things that make me zen: the prophet

peaceful mornings things that make me zen: the prophet

 

 

Truthfully, I’ve never been the kind of person who believes in a little thing called “zen.” I haven’t read many spirituality books (although my roommate is turning me onto them slowly but surely), I don’t meditate, I don’t burn incense or focus my breathing–really, the closest I come to getting “zen” is the 2.5 seconds I’m able to quiet my mind in yoga class (if I’m able to quiet my mind in yoga class).

 

But I do like feeling calm–and in a life full of commitments and work and gratifying relationships (that can sometimes be exhausting, as all relationships can), it’s something I really, truly have to work at. Calm isn’t my resting point–reluctantly so, anxiety is. Maintaining or achieving calm is a very concentrated goal–and one I admittedly don’t always reach.

 

In the quest for calm, there are several things that help me–the perfect relaxing playlist, a few laughs over wine with friends, a morning yoga session, a night in bed with tea and a book (or lately, House of Cards)–and one more thing: The ProphetHonestly, I was pretty reluctant to share this here–it’s almost like it’s my little secret safe space that no one else knows about (although I know others have read it)–but in the end I decided I love it just too much to keep it to myself.

 

The Prophet is a book of 26 poetry-style stories, written by Lebanese philosopher Kahlil Gibran. Thinking back, I really can’t remember when I discovered it, but I know I was pretty young (maybe a sophomore in college?). After my first read, I thought it was just destined to be the book that housed my favorite quote (“Passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction” which is still one of my favorites), but as I grew older and continued to re-read it, I found meaning in it that wasn’t initially perceptible to younger me. The book touches on everything from love and marriage, to joy and sorrow and even my favorite–eating. It’s rare that I connect with a book as much as I have with The Prophet. Something about it is just able to ease my mind and worries, and I often find myself flipping through the chapters to look up passages that I know will relax me in the moment. Here’s a bit of one of my favorite passages (it feels weird and holy to call them that, but I’m not really sure how else to refer to them!) on friendship:

 

“For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.

When you part from your friend, you grieve not; for that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain
and let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”
I don’t know–maybe it’s the writer in me, or maybe I’m way more of a poetry sap then I thought I was, but I think it’s kind of beautiful. Either way, the book (Which is very short. Like 125 pages I think?) is absolutely worth your time. #endzenrant

 

 

image via

five steps to a calmer a.m.

five steps to a calmer am five steps to a calmer a.m.

 

 

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a morning person. In fact, there are really few things I dislike more. Unless I’m getting up for some epic vacation or there’s a really amazing New York bagel waiting for me on the other end of things, you’ll be hard-pressed to get me out of bed. It’s always something I’ve been terrible at (I have distinct memories of my Dad literally tearing me out of the sheets in middle school), and I’m dying to get better at it–I want to be one of those people that relishes in the calm hours of the early a.m. I want to be a morning person.

 

In an attempt to try and make this happen, I’ve been putting more careful thought into how my mornings play out. Sure, as my roommates can attest, there are days where I stay in bed until the very instant my alarm (Ke$ha’s “TImber” if you’re curious) goes off, but more often these days, I’m trying to carve morning time into it’s own calm little thing. A little peek into the how:

 

I go to bed earlier. Turns out, one of my roommates getting a new job improved my sleeping habits–I’m serious! She gets up crazy-early (like, 5:30 am early), and since I’m an extremely light sleeper, I tend to wake up at least a bit when I hear her out in the kitchen. She’ll head to bed a little before nine, and if I haven’t gotten home from work too late (and ahem–if I happened to have finished the next day’s blog post), I’ll head to my room soon after to read a bit in bed. It’s been getting me an extra hour or so, plus it’s helping in my attempt to read 50 books this year.

 

I establish a routine. For me, consistency is super important. It may seem a bit anal, but I thrive off a routine, so doing the same thing morning after morning helps to start my day off on a relaxed foot. Typically, I’ll pick out my outfit out the night before and set my alarm for the same time every morning (unless I’m sneaking in an a.m. workout session, which I’ve been not-so-great at lately). I’m a huge fan of sleeping with my shades open (the natural light really helps me wake up not as groggy), so as the mornings get lighter, waking up gets easier. Once I drag myself out of bed, I do a few yoga/stretching moves–I have a pretty bad back (I’m basically an 80-year-old woman, in case you haven’t noticed), so that helps to loosen things up. Then it’s your typical shower/makeup/packing up routine–nothing earth shattering there. Unless you consider the fact that I sometimes sing in the shower. That could be earth (or rather, eardrum) shattering.

