Last summer, I did an audit of the top six people I was spending my time with. It turns out, I was spending most of my time with friends or lovers that weren’t showing-up for themselves in the same ways I wasn’t showing up for myself. I knew if I was going to move forward I would need to end those relationships. Afterwards, I worried that my life would feel empty. I needed to replace my negative friendships with people who were making better decisions in their lives. Pick your flock, that’s what my foster mom says. We are a reflection of those we surround ourselves with.
Here are three positive changes that cultivate community and helped me build healthier relationships.
Growing-up I didn't have good financial modeling. When my biological family fell apart my parents were hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. I have struggled my entire life trying to learn how to manage my money appropriately.
I almost had to drop out of UCLA my junior year because I decided to stay in LA for the summer and take on a multicultural internship with the Getty Museum. When I accepted the position, I didn’t realize that my first paycheck from the Getty wouldn’t arrive until after my apartment deposit for the following semester was due. I simply miscalculated when the funds were going to post.
After a two hour drive, running one red light and nearly hitting a pedestrian my colleagues and I arrived in San Francisco for a work convention. Standard operations, if you ask me. The hotel was one of those older hotel where the rooms are a quarter of the size you expect. The Marriott in New Orleans is like this. It had two twin beds, no gym, no frig and a toilet that never fully stopped running despite the, “We save water and are eco friendly” signs littered everywhere. Of course, there was a time I wouldn’t of even noticed any of this.
When you are young, everything is magical and new. The city of San Francisco has always had its hooks in this small town girl. For my first trip to S.F. I was only 18 years old….
I decided that my new year doesn't start until February 1st. Which works out nicely considering my birthday is in February... New year, new me! One of my New Year's resolutions is to meet more creatives and surround myself with people who inspire me. For example, last week I met with a local weaver and a photographer from instagram. In the spirit of getting to know more people, I also accepted an invitation to eat caucus tacos on a school bus turned tiny home with a man who climbs trees for living. I wrapped up the weekend enjoying Sacramento's urban baths, reconnecting with friends in between hot saunas and cold plunges. What is an urban bath you ask? Well, it's my latest find!
There are two camps when it comes to New Year's Resolutions. Either you love making them, or you don't.. I’m here to say, I LOVE resolutions. It doesn’t matter if we start making them at the beginning of the year or on a random Wednesday. Call me a hopeless optimist, but it takes courage to acknowledge a struggle and then try to change it.
I woke up parched. Grabbed some water and look at the clock. It was 3:30 in the morning except this Thursday, I had nowhere to go. So why on earth was I awake at this ungodly hour? I spend the next few hours trying to sleep before grabbing Dom and heading to the pool deck for early morning water polo practice. I fully intended on crawling back into my comfy bed but driving back home I realized I had a choice. I could choose to be happy or at least complete one of my “happy tasks,” before 6:30am.
It was July 4th when I begrudgingly left my adopted family’s Tahoe rental house to pick up Dominic and his friends. The house stood high above the lake, it’s wrap-around deck glowing in the evening light. My best friend and her fiance were cooking a meal for everyone. I had just finished a game of dominos with one of my sisters and her boyfriend after spending the day at the lake with our parents and family friends - reading magazines, paddle boarding, and laughing with one another. When I’m with my adoptive family, I get to be just another kid. The stresses of my life wash away under the protection of their love and unconditional acceptance. It’s a safe place where if even for a brief meal or weekend, I feel normal.
The moment I realized I wanted to become a mother is one of my most vivid memories.
I had just graduated from UCLA and had invited my little sister to stay with me for a week after graduation. I knew that her living situation with our own biological mother was unstable. She was 14 years old and about to enter high school in one of the poorer areas outside of Reno, Nevada. I thought that if I could get her excited about college and the class jump it could provide, if I could show her what it looks like to not live in poverty, then maybe I could plant a seed of hope to help her navigate the turbulent future she had in front of her.
One of the main reasons I moved back to California, more specifically to my hometown, was to take care of my brother. I knew I was going to need a community of people to pull it off. It doesn’t hurt that Grass Valley is significantly more affordable than the bay area. However, the rural high school in my hometown wasn’t able to provide the services we needed to support Dominic. This is common problem for families with deaf children. Luckily, our friends who lived in the county over, the same one we needed to live in for him to attend school, had a roommate move-out and offered to have us move-in -- giving us two rooms in their home.
