Off to the Races


About a month ago, I got an email from America's Best Racing asking me if I'd like to join them for a day at the Del Mar Racetrack.


Earlier this year, I shamefully confessed that even though I've lived in San Diego for three years, I'd never been to the races here. But once I won my first bet on Opening Day this past July, I've been hooked.

It makes sense. I mean, my all-time favorite movie growing up was National Velvet, starring Elizabeth Taylor. I rode horses competitively until I was 12 and dreamed of one day owning my own. And much like one of my favorite authors, good 'ol Bukowski, I too enjoy activities where you can drink and win money. The racetrack is an easy fit for me.

On the Friday before the Pacific Classic (a $1M dollar race), ABR welcomed myself, Ryan, and several other San Diego bloggers, for lunch and drinks while watching the horses from their canopy. Their ambassadors, six social media masters from around the country, helped us to understand how to read the racing stats and place smarter bets. They also shared their various experiences growing up around horses and stories of their wins on the track. I have to say, they have an awesome job: touring the country in an RV during race season and hitting up various tracks and events to generate buzz around the sport for young people.

There are so many different ways and methods of betting at the racetrack that I tend to keep it simple. You can bet on a horse to win (1st place), place (1st or 2nd place), or show (1st, 2nd, or 3rd place). The horses are numbered and if you're doing it my way, you step up to the window and say, "I'd like to bet $$$ on # to W/P/S." My betting method is to look in the book (you get a book with stats for all the races) for the Jockey and Trainer stats and then see which ones win the most. Then, if any horses in the current race are being ridden or have been trained by those individuals, I bet on them. So far it's been a winning strategy!

Between racetrack fashion, winning money, the atmosphere, and the horses, I see ABR's point: I actually can't understand why more people our age don't get out and get in the game. Especially in San Diego! It's such an easy, inexpensive, and fun way to spend a summer evening or weekend afternoon with your friends. Plus, with the shuttle from the Coaster to the track, if you live near Downtown, it's super convenient to get there.

I'm headed to the races one more time this week on Thursday before the season ends this weekend. Tweet me if I'll see you there!

Motivation Monday: Front of the Class


Once upon a time, in a land far, far away called "This Past June," I said the following:

For the next three months, my goal is to get to [bikram yoga] class a minimum of three times each week. 

I bought a monthly unlimited membership at my Bikram studio and had nothing but the best intentions to go all summer long. But you know what they always say about making plans: "Why exercise when you can take a nap?"

Anyway. I dragged my yoga-less butt to bikram last week not once, not twice, but thrice and I'm proud of it. It felt good to be back and this is the time of year when doing bikram feels more right to me. By October there will be enough of a chill in the air that I won't feel completely insane, like I do in the summer, opting to leave a 90° house for a 105° studio. 

This week I also found a new favorite spot in the room. I typically head straight for the back wall, right in the middle of the room where I can hide and not demotivate anyone with my tendency to give up in certain postures. But this week I opted right for the front left spot and I felt stupid for not doing it sooner. You have full view of yourself from the front AND the side and in my studio, it's closest to the door which means not having to step in pools of other people's sweat on my way out. Genius!

The best part about being in the front of the class? Accountability. In fact I noticed that I felt less tempted to lay down during some of the aforementioned postures I normally savasana during. I think that I owe it all to knowing that for once, everyone could see me. No more hiding in the back. 

So here I am, in all my sweaty, yoga-ed out bliss after class last Thursday. This shall serve as my embarrassing "Before Picture" since I am determined to bring Motivation Monday back for good and get on a serious pre-vacation exercise routine this fall. And trust me, 3 months of bikram does a body good. ;)

8/19/13 - 8/25/13 Health and Fitness Stats: 
  • went to 3 bikram classes

Knee High Boots and Hot Pants


On any given night you can find us down at Aero Club, which feels more like an extension of our living room than a local dive bar. In the corner by the back pool table, there's a little shelf with a lamp in the shape of a rocket on it and above it, a framed photograph of the picture you see here. I love staring at this photo and I've spent plenty of moscow mules doing just that. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's one of my favorite pictures ever, but I almost feel silly because I don't know why. If I had to put my finger on it though, I'd say it has something to do with her casual confidence and how happy and relaxed she looks. It's calming somehow and always makes me smile.

Mostly though, I want to know what happened to this girl and who she is today, if she's still alive. I would hope so. She's got to be about 20 in the picture, which is only from the '70s. A quick Google search yielded nothing and on a whim I emailed Southwest, the airline where she worked as a flight attendant, but I doubt they'll know/write back. Was she as happy as she looked? How long was she a flight attendant? Did she hate the uniform or rock it? Does it make her happy that the photo is as iconic as it is? She would be incredible to interview.

