pumping the brakes + disconnecting
today i want to talk about something that seems to be one of those things that we’re constantly reading and talking about, but not necessarily following through on. we see it everywhere… the idea of pumping the brakes, slowing down, and really enjoying life and living in the moment… but how often are we doing this?
it seems like we are constantly in a rush… a rush to get to the next task, the next event, the next day of the week, the next promotion, the next relationship, the next vacation… and we distract ourselves in those “in between” moments, often with things that don’t bring any real value to our lives, such as social media or television. and we’re doing this so much that we’re often missing some pretty important stuff along the way. [and listen, i enjoy social media and a good binge watch on netflix as much as the next person, but hear me out.]
a few weeks ago, i spent the weekend camping in joshua tree national park [i plan on blogging about this trip and my new obsession with camping soon, so stay tuned]. it was a group trip for a friend’s birthday, and i was going into it only knowing a few of the people who were going to be there. committing to a camping trip in a place you’ve never been with a bunch of people you don’t really know can be a little intimidating… factor in that you’re pretty far away from home and there is no cell phone service [aka no escape from moments where you maybe feel awkward or left out]… and yea, you could definitely say that i wasn’t sure how it would all pan out.
for those of you who aren’t familiar with joshua tree, it’s one of the national parks out here in socal, about 150 miles east of l.a. in the middle of the desert. the little towns that surround the park are exactly how you would imagine desert town to be, and within minutes of driving into the park, you find yourself in a dead zone.
the idea of being in a dead zone, without wifi or at least cell phone service for even a couple minutes freaks people out [remember those verizon commercials from years ago?]… let alone a whole weekend? forget it.
so, in the spirit of making a long story short: i went to joshua tree, disconnected from my day to day life for two days with a group of people i barely knew… and had one of the best weekends i’ve had in a while. i mean, look at this place!
we’re living in a world where being connected constantly is the expectation. cell phone service is one thing, but even having a wifi connection at places like the grocery store, bars and restaurants, or in a public park has become commonplace. and we all know that we’re spending wayyyyyyy too much time with our phones in our hands, mindlessly scrolling our social media feeds, and checking to see who has/hasn’t texted us… i mean, for crying out loud, we don’t even use our phones to actually talk to people anymore.
being in the middle of the desert without any kind of connection to the outside world was so refreshing. every single person on the trip was completely unreachable, which allowed us to interact and connect with one another the way human beings were meant to: with face to face conversation that isn’t being constantly interrupted by buzzing phones letting you know that someone, somewhere has sent you a message that is so trivial it can be said via text message instead of an actual phone call.
it was nice to look at my phone, see that there was less than 10% battery left and not have an anxiety attack about needing to charge it.
on top of all of this, i also noticed that i was rarely checking the time throughout the weekend. when you spend your days in front of a computer/phone screen, checking the time constantly becomes a habit. so, when you know that it’s impossible to have received a text or a facebook notification, you check your phone much less [if at all] and suddenly, time doesn’t matter anymore. you’re living in the moment, not fast-forwarding through it. you’re moving with the universe and the people you’re with in realtime… at a pace much slower than what you’re used to… and wow, does it feel good.
at the end of the weekend, i felt so rejuvenated and relaxed [even after a saturday night spent drinking pretty heavily… i mean, after all, there are some things i’m just not willing to get away from!] that the idea of heading back to the real world and getting reconnected actually made me a little sad, and i felt as if i was leaving a piece of myself behind in the desert [okay, yea, i know that’s cheesy a.f. but whatever, it’s true].
so, do you see the point i’m trying to make? whether you’re spending your weekends in dead zones, switching your phone to airplane mode for a few hours each day, or establishing a “no phones at dinner” rule [except to take food pictures, obviously], disconnecting from technology and slowing down is not only a good idea, it’s so important.
important for our relationships [all of them, with others and ourselves]… important for our sanity… and important for our self-worth and personal growth.
when we’re disconnected, we have no choice but to focus on what’s right in front of us… getting to know the people we’re with, acknowledging our insecurities, confronting personal problems we might be facing, whatever. we automatically slow down and take things moment by moment for what they are, and we don’t distract ourselves from what’s most important with things that are so trivial, yet have somehow managed to become a priority over everything else.
we also can’t engage in activities that make us feel sh*tty, such as comparing ourselves to the people on our instagram feeds who seem to have it all together [remember, it’s all a matter of perspective]. it’s pretty effing liberating.
so, i challenge you to come up with a way you can disconnected this week. for a society that lives and breathes in the digital space, disconnecting sounds terrifying… but in all honesty, you might be surprised by how much you enjoy going off the grid. even if it’s only for one hour, it’s something, and something is better than nothing. start small and see where it takes you. it’s always has been [and always will be] about those baby steps!
need a starting place? i wrote this post a looooongggg time ago about ditching your digital addiction… i’m still working on applying these tricks and staying consistent with them each day. it’s alway easier said than done, but getting started is the first step.
and personally, i’m committing to this 7-day smartphone detox, starting today. i want to make sure that i don’t lose sight of that feeling i had in joshua tree when i was completely disconnected, forced to the pump the breaks, and really just soak up the present moment.
a note on california
it’s been almost 8 months since i touched down in l.a. and looking back, i cannot believe it’s been that long. talk about time flying by. it feels like just last week i hopped off the plane at l.a.x. [get it? anyone?!] with 2 suitcases, a duffel bag and a backpack, moved onto the couch of my friends’ apartment, and did what i had to do to make living in california a thing… and i am so happy that i did!
when i first started breaking the news to everyone that i was quitting my job and leaving new york for california, most were supportive, as i expected them to be, but they also had a lot of warnings for me:
“well you know it’s nothing like new york, right?” … yea, duh, that’s why i’m moving there.
