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daily diary

daily diary, deep thoughts, editor letter

So many updates…

August 20, 2017

maddy-what-a-time

Hi friends. I have missed you. I have so much to share. So much. I’m going to break it up into a few different topics, below:

Home

Living in Oakland is better than I hoped it would be and, trust me, I had really high hopes. The mixture of the physical beauty, the perfect weather, the progressive spirit, the close proximity to the boys and the feeling of being in alignment with my life hopes and dreams is something I just can’t describe. My soul has found its home. It’s not without its stresses…we can barely pay the bills living here and sometimes the grind of that brings me down. I’m also still commuting, which is its own beast. Still, it’s so worth it and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here.

Money

As I mentioned above, it’s stressing me out. I think I’m going to stop telling myself this story about being bad with money and find a financial planner that can help me sort things out. I hope to own a house someday in this beautiful town and I am just not on that path right now. What’s worse, I don’t even know how to get there. Time to call in the professionals!

Food

Over the past several months, I’ve been feeling my heart pulled toward veganism. I’ve finally gotten the hang of vegetarianism and this is the next step. For me, it’s hard to love my dogs and other animals so much and rationalize eating other animals that are sentient. It doesn’t add up. I still totally believe in intuitive eating and am working to integrate this personal belief into my intuitive eating practice. It’s not super easy, because sometimes I do feel deprived even when eating vegetarian. I eat fried chicken and hamburgers sometimes and I’m trying to give myself grace through it. I know that I’m causing way less suffering through my imperfect attempts at veganism and vegetarianism that if I hadn’t even tried at all. Last week, I started a 30 day vegan challenge, which I am documenting on my instagram stories. Follow along if you’d like. I’ll be sure to post some updates here as I go along, but overall, I’m learning that it’s really not as difficult as I thought it would be. It basically comes down to good planning. If you know me, I’m not the best planner, but I am trying to learn.

Community

Living here in what I hope to be my permanent home, I feel so compelled to contribute to this community. I’ve started volunteering by meeting with an English learner at Cal who needs a bit of help with conversational English. I’ve only had one session so far, but it has been a total pleasure. I haven’t volunteered much in the past few years and it’s time to change that. I don’t have a ton of time in my schedule, but this is one small step I can take for an hour a week.

Happiness

On paper, my happiness should be higher than it ever has been. I’m living in Oakland!! A lifelong dream. I have a wonderful boyfriend and his two beautiful, sweet kids in my life every day. I am eating vegan and I am volunteering and I have great friends and family in my life. It’s all SO good, but I have noticed myself feeling really down and negative. Instead of focusing on the good in my life, I notice myself attracted to the less-than-perfect parts. My commute bums me out, our money problems stress me out and I am fixated on my career and whether or not I am pursuing my life’s purpose in my work. Overall, I’m diagnosing this as a lack of contentment. I thought that living in Modesto was the source of my unhappiness, but now I’m realizing that it’s my own brain. I’m on a mission to fix it. Of course, I don’t expect to be 100% happy all the time, but I can cultivate a practice of contentment that I don’t have now. I’m going to start reading the book, The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything tonight. I heard about it on a podcast last week and I can’t stop thinking about it. I’ll report back.

Culture

Seriously, what is going on? We are in crisis right now in America and it is scary and sad and demoralizing. There is so much wrong with what is going on in our world and it feels overwhelming to know how to speak out and act out effectively. Do you have links to resources you’d recommend? I need to learn more and do more.

Writing

I’ll close with this. I was listening to the Dear Sugars podcast on my way home last week and it really changed my perspective on writing. I get so caught up on this writing thing and whether or not anyone reads and whether or not I’ll have any success that I don’t do it right or consistently. If there’s one thing I know for sure, I am a better, happier person when I’m writing and it’s the one thing that I know without any doubt that it lights me up inside in a way that I’ve never experienced elsewhere. I’m done chasing the success of it. I just want to write my truth, document my life and my thoughts, and forget about success or patrons. It’s not the measure of worth I’m going after. Can you keep me accountable to this, friends?

 Photo from DesignLoveFest. 

