Saturday, December 12, 2015


four sisters mountains in western sichuan

 || to mentally prepare to begin another year. January comes and I usually feel disconnected through much of it. I'd like to prevent this this time.
FINISHING || the last of Banksy's shots so that he can go outside & meet new puppies & go for walks & just generally not be cooped up in the tiny apt all the time.
MAKING || pickled veggies for the first time ever.
CRAVING || mulled wine.
READING || the martian by Andy Weir
WATCHING || allllll the christmas movies.
LISTENING TO || this lady's sweet Christmas playlist(s).
WEARING || new slippers from uniqlo & my down vest.
EATING || whatever home baked goods I can get my hands on (mostly from other people because home girl is STILL without an oven.)
DRINKING  || night: chamomile tea. morning: BREWED COFFEE FROM OUR NEW COFFEE MAKER. Can I just say that I can't believe we didn't do this sooner? Two year of french pressing is far too long. #sosmooth #sotasty
LEARNING || how to make home made bone broth in response to a crazy bout of antibiotics that I'm currently on. Triple womp.
PRACTICING || letting go of things that no longer serve me.
WORKING || on not projecting my stresses. Deep breaths make it so much better.
PLAYING || fetch with Banksy in the hallway in our building, it's literally the most adorable thing ever that he's always understood the concept.
TRAVELING || to taiwaaaaaan. The beach, some mountains, a coastal bike trip & many jaunts around sweet neighborhoods are on the agenda.
WANTING || to feel better, physically. the cold feels like it's seeping into my bones already. Chengdu don't play no games with them wet winters.
PLANNING || a time when I'm back on the busy train. For now, gratitude for slower days = more time to be still and intentional with my actions instead of rushing 24/7.  
HOPING || for a much more exciting NYE this time around in China. Year 1 was good, year 2, not so much. Maybe it's about the odd years(?) But hey, no expectations.

December has been kind of a weird month so far. Jeremy and I got a puppy right after Thanksgiving. Something that we didn't think we would do until we returned to the US. (SO glad we didn't wait.) A Banksy post is in the works...

We bought another IKEA christmas tree, i lost a job, (China makes no sense sometimes,) made some new friends and  traveled to some gorgeous mountains (a post for that is in the works, as well.) 

Had many a moment where I felt like all of this was too much. That life can feel so out of control and heavy. I've learned that gratitude practice is a real thing. It's a real, tangible thing you can put on paper. That projecting happiness can help you to actually feel happier. That dogs are easily one of the best things in this world. That health should be celebrated every single day. That the leaves changing colors outside, although late in my mind, are still beautiful & a sign of something ending- only to start again anew.

December, you are cold foggy breaths, puppy kisses & white twinkle lights. You are reminders of life, that each day is a gift & that good things are all around me., always.

merry christmas, dear readers. may 2016 bring you much joy & happiness.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


hong kong at dusk.

 || all the projects I've been thinking up recently.
FINISHING || all the laundry from two weeks of not being home. 
MAKING || plans to get coffee with new friends.
CRAVING || more time with AJ, the time they were here went too fast. #ohchina
READING || Goop's BE column & I finally got on the skimm train.
WATCHING || the light fade from my windows, much earlier. I think I'm just going to pretend I live in London, where the clouds are also normal.
LISTENING TO || Saint Cava.
WEARING || tennis shoes that were too small in the summer (ha, my feet are weird.)
EATING || home cooked goodness after two weeks of crazy [good] eats in various cities. 
DRINKING  || coffee with HOMEMADE PUMPKIN SPICE SYRUP IN IT. *fistpump* Also, thanks mom for sending all those spices I needed, you's aaaaaamazing.
LEARNING || to find more joy in the every day.
PRACTICING || getting back into a post vacation routine.
WORKING || a bit more than last month, hollah for that.
PLAYING || catch up on all the blog post drafts I have waiting for completion.
TRAVELING || nowhere. A staycation is planned for this weekend & I could NOT be more excited for it.
WANTING || another trip back home. A year is too long.
PLANNING || to find a bike for the husband (hopefully) this weekend & a well overdue wine night with the new bestie next week.
HOPING || that by this time next month, I have an oven again.

I really am working on the practice of gratitude for all the sweet things I've been up to lately - and the ability my husband and I have to take trips, and go exploring & stay in sweet air bnb's & make plans to go somewhere new every few months.

when you're in the throes of living in a place that isn't "home," you can forget that there are still so many moments to soak in and be happy for. Maybe not every moment is easy and I find myself dwelling in negative thoughts way more than anyone should - but I feel like China is wearing on me in different ways than it used to & that's just straight up hard.

