The Good Side || March 2018

April 8, 2018

My intention was to do these posts at the end of the month, but March was super busy for me and it fell to the wayside. Over the last week though, I’ve compiled a bunch of links I love, and I didn’t want to wait three weeks to share them. Most of these links are from April, but I’m just gonna call this the March guide anyway cause I do what I want. So maybe there will be another post at the end of the month, maybe there won’t. Maybe these will become “every six weeks” posts. Who knows.


The Good Side is my attempt to share the good things over the last month: good reads, good songs, and good things that have happened. It’s my attempt to share some positivity and spread some knowledge. Hopefully there’s something for you in here. Find last month’s guide here.


Good pop culture.

Sandra Oh’s Been Waiting 30 Years for a Show Like Killing Eve.
I loved Sandra Oh on Grey’s Anatomy, and I enjoyed reading this Vanity Fair piece about her struggle as an Asian actress searching for the right role. I saw a billboard for Killing Eve, her new show, yesterday, and this article has convinced me to check it out. Also, that picture of her parents with the billboard is so sweet.

“What about the Breakfast Club?”: Revisiting the movies of my youth in the age of #MeToo.
I really enjoyed reading Molly Ringwald’s reflection of the John Hughes films she did as a teenager in light of the more widespread acknowledgement of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace and certainly in Hollywood. I found it very thoughtful and definitely worth a read. Her main takeaway: “It’s hard for me to understand how John was able to write with so much sensitivity, and also have such a glaring blind spot.” Well said.

Good heart reads.

One year of weekly counseling: the battles, victories, and lessons learned.
I know from experience that the decision to go to counseling can be a scary one, but twice now I’ve seen its immense value in my life. I don’t think I would have moved to Los Angeles if I hadn’t seen a counselor back home, and I recently started seeing one here just to have someone to talk to. But taking that step is still scary every time I go. I really loved how thorough Rachel’s post about her journey so far is. She answers a lot of questions people might have, and her one year counseling anniversary is the same day as my moving anniversary, which I thought was fun.

Reading lately: kick-ass women.
I’m a little bit ashamed to say I haven’t read a single one of the books on Anne’s list of books by kick-ass women to read. I do have a copy of Shrill because I saw Lindy West speak at last year’s LA Times Festival of Books, and I’m sure I could find the others at the library. I loved the diversity of books here.

The writing folder.
As someone who is in theory working on a novel but hasn’t touched it in over a year, I loved Rachel’s post about revisiting her old writing. I too have a folder of (seemingly random) snippets of writing, and lots of them aren’t good, but like she found, there may also be a diamond in the rough. It’s likely worth giving them a second look.

Good career tips.

You can’t change careers when you’re sitting behind a desk; here’s why.
Looking for a new job is probably one of the most dreaded tasks I can ever imagine. ‘Task’ isn’t even really the right word for it; it’s more like climbing Mount Everest. Figuring out what you want to do with your life seems so difficult. I really like that this article suggests putting yourself out there and meeting people (‘finding people, not jobs’ is their phrase) and even advocates for admitting your uncertainty in that process. “Opt for vulnerability over trying to be someone more certain or more expert than you really are.”

How I found freedom in throwing out my 5-year plan.
I am the very definition of a planner. I like to have everything in my life planned out and organized, and I like everything to go according to that plan. The problem is that life doesn’t work that way, and things go haywire when the plan inevitably doesn’t line up as I expect. I loved Sarah’s article on relaxing your life timeline a bit and giving yourself more freedom to be open to how life unfolds. “I found that if I was willing to slowly let go of my expectations, I was able to enjoy what life was giving me at the moment. Instead of worrying about the next step or falling behind in my eyes, I was free to live day-by-day.”

Good songs.

I’ve been on a huge kick of making my own playlists lately, all of them with really specific themes (playlists are linked, as are YouTube videos for each specific song). Here’s three songs that gave me feelings lately:

‘the great escape.’ playlist:
Million Bucks – Smallpools.
I used to be a skeptic non-believer
But now it’s changed, you’re worth your weight in gold
The richest love ain’t growing on the trees out here
But confidently, I can say I’m sold

‘unrequited love.’ playlist:
My Thoughts on You – The Band CAMINO.
Give me ’til twenty-three, I need another year for this
Trying to teach my common sense to not waver with my confidence
Traded my soul to free my mind, carmex to help me pass the time
Can I go back to being blind, asked myself why one too many times

‘cheerful spring.’ playlist:
Ring the Bells – Johnnyswim and Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors.
I got faith to move a mountain, and to watch that mountain move
It’s time for words to fall like thunder, sound of justice breaking through
If all is fair in love and war, then what the hell is loving even for?
The world laughs and the martyrs sing, but love breaks through the cavalry

Good productivity.

