Archive for ‘365 Days of What I Love’

August 22, 2011

What I Love… Random Loves

It’s has been a random past couple of weeks and I have had many loves and no time to write about them, but here is a short synopsis of some of the things I have loved lately:

1. Listening to peoples’ conversations while out around town. The best line I heard was a domestic quarrel at the grocery store between two older gentlemen. I keep wondering if it was a father/son relationship, but will never know. The younger man asked about a bag of chips, “What kind do you like?” The older man’s response was, “Whatever kind you don’t like.” I couldn’t help but laugh a little and smile as I walked through the store.

2. Randomness. I had decided that I need more silly and random days in my life. Which has worked out in my favor. Lately, I have had to plan much of my life and weeks, because of all the traveling and family obligations in my life and I finally got a random weekend and it was everything that I had hoped for. I think changing our schedules and routines is healthy and eliminates monotony in our lives.

3. The sun. I just can’t get enough of it right now. I love summer and know I am pushing myself to my limits to enjoy it, but I also know that when it starts raining, I may not want to go outside nearly as much. Today, I managed to get to a park and lay in the sun for an hour. It was the best thing I did for myself all day.

4. Running. It has been great to get back and run after hurting my foot a few weeks ago. I realized today that I had missed being active when I went for a short run. It was fun to see all the neighbors out enjoying the weather.

5. Firemen. I really need to stop talking about how much I love them, but they are everywhere I go. I have even told my sister that when I go up to Seattle, I’m borrowing her 2 1/2 year old son to go do a firehouse tour. He is so stinking cute and personable, I know I will have a few opportunities to flirt with the firemen. I’ll just have to make sure they know he is my nephew.

6. Bubble tea. It is delicious and I can’t believe I have never tried it before.

7. Iced coffee. This is breaking my budget this summer! Thankfully my sister sent me a quick and easy way of making iced coffee in bulk, but I haven’t had time to actually make it. I should get on that.

8. Concerts at the Oregon Zoo. I had so much fun with my friends. I will be going back next year. Although, I will say I need to go back and see the animals, since I have not done that yet. Maybe in a few weeks when I finally have another day to myself.

9. Me time. I think we are all on the go and keep ourselves busy with friends and family, but it’s extremely important to take the time to take care of ourselves. Whether it’s taking an afternoon to do a spa day or read a good book, just remember to take care of yourself! You deserve it.

10. Beer Festivals in Portland. Enough said I think. Portland has a great variety.

11. Sitting on a patio with friends for happy hour after work.

12. Portland summers. While this has been a short one, it has been gorgeous and filled with great people.

13. Fedoras. Especially when it comes to hiding my big hair. I need a haircut.

14. BBQs

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August 19, 2011

What I Love… The Happy Movie

I saw an incredible documentary this week which made me think a lot about my life, my relationships and my attitude.  This movie was called Happy. At the beginning it tells us that 50% of our happiness is determined by our genetics and that only 10% comes from things like our job and material goods. But what about the other 40%? Well those are things which we choose to do to make ourselves happy. That is a lot of happiness we create! What sorts of things did they recommend: exercise, socializing, trying new things, helping others and collaboration. Apparently, we are hard wired to enjoy collaboration as it was essential to ensure survival thousands of years ago.

After hearing these things, I realized when I am the most unhappy I am doing the same things over and over again, not getting out and socializing with people, and not exercising. These are such easy, small fixes. It’s easy to pick up the phone and call a friend to grab coffee. It’s easy to get up an extra half hour early to go for a run (in my case, not so easy sometimes, but I’m really starting to love mornings and will be incorporating that into my life). Most of these things are even free or can be inexpensive.

I was not too surprised that change could actually increases happiness. I think many of us are change averse, including me, even though, change can bring new challenges, new opportunities for growth, and new found passions and even friends. Change is not bad, it is good for us. I do know that I love trying new things because I can’t help but smile when I do and usually can laugh at myself if I’m not that great. The hard part for me is getting motivated to get out and try new things. Why is that I wonder? I think sometimes I’m afraid of failure or not being good at something, but I’m going to commit to myself to not allow that to hold me back when I want to do something. Nobody is awesome when they try something new for the first time. It’s all a learning process. I know that when I try new things, I am happier and I end up enjoying it.

