Monthly Archives: August 2014

Bucket List

I love making lists for myself. ‘To Do’ lists, ‘To Buy’ lists. ‘To Read’ lists. Lists of gratitude. Lists of restaurants I want to check out. Lists and lists and lists for days. It’s how I make the running thoughts in my head stay organized. Probably of my favorite lists is the ‘bucket’ list. You know the things-you-want-to-do-before-you-die list. I actually had a book that was entitled “1000 Places To See Before You Die”. (That’s how important travel is to me as well as lists as well as being aware of my mortality. I obvi had to buy a book combining the three).

Do you all have bucket lists? I feel like it became popular to have one after the movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson came out in 2007. I’ve always had a “what I want to do” or “things I want to accomplish” list for my life. I guess a bucket list is just the same.

To date this is what my ‘bucket’ list looks like:

  • Learn to cook
  • Adopt a dog
  • Travel to 100 countries – 78 more to go!
  • Travel to all 50 states – 33 more to go!
  • See all the New 7 wonders of the world:
    • Pyramids at Giza
    • The Great Wall
    • Taj Mahal
    • Petra
    • Machu Picchu
    • Christ the Redeemer
    • The Colosseum
    • Chichen Itza
  • Move out of the Bay Area
  • Become published
  • Learn to speak French fluently
  • Hike in the rainforest
  • Host a dinner party and cook ALL the dishes by scratch myself
  • Jump into the ocean
  • Live in another country
  • Learn to swim
  • Try therapy
  • Get a tattoo
  • Go ziplining
  • Help build a home for the underprivileged
  • Volunteer in a country abroad program – Tanzania next May!
  • Go skydiving
  • Get married
  • Have children
  • Quit smoking
  • Learn to sew
  • Go white water rafting
  • Start my own business
  • Go hang gliding
  • Watch the sunrise and sunset in 1 day
  • Go on a cruise
  • Fall in love
  • Fight for love
  • Fall in love again
  • Ride an elephant
  • Ride in a helicopter
  • Try online dating
  • Be salaried over 6 figures
  • Buy a nice car
  • Participate in a race
  • Run a marathon
  • Give a speech in public
  • Learn the NYC subway system
  • Buy a house
  • Go on a safari
  • Adopt another dog for Hux to play with
  • Get a full-time awesome benefits paying fun job in NYC

There’s so much I want for myself. What am I missing? Tell me what’s on your list because maybe I want it on mine too. I do know the more I’m exposed to the more the list will grow. The beauty of all this is that there is no limit to one’s dreams. Think about that. Isn’t that a beautiful concept? Exactly. So if your list coincides with mine let’s buddy up and take the world by storm. I’m sure out of the 78 more countries I’d like to visit there’s at least one you’d like to explore. Kayak that bitch. Check out the cheap accommodations on Airbnb. Look on Trip advisor for fun excursions. Apply for a passport if you don’t have one already. And let me know where we’re going. Life is short, we better get on it.

 

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Your reality

Someone said to me once that  they lived by the motto “act as if”. That really resonated with me. Often, different times in my life, I’ve felt insecure or vulnerable but felt like I couldn’t reach out for one reason or another. Those times you look within and you have that internal dialogue of choices presented to you. Either you a) continue what you’re doing and yield the same results or b) change what you’re doing even though you don’t have that conviction in yourself to succeed. I prefer option ‘b’.

Once I remember to ‘act as if’ when I feel small/vulnerable/insecure etc I initially feel uncomfortable because it’s different, but then I begin to feel more confident. Yes, it does start off as a false bravado, more of a shield, sometimes a defense mechanism. However, in ‘acting as if’ your perspective changes.  In portraying what you want others to believe about you it starts to become your reality and hopefully you begin to believe it about you too. The more you practice it the more it reaffirms that reality. As time progresses the line from which you drew to be an ‘act’ and to be ‘real’ dissolves.

There is a lot to be said for repetition. Things become ingrained into your being. Either by way of physical activity, lifestyle choice or mental though process.

Currently my reality is being shifted. I’ve started and am  currently starting quite a few different lifestyle changes. Because of that my perspectives are also changing. I find myself thinking about ideas and concepts that are fresh and invigorating. My physical way of life has also changed given to the fact that I live in a walkable city and have set new physical goals for myself. I feel very empowered. There’s that little nagging voice deep deep down from a past life when I didn’t know who I was and allowed everyone around me to dictate how I felt about myself. It’s saying I’m setting myself up for failure. Saying I don’t have the discipline nor the fortitude. Saying here you go again starting something you won’t finish. 

