A few weeks ago, I posted about my dilemma over staying put in Pasadena or moving closer to family.
Even though we’ve only lived in Pas for a little over a year, I feel like so much of my identity is tied up in being a resident. Not only have I wanted to live here for years, but this is the first place that John and I lived together as a married couple. This is the town in which I was pregnant and had a baby. This is the only home Briar has ever known. Needless to say, the sentimental value of this city had me in a freaking headlock.
But. The thing about Pasadena is that it’s juuuust far enough away from family + friends that I can’t utilize their help with Briar. And man oh man, do I need help. Don’t get me wrong…Briar is an easy baby (relatively speaking). She loves people, she can take formula just as well as breast milk, she’s an excellent traveler, and most importantly, she’s a happy + healthy little girl. But at this stage in the game (oh, hi hospital bills), John and I both need to be working. And that means I need to pass the baby off for awhile each week so I can do my part to contribute.
So, we have moved.
And as sad as I was (am!) about leaving, I’ve already had a taste of what the next few months have in store: me time. I’ve been treating myself to solo coffee dates. I’ve listened to several podcasts back to back without having to stop. I’ve been catching up on work + e-mails. I had my neglected hair trimmed and styled. And best of all, I’ve been able to hear my own thoughts and and get some mental clarity! For the first time since Briar was born, I’ve been able to breathe easier knowing that it’s not all on me to keep things going. And it feels good.
Whenever I feel down about that chapter closing, John reminds me that we can always move back one day. Preferably to a house on El Molino ;)
It’s always a surreal experience to see your own face on a well-known blog and yesterday was no exception, thanks to this little feature on Style Me Pretty.
Last month, John and I had the pleasure of being photographed by Nicole of Sorella Muse Photography for a maternity shoot and it’s so much fun to finally go through the pictures and marvel at this fleeting stage of life. I remember thinking that I looked huge a month ago. Ha! Try 39 weeks, Ann-Marie ;)
We started the shoot by letting Nicole work her magic in the nursery and our bedroom (who knew our early evening light could be so magical?) and then strolled along picturesque Green Street, followed by a trip to City Hall (of Parks and Rec fame) for the ultimate Pasadena photo. I have no idea where we will live when future little ones come along, but I’d love to get an iconic shot of each city that we have babies in.
It’s a crazy thing to watch your body grow and change as each week goes by. I will readily admit that I don’t always love the way I look while pregnant, but I am so grateful that my body is doing what it’s doing, even without my consent. There are much bigger things to worry about than puffy cheeks and swollen feet. Like, for real…when is this kid coming? ;)
Since moving to Pasadena (and being 40+ miles away from my gym), going on daily walks has become my primary form of exercise. While it’s not always as exciting or challenging as my favorite Zumba classes, it’s been the perfect way for me to get out of the house, spend some time in the sunshine, and keep my ever-expanding body in motion. It’s also been a fantastic opportunity for me to explore this big, beautiful town on foot. I’ve discovered new neighborhoods, cute restaurants + shops, and even the Father of the Bride house!
Most weekdays, I’ll wait until John is just about to leave work and then I’ll head out and walk as far as I can go before he reaches Pasadena and picks me up. With a good podcast, a big bottle of water, and knowledge of the key code to the Starbucks’ bathroom along my route (ha!), I usually fit in a 40-60 minute walk, which is just long enough for me at this point in my pregnancy. By the time John finds me, I am very happy to see him and his air conditioned car ;)
I’m already looking forward to the day when I can take my daughter along with me and show her how amazing this city really is!
This past week has been a bit of a doozy, to say the least. There have been many moments where I am overcome with feelings of “what am I doing?!”, except with more expletives and maybe a tearful outburst or two. But despite this week’s rocky start, I’m now feeling renewed and ready to jump back into the fold. I recently read my 2014 horoscope and whether or not it has any shred of truth to it, I choose to believe it wholeheartedly. I like imagining positivity whenever possible and this year is apparently full of it for Scorpios like myself!
Yesterday I left the house for a bit to run some errands and I have to say, being out and about in this beautiful city was like a breath of fresh air. Sometimes I spend so much time at home, I forget that I get to live in Pasadena (a longtime dream of mine!). I remember writing in my journal about wanting to move here a few years ago and at the time, it seemed like a long shot (this was back in my Utah days). But it’s amazing how a tiny seed of an idea can get planted in your subconscious and before you know it, you’re walking down Colorado Boulevard on a Wednesday afternoon because this is your neighborhood, gosh darn it! Life is a funny thing.
