Goals + Ambitions | May 2015

The month ahead…

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Read | Girl Boss by Sophia Amouroso – I’m maybe the last person in the blogosphere to pick up the inimitable Sophia Amoroso’s guide to being a bad ass business lady. Everyone and their mom seems to have already read and raved about this little book, so I’m jumping on the bandwagon to see what’s up.

Learn | More about my Natal Chart and astrological readings – I’ve been delving deeper into astrology lately and have been digging into the more scientific side of what some might consider a “pseudo-science.” I recently had my chart done via this site (and about six others, but this one is the most thorough as far as I can see) and the accuracy is unnerving. Things about my sign (Libra) that never quite made sense to me are now explained, all by the ways in which the other planets interact with it, based on the day and time I was born. I know it might sound cray, but if you’ve ever studied Quantum Physics or things like Chaos Theory or the Butterfly Effect (not the Ashton Kutcher movie), you can’t help but feel that maybe there’s something too all this woo-woo stuff.

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Explore | Ojai! – We’re officially all moved in to our new home in Ojai, CA and I am quietly romancing the hell out of this little town. There’s so many nooks and crannies to explore and so many secret spots to discover. I’ve been traipsing around town, visiting some of the awesome used bookstores, figuring out which grocery store is my fav, and picking out my favorite chair at the local coffee spot. I gotta tell you, Ojai and I might be in it for the long haul.

Create | Bust out the good old sewing machine and get to stitching! – Most of my possessions have been languishing in my mother’s garage for the better part of the last 5-6 months. That includes all my sketchbooks, art supplies and my trusty sewing robot. I’m desperate to get my hands on them all and begin expending some of this creative energy. I’d like to get all my mending done this month, and maybe alter a couple skirts I have.

Health | Hiking and the return of the Daily Yoga Practice! – I recently picked up this hip little hiking book and I’m excited to start exploring the trails around town. I’m also getting back into Yoga and want to start cataloguing my daily yoga practice and fitness goals, like I was doing on here for a while.

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Wealth | Get my Side Hustle started! – I’ve been talk talk talking about opening up an Etsy shop to slang some of my vintage collection for ages. It’s time to put my money where my mouth is and commit to making this dream a reality.

Happiness | Daily Journaling and Gratitudes – I’ve been working on this one for the last couple of months, actually and have found that it not only makes me more aware of the little things I have to be grateful for, but also it’s a great way to decompress after a long day. Going through my thoughts and the minutiae of the days events is helping me better understand myself, the ways I react to things and what I can do to be better. I’m learning so much about myself, my life and my emotions. I find myself in a situation and suddenly I’m very aware that my reactions are “typical” reactions of mine. Recognizing yourself is but a step on the path, and I’m beginning to see aspects of my personality and temperament that aren’t serving me. It’s enlightening to say the least.

I❥CA | Ojai, CA – Bart’s Books

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If you’re planning a trip to Ojai, there are a few places you have to hit up. One of the essentials is Bart’s Books, located slightly off the main drag, this outdoor bookstore is the bibliophiles dream come true. Chock full of classics, contemporaries and everything in between, you can lounge in the sunshine or find yourself a shady nook and read to your hearts content. The staff is uber helpful and more than happy to leave you to your perusal if you just want a quiet place to read.

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I stopped in the other day just to take a peak and wound up spending a couple hours reading by a window, watching the other patrons come and go out of the corner of my eye. The courtyard, which is open to the sky and the hot Ojai sun was just too warm, but within one of the open-air rooms, the temperature was pleasant enough to while away some time. I situated myself in a cozy armchair by the hearth and buried my nose in a first edition copy of Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea, a novel which eventually became the inspiration for Studio Ghibli’s Tales from Earthsea…yes, I am a huge nerd. I regret nothing.

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So, next time you’re in Ojai, swing by Bart’s Books a pick up a book you’ve been meaning to read…or let destiny guide you and pick a book at random. You might be surprised by what you find.

 

Worn | Repeat Offender

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Since moving to Southern California, we’ve been staying with my Mancandy’s family, and thus, the majority of my clothing/worldly possessions have remained in storage…which has resulted in my wearing and re-wearing the same six or seven articles of clothing over and over and over again. This dress in particular has gotten a great deal of play in the balmy SoCal climate. I scored it at Goodwill in San Francisco during January, when the dress racks of SF are full to bursting with neglected summer dresses, as the climate is akin to the arctic and sheets of rain discourage even the bravest fashionista from baring too much skin.