This movie even gave me ideas on how I want to build stronger, healthier, happier relationships with my family and someday, in the future, whoever I end up with. I think instead of just spending time with them, which is always nice, I’m going to ensure that there is a little change involved to our routines, a little more collaborative projects, a little more fun and play. I’m already thinking about starting a blog with my sisters, something they have agreed to but we haven’t done just yet. I think there is a lot to say about having individual success, but I find it very rewarding when that success includes more people.

With winter just around the corner, I have this fear that when I start hibernating, as I always do once the winter brings the cold, cloudy rainy days, that I’m going to become unhappy and moody again. One of the most important lessons I learned this year, is that I can’t rely on others to make me happy. I bring my own happiness and that is why I have had the summer of my life. Not only did I surround myself with people that I love and things that I love, but I made sure to do the little things like laying in the sun, writing, or meditating. I might have done some of those alone, but they made me much happier and pleasant to be around.

One of my favorite quotes is “Funny thing about joy, is that you only really find it when you are too busy having fun to go looking for it.” I don’t know who said it, but it was on a birthday card my mother gave to me and I proudly display that card as a reminder that I create my happiness.

I highly recommend this movie to anyone – even if you are already happy. For more information about this movie, check out their website at: http://www.thehappymovie.com/film/

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August 17, 2011

What I Love…. Making Up Words

I have made up words since I can remember – mostly by accident. I always have two words in mind at the same time and when it finally comes out, it ends up becoming a single, spliced word. My newest creation was an accident of course. As I was staring at the ocean on my recent trip to the coast, it came to mind how massive and expansive the ocean was. I was in awe and wanted to express this thought with my road trip buddy, but instead of saying it was massive and expansive, I said instead, “It’s so mansive.”

I recently learned that there is a term for these types of words, thanks to my recent love of learning all about grammar. They are called pormanteaus words. The term is derived from a French word that refers to a suitcase that has two compartments. I can’t think of any other words that I’ve made up, but from now on instead of just laughing about them, I’m going to save them for later use.

Gold Dust Beach - The Ocean is Mansive

August 11, 2011

What I Love… My Retro Camera App

A few days ago I took a road trip to the Redwoods and it was amazing. While I will write another blog about it later, I do want to share what I loved down there was my camera phone. I’m not the best photographer by any means and I only had my phone to take pictures. I couldn’t capture the beauty of the Redwoods and the Oregon coast on our drive back, but I had fun letting my Retro Cam app on my phone try. I went a little wild, but I had so much fun playing with it. Here are some of my favorite images…

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August 4, 2011

What I Love… A Good Hug

I don’t think there is anything better than a great hug. I have met a few people who are amazing at hugging and I absolutely adore them for it! It occurred to me that I can be somewhat reserved, something I’m working on, but I think in the past it made it hard to hug people. I sometimes hold back, but I don’t want to! I think I’m afraid if I give a hug, it might be awkward for the other person.

Although, I will say I have come along way when it comes to hugging people. I remember my sophomore year in the dorms at the University of Utah, there were a couple guys who lived across the hall from us. One day, shortly after we had moved in, one of my roommates and I were talking to one of them. Before saying goodbye, he hugged us. At first my whole body tensed up – I was not used to hugging strangers or people I do not know very well. I wrapped my hands around him, and then I patted him on the back. He gave me a quizzical look and then proceeded to make fun of me – as he should have. He asked me if I had just patted his back and then said that wasn’t a real hug. I laugh about it now, because it’s true. That is not a real hug! Perhaps patting is okay, but combined with the awkward lean does not go very well. If that kind of a hug had words, I think it might scream “get me out of here.”

