Coping in Your Concrete Jungle

image-1-1From my experience working in retail, cooler days means heated pressure to deliver during the holiday season. For most of my friends, it’s been a growing trend to take on two or more jobs while finishing school. It seems to me that constant stimulation and chaos from the daily hustle and bustle has become the new normal.

If you’re not careful, it’s easy to get tangled in the chaos of the concrete jungle. As my family frequently reminds me, I do not handle stress well. I bottle up my emotions to the point of getting painful knots in my neck and become so irritable I snap at the slightest question thrown my way. So how do you control it?

I’m just beginning to realize the importance of taking care of myself, especially through meditation. For me, meditation can be sitting for five minutes deep breathing before taking on a stressful situation. But really, it’s setting aside time for something that brings me happiness. Making time to see people and do things that make you happy can help you appreciate the little things and can bring light in the midst of darkness. When I stayed with Ariel in Phoenix, I had the pleasure of taking a yoga class instructed by her lovely friend, Cherise, complete with wine and a painting session that opened my eyes to a new way to manage my stress.

Cherise is one of the most genuine, kind souls I’ve had the honor to meet. Wearing a smile as sweet as honey, I was humbled by her strategic one hour Vinyasa flow followed by a two-hour guided painting session. As she puts it- “A perfect Saturday night with yoga, snacks, wine, painting, great company, and wine!”

I wish I had taken more pictures at the event to share my experience. But this moment, I wanted to take it all in without documenting every detail. It was, after all, supposed to relieve my stress, not add to it.

We began with a few easy stretches with deep breathing. At first, I was completely aware of everyone in the room, the odd hum from the lights, the hunger from my belly. Then as our bodies warmed up, the sequence of movements began to flow like a synchronized dance. I became perfectly attuned to my body, becoming aware of every muscle, bone, vein, and breath that helped my body function. It took a little while but for a few awesome moments, I escaped from my reality, gliding swiftly from move to move, freedom from thought, and the power of my strength taking over.

The best (and my favorite part) was ending in the Savasana, or corpse pose, where you relax on your back for five minutes in order to reap all the third-eye-harmonious-energy-benefits from the previous exercises.  During this time, Cherise came around to each person and put this amazing lavender scented oil on our shoulders that tingled for a few seconds, then seeped into my skin, easing any other muscle tension I had been harnessing. Both figuratively and literally, I felt as if a weight had been lifted.

Next, came the painting. We each had our own canvas with paints set before us. For the night, Cherise suggested we paint “Trees of Life,” but encouraged us to choose whatever creative endeavor our so-called chakras desired. Despite the perfect theme to paint trees with subliminal life messages, our ideas actually came from scrolling through Pinterest.No artsy fartsy interpretations laced with determining the hidden meaning behind brush strokes, just simply paint what you want. Everyone grabbed a glass of wine and snacks and sat enjoying each other’s company. Ariel ended up creating a weeping willow which reminded me of the tree from Fern Gully, Cherise did her signature cherry blossoms, and I did my take on a starry night. I am happy to say the session lived up to Cherise’s promise of the perfect Saturday night.

Sharing this experience with other people reminded me that life is too precious to stress out about in the first place -regain control of your breathing, release your tense muscles with a good stretch, let go and laugh- then soldier on. Allow yourself the idea that there will be times when you feel lost, your path will get stormy, your sight blurry. You have to regain your footing to get through your journey because as a great author once said…”not all who wander are lost.”

As always,

Stay Curious. 

P.s.- If you ever find yourself in the Phoenix area, be sure to hit up Cherise!

 

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Flower Child

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Reflecting this Monday morning about this amazing meal at Flower Child in Arizona!

I had the lovely pleasure of dining with Ariel, as she treated me to possibly my new fave spot. I just found out they’re located in Santa Monica and opening more locations too! This restaurant’s culture is based on food enlightenment, and boy, does it live up to its promise. All their food is raised naturally, without additives, organic, environmentally conscious, and as locally sourced as possible. Also, this vibe is seriously up my little Los Angeles soul- its a bright, fresh atmosphere with loads of green plants and its signature artwork hanging on the walls.

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I ordered the Mother Earth bowl which is loaded with sweet potato, portabello mushroom, a mix of ancient grains, avocado, broccoli pesto, cucumber, leafy greens, red pepper miso vinaigrette, and hemp seed but I also added steak because I was starving! To be honest, I completely forgot what Ariel ordered (probably from aforementioned hangry pangs ), but based on the picture above, it was one of their yummy salads with chicken. I highly recommend trying it for yourself anyway…OH, and the array of lemonade is crazy refreshing too…let me know in the comments if you’d try it!

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P.S.- Whether you eat plant-based or not, trying something new is always a good idea (:

As always,

STAY CURIOUS.

Photo Diary: Desert Wandering

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So my best friend Ariel and I love to wander and have impromptu photoshoots. There’s no need for an agenda and we always have a good time pretending to know what we’re doing. While on my stay, we decided to wander the streets of downtown Phoenix and found some hidden gems that we couldn’t resist stopping traffic for.

