Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Loving the Hermit Lifestyle


Little known fact: I'm a hermit.

The happier I am in my personal and professional life, the less of a need I have to leave my home and interact with strangers.

I have found that I am perfectly happy surrounded by my hubby, Maya, and sometimes my immediate family and close friends.

I wasn't always this way. Even the first year of our marriage I craved going out. Every night, most weekends, and I was basically ready for anything; at any time.

It's no surprise that the first year of my marriage was quite difficult, the second blurred, and by the third I was questioning whether I should be married - or not.  But I did notice one thing throughout all this: The more time I spent taking care of my marriage, instead of going out and trying to find joy in others, the better things around me were.

It was a circle, but a positive circle. Happy marriage, happy self, happy everything else. Simple.

When folks say people change when they get married, we assume its because of the spouse. But the truth is, if you are happy, like to be happy, and want to see your partner happy, you figure out a way.

Some call it compromising or leaning in; but lets be honest, you just figure out a way to make things work.

Sometimes you give in, sometimes you fight the battle, and sometimes you compromise. It's a little of everything, sprinkled in with a lot of love, and eventually you figure something that works for you.

The more comfortable I became, we became, the easier it was to make big decisions without stressing. Sure we talk things out, but sometimes, most of the time, we just roll with the punches.

The closer we get, because it really never stops, the easier it is to trust feedback and suggestions from my hubby without battling it out.

When hubby mentioned that I was miserable working in PR, it took me some time to stop fighting it. But eventually I did. It took me a few years to admit that he was right. It was time to move on.  And I did. I moved on.

But when the school suggestion came up, it was more of a conversation, less of a disagreement. It organically happened. And honestly? It was the best decision ever.

I don't think this decision would have happened as easily as it did if I still had that huge group of folks around me. I don't know about you, but I tend to suck-in other folks energy, likes, personality, and dislikes. Two years ago, the school decision never happened, because everyone convinced me, through their actions and silence, that it wasn't worth it.

Because things at home were not great, it was easier to trust others.  I'm not saying I shouldn't - or we shouldn't - trust our friends. Honestly? If we have good friends, like I do, I don't think anyone wants anything bad to happen to you. But if your vibe is off, like mine was, their answer and advice will be off if because we are not in a good place.

But if you are in a good place, like I am right now, I really don't need people. At the end of the day, I sleep with my husband. I sleep with Maya. I have a close group of friends, that granted, we don't see each-other as much as we'd like to, but when we do, beautiful things happen.

So I figured out that I'm actually happy at home. That I do like cooking, and that yes, even shopping with my husband can be fun.

But most importantly, I have found out that being still is better than filling your time with things and people that are simply distractions.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Onwards and Upwards


Have you heard about the post wedding blues? How about the post college blues? And, of course we all know about the mourning period we go through when we loose a loved one.

Books, upon books, websites, self-help guru's, and now even our nosey neighbors, all seem to encourage downtime.

Overall, it's perfectly acceptable to go into hibernation mode after a major life changing event.  Self help experts and life coaches encourage a period of time to retreat, recharge, collect your thoughts, and basically take care of you.

This is all new to me. Taking a sabbatical. Having downtime. Being reflective about work, life, me.

We are a country, and let me narrow it down a bit more...Los Angeles in particular...a city inhabited by stressed, overworked, and non-stop-do-everything folks.

Why sleep when I have THINGS TO DO? That was the question I answered every day as I filled my agenda, minute-by-minute, with a million-and-one must-do's.

Go. Go. Go. Don't stop. Don't think. Just do.

The more booked my agenda got, the more I felt that I was truly living a good life. But I didn't have a minute, not a one, to think. Alone.

So what happened to my very American way of doing things...you know, work until steam runs out?

Well, I think it finally hit us. Hit. every. single. one. of us.

It hit me.

My surgery last year forced me to take time off and to spend time alone. To think.

Do you have any idea how scary it is to be alone with just your thoughts to keep you entertained? Very.

Right after surgery I quit PR, started school, worked on a conference, and still kept going. I mistakingly thought that I slowed down...I mean, really, after working 15 hour days for 15 years straight, to then going to school and moving away from PR, DID seem like a major slow dow.