The thing is I have a choice to listen to that voice. To either give it power or make it powerless and untrue. That voice is not me. It’s not a part of who I am anymore. It’s a voice of fear displaced onto me by others that I’ve come across throughout my lifetime. The fear speaks on whatever issues they own themselves. They have nothing to do with me. I’ve worked out and continue to work out my emotional crap. I’ve been aware for a long time. I’m choosing me and with what I’ve learned is that when you love yourself and truly put yourself and your personal legend and truth above all else you will always prevail. That is my reality.

Runners Club

I am not a runner. I never have been. I remember there was a period when I was able to run without stopping on the treadmill for 25 mins then after that show’s over. And that period didn’t last that long.  In high school I always walked the mile they make you do. I wasn’t about that life. I have always envied runners though. It seems so cathartic. They work shit out in their heads when they run. They get to catch up on their music or their radio talks. They can ensure they have pretty views depending where they choose to run. I always worked out my issues through drinking, I mean yoga. Caught up on my jams while stuck driving in traffic. And saw pretty views when I eventually got my lazy ass up to do so or had to take Hux on a walk. Running is the biz. At least, that’s what a lot of my friends seem to think. You know who you are. *cough cough* Jan-Mikey-Elizabeth *cough cough* Plus when the zombie apocalypse really happens then they have more of a chance of survival. Us walkers don’t stand a chance. Well, maybe be I do since I walk fast and have become an expert walker living in New York. But good luck to the rest of you.

Given the recent issue I had with the H&M’s jeans. And my need to make a lifestyle change. (Clearly, leaving my life behind and moving across country wasn’t enough) I decided that I needed to become a runner. Mind you, it will take a while for me to get there as I start off as more a  brisk jogger (read:fast walker) than runner but I’m hoping to eventually get there. Since I’ve moved to NYC I’ve walked through Central Park almost every day. I am constantly surrounded by runners taunting me with their running skills and catharsis of the mind. Yes, I see you with your lack of body fat in tight sythentic able to talk, breathe and run at the same time. I get it. I can’t handle that kind of multi-tasking. But just you wait. I will. 

I went to Jack Rabbit, a running store, off 72nd and Amsterdam to get fitted for shoes a couple days ago. They monitored how I run so that they could provide the shoes best fit for my running style. I assumed I ran like Phoebe in Friends from that one episode where she ran through Central Park all spastic and “free”. I happily found out I didn’t. I actually have a neutral gait. Booyakasha! I don’t know why that made me proud, since I have no control over that, but it did. Oh, little things.

I got a pair of sweet Saucony’s. Google that shit. Tell me if you were pronouncing it right this whole time. You were probably pronouncing it like I was. Straight up ignorance. I walked away spending $200. (Because I really needed another reason to spend money, especially when I’m lacking in funds. Cool). Had to feel fitted to get started. I mean, it’s not like Picasso dove into his masterpieces with no supplies and just his bare hands. 

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Today has been day 2 of the run walks. I’m already feeling more accomplished and determined. I’m looking forward to the day when I feel I got mad endurance, or even just some endurance. Pretty soon I hope to be initiated into the runners club and when the zombies come to invade I can push you slow walking suckers away and run fast as fuck to freedom.

Creating magic

No, my move to New York hasn’t been easy. But it really hasn’t been hard. It hasn’t been easy in the way that you’re thinking. It wasn’t difficult for me to take a leap of faith and decide I was going to move across country with my lil pup in tow. I’ve always wanted to live in a walkable city with a lot of culture and great food. It wasn’t difficult for me to sell all my stuff. Really, it’s just stuff. It brought me comfort but stuff can be replaced and I can find comfort in other things. Honestly, it wasn’t even as difficult as I thought it would be to say goodbye to loved ones. I know what we mean to each other and know that love like that is unshakable.

What was and is causing me unease and discomfort is feeling unsettled since all the pieces haven’t fallen together just yet. It’s not really hard or difficult or much of a struggle per se. It’s just uncomfortable for me. I am a doer and I act quickly. I jump into things head and heart and accept change and take on challenges. But certain things haven’t fallen into place as quickly as I would like. The thing is, I’ve become hard on myself because of it. I’m sure deep down my subconscious is aware that it’s not because of a lack of trying or want. I’m putting forth effort as well as putting out good vibes to the universe and asking for help. I need to reiterate to myself daily that things happen when and if they should. Not everything is in my control. I’m a strong believer that if you come from a good truthful place life always finds a way of giving you what you need and what you want if it’s truly what will bring you joy or allow you growth.