I think I put on this brave face & push through the day, trying to make it "count" according to my weird mental status of things that matter, but it still get's to me sometimes. Especially after spending time with people from home & having an awesome time and then having to return to normal life in China.

I miss target, and chipotle & drinking pumpkin beer. I miss bright orange & red leaves, and trader joes & the smell of the ocean. I miss Ghent,  and stockley garden art festivals. Finding shoes in my size & soft, pillow-topped mattresses. 

Life throws curve balls. I should feel grateful for all the things I got to do in October, and the places I got to see. But, now that it's over, I feel a little sadder & a greater longing for the home I remember.

So lemme go make another PSL and eat some of that sea salt dark chocolate someone threw into Amy's suitcase.
I am grateful for today.

November, you are here. & I am here. Let's embrace like lovers cause you are potential & I refuse to be anything less than grateful.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


sunset over chengdu from my new buildings rooftop.

STARTING || to pick up steam teaching yoga here.
FINISHING || a long period of not having a computer. 
MAKING || chili pepper mango tofu & salsa.
CRAVING || soft serve ice cream. & pumpkin anything. 
READING || the life-changing magic of tidying up, (of course.) by Marie Kondo.
WATCHING || the man in the high castle & the good wife.
LISTENING TO || SO MANY PODCASTS. Currently obsessing over On Being, One Part Podcast & Limetown.
WEARING || layers in the morning; fall has arrived to Chengdu.
EATING || spinach/feta/balsamic with lunch. & the occasion avocado.
DRINKING  || coffee from all the little shops in our neighborhood.
LEARNING || that there is no prize for being right in an argument.
PRACTICING || letting go of rigid structure and allowing things to just happen. Also, drawing mandalas.
WORKING || less than I ever have. & it' so weird.
PLAYING || the weaving & dodging game with all the maniac drivers in this city while riding my bike. 
TRAVELING || to mountains & small towns and HONG KONG with AJ & Cameron!!!!!!!
WANTING || a hair cut. 
PLANNING || our HK itinerary & travel plans for December. Taiwan? Vietnam? Korea? TBD.
HOPING || for lots of sunshine this month.

October is easily one of my favorite months. The craziest thing is that the time last year, I was in the US getting ready for Amy & Cameron's wedding all while doing the super intensive 14 hour a day yoga teacher training. So intense. So crazy that that was a year ago. What's going on, time!? 

It does present a problem when there is very little here by way of "autumness" that is abundant back home. No PSL's, no tree lined streets all red & yellow, no harvest festivals, no real acknowledgement that it's a new season, other than people donning warmer layers.  

I have been frequently saying that I feel a shift in my life, and each time I say that, another shift occurs. Whether it's moving or finding new friends or things to do, or whatever, there is aways some new experience or situation that is causing me to face my insecurities & grow a little (or a lot.) It's been a crazy month, ( I also feel like I say that every month.) But it's always true. Crazy town, that's where I live.

I have so many blog post ideas stashed away for when I have long afternoons with a computer at my disposal. 

But for now, I am eagerly awaiting our visitors & super excited for the next few weeks of exploring and having adventures with family. Now I'm off to figure out how to clean off my phone without having a computer to back my photos up to. #icloudwhyyousohard!?

October, I see you in the sunsets & the chill you bring. Here's to seeing you from beaches, mountain tops. & all the spaces in between.

Friday, September 11, 2015


one of the final sunsets witnessed in Chongqing.