What is a real hug then? I give a lot of side hugs, I think because when I first greet people my hands are full. I think that’s a real hug though, but it’s not a great hug. I love the long hug with the little squeeze at the end; or the hug that, instead of a pat, has a loving, gentle back rub; or the hugs that last just a second or two longer than expected.  There is something about the unexpectedness of a long hug that catches me off guard. Sometimes I wonder if that person really needs a hug so at that point I know to throw in squeeze, just in case she does. Or perhaps they just really love hugging people and in that case, I love that about them.

To compare myself now to the girl I was in college is shocking, but now it is my goal to become a great hugger. It does seem silly, but a hug can change a person’s day.

This video makes my day brighter whenever I am sad, some of you may have already seen it, but it just goes to show how hugs connect people and can put a smile on someone’s face and I love it for those very reasons: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hN8CKwdosjE

A hug can make a person’s heart grow bigger. I believe it with all mine.

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August 1, 2011

What I Love… Color

Last November my mom came to visit me in Portland. Of course, what always ends up happening whenever I see her is that we go shopping.  I  love shopping, this is not new, but something happened on this particular shopping trip that  has stuck with me. At one of the stores we were at, I ended up picking out all neutral colored clothing: a gray sweater, gray and white plaid pajama bottoms, and a gray under-tee. Everything was gray. There was a moment when I realized that everything I was purchasing was gray, but I just thought it was coincidence. As I was checking out, the store clerk asked, “Are you afraid of color?” I can’t remember what else he said, but I remember being angry. “No,” was my answer. A short, simple and irritated response.

At first I didn’t know why I was angry. Sometimes, I have trouble determining what exactly made me angry. In that moment I had directed that anger at the store clerk. “How dare he say that? He was being pompous,” I remember thinking. Really, that was the word that came to my mind when he had said it. I felt that he was talking down to me and being snide. He may or may not have been, that’s just the story I told myself. After the initial anger wore off, I had to ask myself, why was I angry? I know that when I react out of anger there is always deeper meaning behind it.  I believe anger is an effect of deeper emotions that we are repressing. If we get to the root of that anger, it dissipates. I tend to ignore the cause and just shrug it off, but this was the beginning of many important lessons for me – it set in motion a chain reaction of realizations that have taken months to understand and even learn. Instead of shrugging it off, I had to get to the root of why I was angry and it might not have been until the past few weeks that I actually understood why.

I love color, I always have. Growing up, purple was my favorite color, then blue, and it was always changing. At some point, I think I just stopped thinking about it though. Somewhere along my teens, I started wearing gray and black. In college, I branched out and wore a lot of pinks and reds, but I would come in and out of phases where all I purchased were neutral toned clothing. Neutral tones are easy, they go with a lot of things. Even my jewelry was simple, either silver or gold, mostly silver hoops, because they go with almost anything. I was a broke college student and needed to maximize what accessories I did buy, but why did I carry that feeling with me? I think it goes back to being able to blend in easily. I don’t like to be noticed and feel self conscious when I am, which is really a ridiculous feeling, because people on average just walking down the street may see me, register me, but will eventually forget. The human brain only has so much capacity to recognize and store transient data, but I carried that feeling of wanting to hide from my childhood. I’m starting not to care anymore, but it was one of those “ah-ha” moments for me, when I realized that I even do it with my emotions: I neutralize my emotions. How boring is that! Let me tell you, it’s incredibly boring! It’s not that I don’t feel my emotions, I just don’t let them out and over time, these emotions kept building up as a form of anxiety and I felt trapped sometimes, until now.

