Category Archives: Inspiration

stop staring at your phone

I discovered this video via Lauren Gray on LinkedIn and had to share. The video reminded me of my TURN OFF YOUR PHONE blog post and just how important it is to disconnect and enjoy the real world, not just the online, digital world. Check out the video and read the text below. Hopefully you get as much out of it as I did and can take a few moments to ditch your phone, especially this weekend!

Full Text:
Look Up

I have 422 friends yet I am lonely
I speak to all of them everyday yet none of them really know me
The problem I have sits in the space in-between
Looking into their eyes or at a name on a screen

I took a step back and opened my eyes
I looked round and realised
This media we call social is anything but
when we open our computers and it’s our doors we shut

All this technology we have it’s just an illusion
Community, companionship, a sense of inclusion
When you step away from this device of delusion
You awaken to see a world of confusion

A world where we’re slaves to the technology we mastered
Where information gets sold by some rich, greedy bastard
A world of self-interest, self-image, self-promotion
Where we all share our best bits but leave out the emotion

We’re at our most happy with an experience we share
But is it the same if no one is there?
Be there for your friends and they’ll be there too
But no one will be if a group message will do

We edit and exaggerate, crave adulation
We pretend not to notice the social isolation
We put our words into order till our lives are glistening
We don’t even know if anyone is listening

Being alone isn’t the problem let me just emphasise
If you read a book, paint a picture, or do some exercise
You’re being productive and present not reserved and reclused
You’re being awake and attentive and putting your time to good use

So when you’re in public and you start to feel alone
Put your hands behind your head, step away from the phone
You don’t need to stare at your menu or at your contact list
Just talk to one another, learn to co-exist

I can’t stand to hear the silence of a busy commuter train
When no one wants to talk for the fear of looking insane
We’re becoming unsocial, it no longer satisfies
To engage with one another and look into someone’s eyes.

We’re surrounded by children who since they were born
Have watched us living like robots and think it’s the norm
It’s not very likely you’ll make world’s greatest Dad
If you can’t entertain a child without using an iPad

When I was a child I’d never be home
I’d be out with my friends, on our bikes we’d roam
I’d wear holes in my trainers and graze up my knees
Or build our own clubhouse high up in the trees

Now the park is so quiet it gives me a chill
See no children outside and the swings hanging still
There’s no skipping, no hopscotch, no church and no steeple
We’re a generation of idiots, smart phones and dumb people

So look up from your phone, shut down the display
Take in your surroundings, make the most of today
Just one real connection is all it can take
To show you the difference that being there can make

Be there in the moment as she gives you the look
That you remember forever as when love overtook
The time she first held your hand or first kissed your lips
The time you first disagreed but still loved her to bits

The time you don’t have to tell hundreds of what you’ve just done
Because you want to share this moment with just this one.
The time you sell your computer so you can buy a ring
For the girl of your dreams who is now the real thing

The time you want to start a family and the moment when
You first hold your little girl and get to fall in love again
The time she keeps you up at nights and all you want is rest
And the time you wipe away the tears as your baby flees the nest

The time your baby girl returns with a boy for you to hold
And the time he calls you Grandad and makes you feel real old
The time you take in all you’ve made when you’re giving life attention
And how you’re real glad you didn’t waste it by looking down at some invention

The time you hold your wife’s hand, sit down beside her bed.
You tell her that you love her, lay a kiss upon her head.
She then whispers to you quietly as her heart gives a final beat
That she’s lucky she got stopped by that lost boy in the street

But none of these times ever happened. You never had any of this
When you’re too busy looking down, you don’t see the chances you miss

So look up from your phones, shut down those displays
We have a finite existence, a set number of days
Don’t waste your life getting caught in the net
because when the end comes, nothing’s worse than regret

I am guilty too of being part of this machine
this digital world we are heard but not seen
where we type as we talk and read as we chat
where we spend hours together without making eye-contact

So don’t give in to a life where you follow the hype
Give people your love, don’t give them your “like”
Disconnect from the need to be heard and defined
Go out into the world, leave distractions behind

Look up from your phone, shut down the display
Stop watching this video, live life the real way.