But it wasn't. It was just another way to stay busy.

Once school was out, we took a vacation, and when we got back home it hit me: For the first time since the age of 17, I am not working full time.

I am not going to school.

I am home.

No one is forcing me to do anything.

I have a blank slate and a clear road to do whatever I want to do...and it's scary.

Very.

But it's also exciting.

Very.

Onwards and upwards...

Here goes nothing...

Monday, July 7, 2014

Regrouped, Recharged and ALIVE!


After 15 years being out of school, it goes without saying that I was BEYOND excited when I turned in my last final this semester.  This semester has been a learning experience, no pun intended!

The week following my last day of school, I had to wrap up-plenty of loose ends that I let fall by the wayside in the weeks prior to the end of the semester. Our home, needless to say, was a wreck!

If I learned anything during the school year, it was the need to be aware of my body and spirit. Ignoring myself could mean disaster. I'm not kidding!

Missing lunch, as trivial as it may seem at any other time of the year, is brain fuel during the school year. Taking a break, even if minutes in the middle of the day, recharges my body and mind. Organization was more important than ever, and my support team, which is mainly my cheerleading husband and patient furry baby, kept my head above water.

I've learned to say no, turn off the phone, and ignore emails on the weekend. I also learned to embrace help and signs to just be ME.

All signs pointed to taking a break after school...I just didn't know how it would happen. I just knew it would.

As kookie as it sounds, put it out there and the doors will open. That's exactly what happened when I was approached by Ford to plan a road-trip up the California Coast.

Bucket list item checked off: The MADONNA INN!!!
Taking a trip up the California Coast, which is really my idea of heaven-on-earth, and well, there-you-have-it! The PERFECT break to end my school semester and kick-off a reflective and life changing summer.

I think it had something to do, if not a lot, with their new Transit Connect being a perfect marriage of quirky and functionality that both my hubby and I look for in a car. I mean, really, is it NOT the perfect road-trip travel companion, or what?!

Central California is GORGEOUS! Mountains to the East, beach to the West.  It's a MUST DO trip for anyone.
After a few weeks of planning the perfect road-trip itinerary, we took off on Tuesday, June 24. We called our vacation the #UnminivanMoments #CaliforniaGold road-trip; and for the next five days we had endless fun, and discovered places that are not on most tourist guides.

Of course,  we documented our trip on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; and, have more than 250 photos from our trip that you can see here.

During the trip we received a lot of feedback and questions that one blog post can't possibly answer; So in the interest of helping you plan your very own roadtrip this summer, I will be sharing a few tips, guides and travel suggestions in the upcoming weeks.

Thanks for the follows everyone - you made our trip that MUCH MORE ENJOYABLE having you along for the ride.

XOXO,

Hubby and me outside the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

IT'S OFFICIAL!! I'm an #UnminivanMoments Blog Ambassador!!!!


A few months back a couple of my blogger friends called me about a car that reminded them of me. They used the words 'quirky,' 'fun,' and 'different' to describe the car. The same words that have been used to describe me - how fitting!

A day later I met this car, which really was a van, but nothing short of NOT being a traditional minivan. They were right: It was fun, it was quirky, it was different, and absolutely super fun to drive.

It was big-enough for my lifestyle. Meaning, it has enough room for Princess Maya, my hubby, and the tons of stuff we are always lugging around; but it was designed with Urban Dwellers in mind. Meaning, all the techie stuff we love, like the bluetooth phone connection, comfy seating, and space to carry our bikes and stuff, well, the Transit Connect has it!

It was also very, very cute, and oh-so-Euro; and most importantly, it drove like a car - which is something my hubby and I both love (especially since he drives the Ford Fusion with EcoBoost).

So it goes without saying that I am beyond, ridiculously, super EXCITED to have been selected as one of seven bloggers to help launch the Transit Connect this summer with the #unminivan moments campaign.

The #unminivanmoments campaign is a series of adventures that reconnect people with America’s unique attractions in a vehicle that’s every bit as different as the people, places and mysteries encountered along the way.

The goal is to showcase the quirky personality of the Transit Connect Wagon while creating one-of-a-kind experiences for some one-of-a-kind personalities (aka Road Trippers; aka ME :) ).