A few weeks ago, I bought a gorgeous light green ring that I matched with my favorite dark plum finger nail polish and it was that moment how much I realized I do love color. I couldn’t stop staring at the combination and thinking about all the different ways I could replicate it. Then I bought this dress that is gorgeous, blue and orange. Two opposite colors, but when paired together, I love it. Is it just coincidence that I am now loving color and that I am now starting to own my emotions? Maybe, but I do think color can be a representation of emotion and I think it all has to do with this realization that I haven’t been myself for a long time. I have been lost for much longer than I had even wanted to admit and I was working incredibly hard to be someone I was not for years, seeking acceptance, love, and happiness from others. I had something really great recently and I lost it. I think that it was in losing it was the final push for me to address myself and get to know be better. I know it’s gone forever this thing that I lost, but I also know why it’s gone now – I can’t expect someone else to accept me, love me, and make me happy, when I wasn’t able to do that for myself. I believe what we create for ourselves expands to those around us and my hope is that these lessons I learn now will expand into my life and those around me. In losing myself, I have found pieces of me that I’d forgotten about.  I know that whatever happens along this journey is going to be great, because of this. Sometimes, we all need to get a little lost to find ourselves.

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July 29, 2011

What I Love…. The Word Transparency

I keep coming across the word transparency in regards to behavior. Contextually, it was about being honest with ourselves, our family, our friends, our neighbors, our constituents. I sat thinking about transparency and how it effects me in my relationships with others and with the world. I realized how my with-holding and my fear holds me back and keeps me unconnected and out of communication. As I was contemplating, a song came on my slacker radio station: Lupe Fiasco’s “Words I Never Said”, as if right on queue. I listened to the lyrics and realized, that the last few words of that song were amazing. He sings: “Fear is such a weak emotion thats why I despise it. We scared of almost everything, afraid to even tell the truth. So scared of what you think of me, I’m scared of even telling you”. He mentions that because we live in fear of telling the truth, we are stuck inside of ourselves.

Sometimes,  we are our own worst enemies, we hide ourselves so people will like us or we use lies to get what we want and manipulate others – the government/political realm is notorious for not saying the truth, but spinning it to gain power, just watch or read the news and you will see it right away.

I watched a movie not long ago called “The Invention of Lying”. What struck me about the fictitious world created in this movie is that everyone told the truth, but the truth was mean, ugly, and fearful. Everyone was miserable. The idea behind inventing lying was that it makes us happy; it makes other people happy. While I loved that movie and it made me laugh, I have to disagree with the premise. I think it’s the fear that makes the truth ugly and why we hide it is because of fear. The truth can be ugly, but it gets even uglier when we pretend it doesn’t exist. It also makes us miserable, because we know we’re lying and being inauthentic. I believe inauthenticity breeds misery, especially when we are denying ourselves our true feelings.

Being transparent is much easier said than done. I should know – I’m a fantastic chameleon and a bad communicator about my emotions. I can pretend to agree with someone when I don’t or pretend to be into things that I don’t really like. I also like to sweep everything difficult under the rug and pretend it’s not there, but every time, it manages to creep out and bite me, right where it hurts the most – my heart. It doesn’t make me happy and it doesn’t make those around me happy if I don’t speak truths or with-hold my real feelings.

My challenge to myself is to be transparent, be authentic, speak the truth first of all to myself, and then to those around me. It’s not easy to be honest and hold ourselves accountable, some people are better at it then others, but all great things that come out of life are not easy. We have to be uncomfortable in order to grow. Lupe Fiasco says in his song “I can’t take back the words I never said,” but I believe it’s never too late to say the things you meant to say.

July 25, 2011

What I Love… Red Wine

A few years ago, I drank way too much red wine and woke up with the world’s worst headache and decided to steer clear of it as much as possible. Experience after experience proved that red wine gave me a raging headache and I decided to stick to white wines and rosés. Lately, I have decided to start drinking more red wines. Perhaps, my headaches were caused more by too much alcohol consumption as opposed to red wine specifically. Though, I do believe these headaches are wine related, not necessarily from reds only, because after my second glass I usually end up with a small headache, whether it’s a white or red wine. This is a shame, because I do love wine, but moderation is a trick I am learning.