I think the reason I seek out interviews from people who inspire me in some way, is because it's the most interesting form of writing for me. I love the challenge of drawing out what makes that person unique, of allowing people who are idolized to become human, of making them think about themselves from a different perspective. It's funny because so little of the interview is "written" by me, just the questions, but research has to go into the questions to make them effective. Maybe it's the recruiter side of me influencing the writer side of me that makes so interested in the interview form or maybe the writer side of me is what made me a natural fit for the work I do. Whatever the case, to me, interviews are like a scavenger hunt for a person's truth and when I'm inspired by a person, there is nothing I'm more curious about than what that truth is.

Inspiration: Lindsay Perry


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You know that glow that emanates from the people who inspire you? The kind of people whose energy you just want to soak up and emulate yourself? Well, there's a recipe for that and it's been perfected: Mix one part bravery, one part perspective, a healthy dose of self-knowledge, a dash of adventure and whole lotta love and you get the Billabong surfer, musician, model, blogger and artist, Lindsay Perry.

Something I learned years ago is that it takes courage to be happy, especially when you start out in a dark place. That brand of courage is immediately recognizable once you're familiar with it and that's how I knew I liked Lindsay when I first came across her art and music. She is a good reminder for me and for anyone really, that you have to take the risk, that fun is the point, that love is practicing selflessness. Over a series of Instagram comments, emails and text messages, we completed the short interview below, where I think you'll get just a little glimpse of how inspirational she actually is...


Where you are right now?
This is where I'm sitting, responding to this. It's my boyfriend's parents' house [in New Jersey]. We're here for the summer. I just love this back porch. The whole house is the same vibe, like beachy eclectic. So epic!

Have you ever been to San Diego?
I actually live in San Diego about half of the year - I stay in Encinitas or Cardiff. Love, love, love it there! So many memories. Soooo many. I have a lot of great friends in SD. I think some of the best memories were in the beginning of this summer. My boyfriend is a professional snowboarder, so our schedules are a bit conflicting, as you can imagine. He takes the summer off, so we spent a lot of time in SD, before NJ, just surfing and relaxing... enjoying life!

Any favorite places to eat here? 
In Oceanside, I love Hillstreet Cafe, Swami's Cafe, and Cream of the Crop market. There is this sushi spot in Carlsbad off of Avenida Encinas next to Ralph's... Todo Sushi. So good! Beach City Smoothies... Tender Greens is good too.

When you're traveling, what's in your beauty bag?
Always hair oil! Moroccan is the best. Good face lotions. A travel face kit (Juice Beauty is epic and super affordable). Tinted moisturizer, concealer and blush. I actually probably carry too much. I'm a sucker for women's products.

And what's next on your travel bucket list? 
I want to go back to Europe and explore more there. My boyfriend and I are planning a trip for next month (September), before our schedules get crazy again. So I'm not sure just where we're going!!!

Do you have blogs that you read for inspiration? 
Hmm! That's a tricky one. For me, a lot of the inspiration I get is from imagery. My Billabong Team Manager, Megan Villa, runs a really rad blog (, and my best friend, Catherine Clark's is really inspirational too because she does a lot of Q&A stuff. Really inspiring to read her responses. ( Otherwise, probably Pinterest, design inspiration and fashion blogs.

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What inspires how you live your life?
It kind of varies day to day and situation to situation, for me. But I have my morals and principles that I live by. The thing that always keeps me motivated and on the right track, is losing my mother a few years back. She was an amazing and inspiring woman. She didn't get to do a lot of the things she would have liked to, so I try to live my life in a way that I can keep the flame alive for us both. My tattoos reflect that. The script on my side reads "Death is not the greatest loss in life, the greatest loss in life is what dies inside of us while we live." Life is too short to waste.

How did you overcome that? 
Losing my mother and stepsister in a car accident when I was 18, followed by my aunt being murdered five weeks later was kind of like the breaking point. My childhood wasn't remotely close to prosperous. It was a pretty weird struggle, especially for an American kid... mostly just not coming from money, and a lot of alcohol/physical abuse around my brother and I. I was adopted in 2001 at 13 and then moved out one month after I turned 16 and so that was kind of the start of my own journey. I wasn't able to come back, even if I failed, so I learned that it wasn't an option. I finished school, had a job, payed rent.
I would say the way to prevail through and triumph is just to find something that will drive and motivate you... a fire. Everything that I ever started, started because someone said that I couldn't or I wouldn't be good at it. I've always had an insane love for art, music, surfing and everything of creativity.

