I Need Some Space

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I recognize that I must sound like a broken record at this point, but unsurprisingly I’ve been struggling with my personal to-do list lately. I’ve blamed stress, my new job, my old job, my impending move later this year, where the moon is in its cycle, etc.

As an adult, I’ve tried to remake myself into a doer as opposed to a dreamer. Hence my love of planners and schedules, New Year resolutions and sticker charts. I even adopted the mantra of the characters in the animated flick Storks: “Make a plan, stick to the plan, always deliver!”

I’m human and obviously make mistakes, but when given the choice between action and relaxation, I always seem to lean towards the side involving my couch and the television. Meanwhile, my personal goals have only grown in their number and intensity. I have plans galore, but they’re not sticking.

In my ever-present quest for finding a better way of doing things, I stumbled across the term “third space”. No, not the postcolonial sociolinguistic theory of identity and community. I’m referring to an additional place that isn’t work or home, where one can “go and essentially feel at ease,” according to Apartment Therapy.

My life in Los Angeles has essentially been lived between two spaces: work, and home. Work has always been the place where I spend most of my waking hours, avoiding personal tasks at all costs. Home has been the opposite: my haven, a place to drop down onto a couch or bed to refresh and relax.

The idea of having a third space speaks volumes to me. Work is not the place to be penning a short story, and home is not the place to be dreaming up business ventures. What I need is a neutral third space, somewhere in between that I can spend my time – undistracted – working on the myriad of projects I have swirling around in my head.

My goal this week is to find that third space (I’m thinking a library – it’s free and there are plenty of them on my route home) and put aside some time to work.

To read more about third spaces, check out Apartment Therapy’s article here.

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Day 33: Seeing the City Anew

Do you ever feel like home seems a little lackluster after being away? Mind you, I’m grateful for the warm California sunshine as opposed to the gray skies that followed me across Europe, but after my vacation I missed that feeling of waking up every day and thinking, what new things will I discover?

It can be difficult to see past the everyday thrum of daily life and routines. Yet, there are always new things to be discovered in seemingly old, familiar places. When I visited home over the holidays, my aunt and uncle took me antiquing in a downtown area I’d never frequented before. We shopped in immaculately curated stores, grabbed cocoa in a cafe with the locals, and found a shabby-chic thrift store in the basement of an old brick building. I’d lived in NH for twenty-some-odd years before then, and yet there were so many nooks and crannies I had yet to see.

Luckily for me, Los Angeles is still a mystery in many ways. An enormous mystery, filled with historical sights, museums, art, music – you name it. It’s a metropolis brimming with scenic gardens and urban sprawl and beaches – or so I’ve heard.

Coming home to LA made me more determined to be as open-minded and wide-eyed as I can. In this instance, I say the more touristy you are, the better! When I lived in Boston, I thought I’d seen it all. Then, on a whim, I took a Segway tour (yes, dorky helmet and all) of the city and suddenly there was the spot where the Great Molasses Flood happened! I don’t want to live in LA and never see more than one or two neighborhoods.

The other night I pulled out my LA tour-book that I first bought before moving out here, and generated a list of everything I want to see. Then, I randomly assigned each place to a weekend. My first stop was to The Last Bookstore, a brick-and-mortar privately owned local bookstore in Downtown LA renowned for being incredibly cool.

My theme this year was to be more adventurous, in every sense of the word. The byline of that theme, though, was that I would really really make these adventures come to fruition, rather than dreaming the days away. Putting them on my calendar seemed like the logical next step in seeing my visits accomplished.
Until next time, stay touristy my friends!

 

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Hostess with the Mostest


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Tonight, my apartment is a little too quiet. Maybe that’s because for the first time in about four weeks, it’s just my roommate and I again. We’ve – or rather, I’ve – had a constant stream of friends and family alike crashing anywhere they could find a spot and basking in the miracle that is Southern California weather.

Playing hostess can be a tough gig, especially if you find yourself doing it fairly frequently. That’s why I’ve compiled a quick guide of to opening your home (or teeny apartment) to others!