“you’ll have to have a car and traffic in l.a. is a nightmare.” … that’s what i’ve heard… but have you ever been on the subway? now that’s what nightmares are made of.
“they have no seasons there. it’s literally summer all the time.” … YEP, PICKED UP ON THAT PART.
even though i was confident that making the move was a great decision, in the back of my mind i kept telling myself that if i absolutely hated it and things didn’t work out, i could move back to new york after a year.
well, i’ve been here since july 23rd, and i can say with confidence that i don’t ever plan on going back to new york. honestly, i’m a little surprised myself. i never thought i would live anywhere but new york until i came to l.a. for the first time in 2013. but now, i don’t know how i ever thought new york was where i belonged. why, you ask? a few reasons:
1. the weather. not to beat a dead horse, but seriously, why do people choose to subject themselves to subzero temperatures, snow, wind chills and winters that last for 6 months? i will never understand this.
2. the beach. [see also: the ocean, sand, palm trees, the sun, the coastal views, etc.]
3. the people. new yorkers get a bad rap, yes, but seriously, the people in l.a. are so much nicer than the people in new york. from my uber driver to the guy ringing me up at whole foods to random people at bars… everyone is friendly, everyone asks how your day is going and genuinely seems to care. even the homeless people here are nice! must be all that vitamin d.
4. driving. is the traffic bad in l.a.? yes. it’s just as bad as they say it is. but you know what’s worse than sitting in your car, ac on/windows down, listening to music or talking on the phone while you’re stuck in traffic? standing in a crowded subway car with no air conditioning in the middle of summer with a stranger’s armpit in your face for 3 hours when your commute should only take 40 minutes because of a mysterious phenomena known as “train traffic” caused by “signal problems ahead”. pick your poison, but personally, i choose the former.
5. the lifestyle. the grind in new york is real. no one ever stops. everyone is moving quickly and is always “too busy” for this and “too busy” for that. when you’re caught up in it, it just becomes normal. but out in l.a. everything is more laid back. people walk slower [working on losing my “new york walk”], showing up 30 minutes late is considered being on time [also working on not showing up everywhere 30 minutes early] and the “i’m too busy” excuse is something you almost never hear. people are generally more carefree, open and relaxed… and it’s been a nice change of pace for me.
so there you have it. i’ve officially gone from “empire state of mind” to “golden state of mind” … and yea, i’m just fine with that.
motivation mondays: week 40
good morning, ya’ll! sorry that I’ve been m.i.a. since bananas + bellinis officially turned the big o-n-e last week… i’ve been ever so slightly busy with the whole relocating process. today, i’m happy to say that as of last thursday, i’m officially in warm, sunny, absolutely perfect los angeles… finally!
i spent the weekend catching up with my friends who live out here, exploring the city a little bit, attending the grand opening of wanderlust hollywood [where I’ll be going this week for a class and a full tour of the new space, so stay tuned for that!] and, naturally, eating some really effing good food.
[hummus salad at kreation kafé]
[veggie tacos + ginger margaritas at blue plate taco]
[shakshuka + basil gimlet at the misfit]
and just for good measure… some beach/palm tree/sunset pictures [prepare yourself to start seeing a lot more of these]:
i typically find inspiration for my motivation mondays posts in my own life and this week is certainly no different. considering the big move i’m making this summer, i really connected to this quote:
honestly, i kind of have no choice but to believe this right now. making this big move, i’ve put a lot of faith in the universe. not that i’m totally plan-less… but, i am kinda wingin’ it. i have to believe that because i’m doing what i feel is right for me, that it’s all going to fall into place.
when you’re going against who you are or what you want to do, that’s when things don’t work out. don’t look at the roadblocks… look past them. you have to believe that if you’re listening to yourself and going after your dreams the universe will align for you so that it all works out in the end.
have an amazing week! see you on wednesday with a new recipe and on friday with another recap from my australia trip!
p.s. you may have noticed some of the new pictures that i mentioned before are now up! how amazing are they?! thanks again to the lovely and talented jess husted for making these happen!
photo courtesy of deena douglas
happy friday, guys! i hope you have all had a good week and are ready for the first official weekend of summer! i mean… who isn’t ready for longer days, sunshine, warm temperatures, the beach and all of the other great things summer brings? i know i am… can you tell i’m partial to this season?
if you’ve been reading my blog regularly for the past several months, you may or may not have picked up on a couple of things:
1. i hate winter. i grew up in erie, pennsylvania, went to college in buffalo, new york and now live in new york city… you would imagine that i would be used to the cold, gray, ugly, dreadful, snowy, absolutely unbearable weather that winter [and more often than not fall, as well] brings to this part of the country. but, no. No, i am not used to it, i still hate every minute of it and literally become a different person from about mid-october to mid-april.
