White City + Fields of green

“It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time.” – Jack Kerouac

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This past weekend we took a flight to San Francisco with our now 21 month old daughter. My best friend was having her civil ceremony at San Francisco’s City hall (which is, by the way, just the most gorgeous building) and I was her witness. This particular moment in time means a lot to me because she has known a lot of grief and loss in her life, so to have the chance to celebrate her happiness now is particularly special and an experience  I was not going to miss. After the ceremony, the 4 and half of us took a road trip to Napa Valley. Napa is heaven on earth, it is beautiful in an unassuming, charming, organic way. It was splendid and glorious and the weather was incredible. Napa is all about those open fields and vineyards which was easier on my baby girl. She had lots of room to run around with the sun shining down on her.

She had an incredible time but traveling with our toddler is much more challenging than when we traveled with her as a baby. She really can’t sit still for long periods of time (i.e. a 6 hour flight), is finding her voice but not enough words yet to effectively communicate all her wants, and is also coming to terms with some levels of independence and the ability to say “no no no no” over and over again. All of those elements combined can be challenging to say the least. In fact, it had the most challenges we’ve experienced with her to date on any travel. But it is so so worth it. Looking back on the photos we have from the weekend makes my heart sing. It’s the kind of love I know we will look back on years and years from now and be glad that the fear of those challenges did not keep us from building memories. I’m glad that we did not let a temporary discomfort keep us from building permanent life-long memories.  Obviously what goes unseen are the tantrums, the countless pictures that often stand behind that one good one, and other general toddler moments that exist when traveling. We sometimes joke about how staying home is more of a “vacation” than going away but despite the fact that they may not always be relaxing vacations, they are our greatest adventures. We get to view the world through her eyes and that is pure magic. Every traveler, I think, dreams of that moment where they finally lay their eyes on that far away magical place, those street corners and nooks, cafes, and streets, and the smell of local food that brings life to the streets. Every traveler aches for that moment when they see for the first time a city they only held dear in their dreams and when we are blessed enough, we get to lay our eyes and hearts on those cities and streets, again and again, each time having a whole new experience. Traveling with a child highlights that experience even more because they see the magic even in places where you don’t. Everything is anew, everything is special, every corner and nook is worth exploring. And each time my girl ran down a street or stopped to dance with street performers, my heart would explode. She was in the moment and I was happy to have bought her to it.

Those moments run through my veins, they give life to my spirit, awakening and reawakening me time and time again. They spread like wildfire in me embarking and welcoming me to the next adventure that awaits.

x-

L

May.| Postpartum awareness

May is Postpartum Depression awareness month. That means something to me having experienced postpartum anxiety for a few months after I gave birth to my Darya. Drawing awareness to the issue means being authentic with my experience with it. It means joining the solution, not continuing the problem by denying and ignoring the reality of what it means to become a new mom for many, many women.  When we deny what postpartum is we isolate the mama’s who are currently experiencing it, making them feel alone and misunderstood. We add to the stigma and to the need of appearing perfect. Perfectionism and the idealistic depiction of motherhood breeds loneliness and it keeps us separate from one another. Postpartum anxiety, for me, grew stronger, in fact, when all I saw were images of mom’s appearing perfect. All. The. Time. Because that image of perfection didn’t align with my personal experience and [my birth] as a new mom. And so it’s important, I think, to show the whole range of emotions that can occur. Yes there is bliss. Yes, of course, there is love. But there can also be anxiety, sadness, confusion, loneliness, etc. It’s necessary not to just show yourself at your best, even if this society begs for just that, because it’s begging for a lie. The human experience is not meant to be perfect, its not meant to look perfect, it is not meant to be easy. That’s why it’s also beautiful. It’s the whole range of it. Not just parts of it. And as much as I, too, want to only show the best of it because I am a true believer that focusing on what is good, helps it expand, and focusing on what’s negative, well, breeds negativity. As much as that holds true, this is different. In this particular instance, only showing the positive and the glorified aspects of being a new mom, contributes to the problem. It contributes to the stigma and THAT is negative.

I am hoping to light the candle of hope for friends of mine or women who I don’t even know, who are suffering silently or out loud.  I’m hoping to shed light on what is considered to be very dark and cruel. I hope it lights the way, I hope my being authentic and vulnerable with my experience will allow you to do the same. And I also hope it serves as a reminder that we are warriors, as women and as mama’s, and we overcome the hard parts. And you will, too. #Notapreexistingcondition #postpartumanxiety

 

xx,

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Is your breath happy?

