Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January Playlist

It's time for another playlist of the month! January here in Portland has been an interesting mix of dreary, dreamy and downright terrifying between the many snowstorms and temperatures lingering dangerously around freezing point. Last week we got 10" inches of snow, which at first was very exciting and idyllic, until it all got trod on enough in below-32-degree weather that it turned into inches of ice covering all of the roads and sidewalks. It's all fun and games until you can't walk to the grocery store without slipping on a patch of ice and falling on your ass. But with my many (too many) days off, I've taken the opportunity to walk to nearby coffee shops, hunkering down with lattes, a good book, my journal, and--of course--a good playlist to keep myself sane in the midst of my cabin fever.

I've definitely been favoring some moody songs lately to accompany the moody weather. Again, this playlist features a strange variety of songs, but I spent some time carefully arranging them in an order that flows nicely. For this reason, I recommend avoiding the shuffle button unless you want some serious genre whiplash.

Hope the weather wherever you are is treating you well and that you're enjoying the first month of this new year!

Happy listening!


Friday, January 6, 2017

My Love Story with Slow Living

Happy New Year, all! 

I wanted to set the tone for 2017 by talking about something that's had a hugely positive impact on my life lately, and that is the concept of slow living. And when I say slow living, I mean this: remaining an active participant in your life. For me, that's meant slowing down some of the things that I used to rush through on a day to day basis: making coffee, preparing and eating food, doing yoga, taking off my makeup and washing my face at the end of the day, etc. I've noticed that, as I take a moment to really engage in what I'm doing rather than rushing through the routine with a "get 'er done" kind of attitude, I no longer see these activities as chores but rather as opportunities to experience joy and express gratitude for each and every small moment in my day.

I listened to a TED Radio Hour podcast today titled, "Simply Happy." In it, researcher Matt Killingsworth discussed his findings on what exactly makes us happy or unhappy, and what we can do to increase our happiness. The data from Matt's happiness research led to one really fascinating conclusion: people are substantially less happy when their minds are wandering than when they're not, regardless of if their minds are wandering to happier or unhappier subjects. In other words, happiness is (at the very least) strongly correlated with how present you are in whatever you are doing at that moment.

I think the moral of story here is clear: you can become a happier person simply by committing to what you are doing and remaining present in that moment. This scientific data only supports what many of us who practice yoga or meditation have heard many times before--that being mindful and active in our lives will bring us a depth of happiness that cannot be achieved through any sort of external means. I, personally, have found this to be absolutely true. The best part is this: it's so easy to implement in your daily life. The changes I've witnessed in my own happiness as a result of these small changes has been so unbelievably significant, that I knew I had to at least try to share it with others. It's one of those low risk/high reward kind of situations that seems like such a no-brainer, I feel I have no choice but to be an obnoxiously enthusiastic advocate for it.

I do, however, think it's important to mention that this is not a one-and-done sort of thing; I have to work really hard to keep this mindset on a daily basis, because it is so painfully easy to get drawn back into old habits. But I have come to see it as yet another tool on my belt that I know I can return to at any time.

I hope you all had a lovely holiday season and are experiencing a great start to 2017. Lately I've been feeling such a surge of excitement for what's to come this year as well as a stirring of creative energy that's trying to fight its way out of my brain and into a more open space; as always, I hope that I will be utilizing this space to do that! This year I'm also attempting to jump on the bullet journal bandwagon, as a way of keeping the contents of my chaotic monkey mind a bit more organized. I'll let y'all know how that goes.....


Sunday, December 11, 2016

December Playlist

Well, I missed November, but I'm back with another monthly playlist! Spotify's Discover station has really been killing it for me lately. It's introduced me to such great new stuff as well as reminded me of songs I've loved and simply forgotten about. This month's playlist has an interesting mix of genres, but that's all part of the fun. None of these songs are particularly festive for the holiday season, so I'm contemplating coming up with a holiday playlist as well in the next week or so; before it's too late to enjoy it.

I hope everyone's having a great December as we look ahead to the start of another year. From what I can gather, the consensus about 2016 is that it's been a year full of changes and transitions, blanketing us all in a general sense of unease and instability; I certainly know that's been true for me. But as always, I know that my adaptations to new situations and environments have molded me into an even more solid version of myself. So I can leave 2016 feeling pretty confident that I'm somewhat less of a dumbass than I was last year! And that's really all I can ask for.

Happy listening!


Thursday, October 6, 2016

October Playlist

I've always wanted music to play a significant role on my blog, but was never quite sure exactly how I wanted to make that happen. I personally am always desperate for recommendations for new music so I thought it would be interesting to share what I've been listening to lately in the form of an October playlist.

