Adios, June!

Wow…I can’t quite believe that June has come and gone. It’s been quite a busy month – my birthday, graduation season [and thus lots of work], birthdays, pet-sitting, and reconnecting with Logan.

My birthday was great! Our lovely friends hosted a party for me in Huntington, so that more of our friends local to that area could come. It was exactly what I was hoping for – a bunch of silly time chilling with my favorite group of people. I’m so grateful for them for hosting the party for me! I wasn’t planning on having a party at our house at all, because it’s so far south and so tiny, so it was a great surprise to be able to get together with everyone. I took almost no photos, but luckily some of the girls grabbed me to take a few, and you can see the haircut I treated myself to! I decided to get a pattern shaved into my head, and ended up having the best haircut experience of my life.

birthday_girls

 

The next few weeks after that were filled with graduations – I’ve been working as a photographer’s assistant at various ceremonies around San Diego. It’s great work but there were a number of 12 hour days in a row so it was a little bit exhausting. Then Logan went off to my brother’s bachelor party weekend and I was pet-sitting for a friend.

Chloe is SUCH a cute dog but also is a little slow and doesn’t socialize well with other dogs. She’s a little princess and it was fun having her keep me company while Logs was gone. We took a lot of walks around the neighborhood and I discovered that there’s a tortoise who lives nearby! A TORTOISE! It’s so cute and came over to the fence to say hi to me.

chloe the dog

 

After Logs returned from the bachelor festivities life got much more back to normal. We’ve had a lot of downtime at the house but it’s been really nice to just have time together instead of constantly running around visiting friends and running errands and doing tons of different things. We realized we haven’t really set aside time to just be together, so we’re making that more of a priority. The best thing though, is that our together time is getting more active, instead of often defaulting to watching TV. [Although we have been watching The Office again and it's been SO nice....it cracks me up more than any other show by far. Season 7 had me in tears all last night.] Our goals have been really aligned together and we’ve been pushing each other to work on our personal pursuits like art, dancing, music, reading, etc.

We made this masterpiece together the other week….both of us were giggling like crazy drawing it:

wackydoodle

Don’t even ask…he drew the shape of the weird bat-thing’s head…and I gave it facial features…and we just switched off from there. So much fun, I highly recommend drawing with your significant other sometime!

I’m really looking forward to July and making progress on all my goals…I made myself this big schedule yesterday of my “ideal life” so I’m trying to stick to that and see if what I think I want to do is ACTUALLY aligned with what my heart wants to do. This was the “blog” hour for today, and I’m quite pleased I actually stuck to it. WOOP! Hooray for figuring myself out!

Cheers loves!

Holy wow

Really…where has the time gone? On one hand, I’m shocked that it’s been so long since I’ve posted in here, and on the other, I can absolutely understand myself.

San Diego has been much more of an up-and-down journey than expected. A lot of circumstances seem to be in flux, and things are changing constantly.

My mind right now is primarily devoted to job hunting – and it honestly feels like I have no leftover brain space for much creativity. I’ve been wanting to write and express ideas, share my thoughts with the world…but largely I end the day feeling drained and a little defeated.

Over the past year and a half, I’ve worked at 3 different companies which just ended up not fitting with me for one reason or another. Before this I spent 3 years at my last job, and 3 years at the one before…so this constant change is not my usual MO. It’s made it hard to feel really settled.

 

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

 

 

In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, pictured above, I’ve only got the physiological level and part of the safety level on lockdown. And while I do have a lot of the upper levels, it’s really hard to be fully creative and work on art projects when my brain is telling me to just keep sending out job applications.

[Note: No, I don't think Maslow's theory is 100% correct. I don't believe that there is a hierarchy of importance, or that the needs become less essential as you travel up the pyramid. I do agree with his theory in that it is harder to devote your energy to the higher level needs when food or shelter must take prominence. Click the image for more description of Maslow's theory & some of the critiques.]

I’m turning over a new leaf and not letting myself feel defeated by this process. I think pouring energy into both the job search and my creative passions will prove to be more effective overall. If I’m happier and feeling more fulfilled, I’m going to be more of a magnet for other positive energy to come into my life.

