The Palace of Fine Arts is so quiet at night. Even with the city and busy Lombard Street in particular buzzing just a few blocks away...it's incredibly quiet. Calm. Still. Walking here at night is refreshing; just the sound of the fountains flowing in the lagoon and the occasional duck landing on the water. It's a beautiful piece of architecture that radiates a buttery warmth when the sun goes down. I'm completely in love with it's presence here. I love walking it's foot path, feeling small within it's dome and having a little slice of Greecian heaven in my back yard. It's incredibly peaceful and no wonder that the allegorical figures within the structure represent Contemplation, Wonderment and Meditation.
Because of the darkness surrounding the glowing structure I set my camera to a night-time mode and tried to be as still as possible when snapping the photos. Next time, I'll have to bring a tri-pod as apparently my hands are much shakier than I ever realized :) These are some of my favorites from last night...
It's Friday my darlings and I am feeling good! Got a package in the mail from my BFF yesterday of this great artwork for my new apartment (this is a crappy phone pic...it's way prettier in person, I promise);
It reads "Live Simply But Deliberately". Such a perfect message! I always preach about living lighter and not being weighed down by material things or heavy life burdens, as well as advocating actively participating in the story that is your life. I can't wait to hang it and be reminded of this notion...and my fabulous friend...every time I see it :)
Every Friday my company goes out to lunch together for a little bonding time before the weekend (again, I know, I have the best job ever)...and today I joined some of the fellas in indulging in a little cocktail. Pomegranate martini decorated with a real flower I can sneak behind my ear so as to pretend I'm on a sunny island? Yes please! Everyone say hi to my coworker, Drew, who is clearly deep in thought next to me...
And a final thought before a hopefully amazing weekend (for no other reason than it's a weekend, I'm 26, I'm healthy, I live in a bad ass city and I have the ability to live simply and deliberately)...
“Be willing to make the changes necessary to get back in the groove of our authentic self.” – Sonia Choquette
My favorite part about starting this blog is the doors of communication it has opened between myself and the people in my life. I have heard from folks I haven't seen (or spoken) to in years, as well as had beautiful new conversations with people I see and talk to all the time. In short, it has enriched and re-engerized my days with wavelengths of love, support, fresh ideas, joy and growth. Holy gratitude.
Today I received a Twitter message from a PSU gal pal letting me know about a cool manifesto written by a bad ass sustainable and socially conscious company called Holstee (where I will be shopping in the future fo sho). She said it inspired her to write her own, and suggested I do the same for myself.
1. This manifesto is awesome. I think I may have to have it printed as a poster. It's like they took all my swirly thoughts on life and outlined them for me.
2. @lindsayl8ly, you rock for thinking of me and for also writing your own manifesto...I'd love to see it if you feel up for sharing!
and 3. I'm totally writing my own and am stoked to be inspired!
Keep the communication coming! I love it!
In a few weeks I'll be succumbing to the social borg that is all things Apple (shout out to my work and personal Mac computers...love ya!) by making the switch from BlackBerry to iPhone. I've loved using my BlackBerry, but as my BBM buddies slowly migrate to other phones themselves, I really find myself wondering how much more useful the device is than some other options. And then I discovered the Hipstamtic iPhone App and it's pretty much been downhill for the Blackberry since then. I literally find myself walking through the city and thinking "Ugh, man, that would make such a cool Hipstaprint!" as I look at the sights, people, hustle bustle. As soon as I get my iPhone this app will be downloaded...get ready for many a post about life through Hipstamatic eyes :)
Urban hiking in San Francisco is probably most like real hiking than any other major US city...damn we've got some intense hills! The girls and I took advantage of the holiday yesterday to be tourists in our own back yard; exploring some token SF landmarks while workin our booties up and down the many steeply inclined streets. Holy Hannah Montana do I feel the burn today. Literally. My butt is pretty sore. I snagged Jenny's iPhone from her for the day to chronicle our adventures in a vintagey way. Let the Urban Hike begin!
Some views of the Bay and Alcatraz from our hike...
Cool painting on a random building...they looked so cute and real!
Coit Tower when it was still a bit overcast..
Bay Bridge from inside the tower...
Golden Gate off in the distance...
My darling girl taking in the downtown views...
