A Good Life.



I read an article today (you can find it HERE) which talks about a type of behavior called "Humblebragging." To paraphrase: it's when somebody brags about something they've done by trying to sound humble/annoyed about it, more or less as a reason to blast about it on the internet. For example, "Getting up at 8am on a Saturday is a bummer, good thing it's for charity!"
At first, I kind of said to myself, "ugh- what an annoying behavior. But I know I do it too... time to clean up my act!" But upon reflecting on it, I started to wonder... IS it really necessary? And if there's a fine line of necessity  where is that line drawn?
I grew up in a home where a lot of religious lessons were taught. I don't think it matters which religion, because many of the fundamental lessons remain the same throughout most, including one of humility. My siblings and I were raised that we ought to remain humble, selfless, and introspective. Perhaps this is where I get a lot of my passion for self-awareness and improvement. I learned that it was important that I perform kind acts- ones of service- without expectation for any return. Even as an adult, we learn that the key to IN-dependence (as opposed to CO-dependence) is to do what we will without expecting another person to react in the way we hope they will. A good deed should cultivate to simply a good deed; one performed for self-fulfillment and good will to others ONLY.
It wasn't until I got older and entered into the workplace that I began to question that "fact." I've read numerous articles discussing office politics and the fact that employers tend to let your "above and beyond" type behaviors fall by the wayside unless you point them out. I'm sure some lucky people out there have Employee Reviews, but I am not one of them. So if I do something worthy of praise (or a promotion), I have to emphasize it to my boss lest he not even notice it in the first place. Some people take that to the next step (which I find unethical) and exaggerate the strain of their daily tasks in order to seem more valuable. Potato, po-tot-o.
The point is, sometimes, it might BE necessary to brag about the things we do. But where's that line? I may need to casually mention that I took out the trash all week at my house in order for my roommates to realize that they've been a little bad about it. Sure, I could get confrontational and turn it into a complaint, but who wants to nag? LET THE RECORD STATE: This is not an issue at my house, we're all very respectful of who needs to be tidy and pitch in.
But then you have your avid Facebookers (and I admit that I'm guilty of this on occasion too) who feel the need to toot their own horn about how great their lives are, just in case not everyone and their mothers already knew.
Yes, I have a few of my friend's Moms on my page. THEY requested ME, sooo... yeah, it's still weird.  
I posted something the other day- complete classic example- about how I was willing to sacrifice being cold so that I could have my bedroom window open to hear the ocean from my house. How much more manipulative can I be? I CERTAINLY didn't want you to have THIS inner monologue:
Oh, it's cold there, huh? Wait, she lives close enough to the ocean that she can hear waves breaking from her bedroom window? What a bitch! She is sooooooo lucky! *LIKE*. When will Facebook make the Triple Like button? Or how about the Fake 'Like' Even Though I'm Horribly Jealous button? Oh, well. *Smiley Emoticon*...
I'm sorry. But that's what my high-school-mentality brain wanted you to say. I took down the post the next day, having realized that it was bratty and show-offy in it's entirety.
Which brings me to another thought: we accomplish things in our lives in order to be proud of them. So is the adult thing to do just to keep that to ourselves, in order to avoid being a showy brat? Or do we earn the right to brag about our hard work (or sometimes downright luck) to other people? And if we can't discuss our achievements  or our luck, are we destined to ONLY post pictures of our children and our cats online? It seems like someone has something negative to say about every type of post on the various social media sites... "She's bragging," "He's depressing," "Stop taking pictures of food..." What is appropriate to talk/post about? Where is the limit?
I guess there isn't one. I think one of the addicting things about social media sites is the ability for them to be unpredictable, consistently debatable, and a daily dose of the "how dare they!" Somehow the daily blast of blatant insecurity makes us all feel... more secure. We all feel the same, on a fundamental level, most of the time. We all need to be noticed, via one type of megaphone or another. And even if we keep it to ourselves, I think that seeing it out there from other people makes becomes comforting- knowing that we're all these kind of weird, insecure, needy beings... just searching for the approval that we did something worthwhile at 6:52 pm.



