Disconnecting and Embracing the Quiet


Joshua Tree National Park

I feel like I often hear my friends and other people my age (thirtysomethings) talk about wanting to disconnect.  “I just want to delete my Facebook…but it makes it so easy to keep in touch.”  “I just need to take a little social media break.” Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, it’s all become so ever-present in our life that it can begin to take over.  That’s not shocking news. But I think it is a little shocking how hard it can be to really take that break or delete an app.  Despite growing up as kids without cellphones, let alone smart phones, we’ve become adults who are hopelessly tethered to our devices and our virtual connections to the people and world around us.

I have personally had the same struggles.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve defiantly deleted the Facebook app off my phone and then found myself “sneaking” onto the mobile page to do nothing but waste time.  Sometimes when I’m taking a break I find myself frustrated with my phone as if it’s a living thing, cursing it for having nothing for me to browse like a child whose parent did not bring anything to do on a long road trip. It’s a strange, first world, 21st century struggle.  Shouldn’t it be easier to do something you want to do?

Last month my husband and I took our first trip out to California.  The two major things we did were pretty much polar opposites – Disneyland and Joshua Tree National Park. We adored Disney but for me, the most remarkable, let’s do it again thing we did was spend an entire day driving through Joshua Tree. There was zero service almost immediately and it was, to be completely cliché for a moment, a tremendously freeing experience to be on a road surrounded by nature with no one to connect with but my husband.  At times we didn’t even bother trying to find an FM radio station to listen to and drove in complete quiet except our conversation.



Key’s View – 5000+ ft above Coachella Valley


We experienced so much within the 70+ mile trip.  We hiked, climbed rocks, saw the Coachella Valley from 5000 feet in the cold and very windy air.  We walked through a garden composed completely of cacti.  While I initially felt myself feeling withdrawal regarding my social media – feeling disappointed I couldn’t post something to my Insta Story as it was happening for example -or thinking crazier things like, “by the time I have service, it’ll be late on the east coast and no one will like my photo,” the whole lack of internet thing eventually drifted away.  We were in awe of seeing SO MUCH open space and so much varied terrain in one place.  We were humbled by the immensity of it all and found ourselves talking about the importance of preserving wide open natural spaces as we basked in the grandness and majesty of it all.



Cholla Cactus Garden

Being back to basics as it were; together with someone you care about with no distractions to speak of, was an experience I’m very grateful for. It gave us no choice but to evaluate our surroundings, our present, and our lives in general a bit.  It’s something that I’ve thought about a lot since when I’ve been overwhelmed with stress or anxiety – that feeling of vastness and the sensation that you could just disappear into the horizon if you wanted.  It’s hard to mimic that feeling exactly in suburbia.  But I would suggest that beyond just taking that break from the technological world, that quiet is highly underrated and often forgotten.  I’m not necessarily suggesting that you meditate – though that’s something that a lot of people benefit from – but something more like evaluating a need to fill every moment with sound.  When I’m doing anything from driving to working out to cooking dinner I have a podcast or music playing.  I want to keep reminding myself that sometimes it’s ok to complete tasks or tackle the everyday without aural companion. IMG_0932


We’re constantly stimulated, consistently distracted, and training ourselves to absorb life in short bursts instead of a long road.  Our lives often exist at a break neck, what’s next pace.  I’m looking to incorporate a little more Joshua Tree state of mind.




Misadventures in CrossFit

Somewhere along the way I turned into a bit of a yo-yoer where my weight is concerned.  It’s always been super gradual either way but it’s gone up and down about 40-50lbs nonetheless.  After getting married three years ago it’s gradually gone back up until I recently decided that it was time to get my ass in gear and head back on that downward trajectory.  In my moment of determination I bought a ten class package for my local CrossFit gym and despite some reservations and a lot of anxiety, I went to my first class last week.  The following is an all too true account of my thorough ass whooping/humiliation.

I purchased ten classes because I knew the first would be rough and I wouldn’t necessarily have a great opinion of it simply due to the fact that I am wildly out of shape.  So despite the ability to try a single class for free, I dove right in.  Upon completing my transaction I got an email from the gym’s owner asking me if I was free to start the next day.  Things were getting real too fast and I immediately started to panic.  I politely emailed back letting him know that I could not make it, but would be in the following day, which luckily it turned out, was my day off.