Me and my SF sisters inside the tower. Side note; The hoodie I'm wearing was a recent splurge of mine (I'm genuinely embarrassed to admit how much I paid for this sweatshirt) but it's officially my most favorite article of clothing. It's the softest fabric I've ever felt on a hoodie and though it doesn't really look it in this picture it's fitted perfectly to be just slightly feminine while remaining super comfortable.
Coit Tower upon exiting into the sunshine....
After exploring Coit Tower we trekked down to Fisherman's Wharf (a ridiculously over rated tourist spot that secretly I don't mind very much) to play a few vintage arcade games...here I am having my palm read...
And of course indulge in some clam chowder in a bread bowl from Boudin's...
I love being a tourist in my own city! Next up is a whale watching adventure with Andrea (thank you, Groupon!) and I think we're gonna check out a night-time tour of good ol' Alcatraz...spooky!
"The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure..."
How many times have you said "yes!" today? I think about this a lot and I almost always come to the conclusion that a really great day is one where I've abandoned my inhibitions, fears and self consciousness and embraced a "yes!" mentality. The sillier, scarier, and bolder the yes, the better.
I was feeling a bit low this week over a few life circumstances. To be frank, things happened that made it feel like all of the air was sucked out of and breathed into me at once. My inner pep talks were beginning to get a bit stale in my head; I sounded like a sad broken record with no passion for her own words. And then I received an email from a wonderful friend that lifted my spirits. She writes;
"I know I have said it to you before - but you have no idea how many times I just "channel my inner Trish". I give myself this little pep talk that goes like this "if your ipod makes you want to dance - just do it - no one knows you here!" I am working on just being me, not trying to impress anyone, just 100% me....I remember saying to my mom when I first got here - I was going to practice being brave and just go with whatever feels right in my gut and soul - and feeling peace knowing that its how you'd handle it - and I said "Trish is just such a catch"."
This was a beautiful reminder for me on several levels. For one thing, I needed to stop being in a funk. I am not defined by a few unfortunate scenarios. None of us are. I am worthy of much greater, richer and joyful things. The longer I stayed glum, the more glumness I would attract to my life. The more I closed myself off and embodied "no", the more no's would be brought my way. Sometimes things simply are not going to turn out the way you hoped they would. And that's OK. Breathe, stretch, shake, let it go.
For another, I have amazing friends. I believe with great conviction that the family you make for yourself is crucial to survival. It's crucial to the success of "yes" in your adventure. The loyalty I have experienced from my nearest and dearest friends has brought me back to life more times than I'd care to admit.
And lastly, it was a good reminder to lift other people's spirits whenever possible. To tell people you love and admire what it is that you adore about them; whether it seems necessary at the time or not. If you think it will be awkward or you won't have the right words to say...you're probably right. Do it anyway :) Try anyway. Be vocal about your love and positive thoughts. I guarantee the gesture alone will spark a wonderful little vibration of happiness. What greater purpose could there be to living besides striving to care for one another and helping to feed our souls in moments of doubt? We have the ability to affect people in ways we could never know fully. Why not choose a positive one today?
So thank you for your email, dear friend. It was a bit of sunshine on my rainy day and I am very grateful for your kindness. I'm back to saying YES! (and so proud of you for owning..and rocking...that shit on your own adventure. It takes true courage to be a yes woman!) :)
I randomly flipped to the back of my planner this morning (despite having a BlackBerry I'm super old school about handwriting my agenda..including utilizing stickers, post its, highlighting, etc...dorky, I know) and found these cool little pages on ps colorscope. Basically a colorscope is a way of coordinating colors and then learning how those colors reflect you and your personality. In other words, it tells you what your favorite colors say about you.
My 3 favorite colors from the scope say the following things;
1. Lake- "You are very attractive, talkative and have beautiful, expressive eyes. One of your greatest assets is your sincere love for those around you. You are in touch with your emotions and help others get in touch with theirs."
...My eyes are basically brown/sometimes hazely green in the sunshine and the attractive part makes me feel a little awkward....but I'll take it!
2. Chartreuse (which looks like an ugly green-yellow in the pic above but really is a quite pretty light moss shade)- Grand adventures are part of who you are. You are assertive with powerful energy. People feel like they are your close friends moments after they have met you. You explore the inner meaning of life.