 

I take a moment for myself. Before I roll out from under the sheets in the a.m., I take about 10 minutes to myself before I officially start my day. Typically (and maybe embarrassingly?) this usually consists of all things social media related. I’ll check to make sure my blog post went live successfully, then breeze through my Instagram, Twitter and work e-mail quickly. I also love when I get my Skimm e-mails early enough to read them in bed–but if not, they’re usually in my inbox by the time I’m on the subway (and if you don’t get The Skimm, definitely sign up…it’s a condensed news service that rounds up the day’s biggest stories in a funny, attainable way).

 

I make (or sorta make) a calming playlist. My favorite pick for morning music? Ray LaMontagne or Etta James Pandora…both dish up songs that are perfect for my morning routine. Truthfully, I’ll sometimes be late leaving for work because I’ll want to finish a song, which seems sort of silly now that I’m saying it out loud. On days that I’m particularly sluggish or grumpy, Justin Timberlake Pandora it is. Really, nothing beats it (I mean can your day really be bad if it starts with J Tim’s Damn Girl“?).

 

I find little ways to treat myself. Maybe it’s my favorite chia tea latte from Coffee Bean or the amazing PB Acai bowls from Juice Generation–either way, if I have something to look forward to once I get to work, it only makes my morning that much better. I always read other blogs first thing in the morning, and my favorite thing lately is to accompany that with some avocado toast at my desk. Sure, it doesn’t hold a candle to being in my bed sound asleep still at 9 a.m., but it’s pretty darn close.

 

 

image by peaches & mint for elfenkleid

recovery mode

7890c9fd42cd453c860301231ddbf7a9 recovery mode

 

 

So you know that little cold I mentioned here? Turns out, it’s more like a big cold–like, flu cold (which I thought wasn’t supposed to happen if you got the flu shot?). I’ve been out of commission for a few days and while I’m back to work, it still means I haven’t had much time to craft up blog posts for you guys the later part of this week (and no Sunday Edition, since I didn’t fit much blog reading in between sleeping and drinking DayQuil like water). I’m sorry! If it’s any consolation, there were two things I did manage to blow through (figuratively, and literally): the entire season of House of Cards (I’m ready for February 14!) and three boxes of tissues. Boom.

 

I’ll be hanging low this weekend, working on planning an upcoming trip with roommates (if you had to choose, would you go to Austin, Savannah or Charleston, assuming you’d never been to any?) and testing out new recipes for the blog. I’ll see you back here on Monday, where I promise things will be more exciting. Happy weekend, friends!

 

 

 

 

image ** I cannot for the life of me find the original, so if you know it, tell me!

postcards from dc

lincoln memorial postcards from dc

 

Ah, back in New York! We spent a cold three days in DC this past holiday weekend visiting a college friend…and despite the chilly weather (it was so windy on Saturday, my hair turned into one big rat’s nest) and the fact that I came back with a nasty cold, the sightseeing and food (we tried out Founding Farmers and highly recommend it, thanks for the recs!) were worth it. Here are a few snaps from our weekend!

 

washington monument postcards from dc washington dc metro postcards from dc

^^The DC subways were really cool (and um, so CLEAN). They reminded me of Space Mountain!

dc1 postcards from dc

world war II memorial and washington monument postcards from dc

lincoln memorial 1 postcards from dc

dc2 postcards from dc

 

 

 

happy thanksgiving!

happy thanksgiving happy thanksgiving!

 

It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here! I guess it’s no surprise that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays–I mean, it is devoted to family, food and gluttony, after all. I’m clocking in a few hours at the office this morning, then hopping on a Metro North train and heading home to Connecticut for lots of awesome family (and puppy!) time.

 

Today and tomorrow will be pretty quiet around these parts as I concentrate on fitting as much stuffing into my stomach as possible, but I wanted to make sure I took a quick moment to talk about one of the things I’m most grateful for this year: you guys. Blogging and writing have always been rewarding to me, but the thing that makes this whole process more fun is hanging with you (virtually, and in person!). I’ve met more amazing people through blogging than I could have ever imagined, and I’m constantly inspired by what you all are putting out there on your spaces. Thank you for taking the time to visit–whether that’s once a day, once a week or once a month. I truly appreciate every single tweet, e-mail and comment more than you could ever know.

 

Other things I’m thankful for this year? Shake Shack opening up in Grand Central that’s sure to make today’s commute home easier, Scandal (duh), my amazing friends and family, a clean (finally!) apartment,  Smartfood popcorn, and holiday Pandora. You know, the basics.