I arrived just before 9am last Tuesday to the cavernous, loading dock looking gym.  I was greeted by Bryan, who had been emailing me, and quickly got set up in the system.  Warm ups started and I immediately felt the urge to run away.  Cartwheels were one of the warm up exercises, and as an awkward and sometimes very uncoordinated person, it felt like I was having a waking nightmare in which I show up to school with no pants on.  Additionally, I was already getting a little tired from the warm up.  This was not a good sign.  This however, was followed by the beginning of our WOD.  It was fairly simple and straight forward, 5 sets of deadlifts at 5 reps each.  I managed to do 70lbs on my last set and I was feeling a little proud of myself – cocky even.  You’re the daughter of a bodybuilder I told myself, it’s in your blood.  This was a mistake.

The last bit of the day was 20 minutes of body weight exercises.  20 pull-ups, 40 push-ups, 80 sit-ups, 160 squats, 80 sit-ups, 40 push-ups, 20 pull-ups.  The scaled down version was still 10/20/40/160/40/20/10 and I can’t do a single pull-up.   I was, how do you say…oh yes, fucked.  Luckily Bryan could sense the imminent death in me and kept me more or less on a minute on minute off cycle and I made it through.  The workout was mercifully over and I had survived.  But at what cost?  I made it home just in time to be hit with incredible nausea.  I took an Advil, some Pepto Bismal, and a 45 minute nap.  The next morning and indeed the two days that followed were marked by soreness so unspeakably painful I wondered perhaps if I had pulled every muscle in my body and was now one big walking injury.

So what’s the verdict?  Will I complete my 10 classes and emerge victorious and triumphant?  Will I drink the CrossFit Kool-Aid? Or, will I throw in the sweat soaked towel?  Well, the jury is still out on whether I will complete all 10 of those classes, but I do plan to return – tomorrow in fact.  I’m definitely not sold on the greatness of CrossFit just yet.  Everyone talks about the incredible community but aside from one girl, who played rugby of course, and was very nice to me, everyone else in the class stared at me with disdain and quiet judgment as I huffed and puffed through the exercises.  Beyond that, it’s going to be a rough hurdle to overcome for me, to get to a level where I’m on a more even footing with everyone around me and don’t feel profoundly embarrassed that I can’t keep up.  But, despite the immense challenge of it all I didn’t hate the experience and I did feel accomplished if pained afterwards.  I’m definitely going to give it a fair shake – so stay tuned for more misadventures no doubt.  “

My Dry(ish)* Month


I have a love/fear relationship with alcohol.  Both of those things, in writing, sound…well, not promising.  Growing up, I don’t remember my parents ever sitting me down and talking to me about my father’s alcoholism but it was not something that was ever hidden.  It was just a fact plain and simple.  He’d given up drinking sometime after I was born.  When I was young I always drew a sense of pride from the fact that my father had given up drinking for my mother and I, that he’d done it to be better for us.  As I got older and alcohol became something I was being confronted with, however, I was met with fear.  I didn’t really know what would happen when I started drinking.  Would I have one sip and never be able to stop? As it turns out that wasn’t the case but ever since I started drinking, that initial fear has never been far from my mind.  I’ve always wondered if alcoholism would come screaming out of me like a monster one day, if I was harboring a ticking time bomb.

Recently, after a weekend that included multiple brewery visits followed by a 6am-6pm hungover shift at work Monday, I thought it might be time to take a little step back and take note of my drinking habits and mostly, just take a break.  It wasn’t that I thought I might have a problem (it was not a typical weekend I had just taken part in) but that I felt like it might be enlightening after all these years of wondering, to take a step back for the first time since I was 19 or so, and really take a look at myself and my drinking habits. I felt like I learned a lot almost right away, about how much alcohol factors into my life in a subtle way.  A beer, much like a cookie or some other treat, can be a relief when you’re sad or you’ve had a really hard day.  It can be a reward for accomplishing something great or a way to celebrate.  I don’t drink mindlessly – just because.  I don’t have or even want a drink with every meal, but it was fascinating to see where it fits into my life, and honestly, how much I enjoy it.


Ok so blah blah blah, that’s a lot of rambling set up.  What did you learn Lola?  Well, to be frank, April sucked.  It was a shitty month.  My husband and I nearly had nervous breakdowns trying to buy a house and in the middle of it my aunt passed away.  Everything was made of stress and tears and exhaustion.  And still, I never seriously considered having a drink to blow off some steam. I can’t avoid a cookie when I really want one so that was certainly surprising to me; that I had the willpower to stay committed to what I was doing in the midst of utter chaos.  I learned that most of the time, drinking for me, is just about trying something new or having a good time with my friends. I actually like beer.  I like trying different kinds and learning about them.  I like tasting new cocktails.  I particularly like sitting around listening to the stories behind classic cocktails told by my friend Greg.  I learned a lot about when a beer or cocktail seems appealing to me (in no particular order):