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Initially, I wasn’t so sure about it. The mustard-yellow color and graphic animal print seemed like they might be too much…but somehow, the grunge-influenced 90’s print and cut have grown on me and now I wear it at least once or twice a week…with boots, with flats and continually with this denim jacket (which, let’s be honest, I wear with everything). It’s casual and comfy enough to wear while lounging around the house, but also just playful enough to wear out and about. It’s so damn versatile, I’ve worn it to the beach, for excursions to Ojai and dinner with friends, and most recently for a drive up to The Cross above the quaint little beach town of Ventura, where these shots were taken.thecrossventura

I’m still adjusting to the temperatures down here, so living in dresses and shorts is pretty much all I’m capable of. I can’t even fathom rocking jeans most of the time, and my poor, poor sweater collection will have to find a new home since I don’t foresee them getting much play down here, though it was kind of brisk on the top of this mountain. The couple above resorted to sucking face the whole time in order to stay warm. So much face-smooching happening. But it makes a rather pretty picture, no?

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Hope all you kiddo’s trapped in the winter-wonderland of the East Coast are staying warm, even if it is through sucking face. Send some snow to Cali, it’s dry as hell here.

jacket :: vintage via WastelandSF | dress :: thrifted via Goodwill | flats :: ???

Dangerous Thoughts | Allowing Yourself to be Weird Enough

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I was always the weird girl. From early childhood I felt like an outsider. I was a dreamy, bookish kid who grew into a shy, awkward adolescent. I was picked on a great deal in elementary school and middle school, and thus developed an intense sense of inadequacy and loneliness, which stayed with me well into my twenties. For a long time I believed there was something fundamentally wrong with me that made others dislike me, so I spent a great deal of my youth suppressing what I perceived to be my weirdness. For a long time I went through life with this filter installed in my head that dictated what I did and did not say or do. It stopped me from being too outspoken, from expressing my true desires and interests or speaking out against something I disagreed with. I was so desperately afraid of being judged, of being ostracized and alone again, that I would convince myself that my ideas and ambitions were stupid, that my passions and hobbies were pathetic and pointless. I would lie awake at night, going over and over in my head every stupid thing I had said during the day, every tiny detail of myself that didn’t measure up or fit in was ruthlessly picked apart by my brain, until I hated myself as much as I feared the rest of the world did.

Needless to say, this sort of behavior and thought patterns were exceptionally detrimental to my well being. By my teen years, I had constructed a very elaborate shell around myself, an image I projected to the world of what I believed was socially acceptable. I quit drawing, writing, singing, acting, reading anything besides the fashion magazines, which only served to shore up my insecurities with impossible imagery of “perfect” female forms to compare myself to. I smothered the playful, curious and creative side of myself in favor of what I believed were qualities people wanted to be friends with. I used alcohol as a crutch, “Social Lubrication” I would joke as I slammed shots. It was the only way I knew how to let go and be myself. No act, no facade, no stilted and self-conscious conversation.

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It is only recently that I’ve begun to accept myself, to embrace my weirdness and my innate sense of strange, but the mask has been in place for so long I’m having a hard time finding the seams. It reminds me a little of this Goosebumps episode I watched as a kid, where this Halloween mask takes over this kid and he can’t get it off. My mask of “normal” has sealed to my skin. So many years spent hiding behind it and it’s become a part of me, something I can’t remove at will any more. I worry sometimes that that mask has suffocated my Weird Girl. That by neglecting her for so long, I let her die, alone in the dark behind the walls I started building when I was still just a kid.

She’s not dead, but she’s weak. She’s been there the whole time, peering out from behind the mask, waiting for the moment I realize how silly it all is, this game of charades I’ve been playing. Trying to be something other than what I am. But I’m realizing that she’s still there, buried under insecurities and anxiety, to be sure, but still alive. I can see her in my sense of humor, my playfulness and desire to constantly explore the world. She’s alive in my love of music and art and words and in my desire to connect with people on these topics. She is the part of me that reads too many political and feminist blogs and who mourns for the world with every piece of bad news. She is also the part of me that watches adorable cat videos and random acts of kindness and feels with great conviction that the human race is worth saving, that we are capable of wonderful and beautiful things.

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I suppose the point I’m getting at is that you shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed of the parts of you that don’t fit neatly into a box. People want to parse you up into pieces that are easily digestible and convenient, but human beings are neither of those things. We are strange emotional, mercurial creatures, capable of both incredible beauty and horror. We are complex and contradictory and it is only through this convolution that we are capable of creating, of evolving, of becoming more as a species.