Mapping my weeks: my current favorite productivity hack.
There are few things I love to read about more than people’s productivity hacks + systems. Therefore it’s no surprise that I loved Hannah’s post about mapping out her weeks. I love the idea of keeping the list to two pages and not ranking tasks in order of size – basically, if it’s important to make the list, it’s important enough to get done.

A little life saving: starting the day over.
I can’t remember how I found Hannah Van Dyk, but she’s one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram. She doesn’t know this, but she’s one of those people who I think I would be great IRL friends with if we lived in the same place! Anyway, she just started a series about things that are saving her life, and the one about starting the day over is really good. I really like the idea of saying “okay, I get 10 minutes to wallow in this and then I’m starting over.”

Good life events.

The coolest thing that happened since my last edition of this post is that Carly Heitlinger mentioned me on her blog! She and I have been Facebook friends for a long time (I would imagine at least since I met her at the Smart Girls Group Summit four years ago) and the link to my one year anniversary post appeared on her feed at some point. I got more traffic than I’ve ever seen, and a whole bunch of people texted me to tell me they’d seen it on her blog. It was super cool. It was also validating because I’d been so nervous to share that post. The fact that someone else thought it was worth sharing meant a lot to me.

I started Project Life again, which I’ve been wanting to do for months. Project Life is a pocket scrapbooking system for memory keeping, and I spent a LOT of time before my move scrapbooking years of my life. I went through all my supplies while I was sick this week, and I have SO MANY arts & crafts supplies. I’ve documented through March, and once my pages are finished I’m going to photograph them and share them here!

Last night I made a meal plan for the week after going through the contents of my fridge and freezer. I made a grocery list, and challenged myself to spend less than $30 on new items. I told myself that I could get ice cream if I spent less than that (including the ice cream). I used my phone calculator while shopping, made some good choices, and I was thrilled to get to the register and find out that my total was $24.75 including the ice cream! Just call me a budgeting queen.


If you find any good links or resources I should include in the next edition of this guide, leave a comment or send me a message! I love finding new resources.

Los Angeles Marathon 2018 Recap

April 7, 2018

On March 18, I became a marathoner.

It’s been three weeks, and the marathon still feels like something that didn’t quite happen. It feels like a bit of a dream; six months of training boiled down to one day of my life, and then it was over. It’s a little bit like when I did theater in middle school. We’d rehearse for months, perform the show three times, and then we’d all be at the cast party, wondering if that had all been a mass hallucination.

And yet it did happen. If you had told me five years ago that I was going to run a marathon, I likely would never have believed you. I was completely inactive, stressed out, and it was never diagnosed, but I believe I had untreated depression. Running even 2 miles seemed like way too much.

I started running my last year of college, mostly because I was trying to forget about things. I ran my first half marathon in October of 2015. I wish I still had access to the blog where I chronicled my training journey, because I would probably read it back and laugh.

The high of crossing that first half marathon finish line never quite left me, and soon I had run a second, and then a third. I was researching half marathons in the Los Angeles area last summer, and I stumbled upon a running challenge where you would run a specific 5k or 10k, a specific half marathon, and the LA marathon. If you did all three, they would give you a special medal. If there is anything to know about me going into this, it’s that I really love challenges. But did I really want to run a marathon?

I always said that I would consider doing one, but I wanted it to be Boston (for which you need to be really, really fast, or join a charity team) or Dublin. LA had never been on my list. But what if I did it? There’s a couple of cheesy reasons that I felt like it was a little bit fated. The race date was exactly 2 weeks after my 25th birthday and 2 weeks before my one year anniversary of living here. The race finished at the same beach where I went to watch that first sunset.

I thought about it for a few days, I talked to some friends, and then I decided that I would never feel more ready. I signed up, and figured I’d figure it out on the way.

The lead up to the race.

In the weeks leading up to the race, I was checking the weather constantly. We were told not to, because we couldn’t do anything to change it, but I couldn’t help it. I spent a lot of time looking at the course map and visualizing what the race would be like. I was fortunate to be familiar with much of it, which is an advantage of doing a race where you live.

Because I don’t do things halfway, it was a super busy time in general. Immediately after my 18 miler, I had to go to my late-night work auction. The 20 miler was the day before my 25th birthday. The two days immediately before the race I was on my feet all day at a work conference. These were things I couldn’t control, so I had to work to accept them.