Something about autumn makes me absolutely desperate for music that makes me feel...well, something. That indescribable "fall feeling" of the chill in the air, the changing leaves, that warm cup of coffee in my hand. Fall has always been my favorite season and I think it has something to do with that promise of a new start, originally associated with the school season but now so instilled in me that I just can't shake it. And I don't want to, because I'm one of those sappy millennials who believes whole-heartedly in the ongoing quest for self improvement. And change is in the air! I've started my three month interior design certification program and am absolutely loving it. So here's to change, to great music, and to the beautiful month of October. Enjoy!


Sunday, June 26, 2016

New In

I made the mistake of "walking around" the Pearl district of Portland today...because we all know that "walking around" places like Powell's bookstore and Madewell is harmless, right? I was just doing some Sunday browsing, right? Well.....I headed home with a couple of goodies.

I got my hands on this denim jacket from Madewell that I've been lusting after for a while. I have a few denim jackets already, but this one has such a unique look to it, I couldn't resist--let the denim obsession continue.
And of course nothing makes for a better Sunday browse around Portland than the famous Powell's bookstore. I went in with the intention of finding a new cookbook and I wasn't disappointed. The last few months, what with final exams and traveling and moving apartments, I've been eating way more takeout than I care to admit and I'm ready to get back on the healthy eating bandwagen; I'm excited to dig into Clean Slate and see what tasty recipes lie within. I also picked up Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert which seems to be all over the place lately. As an aspiring creative, I'm interested to see what she has to say about the creative process and how to keep the fresh ideas flowing. Finally, I couldn't resist grabbing The Cool Factor as I was walking by the street style section. Because, who doesn't want to know how to be cool? Or at least dress to appear so, which is probably the closest I'll ever get to being cool.
Finally, I'm loving these Dr. Scholl's lace up shoes that I got at a cah-razy good price from Adorn with a employee discount. So far, I've been really good about not spending my entire paycheck on all of the amazing clothes they have, but I'm afraid these shoes may have opened the floodgates of outgoing money...self-control is a tricky thing, isn't it?

Friday, May 20, 2016


Every time I come back here, I find it so hard to put into words exactly what it is I want to say. Taking pictures is the easy part; writing is so much trickier. Sometimes I have to laugh a little bit at how much effort I put into my blog posts when I think about the measly number of page views it gets (the majority of them from my parents and most of the others inexplicably from Russia), but I also think keeping up with this blog is such a good exercise for me. So I guess we'll just see what direction this blog takes! Either it will keep getting better and better, or it will get shittier and shittier until I surrender to the fact that I am not good at this. Your guess is as good as mine!

I did indeed graduate college two weeks ago; they didn't yank the diploma away from me and yell "PSYCH!" and laugh maniacally when I went to reach for it, as I irrationally feared. Then again, I haven't actually received my real diploma in the mail yet--so maybe I'm speaking too soon. 
My parents and I spent the rest of the weekend wandering around Portland, eating way too much food and enjoying the fact that our schedules were wide open for two whole days. It's always nice when people come to visit because that means I have an excuse to explore the city as if I'm a visitor too. I especially loved being able to bring my parents outside of downtown, which, truth be told, is really not the best part of Portland. We ventured into some of my favorites areas in Northeast and Southeast and they got to see what it really is about Portland that I have fallen so deeply in love with.
Of course, we had to make one final pit stop before heading to Arizona, and that was to see the Lewis and Clark campus one more time--not that I won't be going back all the time just to walk around and enjoy its beauty. But it was nice and sentimental to walk around as an alumnus for the first time. The blooming flowers and lush landscape at this time of year is reason enough to make the trip.

And here's where my life as a student ends, at least for now. Into the big, scary world of adulthood and finding "what I want to do with my life"....


Saturday, April 30, 2016

New Beginnings

So here we are again: another time of my life that seems to be defined by things ending and starting. In a week, I’ll be graduating from college. I know everyone says this, but I really don’t understand how this moment snuck up on me. Looking back on my years in college, I see so clearly the number of opportunities that I didn’t take advantage of. And I could very easily let these feelings take on the name regret, but I refuse to submit to that; instead, I’m bringing this awareness into the next phase as I keep an open mind about finding opportunities to do the things I love, the things I’m good at (aaand maybe get paid for it.)

In other news, I recently invited a new family member into my home—his name is Bagheera and he’s a cuddly little guy. Our first weekend together involved a lot of crying (from both him and me), and I realized that I picked out a cat that was as emotional and anxious about new situations as I am—so in between crying, I had to laugh at the irony of the whole situation. Since then, we’ve started to feel more at home with each other and it’s nice having someone to come home to! He's pretty adorable, right?
Even though I’m still facing one more week of final projects, presentations, and exams, I’m so looking forward to a short hiatus with my family in Tucson, AZ after graduation. I’m dreaming of sunsets like this and I can’t wait to get back there with my camera. After this little vacation, I’ll be returning to Portland to start my adult life….yikes.

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