Which means that both my hubby and I will be venturing out of our West Los Angeles confines to Santa Monica (a whole five-mile trek), then head north through Ventura, Santa Barbara, the California's Central Coast and arrive in San Francisco to end our fabulous discovery of funky, fun, off-the-beaten path things to do along the way.  

We are calling our trip "The Big Adventure" :)

I CAN. NOT. WAIT. to share all of our amazing discoveries, fun adventures and yummy eats that we experience during our #unminivanmoments trip, and invite you to follow me and all of my friends by searching for this hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instragram.

So, if you are anywhere along the path of our travels, shoot me an email or a Tweet to stop us along the way. I would love to meet you and introduce you to the Transit Connect. 

Hugs,

Monday, June 9, 2014

It's Been Tough...

It's been a tough few days.

First, I had three papers due and one final last week. Then, of course, drama would ensue on the marital front. I've tried to keep my head above water, but it's literally getting tough to just hold on to whatever I can. (Which isn't much at this time)

Returning to school while working is a lot tougher than I could have ever anticipated. (To the people that have done before me -while married and with kids- my hats off to you).

Our home is in disarray, cooking happens twice, maybe three times a week, and of course i can't be my usually Molly McButter.

In other words, I. Am. Spent.

With my nerves being on wits end and my time being limited, the 150% attention I normally give my hubby is, well, not happening. 

It doesn't help that we have a flock of circling vultures around us that claim that their intrusion is love, when all they are doing is causing more drama in our lives.

Tension is running rampant, and as much as I try to smooth things out with my hubby, it's just not happening as quickly as usual.

We really just need to be away...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Introducing: Observations on Life, Lifestyle Magazine

I have learned my lesson, or, I have become a bit more superstitious in my old age and fear the malocchio.

So it's for that reason, and my entirely too busy schedule, that I tend to do things a little under the radar and wait to the very last minute to announce them.

So take this as my hands-up-in-the-air moment because I have a HUGE announcement:

I am BEYOND thrilled to have my VERY OWN Lifestyle Magazine, appropriately called: Observations on Life!!
From fashion, to beauty, trends, unique gifts and anything Angelino, I will be curating the best of the web for my subscribers.

I'm sooo ridiculously proud and I invite you to stop by and subscribe to Observations on Life HERE.
It goes without saying that any bit of success can be directly attributed to YOU, my amazing readers, that have stuck by and supported every step I take.   
I hope to continue to give you something to think about, something to celebrate, and many other reasons to continue to support me in helping make Cabeza de Coco Blog synonymous with "Observations on Life."
THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Finals!

This weekend it hit me: I only have 14 days left from my first semester back at school.

Fourteen days...two weeks...and I will be done!

In the meantime I'm beyond busy trying to get all my papers done, reading up-to-date, and squeezing in study time.

Although I have so much to share with ya'll, especially some pretty darn incredible things I have done and stuff I've tried out ---that I think you will love--- I'm slowing down a little bit for the next two weeks.

In the meantime, I'm working with a couple of pretty incredible folks to redesign this blog and will be making a huge announcement VERY SOON.

Please don't stay too far behind ;-)

Smooches,

Thursday, May 29, 2014

We're not in High School Anymore

I don't have time to peek or keep track, ya' know, like keeping-up-with-the-joneses-type-of-thing; but sometimes I can't help it.

Things just float in front of me and I look.

I read.

I observe.

This is not to say that I don't like what I see or read --most of the time-- it just confuses me.

"Wait, didn't you tell me --only a few weeks ago-- that so-and-so annoyed you?" Then why are you claiming friendship?

Or, "wasn't so-and-so SUPER supportive of your work?" Then why are you flat-out dismissing them?

Sometimes, I just don't get people. Women in particular.
There's a little bit of that High School bad girl in most women that I find to be our biggest crutch.
There's a saying, or a quote, or meme if you want, that states that when people show you who they are, believe them.

I don't believe that this is true.

What I do believe is that people are multifaceted creators - which makes us awesome.

I mean, really, how sucky would it be if we had the same personality and reaction to everything--all-of-the-time?