One thing I remember our pace leaders telling us is that we might be angry or irritable in the two weeks leading up to the race, as our running decreased and stress increased. I expected that I would be immune to this, and then of course I was not.

I trained with the LA Road Runners, and I only have good things to say about them. If/when I decide to run the LA Marathon again, I will absolutely train with them. I actually have lots to say about the training process, but this post is already shaping up to be really long and I haven’t written one word about the actual running.

Getting to the start.

The LA Marathon starts at Dodger Stadium and finishes in Santa Monica. I live pretty close to Dodger Stadium, but opted to park my car in Santa Monica and take a shuttle to Dodger Stadium. This way, my car would be waiting for me at the end. I also didn’t want to be concerned about road closures and finding the right gate at Dodger Stadium; I knew I’d be stressed enough as it was.

I hopped out of bed around 2:45 am, put on the clothes I’d laid out, and ate a toasted everything bagel with peanut butter and a banana. I prepped a second bagel to eat at Dodger Stadium, put on my sneakers, and was out the door.

It didn’t take long to drive to Santa Monica, and before I knew it I’d parked and was on the shuttle. I remember that the shuttle was SO QUIET. No one said a word, probably because it was 4:15 am. Before long, we were at Dodger Stadium.

One of the biggest perks of doing LA Road Runners is that we got to be inside the stadium before the race started. This meant warmth, not being outside in the dark, and clean BATHROOMS. I met up with my running group, and chatted a little bit. I honestly wasn’t particularly nervous; it still felt like a thing that wasn’t quite happening. I ate my bagel and banana, drank some water, and hung out.

I brought my bag to a UPS truck that served as gear check, we posed for photos as a pace group, and our coach gave us a last minute inspirational message. Then we headed off to the start.

Miles 0-5: Dodger Stadium to Downtown LA.

At the start line, I shed my cheap hoodie and (super comfy) sweatpants I’d bought at Goodwill to keep warm. Someone sang the National Anthem, and I started to get teary; I was about to run a marathon. All those months of training were going to pay off.

This emotion stuck wth me for the first few miles; I would get emotional looking at signs from spectators, or when we ran over a freeway overpass and cars started beeping at us, or when volunteers at the water stations cheered us on. I was really aware that this wasn’t something I could do alone, but rather with the help of a lot of people.

At one point, running over a different freeway overpass, my pace leader Julie pointed to the freeway and said, “Look, there’s your gear bags!” I looked to the left and there was a convoy of UPS trucks escorted by police cars. It was this tiny moment, but it was a reminder that I was part of something so big.

There was a really big hill after mile 4, and drummers were lined all the way up the hill. (Here’s a video from 2014.) I expected to listen to music the whole race, but at this point I was so overwhelmed by the crowds I just wanted to focus on that and commit as much as I could to memory, so I didn’t listen to music at all.

Miles 6-10: Echo Park to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

I lost some endurance when I took a few weeks off running, so I ended up switching to a pace group that did 3 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking. I felt pretty good at this point; it seemed like the group was going a little faster than I wanted to, but I felt like I was doing okay mentally. We ran by my house during this stage, and it was cool to see be running in a familiar area. I remember thinking that the next time I went home, it’d be as a marathoner.

I distinctly remember seeing three girls SCREAMING their friend’s name and running along side her for a minute or two, a massive sign in hand; it was one of those moments that produced a really big swell of emotion. Watching people support their friends in their crazy goals is one of my favorite things.

Miles 11-16: Chinese Theatre to Doheny Drive.

After 10 miles, I started to get pretty tired. I remember it coming in waves. One minute I’d feel fine and be convinced I could keep going, but then only a few minutes later I’d feel awful. I never wanted to stop, I just kind of didn’t want to still be running. I felt a little weak but not in a way that felt like a huge issue; my pace leader offered me some pretzel sticks and I ate those. I remember at one point someone from my pace group offered me a banana, which I took and ran with for like 5 miles before eventually tossing it to the side of the road.

I saw Liz, Bri, and Bert, some of my best LA friends, at exactly the halfway point, and I stopped to talk to them for a minute, getting hugs and a much needed water bottle. The weather had turned out to be about as good as you could ask for if you’re going to run a marathon, 60 degrees and sunny, but I still felt dehydrated. Looking back I should have been drinking more water in the days leading up to the race. I’d done my best, but I think I needed more.