 

p.s. If you’d like, you can keep up with me over the next few days via my Instagram. I’m making a few things for the big meal tomorrow, so you know there will be food shots.

 

p.p.s. Make sure to check back here on Friday–there’s a little somethin’ somethin’ called The Glossy Life Holiday Gift Guide going up in a fun new format. You’ll be crossing off your holiday shopping list in no time!

 

 

 

 

[image via Style Me Pretty]

ladies who brunch

casual brunch outfit ladies who brunch

 

Ah, brunch–let me count the ways in which I love you. This weekend rolled around and it called for sleeping in late (I made it ’til 7:45 a.m. Woohoo!), a lazy morning around the apartment and a casual brunch in Brooklyn. It’s so close to Queens (just a quick few minutes away on the BQE), but unless I’m heading to Brooklyn Flea or Smorgasburg, I really don’t spend much time there. So away we went.

 

brunch ladies who brunch outdoor brunch in nyc ladies who brunch church in brooklyn ladies who brunch casual brunch ladies who brunch

 

After stuffing our faces silly, we needed to walk it off (a massive egg sandwich will do that to ya, I guess). Trekking over the Brooklyn Bridge has been on my NYC bucket list for a while, so my roommate and I somehow found our way there and walked over–the view from up there is seriously something special.

 

lower manhattan skyline ladies who brunch the statue of liberty ladies who brunch brooklyn bridge ladies who brunch

 

It wasn’t too crowed, and it completely reignited my love for the city–which, I have to admit, had waned this week with the hundreds of people camping outside the new Times Square H&M waiting for Lady Gaga…it took me 20 minutes to get to my office door and was just all-around not fun. We ended the day with gelato in Little Italy, a bit of shopping at C. Wonder and Joe Fresh (where I snagged this adorable skirt!) and sushi on the couch. Pretty perfect if you ask me!

 

 

how to kill a bad mood and get your swag back

how to get rid of a bad mood how to kill a bad mood and get your swag back

 

Lately, I’ve been in a no good, very bad mood. I can attribute it to a lot of things, I think–the fact that I’ve seemingly lost my ability to sleep (currently drinking some sleepy teddy bear tea my roommate suggested, actually), a lack of exercise, probably not the healthiest eating, very few yoga sessions, work stress, the fact that Olivia and Fitz still aren’t back together on Scandal…the list could go on and on.

 

Typically, I always make a conscious effort to be happy and I’m pretty quick to snap out of things, but this crabby cloud has been lingering a bit too long for my liking. Because I’m a girl, because I went through my “fun” 13-year-old teen phase and because we generally can be a bit moody on occasion, I have an arsenal of feel-good moves in my back pocket (or in my skirt pocket maybe–because skirts with pockets are awesome) for times like these. They’re silly, they’re stupid and they might not work for everyone–but hey, they usually work for me. So from my sometimes-crabby self to your sometimes-crabby self, a few ways to kill a bad mood and get your swag back:

 

Sweat it out This may seem a bit obvious, but a workout does wonders for a sucky mood–I think we all remember this scene from Legally Blonde, don’t we? I haven’t gotten as much time as I’d like to get to the gym lately, so I’ve penciled in a run for this weekend. Sure, it’s cold–but I know the hardest part will just be lacing up. Once I’m out there, I’ll be able to jog away all those cranky thoughts (OK, jog, walk, jog, walk…). If you’re battling a bad mood, one of the first things you should do is slip on some sneaks and get in something (anything!) workout-wise, whether it’s a yoga session, run or spin class. You’ll feel better about yourself and life instantly. How about them endorphins, man?

 

Crank the tunes, bro In college, my roommates and I had this annoying college girl habit of getting into cabs on the way to the bar and screaming at the top of our lungs “Crank the tunes, BRO!” (I’m sorry…) to the cab driver. He’d then blast whatever flavor-of-the-week song was in the Top 20 that Saturday night and we’d proceed to sing along, dance in our seats squished between the other 17 people in the cab (danger status) and generally act like lunatics. And you know what? It felt freakin’ good. Sure, maybe it was classy Natty Lights we had before we left (classy with a capital C), but there’s still something about music that does a soul good. Whether you favor the upbeat Katy Perry‘s of the world to take your mind off things or the Damien Rice crooners to wallow with you (I’m a huge fan), throw on your Pod and let the music go to work.