...I hope this is true!
3. Leaf- Finding balance and creating a nurturing environment is important to you. You also love to be needed.
...Yep and yep.
Do any of the colors you see stand out as a favorite? I'd be happy to let you know what it may say about your personality :)
I was thinking of writing a few thoughts on love as sort of a post-Valentine's Day wrap up but admittedly got a bit self conscious at the idea of speaking on such a personal topic. I mean really, what the heck do I know about love? And why would anyone give a crap about what I think of it?
Then the Universe sent me a tiny bit of encouragement. I started to re-read Women Food and God this weekend and was struck by how much the following sentiment resonated with me and my own personal beliefs;
"And I believe in love. And beauty. I believe that every single person has something they find beautiful and that they truly love. The smell of their child's hair, the silence of a forest, their lover's crooked grin. Their country, their religion, their family. And I believe that if you follow this love all the way to its end, if you start with the thing you find most beautiful and trace its perfume back to its essence, you will perceive an intangible presence, a swath of stillness that allows the thing you love to be visible like the openness of the sky reveals the presence of the moon."
So I guess a mere twenty-six years of life has actually taught me a thing or two about love (the first one being that I have so much more to learn). And you've already read this much of my blog....so.... :)
I know that love truly is the only rational act. There are very few regrets in life that stem from an act of pure love. For me, this includes "regrets" dealing with a broken heart. Time is the great equalizer and although it's the one thing you can't rush, eventually a broken heart can become stronger than it was prior to the aching if you are willing and able to be open to love again (and not necessarily in the romantic sense). The best place to start is with yourself. I know this may sound selfish and hokie, but I believe with every bone in my body this is true. Loving yourself, flaws and all, will make you a better person, friend, partner. Loving yourself will give you the capacity to love the whole world.
I also know that acts of love are recognized and perceived differently from person to person, so it's important to know what love language you speak as well as the language of your partner, family and friends. A great read on this theory is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Filling the old love tank, yours and others, is so much easier when you know the right language.
I know the importance of continuing to open your heart wider and wider; of taking risks and being vulnerable. Putting up walls blocks out so much joy and will get you nothing but a sense of lacking, longing or missing.
I know forgiveness is one of the greatest and most powerful aspects of love. It's also quite possibly the most difficult to perform and accept...especially when it comes to forgiving ourselves. We are all doing the best we can with what we know. There is no need to punish ourselves for the same mistake over and over (because as humans we love to do this). Why not forgive and let go and see what happens? Move forward, be bold, grow and make changes to better yourself.
There is no script to life. Only love, in it's many many forms, will get you to a happy ending.
I know that it feels really amazing and makes a big difference in life to actively express love and gratitude (because I think they go perfectly hand in hand) on a daily basis. Telling my friends and family how much they mean to me, how I value them or how thankful I am was actually a bit of an awkward hurdle to get over. Mushy-gushy emotions have that affect sometimes, but since I've given myself permission to be mushy gushy at random times I feel more connected to the people in my life than ever before.
And I know that kindness is love.
What are your thoughts on love?
I hope you all were feeling the love yesterday and every day. Get stoked to spread it around :)
Love and light,
The weather gods blessed my city with yet another sunny weekend so two of my favorite California girls and I drove out to Stinson Beach to soak up some sun! This picture cracks me up because of the couple in the background. What do you think the man is saying to the woman as she arches her back? "I see your butt! It's right there!"
Abbey tagged along and thoroughly enjoyed digging holes :)
I've truly been fortunate to find wonderful friends wherever I've lived and my days in San Francisco are no exception. What could be better than a girlfriend who will pose ridiculously with you in public and then cuddle with you afterward? I value silliness and laughter in all of my friendships...life is so much richer when you have people to giggle (and snuggle!) with.
Beach time was followed by dinner in Mill Valley at my favorite pizza place Small Shed Flatbreads. Local, organic and sustainable eats that are super delicious and fresh tasting! Just looking at this picture makes me want to go back today for another pie (note the missing slices on both pizzas...I couldn't get my phone out fast enough before we dove in)...
