the biggest and happiest things in life came in small, evenly delivered doses of ups and downs. The woman who truly came from hardship, found peace and beauty in life.  That, to me, is the most admirable accomplishment of all humankind.

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Stop and Savor – The Importance of Sentiment

Last week I attended a wedding. I forgot all about the day-to-days: life as we know it, challenges, stresses, the honest gravity of adulthood. I gave myself a chance to soften up with sentiment and give in to the beauty of love: the purest form of human connection.

The ceremony of this wedding was absolutely beautiful. The flowers were perfectly trimmed and ornate, the gowns of the bride and bridesmaids were timelessly stunning, the guests were all brimming with smiles, the lawn was speckled with white chairs and rose petals. Although all of this was aesthetically brilliant, it couldn’t hold a candle to the true beauty of the wedding: the purest, rawest form of love between the bride and groom.

Being very new friends to the couple, I have only seen their love through pictures, encounters at dinners and nights out. It was easy to assume they loved one another, but I had absolutely no personal sentiment towards its depth. It seemed almost intrusive to me, finding myself crying at the heartfelt words said between them. I couldn’t stop myself though… her love of him, determinedly vocalized through her choking of tears, was so honest and deep. His face when she walked down the aisle said it all – this moment was theirs. Not for wedding, not for the people surrounding them, not for the photographer. It was all them – a powerful and consuming recognition of the strength of their love.

Perhaps my uncharacteristically strong feeling of sentiment was due to the conversation I had earlier that day. Well running around my house getting ready – forgetting things (a hairbrush!), downing coffee and stuffing my suitcase – my mom stopped me and told me that while I was attending this thing, she was going to visit her friend dying of cancer. I thought it was so morbid of her to mention it but then she added on, “Appreciate these beautiful parts of life. We go through it all and you don’t realize how quickly it passes, how short it is. Really, recognize your luck and all the good things because they just pass and we miss it.”

We hear it all the time – appreciate relationships with whomever it may be that you love – you’re mom, your dog, your spouse, whatever. Yet, life sweeps us up into the loud and immediate – it becomes very hard to have our thoughts stand still and savor the beauty of it all. I appreciate weddings for this very reason – we are given a chance to stop the bustle of life and take in everything that makes it magical.

If anything is to make me spiritual it is the depth and magnificence of relationships – the way they captivate us so effortlessly and pull us out of our innate habit of selfishness. I believe myself to be some variation of atheist, however, if there is a god, I think we can find him/her in the form of love. The strength of loving someone 100% – whether it be platonic, paternal or romantic – that to me is ethereal, godly and powerful beyond any other accomplishments or life successes. It is what makes us transcend normality and become something more than just one person on this earth.

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