  1. When cooking a Blue Apron meal after a long day on my feet at work
  2. When tackling a large unwieldy project like cleaning out our walk-in closet
  3. When having a sit down dinner out
  4. After a really stressful day
  5. Pretty much any moment of buying a house – take your pick
  6. Friday night when you’re just so happy the week is over and it’s time to have fun
  7. To try a new, interesting sounding beer – usually something from New Belgium
  8. When I see the same dang commerical over and over again on Hulu
  9. I could continue but I think you get the point

It was fascinating to me to see how often the thought, “I could go for a beer,” popped in my mind.  I learned that while there may be a myriad of situations in which I may want a drink, 99% of the time I’m not having more than 1 or 2 beers or cocktails.  When I returned to drinking on a camping weekend with my friends, I confirmed that I do have a little bit of that compulsive gene in me.  It usually comes out when I don’t want something wonderful to end.  My brain, impaired by alcohol, makes the incorrect assumption that if we all keep drinking the good times will continue.  Everyone knows they will not. And in fact, if you’re not careful, the good times will actually become the bad times.  But I was aware of that impulse in me this past weekend and actually curbed it a bit.


Last month I learned that alcohol is not essential to my life (duh) but that it’s something I enjoy having as a part of it. Saying you enjoy or love drinking feels slightly shameful –or at least it does for me.  Alcohol is something to be enjoyed sensibly and in moderation.  It’s social and casual, not something you love.  But maybe that perception is changing slightly.  My generation has come of legal age with the rise of craft beer and cocktails.  In 2017 America I would bet that virtually anywhere you visited in the country would have a brewery to visit within 20 minutes of where you’re staying.  Where I live in central New Jersey, for example, I can get to no less than six breweries within 15 minutes.  For better or worse beer has become a pastime.  It’s not a part of your social experience, it is the experience.  And so, with that in mind, it becomes perhaps a little murkier to evaluate the presence of alcohol in my life.  It’s naturally more present in someone of my generation’s life than it may have been for past generations. The point of all this is, I don’t think of myself as hiding a bomb waiting to explode my life anymore. But still, I wonder if maybe having that seed in my mind is what has kept me in a place of moderation with occasional over-indulgence.  Being self-aware is a great tool and my dry(ish) month is an experience that I definitely see myself repeating periodically.  Instead of wondering and ignoring, it’s refreshing to look yourself in the mirror and evaluate yourself – whatever answers you may find.



*In the interest of complete honesty, this blog is called My Dry(ish) Month for a reason.  I did have a few drinks to celebrate my husband’s birthday.  We went to a great restaurant with incredible cocktails to celebrate and I had been dying to try them.  We probably won’t be spending so much on a night out again anytime soon so I took a night off.  I still learned a lot.

Why Aren’t You Making a Career of Writing Again?

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Why aren’t you making a career with your writing?  It’s a question I’ve been asked what seems like an inordinate amount as of late.  It’s as if the universe is converging on me from all angles to remind me, you would think unnecessarily, of that thing I love and why I should be pursuing it.  It all started with a text conversation with my best friend Meg.   She was walking down the steps at the train station on her daily commute and suddenly found herself thinking of all the playwriting I did in college. Random. “I swear, I did!” She promised me.  “You were so into writing then.” She continued.  Oof.  Total gut punch.

It’s not that Meg intended to zing me or say anything remotely hurtful.  It was just one of those off the cuff comments that gets to the heart of the matter and cuts right through you. And as a result I thought about it. A lot.  Arguably it’s much easier to be “into writing” when you’re in college and you have no real responsibilities outside of class.  Typically, you’re not paying a mortgage, a car payment, or worrying about your health insurance.  Your biggest worry is usually a hangover or cranking out that 20 page term paper overnight.  It’s much easier in that environment to devote a lazy afternoon to working on your “masterpiece”.  As an adult, it can be much harder to motivate yourself.  You get up early, work all day, and when you come home, often you just want to veg out and turn your brain off.  For me, even as a huge movie nerd, sometimes watching a new film is even more than I can stand because I want to avoid thinking just that much.



Ben Schwartz speaks the truth.


