I'm back! New website, new direction, new focus, and a new skip to my step. The past several months have been personally and creatively enlightening/encouraging but in order to wrap my head around what needed to be done, I had to step away. I wasn't blogging but I was scheming and working on putting this here website together - a place to share what I've done and welcome what's to come. I'll be back with more updates but for now, I just wanted to say "hello, hola!" and welcome you to the new anamariamunoz.com. Click around and stay awhile.
Hello from LA! We arrived to bright blue skies and plenty of sunshine with a side of cool breeze, just how I like it. It's been a whirlwind of couple of days between settling into our current crash pad, running errands, attending a wedding, looking for a new temporary apartment/sublet, seeing family, and trying to get a solid night's sleep. I have never been so off before - jet lag usually hits me on the way back but since there's no return this time maybe I'm getting it all upfront. All of sixteen hours of it, making my eyes look and feel like I've been partying for days.
I'm hoping that this week brings a bit more calm and order to my schedule, emphasis on hoping. We leave for a mini road-trip to Arizona on Thursday for another wedding so if I can get just three days of productive work time (and good sleep) I'll be a happy camper. I'm happy now but very tired, definitely looking forward to feeling refreshed and on top of things again. Until I get there, please keep those blue skies and that shadow-play sunshine coming!
Happy Monday, guys. I've been waiting to make a proper 'move' announcement and with one and a half weeks left, it's safe to say that LA will be our next stop! A temporary stop, that is. We have two weddings to attend, a storage unit to sort out, and I could use some time on the ground for Ring Cozy. We love LA but we're not ready to actually move back. Maybe we will one day, maybe we wont ... we're still itching to experience new places. It'll be great while we plan for the next adventure because being close to familiar faces and things is always helpful during a transition. Who knows where we'll be in a few months, but for now, I'm excited to make my first home home again!
Three bags, three different crash pads, five rental cars, and too many miles in a car (and in the air) ... this girl has left LA and is back in KL! It's so good to be home. I arrived yesterday morning and have been unpacking and re-organizing everything in between hug and kiss attacks from Joe who can't seem to believe that I'm actually here.
It was a great two months in LA though it was certainly a different kind of visit than I've had before. I was focused on work versus play so I left feeling shocked that for the first time in a loooooong time I didn't go to a single Dodger game, a show at the Hollywood Bowl, and - gasp - not even a flea market. The first two are a very sad thing for an Angeleno to admit and the third one is just sad for me personally (see this if you're new to the blog). But, if I had to be away from Joe for so long I had to make it worth my while and that worth was all about pushing Ring Cozy forward.
The moments that I did take to be with friends and family were few but really treasured. I had missed their hugs, their smiles, their way of "knowing" me. It's pretty awesome to feel that there's a group of people somewhere else in the world who love and care about you regardless of seeing you once in a blue moon. There were definitely moments where I wanted to toss the expat towel in and be back with familiar faces. Like the one day I went wedding dress shopping for two of my friends and had so much fun doing something so girly. But then when I remember that everyone is so busy with their own lives now that I probably would see them just as often as I do now, I don't feel so bad. It wasn't uncommon to go months without seeing certain people when I still lived there nearly three years ago. We're traveling more, focusing on family, getting busier with work ... it's a rare treat to just call someone up on a random day/night and say "let's do X and Y" and have them actually be available, or willing. If you're under 25 and reading this...enjoy it while it lasts!
Now back in KL I've been welcomed home via texts and emails by the friends I've made here. They're a part of a different chapter in my life and I'm so thankful that they fill the pages with new and amazing experiences. They remind me why I love being an expat: the simple fact that albeit challenging, you can make a home and build a community anywhere you are. I can't imagine anything more comforting than that. It's so good to be home.
Did I mention that I was getting LASIK eye surgery? Well yes, I had my eyes did on Thursday and wow, I can't believe what technology is capable of. Not yet 24 hours after staring into bright laser lights and smelling my burning eye balls (the brochure forgot to mention that pleasant part) I could see perfectly clear through distances that used to be a big blurry haze. I was a bit scared to go under but with rave reviews from others who have had it done and logical statistics provided by Joe on the higher risks of simply wearing contacts, I was sold.
I've never had any type of surgery done let alone really considered anything cosmetic (aside from a boob job but I can't bear the thought of something foreign in my body!). In this case, getting LASIK was purely a lifestyle choice. I was so sick of pushing my glasses up on my sweaty nose while working out and having to swap out my prescription sunnies to my regular ones whenever I walked indoors - or worse, keeping the sunnies on and straining my vision through the dark lenses while inside. Had my eyes been more receptive to contacts I might be fine but after three hours of having them suctioned onto my eyes I would inevitably take them out and reach for my trusty glasses. And as for maintenance, is it just me or is it nearly impossible to keep glasses clean? I feel like I had a phantom toddler with sticky fingers just smudging up my glasses all day long. I could never keep them clean enough. So yeah, I'm thrilled that I took the leap and went for the surgery!
