New Me + New[york] City

NYC + Self-discovery. September has been fun.

Advertisements

When I was a kid I used to want to be a lot of things. But, I think at the crux of it all I wanted to have one foot in the realm of creativity. I was yearning for it, and didn’t feel like there was a way for me to achieve it. Better yet, I didn’t feel like I was creative.  If you ask any of my friends that endured those adolescent years with me, they will tell you not only of my trend to be a romantic, but also about my infatuation with different mediums of creativity. I tried being a writer, had short stint of thinking I could be an actor, and so much more. I think that’s why I gravitated to food so much. It was finally a medium that I excelled in.  It can transform perspective, it’s multi-faceted, and it literally takes people’s breathe away. More than that, there’s something in it for everyone. From the science of baking to the absurdity that modernism has brought to the contemporary food scene and everything in between. Food has been the be all end all for me over the last ten years or so. It’s been an amazing ride (and this isn’t my break up with food, btw if you were worried I was writing a breakup text). In turn, it’s about what food has led me to discover. Thank you, food. (I wish ‘food’ could talk to me, haha. I wonder what it’s personality would be like?)

Well, if you haven’t figured it out already, this post is not about food. This post is designated to voice excitement on a new medium. I’ve been dabbling in photography since moving to the bay (almost three years, now). However, up until about four or five months ago I wasn’t interested in the technical side of photography. I’ve grown to expand my knowledge and I can’t help but experience a similar feeling I’ve felt for cooking all of these years. Being a self-pioneer into a new creative space is so fun. It’s exhilarating.

I ventured to Manhattan last week for work, and while I was there I had some time to really flex my new skills. Not only did NYC offer me a new perspective, but a fresh landscape. In my week there I felt validation for my work, a true culmination that this newer form of creative expression was worthwhile, and that maybe I might be good at this, too!

The quality of my work has increased significantly. As I continue to learn about photography my eyes widen, my heart opens, and my love for capturing moments expands.

I thought I’d keep this post short and sweet and showcase my favorite pieces of work from my trip.

Also, on a side note, a few of these photos were taken by Ryan, but all the editing is my own. This is also the first time I’ve made an effort to capture more of an urban landscape. I usually photograph humans, so this is something pretty new. 🙂 Hope you enjoy.

Oculus
Oculus.
Stable House
The Village.
Processed with VSCO with e1 preset
Stonewall.
Washington
Best park ever.
Pattern Boy
Oakland, CA.

I wonder how my perspective will shift in the next six to twelve months? Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading. I love all of you.

Taking Back Sunday.

Reset. Recharge. Reflect. #MakeSundaysGreatAgain

Over the last two and a half weeks I’ve been on vacation. Well, technically, I’ve been in between employment, as I’m getting ready to start a new position, soon. During that time, I’ve had a lot of downtime. Usually, if any of you know me well, I’m always going. Going to find a place to hike, a new ingredient to play around with, or off for a run. However, in these last fourteen days or so, I’ve been rather still. I’ve been investing time into my home, rather than abroad. I love the home that Ryan and I have built and in effect I feel as though I’ve become somewhat of a home-dweller! This week I decided to focus my post specifically on the topic of home, but more precisely Sundays + home.

As long as I’ve been an adult, Sundays have always been my favorite day of the week. A large percentage of my generation has coined the term ‘Sunday Scaries’ as it can be seen hash-tagged across the interweb; in contrast, I see Sunday in an opposing light, and hope to change your perspective on the start/end to the week (depending on which way you look at it)

Sundays to me represent a few things: 1. Resetting 2. Recharging 3. Reflecting.

Reset

Ryan and I tend to do most of our adventuring, food pioneering, and ‘Fun’ stuff on Friday nights or Saturdays. By the time Sunday morning rolls around we have a usual habit.

We love a good Sunday morning coffee + breakfast. Right down the street from our house is Acme Bread Company, one of the Bay’s biggest suppliers of all things gluten (yum). In addition to it’s kitchen, they have the cutest little storefront where locals can purchase fresh bread and other yummy treats. My favorite are the cheddar and jalapeño croissants. I’ll either grind up some coffee beans at home or make my way to Philz (most likely ground at home), and then head to the market for some fresh bread. Over the next couple of hours to the tune of Bon Iver, Aretha Franklin, jazz assortments, and maybe some Mumford and Sons, we rise with the sun as we cook. (Almost forgot to mention the Smokey the Bear Mug,  it’s the only coffee mug to drink out of these days.)

A couple of our Sunday treats this week.

We’re really lucky to live in such a fruitful place. Right now, the fig and lemon trees in Berkeley are in bloom, and one of the perks of living in a fertile valley, is that there’s always something to be harvested.

IMG_3557
Thanks, Jo for the beautiful figs.

After a long breakfast, hopefully in the backyard, we’ll usually take the pup for a long walk around town. By mid-morning to afternoon there’s definitely a feeling of being reset. Waking up slow is a luxury in these times, and intentionally taking time to be slower is something I highly recommend.

Recharge

Going back to the theme of ‘home-dwelling’ that I had mentioned earlier, Sundays have always been a day to sit around with the boy and hangout with the dog, but lately they’ve come to truly have a deeper meaning. One of the perks of our current apartment is that it has spectacular natural light. On a Sunday afternoon, spending time nestled up with a good book (just finished The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen – highly recommended) on our comfy couch (ask @idontkaratall, she slept there for a week) is the absolute best. During the week we are bothered with the hustle and bustle of it all, but finding a creative outlet, reading, or even taking a nap truly refreshes me for the week to come. Not to mention, Game of Thrones on Sunday night is always a nice cherry on top.  Recharging, is a true highlight of Sundays. Let that iPhone recharge, and take some time respectively for yourself.