But still, I love writing.  It’s something I can comfortably say that I am good at. And so, theoretically it shouldn’t be so hard for me to make time for.  At times, I’ve beaten myself up for not writing and wondered if maybe my lack of production and motivation was a sign that I didn’t love it “enough” to make a go of it.  Ultimately I think that’s bullshit. Success and a career isn’t guaranteed to even those who want it the most.  It’s not a movie magic twist of fate.  If I’m honest with myself, it’s mostly a flaw in my own DNA, not a lack of love or desire, that makes it hard for me to motivate myself.  It’s something that bleeds into all aspects of my life.  It’s perhaps my fatal flaw.  This is going to make me sound like a real douche but bear with me.  I’m pretty good at most things I try.  I tend to be a fast learner and while I’m by no means an expert at anything, I can usually pick up on something pretty quickly and be average or a little above right way.  And so, when things are hard for me, when they require some real blood, sweat, and tears, sometimes (ok a lot of the time) (ok almost always) I have a tendency to bail.  Poor me, right?  I know. I’m coming off as a real asshole right now.

And so, here we are back at the original question I’ve been asked so much lately – why aren’t you making a career with your writing? Because I’m being an asshole, I guess is the most direct answer.  Because I’m getting in my own way and wasting my own time, is probably the more specific one.  But the silver lining to that brutal honesty is that I can fix it.  I’m the master of my own destiny.  It’s probably the biggest, most obvious lesson I’ve learned in my late 20s and early 30s. There’s a lot we can’t control in this world – the list seems to be getting longer by the day.  But we can always control ourselves, our perspective, and our approach.  I could have looked at all these inquiries about my writing as a downer, and I definitely let myself have a pity party for a hot minute or two.  But ultimately, I’ve looked at them as a chance to reevaluate my approach to writing and reassess my priorities.  It’s never too late to start over.  Hopefully ten years from now Meg with have another random thought and texting me about this time in my life will say something like, “that’s when you got so into writing again.”

A Little Perspective, A Lot Re-Energized

Self-awareness can be a great thing.  If you’re aware of your behaviors, shortcomings, moods, it can do wonders for your ability to manage yourself, interpersonal relationships, and navigate life in general.  But no matter how well we may know ourselves, there’s nothing like an outside perspective to shine a light through our dustiest windows, exposing truths we have left forgotten to decay in the recesses of our brains.


I am aware I am a rabbit.

At 31 I took a leap.  I felt myself stuck in the same gear, on the same path, chugging along from administrative position to administrative position, never advancing, only moving on to what I always perceived as “better jobs” because of…well, pay mostly.  I found myself making the most I had made in the almost ten years since I graduated college and I was completely unfulfilled and utterly miserable. And so, when I saw an opening I took it.  I make donuts for a living now. I make roughly half what I was, and yet, overall my quality of life has improved drastically.  It has thrown my brain into complete chaos, adapting to my new lifestyle with its ever changing schedule and sheer physical demands.  And while that can be stressful and anxiety inducing for the part of me that has spent my whole life organized and planned, it’s exactly what I needed – like a reboot for my life.

And still, as of late, I’ve felt a little as though I’m treading mud in lead boots.  My motivation and momentum has gone on holiday and I’ve been moody, depressed, and feeling rather lost.  And so, in a moment I cannot assign quite the correct adjective or characteristic to, I reached out to an old friend, someone I had not seen in quite some time, someone I cannot recall having ever spent time one on one with, and I set up a date for a chat. And that is why I find myself here writing this now; because I find myself energized, motivated, and inspired.  Because an outside perspective – and I really mean outside, not your partner, your bestie, or your work wife/husband – can hit you like a bolt of lightning.

I sat across from this self-assured, successful, put together woman for two hours tonight and while we did catch up on life, we mostly talked a lot about intentions, skills, fulfillment, and how much we’ve learned from failures and jobs that weren’t right for us.  She talked a lot about myself to me.  She spoke plainly about how she perceived me, the skills I had, my value professionally, and the steps I should be taking to achieve my goals.  When I confessed that I sometimes doubted my decision to take the leap I did, that I sometimes wonder what the hell I had gotten myself into, she reminded me that doubts are very human and at the very least it makes my life, and the book I will someday write, way more interesting.

Talking with my friend for the first time in months, very possibly over a year, during which time we had both evolved so much, I was reminded why I made the choice I did 7 months ago.  I was reminded of all the ways it was infinitely better for me than not.  And most importantly, I was reminded that momentum can begin with a single breath, step, word, or giant leap. Momentum is always lost only momentarily and it’s up to you how long that moment will be.  I’ve always considered myself very self-aware, certainly to a fault, as I love to torture myself with my shortcomings.  But someone else’s perspective has helped to reorganize my awareness – a little mental feng shui if you will. A message leads to a conversation to an idea to a blog and onwards.  I think I’ve shed the boots and I’m crawling forwards out of the mud.