It’s on, life. Get ready, cause I’m about to carpe this and every other diem.

happy birthday dad

Today is my dad’s birthday.

the boys at christmas
[that's Logan, my Uncle Dennis, my dad, and my brother]

Dear Dad,

Thanks for being such a great example to me in life. You’ve taught me how to act properly, how to do the right thing, and how to take care of others. You’re always looking out for us and putting yourself last. I’m glad we’re finally encouraging you to treat yourself a little bit more. You’re one of the smartest and funniest people I know and I always love talking to you. Thanks for all the good advice and for letting me try things out on my own.

You rock.

Love,
Elise

writer’s block

You guys. I feel like I have the most insane writer’s block in the world right now.

I need to write more in general – more journaling, more lists, more letters, more thoughts. And I definitely need to write more blog posts. To be honest I feel silly because I keep psyching myself out of writing – simply due to the idea of having an audience.

[But how am I going to get an audience if I don't ever put anything out in the world?]

**brainflash**

 

Sorry to get super stream-of-consciousness on you right there but sometimes it’s gotta be done. It’s the best way to get something out of you if you feel bottled up. Have you ever typed on a typewriter? If not, find one, and do so. It’s glorious. It’s all clicks and clacks and ding! and such a vivid and visceral experience that you usually can’t help ending up writing in stream of consciousness. I’m an enthusiast and need to do it more often. It’s just so loud I usually feel bad for my neighbors!

ANYWHO.

How have you been? I wish I could sit down and have a cup of tea [or coffee, let's be real here] with all of you and ask you how your day was. I want more friend-time in life. I need to make that more of a priority.

Other than being a bit of a hermit the past few weeks, life is pretty awesome. I’ve been running in the morning [short...just a mile loop with a meditation break in the middle!] and doing little workouts as well. I mentioned wanting to really try to get into yoga to my friend Jessica and she lent me a yoga DVD the other day, so I did that this morning. I got a planner that actually works for me. I was trying out all sorts of different formats in 2012 and none of them were a great fit and so I never felt organized. This one is rocking my socks and I’ve been more productive and on top of my stuff this week than almost ever. I’m out and about and meeting new people every day. I’m getting to know my community. I’m crossing things off my to-do list that have been there for almost a full year. Logan and I made a five year plan and I feel more clarity about where we’re headed than ever before. I’m spending more time doing than planning or thinking or stressing or freaking out. It’s great.

The future is awesome and so is the present. The past is perfect too because everything was meant to happen to bring you to this present place. This is where you were meant to be.

YEE, MY FRIENDS, YEEEEEE!

 

**and yes I know the top bit of this post is bonkers but I’m just going to leave it, aight? :)

Thrift Shop

Hola internet! I’m working on this awesome post for ya with some social media tips&tricks but my old laptop fried itself and took Photoshop and all the photos I was working on with it. I’ve been sneaky-using the computers at my husband’s school for Photoshop purposes but I can’t go every day so it’s taking awhile.

In the meantime, here’s something totally dope for you to snack on.

My cousin sent this to me and holy smokes it’s amazing. Definitely NSFW but take a listen on those headphones. You’ll be jamming out in no time. SO GOOD!

steps

Pretty cloud picture goes here!

One of the best things about growing up is that every step you take helps build your confidence. The first step is hard….sometimes damn near impossible, but the second one is infinitely easier. Then the third is easier still, until eventually you’re effortlessly gliding around.

Each step makes the next ones seem less scary. And I know, that if I just keep focused on going one step at a time, the path will unfold exactly as it’s meant to.

New Space, New Place

Logan and I moved to San Diego two months ago. I was pretty sure it was a good decision but I thought the same thing about LA before I moved there so I wasn’t entirely confident in myself.

America’s Finest Timelapse from XOXO Wedding Studio on Vimeo.

The first few weeks were tough because the place we were staying didn’t end up being quite what we expected. It was a bit of a scramble to find an apartment but things just ended up falling into place.

We could not love our apartment more. It’s downstairs, has a backyard, awesome and friendly neighbors, and is exactly in our dream location. We can walk to the farmers market and to bars, restaurants, and cafes.