BEFORE THEY ARRIVE

  • Clear your guests’ stay with your housemates ahead of time if applicable, and be sure to ask, not tell them that you’re having someone over. It’s a courtesy that should always be extended, especially because this is their home too.
  • If your guests are vacationing with you, make sure you’ve taken the appropriate time off from work. Nothing will ruin a trip quicker than having to go in on your planned day off.
  • Determine whether you are picking them up from their chosen port of travel, or if your guests have alternative means of getting around.
  • Ready some clean sheets and towels ahead of time, or at least have your guests’ sleeping arrangements in order. Nobody likes to touch down after six hours of flying to be greeted by dirty linens, or worse – nowhere to crash.
  • Make sure you have an extra set of keys, just in case you need to split up at any time.
  • Throw a few snacks in the fridge. People often end up at your home hungry. You don’t need to go overboard, and don’t feel bad about asking them to pitch in for more groceries as the vacation goes on.

WHILE THEY’RE THERE

  • Establish house rules. Don’t be afraid to bring up topics like whether or not you like shoes left at the door, how you split dishes,

    Mom & I in Santa Monica on her recent visit!

    or whether drinking/smoking are OK in your home. Your guests will appreciate not having to guess and getting in trouble later.

  • Lay out your schedule, if your guests are just staying with you as opposed to vacationing with you. Talk about when you go to work, when you’ll be home, etc. That way, they know not to call you at 3AM for a ride home from the club.
  • Help your friends out by giving them a rough guide to your area. What public transit is available? Are there any local restaurants you like to eat at? What kinds of activities are there to do?
  • Don’t forget to enjoy some quality time together! Even if you can only do one meal, it’s better than nothing, and it pulls you out of your regular routine.

AFTER THEY’RE GONE

  • Be sure to thank your roommate for their support. I plan on treating mine with a gift basket full of his favorite goodies 🙂

 

Your apartment doesn’t need to be the Ritz for everyone to have a good time! For now, though, I’m going to enjoy having my room to myself again.

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I apologize for the brevity and the slight repetitiveness of this post.

I am currently ending day 15 of my 19 straight day work week. I am cuddling up in hotel number 11 and just showered in what now takes the record for the most vile bathroom on the East coast. As you can imagine, I am entering into a very zombified state. Also, I am really appreciating the world I have waiting for me: my home. Being so far removed from my home has sharpened its definition and has increased my desire to return to it.

It is not so much the physical structure or the decor that signals its ownership. It is not directly the work or the schedule that I hold while I am there. It is the feeling. It is the feeling of belonging and of being needed. It is the comfort and security to be myself. It is knowing that I am missed and loved. I realize more and more that home holds no physical definition but is a feeling that I keep.

When I land back in Logan, I want to fully experience the feelings of my home. I am reminded of the appreciation I must show for the things and the home that I have. I plan to make the most of it by cuddling up in my own bed and taking the most glorious shower on my much anticipated day off. Wish me luck!

Jess (2)

Fall is Dead.

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 At least, it is in SoCal. While everyone in New  England is celebrating the return of sweater  season, we here on the West coast are  experiencing record highs. Apparently September is a hot month, and it doesn’t start to cool down until around November. When it gets down into the 70s. And stays that way until next summer.

Well, I’ve been craving a little fall in my life, and so I turned to Pinterest and found this tutorial by Sweet Something Designs that uses old potpourri to make an autumn wreath! Inspired, I ran out to the local craft store after work and picked up an empty woven wreath, a couple extra fall-ish decorations, and a box of cinnamon-smelling potpourri (I sadly didn’t have some old stuff lying around. Luckily, all fall decor was 40% off!).IMG_3898

After about an hour of burning myself on hot glue, dropping the hot glue gun everywhere, and stressing over the symmetry of the orange slice placement – voila! Admittedly, my wreath is a bit more bare bones than the one I imitated, but there are only so many little walnut-shaped things you can put everywhere.IMG_3900 IMG_3902 IMG_3903

Quite happily, I hung my fragrant and autumnal wreath on our front door this morning. Just wait ‘til the neighbors get a load of this!

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Happy fall! ❤

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Boomerrang

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n. a curved, flat, wooden tool that can be thrown in such a way that it returns to the thrower (Merriam Webster, 2014)

Similar to its Merriam Webster definition, the boomerang generation are finding themselves returning back to where they started, often times with their family. I am no exception. I speak not on behalf of my generation but through input from numerous media sources, but also through experience. I mean how could I not- this topic has been the focus of any and all holiday parties with my family.