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san francisco adventures: best views

A few week back, I started a mini series sharing my favorite places in San Francisco. This started with my Pinterest map, where I add pins of places I like to eat at and explore in the city. Each pin shows you a photo and the geolocation – super cool for navigating when visiting or just hitting a new neighborhood. I’ve already shared blog posts about my favorite coffee shops and brunch spots and today I’m sharing my favorite views in the city. You absolutely must visit at least of few of these!

Alta Plaza Park {one block from my apartment so if you’re here, you better come say hi!}

Battery Spencer {view of GG Bridge and San Francisco from Marin}

Billy Goat Hill {and a rope swing – pictured above!}

Corona Heights

Golden Gate Bridge {obviously!}

Lombard Street

North Beach {the ‘Little Italy’ of SF}

Ocean Beach/Outer Sunset

Palace of Fine Arts

Sutro Baths {beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean, especially at sunset}

Twin Peaks

You can more of my favorite places in SF on Pinterest here and read the original blog post here. Stay tuned for more highlights from my Pinterest map soon!

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20 Things I Wish I'd Known In My 20s

My good friend Caitlin posted this link from Mind Body Green {20 Things I Wish I’d Known in my 20s} earlier this week and it was too good to share! Here’s a few of my favorites from the list. Definitely check out the full post to read all of them though!

P.S. Check out my friend Cait’s new blog documenting her personal journey training for her first marathon! Super inspiring and awesome. XO

2. Don’t focus so much on the future that you ignore what’s in front of you.

This applies to everything! Don’t future-trip in relationships. Don’t work so hard that you can’t enjoy the little things. Don’t spend so much time “pursuing” happiness that you forget that you have access to it at any moment you choose.

3. Courage is a decision.

It’s not an emotion, it’s a choice. Your fears can’t shape your life unless you’re happy being unhappy. You don’t need to be “ready” to make a change. You just need to acknowledge your fear and take action anyway.

4. You aren’t too old for a career change.

No matter how many degrees, time, and money you’ve put into something, it’s a sunk cost. You don’t get it back by sticking out something you don’t love. Don’t listen to your parents. (Sorry, mom!) You aren’t “playing it safe,” when you’re doing something you don’t love. You’re playing it scared. Do you really want to live with regret because you were afraid to pursue your dreams and embrace your potential?

6. Nobody’s opinion is more important than your own.

Other people’s views are not more relevant than your own. It doesn’t matter if they’re older, more successful, or better educated. Their opinion is simply that, an opinion, and nothing more. Learn to cultivate self-trust, knowing that what’s right for you is your truth, no matter who disagrees.

8. You don’t need to know what you want.

There’s so much pressure to know “what you want to be when you grow up.” Most of us are in careers that have nothing to do with what we studied in school. We’re taught to pick a career and stick with it forever, but that’s an antiquated view. If what you’re doing is making your skin crawl, you probably won’t “grow into it.” Don’t commit to something just because you’re supposed to. It’s fine to play it safe as long as you’re experimenting with things that actually light you up.

10. It’s OK that you’re single.

You aren’t more valuable as a person just because you have a partner, more Facebook friends, or any other form of external validation. Until you can self-validate, you’ll always feel like you’re lacking.

11. Be aware of what you’re really upset about.

When it’s hysterical, it’s historical. If you’re going from 0-60 because they forgot to give you extra hot sauce with your order, it’s triggering an old wound that hasn’t been healed. Don’t take it out on the delivery guy.

13. Other people’s baggage is theirs to deal with.

This one is huge. You aren’t a good friend, lover, or family member by taking responsibility for other people’s problems. The goal is interdependence, not codependence. Support others in a loving way, but allow them to work things out on their own.

15. Acknowledge that this moment won’t last forever (even if it feels like it will).

Everything in my 20s felt like it lasted forever. Waiting for a guy to call me back, getting a promotion, for things to “go my way.” When I was struggling with severe depression, my best friend gave me a ring that said “gam zeh ya’avor.” Modeled after a magic ring of King Solomon’s, it translates from Hebrew as, “This too shall pass.” Whenever I was sad, I looked at it and found the strength to continue. (And I tried not to look at it when I was happy!)