3. i’m kind of obsessed with california. i went to l.a. for the 4th time back in may and literally fell more in love with this city than i already was [i posted about the trip here and here]. i’ve always loved the idea of california… it’s just seemed like a utopia for me for so long… and… i just love it. i really can relate to the “i left my heart in california” sentiment. i even have a pinterest board dedicated to my obsession with the golden state… because why wouldn’t i?
so, with that being said, you might have already put two and two together, but, let’s just go ahead and make that big announcement i promised…
I’M MOVING TO LA!!!!
after five years in new york and my whole entire life in the cold, i’m ready to make a change. i love l.a. [and southern california in general] and have just been really at peace and happy every time i’ve visited and, in a way, i feel like it’s calling me.
as much as i love new york, i also seriously hate new york. i broke down about mid-february this year, when it was like…. ZERO DEGREES EVERYDAY, and decided that enough was enough.
i started doing my research [turns out socal is a great place for wellness junkies and pursuing what i want to pursue… because obviously], making plans [roadtrip? one-way ticket? where will i live? where can i get a job?] and putting things in motion [even though i’m pretty much wingin’ it]. i did a little soul-searching in the process [which is never a bad thing] and finally, in less than two weeks, i will be leaving the city and heading to sunny l.a. later this summer!
i. cannot. wait.
i’m excited to be making a change. i’m excited for a new adventure. am i a little scared? i mean DUH. but, remember, as i’ve said before and will continue to say again and again and again, you have to actually try something in order to know if it’s the right or the wrong choice. i could get to l.a. and totally hate it and realize i want to be in new york forever, but there is no way that i will ever find that out if I don’t give it a try.
so, here goes nothin’… l.a., are you ready for me?!
image courtesy of moda operandi
as you probably already know based on my instagram feed and last week’s what i ate wednesday post, i visited two of my dearest friends in l.a. a few weekends ago and had so. much. fun. this was my 4th time visiting southern california in the last year and every time i go i find it harder and harder to come home. and this trip was no exception. seriously, i basically had to be forced into the car that was taking me to the airport.
i stayed with two friends who left new york last summer and had a chance to see some of the other people i know out there who have recently migrated west. let me just say, i 100% understand why all of these formers new yorkers have made the decision to relocate and it’s something i have thought about doing quite often since my first trip out there [but actually since the first time i ever watched the o.c.].
while we didn’t opt to do a lot of touristy things [i was going for a more “local” experience this time], i still wanted to share a few pictures and do a little recap from the weekend that weren’t related to food, just to… you know… prove that my entire world doesn’t revolve around eating… maybe.
yogaworks santa monica
just quickly, i wanted to mention that, as a graduate of yogaworks’ teacher training, i made it a priority to check out a class at their santa monica studio [the main street location] while i was out there. i took a level 2/3 class with mia togo first thing on friday morning and absolutely loved her style. based on the philosophies she spoke about, it sounds like she has struggled with many of the same things i have in the past, so relating everything she was saying to my practice was very easy. the class was challenging and the perfect way to start my weekend of socal living!
what would a trip to l.a. be without a little visit to beverly hills? after brunch on saturday, we walked from west hollywood to beverly hills, taking detours through a few neighborhoods to scope out the houses/cars/landscaping/etc. [in a totally not-creepy way… i think] and then eventually made our way down rodeo drive, wandering in and out of the designer shops and boutiques. the weather was perfect and it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. go ahead and file this under “things i could get used to”.
rooftop [birthday!] drinks in venice beach
Photo courtesy of High Venice
while i don’t have any of my own pictures from high rooftop lounge [pretty fitting name, right?] because we were there later at night, i can only imagine what the view from this place is like during the day. even though it was dark and we couldn’t really see anything, the sound of the ocean and the breeze were enough, and i will be coming back here for sunset cocktails the next time i’m in l.a.! when this bar closed, we headed to larry’s just down the street which was really fun… a nice, laid back vibe with friendly bartenders who gave me a few birthday drinks/shots on the house [and also gave us total control of the music at one point]… exactly the type of place i wanted to ring in the big two seven!
the famous “venice” sign… i know it’s not the best picture, but i couldn’t not include it.
santa monica is where my friends live and easily my favorite place in l.a. i just effing love it. the ocean, the beach, the pier, the park, the shops, restaurants and bars down main street… everything. on my last day, we did a little shopping, walked through palisades park, wandered down the pier and eventually hopped on the pacific wheel, the ferris wheel in pacific park, which is the famous amusement park located on the santa monica pier. the view could not have been more perfect.
so… like… can i go back yet?
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