"We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive." 
— Thich Nhat Hanh 


I don't know about you, but this holiday season was ROUGH on me. I usually just stay home for the holidays, surrounded by my Mom's cooking which, bless her heart, isn't generally something we tend to overindulge on. Not to mention that it's a one-day affair for Thanksgiving as well as Christmas, and after that I'm in the clear as far as snacking goes.
Not this year.
This year I went to a cabin in Big Bear for Thanksgiving. It was amazing. We had a group of about 10 people and included some of the best "foodies" I know. We ate, we drank, we slept. Some people went hiking. I, however, did not. Fail. Christmas was in Ohio and I spent over a week having my entire schedule revolve around food... What? Where? When? How much? Just kidding, "how much" was never a question. We just ate. And ate some more. Then we sat inside because it was cold outside. It was not me peaking, nutritionally.
So obviously, I'm feeling a little bit... Well Fed. I don't think it's as bad as all of that, but for someone who can tell when I've gained even as little as two or three pounds, I'm definitely feeling it after the past month or so. So now what?
I'm trying a few things. For one, I've been following a Pescatarian lifestyle for the past week and a half. It's been surprisingly easy, and it makes me happy to know that I'm lowering my fat content by steering clear of heavy meats. HOWEVER, I have to wonder if not eating chicken or turkey is pushing me to eat more grains by way of veggie alternatives. And if so, is that healthier? I've never been a big carb person, so I worry if that's the best approach for me. I think I'll give it a month (total) and see how my body looks and feels.
I have also gotten back into doing yoga (and a little Pilates) at home. The video above is NOT where I'm at with my practice, but it's definitely inspiring. I found this post  on Pinterest, which is also really inspiring me to take healthier steps with my fitness levels and overall outlook:
photo credit: unknown

There are a few good fitness and healthy-eating websites, too, which I've been looking at. Feel free to check them out Here and Here. And if you've got any tips that work for you, PLEASE let me know. Thanks!



Does anyone else feel like they spend DAYS just sucked into a musical rabbit hole? Because I do. Granted I work for an entertainment magazine, so it's sort of my job to know about music. But even before I started doing that I was more or less obsessed with music. I can remember the days when I would sit in my sister's room while she was at cheer practice- her radio stuffed with a blank cassette tape- and I would wait until "That Song" came on the radio so I could record it. I still have songs from the 90s that I don't know the intro to because I didn't quite catch the whole thing. I remember sitting in my brother's room (because apparently I spent a lot of my childhood invading my sibling's personal space) listening to Morrissey and They Might Be Giants.
Some people get stirring cravings for comfort food; I get them for comfort music. And movies, but I wont even get started with movies because that's a whole new can of worms.
Now that Spotify is on my radar, I pretty much spend all of my time browsing music and listening to new songs and artists I hadn't heard of before. Youtube is great for that too, fyi. Anyways, without further adieu, here are a few songs on repeat this month (so far). Let me know if you like the idea of me posting these and I can do it more frequently.



I am more interested in your fruit than I am your theology. If your knowledge doesn’t better equip you to love, it’s worthless.
- Mattie Montgomery (via missericaleigh) (courtesy of awelltraveledwoman.tumblr.com) 


Learn to like what doesn’t cost much.
Learn to like reading, conversation, music.
Learn to like plain food, plain service, plain cooking.
Learn to like fields, trees, brooks, hiking, rowing, climbing hills.
Learn to like people, even though some of them may be different…different from you.
Learn to like to work and enjoy the satisfaction doing your job as well as it can be done.
Learn to like the song of birds, the companionship of dogs.
Learn to like gardening, puttering around the house, and fixing things.
Learn to like the sunrise and sunset, the beating of rain on the roof and windows, and the gentle fall of snow on a winter day.
Learn to keep your wants simple and refuse to be controlled by the likes and dislikes of others.
- Lowell C. Bennion (via larmoyante)(Courtesy of awelltraveledwoman.tumblr.com)