When did you learn to surf? 
One of the main reasons I wanted to be on my "own" [at 16] was because my parents didn't get surfing. I pretty much just became in love with the culture and what it meant. I couldn't even ride a wave, I just knew it's what I wanted to do. So I did it. The ocean is really magical. It's weird because my relationship with surfing is so much different now than it was when I was younger. Before it was more serious and, I don't know, just not as developed as it is now. Now I just think it's fun. The only reason anyone should start surfing, or anything, is to have FUN, and as soon as that stops happening, we should stop doing it.

Any advice for someone starting to learn in their 20s?
I'd say my advice would be to just go for it. Don't think about anything that puts boundaries or ties to what you think you should be like, or how it should look, or anything like that. Just have fun. Enjoy the time with your friends, laughing, catching a tan, falling, getting salt in your nose, cute surfer boys, road trips with your girlfriends to find waves... the whole experience.

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What is your favorite lyric that you've written and what's the inspiration behind it?
I have two. One was in response to someone that just wasn't getting the bigger picture.. about life or most anything I was trying to convey. It's also the header of my website:

it took a few years to be comfortable in my own skin and just like everyone else, I often struggle with it at times // so knowing my inner strength and worth, gives me the freedom to be who I am and realize I'm not always going to 'fit' everyone // but it's like music, or any type of art, if it makes you feel genuine and complete, it's always worth the risk

The second is about being genuinely happy for yourself and those around you.. Because that's what life is all about:

those who are truly joyous have no interest in one's shortcomings, insecurities, or turmoil // true joy does not thrive off of those things but is merely driven by the exploration of beauty, pureness and genuine happiness

If you could have one collaborator to work with on your music who would it be? 
Someone that would get my album done faster. Haha, this has been the most prolonged experience of my life. I feel like it's never coming.

The EP is tentatively titled L.O.V.E. What is your personal definition of love? 
I don't know if I've ever been asked that! Hmm. I think for me, love is just the most proper emotion. It's honest and genuine. It doesn't have to just be for companionship. Like, I love people that I've never even met. Reading these questions from you made me love you. I find things in people that I may not ever have face to face contact with. Love to me is sharing yourself with the world in the most pure and honest form. To give back something to someone that you may never hear a thank you from. To encourage and change. To just give yourself.

Is there one thing you wish someone would ask you so that you could have a chance to share the answer with the world? 
I'm pretty sure you nailed it. These have been the most insightful questions! Thanks for the opportunity to share innards with yah.

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Be sure to check Lindsay out on her blog, Lindsea, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more inspiration! 

Eagle Rocking


This past weekend Ryan and I headed up to Los Angeles for a mini getaway to see our friends Jeff and Kemi. Jeff's place is in a neat little neighborhood called Highland Park, bordering Eagle Rock. We took the 15 up which was new for me - it didn't even feel like we were driving into L.A. for once. By the time we got there, they had prepared a lovely dinner for us. It was a relaxing evening of food, wine, Jeff's brother's expansive record collection, and conversation with great friends.

We couldn't stay too late on Sunday because we had to get back to the dogs and our first fantasy football draft, but we managed to cram a lot in, including breakfast at a cute place in the neighborhood, Cafe de Leche. I ordered a spinach feta roll that was delicious. Afterwards we walked up to Echo Garden, a local nursery, and nabbed a few new plants for the house. Then we finished up the day with a drive over to Eagle Rock and explored the hiking trail there a bit. It was a perfect day trip and so nice to spend some time wandering around with our favorite Angelenos.

Billabong Surf Capsule


Billabong is my favorite brand. Forget the clothing for a minute (and only a minute), I'm talking about their marketing, mission, and message. I love looking at everything they make from their ads to their videos to their Pinterest boards, for crying out loud. If we're talking purely about brand, and putting Billabong on the same platform as every other company in every other industry out there, Billabong wins my loyalty and admiration simply because everything they do or sponsor inspires me and makes me smile.

But back to the clothes.

As I mentioned, this past Sunday I had my first surf lesson. Now, I don't know how to swim, like at all, so that has been problematic given that surfing has been a lifelong dream and obsession of mine. And since it was more or less an impromptu session, and because I don't swim and have only lived in San Diego for 3 years, I did not come prepared with a wetsuit. This is mostly because I have never owned a wetsuit.

Earlier this year, when Billabong came out with their Surf Capsule wetsuit collection, I thought the designs were so adorable and I wished I had a reason to buy them. Seriously, how cute does Ellie Jean Coffey look in this video sporting the Peeky Wetsuit Jacket in Seafoam?