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It’s always fun to preview each shot and see that some of the best pictures are the ones we’re actually saying or doing something ridiculous.  We found a magical little movie theatre, apartment complexes, and architectural hotels that we had to stop and take a picture in front of. It’s interesting that we pass through these places daily, but it’s not until you really stop and look, that you appreciate the details of something seemingly ordinary.

This photo diary takes a sarcastic approach that I hope  encompasses our light-hearted attempts at capturing our adventure in the city. I love that we don’t take ourselves too seriously and always pick up right where we left off from our last meeting.

 

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This rock garden clearly needed a bit of floral with my dress.

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Casually standing in front of the Orpheum theatre complete with sassy hair flip.

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A textured white wall served as the perfect back drop for our LinkedIn profiles. (Below)

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Giant net? Not entirely sure of this tornado contraption, but at night it lights up.

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If you made it this far, I hope you take the time to appreciate the little quirks of your own town. I’d love to hear what makes your city unique- comment below to share!

Thank you so much for reading and as always,

Stay Curious.

Escaping the Ordinary

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Hello Lovelies!

So for my second post I’m currently sitting at Gate 12A awaiting my flight for Phoenix. This trip I  finally get to visit my best friend Ariel, who moved to Arizona for college, and I’m so excited to share the experience with you guys. But first, I have to get past the 2 hour wait for my flight.

Most people complain about how stressful and generally unpleasant the airport can be. But for me, I find it exciting to know I’m going somewhere with something to look forward to. Also, I have an odd fascination with people watching. With such diverse people from around the world in one place, I find it particularly amusing to catch conversations and scenarios that occur right in front of me.

Currently, I’m sitting next to a family of cowboys waiting for their flight to Vegas and no, they’re not strippers. To my right a 13-year old girl is crying in a wheelchair with no apparent injury that I can see. And then there’s the array of moms scolding their kids while still managing to keep their sanity (“Yes, those are cinnamon rolls, stop picking your nose, now SIT DOWN!). Despite all the chaos, I love the sense of freedom to have the ability to explore a new town for the weekend.

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As an LA native, it’s only about an hour flight to Phoenix, but I think people often downplay the adventure you can have in your own backyard. You don’t have to trek across the pond to Europe to gain a new perspective. In fact, you’ll have a newfound sense of pride, wonder, and amazement for your country by exploring its beauty.

Even sitting by the window seeing the planes coming in, I get butterflies leaving the West Coast beaches for rust colored mountains of the South West. I’m ready to embrace the adventures that will inevitably come as a result of catching up with my soul sister in a beautiful city. The forseeable thrill of seeing old friends and meeting new friends in a new atmosphere makes my soul so incredibly happy. So for this weekend I’m leaving my heart in Phoenix.

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As always,

Stay Curious.

Introducing The Gypsy Chronicles

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I was always an unusual girl, with a fiery imagination unlike any other. I guess you could say I was a bit of a dreamer- always looking out windows lost in thought, wondering what it would be like to be somewhere else. Often considered a “free spirit,” I’ve always been intent on living a life that encompasses everything that I’ve imagined in my head. And believe me when I say that’s a lot.

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 I grew up in a humble part of town within a short distance of ocean views, a place that I owe all that I am today. For it was here that I learned to dream of visiting the places beyond my view of the ocean’s horizon.

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I have always had a passion for adventure, something no doubt my mother instilled in me. My need for exploration eventually pushed me to the point where I could no longer wait for a fairy godmother to magically waft me away. Having waited until my 23rd birthday to finally get my passport, I set out to find inspiration someplace I had only seen in movies.

So I ended up in Spain.

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A journey I decided to take alone. No friends. No family. No crutch to lean on for support. A sacrificial pilgrimage to where my ancestor’s once lived many years ago as a way to learn more about myself. Though I hastily concocted a plan to escape the confines of my little bubble, I did compromise by going with a group of people from a lovely program called EF College Breaks (one of the best decisions I’ve ever made).

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A Grand Tour of Spain, where elaborate cathedrals and classic architecture touch the sky. For 12 days, I embraced a nomadic sense of living backpacking from Barcelona to Madrid, Granada, Seville, and ending at the majestic Costa del Sol. It’s here where I became the most advantageous with little to no sleep- epic excursions during the day and dancing all night. Sought inspiration from some of the most prestigious museums in the world.  Made memories that will last me a lifetime with friends I never would have met otherwise.

Although living in the Los Angeles area feeds me a constant supply of inspiration, there are often times where I crave something fresh and unfamiliar to ignite a new fire in me. It’s moments like these that I stand at the airport, suitcase in hand at LAX.

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This is how I found myself in Spain. Even though I was terrified of getting out of my comfort zone, it’s an experience that’s only fueled my passion for living. Get out of your house, from your cave, from the place you feel safe and get out. Get out of your head and go on an adventure. You will never be as young as you are in this moment.

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