weekend things

Another weekend is in the books. I thought with June, the sunshine and warmth would come with it, but LA has entered what they call “June Gloom.” I was also told that the clouds would disappear as we got to afternoon, but this did not happen this weekend.

Hopeful, I headed down to Laguna Beach with my cousins. We left in the late morning and made our way to the beautiful oceanside.

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It looked like this all day.

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And yet, beauty remains.

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I’ve wanted to go to the OC ever since watching The OC, but unfortunately, I didn’t meet my Seth Cohen on this trip. The water was warm enough and had the sun shone through even a little, I would’ve happily dove into those waves. But I remained on the shore a little chilly. Instead, I journaled, read, and walked along the rocks and tide pools. Oh, and ate a lot of unhealthy but yummy beach food.

There’s something about a beach day that wipes a girl out and once I got home, I showered and lounged for a bit before I went to see Wonder Woman. There are so many things I can say about the film, such as that there is power in representation and that we need a strong female lead more than ever, but I’ll keep it simple. It was a great movie and I really enjoyed it. When a film makes you laugh, cry, and think, you know it did a wonderful job. And it’s fun!

On Sunday, I didn’t have any particular plans. I took my time in the morning and happily enjoyed this breakfast.

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After a run to the grocery store, it was time to meal prep, which will be discussed further in tomorrow’s post! I also got myself hydrated enough for a run that I’ll admit wasn’t the smoothest thanks to some tenderness in my calves, but was otherwise successful! The sun might not have been out, but it was hot, and I worked up a good sweat.

My post-workout meal was a glamorous hotdog and broccoli followed up with some relaxing. I also took some time to throw together this baked oatmeal that will make for a couple yummy breakfasts.

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The rest of the night was spent writing, reading, and relaxing, which is pretty much how most Sundays should end.

a day to remember

This weekend was all about the Women’s March for this girl! It was an incredible experience to share with over 2 million women and men who represented love, hope, equality, and progress. I got to laugh, shout, and listen to the likes of Jane Fonda speak on the importance of representation and equal rights. It is a historic, memorable day that, despite critics suggesting otherwise, will be revolutionary to this country. I am also proud to say that both my parents joined in on the march, in support of their children and themselves, and I can’t emphasize how much it means to me that I have two wonderful, intelligent parents who raised and educated two daughters and a son with equal love, support, and expectations.

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One last note: Nothing of quality ever got done by sitting quietly at home and minding your own business.  Our country is built on it.

Other than the march, it was a low-key weekend, thanks to the rain and the aftermath of a cold I was battling all week. Entertaining friends and family is always fun and worth while, but it takes a lot out of me, so I welcomed the relaxation.

Thankfully, I was able to fit in a few solid workouts this week, although much of my time outside of work was spent sleeping. Colds are no fun, but thanks to my constant vigilance, it never accumulated into anything too serious.

Here’s some food from the previous week.

A huge salad with chicken, pita and hummus, and some tempura cauliflower I tried from Trader Joes.

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Cod, zucchini noodles and spinach, and baked sweet potato fries. I was missing ketchup for those fries!

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A hunk of a salad topped with garlic-butter shrimp.

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Sesame ginger chicken with broccoli and spinach.

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A grilled cheese and soup on my sickliest evening. Notice the spinach- gotta fit in those vitamins! The soup was a roasted corn and red pepper from Trader Joes.

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Apparently I’m not good at snapping breakfast shots. This was a warm bowl of oats with peanut butter, blueberries, and strawberries.

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My lunch of the week was salads with chicken, pita, and hummus. I love meal prep because it makes the week so easy.

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After lots of rest and healthy eating, I’m feeling invigorated and ready to face the week! Happy Monday!

Dark Days Lie Ahead; May We Be The Light

The oppressed don’t know they’re oppressed until it’s too late. Some people have a lesson to learn. For the rest of us who anticipate the challenges ahead, let us go high when they go low, accept and love the differences within all of us, and remember one important facet of this country’s anthem- one man does not define us. We have the right and the responsibility to speak, vote, and hope. It might not feel like enough right now, but dammit my people, it’s time to stand up and unite against more of the same disguised in orange. Here’s to Hillary Rodham Clinton; here’s to the women; to the gays, to the blacks, yellows, and reds; to the people fleeing hatred in their own countries (ha!) and seeking opportunity here; here’s to the disabled; the uneducated; to the poor. And hell, why not, here’s to you Donald Trump, you don’t know what lies ahead after the big words you’ve spouted and tweeted, but you won nothing more than a fight today. Big man, we’ve got a big purpose now. We are pissed. We are going to promote love and peace and equality and you will go down in history as someone who tried to stall it. And you will lose.

