lifestyle

Journal Entry 3: 30 Days in Cali…

I’ve been a bad blogger …again. I hope that every time I add to my Journal Entry chronicles, I am not self-confessing my lack of interaction. But yes, I’ve been a bad blogger again.

I’ve been scared. I feel like I’ve used that word a lot since I’ve started my journal entries – but this time around, I’ve been scared that I would jinx the happiness.

These past 30 days have been the best days of my life. 

I promised to myself at the end of 2016 that 2017 was going to be my year – my year to do what’s right for me – my year to be strong, to adventure, to make life happen for myself. I was worried that moving to Cali could actually result in me failing that. I was in a new place with one person to call my friend who had her own life to live. I worked from home, which isn’t the best way to make friends. I had no way to get around, not that I really knew where to go. The cost of living was haunting me. I was scared. I was scared of failure and loneliness.

But then it all so quickly started to fall into place and all that fear went away. And then I was scared to write. The words being printed indefinitely on paper made me feel like they would be left there as a closing and make it all come to an end. I would be jinxed. But before this I ran around the entire house knocking on every piece of wood in sight – so, here goes nothing…

They say that when things are meant to be, they work out in mysterious ways. A large part of me wants to believe that that’s true – that this move was meant to be, that everything happens for a reason, that secretly our inner being knows what’s right for us and gets us there, eventually.

This experience for me thus far has been a fairy-tale… And maybe, just maybe, it’s not a fairy-tale at all – maybe it’s just how life should be, I just haven’t lived like this yet …until now.

Since the immediate second I stepped foot into Santa Barbara I’ve been taken in by my loving cousin who would tear down bridges for me (…literally). She brought me into her world and made me a friend to everyone she knew. I was worried that, like being in a relationship somewhere new, I would then in result be living her life instead of one of my own – but oddly enough, I wasn’t.

I have new cousins who aren’t my cousins at all but have me over for family dinners, and don’t second guess my company when I crash their Sunday beer pong games (even without the OG cuz), whose kids run around calling my name to jump on the trampoline and take silly selfies with me. They add me to their group texts, invite me to movie nights and for glasses of wine and hunt down bagel bites with me at every Starbucks in town.

The same goes for every other friend of my cousins that I’ve been introduced to – I can now call them my own. Every day, without fail, someone is asking me to hang out. Fashion shows, bottle service and sparklers on my birthday, classy parties in giant houses in giant hills, photo-shoot’s, signing my first lease, consuming my body length in burritos, sun bathing on beaches with palm trees in them…

I took my first shot of tequila, drank more in the past 30 days than I have conclusively in my entire life, champed through an oyster shooter and even ate cow just for the sake of the In-N-Out experience.

The list goes on… I went into this experience very scared, overwhelmed, sad… I set my expectations very, very low and did some burying of the excitement I did have. I forced myself, instance after instance, to not get my hopes up.

So now I ask you – Is it really true, when they say what’s meant to be will be? Or is it that we (I) tend to aggressively overthink things into such intense mannerisms that we destroy all sense of hope and expectation until we take the risk, so that it has to end up being more amazing than we anticipated? Maybe knocking our expectations down (not aggressively, but you know what I mean) is what we need sometimes to be grateful and remind us that life and people really are amazing? (Not to get confused here – I mean, get out of your own inner fairy-tale of expectations – I don’t mean let people treat you like sh*t).

I’m not exactly sure what direction I’m going in with this post, because there’s so many different things I’ve learned in my 30 days of this new life so far – So I’ll give you the sum of it:

1. Life is what you make it. Plain and simple. 2. YOLO 3. Take the risk. ALWAYS. 4. It will all work out. 5. If you’re scared to do something that you really want to do, just do it. Chances are at the end of the day it will be one of the best decisions you have ever made. 6. Be kind. Smile wherever you go. Let things roll – it’s usually useless to get worked up. And don’t forget to make friends wherever you go. 7. There really are nice, inviting, friendly people out there – sometimes it just takes time to find them. Don’t let any selfishness and ignorance you’ve experienced with others bleed into your judgments of humans as a whole. 8. Even if it’s not what you want in the moment, force yourself to do what’s best for you (we all have that little gut monster telling us what’s right). You will look back, even in a weeks time, and thank yourself for it. 9. Always be genuinely you. No matter how weird or imperfect it is. If you are raw from the get-go, then your friends will be your friends – everyone will love and choose to have you around for the crazy human that you are, not who you think they want you to be. 10. Look at everything, and yourself, as a constant learning experience. Take it in – all of it.