17. Forgive yourself for past screw-ups.

I’ve made so many mistakes. For most of my 20s, it was the only way I learned anything. But after learning the lesson, I held onto the pain and guilt instead of surrendering and forgiving myself. Often, we focus on forgiving others instead of forgiving ourselves. And while it can be painful and challenging to have compassion for ourselves, it’s the first step to letting go of your old story and writing a new one. The truth is that you can’t go back in time, but you can focus on what you want to create in the future.

18. Find gratitude for the good, the bad and the straight up ugly.

One step of past forgiveness is gratitude. While that may sound crazy, it’s the fastest way to accept who you are and where you’ve been. It’s easy to find gratitude for the good things, but being thankful for the painful experiences allows you to embrace your growth and transformation.

20. Find your tribe.

Just because you were friends as teenagers or in college, doesn’t mean you need to stay as close. As you develop into your true self, you’ll align with people who mirror that. Transition can be lonely, but you’re more likely to find real friends if you’re your real self.

Bonus tip: Nothing good happens after 1am and nothing good comes from drinking alcohol in the form of a shot.

 Image via here.

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san francisco adventures: brunch

Last week, I kicked off a mini-series sharing my favorite spots in San Francisco organized by category. Last week I shared about coffee shops and today, I’m sharing about brunch spots! All of the places can be found on this interactive Pinterest map I created highlighting my favorite spots in San Francisco! All of the links below go to Pinterest so you can see quickly see where in the city each restaurant or cafe is. Enjoy!

Brunch Spots in San Francisco:

Brenda’s French Soul Food {near Civic Center}

Griddle Fresh {in Noe Valley}

Mission Beach Cafe {in The Mission on Guerrero/14th Street}

Nopa {in Nopa/Alamo Square}

Outerlands {in Outer Sunset}

Plow {in Potrero Hill – pictured above}

Sweet Maple {in Pacific Heights on Steiner/Sutter}

The Grove {multiple locations – Fillmore Street, downtown and Hayes Valley}

The Plant Organic Cafe {multiple locations in Marina, downtown or on The Embarcadero}

You can more of my favorite places in SF on Pinterest here and read the original blog post here. Stay tuned next week to see a list of my favorite views in the city!

 

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on happiness

I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that—I don’t mind people being happy—but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down three things that made you happy today before you go to sleep” and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position. It’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say, “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness.” Ask yourself, “Is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.

Hugh MacKay, author of The Good Life

 

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you are significant with or without a significant other

I read this article from my favorite Shauna Niequist and immediately said YES. This was exactly what I needed to read. The article was filled with so many very important reminders that you are loved and of value, regardless of if you are single, dating or married. This is definitely something that hits home to me. While I’m dating now, I often felt “less than” compared to my friends with boyfriends. And now, I’m bombarded with wedding updates on Facebook and it often makes me question where I’m at in life. And that’s just silly. The blog post was an important reminder to accept, embrace and most of all, ENJOY the phase of life I’m in. Rather than being single and wishing to be dating/married or dating and wishing you were married, it’s important to just be present with and thankful for that stage of life.

I am valuable and significant and important and loved in the state of life I’m in. I was still valuable and significant and important and loved when I was single. I will still be valuable and loved and significant and important and loved when/if I ever get married. And so are you.

Hope you enjoy and get as much out of the article from Shauna as I did. It’s long but very, very awesome. xo!

You are significant with or without a significant other.

I say it every time because our culture is weirdly obsessed with romance and couples and being part of a matched set.
I say it every time because some of the people I love most in the world are single—either because they haven’t yet found their person, or because their marriage has ended. Honestly, I’ve reached that age when I hear more divorce announcements than wedding bells.

And sometimes I wonder if there would be fewer divorce announcements if we weren’t so hung up on marriage as a status symbol or accomplishment.

I love to tell people that it’s okay to be single because so many of my very favorite people are single. And it breaks my heart when they feel like they’re less or half or waiting around for their real lives to start. That’s garbage.

You are significant with or without a significant other. Marriage isn’t like being named prom queen. It’s a partnership, one I love being a part of. But it doesn’t make me more special. It’s not a status symbol.

For whatever set of reasons, our culture loves the Game of Life two-in-the-front-seat way of living. But that’s not the only way. And you’re not less-than for being solo in your car in this season. And I’m so sorry if sometimes you feel that. That’s awful.

Here’s the truth: some of the worst people I know are married. I don’t know how it happens. And some of the truly best people I know are single. I don’t know how that happens, either.

