Epic Adventure Time

It was all a dream..I used to ready WordUp magazine..is the song that comes to mind! But in truth, it wasn’t all a dream, even if it still feels like it. I love vacations where you just miss 7 days of work but it feels like you’ve been gone for months. It’s like time traveling or close to it. I just got back from a magical adventure to Spain (for the second time) and France (new country in Europe for me!).

Let’s just say, I ate pretty amazing food every day, got used to a weird schedule for waking, sleeping and eating and saw some of the most beautiful beaches and countryside imaginable. Meat and cheese are serious endeavors in both countries – like professional grade serious. Breakfast on most days consisted of bocadillos, AKA fresh baguette with squashed tomato spread inside and jamon serrano with brie or some other kind of decadent queso (translation: cheese). No wonder the siesta is so necessary (siesta: an afternoon rest or nap, especially one taken during the hottest hours of the day in a hot climate).

Here are some snaps from my adventures – picture yourself full of delicious cheese, pastries and fresh coconut or mango juice or cafe con leche (only the best espresso, always), then snorkeling, hiking, dancing, eating some more and waking up to do it all again. For fully immersive experience, try listening with this on in the background: my new favorite song <3

Barcelona Night
View from the terrace – Barcelona at night <3

Carcassonne River
Carcassonne River, strolling through this super ancient Medieval town on the way to explore a castle.

Carcassonne
This castle is possibly one of the oldest structures I’ve ever seen

Dali Arte
The Dali Museum in Figueres, Spain.

Dali Chillin
Hanging with my homie Dali in Cadaques.

Cadaques
Cadaques – beautiful Catalonian seaside town with all white buildings, delicious seafood and perma-summer in the air.

Cala Futadera
Actually #nofilter. See-through water plus we saw a live octopus swimming beneath us while snorkeling! Then this older dude came into catch it, possibly to cook for dinner?

Barcelona Lurking
Love getting lost in the Gothic Quarter’s old windy narrow streets.

Cala Futadera
More Cala Futadera, close to Tossa De Mar – so beautiful.

Blai tapas
Necessary. Lots of Tapas in Poble Sec – super cheap too and amazingly delicious.

Cala Syd
I was really there!

Secret Cala
I was really there!

Borne
I was really there!

Cap De Creus
Cap de Creus – a tip top point in Catalonia with views for days.

Via de Canes
At Ferias (party night) in Via de Canes – a bit south of Barcelona. Check out the jamon leg – gimme some of that!

Cadaques
More Cadaques – hiked out to a ridge view and couldn’t get enough of this beautiful ocean inlet.

Sant Feliu de Guixols
Walked around the entire border of Sant Feliu de Guixols and Sa’ Agaro – beautiful beachy towns with cute seafood spots and of course old medieval fortresses/castles. There were Cami de Rondas all around the coast – little staircase paths to go down to swimming holes (calas) all around the town. So breathtaking.

Dali Museo
Dali Museum courtyard.

Dali Surreal
Super surreal at the Dali Museum

*As originally seen on the Praytell Blog <3

Pinch Me: Looking Back to Look Forward

You know what the best feeling is? Getting a much needed reality check in which you realize you’re a completely different person from who you were five years ago, three years ago, even one year ago. I don’t know about you but sometimes I get antsy and caught all up in my present day life thinking, you know, I’m not doing enough. Am I really on track to accomplishing all I want to accomplish by 30? Am I successful? Am I where I want to be? Then suddenly I get a nice reality check that puts it all into perspective. First of all, no one has it together by 30. I don’t care who you are – late twenties and early thirties still seem like growing up time to me. In fact, maybe we keep growing up forever? Maybe we’re never actually adults, how about that? I had a nice reality check last night that reminded me of where I was 5 years ago and for the sake of reflection slash  nice dose of humility, here’s a snapshot. Five years ago to the date I was:

  • UCSC grada month into living in Santa Barbara, CA
  • living with my boyfriend I had met in Brazil who was from So-Cal (hence the move)
  • working at Citrix Online as an assistant in the purchasing department, not even in Santa Barbara but in a part of town called Goleta across the way from UCSB
  • commuting 2o minutes to work each day on the freeway
  • working in a cubicle amid hundreds of other people, taking lunch breaks to chain restaurants in strip malls or escaping to the wild preserve by hiking down the freeway to walk around, making phone calls to all my friends in the Bay I missed so much
  • joining Rotary Club in SB because I was so lonely and yearned for connecting with people I could relate to and share interests with
  • considering getting an evening cocktail waitress job at Wildcat (locally coined the Shitty Kitty, seriously the name speaks for itself) because it would be a fun way to meet people and occupy my time while my boyfriend worked at a neighboring bar
  • planning lots of visits to SF and LA where I was comforted by diversity, culture and familiar city sights and sounds

Needless to say I didn’t stay in Santa Barbara for much longer. I was there for about 6 months total, during which time I actually did make some great friends while also acquiring some valuable work experience. Mostly I finally got courage to LA In and Out, per usualmake a move for myself, once and for all. At first I made a list of all the grad schools I wanted to go to – thinking I’d apply ASAP for a MPP or MPA since I was no longer interested in pursuing law. To my surprise all the schools with my desired program were in NYC with the exception of one in Chicago (sorry Windy City, wasn’t feeling it).