I ended up at the Red Slate in SE Portland this past Friday, a small wine bar that does wine tasting classes and special events. It is only open to the public for happy hour on Fridays with a small menu of three wines to choose from. Out of the three – a sparkling, white and red – I opted to only drink the red and I fell in love with it. It was a 2007 Réserve Perrin from Perrin & Fils. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre from southern Rhône in France. While I’m no wine guru and am just now embarking on a new journey of loving wine, I will say it was bold, but smooth, rich and deep, yet light enough for a warm sunny, summer evening. Shockingly, this bottle of wine can be bought for under $10.

I look forward to new adventures in wine tasting. I would love it if you shared what your favorite red wine is!

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July 19, 2011

What I Love… Rapper Kaka Sungra – aka Rabbit

Something I have always wanted to do, but haven’t managed to accomplish yet, is to travel the world. Lately, I keep wondering what is holding me back, besides funding, which I don’t have at the moment. I realize that funding is just a detail and if I put my mind to it, I can make it happen, hopefully sooner than later, I already have a few ideas. While I try to figure that part out, I  have been thinking about all the places I would like to go: Egypt, New Zealand, South Africa, Ethiopia, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Italy, France, England, Ireland, and I realize the list just keeps growing. Obviously, I won’t be making an around the world trip anytime soon, but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming. Walking through the Los Angeles airport last week, I stopped at one of the small gift shops/convenient stores while my co-worker purchased a bottle of water. Immediately a magazine caught my eye, AFAR. I had never heard of this travel magazine before, but was intrigued by the magazine title “Travel Deeper – 9 Unusual Destinations”. I grabbed the magazine and took it to the cash register to make my purchase.

I will say that the flight home was one of the shortest two hour flights I had ever experienced. I ended up transfixed on the different articles from the colorful and vibrant Moroccan markets, to the allure of the upcoming Fort Greene neighborhood in Brooklyn, to the New England seaport Portland, Maine, a place that I’ve never been, but already have a strange connection with. Although slight and a little silly it may be, there was an image from the coastline that was the same as on a puzzle I received, a random Christmas gift from an old property manager, that I tried to complete not too long ago, but didn’t because puzzles trouble my impatient soul. I took it as a sign that I must visit there someday. I was so lost in the magazine, I was shocked when the captain came over the intercom to announce that we were descending into Portland.

The article that intrigued me the most was written by one of the SNL contributors, a member of the Lonely Island comedy trio – Jorma Taccone. Try getting the song “I’m on a boat” out of your head after listening to it, it’s nearly impossible. I still have it stuck in my head. You can thank Jorma for that! The article was about him traveling across the world to Nairobi to write an article and to make a music video. His article made me want to visit Kenya and even made me laugh- something I’ve been trying to do more of. After  spending a few short hours in Nairobi and asking around for a local artist, he met Kaka Sungra, aka Rabbit, a well known rapper.

Here is the video that Jorma and Rabbit made together: http://www.afar.com/posts/p-for-every-issue-of-afar-we-spin-the-globe-and-send-a-writer-to-a-random-destination?spt=SL&kme=Visits+Short+Link

What I loved most about this article and this rapper, is that the world may be large, but we have this amazing gift, the internet, that makes it possible for us to connect with others on the opposite side of the world and even to listen to a song written by a rapper from Nairobi! To see how others live in such different places under such dire circumstances and realize that they still have the same worries and concerns including gossiping – check out Rabbit’s rap about it on youtube. That they have such different circumstances, astounds me and I am in awe of this world we live in. I am determined to travel more to see these places.

I will also say that I now have a small crush on one of the Lonely Island members, just don’t tell him.

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July 13, 2011

What I Love… The Holstee Manifesto

I found this poster which is fitting for my life right now: http://shop.holstee.com/pages/about

Not all of it pertains to me at the moment, but at one point or another it has. Lately, I had this realization that this is my life. I think for the first time in my life, I am living my life for me and no one else. I’m not waiting for anyone else to approve what I’m doing or what I want to do and I LOVE IT. No longer do I wait to see what a friend, family member, or boyfriend are doing before I decide what I want to do. I get to march to my own drum and the beat changes daily. It is the most amazing feeling I have ever had.