I certainly had plenty of water on the morning itself though, because at the halfway point I really needed to use the bathroom. I spent two miles looking for a porta potty and when I finally found one, I had to wait about 10 minutes in a line for one. This is where things started to go downhill; I’d separated from my pace group to say hi to my friends, and after waiting in line for the bathroom, I never caught up with them again.

I put on my playlist and did my best to keep up with the 3 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking plan we’d been doing as a group.

Miles 17 to 22: Rodeo Drive to San Vincente & Bundy.

This was the hardest part of the race for me. I was alone, everything hurt, and I felt like it was so hot. My friend Julie gave me an ice pop just before mile 20 that was the best thing I’d had all morning (along with her hug). Someone gave me a plastic bag of ice chips, a few of which I chewed on, and the rest I rubbed on the back of my neck. I texted my mom and said “I knew this was going to be hard but this is REALLY HARD.”

It was at this point that my 3/1 running/walking fell out the window. I remember walking long chunks of this, trying to motivate myself to start running again. I knew that I wasn’t going to hit my estimated time of 5:45, but I still thought I could maybe get under six hours.

I saw someone else from my pace group and we ran together for a bit before she went ahead. I saw another person a few miles later and ended up getting ahead of her. I was basically just trying to hang on until the mile 22 water stop, when I knew I would see my friends from November Project.

Miles 23 to 26: San Vicente & 26th to Santa Monica.

It turns out the mile 22 water stop was really a lot closer to mile 23. But I made it there, and the wave of people I recognized from November Project, all of them yelling my name, was incredible. I I’d texted Molly and Rachel, who were in charge of the water station, and said that I’d lost my pace group and would love if someone could run with me for a mile or two.

They absolutely delivered. Melanie, Jeff, Kait, John, and Stassja (who got me to sign up for this thing in the first place) ran with me for nearly 4 miles. They encouraged me, got me water, and kept me going. I stopped to go to the bathroom again and they waited with me. They walked when I needed to walk, and pushed me to keep going. I remember Melanie saying “in two miles you’re going to be a marathoner!” I remember acknowledging that every step I took now was taking me further than I’d ever run before, and how f***ing cool that was. I am so thankful that those friends showed up for me like that; I genuinely couldn’t have made it without their support at the end.

The finish line.

I honestly felt like I was going to die at the end. That’s what I told Liz, Bri, and Bert when I saw them, with less than a quarter mile to go. “I think I might die.”

It seems silly looking back, but I was just so exhausted and so tired that I felt like I needed to walk so close to the end. So I did for a minute, and then I picked it back up again and crossed that goddamn finish line. It took me 6 hours and 12 minutes, and I did it.

I didn’t cry like I’d been expecting to; it was more like this massive sense of relief. I’d actually done it.

After that, there was a medal (actually two, the whole reason I’d signed up for this in the first place, and I found that I didn’t care much about the challenge one, too in awe that I’d just earned a marathon medal), and photographs, and a very, very long walk to meet my friends. When I picked up my bag from the gear check, I nearly cried thanking the volunteers. There was a bagel and a massage and tacos and a beer and a call from my mom and texts from friends.

And there was a medal, and the sense of accomplishment that hopefully will never go away.

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Well, I did it.

One Year.

April 4, 2018

A year ago today, I slipped off my shoes at security, placed my laptop in a tray, and walked through the metal detector. I waved goodbye to my dad and my sister, tried to keep it together until I could get my things back in order, and rounded the corner to the gate, trying not to cry.

I was moving to Los Angeles, a place I’d only been once before, with two suitcases and a vaguely hope-shaped thing in my heart. Forget getting to LAX with a dream and a cardigan; I had an address to give a cab driver and a tiny plan of what I was doing after that, but no job and no place to live. It was this crazy idea that felt right, and I was following it.

I passed through that same metal detector last week, and waved goodbye to my dad cheerfully. There was no instagram picture of a smiling Harry Styles to stop me from breaking into tears this time, but I didn’t need one. I was going back home, leaving one home for another, and I was looking forward to it.

It’s been a year of big, big changes. The girl I was last April 4th has nothing on the girl I am this April 4th. I’ve had to learn how to show up for myself. I’ve had to become my own best friend in a very real sense. I’ve gone places alone and stretched my comfort zone. I’ve been let down by people and had my heart broken and cried myself to sleep a whole bunch of times. I’ve spent way more money than I wanted to and then developed the painful-but-necessary budgeting habits that prevent me from doing that again.