IMG_3398
Two personal cooking favorites.

Reflect

During the regular grind of life, when I’m not staycationing, this time has become so much more than a couple of hours with family and friends. Sundays do not warrant anything from you. They do not ask for dates, prior engagements, or extracurricular activities. It is a day comprised of hours strung together that do not oppress, but rather grant freedom. Freedom in the form of time. Rather than being scared about what’s to come next, we should be using what we have to honor the work and time we’ve spent over the last seven days. The debate will rage on whether Sunday should be a day full of worries for Monday and the week ahead, but I challenge you this week to take it as it is. Social media has coined hashtags to instill depression and sadness into your week. In a world full of pessimists, ridiculous negative tweets, and a 24-hour sensationalist news-cycle, take a second. Put the time in this week, but take it back on Sunday.

#MakeSundaysGreatAgain

 

 

Leap.

2017 is flying by, what have I achieved this year? What will you achieve?

Taking a leap into something new is scary. For me, personally, new always equals “I’m not good enough yet, so I’ll just wait until I’m the best before actually trying out the new thing.” Which, quite frankly doesn’t make any sense, but for some reason it does to me. In 2017 I’ve taken a lot of leaps. Leaps into new friendships, leaps into/out of jobs, leaps into new skills, and leaps into new mediums of expression. If one thing during this post is to be the most true, leaping into anything new is not easy for me. At the beginning of the year I wrote down a list of ten things I wanted to achieve this year.

  1. Zero Debt
  2. More Money Saved.
  3. Start Wedding Planning
  4. Write More
  5. Find your brand.
  6. Budget each month
  7. Best shape of my life
  8. Find a new community
  9. New Camera
  10. New job.

Although we are a little more than half way through the year. Technically we are 66% through 2017, but I figured rather than writing a post about one specific trip, recipe, or experience, I’d do a little self-reflecting. Hopefully in the process, I can pass on some reflecting to all of you, as well!

So, how have I done? 

  • Zero Debt
  • More Money Saved. 
  • Start Wedding Planning 
  • Write More (I’d give myself a B-)
  • Find your brand.  
  • Budget each month
  • Best shape of my life
  • Find a new community 
  • New Camera 
  • New job

Woah! Over the past eight months I have been extremely diligent in my efforts, but rather than dwelling on the fact that I’ve smashed what I’ve set out to do, mostly, I’d like to take a second to harp on ‘why’ I set these objectives, specifically. Before moving on, I’d liked to address that creating objectives for the last 33% of the year, has not been as successful, but I’ll report back when I’ve come to a more clear conclusions as to what I want it to look like.

Each one of these objectives for 2017 are not mutually exclusive, and that’s what I truly love each of them and how they’ve impacted my 2017 thus far. 2017 has been extremely challenging and I’ve had to work harder than I ever have in my life to intentionally fulfill what I wanted. I’ve always seen myself as a person with strong work ethic, but putting intention behind my drive is truly why i feel a difference this year in contrast with years’ past. Rather than setting a bunch of goals that I hoped to achieve that I’ve been dragging along for years and years, I thought about how each goal could impact one another and my well-being to carry me forward while feeling empowered and positive (side note: I’ve had moments of pure struggle where empowerment/positivity was nowhere to be found, too)

There are a few things about me that not many people know. First, and foremost, I do not like being around a group of new people. I feel extremely uncomfortable and lose my confidence. These experiences make me feel numb, out of place, and truly scared. I have a tendency to say ‘no’ to things that make me uncomfortable, as I’m sure a lot of us do, but towards the end of 2016 I was allowing this characteristic/trait to take over and make those around me feel unhappy. Moving into the new year, saying ‘Yes’ made it’s way into many of the objectives found above. Saying ‘yes’ to taking control of my finances, saying ‘yes’ to fully diving into the deep end and finding a new community/friends, and saying ‘yes’ to finding a job that better fit my professional objectives.  For some, saying yes is easy, but I would challenge you. Are you saying yes because it’s shielding you from being vulnerable and taking charge, for the same reason that I was saying no?

Moving on (sorry for putting on the ‘i’m a therapist now’ hat for a second) other goals such as buying a new camera, diving into new forms of fitness, and finding my brand/writing more have allowed me to find new forms of expression. We all need to express ourselves, from time to time, and some more than others. My mediums of expression come from genuine and authentic conversation in my relationship, with close friends and family, and most often through cooking. However, 2017 was a year to find new muses and new modes. Photography has been a godsend, especially in the last two or three months since we’ve acquired our new Sony camera. It has truly established a new lens (pun intended) that has granted both Ryan and I a new perspective on our own lives. Writing, always a favorite of mine, is something of a lost art with our generation, and I highly encourage handwriting, there’s something about the digestion and completion of a thought on paper that elevates the medium from any other form of writing. And, last but not least, fitness, specifically new types of fitness such as weightlifting (I’m a big cardio guy) has opened new avenues of healthy living.

If you’re still reading this (I know this is a longer post), I challenge you to find a new medium. Whether it’s for health reasons, expression, or to lean into your vulnerabilities, or any other reason, do it. We are multi-faceted incredible beings, and we should explore all sides of ourselves. You’ll be surprised what you’re capable of.

I’ll end with a quote from some earlier writing back in June. I was sitting at work, extremely frustrated about the small mindedness of a certain individual, and I channelled that frustration into some positive writing.

“Don’t become like the rest of them. You have a caring soul. Hear the world cry, see the beauty, feel the balance. It is all here and it all deserves admiration.”

What will you leap into the last 33% of the year?

What do you want me to post about? Leave your comments below. Travel? Food? Style? Advice?

Next week, I’ve got some updates on my gardening and backyard project, stay tuned!