STARTING || to make new friends in Chengdu. 
FINISHING || a season of taking the bus to leave my neighborhood every day. 
MAKING || lots of stri-frys because the baby oven didn't make the move.
READING || The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami 
WATCHING || rain falling on all the walking city dwellers that I can see from my window.
LISTENING TO || The Well/Aware podcast. Really fresh stuff.
WEARING || My flyknits daily because the groceries aren't going to walk themselves home. 
EATING || All the mango I can get my hands on.
DRINKING || Peppermint tea before bed.
LEARNING || how to enjoy really long days with a broken computer & no internet (& did I mention it's been raining all of like one day while here!?) 
PRACTICING || My forearms stands & meeting new people (during which time I realize that I am actually an introvert & would rather sit in my apartment alone all day.)
WORKING || on deep breathing. On taking things one day at time. On trying to find the good in bad situations. 
PLAYING || the "where can I get free wi-fi?" game that does not entail a starbucks. 
TRAVELING || back & forth to IKEA for storage solutions. #oyvey
WANTING || to really be ok with owning less. Like, last month I mentioned that less is really good, but being absolutely ok with it is still a lofty goal for me. I still want all the things, pretty much all the time.
PLANNING || on all the glorious things I'm going to do on my new computer that is a mere month away from owning. I am currently typing this on my ipad with a wireless keyboard because my poor macbook is laying in a deconstructed pile on the coffee table. #allthetears
HOPING || for positive, uplifting people to enter my life. For less feelings of inadequacies. For more acceptance of change. For less rain so I can go exploring without my umbrella. 

Whew. Looking back at last month, I knew that I would regret all that "can't wait till September." talk & yeah, I totally do. I am on my second week with no internet at the new apartment, which, for the first few days was kind of refreshing. Dinner time was spent carried around an actual conversation, we didn't stare at our screens while lounging on the couch before bed. But now, man, those hours of no work & no social life are stacking up fast and I feel all kinds of down without the distractions of the internet world. It's a mixture of things, all under the umbrella of change. I know this isn't forever. It just feels like it at the present moment. Seeing as you will be reading this about halfway into the actual month of September, I can end this on a positive note by saying that October (& my awesome sister/brother in law's visit) is literally around the corner, along with new things that I can get excited about. Just gotta enjoy the slow days in the meantime.

September, you are making me feel like my life is too fast paced for you. But I will adjust. Slowly. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

controlling perfect

perfectionism: refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.

This is a sad truth that I am revealing to you. One that many of you already are fully aware of.

I identify with this persona. I strive to avoid all things that are less than perfect.

Here's the thing. Perfection is relative. Also, "perfectionism" is sometimes a term that is just a mask for "an obsession with control."

Control is something we are constantly told to "let go of." Let go of the need to be right, let go of the need to do things a very specific, very structured way. Let go of the expectations & the destination. Focus on the now, the journey, the loss of things being just so. Let it be what makes you up, the body in which you are living your life in.

I am someone who is constantly picking a fight. I like to be right. I like to be right so much that I don't even see myself pushing back toward people I love until I have already done it & we are looking back on the conversation. I am refusing to admit that that was what was happening. That I had to be right. I find all sorts of other things to pin it on, "no, I don't care, I was simply saying..." 
No, see, no. 
You are becoming wrapped up in that deep drive. That force that refuses to yield. When life is made up of learning & failures & becoming better, you refuse. You think because you are "attempting at making yourself better," that you actually are. But deep down, at the core of the thing, you are stubborn & ultimately, right.

Here's my thought. Just stop with the constant movement going on in your brain. There's a simple answer. Allow the words to settle like dew on blades of grass. Do not send your ray of heat, like the morning sun, to evaporate that moment of growth. Everything is not an attack. Everything doesn't have to be defended or explained. You can allow that moment to wash over you like a fresh tidal wave. The salt water grazing your skin. 

Allow it. 
Allow this to happen.

Control does ugly things to a person. When they don't allow the control to recede from their minds, hearts & lips. They become a cage. A hollow shell that refuses to look in any other direction. I have always done this this way. I will always do this this way. No, darling, no. Life doesn't work this way & anyone who tells you that it does is wrong. 

Like you. 
You are wrong. 

Maybe what you need to allow is the realization that right & wrong is not a death sentence, or a succession, or a white flag. It does not mean that you have lost your "perfection." It just makes you look selfish, arrogant & stagnant. You refuse to grow if you do not allow yourself room to let go of control. You are standing in the face of it & saying, "yep, I am refusing to grow because my pride is more important." It doesn't work this way. You holding on to the sand only makes it push more deeply past your fingers. You must loosen that grip, dear. It isn't about being a failure, although that is something that will have to be remedied in different ways, but releasing the all-encompassing need for control. To be cliche & let it go is the only way to welcome in the growth you so strongly desire. You must change to allow the change to occur. 

You aren't going to like it all the time. You will fight it in your head. You will make a snarky comment, or smirk, or be passive aggressive. You will want to overcome those split-second responses. And the most beautiful part is, you can. Just take a breath, look out into the distance, see the wave breaking & welcome it in with open arms. The crash may feel overwhelming, but the aftermath will be sweet. 