Everyone we’ve met down here has been so friendly. The vibe is so much more open and welcoming. I find myself randomly speaking to people more than I ever did before…I end up making friends at the cafes where I go to do work. It’s a place where I really feel like I can find my tribe. I’m excited to make more friends and bring more amazing souls into my world.

The sky is so huge and open here too. I feel limitless. I’d been noticing how amazing the sky was for the first few weeks down here, and then I read an article that described my feeling perfectly. It’s an article about Burning Man, and the expansive feeling you get on the playa, and after reading it I realized that I was feeling the same way down here.

Leah Lamb writes:

The open space sets the tone for expansion, with the promise of nothing to hinder your ideas, self expression or dreams and fantasies, except for the elements of the heat of the day, the cold of night, or the white clouds of dust that settles in your eyes, nose and lungs.

I’m in a total state of transition right now. I’m trying to figure out my purpose and my passions and I feel like I am growing and changing every day. I think that the universe was pulling me to San Diego so that I can expand to my maximum potential, with nothing to hold me back.

I think LA held a lot of mental blocks for me – about how you were supposed to dress and where you were supposed to go party and who you were supposed to hang out with. People spend a lot of their energy concerned with what everyone around them is doing, and the constant side-eyed stares made me hyperaware of my actions. In San Diego I have no set plan in mind, no expectation for myself. I’m allowing myself to be guided by my heart and I’m following whatever directions my internal compass is giving me.

I’m so much more present and aware these days. It’s hard sometimes because I feel my emotions way more powerfully, but it’s such a good change and I’m excited to see what comes next.

Sending love & light & laughter to all of you.

lessons from lightning – part 3 [the end!]

How are you?? Splendid I hope! :)

This is the last part of my lessons learned at Lightning in a Bottle, check out part 1 and 2 if you haven’t already.

So I’d been learning to feel grateful for things and to really focus on gratitude instead of any negatives. And that included learning to be grateful for myself. Then the next day I learned that even if I wasn’t yet at the level I wanted to be, there was nothing wrong with the level I was at, I was perfect already.

Be Nice to Yourself print[print here]

As this realization hit me and we continued our merry way about the festival, I was able to see SO clearly the importance of being grateful for yourself as you are right at this instant. The people that looked the happiest were the ones that looked totally content with themselves. They were content with themselves, and I could tell that they paid no attention to if people were watching them or noticing them. They weren’t putting on a show for anyone, they were just BEING THEM.

You're prettiest when you're happy image[via]

This related to a comment that I had made to Logan on our first day of the festival…I had expressed feeling anxious over what to wear. I was worried about what I was wearing because I wanted to attract the right kind of people and I was worried about having people make incorrect assumptions about me because of what I was wearing. I was talking to him and he said “why don’t you dress for YOU instead of for other people?” Even that for me was a big “oh, DUH!” moment. I realized that if I dressed for myself, instead of trying to create some ideal image, I’d be more comfortable and my true self would be more likely to come out. [And this was totally true. Once I was wearing something I felt totally comfortable in, I stopped thinking about what I was wearing and just WAS.]

We were out about and dancing to some amazing tunes and I kept looking at everyone around me and I could see how comfortable everyone felt. I saw this 20-ish-year-old fellow wandering around spinning poi totally into whatever new trick he was testing out…and looking totally happy. He was completely unaware that anyone was watching him, and was thus totally unconcerned with how he was looking and definitely unconcerned with how anyone else was perceiving him. I saw these two best friends grooving to the music completely into the bass and blissful. I saw people of all walks of life looking beautiful, because they were just HAPPY and FREE to be themselves. And everyone was so full of love that they were able to express it all outward, and create this awesome supportive community. No one was detracting from anyone else. It was gorgeous.

Perks of Being a Wallflower quoteI actually found this quote online the day before we left for the festival and put it in my notebook. It hit home for me when I was looking at everyone being so beautiful and happy and realizing that it took nothing away from my own beauty and happiness. Perfect. [Spoiler: I cried again.]