I've spent the past five days resting my eyes and going a bit stir crazy. Can't really go outside when it's sunny, have to keep the apartment kinda dark, can't watch much TV, and especially can't be on the computer for too long. I never realize how much I look at a screen all day between my laptop, phone, iPad, and TV...it's a bit sad really but I guess it's also a reality of working from home.
Since I couldn't do much with my eyes, I let the ears have it with podcasts by Monocole's The Entrepreneurs, Here's The Thing, Studio 360, and TED Talks. As anxious as I felt at times to get back to working smart, it was nice to just lay there and listen to interesting conversations and discussions. Not listening while cooking dinner or writing emails...just laying there and doing nothing else. I highly recommend it. Speaking of, I should get off of the computer and give these new old peepers a rest ;)
I've been quietly nurturing a little invention of mine and while it may or may not ultimately become something, I will be doing my best to live this quote until I know either way. These words are great for everyday dreaming and doing... you simply can't accomplish anything without the two working hand-in-hand.
more quotes visit Howdy Day!, a daily dose of inspiration + motivation via your browser’s homepage, email or rss.
(design by Ana Maria Muñoz)
Thank you to all who left comments on yesterday's post (and to those who took the time to read it, too, 'twas lengthy). Just writing it all out made me feel better and got me back to focusing on what is good about life right now. Thankfully, there's lots. Here's to enjoying the ride.
Do you have any quotes that help you get going in the morning? You’re invited to submit them on Howdy Day! – I’d love to share them! Howdy Day!, a daily dose of inspiration + motivation via your browser’s homepage, email or rss.
(design by Ana Maria Muñoz)
Taking a style cue from this weekend's movie Helvetica, today's quote is from good ol' Abe. I love this one because it's so easy to measure everything (happiness, success, failures, relationships, wisdom, etc) by the number of years we've been at it. When really, life is so much more than counting numbers. If anything should be counted it's the lessons learned, time spent with loved ones, struggles that made you grow and moments that made you smile. So on that note, cheers to living in London for one year!
(design by me)
"What do you do?" - the inevitable question that has become increasingly challenging to respond to. It used to be so easy when I worked for someone else and they told me what I did - I was intern, a manager, a marketing director...easy, it said so on the company business cards. Now that I'm pursuing freelance work in graphic design and photography - while writing this blog, doing DIY projects for this one, and running an online shop - I find myself scrambling for the right words when someone asks me the now very existential question. I do many different things in addition to my work pursuits like jogging, learning how to speak Italian and play the guitar, sew, play backgammon, go to the movies...
Unfortunately those other things aren't what people are asking about as we live in a world where titles rule. Since that's the case, why is it so hard to give myself a title? Better yet, why is it so hard to own it? Whatever you devote your time, energy, and/or interests to should be free-game to claim as "what you do" - and proudly so. Work-wise I have a crazy hang up about what I think I need to be doing in order to properly call myself this or that (have x number of clients, be making x amount of money, etc) when really, I'm already doing it! Now I just need to say it.
This goes for not being employed as well. When I moved to London with Joe, and hadn't quite figured out what I wanted to do, it was almost embarrassing to admit that I was a quasi stay-at-home wife. I was reluctant to own the title because those domestic aspirations had never been on my radar, in fact, they were completely foreign. I was a working girl and had grown to identify my personal worth with whatever my current job title happened to be. Looking back, my insecurity was ridiculous because a) a job shouldn't define who you are and b) taking care of the home, or for you mamas out there, taking care your kids all day is work, too. I invested a lot of time and energy setting up our new lives here and it wasn't any less valuable than sitting at an office desk for eight hours a day. When I think about my sister, who left a thriving career to take on the most important, difficult, and rewarding job of her life as a new mom, I couldn't be more proud. Even though it took her some time to recognize her new role, she now owns it like a rock star and the proof is in the pudding - those girls have more love and confidence than anyone I know!
We all take on different roles in different stages of life but whatever we do, we must give ourselves credit for it...new studies, new careers, new hobbies, new family. Everything has its worth and we owe it to ourselves to own it wholeheartedly. No excuses, no shame, no shyness, no whatever...the pursuit is ours and it should be celebrated every step of the way.
Have any of you experienced something similar in a new role or with a new pursuit?
(image: vintage wood type blocks from Portobello Market)