Don't stop there. Let the waves keep crashing over you. 
Allow it. 
Don't try to control the waves. You simply can not. 
You are in a special place, love. 

Just slow it all down until you have no choice but to let go of the desire to fight.

Friday, August 21, 2015


There's a shift in my surroundings lately. I'm picking up all the things I've collected over the past two years, or have travelled with across continents & oceans. I am getting rid of a lot of things, purging my closet of all the cast offs that were purchased without really giving thought to its needlessness.

I'm spending longer moments in the morning just taking in my surroundings. I am the most habitual create of habit in this wild kingdom. I enjoy routine, I enjoy systems, I enjoy the comfort of knowing what will happen next in my day. I make a very big effort to plan out the details so I have full control over all the possible outcomes. If I do this, then this may happen. Or may not happen. Ok. I need to be prepared for both. & when I'm not, I feel lost & incredibly grouchy.

Change is this for me. I feel lost & foggy. Like I can't get my thoughts together to start the day because I don't have a routine. I don't have structure to my existence.

This is something that is coming for me. Change in a big way.

I am moving to a new city in less than two weeks. I've been to this city a few times now, trying to get a small grasp at what is to come - how I will structure my life in this place. Fully formed with all it's foreign people - it's groups & circles. It's spinning wheel of normalcy, for so many.

I have moments when I am soaking up my morning, with my warm cup of coffee in my hand, looking out onto the quiet courtyard beyond the balcony. Birds joining in unison as the breeze sweeps hair into my face. I feel this comfort of knowing that mornings are this. They are slow steps walking across the wooden floor of the open space in this studio apartment. Yoga on the big windowsill. The dining room table, my desk. Hot baths when I need to think. Moving furniture to pack my yoga students in twice a week. Watercolor paints on the floor late at night when I need to release my thoughts. Steam rising through the kitchen when making tea, that fogs the balcony window in the living room. Afternoon naps on the long length of the couch, sleeping in an L shape because it helps to block the sunlight from my closed eyes. Running up the flights of stairs in the open space inside the building. The small rooftop landing that overlooks the neighborhood & downtown in the distance. Getting glances from the lady who takes out the trash - I always wonder what she is secretly thinking as she mops the floor outside our front door. Hanging damp clothing on our rack next to the hanging plants. Overlooking the dozen other buildings with clothing hanging on their balconies. The hushed distant sound of the buses and cars moving across the river. The way the table creaks when I am writing on it. The weight of our front door as I pull it closed behind me. The dim light that warms this space. This city that has taught me to be better, less reactive & more responsive.

I feel like there are many things about picking up & moving that will only produce more beautiful change, more opportunities to grow & more space to create. I know that no one loves change. We like comfort. We like to know that we can hold on to something & it won't disintegrate in our hands. It's just that initial moment of separation. That driving away from our home in the moving truck and knowing you may never be here again. That longing for all those moments you took for granted. I am feeling nostalgic for the present.

Nothing is forever.

Friday, August 7, 2015


No filter image of downtown Chongqing. Yes, those are crystal clear blue skies. 

STARTING || the last full week of living in the same apartment as Jeremy until September. Prepare for blog post overload.
FINISHING || cleaning out the closets. Goodbye shoes.
MAKING || this month count, down to the last day. 
CRAVING || slower days. 
READING || the girl on the train, by Paula Hawkins
WATCHING || mostly suits, with an occasional elementary thrown in the mix.
WEARING || moisture wicking everything. The world is a sauna.
EATING || Baked peaches & coffee dark chocolate (found on mega sale!! #winning.) 
DRINKING  || coconut water.
LEARNING || to shake anxieties.
PRACTICING || my splits. One day, you will be mine.
WORKING || on yoga playlists & the best way to keep the dust bunnies from multiplying as I pack. 
PLAYING || "how much work can I squeeze into my day before I leave Chongqing?" 
TRAVELING || to Chengdu, many many times. I will be a train traveling pro by the time this is over.
WANTING || less. Moving makes you realize how little you actually need.
PLANNING || how we'll decorate the new place. 
HOPING || for this month to be seamless & as stress-free as moving to another city in China can be.

"Whirlwinds, galore! Moving is crazy! Why did I buy this? How am I going to pack this? Can it be September now?"

All spoken, all more than once. 

August, may your craziness remind me that I have a life that is crazy good & to be thankful for it.