This past weekend I had the chance to go away for a short weekend getaway with one of my good girlfriends. Her and I always get into very [below the surface] type of conversations which I LIVE FOR. For me, the whole range of emotions we feel as human beings is beautiful, raw, and meant to be experienced fully. I am grateful to come into contact with others who are just as emotionally raw, passionate, and wild in spirit. She happens to be one of them. It was also the first time I spent time both away from husband and daughter! I wasn’t far at all but I realized how just necessary it is. To carve out time for yourself is really powerful  for you in your day to day life. You arrive at each morning a little bit refreshed and able to conquer, with a little more strut in your step, and more strength..everywhere. Add that in there with time with a good girlfriend, and you’ve got yourself a pretty good deal.

The past weekend got me thinking a lot about relationships in general. To evaluate each experience and ask yourself if a relationship/experience serves you or not. How many relationships do we have in our lives that are built from obligation/history? and how many are there because we really feel truly connected, happy, and alive within it? That is not to say that it always has to be all or nothing. Not every person will be e v e r y t h i n g. People also play roles in your life and each comes with their own light + gifts, so that’s not what I mean. Deep down you know which spaces and places, which people, do not always serve your higher purpose, your higher good. Deep down we know the relationships that we are better saying goodbye to, the on the surface, sort of- shallow situations that often drain us, but we keep up with them anyway, because either our society or our culture or our insecurities beg of us to do so.

But regardless of how seducing some situations and people may be for us, there are questions we should ask ourselves when we are actively putting our energy into things. Energy is all that you have. It is the compass that sets you forward, lights the way when you feel lost. And it shouldn’t get clouded, foggy, disrupted. It should stay clear, bold, and translucent. There are questions to be asked and Nayyirah Waheed says it perfectly here:

“things that should be asked often. in every type. of relationship: how is your heart. is your breath happy. here. do you feel free?”

I hope you answer, yes. But I also hope you have the courage to rise up and away, if the answer is “no.”

Much love & light on this particular Monday,

L

My sun, My moon, & all my stars.

You guys, Darya turned O N E this past weekend and everything about it felt magical and emotional. I was actually surprised at how emotional it actually really made me. I found myself back tracking to the very first day of her life and those first few raw months of being a mom and how much I had grown from that first day. How much this tiny little human has taught me about myself and about what it means to live in LOVE. With. Everything. She is, to me, the meaning of unconditional unwavering undramatic love. And I want to give her the world.

We spent the day of her actual birthday just being together the three of us. And that was really sweet because it gave me the chance to actually absorb that it was her birthday instead of tending to guests and worrying about the decorations and etc etc. We were just in the moment with her that day and I loved every second of it.

We had our very closest family and friends celebrate with us on our rooftop here in Brooklyn the day after her birthday. And every vision that I had for her first birthday came to life. The birthday was “I Love Lucy” themed. I grew up on “I love lucy” being my favorite show and D actually ended up having the same birthday as Lucielle Ball, so it was only natural that we would take that route. The invitations read “We Love Darya” in a heart shaped balloon and the details to the party were written out on the balloon. Never mind that every detail of the party ended up changing including the date and location, but hey, that’s mom life right there, nothing is predictable. But I loved those invitations nevertheless and they set the tone for the party.

I was really happy for how the details came together. Thank you to BAKED in Brooklyn for the cake and cupcakes (LenasCakes for the heart fondant toppers), BK floral delight for her floral cake, Cakes by Danica for the heart shaped riced crispy treats, Sweet Paper Shop for the favor boxes, Harper Gray Design for the invitations, and to CarouselLane for her birthday hat. Most everything was heart-shaped and I really saw the vision I had in my mind come to life. Every part of the vision except for the one that she was pretty cranky the entire time! That definitely was not apart of the plan, but I get it, its so overwhelming for the kiddies. Heck, its overwhelming for the adults. So many people. So many noises. So much and too much of e v e r y t h i n g overwhelms their senses. Even when we took some family photos she was crying, which is not really like her, and at that point my friend Bitz started singing “It’s my birthday I can cry if I want to, cryyyy if I want to” so I sang it with her and rocked Darya back &  forth. It was yet another exercise in letting go. She is a person, my little person, and she has her ups and downs. All in all though, she did great.