Moving somewhere where I only vaguely knew a handful of people has been forced me to be really ballsy. When my landlord was uncertain about approving me for the apartment, I had to stand up for myself. When I didn’t have anyone to hang out with, I went places alone. When potential new friends got busy and didn’t answer my texts, I learned not to take it personally and chose to reach out again. When I heard the girl in front of me at an event talking about how she lived in my neighborhood, I got brave and talked to her. In a very real sense, that act ended up changing my life here in Los Angeles: it led me to join November Project and led me to signing up for the marathon, two things that have been hugely important to me.

I’m a person who doesn’t tend to take enough credit for the things she’s accomplished, but I can say this: I moved across the country without a job or friends, and I’ve made a life for myself that I like more than the one I left behind. It’s not revolutionary and I’m not the first or last to do it, but I am really f***ing proud that I’ve done it.

Last year on this date, I borrowed my friend Kelly’s car and took a drive to the beach to watch the sunset and eat pizza. It’s a monthly tradition I’ve tried to keep up as much as I can, and this month is no exception. But this time I’m bringing friends, and I’m going to toast to year two.

March 2018 Books

April 3, 2018

I read so many books this month! I’m not quite sure how I did it. Because of this, I’m experimenting with a more freeform review format. I’ve been trying to figure out what’s most effective (do you really want plot summaries, or do you prefer to look that up yourself?) and so I’m trying something a little different.

 


The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

I didn’t expect to love this because I haven’t loved a few of Joshilyn Jackson’s older books, but I loved this one. It’s about a comic book artist who finds out she’s pregnant after a one night stand at a comic convention – but the father is black and she’s originally from the South, and doesn’t think her family, especially her sick grandmother,  will take it well. I bought this one last fall on a recommendation from Modern Mrs. Darcy, and definitely recommend it.

 


Still Me by Jojo Moyes

I ordered this from Book of the Month before I knew that it was the third in the series, not the second. So I had to read the second one (which I did last month) and I was happy to discover that I liked this one much more! I’ve heard a lot of people say the second one fell flat, and this one felt like a return to the Louisa from the first book. I definitely agree. She moves to New York to work for a rich family, and her adjustment to her new life in the US reminded me a lot of adjusting to my life here in California.

 


American Fire by Monica Hesse

This is another one from Book of the Month, I think from sometime last fall. It’s a nonfiction book about a rural town where abandoned houses suddenly started catching fire, and about the arsonist who did it. I am trying to read more nonfiction, and I loved the way this one was told. It’s one of those books I probably would get from the library if I were to do it again (ie, I don’t feel the need to have paid for it) but I did like reading it.

 


The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

I bought this one at the bookstore on a whim one day after seeing it all over Instagram. That cover is beautiful. I read it SO QUICKLY (95% all in one sitting) and I couldn’t even be disappointed because I loved it so much. It’s about four siblings who visit a traveling psychic as a kid and discover the date of their deaths. They all deal with it in really different ways. Two of the siblings really affected me, but I won’t say which ones for fear of giving anything away. I really, definitely recommend this one and I can’t wait to reread it, which isn’t something I usually do. It made me think a lot about if I’d like to know the date of my death and how I’d approach my life from that moment.


Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

My dad got this for me as a gift two Christmases ago. I love Lauren Graham – she was incredible on Gilmore Girls and fantastic on what I’ve seen of Parenthood. It’s a light and fun read about Gilmore Girls, making in work in Hollywood, and not taking yourself too seriously. I recommend if you’re into any of those things – it took me just over an hour, so I’d say get it from the library if you can. I recently read that she has a new book coming out, and I’m hoping to find that one soon.

 


Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

This is another book I bought on Amazon after seeing it at the San Francisco airport last fall (I think I had more disposable income to spend on books back then, aka I wasn’t being financially responsible!). It’s about a British family of Pakistani origin living in England. The father they barely knew did some terrible things that hurt a lot of people, and all three siblings (all young adults, all orphaned) struggle to deal with this in different ways. It was a fast and heartbreaking read that I couldn’t put down, on a lot of racial and cultural themes that as a white person I am privileged to not have to think about.


An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

I got this one as a BOTM extra in February after seeing widespread praise for it online. It’s a little painful to read, but necessary. Early into the marriage of Celestial and Roy, a young black couple excited for their life together, Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years in prison for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. She struggles to be a long distance wife who really doesn’t know her husband all that well, while Roy struggles with life in prison and all that that entails. It’s told from a few different perspectives, and I found it a really valuable read.


