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.
my holiday gift ideas for the hard to buy for people in your life!
it’s the most wonderful time of the year … and in the blogging world, that means one thing … holiday gift guides!
this year, i decided to combine the women’s and men’s gift guides into one post, since we’re approaching the final full week for holiday shopping before christmas is officially here.
here are a few holiday gift ideas from your’s truly … #4 in the men’s guide is my brother’s company … so if you have a bearded guy in your life, this will be perfect!
[also, if someone wants to snag #1 on the women’s list for me, i promise to love you forever.]
gratitude journals + what i’m thankful for
i know it’s not thanksgiving anymore, but that doesn’t mean that that being thankful and acknowledging our blessings should stop. to be completely honest, taking time each day to note what we’re thankful for can help put our entire lives into perspective [which, let’s be honest, we need sometimes].
gratitude journals have become quite popular. it’s been proven that keeping a gratitude journal can help lower stress levels, improve sleeping patterns, boost self-esteem and increase happiness, just to name a few. seriously, they’re even written about it in forbes.
and it’s a pretty simple thing to do. the steps are:
- buy a journal.
- keep it by your bed.
- every night before you go to sleep write down three things you’re grateful for and why.
- start reaping the benefits!
so today, the day after the day of giving thanks, i wanted to take a minute to note 27 things i’m grateful for [one for each year of my life]. here we go [in no particular order]:
- my amazing, loving, supportive, weird, crazy family. every last one of them.
- my friends [who are basically my family, too].
- my health [both physical + mental].
- a job that i love so much it stresses me out more than anything else does.
- yoga + how it’s changed my life.
- travel + adventure.
- this blog, my creative outlet.
- the beach.
- leonardo dicaprio.
- my [currently] minimally furnished apartment.
- having a car again + living in a city where driving is a requirement [seriously, eff the nyc mta].
- every single person that’s ever treated me poorly … you showed me exactly how not to act and who not to associate myself with.
- living in l.a.
- the idea that my biggest problems can typically be solved with retail therapy.
- long weekends.
- people who keep it real.
- music festivals.
- the 5 years i spent living in new york city, which will always hold the #1 spot in my heart [but seriously, eff the cold/snow].
- the good that comes out of terrible situations.
- healthy, hippie sh*t.
- like-minded, creative, passionate people.
that’s just a starting point, as i really have so much to be grateful for, but i’ll save all of that for another post.
do you keep a gratitude journal? how has it changed your life? share in the comments below!
3 tips for staying balanced this thanksgiving
thanksgiving is one of those holidays that most of us have a love/hate relationship with. on one hand, it’s amazing because it brings family and friends together over a big, home cooked meal where old traditions are carried out and new memories are made. on the other hand, family drama can come up, your entire life can be picked apart by judgmental aunts and uncles, and the big dinner can be the kickoff to the holiday weight gain we all dread so much.
anyone feelin’ me here?
while no one should be feeling like they need to take such drastic measures as drugging their family to survive thanksgiving, i think it’s so funny in the first place because it really is so relatable … amiright??
here are my 3 tips for staying balanced this thanksgiving, both mentally and physically, so you wake up monday morning after this long weekend not only feeling like yourself, but feeling better than you did today!
1. set aside some time for yourself. i’m not going home for thanksgiving this year because l.a. and my hometown are just too far apart and flights are too expensive, but somehow i still managed to fill up every single day of this long weekend with some kind of activity or adventure [not that that’s a bad thing]. however, i know the importance of taking some time for myself to chill the eff out, so tonight, when i leave the office, i’m heading to a yoga class to start my weekend off on the right foot. it’s very easy to get wrapped up in the go-go-go of a holiday weekend when you’re hopping from party to party, traveling or prepping for the big day, but it’s so essential to set aside some time for you! sleep in tomorrow, take a relaxing bath tonight or head out to your favorite workout class friday morning. whatever it is that helps you unwind and makes you feel good, make time for it!
2. eat mindfully. i obviously talk about this a lot [this is a health and wellness blog, after all] but this is even more important on thanksgiving, the holiday centered around eating. before you dive into your thanksgiving dinner, scope out all of the options and see what you’re workin’ with. fill your plate up with mostly veggies, and then add potatoes, turkey [if that’s your thing] and whatever else might be calling your name [obviously leaving some room for dessert, too!]. and when you do dive in: slow. the eff. down. take small bites. chew your food. breathe. it’s not a race. enjoy your food. by the time you’ve finished, you’ll feel full and satisfied, not like you need another huge plate to get the job done.