Wow, I think December was the first time I went an entire month without blogging! I know I discussed it before, but I feel like motivating myself to blog when I am busy/happy/having writer's block is a lot more difficult than I realized. I have a few ideas to get that Blogger Funk to head out, which is a part of what I am talking about today.
Obviously it's a new year. And people make resolutions on New Years Day to make serious changes. However, I haven't had a history of being one of those people. I guess I just cop out to that old "I never keep them anyways" thought process. But just because there is a chance you might fail at something- doesn't mean you should just not even try. So I've been thinking about what resolutions I would go for this year... I wanted to aim for something different, but realistic and attainable. I've also missed making goals and seeing them come to fruition. I did that a lot at the end of 2011 and into 2012, and I think it was a really great way to make small monthly changes that I could complete and see in a matter of a few weeks. I am also a big advocate of self-reflection, and I think that looking back on lessons and changes from 2012 is a healthy way to move forward from the good, the bad, and the ugly from the past year. So today, there is a lot to talk about.
As far as the past year, it's been a wild ride. I don't know how much I've necessarily changed in the past 12  months because I think it takes a little more time to really get to a place where I could reflect on something like that. I will say that the first half of my year and the second half were drastically different. I was still in that weird funk for the first part of the year. I didn't take my annual vacation until pretty late (July), as opposed to going in the spring like I had done the year before. I was still putting up with a lot of negative people and just trying to "power through it" rather than do something about it. Which I know now was a huge mistake. I had a quote that I used to keep on my bedroom door for years and years which read: I knew if I wasn't happy with my life, it was up to ME to do something about it. For the record: if you're unhappy, don't wait to power through it. DO something about it. I should have done a number of things a lot sooner than I did in 2012. Maybe out of laziness, maybe I was scared of change. I honestly can't pin down exactly what it was. But I guess that could have been one of my biggest lessons of the year. After my birthday and Costa Rica trip in July, I felt like my life made a complete 180-degree turn. And it wasn't just one thing. It was meeting my boyfriend, moving back to Huntington Beach, cutting out a lot of the negativity and poor friendships in my life, and really just a culmination of events that stemmed from those three things. Because I was planning to travel more, I invested in a good camera. Because I got the camera (and had the good fortune to talk to my friend Drew about his writing gig), I got hired on as a writer and photographer for NiteGuide Magazine. Because I got that side-job, I was given opportunities to cover a ton of concerts and festivals across California. About that same time, I met my boyfriend and he (in his unyielding search for spontaneous adventure) jumped in a car with me on our second date and drove to San Francisco to cover my first big concert. We started dating after that and ended up where we are now, which is a pretty great place. I think that me wanting to have a place "more my own," to have friends and my boyfriend come over to led me to seek out my current roommates, who have made my life feel so crazy-blessed and peaceful and happy that it blows my mind on a daily basis. These girls are seriously some of the most amazing people that I get to share a house with and I love them both more than anything. Incorporating the two of them in addition to my boyfriend has changed a lot of things about my life. They've taught me that spontaneity and simply allowing myself to be fun-loving again can make all the difference in the world. For the first time in years, I feel like I am okay being 100% myself. I don't feel like I'm constantly needing to be on the defense for being quirky or making the occasional mistake. Life is a lot less serious these days and it seems so much easier when handled in that light. I'm learning more about myself as a friend, a person, and a girlfriend than I've ever learned before. And it's been a pretty great few months for those reasons.
For 2013, I'm hoping to continue that search for knowledge and adventure. I'm turning 30 this year, which is really wild to think about. There's my big trip coming up, hopefully in April. I wont talk about that until I actually buy my ticket because I don't want to jinx it. I also have a few other plans in the works that I will wait until I have concrete material to talk about them, but suffice to say that this year is going to have a lot of newness for me, and I'm really excited about it all. To make more concrete goals, however, I want to list them here.
1. Advance in my photography skills. I initially took most of my photos on an Auto Mode, which is sort of cheating. It took me a loooong while to even attempt to use manual settings, but I finally got into it over the Christmas holiday, enough to at least feel comfortable using my camera on manual. My pictures are a lot better, and I have to admit: it's a lot more fun! I was insanely spoiled over Christmas and received a new zoom lens that I'm also obsessed with- so this is the year of the photograph for me.
2. Start a new blog. I have some really great ideas for a new blog, which I will work on for a few weeks before sharing in order to make sure it's not just going to be a start-up-and-dump-it idea. If all goes according to plan (and what I'm hoping) this could end up turning into something I may even transition over to a book. It would be a good step toward pursuing my dream of writing for a living; something I'm realizing more and more is something I'd like to do as my career.
3. Change jobs. I'll have been working at my current job for 7 years this spring, and there really isn't much more I can do to advance here. Every year, I say I'm going to look for a new work adventure and every year I procrastinate. Certain aspects of my life are aligned that would allow me to kind of "start fresh," and I think that with me turning 30 this year it's a good time to get serious about what I do for work every day. This is my year.
4. Buy a computer. Because no writer uses an iPad to do their work. Plus I would ultimately like to have more flexibility with my career and be able to work from home if I wanted to. It's 2013- people just don't need to drive into work every single day.
5. Find a fitness routine that works for me and get serious about it. I change it up a lot, usually because of the seasons. I think that what this goal ultimately means is that I need to start going to bed earlier so that I can get up early and work out. It really is the only solution that I think would really work with my schedule and needs. This is also a great goal that can be gradually achieved starting today.

What are your reflections/New Years goals?