Much like my counterparts, I was thrown into the “real world” by my family. Be it college, full time work, or even the result of some tirade about independence, we found ourselves in the world outside of our family home. The biggest problem is that we entered into a world that wasn’t fully ready for us to be in it, financially speaking. { I am no financial expert, so I will leave it at that}

The lure and appeal of moving away, going to the city, and/or buying a house are still a large part of our lives as boomerang-ers. I have all of these things on a list that was titled: Life after college. Recently, it was edited to say: Life after I save money/figure life out. This gave me the opportunity to finally apply some advice from the many graduation speeches I have heard over the years. I took Robert Frost’s advice and took the road less traveled.  More simply: I moved home.

I relapsed twice. {proudly at that} I lived away during my four years of college. Much like Aubrey and most college students, I bounced between my home at home and my home at school. It was four years of constant transition, until I found myself permanently at home after graduation. This is where I begin to question. What am I doing? What is home? Where am I going? The easiest answer to all of these is obviously graduate school.

It was easy to see that graduate school would take me out of the house and down a road closer to finding the true answers to these questions. I was out on my own being the professional, crazy, sleep deprived grad student I had always read about. Fast forward that year and I was back at home.

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 The grad school mugshot. Clearly, we look so enthused to be headed back home.

Media sources have praised, defended, and critiqued our decision to move and stay at home.  While many of the points are valid and true, I don’t think they fully capture how important this life decision really is. For myself, this is a way to develop financially and professionally.  More specifically, here are my reasons why I moved home!

  1. Saving, Saving, Saving! I have many dreams {homes, travels, philanthropy, excursions, etc}, but all of these require financial backings. I chose to move home to make a dent into my student loans and re-calibrate how I saved. {a little more than just skipping the second Starbucks run, or forgo-ing a night out}
  2. Like my last reason, I have so many things I want to accomplish. By living at home, I have the opportunity to go to a bachelorette party in Nashville, wedding in Puerto Rico, or even that new laptop. It gives me the freedom to be ever present in the now, while also keeping one eye on the future {financially}. A balance of spending what I need to live in the now, but be set up for a successful future.
  3. Family is one of the most important things. My family has been changing from the moment I left the nest {the first time}. From marriages, to new siblings, to cross country moves, I was away for a lot of BIG things. I feel like this time with them is a way for me to play catch up and fully connect back with this crazy group of people.

My next move, MOVING OUT!

Jess (2)

H-O-M-E

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Home. Four simple letters with such incredible meaning. Home sweet home. Home on the range. Home is where the heart is. The other night, my roomie and I were talking about our holiday plans, and I stressed the importance of going home. He gestured to our apartment smiling and said, “This is home!”

This,” I spit out, “is not home.”

Typical holiday hi-jinx with the brother at home in NH

Typical holiday hi-jinx with the brother at home in NH

Immediately we were both taken aback, him crestfallen and me embarrassed by my outburst. I spent the rest of that night thinking about what I’d said. Why was, in my mind, NH still my home, even now when I’ve severed all educational, physical, and financial ties there?

I can trace this feeling of wanting one defined home back to college, when I moved in and out of different res hall rooms no fewer than 14 times, not counting when I moved in and out of my parents’ house during the summers. Not surprisingly, I grew tired not only of moving, but even decorating each new space. Freshman year, my room had pictures of friends, posters, sombreros, etc. gracing the walls. By senior year, I was down to a couple photos of loved ones on my desk. I was just going to move in a few months, why bother? Besides, this wasn’t home; home was back in NH with my folks.

The view from my res hall room in Boston

The view from one of my res hall rooms in Boston

The night I refused to grant our apartment “home” status, I wondered why I was still clinging to New England. Sure, I’ve got some stuff at my parents’ place, but I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that I’ll never have the chance to live there full time again. But am I so irrevocably tied there by my loved ones that I’ll never be able to think of anywhere else as home?

It’s a messy feeling, this belief that you are meant to be somewhere other than where you physically are, especially if you’re starting to like this new place. I almost feel like a traitor. So I turned this question over to my friend, a fellow east coast transplant in L.A.: is there one place and one place only you call home?

Nope, she said. When we lived in Boston, she called Boston her home. New Jersey (where she’s from) will always be home too. And now, LA has become home number three.

Thus, I propose a new definition, one that doesn’t restrict home to where one’s roots lie. It might take some getting used to, but L.A. is home now. It’s where I live, love, work, eat, sleep, breathe, and explore. By not accepting it as my semi-permanent residence, I’ve done myself a great disservice. I can love and miss NH as much as I please, but I can also love L.A. without killing myself over wondering when and if I’ll ever want or have to return to the east coast.

“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

And to celebrate, I finally hung some art.

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