Thank you to our friends and family for really being just the greatest group of people on this planet. I would be nowhere if not for them. Darya is blessed to have so many loving family members around her. She [and I] are also so blessed to have so many strong women around that come in the form of my very best friends. Honestly, I am beyoooooond grateful for each one of them. One of the things that I have been so conscious of this past year of motherhood was to still maintain my life outside of the role of just mom + wife. My girlfriends are women I know I could not live without and I need my daughter to be surrounded by strong, powerful, beautiful, loving role models like them. She is so lucky to have them in her life, they serve as my sisters and hers, as well. Ladies, never underestimate the power of good girlfriends. Maintain those relationships regardless of your relationship status. Good friends are e v e r y t h i n g. And it may be hard work to make time for your girls and go out with your girls when you’re a mama, but I promise it’s worth it and I promise you need it now more than ever. They will keep you strong, they will make you a better woman, which in turn makes you a better mama.

Lastly, happy birthday, my bebe Darya. Thank you for being you. I’m so proud of you for who you already are, and can’t wait to see who you continue to become as you evolve and as we evolve together. Baba + I love you oh so very much.

 

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L

just need love, just need love.

As parents, we often forget how important it is to keep feeding our own souls as individuals and continue to also water the plant that is our relationship. It can quickly become all about these little people you’ve created together, but sometimes it should also be about just the two of you, too. It can be one date night a week, maybe a quick getaway, anything that works. I know that for me, I really need the time with my husband and it makes me stronger as a woman, as a wife, and as a mother.

This past week we attended a coldplay concert together, and it was just carefree, beautiful, and fun. Coldplay’s songs have a way of moving through all of your emotions and giving life to each one: you’ll want to dance, stretch your arms out as if to fly, cry, and laugh all at once, and it was just what I needed to reset. Chris Martin performs with so much love and you feel like you can relate to his every word. He also took the time to pray for the world and mentioned Istanbul and Bangladesh, held up the French flag, and sent his love and energy into the world and asked the audience to do the same. Something about thousands upon thousands of people praying for the same thing, singing the same songs, and dancing to the same beats, is so magical and ever so moving.

It just served as a reminder that despite all the heart-wrenching events that happen around the world, there is still so much goodness in this world and we must hold on to it.

“we’re going to get it get it together right now
going to get it get it together somehow
going to get it get it together and flower.”

X,

L

 

 

I surrender, dear | a love letter to my imperfections.

I saw this while walking the streets of my neighborhood on a day that I wasn’t particularly doing too great at being “like water.” It was a 90 degree day and I couldn’t take Darya out for too long without her getting fussy, so we were cooped up in our apartment with house chores left undone and a teething 11 month old. It was one of those days that went by reallyyyyy slowly and I felt guilty about it wanting it to end and not being present.

Then I went for a walk when my husband came home (early, because I needed him too) and came across this. I took it as universe’s way of telling me to surrender to myself and to the imperfections of the day. I took it as a sign that its OKAY. That even those imperfect days, accepting them still means you’re being water. It’s the resisting it, the feeling guilty, and the wanting yourself to be perfect that hurts you even more than the struggles of the actual day.

So, dear imperfections,

I accept you when you come. Even when I don’t do a perfect job at accepting, I will accept that, too.  I believe that even you serve teachers and lessons teaching me to let go of my own need to be anything other than what I am in any particular moment.

My inspiration is a poem by my favorite poet, Rumi. It’s titled “Guest House”:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi

x,

L

Hold on to what is good.

In light of the recent tragic events in Nice, I’m making a pledge and a conscious decision to only pay attention to what is good. I am someone who is very impacted by world events. I think about them not just days after, but weeks, and even months later. I’ll think of the victims, their families, and I’ll wonder how they’re doing. I send my love and prayers toward them, and hope God keeps them strong. This recent event will be no different. My heart is with France, it has been, and will continue to be just as it is in Istanbul, Bangladesh, Orlando, Belgium,  and all of of the places that have been touched by evil.

But now, more than praying and sending light, I am going to BE the light. BE the love that we so desperately want to see more of in this world. I am going to choose to hang on to the things that bring me light and joy. I will allow [those] things, not the scary ones, to serve as my compass. Then I’m going to do my best to go out in the world and plant seeds from that joy. I’ll make the choice to live from a space of Love, and to not allow the world to replace my Love with Fear. Because it’s my choice, and yours, to still view this life as beautiful even when it can be very ugly. We owe it to our children to keep Love alive. To not give in to hatred with more hatred, or anger with more anger, or fear with more fear. We have to do the internal work first and start and end with love. Because anything less than that, will give evil the satisfaction it so desperately craves. Anything less than that will mean they’ve won. And they wont win. Not in my heart. Not in my soul.

#prayforpeace #bethepeace #spreadlove #belove

All my light and love to all lost souls & their grieving families.

-L