Her Story Is Our Story Is History

Today, we have a chance to make history. We are either about to nominate our first female president or an egomaniac with no experience, high delusions, and intense prejudices against anyone who is not a white man. Today, we define our country.

Change is imminent, no matter the victor because we have experienced politics in a manner that is unprecedented. We have demanded more, in some cases (Clinton), and less in others (Trump). We have proven that when using our voices and our votes, we can define progress. Bernie Sanders did not run and lose in vain. He has forced a largely moderate Clinton more towards the left, although I will argue, her moderate tendencies were inspired by the obstacle of being a woman in politics over the past thirty years. She did not have flexibility to be a flaming liberal in a world that already wanted to silence her.

Over those last thirty years, Clinton has made quite a few changes in her beliefs, and so has this country. As we have grown and progressed, so has she. In Bossypants, Tina Fey writes that politics is the only profession in which experience works against the candidate. In order to be a successful politician, one has to abide by his or her party, which is, thankfully ever-changing. This is by no means an endorsement of the two-party system. I am a registered Independent because I don’t believe my politics can be defined by one party, or for that matter, one perfect candidate. Perfection does not exist.

I’ve read that some Trump supporters believe he is an enigma, decimating the two-party system and telling the world exactly who he is. Yes, actually, he has. For one, I do not associate Donald Trump as a true Republican, which is a compliment to that party. Two, his honesty has proven to be his strongest attribute. Such honesty is disheartening, offensive, and dangerous to the progress we have made over the past thirty years.

A victory for Hillary Clinton will not be the birthday of true equality. It will, however, be a start. Our choice in Clinton will be a definitive statement that equality is what this country desires and we will continue to fight for it. Love him or hate him, President Obama has done incredible things for this country in regards to equality. Only Clinton, of the candidates facing off in this election, will continue his legacy. It is a legacy that Hillary Clinton has participated in throughout her career. She is not only the best candidate against Trump, she is the best candidate.

A victory for Donald Trump does not end our journey to true equality, but it will be a huge, discomforting, and disgusting barrier in which we have to climb. Call it, a costly, ugly wall that we ourselves will have agreed to pay for because we either voted for Trump or refused to vote for Clinton. His words and actions are most often sexist, racist, zenophobic, homophobic, and ableist. He does not know what he is doing but because he is a famous face, is unafraid to spout his prejudiced words (because let’s be real, what did he have to lose in doing so?), and is a white man, he has won success. Let him win no more.

Use your vote today to promote progress, seek equality, and stand up to the bullies that have been trying to shut us up. We are America. We are different. We are free. We must be with Hillary Clinton.

In Remembrance

I am not a poet and I know that this is late, but I have been trying to think about what to say about this day. I remember I had just started middle school, was starting my first full week, and all I could think about was that we were burying my Nana that day. I cried then because I was scared and sad as so many were. Now able to reflect and understand, I cry because of how truly devastating that day was for this country. I remember too the pride and love that swelled up in this country. Violence and hatred are horrific plagues that do not care for its victims. We do though and we remember the lives lost, the brave heroes who sacrificed everything, and the feeling of strength as we came together to fight against hate.

13 years and the pain is still raw.

Here is a poem I wrote in reflection.

13 years and the memories are still clear.
An attack on this nation filled hearts with fear.
We only grew stronger, together united.
Our reserve never wavered, couldn’t be blighted.
Never forget, we stand as one.

Our heroes, the victims, none of their differences mattered.
The weight of our grief, our hearts were shattered.
They were us and we were them too.
So many lives taken from us too soon.
Never forget, we stand as one.

Yet there is still oppression and hate that runs rampant.
Violence in schools and on the streets, we’re broken into fragments.
We come from different places, thoughts, and ideals.
Have we become so numb to the ways in which hurt feels?
Never forget, we stand as one.

Sometimes our daily routines and lives absorb and blind us.
But let’s try for some appreciation, love, and kindness.
There may always be outside forces that aim to destroy this.
Let’s not allow ignorance and naïveté to run amiss.
Never forget, we stand as one.