Anyway, I certainly found a reason to buy a wetsuit on Sunday when, over the course of wearing Ryan's large men-shaped wetsuit jacket, I struggled with constantly losing my bikini bottoms and having the jacket roll up and/or fill with water. I took the plunge and decided to buy two wetsuits from the Surf Capsule collection, the Peeky Jacket Ellie's wearing above and the Cheeky Jane Spring Wetsuit in Moss. I can't believe I have my first wetsuit(s) and I'm so excited to get back in the ocean!!

Scenes From My Weekend


1. Picked up the art print in the top right corner at the Little Italy Mercato on Saturday. Think this wall is finally complete!
2. For some reason this spray-painted AC unit in our neighborhood always makes me smile.
3. Walking through my neighborhood.
4. I've been meaning to check out this Little Italy art gallery for YEARS and I finally wandered up here on Saturday morning. It's the Grant Pecoff Studios above Landini's Pizza and the art was gorgeous.
5. Pretty Farmer's Market flowers.
6. More to come on this later but Sunday we spent the afternoon in La Jolla doing something I've only ever daydreamed about my entire life: I finally started learning to surf. My classmate Ian and I on the left and me and our hot instructor on the right.

Aloha Friday!


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Whew, it's been a long time since I've written an Aloha Friday post! I think I can safely say that it helps to not be hungover on a Friday morning when you're trying to write a blog about all the things you're happy about. And this Friday may be the first Friday all summer that I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Or you know, as close to that as a person can be on a work day at 6am. It's all thanks to my 5-day strong detox from boozey goodness.

This past weekend we had a house party, Ryan's 10 year reunion, and a bottomless brunch and Padres game to go to. Translation: I was drunk for 3 days straight. While it was a lot of fun, it was also the crowning achievement to a summer full of fun, drunken times. My body woke up Monday craving a respite, so I'm officially on the wagon for a while and so far it feels GREAT. It's hopefully going to be the springboard to getting back on the mat and the road this month since I have a 5k coming up in September.

1. Brett Dennen has a new album coming out and I could not be more excited. He's also playing The Belly Up in November but unfortunately it's the first night of my 3-Day walk so I doubt I'll get to see him this time around. :( Before his new album is released, I'm tiding myself over with the single, "Wild Child," perfect for these summer nights:

2. I know I mentioned this a couple of posts ago, but I really am making a ton of progress on the "starfish" blanket I've been crocheting for almost two years now. This week I finished turning 50% of the circles into squares. Halfway there! It's speeding up a lot thanks to all the crocheting time I have while watching Lost.

3. Looking back on my summer to-do list from June, I would say that I'm doing pretty abysmally on most of my goals. One of which was to start trying one to two new dinner recipes a week. Let's just say that puts me at about 10-20 meals behind and I am inspired to make all of that up in August. Buuuuuut I'm happy that we did have home-cooked meals the last few nights which is better than we've been doing with all of our fun times this summer. Recipe suggestions welcome!

4. I think we may go on a real, honest to god, do-absolutely-nothing-but-relax vacation early next year! The details are under wraps for now but I so very much want to make this happen. I've had the travel bug like no other lately and I'm totally ready for a getaway in a new place.

5. I'm a born and raised Yankee fan and can not even tell you how excited I was to find out they were finally coming to play at Petco Park for the first time since I moved to San Diego 3 years ago. I knew we had to go and as an added bonus it was our friend Heather's first MLB game ever and Ian's first visit to the Park. Unfortunately they got destroyed and Jeter reinjured himself too badly to play and so it wasn't the best Yankee game I've ever been to, but it was still a great time with friends and great to see them in SD!

The Spectacular Now


Last night I had the chance to see an early screening of "The Spectacular Now" before it comes out this Friday. I don't want to give away too much about the movie (which is based on a book that I have not read), but it was everything a thoughtful, honest, and deeply nostalgic coming-of-age movie should be. What I do want to talk about is the character type that Michael Weber and Scott Neustadter, the writing team behind TSN and "(500) Days of Summer" are so excellent at exploring in film.

Weber and Neustadter write the kind of movies that make me want to write movies and only one other person has had that impact on me: Cameron Crowe. So it's not surprising really that he's one of their biggest influences as well. The three of them have all explored, with one character or another (Sutter Keely, Summer Finn, Penny Lane), the often-heartbreaking impact of future-allergic, perpetual improvisers on the people who care about them. You know the type: they're the "live in the moment," addictively spontaneous boys and girls who are seemingly untouched by pain and who every responsible do-gooder secretly longs to be. So much so that A-types tend to fall in love with these people, hoping they will make them epic by association.