I’m still learning to embrace my Weird, to not be ashamed or embarrassed by my eccentricities or idiosyncrasies. To stop apologizing before I articulate an idea or thought, to express myself creatively without being concerned what others will think. To allow myself and others the opportunity to really get to know me, without judgment or inhibition. To recognize my value in and perspective on the world as an individual, flaws and all. Learning to stop comparing and contrasting myself to my peers and even strangers is unhealthy, unproductive and downright insane. It accomplishes nothing besides making me feel horrible about myself, so why do it?

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So, I guess what I’m getting at is let your freak flag fly, dudes. It’s the weird ones who have always made a difference, the ones everybody laughed at in kindergarten or didn’t get picked in kickball. It’s the people who have stood outside the circles and seen the way they shift who have really made an impact on the world. Sometimes, all it takes is a different perspective, and if everyone were the same–normalized to the point of being indistinguishable from each other–there would be no innovation or creativity or change. And imagine where that would leave us. Imagine how boring the world would be if everyone looked and thought and acted the same.

 Silhouette Calligraphy by Pommel Lane 

I❥CA | Welcome to Ojai

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There’s something about Ojai, California that just soothes the soul. This tiny town, just about forty minutes inland from Santa Barbara, is well known for scenic retreats, luxurious spas and celebrity getaways. The valley is renowned for it’s pixie tangerines, restorative energy and the infamous “pink moment;” when the entire valley is bathed in pink light as the sun sets behind the mountains. It’s got a quirky, bohemian vibe that residents and visitors alike adore.

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We spent the afternoon wandering around Ojai a few weeks ago, and pretty much immediately decided we needed to live here. The energy is laid back and artsy, with adorable shops lined up in Spanish-style adobe store-fronts all along main street. You feel like maybe you’ve slipped out of California and into the heat of a New Mexican desert town. Populated by artists like Beatrice Potter, there is a distinctly artistic vibe that permeates the quaint, tree-lined streets and craftsmen style homes nestle behind towering cacti.

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Just beyond the borders of the adorable downtown area, the valley opens up into rolling hills, fields and farmland. A ten minute drive takes you up a winding road to the Ojai Foundation, a retreat and meditation center which features sweeping views of the valley and the perfect vantage point to take in the sunset as it stains the entire valley that glorious shade of pink it’s so famous for.

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Believe me when I say my heart was stolen by Ojai. We’ve started looking into finding an apartment in the area, and I assure you, there will be many more, in depth posts on this darling little town in the future. In the mean time, take some time to trek up to Ojai. You won’t be disappointed.

 

I❥SF | The Haight

A few moments captured in my old hood, the Upper Haight. This is Haight-Ashbury in all it’s grimy, technicolor, patchouli scented glory.
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Happy New Year! | Mantras for 2015

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Well, hey there 2015! I can’t believe you’re already here! I was just trying to think back on 2014 and everything that happened during this hurricane of a year. So. Freakin. Much. I can’t even.

I’m spending the evening drinking excessive amounts of champagne and dancing my legs off with some of my favorite people in my hometown, which is a strange throwback to my younger days, but I’m pleased to be surrounded by such loving energy as I ring in 2015. How are you celebrating the new year? What are you’re resolutions for the next 365 days? I put together a couple of ideas I want to build the coming year on, a sort of framework of advice for myself to follow as I tackle the stuff I have planned, check em out!

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1. Just Ask. I have difficulty asking for things. Not in the “please pass the salt” kind of way. In the “I want/need help/support/advice” kind of way. I recently stayed in San Francisco for an extended period and, when my original housing plans fell through, I kind of had a panic attack because I had no idea where I was going to live during the 20 days I was supposed to be in the city. My ever-patient and oh-so-level-headed man calmly instructed me to phone up some of the many friends I have in the city and ask if I could stay with them. Initially, this idea rankled me. I hate asking favors, I hate being in other peoples debt. I don’t know, I suppose that’s a nasty side effect of being painfully independent. But I sucked up my pride and made a few phone calls, and within hours I had not just one, but four separate friends offering me a temporary home. I realized in that moment that I was not only extremely blessed to have so many generous people in my life, but also that just asking never hurts and can often result in you getting not only the thing you want, but much much more.

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2. Slow Down. I’m always rushing. I eat to fast, I try to do to many things at once, my brain is a mess of a million racing thoughts and questions and ideas. I’m frequently running into things and dropping stuff because I’m just hurrying along and not really paying attention to what I’m doing in the moment. I need to slow down, be more intentional with my thoughts and actions, take the time to focus on one thing at a time and give it my full attention.