So, this is a very long story about some things I realized while at a music festival. But for me the process worked like this: I had to be grateful for what I had, and realized I should be grateful for myself. I started appreciating myself for everything – every halfway-developed skill, every ounce of my body, every too-loud laugh and outburst. And because I was content with myself, I was able to just do ME and not worry about myself being too much or too weird for other people to handle.

Go out, go forth, do YOU! Because no one else can play that role as well as you can.
xx

lessons from lightning – part 2

Hey loves! Sorry sooooo long between posts! This is ridiculous!

Anyways, I’m back with lesson #2 from Lightning in a Bottle…this one’s about being perfect. [Again this was first posted on the Blowfish blog, but I wanted it here as well!]

So, by the end of the first full day I was able to shift my thinking from the negative to being grateful, and I was even feeling grateful for myself. [Still a revolutionary thought at the time!]

Saturday morning came and all was well. All our friends wandered up the hill and visited the temple, then sat around and drank lemonade slushies. We wandered back to camp and Logan and I ended up falling asleep. When we woke our friends were gone so we decided to wander over to the music stages and see if we could find them. We got to the stages and searched but couldn’t find anyone. We ended up strolling around and this girl who was hula hooping caught my eye.

Have you ever seen someone who you think is the “ideal” version of yourself? Cause this chick, she was mine. And she was messing with my head.

I had actually seen her at a festival wayyyyy back in April, and had the SAME thought. I saw her walk past me with her cute dress and her dreadlocks and her hula hoops and I was a leeetle jealous. Then she ended up going to the same stage we were at and hooping 10 feet away from me. And dudes, she can HOOP. She just looked too cool dancing, and I had to wander off to the other side of the stage so I didn’t psych myself out!

Anywho, back at Lightning, we ended up right next to her and all the feelings I had had previously came rushing back to me. I immediately felt worthless, like I wasn’t dressed cool and looked stupid and couldn’t do anything. I asked Logan if we could move away and I guess my face looked pretty anxious, so he asked me what was going on.

I explained to him that she was at the level where I wanted to be, and that it was too hard to be near her while I was at the level I was at. I explained that I wanted to look as cute and have as awesome dreads at her, and be as good at hooping as she was. It was all comparison…like she was a 10 in all these areas and  I was a 5. I continued to explain that I felt like I didn’t have anything to offer because I wasn’t an expert at anything.

He stopped me and said that while it was fine to want to push myself, I needed to understand that I was PERFECT. Already. Just as I was. Obviously this confused me, so I asked for further explanation.

He said “It’s fine to want to improve on yourself. It’s good. Don’t you think I want to improve myself? Be more muscular, better at all my hobbies, everything. But wanting to get better doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with where I’m at right now.

It was actually a rather crucial lesson for me to learn. I think before I couldn’t quite correlate being happy with myself and wanting to push myself. I think that in my head, it I wanted to push myself, it was because I wasn’t good ENOUGH. But what was this mystical level of “enough” and who decided upon it? I think it took my conversation with Logan to realize that I am already enough. Wanting to push myself just makes me that much BETTER, it doesn’t mean that before was bad.

Good Better Best print[print here]

 

That misguided logic has been hindering me my whole life! You see, I’m guilty of quitting almost every single hobby I take up. I decide I want to try something, and then am frustrated when I’m not instantly amazing at it.  I end up stopping things before I even give myself a chance to make any progress. SILLY! It stops now. I’m actually really grateful for the hooping because I’ve been sticking with it. It’s a hobby that is still fun even when you’re not amazing, so it never feels like work.

And you know how I felt like I didn’t have anything to offer because I wasn’t super skilled at anything? I’m sure you’ve all felt that way too. But keep in mind, your friends aren’t your friends because of what you can offer them – they’re your friends just because of who you are.

Scott Albrecht print[print here]

Now go out and enjoy your life. Because it, and you, are absolutely perfect.
xx

lessons from lightning – part 1

Hiiiii!

I wrote a similar version of this post earlier today on the Blowfish blog and wanted to post it here as well. :]

 

GRATITUDE.