But what I do know is it’s not about the fundamental value of the person in question. Your value is not up for grabs, and certainly your value is not riding on a cultural obsession with romance and tulle and diamonds.

You are significant with or without a significant other.

A few thoughts for my single friends, who I just adore:

Don’t wait for marriage to start your life. Oh, man. My single friends do this so well. I love all the ways that my single friends are living well, with a great sense of adventure and purpose. They’re starting non-profits, traveling the world, creating homes with great style and creativity, contributing to their communities with so much love and honesty.

One of the very worst things about the whole wedding tradition is that we help people set up households when they get married, communicating that homes and nice things are for married people. Why should you have to be married to own a decent knife? Why do we only give married people towels and china? Shouldn’t every person, married or not, have a decent coffee pot? Isn’t that sort of a basic human right?

I remember when a single friend said, listen, I thought I’d be married by now. I thought I’d find that person and we’d buy a house together and buy furniture together. But just because that hasn’t happened, I don’t have to use an upside down milk crate for a nightstand, like I live in a dorm room, do I?

No, dear sister. Grown-ups should have good knives and nightstands and homes that have been created with love and attentiveness. You don’t have to wait for a partner to invest in your space, in yourself, in your life.

At the same time, being single is an opportunity, even if it’s not one you choose. Spend it. Singleness gives you a little more flexibility (unless you’re single parenting, which is a whole different deal, and which means I think you’re absolutely amazing.).

You might not want to be single right now. I get it. But it affords you some freedoms, and you should take them, every single one of them. I’m so proud of my single friends who are traveling like mad and living in interesting places and training for super-time-consuming races and getting fascinating graduate degrees.

Not every season affords this flexibility, and if you have it, grab it. Take it. Use it up. Please don’t wish away this season just because it doesn’t look the way you thought it would. What does singleness afford you? Time to write that book? Space to learn that skill? Flexibility to spend the summer in that dreamy place? Even if it’s not what you wanted, or not what you planned, how can you spend the opportunity you’ve been given in this season?

And while there are moments when you don’t want to be single, please do know that there are those moments when married people don’t want to be married. There are those moments when parents don’t want to be parents. It’s how life is, for all of us.

A thought for my married friends:

Don’t miss out on friendships with amazing people because they’re single and their rhythm of life is different than yours. My single friends add so much to my life. My life would be so much less rich and fun and challenging if I was only around married people. Lame.

And don’t assume that because someone’s single, they don’t want to hang out with married people, or people with kids. Our Cooking Club is a mix of married and single. Our small group is a mix of married and single. Some of the sweetest connections my kids have aren’t with my mom friends but with our single friends, and some of the most necessary and loving conversations I’ve had in recent months have been with single friends.

We all lose when we spend too much time with people right in the very same demographic. Life gets too small.

Dear, dear single friends: if I could reach through the screen, I’d put my hands on your shoulders, and I’d remind you as often as you need to hear it: you are significant with or without a significant other.

Being in a dating relationship or a marriage relationship doesn’t validate you or make you more.

You are extraordinary, enough, more than enough.

Don’t let a multi-billion dollar wedding industry tell you who you are. What do they know about your particular awesomeness?

You are significant, with or without a significant other.

{Image via here}

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dear dedicated girl

Dear Dedicated Girl,

Sometimes you just have to decide that you have had enough. Sometimes you just have to make that completely solid decision that enough is enough and that things absolutely, positively have to change….and you have to make that decision before anything else can happen.

And sometimes…you have to hit a pretty rock hard place to finally get to that decision…to finally get to that place where things are painful enough that you will do anything to change them.

You see, you have to DECIDE that you are DONE feeling rotten, or you are done getting treated badly, or you are done being taken advantage of, or you are done being overweight, or you are done doing a job that you can’t stand. And you are the only one who can really decide that for you.

So, dear girl, thank those times that get you to that place. Thank the rock hard places that wake you up and make you finally decide that enough is enough. Instead of cursing those experiences and those times in your life…thank them for getting you to finally decide to do the right, but difficult things that will get you to where you want to be.

Because once you decide…..everything changes. Once you decide to finally believe the truth that you are as valuable and important as everyone else…that happiness is meant for you too….that your soul has always been meant for peace…..once you decide, you can do it.