 

daily diary

December is the best month

December 6, 2016

christmas-decor

I love December so much. The excitement over the holidays is palpable, the weather is lovely here in California and – bonus – it’s also my birthday month. There’s so much to look forward to that I want to capture the excitement with a bit of a bucket list:

  • Finally properly shopping for our new home
  • Celebrating my birthday with a quiet dinner and a not-so-quiet night on the town
  • Holiday Harry party at work
  • Heading home to Arizona to spend the holidays with my mom and sister
  • Surprising the kids with a pit stop at Universal Studios on our holiday road trip
  • Jax finally finishing his puppy shots and getting to start properly socializing
  • Getting Christmas presents for the people I love (and inevitably treating myself as well)

What are you looking forward to for the holidays this year?

Image via pink peonies. -> click through for an amazing home with holiday decor. 

daily diary, home

Do what you can

November 21, 2016

lauren-singer_garance-dore_2_the_simply_co

I read Garance Dore’s profile of Lauren Singer and her no-waste lifestyle a few weeks ago, but I can’t get it out of my mind. I think about it when I go to the grocery store, when I use a ridiculous amount of paper towels every day and when I flip the switch for electric heat at home now that the mornings have a chill in the air.

Truth is, I do so very little to reduce my environmental impact and I’ve carried that guilt around with me for a while now. It’s inspiring to see this young person saying no to the guilt and just going after what sustainability means to her. I think it’s time that I do the same. I’m going to take her advice and just get started with it. Every little bit counts, right?

A few of my favorite quotes from the article:

“When I looked at myself four years ago, I realized that while I cared about the environment, I wasn’t doing anything at all that aligned with that except talking about it. So the exercise of making adjustments to my everyday life was so fulfilling because I realized I was living in a way that was exactly what I believed in.”

and

“If you look at the things that constitute zero waste, like using wash clothes instead of paper towel, saying no to plastic straws, neither of those things are hard, and once you incorporate those into your routine, it has a really positive impact”

and, finally:

“To myself, I think I’m just so much more self-aware now. I used to blame everyone else for the state of the world – politicians, and government and business, and it wasn’t until I stopped and looked at myself that I realized I had power to make a positive or negative impact, and I realized I was making a negative one. That helped me look at myself and really do things to change how I was living.”

Kudos to Lauren for the voice she’s giving the zero-waste movement and for the company she’s leading that aligns with her values, Simply Co.

Photo from garancedore.com

daily diary, workplace

Back to life…

November 7, 2016

cute-office-picture

The end of vacation is here! It’s back to life, back to reality for me. Here are four ways I’m making my return to the workplace easier:

  • Eating a bomb breakfast – My mom canned me some homemade pepper jelly, which I’m putting on the best, nutty toast with some cream cheese.
  • Getting to work early – I used to be the type to spend the Sunday before I came back to work sorting through emails to get a head start, but then I realized that I was just giving back one of my vacation days for free. Now I just try to arrive to the office a bit early to sort through the urgent emails before my meetings start cranking.
  • Maximizing the actual vacation – Knowing that I made the absolute most out of my vacation, including sleeping in, eating and relaxing makes it easier for me to get back to the grind. It’s the worst when you get back to the office after a vacation only to realize that you never actually disconnected from work in the first place.
  • Packing lunch – I have a mandatory lunch meeting this afternoon. Oh goody. Instead of taking the wild card catered lunch, which is almost always questionable at best, I’ve opted to pack my own. Leftovers of homemade vegetarian pizza and kale salad give me something delicious to look forward to.

How do you ease back into work after time away?

Image via Bloglovin

daily diary

Just a little more Jax…

October 15, 2016

Sorry for my radio silence this week, guys. I’ve been a bit consumed with bringing Jax into the family. My friend came over one night this week and captured the little guy with her great camera and photography skills. I need to post here for posterity and for anyone who loves puppies as much as I do. The next post will be back to our regularly scheduled (random) programming…

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Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

Isn’t he just so cute you want to squeeze him!?

daily diary

Welcome to the family, Mr. Jax

October 9, 2016

There’s someone special I’d like you to meet….

jax2

This is Mr. Jax Williams. He’s a seven-week-old bundle of joy. He already makes me immeasurably happy and I can’t imagine my little family without him. He’s just the sweetest thing. I’d been trying to convince Keith to get another dog for years and he finally broke with Mr. Jax. I don’t blame him.

I’m well on my way to my dream of being a dog lady with my own little kingdom of dogs. #goals