I went to the Lightning in a Bottle music festival over Memorial Day weekend with Logan and with a bunch of friends. It started off rough, and ended up being amazing and transformational. I feel like I learned 3 big lessons from the experience, and this part is about GRATITUDE. 

The experience started off a little rough. Traffic sucked, we were running late, made a detour to go to a store that ended up being closed, and I was feeling anxious. We arrived late Thursday night, there was no cell phone service, and as it turned out, the friend we were meeting up with had fallen asleep. After trudging around with our stuff without finding him, we found a random space to camp that seemed really far from everything. We opened our tent to find out that dust from Burning Man had destroyed the elastic holding the poles together, and it was broken and totally unusable. Luckily, our friends were awesome and their tent was huge, so they said that we could crash with them. 

Image

We woke up to getting rained on because we had gotten cocky about the weather and decided NOT to put the rain cover on. We decided to go to our cars to charge our cell phones, and we somehow timed this journey horribly. You took a shuttle back from the parking lot to the camping area, and we lined up to wait for the shuttle just as the last one was driving away before they took a long break for lunch. By the time we got back to our tent, our short ‘trip to the car’ had taken well over 3 hours.

I was frustrated and grumpy and felt like I was wasting my money and time. I ended up taking this out on Logan and we argued which just made me feel worse. The couple we were with was about 3 months into their relationship – deep in honeymoon stage. It was messing with my head to see them be cute and cuddly. They were happy and in love with each other and I felt like Logan and I were not happy and not acting very in love. I felt like I was the group’s dead weight – the Negative Nancy in the corner who was dragging everyone down.

I’m not sure what it is about events and festivals that makes me like this – I’m pretty sure it’s the cost of the ticket – but I put so much pressure on myself to make everything perfect that I drive myself bonkers. 

Our friends ended up going out to check out some music and Logan stayed with me at camp while I was an emotional mess. I was angry at myself for arguing with Logan, and I was blaming myself for ruining not only my day but his day too. I was in this horrible negative spiral where I was upset about the circumstances and also upset about how I responded to them and then I just got more upset about being upset. Around and around and around. At one point I told Logan that I felt like a worthless pile of black sludge. He tried to help me but I was just overflowing with hate for myself, so he was having a hard time getting through to me. 

I finally said to him desperately, “I don’t know how to not be miserable.”

He looked at me and said “why don’t you just try.” I thought he had misheard me, and also thought it was a ludicrous suggetion so I said “try what? Not being miserable?” 

“Exactly,” he said.

And that stopped me. I realized that if I was going to get out of this negative trap, I needed to REVERSE my thinking. Completely.

  • Instead of thinking that we were wasting our festival money by spending time in camp and not seeing bands all day, I decided to be grateful that I could afford a ticket in the first place.
  • Instead of thinking that I wasn’t doing all I could to make things awesome, I decided to be grateful that it was only Friday and I was off of work and had a 4-day weekend ahead of me.
  • Instead of feeling sorry for myself that our tent was broken, I decided to be grateful that our friends kick serious butt and let us camp with them.
  • Instead of feeling upset about things with Logan, I decided to be grateful that he was willing to stay with me for hours and get me sorted out. 

I started crying again as these feelings of gratitude washed over me, and as I explained my feelings to Logan I realized one more thing that I needed to be grateful for: me. Just as I was. Imperfect, sometimes grumpy, sometimes a crying mess, but ME. I needed to be grateful for MYSELF as well. 

Cue more crying [of course] followed by hugs for days and jubillant dancing with friends.

Image

I feel like that whole experience was the universe just trying to show me how important it was to be grateful – for what I have and also for how things are going. I stress myself out a lot when going out because I get worried that things are going to take long, and I’m usually the driver, and I don’t want to make everyone wait. I need to realize that none of my friends would fault me if finding a parking space took longer than a few minutes – that’s just how it goes sometimes. Usually you end up being late and then meeting some crazy character and it’s all just as the universe intended.

So, your homework & mine is this: for the next week, write out a gratitude list every morning before you leave the house. Take time to check in with yourself mentally and put yourself in a positive outlook for the day.

xx sending tons of love to all of you! 

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