Do I like everyone I meet? Well, I was taught NOT TO judge someone by first impressions alone, so honestly, if you ever meet me - it's doubtful that I will have any opinion of you the first time I meet you.

Ask me by the fourth or fifth time we meet and expect honesty. Really. Other than folks that are socially awkward and have pretty bad human traits, I will probably like you. Promise.

Let's say I like you and even consider you a friend: I expect that you will have areas of your personality that I won't like. Choices you make that I will probably judge (that French pedicure? Not a good choice lady), and days that I will probably not want to be around you.

That is human nature.

Liking or disliking someone based on what others tell me or on a single bad day or experience? Well, that is called High School.

Last time I checked, I'm not in High School.

Are you?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Leaning in on Memorial Day

I ended my Memorial Day Sunday at a local 50's diner with my brother, Sister-in-law, and the kids.
Six years ago, my then live-in boyfriend that would eventually become my hubby, told me about an annual Memorial Day party at a friends house. He missed going since his divorce and thought it was time to visit his friends; and, introduce me in the process.

He had just moved in and a week prior had given me my engagement ring. I was already very careful of who to share our engagement with, especially since he had two older daughters that were less than supportive about us. My traditional family had just found out about our relationship, and living in sin was not well received.

To say that I was stressed about this annual event filled with people that knew nothing about us, let alone me, was nothing less than scary.

But, to completely play the role of the good girlfriend, I didn't complain and agreed to go to this shing-ding.

To prepare I did what most women would do, shopped. I picked a beautiful white linen outfit and also hand-picked what my hubby would wear. Concerned with making the best impression possible I asked my hubby "What should we take?" He insisted that we simply just show up. "They're my friends. Don't worry," he told me.

The party was in a suburb of Los Angeles, about 40 miles north of where we live. The community was your stereotypical cookie-cutter master planned community in the middle of the dessert. I was completely out of my element. The guests were inebriated PTA moms, uninterested soccer dads, and a slew of kids high on sugar and soda.

My first interaction with this group of friends was a woman running towards my boyfriend, reaching towards his neck and kissing him on the lips. I was in shock. That action was then followed with commentary about my outfit and how my hubby was dressed. "Wow, she's already changing you - you have never looked this nice," said his supposed friend. I wasn't amused but smiled out of courtesy.  Again, I was playing the good girlfriend role and didn't want to cause a stir. 

What followed later was sheer comedy. I was either ignored, or the people kind enough to care who I was, were actually friends of my hubbys x-wife, spying on her behalf. Conversation revolved around kids, Costco purchases, and home remodels. I had nothing to contribute to the conversation, and as nice as I was, I was miserable.

By the end of the party, the same woman that greeted my hubby in an overtly inappropriate way mentioned how "I never imaged that he would end up with a woman like you." I didn't care to ask what she meant mostly because I was holding back my shock and anger.

The following year we were married and went out of town. The guilt trip we were dished for not going to this party was seriously - uncalled for. This was, according to his suburban friends, "a tradition - and how dare "I" break tradition?" My hubby promised that we would be there the following year. I haven't forgotten about this comment and realized that some folks don't want to see others happy (in their marriage), and rather selfishly monopolize their time.

The second time I went to this party, I invited my mom and one of my brothers - hoping to at least have a couple of friendly faces to look over me. My brother later told me that there was something "fake" about the entire thing. My mom couldn't get pass the stay-at-home-mom who's breasts were hanging over her ill-fitting bikini. Conversations, as I came to find out by my limited interaction with these friends, revolved around money and anything suburbia. Again, I was miserable and bit my tongue. 

The next time I went, I took a friend. We hung-out by the pool and pretty much limited our conversation time with the PTA moms. Again, all conversations were focused on buying homes, investments, money and Costco (does everyone in Suburbia shop at Costco?!). By this time, I could tell that all the friends were upping one another. I didn't want to be part of this. I am not part of this, and fought with my hubby over four years of misery.

By the fifth time this party was due to come up, I put my foot down. "I am not going to this party. You can go by yourself." I told my now hubby. He mentioned being "embarrassed," that his parents would show up so I would have "someone to talk to," to "ignore the indiscretions" - anything really - but "please come." I refused. 

