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book report // not that kind of girl

This weekend I decided to give myself a time out — quiet time where all I did was read and eat cheese on crackers for dinner. So I settled onto the sofa and reached for the first book on my stack of unreads: Not That Kind of Girl. I don’t know much about Lena Dunham, nor do I watch ‘Girls.’ Being totally transparent, I am actually scared to watch the show. I’m afraid I’ll see too much of my life and it’s painful moments mirrored back at me. So, like all good Pisces, I avoid it. But that doesn’t mean I live under a rock. When people talk about a new, popular book, I often order it immediately… then it languishes in a stack until I finally make time to read it. I picked up this book not because I really care about Lena or her show or her larger than life personality. I was just genuinely curious.

book report // not that kind of girlYes, I am late to the party on this. And, yes, I adore the book. Should I feel ashamed to admit that? I don’t. She’s blunt and rude and crude, sure, but she also gets it. For anyone who been brutally hurt by a man (physically or emotionally) or felt uncomfortable in your own skin, Lena’s words actually made me feel like I wasn’t alone. It’s refreshing to read someone else’s truths and feel a real connection to them. At the end of the day, it really does help to know you’re not alone. Regardless of the tv show and who she is now, I do recommend that you read it.

book report // not that kind of girlSo, tell me: have you read Not That Kind of Girl? What were your thoughts?

photography by Jojotastic

a little extra grace // focus on joy downloadable for your iphone or computer

We can all agree; each year the holiday season seems to arrive a little quicker. Before we’re prepared, we are caught up in the chaos of holiday parties, family get-togethers, traditions, shopping, decorating, cuddling to watch all of the Christmas movies we own, wrapping presents, baking, and singing our favorite holiday tunes loud and proud. The busyness of these few weeks can overwhelmingly rob us of the joy we can feel during the holidays — the time we are supposed to be fulfilled with humble gratitude for many aspects of our lives.

Seeking joy is arguably the biggest drive in life. From a young age, we are taught to make decisions based on what will make us the happiest, or bring us the most joy. However, as we grow older, we have a tendency to focus on the low points we experience instead of being mindful and taking the opportunities to celebrate joy. I believe Brene Brown stated it best in her book Daring Greatly, “Joy is an invitation to practice gratitude, to acknowledge how truly grateful we are for the person, the beauty, the connection, or simply the moment before us.” In her book, Brown writes about how we are afraid to embrace joy because of the fear it won’t last. It’s like telling ourselves “if I really enjoy all of these moments, then I know something bad will happen to me soon”. Thinking this way only helps us to put more pressure on our low points. To help us get out of this mindset, Brown writes, “Every time we allow ourselves to lean into joy and give in to those moments, we build resilience and we cultivate hope. The joy becomes part of who we are, and when bad things happen- and they do happen- we are stronger.”

a little extra grace // focus on joy downloadable for your iphone or computerAt the end of October, I had another surgery on my leg because of a fracture. For this reason, I lived in Oklahoma City with my parents the entire month of November, instead of at my home in Austin, to recover. I was sad because I thought this was another low point of my life. A few times I thought “it’s only a matter of time before my next surgery or something else happens”. Last Sunday, about 3 weeks after my surgery, I took a book and my journal to a coffee shop. After several hours, my first mug of coffee was empty and I needed a refill. I grabbed my wallet, walked to the counter to order, and patiently stood waiting for maybe 5 minutes before taking my fresh coffee back to my table. When I sat down I realized, I had done all of this without pain, soreness, or a limp. Tears filled my eyes and I smiled to myself. This was the first time I had been able to walk without pain in 5 years. In that moment, I truly felt joy.

Knowing how happy I am to have gone through this recovery, and many others, I get stronger every time because I focus on the joyful outcome. Now this holiday season will be filled with gratitude for my health, being able to spend it at home in Austin, and being with everyone I love. I’m choosing to focus on this joy, instead of being caught up in the holiday chaos.

a little extra grace // focus on joy downloadable for your iphone or computerI’d like to empower you to join me in making the choice to accept that invitation of joy instead of resisting it. We are presented with many opportunities to dwell in our joy each day. Although our joy is not constant, I want us to all strive to be grateful for what we have- celebrate it, never apologize for it, and share your gratitude. As a simple reminder, I created this iPhone and desktop wallpaper to remind us to focus on our joys each day no matter what they are.