Mill Valley is a super cute town located just over the Golden Gate Bridge and tucked in a beautiful California hillside. I snapped this pic during a stroll through some of the neighborhoods simply because it seemed so friendly :)
On Sunday Andrea took me to a cool spot for lunch called Cafe Del Soul, a natural foods and organic cafe, where we enjoyed carrot ginger soup and a "hummus yummus" wrap; hummus, feta cheese, edamame, lettuce, spinach, onion, cucumber, and almonds tossed in a ginger vinaigrette and served in a spinach tortilla. YUM! I love the feeling of being full without that "ugh I ate too much" or "ugh I wish I didn't eat that" after thought. Meals like this remind me that eating fresh can be super satisfying and will truly boost your mood and energy level as opposed to weighing you down (which is what food is supposed to do! Lift you up, not bring you down). The meal also made me think of a little prayer Geneen Roth, author of Women Food and God, uses at her retreats; "Then, blessings on our food and all that made it possible. The rain, the sun, the people who grew it, brought it here, served it here."
Lunch was followed by more sunshine soaking on her family deck...and more snuggling, this time with her mom's cat Stu (short for Stupid-courtesy of Andrea not liking cats) that I renamed Stupendous Stuart because she (yes, she) is actually quite sweet and charming...
Can you guess what I was grateful for this weekend? I mean c'mon. It's the middle of February and I'm wearing a bikini on the beach.
Life is so good.
One of my most favorite things to do on a Saturday in San Francisco is to head to the awesome farmer's market located at the Ferry Building (which also happens to be my favorite building in the city). A few weeks ago I dragged a San Francisco newbie along to experience the fun on a foggy morning and snapped a few pics with my fancy camera (that I have no idea how to use) while we were there. I seriously love this market; the hustle bustle of folks picking out fresh produce, the smell of local and sustainable eats grilling up, the sound of folk music playing from small bands trying to make a buck. It's all right up my alley and I practically beam from ear to ear from the moment I arrive to the moment I leave.
As per my usual market routine, we kicked off the morning with a cup of drip Blue Bottle Coffee...so delicious!
Followed by an egg and cheese sandwich for me and a freshly made, slow roasted porchetta sandwich for my buddy...
While we ate we sat and listened to a group of musicians play a delightful set of assorted tunes. The best part of this little group is that the Asian man in the suit was not a member of the band; he simply asked if he could chime in for a while and the group happily obliged. He was really good on that harmonica and skinny flute thingy (official instrument name)! We loved that he was welcomed by the band and that the musical result was so enjoyable :)
Tip from a young fan...
Sweet sticker from the drummer to me :)
There are signs everywhere saying dogs are not allowed within the farmer's market...but nobody listens...and I'm glad they don't. Cute pooches are one of the highlights and this little guy reminded me of my grandmother's dog...
My first sample of homemade strawberry-raspberry jam (organic, of course!)...I just love all the bright colors of a farmer's market, don't you?
And my favorite nuts and chocolate stand that makes a chocolate almond brittle to DIE for. Literally. I die for it....(brittle is packaged on the lower right of this photo)...
I've come to realize that having this type of local spot in my city is really important to me. No matter where I move in the future (and I do plan on living in quite a few more places!) I will really value activities like a community run market. It's one of the reasons why I know I'm not quite cut out for a suburbs lifestyle yet. I can certainly see the value in a suburban community, of course, but for now I am much more fitted to a place with things like a market located on an old pier, sea gulls flying overhead, little Asian men having an impromptu, folksy jam session and local/organic/sustainable treats waiting around every corner.
In fresh fruits and veggies Gratitude,
"He who loves, flies, runs, and rejoices; he is free and nothing holds him back."
I love this photo of my sister's horse, Shadow, embracing the many inches of snow Pennsylvania has been getting. Not only is it so funny to see a creature of his size (he's a big boy Thoroughbred!) rolling around so playfully but I love the symbolic nature of the moment. I believe my sis appropriately tagged the image on her Facebook with the caption "What else is there to do in all this snow?"
Life can certainly be stressful. If it's not one thing causing a hiccup, it's another. That's why embracing the very moment I am in is so important to me; there's no past and there's no future. Only right now. If I manage to be here right now, then I feel like I'm doing something right. I'm learning more and more each day to pause for a moment and take in my surroundings. To stop worrying over little things, especially the ones I can't control. To get excited over the many joys, big and small, that constantly cross my path.