This is supposed to be the best part right? I need to slow my mind down and really take it all in and enjoy it. I’m making magic out of thin air. I moved out here with no home and no job and a very very small circle of friends. Right now I found a home and am working on the job while expanding my circle. When you conjure up ideas you then see how your thoughts morph into actions  and your actions turn into decisions which lead to your ideas being brought to fulfillment.

It’s like how creatives have visions for their art. Seeing where the paints or pottery or pencils or colors or writing or camera shots turn into. All your ideas and concepts get swept up into one grand sensation turning into a wonderful piece that you are proud of, that is probably not exactly what you initially envisioned but you were engrossed in the act of creation and now you are left with something just as beautiful, if not more, that speaks to your heart and your mind in unison. 

These feelings of emotional discord and lack of structure and stability are all the reasons why I longed to move. I wanted this. I knew what would push me. I also knew I would succeed. I was aware I would have these moments of unease that  sometimes border anxiety and panic.This is the shit that forces me to grow. My mantra for myself when I need a reminder is that if I’m not learning then I’m not living and if I’m not living then I’m not loving. I’m out of my element and I’m still winning. When I look back at this time I’m positive I’ll be proud and grateful. I’m exactly where I should be. I’m creating magic in my life.

This sure as hell ain’t water weight

You guys, you all know how much I love to eat. I can’t shut up about it. I blog about it. I vox about it. I text about it. I talk about food constantly. I just.. It’s become a problem. I’m not exaggerating. Blah blah lei you’re fine you look skinny blah blah. No I am not. I got a gut for days. The skinny is an illusion. It’s called chicken legs and long hair. That shit deters.

I didn’t realize how much of an issue this has become until I went to H&M yesterday to get cheap skinny jeans since the one pair I had ripped in unfortunate places. I came to find out that not only my normal size but also the size higher did not fit me. M*ther F$@%*r.

You’re right. This is not good.

So what I did after I left H&M and I found myself hungry was yelp a healthy place to eat. No pizza. No burgers. None of that. My heart was conflicted but it knew I needed to start making a change.

I found an awesome place off 72nd and Amsterdam called Communal and had myself a kale salad with pomegranate dressing, an apple, arugula, and mozzarella chicken sandwich and an acai smoothie. 

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I feel like this is a great start. It’s like the lbs are already melting off of me.

Port Authority

Not once since I’ve been here have I felt so flustered, irritated and impatient. That is, until I went to Port Authority solo for the first time last Friday. Port Authority is the NY & New Jersey bus terminal. It’s a clusterfuck. I hate it. I’m usually good about being patient if lost or given the wrong directions. I quickly adjusted to the NY subway system.  I’ve acquiesced to the fact that when I get out of the subway in an area I don’t frequent I will always have to pull out my trusty google maps. I try to study the subway maps to become more familiar. People ask me almost daily for directions and I feel proud that they think I know where I’m going. A few times I’ve surprised myself and did. I’ve learned more patience when the train is delayed or I just miss it when going through the turnstile.

However, when it’s been almost 30 minutes of running around and asking 5 different workers of Port Authority where the fuck I should be, with it being hot and crowded, lines and gates everywhere, I almost lost my shit. It wasn’t pretty. I was sweating and running around and literally walked the same long corridor 3 times because 2 different people said it was “that way”. I needed a drink desperately but I stupidly didn’t bring anything for myself to pregame. After 30 minutes scrambling I finally found my way to the right bus in the right area and found myself on my way to Jersey for the Jets vs NY Giants preseason game at MetLife Stadium. 

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Was that the only time I went to Port Authority this past weekend? Of course not. I’m clearly a glutton for punishment. Yesterday I went to Hoboken, NJ with Ela and Alex to meet up with a bunch of other folks at the Pier 13 bier garten. I meet them at Port Authority with Huxley in tow. He’s heavy when you have to carry him on your shoulder in a bag filled with other things. He always gives me shit and puts his legs out straight to make it harder for me to put him in a bag. It’s a pain in the ass. But I do it because I want him to experience as much as I get to.  Anyways, we get our tickets and wait for at least 25 minutes before realizing we’re waiting for the wrong damn bus. Ergh. We walk down the stairs back through the terminal and down an escalator to get to the right gate. Good thing the tickets are all the same color for the different gates so we got away with not getting new tickets. We wait another 20 minutes and finally the right bus comes and I hide Huxley with a jacket over his head in my bag and we’re off. (Apparently, there are no dogs are allowed on the NJ transit line.)