30 days down, a lifetime to go.

xx,

Al

 

Journal Entry One: You Gave Me A Sense of Purpose

I have been using my second blog, Deeper Than Words, to post my creative writing; poems, short stories, lifestyle and journal entry posts. I figured that from now on I will put more of them here. After all, no blogger is just one specific genre behind a computer – they are human, and you should see the human side of me too. So, I’m going to post a series of journal entries – meaning, posts where I reflect on situations I find myself in in life; posts about those moments when I take a step back from the situation and think about it more as a whole. These posts can get pretty personal and sometimes very deep, but hey, that’s a part of being a writer. You can’t really be a good one unless you lay it all out there on the table. So, here it goes. Journal Entry One…

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You gave me a sense of purpose.

You gave me a sense of purpose.

You gave me a sense of purpose.

The words continued to replay over and over in my head. “I… you know…” he stumbled, “It’s just when you were here you gave me a sense of purpose. I could have helped you. Or, well, I could have tried to. And now you’re not here and it’s just that I don’t have the incentive, the reminder, the bond with you that we have when you are around to remind me that I could have a purpose, that I could be good for something. It’s just hard. It’s hard.”

It hit me like one of those giant, unexpected waves I’ve almost drowned in on the shores of the Hamptons. The taller-than-you waves that curl over your body, that you might actually in reality expect but aren’t seriously prepared for even though you think there’s some way that you will indeed be able to handle its strength. I hated the waves. I hate the ocean but at the same time it’s my favorite thing. I’m afraid of it, and there aren’t many things that I am actually afraid of. It reminds me so much of this moment because this, too, this deep moment of honesty that had been stored for at a minimum of 4 years since I had been living away from my dad had been built up and then released over me. It hit me hard, and I tried to handle its strength but it brought me down anyway, and I was drowning in it.

I finally reached the top and felt the sun on my face. Gasping for air, I rubbed the salt out of my eyes, found my feet and buried them deep and hard into the sand below me and calmed myself. Sweet relief, sweet gratification, purity.

He knew it and I knew it too, that with the truth comes more truth. Before I could even speak he had filled in my words, “But I want you to live your life. That’s where you want to be and what you want to do and that’s what I want for you too, your happiness and to make your own choices.” I had my life to live and couldn’t change my destination or course to be what someone else needed rather than what I did. He understood me, and all at once I understood him too. I think I always did – I always knew this unspoken truth – it was just one that I wanted to stay under the water. I didn’t want to feel it, drowning me, yet it still did. And with the relief of it, I still felt the grains of salt burying themselves into my skin. They soon too will wash away, but I couldn’t help but think how unfair it was that they took me under in the first place. It hit me exactly how he didn’t want it to but needed it to all at the same time.

It felt unfair for him to throw that upon me. I am here and he is there and I wish every day for him to be better. I have tried with my kindest strength to be an incentive for his sobriety – calls every other day if not daily, understanding, loving tones, genuine love, kindness, motivating words. I thought that was enough but it never was and so I gave up.

Those moments, underneath, seeing glances of the sun shine through into the darkness as I searched my way to the top, the salt burning my eyes, are panic mode. Honesty is my favorite action yet the most unpredictable and breathtaking, for good and bad reasons of course, and instantly sweeps you off your feet and into panic. You see, that suffocating moment led me to a deeper understanding.

Maybe sometimes it is the healthiest decision to relieve yourself of your deepest feelings, but for others that relief can leave a burden. But then again, maybe sometimes that burden on us can be turned into less of a burden and more into a deeper understanding and perspective into that persons thoughts and your relationship with them. I’ve come to learn that the truth will, at one time or another, be revealed whether it’s from the person themselves or through some other revealing that might not be as pleasant – and that’s in a emotional and literal way. But regardless, the truth conquers all. Maintaining a healthy relationship is all about communication – honesty, perspective, understanding. All of these things my dad and I had together, and whether the truth did drown me for that moment or not, it was the gentle rawness of his feelings, the truth of it all, that I appreciated more than anything.

I think that’s something we all can (or more so need to) understand and appreciate – that sometimes the pain of drowning for a moment brings us the utter beauty and appreciation of the fresh air pulling deep into our lungs, and the sun shining on our skin.