I thought, maybe I should move to NYC first to see if I like it before going ahead and applying to school. So I gave myself a month to sublease my apartment, bought a one way flight to NYC and started hustling to get a job and apartment for when I’d touch down December 1st, 2010. And everything worked out better than I could have possibly planned or imagined. There’s no way I would have believed you if five years ago you told me my life would look like it does today. I don’t regret anything that’s happened along the way, its all, for better or for worse, experience that’s made me more into the person I am supposed to be. But I have to remember where I came from, even just a few years ago – first touching down in NYC with no idea what was in store for me. When I get caught up in the here and now wondering if anything is off since I don’t yet have my own multi-million dollar company, haven’t been on the cover of any magazines and haven’t yet invented a product or idea that has single handedly changed the entire world, I can remember to take it easy. No one has saved the world over night. These things take time and work, and the work isn’t always obvious. And from what I can tell so far, the hardest work of all usually starts within.

SF

“Can You Stand the Rain?”

Beautiful write up by a dear friend of mine, the talented, magical Brittaney. Time to get inspired and remember the sunny days, weathering the storm, and how much we have to celebrate.

“Can You Stand the Rain?”

 

Side note: Does this remind you of Missy or what?

Note to Self: Getting Real Meta

Super Fly Hammer Time.It’s pretty late and I’m tying up some work related loose ends, all the meanwhile keeping Mad Men on in the background and occasionally checking in to stay up to speed. Then suddenly it hit me. I’m living the Mad Men dream right now. I live in NYC and I feel pretty at home here, which some might say is the hardest part of all. Plus I get to work in a pretty cool creative field keen on mastering the art of perspective shifting and pushing various envelopes.

It didn’t happen overnight. Nothing does. Even things that feel like they’re meant to be I think don’t happen overnight. Sometimes I feel fortunate enough to tune into the moments when it just feels like everything I’ve done leading up to this point makes sense, even if it didn’t at some points along the way. The Mad Men moment just now was one of those moments. It’s like seeing your life from another vantage point, from outside of your definitive moment and locale. Like taking on the perspective of an on-looker objectively taking stock of what’s offered.

The webpage I designed in 6th grade to keep up with all my friends and write LyKe DiS oN aIm AlL nYt3 makes sense now too. Picture the ultimate realness of internet throwback gold, you don’t even know how much I wish I kept the site up (RIP shupz.cjb.net). Weird memory but it just feels like a piece of the larger puzzle. I wish I stuck with it, I really do. But I’m comforted in imagining how my fresh middle school website might very well be part of why I’m here today, doing what I’m doing and doing it well.

I don’t always feel like that but in this moment I do. So I’ll savor it as best I can, and what better way to remember than to write a note to self. Remember watching Mad Men, thinking I might be living a Mad Men dream except in a different century, with internet, using words like Meta, and maybe it’s not really anything like the show at all except for the loose connotation of advertising. It doesn’t really matter how I got here anyway, it’s that I am here at all. Here being the place where I feel like I belong.

 

Living In The 5th Dimension

Is it just me or do things always turn out better when you just go with the flow? I never really took that saying to mean more than just a cliche; an easily passed along snippet people tend to say when they’d really rather remind you to “calm down” or “stop doing what you’re doing.” Lately I feel like I’m seeing how important it is to really let the universe take hold and drive. The less I try to make things happen or follow whatever plan I seem to be attached to in my mind, the more things are happening on their own–more so than I could have imagined.

Crystal Fair Jules

Jules on a hunt for the best rainbows.

There’s some kind of power out there at work. The other day I re-connected with an old friend from college and we went on an East Bay adventure to Berkeley’s Brazil Cafe then to the Contra Costa Crystal Fair. I keep mentioning this trip to everyone I see lately because it’s just too good not to bring up over and over. I mean, how stereotypically Bay Area can you get? I wonder if I should have taken my shoes off immediately upon entering the Easy Bay-bound Bart. I love the Bay Area exactly for that reason: I literally cross about ten different micro countries manifesting as neighborhoods and cities along my journey across the Bay. I suppose this kind of diversity finds a contender in New York and its surrounding boroughs, but there’s something unique about the Bay’s special flavor palette.

At the Crystal Fair in Walnut Creek my friend and I perused the wears until we both stopped at a special table advertising bio-luminescent spirulina smoothie mix and a selection of crystals. I think we were drawn to the pair manning the table–a colorful woman embedded in a sea of green-blue tye dye sheer pantsuit handling what looked like a mini light-saber hovering over her throat, and her husband, adorned with numerous necklaces and what appeared to be a matching kufi and embroidered vest. We chatted a bit and the woman divulged that the light ray wand was a UV way machine that emanates light waves known to heal ailments and straighten out telomeres that constrict due to stress. We soon learned our newfound friends were fellow Banana Slugs who loved Santa Cruz so much during school that they never left. I told the light ray lady about my newfound career freedom, she paused and held up her hand so as to sense wind or some kind of energy, and she quickly assured me “I feel good about that.”

Her husband invited me and my friend to a teleconference that happens once per month to educate people about the benefits of bioluminescent spirulina and extended an invitation for us to visit them if we ever make a trip to Santa Cruz. A session with the UV light ray wand was $25 for 10 minutes, so I passed in case I wanted to use my cash to have a picture taken of my aura. I would venture to guess my aura is purple, the most magical color for auras, but I’m not sure since I didn’t end up getting the photo. Our new friends’ banner denoting their organization detailed their membership to the Cosmic Council of Light. I didn’t know there was such a thing as the 5th dimension but apparently the Cosmic Council of Light is a real entity intent on helping people get there.