The Crown by Robert Lacey

I bought this one on a whim at Target after finishing the second season of The Crown, which I adore.  I expected this book to be about the making of the TV series and the challenges of historical fiction (especially when the characters are still living) but I as wrong. It turned out mostly to be a episode by episode breakdown of the historical events in those episodes, with only a few references to the show. I learned a lot of very specific things about British history as a result, and though it was different than I was expecting I really liked it.


Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

I came home from seeing Love, Simon (which I have now seen twice) and picked up this book immediately. I read it super quickly (so I think it’s a good library-or-borrow pick) and found it really cute. The movie had more of an impact for me (I cried a number of times) but I think books like this one are so important. I suspect that I didn’t like this one as much because it’s told from a first-person perspective of a YA character, and while I love that in movies, I frequently can’t get into it for books these days. I absolutely agree that that’s how the story needed to be told, but it didn’t work for me, unfortunately. It’s rare for me to like a movie more than the book, but this time I did.


The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Another one from BOTM last month. This book was incredible. It’s about a girl in the 1970s whose dad decides to uproot their family to Alaska to explore the new frontier – but he’s a Vietnam vet with a lot of anger issues made worse by isolation, and they know absolutely nothing about living in the wilderness. I read it so quickly, and like The Immortalists, I can’t wait to read it again. I have really big feelings about this one, and all of them are good. It’s so visual and the plot really sucks you in.


The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs

This was my March pick from BOTM, and I liked it! It’s set in Los Angeles that’s centered around a family quest. The grandfather/patriarch of the family, Isaac Severy, dies, leaving a puzzle behind him. Hazel, his adopted granddaughter, starts looking to piece clues together, but she soon discovers that she’s not the only one doing so. There’s a dangerous organization also on the hunt for Isaac’s life’s work. It can be a little hard to keep all the characters straight in your head, but I enjoyed reading it. This is another one I might get from the library if I could do it again, rather than buying it.


The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman

I picked this up on a whim at the airport because the cover is gorgeous. I didn’t love it as much as I love the cover, but it was still a good story of a boy’s life growing up in Italy with his Mom and painter father, who then abandons him for a new family. It’s about his struggle living in shadow of his legacy and how he deals with it. It’s a bit like The Goldfinch, which I admittedly didn’t like, but they’re both centered a lot around art and a boy’s relationship to their fathers. All the reviews I saw on Goodreads for this one were so good, but I found it a bit slow. I can admit that it’s beautifully told; I just don’t think it was right for me at this time.


In total this month:

Total number of books: twelve
Number of fiction books: ten
Number of nonfiction books: two
Books by people who are not white dudes: ten
Total number of books this year: twenty seven

Currently || April 2018

Anne from the blog In Residence does a monthly link up on the first Wednesday of every month where people share what they’re up to. I’m sharing mine a day early because I have an important post scheduled for tomorrow.

showering | myself n appreciation, which is something i don’t do enough. it’s been a full year tomorrow since i moved to los angeles. i did a really hard thing and i’m making it work.

cultivating | a spirit of rest and self-care. last month, i turned 25, worked a multi-day work conference, ran a marathon, went to boston and worked a film festival. it was a LOT, and i’m excited to cill at home for the most part this month.

expecting | good things to happen this month. not ready to say more at the moment, but i’m hopeful that some things will work out.

buying | hopefully very little! after last month, when i went a little crazy with spending, i’m working on sticking to my budget. i use a (lifesaving) program called You Need A Budget, where you put all your $ into categories. after a few months of heavy credit card spending after my move, i started using this program and it’s been great. i don’t spend money i don’t have anymore. but i tapped into the emergency fund last month for a couple things that were definitely not emergencies, and i would like to stick to the budget this month. willpower is hard.

cooking | real food for myself after a few months of crazy eating. i made all my lunches (a kale and farro salad that i really like) on sunday, which made me feel good about the week ahead.

Rooted.

March 29, 2018

I think a lot about running. Not just in the literal, both-feet-on-the-ground running (though I do think about that a lot – and just ran a marathon to prove it) but also in the sense of running away from things, and running toward others.

One of my favorite phrases is ‘wild and free,’ because of the feeling it evokes for me: light, airy, someone who does things without giving a care in the world. I think I like the idea of being the girl who’s got a plane ticket in her back pocket and just picks up and goes on a whim. I’m 25. It feels like I shouldn’t need to have things settled by now. I like the idea of being transient and not pinned down, a whole wide world full of options laid out in front of me.