It won’t be easy…but staying where you don’t belong is far more difficult. When enough is enough……..be brave and listen to your soul….listen to Truth. Go where the peace is.

You are so very loved…..especially in these rock hard times.

You can do this.

via Brave Girls Club

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wisdom from maya angelou

yesterday the world lost an amazing lady – poet, activist and influencer of love and strength, maya angelou. i’ve always been inspired by not only her words, but her actions, to make the world a better place. here’s just a few of her wonderful reminders to look on the bright side of life, to live bravely and courageously and to always, always, always love. RIP.

have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.

there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.

love recognizes no barriers. it jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.

nothing will work unless you do.

shine on! let nothing dim the light that shines from within.

never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.

you may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.

i know for sure that love saves me and that it is here to save us all.

no sun outlasts its sunset but will rise again and bring the dawn.

image via here

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if i were 22

have you seen or heard about linkedin’s influencer series called ‘if i were 22′? the series shares photos from 80+ influencers who discuss life lessons and what they would have done differently in their youth. while i haven’t had time to read all of them {but want to!}, i really enjoyed this one from guy kawasaki and wanted to share with you today! hope you have a great one! xo

Challenge the known and embrace the unknown. Accepting the known and resisting the unknown is a mistake. You should do exactly the opposite: challenge the known and embrace the unknown. Now is the time to take this kind of risk because you have less to lose and everything to gain. Great things happen to people who question the status quo.

Be brief. Contrary to school, in the work place there are few minimums. In my entire career, I can count on one hand the instances when an email, presentation, or report was too short. The perfect length for everything is when it is “complete”—more is less, and “shock and awe” doesn’t work in business or war. Here are guidelines: email—five sentences; presentations—tens slides and twenty minutes; report—one page.

Tell stories, do demos, and use pictures. The most enchanting people tell stories, do demos, and use pictures to influence and persuade others. They do on belittle or berate. They paint a picture in people’s minds whether the medium is social media, email, in-person presentations, phone calls, or video conferences. There is only one Steve Jobs, but if you want a shot at being the next Steve Jobs, learn to communicate using stories, demos, and pictures.

Don’t sweat your first job(s). Over your lifetime, you’ll probably have five to ten jobs in two to three industries. Your first job is not going to be your last. It’d be great if your first job was to be the fifth employee of the next Google, but the odds of this are small. The only mistake you could make is taking a first job where you couldn’t learn anything, and if you can’t learn anything, it’s probably your fault. Just get in and work hard and stop thinking about finding the perfect first job.

Live in the present, work for the future. The day after you start work, no one is going to care what school you went to, what your grade point average was, if you were captain of the football, robotics, or debate team, or who your parents are. All that matters is whether you deliver results or you don’t, so work hard to make your boss look good (see next).

Make your boss look good. Your job is to make your boss look good. The theory that you should make your boss look bad so that you can advance above him or her is flawed. Trying to do so will probably make you look disloyal to your boss and stupid to the rest of the organization. You want your boss to succeed so that you can draft behind him or her.

Continue to learn. Learning is a process not an event, so you should never stop learning. Indeed, it gets easier to learn once you’re out of school because the relevance of what you need to learn becomes more obvious. Indeed, the day you graduate is when the real learning begins.

Don’t get married too soon. I got married when I was thirty-two. That’s about the right age. Until you’re about that age, you may not know who you are. You also may not know who you’re marrying. I don’t know anyone who got married too late. I know many people who got married too young.

Obey the absolutes. When you were young, it was absolutely wrong to lie, cheat, or steal. When you enter the workforce, you will be tempted by the to think in relative terms. As you grow older, you will see that right and wrong seems to change from absolute to relative. This is wrong: right is right and wrong is wrong forever.

Enjoy your family and friends before they are gone. Nothing — not money, power, or fame — can replace your family and friends or bring them back once they are gone. You probably have delusions of immortality right now — that’s natural. At least consider that while you may be immortal, those around you are not.

One more thing. When you were a child, you thought your parents were always right. Through high school and college, you thought your parents were always wrong. After college, you’ll realize that your parents were often right. And then, believe it or not, you’ll eventually become your parents. Wrap your young mind around that..