 

Make someone else happy Out of all of these, this is probably one of my top go-tos. Whenever I’m feeling crap-tastic, I’ll try to removed myself from the situation (aka the negative chatter in my head) and instead focus on doing something thoughtful or nice for someone else. That could mean picking up dessert for my roommates on the way home from work, calling my grandparents for a quick hello or giving up my seat on the subway to someone who is loaded down with more bags than me. It really doesn’t matter how big or small the gesture is, just that you do it. There’s a reason they say happiness comes from helping others–because it’s true, duh. (I read it on the internet. They can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true.)

 

#TreatYoSelf Parks and Recs fans, raise your hand if you know how to treat yo self (Fragrances! Massages! Fine leather goods!). For those of you who think I’m spewing crazy right now and have no idea what I’m talking about, first watch this, then listen to this: treat yo self day on Parks and Recreation is all about–you guessed it–treating your self. And while it’s genius to have one day a year dedicated solely to it, it’s also a great way to pick yourself up and out of a bad mood. Treat yourself to that cookie or that manicure or that sweater that you suspect might make you feel better…because it probably will. My #treatyoself moment? Definitely some new makeup or a good facial–can’t beat it.

 

Hit the kitchen For me, virtually nothing makes me feel better than cooking. I could scald my hand, spill ingredients everywhere and almost chop off my finger, and I’d still tell you I had a great time in the kitchen that day. There’s just something about it that sets my soul at ease–I think the 80-year-old Italian grandmother in me finds contentment in it. Regardless of whether you’re a master chef or have a particular set of skills in the microwave department, food is good for the soul. Put on some old tunes, grab a new-to-you recipe and get cookin’. You’ll feel better by the second course.

 

Have a laugh When all else fails, just fake it girlfriend. It may sound looney, but it’s true–faking a smile or even a laugh can sometimes trick your brain into releasing feel-good hormones. Of course, no one likes a faker, so help yourself out and find something to really laugh at. Look through old pictures (this would result in the awkward-laugh variety), grab drinks with your funniest girlfriend, throw on a Will Ferrell movie or just hit up YouTube for the best Ellen Degeneres’ channel has to offer (like this gem). Before you know it, a chuckle will turn into a belly laugh and you’ll be wondering why you were even bummed out in the first place. Swag = back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m really good at math (and other lies I tell myself…)

lies i tell myself Im really good at math (and other lies I tell myself…)

via

 

 

There have been many important life lessons I’ve learned in the past 24 years (gah–TWENTY FOUR), but none more important than this: I am a terrible liar. Terrible. I’m one of those unfortunate people whose feelings reside all over my face, permanently keeping me from fibbing about so much as a parking ticket.

 

Case in point: during my senior year of high school, I was spending a Friday night drinking in the basement with three girlfriends with my Mom home (eek–don’t judge me, I was a good egg!). Yes, I know–mistake numero uno. When she called me upstairs to ask what all the commotion was about (teenage-girl laughing fits aren’t exactly quiet, after all), it took about 3.5 seconds (and my friend bounding up the stairs in a football helmet) for me to dissolve into wine-cooler induced giggles and spill the whole thing. So much for that.

 

Needless to say, I’ve pretty much given up on the whole lying game–with everyone except myself, that is. Truthfully, I’ve noticed there are some lies that I just keep telling myself over and over again–heck, even I don’t believe me at this point. Here’s just a little sampling:

 

I tell myself I’m really good at math… But, um, this could not be more false. If you need further evidence to substantiate this claim, simply look to the fact that I’m a writer for a living. I’m not totally sure if the whole right brain/left brain thing is actually true, but it’s safe to say I have no brain for math. The extent of my knowledge is probably figuring out the tip at a restaurant–forget it if you ask me to do long division or GASP–fractions. I’ll be out of there faster than you can say “times tables.”

 

I have to say though–lying about being good at math actually makes me more confident when I’m attempting to do math. It seems like a wacky theory, but faking confidence, no matter how unsure I am, always gives me a little boost–and that rings true whether it’s math I’m faking my way through, or a pitch session that I think I’m woefully behind on. Fake it ’til you make it, peeps.

 

 

I tell myself don’t care what Jane Doe thinks/says/projects about me…And I really wish it were true. I’ve tried being the tough-as-nails “f*ck the h8ters” kind of girl, but it’s just not me–deep down, there are times I really do care what people think about me. Not in a desperate, take-over-my-life kind of way, but more when it centers around quick judgements, malicious reasoning or shallow opinions. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you can bet I’ll throw out some line like “Well, it doesn’t matter to me what they think”…and then I’ll be upset about it. Work in progress.