 

P.S. – Yes, the header picture is me on the shore of the beach (known as ‘The End of the World’) in the Hamptons, NY. I was on vacation with my family there. We stayed in a tiny, old little hotel that legitimately rested on the ocean shore. The 6 of us would step out of our one bedroom shack at sunset and listen to the waves pouring onto our doorstep. It was magical. And yes, I almost drowned. True story (but then again, I can be a bit dramatic). XO

 

Fun Things to-do While Fall is Still Here…

It’s officially November… Which is officially scary. Scarier than Halloween scary. Time goes bye much, much too quick and there’s so many fun and festive things to do during the Fall season! Halloween may be over, but the little bit of warmer weather and freshness of Fall isn’t. There’s still time – but it’s limited! Now that the ghouls and goblins are out of the closet, there’s other things you can focus on this season.

Here are some fun things to do to embrace the rest of Fall this November:

  1. The traditional apple-picking, apple pie baking, baked stuffed apples – apple opportunities during Fall are endless.
  2. Throw a football party – this is endless amounts of fun! chips, dips, and some friendly flag-football during half time.
  3. Go Wine Tasting
  4. Go Tailgating
  5. Spend a day at the park or in a nearby city. Pretty soon you won’t even want to be outside to even climb into you
  6. Festive Fall Crafts – knit scarves and mittens, collect fallen leaves to decorate the house, make a giving tree
  7. Go for a hike – this is especially amazing at the time of years, because the foliage is utterly beautiful!
  8. Golf – If you’re really bad, like me, you might want to take this down a notch and go for some mini-golf (;
  9. Go to your local farm and see what there is to offer for the season! Apple ciders, pumpkin pies, corn mazes, scarecrow making – all fun things to take part in!
  10. Collect for your local food bank for Thanksgiving… There’s no time better spent than time spent giving back… After all, it is giving-season!

 

Kimchi Blue…

Dress: Urban Outfitters

Shoes: Zara

Sunnies: RayBan

It was an ongoing joke on the 4th of July to count and see how many people complimented this dress, and there were so many we couldn’t even keep track! It’s just so casually, effortlessly beautiful and elegant. I know I use the term effortless quite a lot, but if I could erase every other time I’ve used it and change the definition of it to this dress, I would. Though the front is very lowcut, thanks to my lack of packages it didn’t seem revealing. It’s very light, breezy and cool in the heat, but does shrink in the wash! I almost lost it when I struggled to button it around my ribs, but as the day went on it loosend back to its original fit. It’s a true beauty!

Staying True To You – The Blue Hair Dilemma…

“I can’t agree, it’s too much… I would never.”

“Anything but that… Don’t do that.”

“I don’t want to wake up in the morning next to that.”
I heard it all. It was as if the world was ending just from merely mentioning the idea of adding any type of color to my hair that wasn’t the typical. I was so sure I wanted this too, and for so long! It had been nearly over a year and I never stepped up to the plate, which for me is odd, as I typically tend to do spontaneous things that are out of norm. But the words were replaying in my head and eating me alive, and the panic had set in. I found myself starring in the mirror at my hair for longer than what was normal and thinking about how much I loved it the way it was, which was something I never felt before. And then, cracking under pressure, I told myself I wouldn’t do it… ‘how could I do it? I look great!’ and I soon found myself searching online for “safer” options.
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Then I gave myself a good smack in the face –> THIS IS NOT ME. “Safer options”?? That’s just not my style. I’m the artsy type; The spontaneous type; The ‘I like ugly things’ type! Why was I negotiating myself out of my true character because of the opinions of others who were nothing like me!? I was frustrated with myself. I felt at that moment that I didn’t even know me. Was I who everyone wanted me to be, or was I who I wanted to be? Was I going to let everyone else tell me what to do? Was I really going to let others opinions of me sway my own opinions and decisions for myself? I thought I was going to vomit – and I know that sounds so dramatic, but I felt nauseous at an abnormal degree. That’s exactly the type of person I have never wanted to be – scared to do out of the box things because of others opinions. Who even cares if anyone likes it if I like it? And it’s just hair… It grows back, can be dyed over again, can even be cut off!
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I escaped to my friend’s apartment for the weekend and it was then that I realized it. As she encouraged me to do it, talked about her hair-goals herself, and bounced around the room with me to our favorite tunes, I really realized it. There are going to be tons of people in your life that are nothing like you, and you’re going to love them for that – but you can’t let their opinions of what you like persuade you, nor can you let anyone’s, really. Therefore, I don’t say this lightly, it’s great to have friends of all types, but never forget to surround yourself with people that are very much like you, and not just people, but your environment. Find that place, somewhere out there in this world that you automatically feel in love with even for the first time. It’s those people and those places that will bring out your truest, you-est you, and we all need that. We become who we are because of the people and places we surround ourselves with. How does one enhance their creative soul and be creative to the best of their ability in a non-creative environment? For instance, all of my poetry is usually about love, and my best writing and deepest emotions about love all come out when it’s written in bed, my comfort zone, next to the person I love… it makes sense, right?
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So don’t settle. Don’t have friends who you don’t click with right away. Even if they aren’t anything like you, if you click with them they will bring out amazing sides of you, some that you didn’t even know you had, and don’t live somewhere that doesn’t describe who you are. Move. It’s more simple than people make it out to be. And always do what you want to initially. Your gut and instincts are your truest self talking to you. Don’t ever let anyone, or the status quo, influence your style, your choices in friends, hobbies, etc. What makes you special is being you and no one else, and not catering to other peoples desires or opinions. If they love you, they will still continue to do so anyway, for the you inside, not your blue hair.
xo, Al.
p.s., they all loved it (;
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If You’re Not Following This IGer, You Need to Reevaluate Your Feed…