I actually talked to my therapist about how the idea of being pinned down to one option. I can commit to writing 1500 words a day and running a marathon and not spending more money than I’m taking in, but committing to other people is hard for me. And I think that’s why running is so captivating – running means you don’t have to commit. It means you don’t have to be vulnerable. It means you don’t have to be rooted.

Some of my peers are getting married and buying houses and having babies, not necessarily in that order. It feels like I’m at a point where all of that terrifies me, those kind of lifelong commitments that find you attached to another person or situation or place. Sure, you can change those things, but it feels so permanent. I feel way too young for all that, and for a while there I wondered if I meant I’m just too immature. But I don’t think that’s the case – I think I just picked a different path, and I took a little while to figure out what that would be. And the comparison is dumb anyway: I’m happy in LA, with my too-expensive apartment and my independence and my work of figuring myself out.

Running is tempting. When things get hard, I want to do nothing more than get up and leave the situation, no matter what it is. I think running feels really good for a while. It lets you feel like you’re making a change. I think running has a time and a place, and sometimes we don’t know what that is until we’ve done it, but it can’t be a permanent solution.

Sometimes I wonder if when I moved to LA, I was running away from something. Someone accused me of it once. I don’t have an answer, I just know that it felt like the right thing to do in the moment – the only option, really –  and so I did it. Maybe I was running for something: from the cold, from depression, from an environment of my own making that wasn’t serving me anymore. In that case, running was the best course of action.

But it’s not always. My whole life, I’ve dreamed of a close knit community: people who know you, who love you, who call you out on your shit. And I don’t think you get that from running. In fact, I know you don’t. Running doesn’t allow us to build connections, to meet people, to sit with them in the hard times and say “hey, this hurts and I need you to help me get though it, and in return I will do the same for you.” If you’re constantly running, you don’t have those people. You can have friends, sure, but that sense of deep connection isn’t there. That only comes from being rooted.

For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m starting to put down roots. College felt like a temporary thing, where anything could change on a dime, and very frequently did. I was drifting for two years after I finished college, and now I’m in a place that’s starting to feel like home. I have people here who know me and love me, and I don’t feel like I need to have everything together. It feels good.

When I first moved here, I didn’t have a job or or a place to live. I said that I was going to stay for a year, and if I didn’t like it, I could always move back. In a few days, it will have been a year and I’m not planning on going anywhere. The one year plan has stretched into a tentative three years, but not really. I don’t really have a plan to go anywhere else at all. Maybe I’ll move somewhere else one day, but I’m building a community here, one that feels good and supportive and who I can’t imagine leaving.

Anything can happen, but for now I’m planning to stay where I am, to stay rooted. It’s a little scary, but it also feels freeing in a way that I couldn’t have imagined two years ago.

A Quarter Century

March 9, 2018

I turned 25 on Sunday. I think I’m supposed to feel all existential and “oh my God I’m getting SO OLD” about it, and I did for a bit leading up to it, but mainly I’m just incredibly grateful. I’m so grateful that I have this life, with friends who will plan me a big fancy brunch and bring number balloons (my secret dream that I have literally never expressed to anyone on the planet for fear of it being so basic) and take me to the beach and to bookstores and for tacos and take a thousand photos of me laughing in front of different murals. The weather was good, the laughs were plentiful, and I feel lucky.

Things I don’t want to forget: being told I needed to stay in the car because I got there early (which never happens), the fact that the man who took our big group photo turned out to be the author of Call Me By Your Name, which Bri and I had gone to see the night before, it being Oscar Sunday which hasn’t ever happened before and will likely never happen again, eating tacos for dinner, being too full to eat my free birthday milkshake after breakfast + mimosas + cake, the fact that there was cake at all, sitting on the beach and listening to the ocean and going to two bookstores.

I am 25, and I am thankful.

Currently || March 2018

March 7, 2018

I’m linking up with Anne of In Residence for her Currently link up, which happens the first Wednesday of every month.

Currently…

planning | a trip home at the end of the month, a podcast I’m starting with my friend Bri, what to wear for the marathon I’m running in 10 days!!!

seeing | a lot of good in the world. I’ve found myself in a negative and complaining mood lately, and I am trying very hard to find the good things.

making | not much of anything at the moment, but planning to make these superhero muffins soon from Shalane Flanagan’s cookbook, Run Fast, Eat Slow. I add chocolate chips and raisins, and the combination is great.

pretending | that it’s still my birthday. it’s only been 3 days since I turned 25, so maybe birthday week can be a thing? I’m hoping to write a post about it this week. it was so fun.

wearing | I’ll tell you what I’m not wearing: a winter coat, because I moved out of the East Coast in order to avoid storms like the one hitting the region today!


