What is prayer?

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When you think of “prayer” what is it exactly that you picture in your mind’s eye?

Do you think of falling on your knees? Hands clasped together? Is prayer out loud? Or is it silent?  Is prayer done in a church? Or in the privacy of your home? Do you pray by yourself? Or with others? Is prayer all of the above? Or is it none of the above? Continue reading

Cultivating creativity + community in Paris

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My travel companions, Jasmine and Amanda, sharing the love along the Seine.

I recently returned from a trip to Paris, during which my priorities were shaken up, stirred, and reordered. Still stuffed with French butter, baguette, and chocolat noir, I spent my plane ride home drifting in and out of sleep and melting memories of those things that make Paris Paris: the gray and cream cityscape at dusk, the steep ascent to the hill at Montmartre, the assurance of perfect croissants on every block. I’ve been to the city many times, but this particular trip moved me in such a way that I’ll be processing, remembering, and living in it for weeks and months to come. Continue reading

How to fail forward

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learning to surf means you’ll have to embrace falling as part of the process.

Here’s to being vulnerable: for most of my life I’ve struggled with perfectionism. I’ve felt I had to make the right choice in every single situation, however seemingly inconsequential. Did I study the right subject in school? Did I say the right thing in that conversation? Am I wearing the right outfit? Did I eat the right thing for lunch? I used to obsess over decision I had made, agonizing over whether I had made the “wrong” one and whether that would taint a (ridiculous) aspiration to live perfectly. Continue reading

Why you should schedule rest

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One of my favorite French phrases borrowed from the English language is le week-end. In French, “week” is semaine and “end” is dernier. I guess the French allowed week-end to slip through the typically impenetrable fortress of the French language to make it just a little easier to reference those glorious two days at the end of every work week.

In theory,  we rest and recuperate on Saturday and Sunday. Le probleme is that the French- and many other cultures- do le week-end so much better than most Americans do. When we do have “time off”- which is often rare- we have the tendency to fill those extra hours with more scheduled time. Grocery store runs, hours at the gym, and quick coffee dates with friends end up dominating days off, or hours after work. Continue reading

Not so faraway places: Palos Verdes, CA

 

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Terranea Resort.

Just over a year ago, I moved back to my hometown of Palos Verdes, CA, after almost ten years of a journey that I never expected to end where it started.

Returning to California, I’ve found that I haven’t rediscovered my home so much as discovered it for the first time. As a child, I could not see the gorgeous purple bloom of bougainvillea, the drama of high yellow cliffs over the surf, or the wide, blazing sunsets. I did not marvel at the rolling hills and rocky outcrops of my hometown, or explore coves and winding trails. I wanted to go to the pool, the mall, the movies. But now, I look at where I was born and raised as a frontier in and of itself: a destination just as much as any of the cities or countries I have lived in before. Continue reading

Mediterranean bowl with olive-oil fried chicken + quinoa tabbouleh

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Here’s my approach to weekly lunch prep, which always includes a type of salad or “bowl”:

1) Choose a flavor profile (Mexican? Mediterranean? Thai?).

2) Stock up or assess where I’m at with ingredients (if it’s Mexican, I’m gonna need black beans and jalapenos, for example).

3) Cook or prep necessary components to throw together a salad/bowl every morning before work.

More often than not, I choose Mediterranean. Continue reading

When fulfilling your dream takes longer than you think it should

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When it’s possible to run a business out of your purse, learn a foreign language on your phone, or become famous overnight on YouTube, the future seems like a menu of possibilities for those of a certain generation. As children, many of us were told to follow our dreams, which, as it turns out is both terrifying and wonderful. It can leave us paralyzed with indecision, or- in the best case scenario- it can motivate us to move forward and actually do it: venture into an intersection where faith meets action; where uncertainty about our abilities is eclipsed by a jolt of confidence that we can and will achieve what we want to.

Whether it’s starting a business, making a big move, or just giving up a conventional career to make your side gig your full-time gig, making the big leap into pursuing your passion at the expense of security can be scary. But there’s a greater challenge ahead on the Oregon trail of your following your dream: and that is remaining on the path, even when it begins to be an uphill climb, there’s a river bypass, your horses die, or your wagon wheels break. Your business may fail, you may run out of money, your submissions and auditions rejected. Challenges are almost always inevitable, especially if we want to do something great. Continue reading

Tahini + almond stuffed dates

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I’ve been abundantly blessed to live in not only one but two places where dates are grown and harvested: first in California, where I was born and currently live, and then in Morocco, where I spent three years teaching English. Dates have been experiencing a sort of renaissance lately, what with paleo-ites desperately looking for dessert that meets the stringent requirements of a caveman’s diet. I’m pretty sure a caveman might be especially tempted by dates, especially if he stuffed a tablespoon of tahini and a single roasted almond inside. Continue reading

Roasted winter citrus fruit

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I am not a creature of habit. I have one eating ritual every day, and that is drinking a hot coffee when I wake up. And the rest, I leave up to the routine of the day: what produce is in season, how my body feels, and what’s available at the tasting station at Trader Joe’s. One day I might eat an herb-filled omelette for breakfast, the next day half a gluten-free brownie. I thrive on the unexpected. And this week, what I craved was a big bowl of roasted winter citrus fruit, simple and clean with that slight salty/sweet bite you get from pulverizing citrus rind with heat and a little olive oil in the oven. Continue reading