To be proud of this nation like we were on that day.
We have to listen to others and hear what they say.
Differences in people have the power to make this world stronger.
Prejudice and inequality will define this country no longer.
Never forget, we stand as one.

On this day we look only to honor the people we lost.
To ponder, reflect, and remember hate’s cost.
Death and destruction cares not for its victims.
But we do, so much, everyday we miss them.
Never forget, we stand as one.

Making Peace

This post is a week in the making and I wasn’t sure I was going to write it at all. Suicide, depression, and prejudice are deep topics much beyond the scope of the material I usually post on here. I’m not sure I’m well-versed enough. I can’t say that I lived through enough tragedy, fear, or prejudice to have a right to say what I am.

But I have lived and I have seen. And I am very sad for the state of this world. My best way of coping is to write.

I will never pretend to understand what went on inside Robin Williams’ head, just as I would never pretend to know how anyone was feeling or thinking unless they shared it with me.

There is undoubtedly a darkness and a lightness that lives within all of us. It cannot be defined and it is often never declared to anyone outside of that particular mind. Blessed as we are to live with conscious thought, the ability to read and write, and to communicate with others, there too are always consequences.

Robin Williams brought such joy to movie and television screens. He was someone who found what he loved and achieved such astounding success. We were lucky that he shared with his audience that lightness, humor, and grace that flowed through him, even as he battled demons that remain unseen to all of us.

That it ended how it did is tragic, as any loss of life is. It was not for a lack of love or support from what I have gleaned, though sometimes, I suppose it must be. I will choose to mostly remember him for how he lived, performing and making me laugh and cry, sometimes all at once, but I also will never forget how he died.

He was a man. A person who battled as much as he loved. We all are, whether we understand something or not.

Because we loved him. Because we celebrated him and all of his talent, the world got to share in the lightness that lived within Robin Williams. Now we cry at his pain and pray that he finally found peace.

Some people’s reactions have centered more around hate and judgment. This is something that we see now on the news and in our lives in every part of the world as hate announces itself. Yet, we see, perhaps not enough, that kindness, understanding, and love do exist, though those acts are often not broadcast on television as they are not gritty enough for ratings.

I have no answers as to how to solve the issues that run rampant, other than to try to love a little harder, accept that which you may not understand, and especially to love those who are not like yourself in any way shape or form because difference and similarities are what make us all important and special.

Someone once said that we must learn to tolerate differences. Another countered and said, we should go past that and accept. I am sure that many have also said that we should go beyond even acceptance, and I’d like to reiterate that ideal. We should learn how to celebrate a person for all that they are, not simply by categorizations of differences and similarities of which we are so prone to do.

Is it more comfortable to try and understand a person by defining them? Maybe. But this is a hazard that has plagued humankind for centuries.

I am not perfect, nor am I full of wisdom. I am however full of sorrow for all that I have seen these past couple of weeks and through all that I have heard in a lifetime. I am also terrified of that I have not seen or heard because there are dangers and hatred lurking even when I choose to ignore them in my cozy life.

I make judgments every day, against myself and against others. They are not overtly malicious, but it adds to the fuel that cause others to turn on each other. Whether it be a person who cut me off or another who steals my machine at the gym. I feel angst or resentment towards them and mark them as that. Sometimes I look at a person walking down the street and I don’t like the look on their face and a judgment is sparked.

Personally, I do not believe that anyone has been racist, sexist, or prejudiced towards me, but I have been judged, whether I know it or not. I see it happen to others, or I hear of it happening, and I am sorry that it happens so frequently and so consistently, even when we think we are so enlightened in this twenty-first century world.

I am sorry that we live in such a hate-filled world. Equality, as it is claimed so often, is supposed to be a right of simply being a human being. I don’t think anyone can pretend as though that is enforced.

Step by step, together, we must learn how to understand, or at least accept that we won’t always understand everything, and celebrate an individual for everything that they are and everything that they can bring to this world.

We, as a whole, are a long way away from this, but that doesn’t mean we give up and don’t try. I pledge to try and pay attention to the choices and the words I say every day. I’ll make mistakes, I’ll say something, I’ll judge someone, but I won’t give up trying to be better.

Maybe you don’t understand me. Maybe I don’t understand you. But we can no longer hate each other for it.

Haven’t we seen enough of the terrible consequences?