Click these links to save and set them as your wallpaper: iphone | desktop

May your holiday season be filled with joy!

a thanksgiving table

I’m going to keep it short and sweet today: I want all of you to have a happy, lovely Thanksgiving full of buttery potatoes, crisp turkey skin (the best part), and pie. Lots and lots of pie. My mom is in town so I’ve been showing her the sights: Alamo Square, the beach, the bridge, even wine tasting in Sonoma. For dinner, we’re planning a simple, small meal for the two of us and one of my best friends — it’s exactly what I crave for this holiday. I plan to hit ‘pause’ and really think about what is meaningful in my life. Not that we shouldn’t do that every day, but really Thanksgiving is the perfect reminder in all the day-to-day chaos. I’ve had quite the year (more on that here), so I’m just grateful to be where I am in this moment.

a Thanksgiving table - california styleI hope you and your family have a great holiday and be sure to check back in on Friday for some of my favorite shopping deals of the day!

photography by Jojotastic at Scribe.

a kind of honest check in // www.jojotastic.com

I always struggle with the decision of how personal and honest to get in this space. I’m turning 30 next year, and I swear, the past 4 years have born some of the most tumultuous moments of my life. In that span of time, I moved across the country multiple times (Seattle to Philly, Philly to San Francisco), leaving a place that I considered to be home for the first time ever. I fell deeply, overwhelming in love. We’re talking a love that I never knew could be possible… and then that relationship ended. I was alone in a city I despised and totally overwhelmed by the thought of coping. I dealt with crippling depression, something I have alluded to, but not really written about in a detailed way here. For all these reasons, I am so very happy to say this next bit: It’s been a really, really tough few years and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

a kind of honest check in // www.jojotastic.comI’m deciding for myself and only myself. I’m making my own decisions. I’m thinking of the bigger picture and making sure that it includes my vision, not anyone else’s. I’ve successfully made the shift to full-time freelance and it’s been great for me both personally and professionally. I am now solely working on my vision, no one else’s and I truly believe my passion shows more than ever before.

Right now, I am in Seattle for the first time in 2 years. Why? Because I’m contemplating what a move back to this gorgeous city would be like. I adore San Francisco, but I’ve not been able to personally settle down while there. Sometimes it makes me wonder if I am even meant to settle down… then I answer that question with an entire debate on what ‘settling down’ even means these days. I’ve still got lots of time left on my lease in SF and I’m still dealing with a few painful memories while I’m here, so this decision remains to be determined. Mostly, I just wanted to be honest about where my head is these days. And for all of you out there coping with depression and uncertainty, please know that you are not alone.

photography by Greg Zulkie at Scribe 

bask in the wonder

Wow, guys, what a week it’s been. I got back from Amsterdam in the wee hours of Monday morning and I’ve been battling post-vacation blues and strange sleeping patterns ever since. I miss it, but what’s especially funny is that while I was gone I also missed the rhythm of my days here in SF. Walking Noodle, pausing work to make lunch, even my nightly bathtub soaks. Sometimes it’s fun to step outside of your life and, believe me, I definitely needed it. I guess what I’m really saying is that it took stepping away from my life to come back feeling overwhelmingly appreciative of the life I’ve built. Before I left I felt so… mired and stagnant. Now it’s like the inspiration well has been filled to the point of overflowing and the synapses are firing again. It’s all very, very good.

In case you missed it this week, here’s what was on the blog this week:

Happy weekend!

image from Jojotastic on Instagram

i am very busy.

So, about today’s blog post… yeah, I definitely forgot to write one today. Oops. I leave for vacation tomorrow and it’s becoming all too clear that my mind is… elsewhere already. There’s something about this trip that has me feeling flustered. Maybe it’s the impending 11 hour flight, maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t packed yet or that I’m absolutely exhausted from a relentless schedule and zero days off since I have no idea when. I don’t think I’ve ever been this disorganized before a trip. Usually I am a calm, cool, collected traveler. Does this happen to everyone?

While I’m away, some of my amazing friends will be guest posting here. They’ve delicious recipes, crafty DIYs, inspirational travel journals, and much, much more. Stay tuned and I’ll be back November 4!

pencil pouch from Ban.do

we need to put an end to sexual harassment.

Editor’s note: I try to keep it fairly lighthearted in this space, veering away from anything political or controversial, but today something so terrible happened to me that I felt no choice but to speak out. 

This morning, I was standing at my desk contemplating getting to work. My desk faces out of 3 large windows and directly across the street is a construction site. As I was glancing around, I realized that 2 men from the construction site were on their roof, watching me. When they realized that I saw them, they started yelling at me — horrible, ugly things. My initial instinct was to close my curtains… which cued even more yelling… more vocalization of their displeasure that I was not allowing them to continue watching me and yelling at me. Even as I write that, it boggles my mind. A lump rises in my throat and my arms tingle. I felt uncomfortable and unsafe in my own home. Not ok.

In terms of the bigger picture, it has never been a good time to harass people, in my opinion. Given news-worthy events of late though… it is an especially poor time. If anything, I desperately hope that as a country, we are becoming attuned to the plight of minorities… and actually learning to be good to each other. With Ray Rice in the headlines, I can’t help but wonder WHY these men felt like it was ok to act as they did. WHY? Have you not learned your lesson from this asshole that you have idolized? Do you think it is still ok to degrade women? Because I am here today to say it is not. It never will be. And the next time you decide to watch me, I will call the police again. And I will not stop until you are fired.

I waffled about whether to cite the name of the construction company, but I think they should be called to task for employing misogynistic, crude lowlifes. So listen up, Nibbi Brothers General Contractors, I will not stand by and let your employees treat women this way. The police have spoken to your crew, I have left a voicemail, I have tweeted you and sent you a message on Facebook, I even wrote a Yelp review. You need to know that this is not ok.

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