At the end of last year I went through a devastating break-up, the kind that ends in a pool tears on the kitchen floor-- wait, they all end that way! After a few months of licking my wounds, some adventurous online dating experiences; I’m finally feeling up to writing about it. Heartbreak is never easy and as I stand on the brink of thirty, I can also say that this wasn’t my first love and obviously, will not be my last. In my experience, everyone processes love differently. Some shutdown into silence, others invest in huge projects or “get under someone new.” For me? I’m pretty sure I’ve gone through all the phases of grief forwards, backwards and at random, until eventually landing on both my feet and cautiously moving forward. Here’s what’s helped me get through it.
If you’re anything like me, winter is the time to basically go into hibernation… with the internet.
Being single seems to be a pervasive phenomenon. For example... Are you going to see the new movie, “How To Be Single?” I am. Hell, I might even go after my Match.com date tonight, then come home to a glass of wine, cuddle up with my phone, and contemplate switching dating sites. Is OkCupid still a thing? Or a hole in the internet now reserved for couples looking to meet their unicorn?
I’m a strong believer that when you feel the urge to do something like start your own business, write an article, or travel, you should do it. However, it usually takes me three or four signs from the universe to build up the courage to speak out in my writing.
In the book Good to Great, author Jim Collins writes about how the greatest companies in America have what he dubs a 'hedgehog strategy.' It's a business strategy that continuously sets them apart from other companies, a strategy that leads them in times of indecision and conflict. The name comes from a fable of a fox who is always trying to catch a hedgehog. Despite his best efforts the Fox never gets the hedgehog. The hedgehog consistently shields himself, doing what he knows best.
One of the wonderful things about growing up in my rinky dink home town of Northern California is the strong and beautiful sense of community. It is an unique and eclectic region, one I’m proud to be from. It is also where I met Thira Gilbert, photographer, digital connoisseur, author of Thirmisu and co-creater of The Daily Dorothy.
A couple years ago, friends of mine had their first baby. Shortly afterwards, they visited. For the first time in knowing this couple, I saw sheer defeat in their faces. Eventually, these looks dissipated into the joyful and positive faces of two amazing parents. But the memory stuck with me. Here were two strong, capable adults who seemed completely broken by this adorable blob of an infant they had created.
I went through my own version of this transition this fall. Boundaries were tested, authority was established, and I’m finding strength within myself that I never knew I had.
There are more cold than warm days this month but that isn't stopping anyone from heading to the river. Even on the cusp of brisk Fall months, the river is as captivating as ever.
At the beginning of summer, I had the opportunity to jump on a call with Francesca Kennedy, the founder of IX Style. I was moved by her powerhouse entrepreneurship and commitment to women.
This week I'm sending along some hump-day inspiration because Monday and Tuesday were crazy busy! Yesterday, I was invited to help host a Social Media Workshop for Small Businesses. It was a reminder of how much I love entrepreneurs. Even as one of the workshop leaders, I'm inspired to up-my-marketing-game and execute some of the many strategies I have outlined for Lu Curates and Lu Curates Media.
What's inspiring you this week?
You may have noticed that the blog has been dormant for a couple of weeks, that is because a lot of change is transpiring. I haven’t lived an ordinary life and I really don’t see normalcy happening in the future. Imagine life handing you a bag of lemons… after tossing them through a metal fan… you know the kind with large, terrifying blades that will dice up just about anything? That’s been my life for the last couple of weeks. There have been tears, exploding glass brownie pans, kitchen burns and some questionable carpentry because two weeks ago, my 16 year old brother moved in with me.
Summer is in full swing which means bouncing back and forth from Northern and Southern California, day trips to the river, fresh veggies and loads of work to be had. All things, I can’t complain about. This year has brought many changes and I look forward to sharing them with you all as they unfold.
But for now lets have some fun!
I met Diane while we both were attending UCLA (GO BRUINS!). I had just moved to Los Angeles from little ole' Grass Valley and was endlessly intrigued by the deeply embedded artist culture of my new city. A culture I have always felt Diane uniquely taps into. It has been an honor to watch her work evolve from taking photos of friends on the rooftops of buildings to producing her one-of-a-kind publication, Suspend Magazine.
"To create – is to, unknowingly – arrest one’s mind. SUSPEND Magazine is an ongoing conversation between creative thinkers and endless believers."
In conjunction with the release of their latest issue we have partnered with Suspend Magazine for a giveaway.