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the pursuit of happiness

August 31, 2015

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“It’s easy to be miserable. Being happy is tougher. And cooler.” – Thom Yorke

I saw a poster with this quote via Instagram several weeks ago. And boy is it the truth. It’s so, so easy for me to feel annoyed, angry, and anxious, and sometimes, it’s a whole lot of work to just let all of that go. But, in my experience, all good things are always worth the work.

That’s what I’m sitting here telling myself as I linger over this past weekend and wish I was anywhere but sitting at this desk.

Good weekends make Mondays harder. Ah, the contradictions of life.

I’m really not going anywhere with this except, to add the good, you also have to subtract the bad. Rid your life of time wasters, energy suckers, and people who just pull you down (I guess that’s difficult to do in the workplace). But just now, as I logged into Facebook (which is not nearly as regular of an occurrence lately, and for that I am so, so grateful), I started feeling anxiety at all the hate and judgment that is spewed there. When did the internet go from a place of connection to instead, a place of destruction? I just can’t handle it. And therefore, as I’ve said before, but really mean it now, I want to stop. If something doesn’t make me feel or do better now, or in the long run, I don’t want it in my life. I don’t have that time or energy to waste.

This post wasn’t meant to be such a downer (slash the antithesis of happiness), but I think my anxiety is getting the better of me today, and I wanted to put it out there. I need a nap.

In other news, things I want to focus on:

plants. walks. books. sun. my dog.

And maybe some wine for good measure.

I shared a lot of happy summer things from my weekend here. Will share some fun GoPro pics soon.

-wonderland sam

car therapy

August 28, 2015

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I’m a head case – I’ll be the first to admit it. I think therapy is a verifiable, genuine good course of action for any and everyone to take. Anyone who has the money to afford it.

In the meantime, my car is my therapist’s office, my steering wheel the said…therapist.

Just this morning, on the way to tape an audition, I laughed and cried in a span of two minutes. Laughed at a funny story on the radio, cried at a seemingly strange song to be crying at. And I don’t even know why. But it felt good.

I really don’t like driving. It’s lonesome and boring, and why can’t teleportation be a thing already? But driving gives me time alone with myself, where no one can hear me (except Dr. Steering). So how do I use it?

Well this morning, after the laughing, and the crying, and the getting out of the car and the getting back in it, I used the radio to pump myself up. I sang and danced and got my energy groovin’ and didn’t care who may have been watching. I always forget to listen to music unless I’m in a car (that may be strange to some of you, but it’s really not something I generally think about). But when I do, and it’s not music I’m tired of, I am always reminded just how much it can affect my mood. How it can lift me up and change my spirits and really just make me excited about life (is that too grand?). But it’s true. Same thing about dancing (I LOVE DANCING). So I did that.

I also talked to myself. Yep, I talk to myself. Full disclosure, the cat’s out of the bag, I’m insane. But I do. And I like it. And it helps me SO. MUCH. Today I pretended I was talking to the group of students I’m going to mentor in acting this semester. I’m excited and nervous about it, and I want these kids to actually learn and have fun and be excited about acting. So I talked to myself for a good 20 minutes.

A note about talking to yourself – it really makes the time fly by. Before I knew it, I was already at work. Win-win-win.

The only thing that will make car therapy better is self-driving cars, so I can lean my seat back and share my feelings from “the couch”.

But then I’ll be terrified that this car is driving itself and am I going to die and are robots taking over the world?!

That will open up a whole other can of worms to be discussed with my therapist.

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-wonderland sam

underwater

August 25, 2015

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Remember how I said I’d never buy a disposable underwater camera ever again because the quality of photos is laughably horrendous (particularly the ocean kayaking pictures, which makes me doubly sad)? Well, I thought I’d share a few of the decent ones anyway because why not? Some of these are over a year old and still capture some good memories (even if not picture perfect). Mother, if you’re reading this, I’d love a GoPro for Christmas this year. ;)

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-wonderland sam

summer in los angeles

August 25, 2015

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The changing of the seasons always comes at the exact right time for me – I think it was planned that way. So I’m savoring these last few weeks of summer’s sun and long days before autumn greets us.

I made an unofficial guide to the summer, but I love nothing if not a good list, so here are some more plans I hope to squeeze in before September 23rd:

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Summer is the best, isn’t it? But so is fall and winter and Christmas and HOLY COW, life can be amazing.