It was a beautiful day, I got a great view of the Manhattan skyline, and drank good IPA and sangria out of crazy straws. Huxley got to say hi to other dogs and made friends. He even got some of Alex’s rib bone. What a lucky pup. We had a great time, but I think I’m done with Jersey. There’s no reason to go back any time soon.

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When I wasn’t at Port Authority or in Jersey, I was walking around Central Park, at the dog park, getting my nails done or eating. It was a fun weekend. I’m looking forward to a relaxing evening of How I Met Your Mother reruns. Except for the finale. Still upset at how it turned out. So stupid. So so stupid.

New York attitude

Contrary to popular world belief New York people are really nice. Ask for directions and people will help you. Have a retail issue and are holding up the line the cashier isn’t standing there fuming because they gotta handle your ish. Hold up another line at bed bath because of a coupon issue and the woman behind you instead of sighing with impatience asks you the best way to get coupons on her mobile. Drop your sunglasses while in line at the grocery store someone behind you will pick them up for you when you didn’t even realize you dropped them. At the park for movie night and a homeless guy 1/2 of a couple in front of you gets kicked out for peeing on himself in public and the girl next to you starts to warn others who go to sit in that same spot what just happened.  Walk down the stairs of your walk up and run into a guy who offers to help you carry all those empty boxes down to the trash area. Come back from Ikea and struggle to get the dresser up the stairs with your friend and 2 kids around the age of 13/15 rush in to help and carry the dresser up the 4 flights and try to refuse the money given to them for their help.  Lock yourself out of your apt the first day you move in and a neighbor will text and call the super to let you back in. After the super lets you in after questioning if you really live there he’ll smile at you every time he sees you and your lil dog. At the Lincoln Center Atrium to use the free wifi and ask an elderly man what the wifi passcode is and he’ll offer up other tips on where to go to use their free wifi.

These are examples of the random acts of kindness that have been bestowed upon me. Besides all the above I’m constantly seeing people give up their seats on the subways for woman; women that are older, that are moms or that just look tired. It makes my heart soar. It really does.

No, the people of New York are not mean or rude. They get a bad rap but I really think it’s because they’re walking around in a super fast pace, minds running on efficiency and purpose, caught up in their own heads.  If you stop someone politely they are more than willing to help you and as outlined above, sometimes you don’t even have to ask. No, there aren’t the Cali pleasantries of the “hi-how’re you today?” and the smiles to boot. But a lot of that is fake. People may ask you how you are but not everyone cares. How are you is more a salutation and less of an inquiry, they’re not looking for a response. I mean, not everyone is like that. But that’s a part of the Cali culture. The up front niceties and easy smiles. Some mean it, and some will talk shit as you turn away.

People of New York will gladly help should you need it but don’t expect the pleasantries up front. You need to ask to receive for the most part. Or smile first and then when they smile back you’ll be happily surprised. You just can’t take it personally if they don’t reciprocate that smile or offer assistance up front. I don’t really mind that I’m not getting the niceties off the bat. I like knowing where I stand. I’m not a fan of ambiguities and I appreciate when people are who they are, in all their blunt glory.
 
The other day I met up with a couple people for happy hour. In leaving from one bar to the next we drunkenly skipped down Lexington Ave asking for high fives from all the passerby’s. Mind you, we were in midtown and it was around 7/8PM. The streets were busy and the people walking by were many. Most loved the enthusiasm we brought when high-fiving. Some ignored us and kept walking. Others were caught off guard then relented to the ridiculousness and reciprocated with just as much enthusiasm. I had one guy tell me he had ebola as my hand was suspended in the air. Another flat out said no. Did that get me down and make me stop? Of course not. I was drunk. It was awesome. 
 
Seeing all those people smile and laugh and high five really made my night great. And I’m sure it was a fun highlight for those people as well. They probably told the people they went home to who asked about their days that there were 3 silly drunk girls asking for high fives and smiling like idiots throughout midtown Manhattan. I’m proud to be part of that story. My point to this is that when you bring forward good energy, you’ll get it back. It will also most likely be paid forward, or at the very least will garner a good laugh, even at your own expense.
 
Thanks for being kind to me New York. I really appreciate it.