I could care less what he told his friends. They were HIS friends, not mine.  That was last Memorial Day weekend. We fought before Memorial Day and after. I honestly don't remember what I did - but I was not part of that party.

This year I wanted to leave town, but school got in the way. When the invite came, I told my hubby the same thing I did last year - but this time a bit calmer. "Why do you even want me to come? Your friends don't like me, I don't like them - just spend time with them and I will do my own thing." Again, hubby insisted that I "go;" that I would "make him look bad;" to "ignore the inappropriate conversations," and "come." 

I didn't.

This year plans just happened, and got better before the day arrived. Memorial Day Sunday, I did everything I loved -from spending a day at the beach, window shopping, cooking at home and dining out- with the people I love and I had an absolutely FANTASTIC time.

There was a lot of laughing, reminiscing, creating new memories, and not one bit of suburban gossip or forced conversation.

Yes, my hubby went to his party. And yes, he told me a bit of what happened. And yes, I don't regret one bit not being there - and it's perfectly OK that he went by himself.

I'm so glad I leaned in and put my foot down on something that not only made me miserable, but that also created drama in our relationship.

Hooray for leaning in.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Blindfold has Fallen

I’m sitting at a corner table at my local Boba Shop having lunch. This is the first time I have been able to sit here in the last couple of weeks. 

Single students or local cubicle dwellers tend to crowd the tables or use a table larger than what they need. This leaves very little room for single patrons-like myself. On more than one occasion I have glanced at a student using a table of four hoping to meet their eyes and warrant an invitation to share the table. Not once has this happened.

Today was different. Today I got a table for three, plopped myself down, and slowly ate my lunch while catching up on my FB feed. I didn’t notice, or care to notice, the large line of folks behind me. Today I decided that I was going to enjoy my table, my lunch, the boba tea and free WiFi.

I choose to ignore the snippy mom complaining that there’s no place to park her stroller, or the OCD model-like woman complaining that there’s no place to sit, or the annoying tourist speaking loudly on his cellphone. Today, it’s about me.

What I did notice were two youngish gals glancing in my direction. I know what they were thinking, but I did exactly what others have done in my place: I looked away, and didn’t invite them to share my table.  I’m done being that woman.

I’m done being pleasant when something annoys me, or overlooking a bad case of cattiness in an effort to keep the peace and be professional.

Yes, I’m speaking to you, the convivial friendemie who loves me one day, speaks about honor, friendship, -blah-blah-blah- and later blasting your social media feed with BFF selfies -with the folks you just handed in a stay-away-from-them plate- you my friend, are one big hypocrite.

This is also for Mr. Professional social media wonder boy: your preferential treatments are not special, they make you look like a sleaze. Because, well, you are.

To Mrs. everything is about hard work, and yet you crouch at the sign of go: Sorry lady, hard work takes time and a lot of effort. Don’t blame me for making the priorities you can’t handle, well, priorities.

To Ms. Positivity: I get that you love everything, love everyone, everyone is absolutely peachy - but when you show your so-called wit, which is actually misplaced anger dished in under-handed commentary, know that this is a sure sign that you ran out of your happy pills (I should know - I’ve taken them before).

With the absolute certainty that I'm sounding a bit bitchy and just like a big meanie today, great - wonderful. I simply don’t care. Because I’m done being that woman. 

You know, the woman that you tend to discredit because I’m so F’n unassuming, maybe blasé, and just so damn nice. It really doesn't matter, I have come to find out. 

I can be a bitch or absolutely pleasant, how I'm treated has nothing to do with what I put out, as much as how others want to react.

Yes, I get it - the professionalism will never leave the core of my being; and like it or not, even when the layers are peeled, I am probably one of the nicest and most loyal people you will meet.

BUT, I'm done being taken advantage of because of who I am.

The reality is, I can see through the crap. I always have. I just never said anything. Make no mistake, me being nice to you is just my class A act of avoiding looking like you.  But the blindfolds have fallen and I see through you; and, It ain’t pretty folks - actually, you aren’t pretty anymore.

Damn, it feels good to get this off my chest.

Moving on...How was YOUR day? :)