Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dream House: Pools

My birthday is just around the corner and we're in the middle of a gorgeously warm summer (today is supposed to be the hottest day of the year). Naturally, I'm daydreaming of pools and time spent out in the sun. So many of these pools make me want to leave work and fly to an island where all the water is clear blue and the infinity pools (I'm so obsessed with those) seem to melt right into the ocean.


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If you've never visited the design file on the Architectural Digest website, I highly recommend it. Check out even more amazing pools here. I hope you're having a relaxing summer!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What if you forgot the last decade of your life?

I've been slightly obsessed with memory- specifically amnesia- lately as though someone or something has high jacked my brain. (Actually, this really hasn't been just lately. I've been writing a story for years in which one of my main characters has amnesia, but it's just been pushed up a notch in the last few weeks.) I was trying to fall asleep one night a few weeks ago when I thought of what it would be like to wake up and not remember years of your life. More specifically, what would it be like if I woke up and I was married to a man I didn't know, my book was published, I owned a house, and I could write full time? This, of course, evolved into a story idea.


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Then, the next day I heard about this novel called What Alice Forgot about a woman who forgets the last ten years of her life, in which she has three kids and is in the middle of a divorce. I read it in two days. I couldn't put it down. I'm still thinking about it. The whole story just felt so real. It felt like I was living this person's life, feeling their turmoil and pain, and tons of confusion. Really great characters, really well done; a reviewer would call it "poignant."

And now I'm left thinking, "what would my younger self think of me now?" I was in college 10 years ago, just transferring from one in Long Beach to the Art Institute in Santa Monica. I had new roommates, new classes, a new apartment in a new city; everything was overwhelmingly, alienatingly new. And I was just about to turn 20.

A decade is a long time. So much can happen in that time that's it's almost like one can become a completely different person. Where were you ten years ago? What would your younger self think of your ten-year-older self? I think at first, I would be proud. "Oh, look at you! You have a job in interior design, you finished college! So what you don't have your own place yet, you have this awesome career!" I think I would be shocked I'm not married yet, though. And I think at that point I still thought I wanted a kid.

The more I think about it, the more I realize it's actually really tough to pin down how I used to think, which is the point. You're not really meant to. You're supposed to change, to evolve, to learn hard lessons and become a wiser, stronger person for it. That's what you take with you, not your old ways of thinking. But at the same time, one of the big messages of the book was not forgetting that innocence of our younger years. To learn balance and remember the good times as well as the bad. I suppose when you get down to it, the point of the story (and memory, for that matter) is that our experiences make us who we are, and that's what life is all about.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Relationship with me

In one month's time I will be turning 30. I'm actually super excited about it. And I'm never excited about my birthday. (This could have something to do with the trip to Vegas I've already planned.)

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this is where I get to stay for my 30th birthday :)

Seeing as I'm almost 30 and not currently in a relationship, I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be in a relationship with myself. I posted a while back about discovering this fascinating idea and I think it translates to not just the things you do for another person in a relationship, but the kind of person you are. Are you supportive, are you honest, are you giving?

I would say I'm all of these things, but sometimes the honesty part is a problem. I'm a girl some people might refer to as someone with "daddy issues." Honesty with men has always been an issue for me, especially when it comes to asking for what I want and what I need. The last time I was actually in a relationship I genuinely didn't know what those things were for me yet.

And that brings me to being in a relationship with me. It's about figuring those things out: what I want and what I need. Learning that I'm allowed to want and need things makes it easier to ask for them, and I think I'm coming to a more mature, realistic place about this in my life right now.

In the meantime, I've started making a list of the things I do for my other half when I'm in a relationship, and I'm trying to think of how I can do those things for myself. And I'm not just talking about buying myself flowers, and letting myself off the hook when I eat too much junk food over the weekend. Here are some of the major things I've thought of so far:

1. Believing in myself. Why in the world is it so easy to believe in others, but not ourselves? I always believe the best in people, but never myself. I think it's best to start out small with this one. I'm trying to simply do away with even thinking the words "that will never happen" or "that's not possible" or "I can't do that."