See prior Currently posts here!

March 2018 Goals

March 2, 2018

MARCH GOALS.

I never actually set goals in February. I intended to, and then the month got away from me, and then there didn’t seem like there was time. But I did manage to read 8 books, go to a lot of physical therapy appointments, and sleep a bit more than usual.

Here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish in March:

  • Turn 25! This one’s happening on Sunday, whether I do anything about it or not 🙂
  • Run the LA Marathon. It’s probably going to be one of the biggest days of my life thus far.
  • Read 10 books. This will put me to my quarterly total of 25 books, which would be awesome.
  • Social media free weekend. If I do this, it’ll have to be next weekend – we’ll see if I can stay off Instagram all weekend. I’m trying to set better boundaries for myself re: social media, and this would help.
  • Podcast meeting. My friend Bri and I are in the very early stages of setting up a podcast, and I’d love us to start talking about it in more detail.
  • Save $250. My savings took a hit in January when I got rear ended by someone without insurance, and I’m still (eternally and perpetually) waiting for my insurance company to get the $500 deductible from them. I don’t have much extra cash, but I’m going to try to knuckle down this month and scrape some together so that I have at least an extra month’s rent. (But thank God I had that savings fund so that I wasn’t left scrambling for that deductible in the first place.)
  • Hang out with a friend (and possibly start a writer’s group). I’ve been trying to make plans with one person for about four months now, and we haven’t gotten our schedules together. We both want to talk about writing and encourage each other, and I’d love to actually do that this month.
  • Clean out my closet + donate my clothes. You’d be amazed at how much stuff I’ve accumulated in 11 months of living here. It’s time to let some of it go.

There’s a lot of big stuff happening in March, and I want to do my best to take things day by day and see what happens!

Do you have any big (or small!) goals for this month?

 

 

The Good Side || February 2018

March 1, 2018

I’m starting a new series featuring all the things that made my life better in recent weeks. (I totally got this format idea from Hannah Brencher, though I’d been searching for a way to compile links like this!) I’m working on being more grateful, and I’m hoping that looking at the good side of things will help with that.


Good quotes.

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” – Ernest Hemingway

“You have to learn how to say no without you feeling like you’re being mean. Setting boundaries is how you see who does and doesn’t respect you, your time, or your emotional well-being. Anyone who sees your boundaries and thinks your being mean or tries to push that boundaries is not a person you owe your time or attention.”

“Everyone needs a place. It shouldn’t be inside of someone else.” – Richard Siken

“You should remember you are equally beautiful and kind and generous and even though you feel lonely, your heart is never alone.” – a friend I love a lot.

Good podcasts.

Song Exploder.
“You think you’re such a mess but what you don’t realize until you move into better phases of your life is being that messed up or lost is also a great freedom, kinda cower to go but up. Because all that side aside, everything was wide open.” – Jack Antonoff, on Song Exploder.
My friend Bri introduced me to this podcast, which invites an artist to break down one of their songs and talk about how it came into being. I absolutely love learning about peoples’ creative processes, and this hits that mark straight on. Favorite episodes: The Killers (this one made me cry), Lorde, The Lumineers.

Happier in Hollywood.
In January, I went to a meet up for this podcast, which describes itself as telling you how to be happier, healthier, saner, more creative, more successful, and more productive in a back-biting, superficial, chaotic, unpredictable, and fundamentally insane world. It’s hosted by two television writers based in Hollywood, but you absolutely don’t need to be in Los Angeles to listen to it.

Good watches.

I was convinced by some friends to see Black Panther, and I absolutely loved it. I’m not much of a superhero movies person, but I wanted the film to do well and once I saw a few trailers I had to admit it looked good. I absolutely did not disappoint, and it’s made me emotional to hear about how important the black representation has been for people. This video of Chadwick Boseman surprising fans while they thank him is the best.

I’m late to the game but I’ve become obsessed with This is Us in recent weeks. I’m only a few episodes behind what’s currently airing, and I almost don’t want to catch up just because I know it’s going to break my heart. But man, what a great show. It’s also exacerbating my complicated feelings about getting older (I turn 25 on Sunday) but in a good way, which makes sense only in my head.


And that’s what I’ve got for The Good Side this time around. I’ve been keeping a list of good quotes all year with the intention of sharing them on the blog, but I’m excited to expand that into a more comprehensive list to share at the end of each month. If there’s anything in particular that’s making your life better, leave a comment!