-wonderland sam

things I’m loving right now

August 24, 2015

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  • Rising Earlier – ok, I’ve never been a morning person (and I’m still not), but I’m slowly working on waking earlier (having to be at an office at 8:00 am the past two months has helped). I find on mornings where I don’t sleep in past the alarm and instead wake up early enough to walk my dog, water my plants, and make a smoothie without rushing to get out the door 10 minutes late, I feel better the rest of the day. Of course, I have to go to bed earlier, so that’s something I’m working on in order to implement a slower morning routine.
  • ClassPass – a great program to jump-start your fitness and keep working out fun. You can choose from a huge variety of fitness studios, and once you reserve a class, you can’t cancel if it’s within 12 hours of the start time (without paying a fee), so it’s a HUGE motivator to get you there when you don’t feel like working out. I signed up for the free two week trial but will continue with it, I love it so! This week I have five classes lined up at five different studios: cycling, cardio barre, pilates, another cycling, and hip hop yoga (what is that?!).
  • Cooking – along with exercising and cooking more meals at home, my body and soul have been feeling much better. Sure, Pinterest is great for quick recipe searches (and anything really), but we’ve been pulling out our hardcover cookbooks to make homemade meals. Meal planning is essential for sure, and I’m loving spending Sunday evenings with my husband cooking dinner and prepping lunch for the week ahead. We’ve made two great salads from the cookbook linked above, and for a self-proclaimed salad hater, that’s saying a lot (though they did have pasta and steak in them). ;)
  • Reading – I’ve been making a concentrated effort to read more (I’m way behind on my self-imposed challenge for this year – you can follow along through Goodreads) instead of wasting time idly scrolling through social media, etc. It has helped soothe my mind tremendously, and I am so happy to be making time for it again. I just finished reading what is now my favorite book I’ve ever readTo Kill A Mockingbird. Part of me is sad I didn’t read it sooner, but the other part of me is so grateful that I discovered it when I did.
  • Liquid Eyeliner – Up until a month ago, I had never used liquid eyeliner because I was…afraid. This one glides on so smoothly, is easy to apply with its pointed tip, and stays on forever. I’m a convert.
  • Perfect Striped Tee – I’ve been trying really hard to make stripes work for me, and my efforts have been futile. Until! Yesterday I found a striped tee that’s lightweight and flattering with the perfect slouch and fit. I’ve never shopped at Brandy Melville before, so I know nothing about the quality of their clothes (not to mention I felt 10 years older than everyone, including all of the employees, in the store). But for now – mission accomplished. (I am also excited to wear this super soft, flowy, little black dress).
  • Iced Coffee – We don’t have air conditioning, and as the past couple weeks have been the hottest yet this year, there’s no way I’m drinking hot coffee on the weekends. My go to at Starbucks has been their iced caramel macchiato, but I just discovered if I get their iced caramel coffee with a splash of milk, it’s $2 cheaper and way fewer categories (and I’m not enough of a coffee connoisseur to tell much of a difference). That’s what I call beating the system. ;)
  • Thrifting – Forever adding to my happy little gallery wall. I found that Brian Andreas print for $5 at the local thrift store. Boo-yah!
  • Trip Planning – I’m so excited to have a relaxing weekend getaway to Palm Springs to celebrate my birthday this year. I also cannot wait for a different, bigger trip I have planned for next summer. The traveling bug has hit in full force because if not now, when?
  • Mindy Kaling – ‘s guide to killer confidence. Worth the read. I can’t wait until her new book comes out (birthday present, anyone?) ;)

-wonderland sam

sailing on film

August 20, 2015

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I was wondering why my mother hadn’t mentioned anything about these sailing photos (from my trip back to Austin) – until I realized I never published this post that has just been sitting here for weeks. ANYWAY, my mama and Eric just purchased a condo on Lake Travis, and though I wish I still lived in Austin to enjoy it on the reg (!!!), I’m excited to have this little oasis to go to when we visit. My sister and I knew about this sailboat ride, but my nieces didn’t – it was so cute to see the surprise on their faces. This was my first time riding on one, and what they don’t tell you is the boat TIPS. Naturally, I was more nervous than relaxed, but it was an experience for sure, and it was so pretty being out on the water, especially as the sun set; however, I’d still probably say I prefer being recklessly pulled on a tube by a speed boat than panicking about being pulled under by a large sailboat. ;) I’m not in any of these photos, but that’s how it goes. Excited for many more visits to the lake house!
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-wonderland sam

living intentionally

August 20, 2015

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On Monday I posted a photo on Instagram and declared that my goals for this week were to live intentionally and to live in the present. Separate but codependent, these two things are easier said than done. As a persistent planner/worrier/control freak, my mind is always running all over the place. I simultaneously feel nostalgic sorrow while dreaming of future times. How can I be so contradictory?

I am always, always seeking ways to improve my life. My life is good. It can always be better. I don’t want to live with simple contentment, but instead I want to feel full of fulfillment (is that repetitive?). I also don’t want to forever feel unsatisfied or be on a constant search for more, more, more…better, better, better. How do I do this?

I just finished reading the book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Maybe one day I’ll talk more about it, maybe I won’t. The biggest takeaway for me is doing literally only what is absolutely essential for YOU. Essential for your happiness, your well-being, your aspirations – not for anyone else’s. It’s about living in the present moment and doing what is necessary right now. It’s a recommended book for sure, and though I checked it out from the library, I may buy a copy to keep, so I can make notes and refer back to it.

My long-winded point is this: I don’t want to waste a moment of my life. Things will be hard and not always pleasant, but I want every moment to mean something. I want to take a big hard look at my life and decide what is really, truly important to me, and focus on that. I don’t want to make excuses or waste my time on things that are completely useless and provide no sense of fulfillment. Everything in my life, in your life, should be for something. It can be for your health, your sanity, your goals, whatever. Every new day you are a day older, and as morose as it sounds, every new day you have lost a day. So how do you want to live your life?

I don’t know how I’m going to do this. Honestly, I’m overwhelmed at the thought of it all (as I often am). There is so much in my life I want to do and be and feel – where do I start? But I don’t want to be another one of the masses who isn’t living the exact life I want. Why do we see see others’ lives (the curated version) and feel envy and heartache when we can make those exact things happen for ourselves – if that’s what we want. I’ve talked about it before, but it’s just about DOING THE THING.

Baby steps, you guys. Currently? I’m focusing on my mental and physical health. I’ve started exercising regularly. I’m reading more and attempting to cut out the digital noise. I’m planning trips, so I can clear my mind and experience life. I may start meditating (don’t make fun). I can’t conquer everything at once, but I can work towards making improvements. I’m hoping to share more regularly as I implement more mindful practices into my life – and how I benefit from them.

Coincidentally, as I thought about writing this, I read this post this morning. If you want to go on this journey with me, those suggestions are a good place to start.

-wonderland sam

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