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3. Be Present. This is part and parcel to the above mantra. I’m terrible about projecting my thoughts into a future that might or might not be a reality and writing my own little mental movies of how I think/want things to go down. Time to be more grounded in the Now, pay attention to how I’m spending my time and whether what I’m doing right now is really mirroring and furthering my goals.

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4. Get to Work. No more excuses. No more “I’ll get to that eventually.” No more procrastination and waiting around for the perfect moment. The time is going to pass, regardless of what you do, so you might as well do what’s going to make your dreams come true. You know what you have to do, you know that sleeping in or messing around on the internet isn’t pushing you forward or helping your cause. So stop it. Stop making excuses for yourself, stop shirking your responsibility to yourself and your vision. No one else is going to do it for you so pull up your big girl panties and get to work.

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5. Commit Completely. No more games. No more back-burner plans and half-baked ambitions. No more back-and-forth with yourself over whether or not this is the right road for you. You know what you want, you’ve known for years and constantly questioning yourself does nothing but paralyze you. So kick the doubt to the curb and remove all obstacles from your mine. This is what you’re doing. This is what your life is about. Go out there and get it.

I❥SF | The General Store

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When I lived in the Outer Sunset, it was at the crossroads of 46th and Judah, the second to last stop on the N-line before San Francisco fall’s off into the Pacific. Wedged between Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach, the Outer Sunset was the perfect landing pad for someone fresh out of a small town. Populated largely by families and surfers, it’s a quiet neighborhood with a smattering cute restaurants and coffee shops, like the illustrious Trouble Coffee, whose excellent coffee I subsisted on that first cold, foggy summer. I’d snag a cup to warm my insides, and retreat into the lovely little alcove that is General Store to keep out of the mist.

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Offering a host of beautifully and simply designed objects, General Store started out as a design collective originally founded by Serena Mitnik-Miller and Mason St. Peter. It opened it’s doors to the Outer Sunset in 2010 and opened a second location in Venice Beach in 2012. Both locations carry a selection of beautifully curated items, from both local artisans and vintage sources.

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So many little treasures live between these walls, and the garden space in the backyard would be the perfect place to enjoy a cup of Trouble and flip through a print copy of Tiny Atlas Quarterly. Hop off the N-Line at 46th and find your way to this place, or check out their online store for a gold mine of goodies.

Worn | Rooftops

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These shots are from when I was still living in Tahoe, back when it was still warm enough to wear sandals and tank tops and pretty mexican skirts. Now it’s freezing and there’s snow pouring from the sky and I’ve fled to the relative warmth of San Francisco (though it’s raining here, this is somehow preferable to snow for me). I am due back in Tahoe soon to help my mom out with the craziness of the holidays.

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 {top//thrifted | skirt//thrifted | sandals::DSW | vintage leather bag:: Wasteland SF}

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I❥SF | In A Room on Haight Street…

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Back in September I mentioned that I was moving out of San Francisco, so these photos are a bit dated. I snapped these shots of my room right around the time I decided to move. It’s kind of bittersweet looking at them again. Walking into that apartment for the first time was like walking into a dream I’ve had since I was 16 years old. I fell in love in this room, spent hours reading and editing photos and writing on that bed. I talked and laughed and commiserated with dozens of friends–both new and old–on that floor. Those walls know so many of my stories. They were my sanctuary when life was just too much, when the hustle and bustle of the city wore on me, I could retreat to this space that was mine and it was as much a part of my experience in San Francisco as the city itself.

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I have the tendency to rearrange my room compulsively every three months or so, so this was what my room looked like right before I packed it all up to move. I went through dozens of iterations though, and I imagine that room had seen countless more arrangements of furniture and knick-knackery. Our building was over 110 years old, precisely the sort of classic, old San Francisco Victorian building that I had imagined living in my entire adolescence. I used to watch the sunset seep across the sky behind Sutro Tower and try to imagine who had been there before me. Who had sat in that window and looked down at the river of humanity flowing past on the streets below. I had stood beneath those windows myself, a 16 year old child on her first solo trip to San Francisco, and imagined myself living on this street, in one of those apartments overlooking the chaos of Haight Street. For months after I moved in I couldn’t believe that it was real, that I was living that fantasy my 16 year old self had envisioned all those years ago.

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There will always be a special place in my heart for this room, and the city in which it is located. I learned so much about myself while living here. I fell in love, I made many wonderful friends, I experienced so many amazing things and made so many incredible memories. I’ll never be able to walk down Haight Street without pausing beneath those windows and thinking about the girl I was when I lived there. These pictures will help me remember.

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