The Sutter/Summer/Penny's of the world have some recurring characteristics. For starters, they tend to have divorced and/or absent parents. The lack of happy, loving adults in their lives is their excuse for however they have ended up and often the catalyst for their somewhat jaded or disillusioned views on life, love, responsibility and commitment. But do you know what kids of divorced parents typically want more than anything in the world? For everyone to just stop fighting or being sad and to be happy instead. They want to make everyone feel good and they want everyone to like them and chances are they've been stuck trying to make people happy since they were kids. Cue the inability to be serious, the laidback, anything goes attitude, the party animal reputation, the careless flirting.

The problem with the type of happiness these latchkey kid-adults are trying to manufacture through reckless behavior, substance abuse and romantic flings, is that it's surface happiness and unsustainable. And that leads me to the second shared characteristic of this type: their short-term hero complex. They believe that if they can "save" someone by inspiring them or by lending them some of their risk-taking mojo, their influence doesn't have to be long-lived and any potential damage is a necessary sacrifice for the greater good. For instance, Penny Lane believes that if she can just inspire one great song, she's done good, no matter if she is complicit in marital infidelity. Sutter Keely wants his friends to enjoy the now, to hookup and live a little, no matter how at risk he puts them by drunk driving them to the party. Summer Finn just wants Tom to be able to enjoy the magic of a whirlwind, no-strings attached romance, no matter if she breaks his heart at the end of it.

Which is another similarity: Because their efforts to "save" these people are misguided and flawed in the first place, almost every well-intentioned "saving" ends in certain disaster, leading to a vicious cycle of self-loathing for our wayward heroes and heroines. They inevitably come to believe that they are bad for the people who get close to them so they become guarded and don't let anyone in. When they do meet someone who they care for, they attempt ever more abbreviated efforts to "save" these people, to get in, impact the person as quickly as possible and get out before they "hurt" them, resulting in more frequent damage, and more validated self-loathing.

Here we arrive at the aftermath. At people who are forever changed because their relationship-on-speed, romantic or platonic, felt so intense and passionate and magical and inspiring and once-in-a-lifetime and now? It has abruptly ended. Sometimes it sucks for everyone involved and for the hero/ine self-loathing turns into self-destructive behavior. But most of the time, it just sucks for the person left behind while Summer Finn grows up and realizes she can't keep doing this. She releases herself from the prison of "Life According to Summer (Based on Her Parent's Divorce)," opening her to the possibility of love and ending with a ring on her finger (um, spoiler alert? sorry!).

Why do I care about all of this? Because I worry that I was a Summer. There was a period of time, mostly in NYC, but also for about 6 months right after I moved to San Diego too, where I wanted to inspire people and save them from growing up or being boring or from dealing with a depressing situation so they could just have fun. I had decided that I was never going to take things seriously and that if they unexpectedly got serious or I lost the ability to make things fun for them, I would disappear so as not to hurt anyone's feelings. All of this was positively delusional. Nobody needed to be saved, especially not by me at my most fumbling. And I did hurt several people's feelings and to this day, have never apologized.

Watching "The Spectacular Now" last night, I wondered, not for the first time, whether I should apologize for my careless attempt at "wayward heroine"-ism during that time. It's not that I'm scared really, it's more that I worry that thinking that my actions actually hurt people is just as self-aggrandizing as thinking way back then that I should try to save them. The flip side is that if I really did hurt them, is it equally self-aggrandizing to think that an apology now will benefit them instead of drudging up old feelings or sounding like I'm promising something better in the future? Because I'm not. The only people I want in my life are the people who are in it, and that is a decision process that I went through over two years ago. So is a note to say, "Hey I'm sorry I was an asshole to you 3 years ago, I was going through stuff and I was a shitty person for a bit and I've since grown up and realized it. Not that I want to open up a dialogue or be friends again. Just wanted to say I'm sorry and best wishes!" really worth it? For them, I mean? I can't help but think not. In fact, if the people who hurt me pulled such a stunt, I would be pissed.

Go see "The Spectacular Now." Expect to laugh, expect to wince, expect to feel the same awkward jumble of nerves and scary anticipation and total confusion that you felt when you were a teenager because this movie does a pretty good job of letting you sit back and relive it. If anything, it's a pitch perfect reminder that spontaneity and "being present" is, as everything else, good in moderation and that never, ever, ever, no matter how ignorant and self-loathing you may be, are you the only person affected by your actions. Keep those two things in mind and the now will be just as spectacular as the future.