With all the celebrities, insta-famous fashion bloggers and beauty gurus, I find myself feeling pretty down after a long scroll through social media. ‘How can she look that good, all the time!?’ ‘Is that even real!? Ugh, clearly it’s real it’s on Insta!!’ Which is exactly the opposite of the truth, but through all the filters and selfie poses, Instagram makes the unreal more than real. I always find it most interesting to look through the “Explore” section, as a lot of what appears there is catered to the type of Instagram’s you follow and those in relation to the people you follow, and was passing my boredom away with a look-through of mine, which of course contained make-up tutorials, models, and fitness junkies. But to my surprise and excitement, I landed upon the ridiculously funny and sarcastic account of Celeste Barber, an actor who took to Instagram to mock celebrities and their ridiculous lifestyles and photos. Hysterical captions and crazy faces, Celeste has earned herself a large following of over 800,000 users. Automatically I had to follow her and had to write this post to share with all of you; if anyone even for a second is made to feel self conscious and out down by any celebrity of insta-figure, you need to be following Celeste. In fact, regardless of your care for celebrities, or your feed, for a laugh and some realism, you need to be following her.

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“Don’t you hate it when your doing your nails in and you get a CRAMP!?!?”

 

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“Setting up a @gofundme account to buy @chrissyteigen a bed. Pushing two chairs together to lie down is BULLSHIT.”

 

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“Not tonight babe, I’m tired.”

 

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“I seem to have lost my clothes. Again.”

 

Not only does she mock celebrities ridiculous pictures in unrealistic outfits and poses and relates them to your real life daily human being, but she also reveals the flaws in the outlook of our current culture, calling out the facts on pictures like both of Kourtney and Kim Kardashian’s revealing posts:

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“This is a photo I’m recreating of @kourtneykardash. I’m pretty sure we are promoting talent, strength, and women’s empowerment. Not just sex, as I originally thought.”

 

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“New thought for the day.”

This photo-shoot of couple Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik and their falsified, highly admired relationship:

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“Real love is perfect, flawless, acrobatic, stylised, timed and photogenic.”

And the unrealistic idea that this picture of Kim and Kanye is at all normal, because let’s be honest, it isn’t and all because they are the celebrities that they are does not make it at all class[y].

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Lastly, my favorite, this hysterical caption about what all of us really go through during flights…

 

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“Thank you @virginaustralia for sitting me in between 2 men who were 6 weeks into their ‘depderant is for losers’ regime. And a big #shoutout to #jetsmart for f*cking NOTHING.”

 

Overall her sarcastic wit and realism sheds light on these not-so-realistic celebrity lifestyles and lets us all remember that we are all human and it’s okay.  

See more of her Instagram here.

