the love list

Hello!

If you read my last post, you know my trip to Palm Springs left me motivated to be more present in my online and real-life existence. I even decided my word for the year is REAL. (I know it's a little late in the game to be setting goals and intentions for 2017, but we all know late is better than never and all that jazz.) So shit is about to get as real around here as I can manage!

There's so much hyper-curated fakery floating around on the internets, I sort of feel it my duty to share with you--in addition to things I find beautiful and wonderful and inspiring--what my life is really like. This includes the fact that our bed currently looks like a tangled rat's nest of sheets, book, pyjamas, and kitty litter that we can't seem to vacuum out completely. And that, despite all the travel I do, I'm freaking out about my upcoming trip and feeling like I should cancel it all and just stay home and binge-watch Harlots on Hulu (#guiltypleasures). It includes, too, how I pitched such an infantile temper tantrum this morning, I threw a blanket over my husband's head. Like a three year old. No joke.

(Luckily, my real life also includes the fact that I came back to my senses and I have a very chill husband and he forgave me and we ate lunch outside on a picnic blanket under the spring sunshine and shared half a bottle of rosé.)

So my life, like all our lives, vacillates between crap and delight, sometimes multiple times per day. I'm learning to roll with the punches a little better, which is why I'm dedicating this week's Love List to something I'm trying to weave into my life more fully: mindfulness. This week, I give you the resources, articles, apps (and cocktails) that have been helping me feel happier and more present in my life. Enjoy!


- First up is my new crush/hero: Dan Harris. My best friend told me I needed to read his book, 10% Happier. She's a life coach and a pretty savvy lady, so I generally follow her advice. I'm so glad I did. I loved this book! As an over-achieving, stressed-out, skeptical, child of the seventies, I feel like it was written just for me. Dan talks openly about his history of drug use, his all-encompassing ambition to make it in the broadcast news business, the on-air panic attack that led him to meditation, and how mindfulness practice has allowed him to be calmer, happier and more successful in life. It's all served up with a generous amount of wit, humor and self-deprecation, leaving you feeling that if this self-described "fidgety skeptic" can do meditation, so can I. 

 

 

- Which leads me to my next favorite thing lately: Headspace. I've been using this app since reading Dan's book and it does what it says it does: makes meditation simple and helps you clean up all the clutter in your mind and create a little more space for the thoughts, activities and people you want to focus on. Setting aside 10 minutes/day to focus on being mindful is already paying dividends for me in terms of better sleep and stress-management (blanket-throwing tantrums aside). It's definitely worth checking out if you're interested in meditation, but are turned off by all the woo-woo surrounding it and/or don't know where to start.

 

  Image by  Amanda Paa

Image by Amanda Paa

- Amanda over at Heartbeet Kitchen wrote a great post about her recent trip to Paris. She and her husband booked tickets spontaneously, did very little research and hopped on a plane. They discovered that wandering a city without a to-do list ten miles long is one of the best ways to enjoy a new destination. They wandered the streets on foot, stopped to check out whatever caught their eye and interacted with locals as much as possible.

Here's my favorite part of what Amanda wrote: "Perhaps one of the things I was most moved by was their communication. Simply put, phones were obsolete when people were with one another. Whether that be a bar, restaurant, coffee shop – I literally never ever saw someone with their head buried in a device. They were solely focused on the conversation, the moment. What a wake-up call to the lost beauty of personal connection here in the United States." 

This sounds like the perfect sort of mindful travel to me--being in the moment rather than racing around ticking off the sights you "must" see and the food you "have to" eat. For my upcoming trip to Scotland, I'm going to take a page out of Amanda's book and spend more time wandering without specific goals or destinations in mind!

 

- Since my phone (a.k.a. Devil Device) is often the main thief of my ability to be in the present, I've started using the Moment app to track my usage and set limits on how much phone time I log each day. The non-intrusive notifications it sends after every 15 minutes of me checking social media and/or falling down a wikipedia rabbit hole have really prompted me to put my phone down more often. 

 

 

- Instagram feed of the week: Nitch. Inspiring quotes from amazing people. Plus, beautiful black and white portraits. Always seems to provide little gems of advice at just the right moment.

 

 

- And (of course) a cocktail recipe to help your weekend feel a touch more chilled out. Rhubarb + fennel + vermouth? Yes, please. Head on over to Honestly Yum for the recipe. 

 

Happy weekend and XO!

Olaiya