So what I mean to say is, I’m planting new seeds. I’m thinking about what’s next for me and I’m hoping for the best. First up: a brand new e-course in which I share all of my favorite tips + tricks for styling, shooting, and editing photos for blog posts! (Look for it to launch by the end of the month!)
P.S. The photo above? Old. Pre-wedding. Pre-baby. But totally fitting of my mood ;)
I follow a few cool San Diego gals on Instagram and there always seems to be a common denominator amongst their feeds: Pigment! So of course, while in San Diego last week, I had to check it out for myself to see what the hype was all about. The verdict? Pigment far exceeded the hype. I mean, this shop has everything that I want: home goods, stationery, baby accessories, a succulent bar…!
I must have done five laps around the store, trying to take in every last detail, making sure I didn’t miss anything! I walked away with a Rifle card and a porcelain bunny nightlight for the nursery, but if money was no object, I would surely take one of everything.
Pigment, you’re a gem.
P.S. While in the North Park neighborhood, I also highly recommend stopping by Coffee + Tea Collective! Five words: BEST LATTE OF MY LIFE. Not only are the drinks wonderful, but the actual shop itself is modern, airy, and full of inspiring details that make me wish I was a local!
I love Kurt Vonnegut’s quote: “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”
Well, right there, on the beach in Coronado, as the sun was dipping into the Pacific and the waves were crashing at my feet, I was thrilled to be exactly where I was. Twenty weeks pregnant, married to an amazing human being, and happy in that moment.
John and I are not a perfect couple. Far from it, actually. I could provide you with a laundry list of all of our flaws, both individual and collective, but really…who is perfect? We’ve been together long enough to know that we can handle life together. It’s hard and messy and full of surprises, but we can handle it. We’re about to embark on our biggest adventure thus far and it simultaneously thrills and terrifies us. We’ve tried many times to wrap our brains around what having a child will be like, but have come to the conclusion that we won’t be able to fully grasp the sheer magnitude of it until we’re knee deep in the throes of it. And that’s okay. We can read baby books, we can pick the brains of every mom we know, we can Google any and all questions that come to mind, but we won’t know what it’s really like until it’s here. No need to plan the unplannable.
So in the meantime, I intend to savor our lives as they are, this minute, this week, this month. Because if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.
When I saw this quote floating around on Pinterest, it immediately resonated with me. I love how simple and yet profound these three words are. So in the spirit of positivity, I made a desktop wallpaper for you to download and enjoy.
Here’s hoping this image of Manhattan Beach at sunset will fill you with good vibes only.
DOWNLOAD DESKTOP WALLPAPER HERE
These past few crazy weeks, I became completely fixated on getting myself to the ocean. I wasn’t overly concerned about which beach I ended up at or if I even put my toes in the sand. All I needed was to be in close proximity. I wanted to smell the air, feel the breeze, and soak in those negative ions.
So on Saturday, John and I decided to venture up north to Santa Barbara where we spent the first part of the day at the zoo (we both hadn’t been in years!) and then the second half wandering around State Street, stopping for some pho and major Anthro sales. It was perfect. Not only did it do wonders for my own mood but it helped to get our relationship back on the right track. Whenever we feel disconnected as a couple, we go on a day trip. Without fail, we always head back home feeling reconnected and happy to be in each other’s company.
Maybe one of these days, heading back home will mean heading back to our beach house. It can be in Santa Barbara or San Diego…I’m not picky! ;)
Yesterday was one of those days that reaffirmed I am meant for this unconventional freelance lifestyle.
My good friends Jaymee + Janelle joined me in the Arts District of downtown LA for an awesome photography workshop led by Jessie Webster (who lives in THIS amazing Silver Lake house!) and Kim Genevieve. It was a Q+A format session, which quite honestly, is my favorite kind of all. I know how cameras work…what I REALLY love learning about is how amazing photographers MAKE them work, you know? So inspiring.
Once the workshop wrapped up, Jaymee, Janelle, and I headed over to Poketo (heaven) and then had coffee+ flatbread at Eat Drink Americano. (I also may or may not have had a lovely conversation with a random passerby regarding the way he made iced coffee whilst in prison. No big.)
It was so nice to be able to go on a downtown adventure with my best gals on a random Monday afternoon. The three of us are pretty much spread out in opposite directions across Los Angeles, but when events like this pop up, no amount of rush hour traffic will keep us apart.