 

 

 

Why You Need To Read A Book, Right Now…

 

13 books piled high and the birthday gift of a lifetime, The Series of Unfortunate Events was my new best friend and sent me into a reading frenzy. From there, I was hooked. Carrying the Twilight series around high school, friends calling them my ‘Bibles’, reading sent me into another world, into characters lives where their feelings became mine and their every thought and action, good or bad, agreeable with my personality or not, became something I understood and admired. I felt my vocabulary expanding. As a writer, I was inspired to write. I grew up a child and young adult who always took into consideration other people’s feelings and sought to understand their perspective and reasoning, something that I knew automatically was instilled in me from my continuous reading. Reading taught me to feel for others, to have a compassion and understanding for the world around me and people in it that the average person has, and I found this to be the same with other writers I met who also love to read. How can you be a writer at all if you don’t understand the deeper complexities of the world? No matter what a book may be about; historically telling the story of WWII, Slavery, or Elizabeth Bennet’s struggle with love, reading puts you in other peoples shoes in every aspect, developing analytical thinking.

This got me wondering… Reading has benefited many in this way tremendously (and I’m not just saying this… science proves that reading increases empathy and analyzation), and for this reason alone it should be practiced in every home, but what other benefits are there to reading?

Reading increases brain activity, and leads to increased intelligence. Furthering your vocabulary, writing skills, analyzation (as stated nearly a handful of times… it’s just so great!) and overall increasing your brains health.

Reading relieves stress and anxiety. If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed or not in control of your emotions, pick up a book. Reading takes your mind off the subject that calms down your emotions as you’re pulled into a different world.

Since it relieves stress, reading can also be a sleep aid. Finding a way to break stress and relax before bed is the perfect way to get a good night’s sleep and help the whole process go down a little more smoothly, for us whose minds tend to run a little extra as soon as we hit the pillow.

Reading also has many beneficial aspects to look forward to later in life, in the sense that it stimulates the brain and increases memory potential, easing off diseases like Alzheimer’s. The brain, as it’s used, is strengthened, just like many other parts of the body. In result, reading can decrease risk of many diseases we may obtain due to aging.

This mental stimulation of the brain that reading causes can also increase intelligence, as reading increases vocabulary and writing skills (as well as analyzation… just thought I’d throw that one in there one more time for you (; ). This includes creativity as well, something that many of us know tends to fade away as we age. “Our brains work similar to a sponge, they soak up every bit of knowledge we encounter and store it for future use,” (Torres, Uloop).

Now I understand also that many people say they don’t like reading, that they ‘can’t’, but if you find the right book, the story that intrigues you and pulls you in, then it’s just like a movie except with a deeper connection, a more enticing storyline. You can read about anything. I mean this literally. Your favorite instrument, band, sport, celebrity, your biggest passion; these all come in some form of book. Which is why it’s something that’s not hard to do and is beneficial in too many ways that there is no reason to not do it. Therefore, you need to go read a book, and you need to do it now.

A handful of my favorite books (incase you need some ideas):

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen – A difficult read, but gets better everytime you re-read it, and such a classic!

All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr – Written from two perspectives during WWII, a young blind girl living in France and a young German boy who’s highly intelligent. Nothing else to further say from there, it’s too amazing to not read, even for the ‘non-reader’.

The Nightingale, Kristin Hanna – Another historical fiction book written during WWII, from two perspectives: a rebellious teenage girl who joins a resistance and her very introverted older sister who always plays by the rules and has a Nazi billeting in her home. This was by far my favorite book I’ve ever read. Get past the first few chapters and the twists and turns are never ending. To say I cried is an understatement.

#GirlBoss, Sophia Amoruso – Everytime I read this I wanted to get up off the seat I was sitting in and do something productive. Need a sense of motivation and to be driven? This is the perfect book! Reading her story of going from nothing to everything in a matter of a few quick years, you might get a little bit of anxiety from the overwhelming urge to get up and make a difference. This is true life motivation for any and everyone.

Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline – Taking you back in time to an older woman’s childhood as an immigrant orphan and her scarring experiencing, she tells her story to a misguided teen who is looking for answers to find her way through life, as she herself finds out answers to some of her mysterious past.

 

 

Sources: http://csupomona.uloop.com/news/view.php/65205/the-benefits-of-reading-5-reasons-why-you-should-read-more-books

http://nyulocal.com/city/2013/10/28/escape-with-a-book-manhattans-hidden-reading-spots-photos/