 

I tell myself I’ll only have one Oreo…But really, I average around four per Oreo session. Mainly because those babies are addicting, but also because I see no sense in depriving myself. I have long days, I work really hard and I work out (on occasion–shhh.). Doesn’t that justify an Oreo splurge every now and then? Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realize my Oreo philosophy extends to all areas of my food-fueled life. Mark my word, you will never see me turn down Mac and Cheese. Because let’s be honest, I always want Mac and Cheese.

 

I tell myself that I’m OK with being single…But that’s not 100 percent true 100 percent of the time. Don’t get me wrong–I am seriously loving life right now, but I’m a relationship girl surrounded by a bunch of best friends who are also relationship girls, who happen in serious (and awesome) relationships. It’s hard not to feel on the on the outskirts sometimes, but it helps to remind myself that I usually am OK with being single for the time being. It makes me ecstatic to see them so blissful, and I know that once the tables turn, they’ll feel the same happiness for me–I’m lucky to have them as examples (plus, they’re more than willing to send single guys my way).

 

 

I tell myself I’ll stop watching Pitch Perfect…But I know I won’t. I have a slightly addictive personality, except instead of Walter White-ing myself around NYC, I just listen to the same songs on repeat and watch the same movies over and over and over again. My latest victims? Scandal eps that are heavy with that damn Fitz and Liv storyline and Pitch Perfect. I tell myself every time it’s the last time. It never is.

 

 

 

 

What are some lies you tell yourself? Even little white ones count!

 

 

 

 

 

 

MTK

mtk open MTK

 

I’m officially back from the land of no cell phone service, sand and BBQ-ing….also known as Montauk. I have to admit, while I’ve enjoyed every vacation I’ve been on, there was definitely something unique about camping off the grid for a whole week–oh, and being steps from the beach (literally) is never a bad thing.

 

montauk6 MTK montauk1 MTK montauk10 MTK montauk16 MTK montauk7 MTK montauk11 MTK

 

Our days were filled with a lot of sun, a bit of rain (and midnight tent flooding…turns out I’m really good in a water emergency) and a few games of ultra-competitive wiffle ball where I learned that I should probably not look for a future career in pitching.

 

Nights found us showering in sometimes cold (but refreshing) showers, attempting to come up with creative BBQ meals and hitting the sleeping bags a bit early (OK, so there was one 8:30 p.m. night…). Being outside practically 24/7 was exhausting but so refreshing–living in the city, and having a demanding job, it’s not often that I get to spend much time outdoors. I loved the ease of going for a morning run, eating egg sandwiches while watching the sunrise on the beach or walking up to the cliffs to overlook the entire camp site (which by the way was huge–who knew so many people camped!).

 

montauk21 MTK montauk20 MTK montauk19 MTK montauk15 MTK montauk17 MTK montauk3 MTK montauk5 MTK montauk12 MTK montauk13 MTK montauk9 MTK montauk22 MTK

montauk14 MTK

 

The whole week was a blast, and we can’t wait to get back there next year. Half of me wishes I was able to take better pictures, but not having my camera attached to my hip the whole time was a nice change of pace. I did, however, snag a few video clips that I threw together into a short video below.



MTK from Alyssa Longobucco on Vimeo.


I want to hear about your long weekends–what were you up to?!

gone camping

gone camping gone camping

 

It’s here! It’s here! It’s here! I honestly can’t contain my excitement that the last week of August is here. Sure, I’m sad that it means that summer is coming to a close, but it also means something else is here: our camping trip in Montauk.

 

I grew up in upstate Connecticut surrounded by woods, but the most camping I’ve ever done was in my backyard (and I didn’t even pitch the tent. I know, I’m a failure). So when the opportunity came up to camp for a week on the beach (!!) with a bunch of friends from college, I jumped at the chance (and at less than $25 a day, it was a thrifty-vacay we really couldn’t pass up!).

 

My friends grew up camping at Hither Hills, and from what I hear, it’s the best that camping has to offer–you fall asleep to the sound of the ocean, wake up and walk right onto the beach, eat fresh seafood and see more stars than you can imagine every night (jeez, this sounds like glamping, but I swear we’re staying in tents). I’m so excited for everything–exceppptttt maybe the Hamptons traffic on the way up.

 

I’ve scheduled a few fun end-of-summer posts for while I’m gone, and you can keep up with our adventures through my Instagram–sporadically, that is (there’s also apparently little cell service, which is kind of amazing because where the heck does that happen anymore?).

 

I hope you guys have a great last week of summer–and a fabulous Labor Day weekend!