3. take 5 minutes to acknowledge what you are thankful for. this should be the obvious tip, as this is thanksgiving, but i think that the majority of us have lost sight of the holiday’s true meaning. thanksgiving isn’t about eating a turkey, it isn’t about leaving your family gathering early to head to the mall to trample other people in the name of “getting the best deals” … it’s about being thankful and appreciating everything you have. there are so many people in the world who would kill for your sh*tty studio apartment that you pay way too much money for … they would love to have a family as annoying and crazy as yours … and yes, they would probably do anything to have the job you complain about day in and day out. if you’re reading this from a computer or a smart phone, i guarantee you are luckier and more fortunate than most of the world’s population. take 5 minutes tomorrow to write down … yes! write down! what you’re thankful for and why. keep those things in mind when things aren’t going your way this weekend. an action this small can take you leaps and bounds … you’d be surprised!
happy thanksgiving, everyone! i hope you have an amazing day celebrating with your family and friends, and take some time to unwind the rest of the weekend … you deserve it!
3 reasons to implement a morning routine
i’m sure you’ve heard how important routines are to our health, and if you haven’t, let’s talk for a minute.
why do you think parents are so crazy about making sure their babies and kids are on some kind of a routine? because it’s good for them. both mentally and physically. when our minds and bodies know what to expect and when to expect it, they function more optimally. i’ve recently started to build up a morning routine, and while it’s not quite where i want it to be yet, it’s slowly becoming a habit and that’s all that matters … baby steps.
tomorrow is the beginning of october, and fall is a great time to get into new routines, especially when that colder weather starts changing our habits! here are 3 reasons you should start implementing a morning routine a$ap, and 3 ideas to get you started:
1. easing into the day sets a positive tone for the rest of it. we all know that feeling … our alarm goes off and wakes us up from a deep sleep and we hit snooze. and the alarm goes off again … and we hit snooze again. and again … and again. we wake up at the last possible minute, take a hurried shower, get dressed, throw our sh*t in a bag, inhale our breakfast and run out the door. sound familiar? starting our day off in a rush is going to set a pretty negative tone for the rest of it.
personally, i like to set my alarm for about 15 minutes earlier than i need to be up, and allow myself at least an hour to get ready so i don’t feel rushed. of course, this doesn’t always happen, but on the days it does, i feel so much better when i head out the door. what do i do with that extra 15 minutes?
tip #1: meditate! starting your day off with a quick 10-15 minute meditation can do wonders. it’s as easy as turning off your alarm, sitting on the edge of your bed, turning on some meditation music [i love krishna das] and zoning out and being completely still for a few minutes. studies have shown that meditation has a huge positive impact on how the brain fuctions, so it’s a great way to get you into the right headspace before beginning your day. if the idea of meditating freaks you out, this guided meditation from one of the sweetest souls i’ve ever met, cassandra bodzak, is perfect for getting started … and for a little extra motivation for going after your goals!
2. looking at your phone first thing in the morning is bad for your brain. it’s probably not new information that the light given off by our device screens seriously effs with our eyes and our brains. waking up and immediately trolling our instagram or facebook feeds isn’t going to help us ease into our day and will really confuse our brains that are trying to adjust to being awake again. when you don’t have a routine in place, it’s so easy to grab your phone, turn off the alarm and go straight to email, texts, twitter or whatever it is you’re into these days, so …
tip #2: buy an alarm clock … like, a real alarm clock. invest in a real alarm clock and put your phone facedown on your nightstand when you go to sleep the night before so you aren’t as tempted to wake up and check it immediately. i promise you, whatever it is, it can wait. try to go phone free for at least 30 minutes after waking up. this cloud alarm clock is fun, simple and gets the job done.
3. when we wake our bodies up in the right way, all of our systems start to regulate. sleep is something that our bodies need in order to function. sleep has a huge impact on all of our systems … digestive, lymphatic, circulatory … literally everything our bodies does requires sleep to do it right, but giving them a little jumpstart won’t hurt! how can we do this?
tip #3: wake up your system with skin brushing or give your metabolism a head start with hot lemon water! dry skin brushing [read all about it here] is a great way to wake up the lymphatic system first thing in the morning [i typically do this right before hopping in the shower as it’s also a way to exfoliate] and drinking a mug of hot water with the juice from half of a lemon [and maybe a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, turmeric and a splash of apple cider vinegar] before eating breakfast will give your metabolism a little boost after it’s been at rest overnight [the recipe for my daily detox drink is here].
getting started with something like this can be daunting, especially when we feel like we’re losing sleep. i highly recommend starting slow … that’s what i’ve been doing over the past few weeks and it’s working wonders!
go out and buy an alarm clock and start waking up just 5 minutes earlier than usual for the next week to meditate. for the week after, try 10 minutes, the following week, 15 and so on. once that’s feeling good, add skin brushing or hot lemon water … and keep building it up! the change doesn’t have to happen overnight [see what i did there?!] … as always, baby steps build habits, extremes don’t.
do you have any ideas for creating a morning routine that i didn’t mention here? share in the comments below!
photo courtesy of the design chaser
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