I'm learning that I can choose to listen to my gut, I can choose to move through life kindly and gently and I can choose to recognize that impermanence is part of the harmony of life.
And perhaps most importantly I'm learning hardships are inevitable; misery is optional.
So my advice to all my east coast loves who are tired of the winter wonderland they have been trapped in (and yes, this is easy for me to say after a 70 degree weekend in Cali) is to channel your inner Shadow. To love, fly, run and rejoice. And maybe flop on your side and make snow angels. I'd join you...but I'm wearing a dress today ;)
I'm just going to repeat what I've been hearing and experiencing for the last week; the weather in NorCal has been...unbelievable. This weekend it was stunningly sunny and warm with temperatures in the low 70's. (I am grateful, I am grateful, I am grateful! Never change, sunny weather!!) A little summary of my weekend via a crappy Blackberry camera...
Friday night my dear friend Andrea and I went for dinner at a favorite SF spot of mine, Fish and Farm. Here we indulged in their token Niman Ranch burgers with a fried egg on top (which get ranked in the top 10 burgers in SF every year!);
The following morning began with a little brunch trip to Judy's down the street from my apartment for a feast of cream cheese-stuffed egg bread French toast topped with fresh strawberries and (a lot of) powdered sugar (good thing I was wearing stretch-able yoga pants, good lord this image is calories o'clock...);
and Dre's *slightly* less unhealthy egg whites omelet;
Mani/pedis were next on the list and I'm pretty excited about this new OPI gel polish line called "gelish" that supposedly lasts 2-3 weeks on hands without chipping! $40 for both the (hopefully) long lasting manicure and a full pedicure; slightly pricier than my normal $20 mani/pedi, but hopefully worth the extra monies in the end. It definitely feels stronger on my nails and I love the fun, cheery pop of red decorating my fingers :)
Sunday morning included bagels on Marina Green, a grassy area in my neighborhood near the bay, where a car drove by us and shouted "Hippie girls!! I love youuuuu....!" much to our admitted delight. Let's be serious, I love an opportunity to throw up the casual peace sign. And yes, those are sailboats behind me;
And now we're enjoying a cozy Superbowl feast of ribs, mini hot dogs in parmesan crusted "blankets", and pizza dip curled up on the couch :)
Pizza dip, introduced to me a few years ago by my bestie, is always a crowd favorite and ridiculously easy to whip up. Mix together cream cheese and oregano as a base layer, then top with pizza sauce and mozzerella cheese. Warm it up in the oven to melt the cheese and enjoy with garlic bagel chips or pita chips. Yumo. For reals.
In Gratitude GALORE for this beautiful weather,
I'm blown away by this young man! Incredibly well spoken and right on the money. I don't even feel the need to put my two sense in because he pretty much says it all.
"The sense of family comes from the commitment we make to each other to work through the hard times so we can enjoy the good ones; it comes from the love that binds us."
Weebly just added a great new social media feature where you can share blog posts you like on Facebook and Twitter by simply using the little icons you see below. Thanks, Weebly!
In other news, I have the flu. Bah Humbug. Of course my hokie side had to look up what my girl Louise Hay thinks the mental and emotional causes behind this bug are and I'm not surprised to hear her theory; Response to mass negativity and beliefs; fear; and belief in statistics. And since it's primarily living in my respiratory system it may also stem from; Fear of taking in life fully.
Some major changes have been happening in the past 2 weeks (hence my slacking in blogging more regularly) and I admittedly have found myself tip toeing around fully investing and accepting my new life circumstances. I've been letting other people's opinions cause me to tread far too cautiously. I've been questioning my every move. I've been over analyzing too many of my relationships and conversations (including ridiculous things like "but what does this text really mean?"). And I've been putting up walls when I should just be embracing life, people, circumstances. With the amount of mental swirling and ups and downs of trying to keep up with my own thoughts and fears it's no wonder my body is having a break down.
So I'm going to take my Tylenol Cold and Flu meds with a side of ceasing to worry the timing of life is anything but perfect in it's ever so flawed way. I'm going to just be.
"I am safe. I love my life."