2. Being supportive. This kind of goes with the one above, but support and faith are two different things (though they definitely go hand in hand). The actual definition of support (for our purposes here) is to give aid or courage to, to give approval to, to give strength to; maintain. 

3. Being unconditional. Loving someone unconditionally means loving them for who they are, good or bad. You love them even when they make mistakes, and then you love them even more when they do the right thing. I think I've become a master at beating myself up whenever I'm not my own definition of "perfect." No one is perfect. And life is messy. That's where all the beauty comes from. (I mean, come on. Do you really think a painter walks away from a masterpiece without getting one speck of paint anywhere but the canvas?)

4. Small acts of love. Here's where I bring you back to the flowers. It's in the small things. And not just material things, but also hugs and kisses and compliments. I obviously can't give myself hugs, but I can ask for them when I need them, which could also mean doing something for someone else at the same time. You give a friend a hug and so you get a hug in return. Have you ever noticed how uplifting it feels to give someone a compliment? Doing something good for someone else means opening yourself up to receiving something good back. (So don't ever think that looking in the mirror and telling yourself you look fabulous is a bad idea.)

5. Trust. I suppose this is an extension of number 1, but it had to be said. Trust can take time, but we learn it from experience. To be able to trust in yourself, to know exactly what your capable of is a monumentous thing. To no longer fear that anything or anyone could ever keep you from being the person you are meant to be; no one can take that from you. That, I think in essence, is what I'm striving for in this life, in this relationship with myself: trust. No fear of living a messy, fulfilling life.

6. And last, but not least, Honesty. All I have to say is, if you can't be honest with yourself, how can you be honest with anyone else?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dream House: Master Bath

You'll probably notice from the following photos that I'm obsessed with freestanding bathtubs. Another obsession of mine, when it comes to bathrooms, is my dream of having direct access from the shower to a porch, preferably to a backyard that connects to the beach. Yes, I think I'm more specific about my dream bathroom than I am about my dream bedroom, but, hey, you only sleep in the bedroom. Bathrooms are so much more important.

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CW Eisner (and more here)
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That's all I'm leaving you with today. I hope you're having a wonderful week!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Vulnerable

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I've been taking yoga classes for about eight months now, and I honestly don't know what I was doing before, how I was living without yoga. I started out slow, and then a friend convinced me I could handle an advanced class that I'm now addicted to. Over time, I've learned to do some positions I was sure I'd never be able to do, though I still can't do a handstand. I'm finding that even the idea of being upside down is terrifying to me.

Last night, in said advanced class, I was able for the first time to get into forearm-stand, which is exactly like it sounds, against a wall with the help of my friend. (It's going to take more time before I can do that one on my own, but that's one of the awesome things about yoga, you learn patience.)

Seeing as I really want to learn to do a handstand, I should have been ecstatic to have managed this personal accomplishment. Instead it left me feeling exposed and self-conscious; and vulnerable. My mind only seemed capable of focusing on the fact that the act of coming down from the position left my hair askew, and on how sweaty I was, and please tell me I didn't smell terrible!

It was like, in the moment, the only way my mind could deal with the unusual feeling of being upside down was to focus on what I could control, like my hair. Of course, in that moment, I hadn't processed any of this and couldn't understand why my ego was suddenly and viciously tearing me to shreds when normally I don't care about what my hair looks like, and I enjoy sweating that much. The whole way home, when I'm usually in a blissful state of relaxation, I seemed hell bent on trying to fix my hair before I realized what I was doing and came to this conclusion.

For the most part, I think the only time I'm capable of being vulnerable is in the company of the right person/people who makes me feel safe enough to create a space in which I don't have to be perfect. I am a perfectionist. I can't help it. Most of the time, I'm putting a lot of thought into how I looks: my hair, my makeup, what I'm wearing, how I sit, how I walk, how I talk, how I write. It's a struggle for me to let any of that go, to teach myself to focus my energy elsewhere, on what's really important, like handstands.

What makes you vulnerable?


Monday, June 9, 2014

Can't Stop

Dear husband-to-be:


I know I can live without you, I can live without you every day.
I know I can live without you, and put life off for another day.
But I can't stop thinking about, thinking about us anymore.

-OneRepublic



No one can ever tell me it isn't possible to miss someone I've never met.
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