Help! I’ve Avalanched Myself!

You know that saying about being your own worst enemy?  I’d like to submit a new version of that called avalanching yourself.  Why haven’t I been blogging in, I don’t know, forever?!  I got myself stuck in an avalanche and unfortunately they haven’t found a way to shrink those adorable St. Bernards with booze barrels and teleport them into brains yet.  I hear they’re close.

C'mon now.

C’mon now.

A little background. I have always been a person of many varied interests.  I majored in political science in college while minoring in theater arts. I almost double majored.  I like science and algebra, words, visual mediums, sports, you name it.  I’m organized and emotional. If you were to dive into my brain you would find lists on lists on lists of the things I want to see, do, and accomplish.  Imagine, if you will then, all of these things piling up in my brain forming a vast library of shit. to. get. done.  And then like magic some free time presents itself and I think… ok brain, here we go, it’s our time to shine…what shall we do?!

Disaster. I think about all the movies I want to see.  All the places I want to go. All the mindless chores and tasks I want to get done. All the books to read and all the blogs I want to write. And boom, I get completely overwhelmed and end up watching Friends on Netflix.  I’ve watched so much Friends at this point that I have taken all the obscure quizzes on Buzzfeed and aced them all.  One was just pictures of Ross and Rachel and based on the screen grab you had to guess why Rachel was mad at Ross. I got a perfect score. It’s bad guys.

It’s an extremely first world problem to be overwhelmed by your free time.  I am well aware, believe me.  But I think, that it may be a fairly common one.  Most people spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week or more, doing something that doesn’t necessarily fulfill them or make them happy per say.  We all have to bring home the bacon one way or another.  On top of that we have certain social obligations – weddings, birthdays, I haven’t seen this person in forever and I can’t say no’s.  These are things that while fun, can often feel more like work when they begin to pile up and you see your free time virtually disappear.  And so, when that elusive you time does pop up it’s a free for all running through the card catalog of your brain in hopes of landing on that ONE thing you want to do.  It’s often way easier after work and social obligations to veg out with something predictable and comforting which for me, is chocolate chip cookies and Chandler’s snarky comments.

I literally never stop laughing at this. Ever.

I literally never stop laughing at this. Ever.

In high school I was a pretty typical overachiever I suppose and I look back at it now and cannot wrap my head around how I did it all – homework, theater, sports, clubs, hanging out in diners and friends’ basements til the sun came up listening to records and talking about our angst.  It was a grueling schedule and now, I work for 8 hours and come home and do nothing. It seems simple to say JUST PICK SOMETHING AND COMMIT.  At least it’s something! And hey, person yelling at their computer screen, you are absolutely right.   And while I’m terrible at that currently, this blog is a nice step. As a matter of fact, I actually watched The Aviator last night instead of mindlessly flipping through Netflix for 15 minutes before putting on, you guessed it, Friends.


You know what they say, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and make a decision once in a while you could gain a lot of weight sitting around yelling Chandler quotes at Netflix like a sad midnight showing of Rocky Horror for one person covered in cookie crumbs…”  That’s right, right?

Do you avalanche yourself? How do you get yourself unstuck?

Cynicism, Negativity, and Self-Destructing Your Own Youth

Remember when there was a whole social media trend about seeing whether you could be positive on a consistent basis?!

Remember when there was a whole social media trend about seeing whether you could be positive on a consistent basis?!

Something I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that I have less and less patience for cynicism.  5-10 years ago, when things weren’t going as well as I’d like them to, when I was out of shape, more insecure, and frustrated with my own life, it was easy to fall into the trap of negativity and cattiness.  We’re all guilty now and again of tearing someone else down – whether it be just in our own head or otherwise – to build ourselves up. It can be easier to look down our nose at things or criticize someone else to deflect attention away from our own fears or shortcomings.

However, the older I get, the more violently turned off by cattiness and cynicism I become.  I’m tired of hearing friends, acquaintances, internet trolls, and my own brain sometimes, being, for lack of a better term, just a big jerk.   Every single one of us has been the victim at least once in our life of hateful words. Someone has made us feel bad about ourselves or invalidated our thoughts or feelings.  It’s an empty, crushing feeling and it’s one that can be very hard to bounce back from.  Why, when we know how awful that feels, do we unleash that feeling on someone else? The boost you get from it is just as hollow – sugar for the soul that leaves you lazy and out of shape morally.


Everyone is entitled to their opinion. If you think someone’s wedding invitation is stupid, a stranger on the internet is crazy for flaunting her heavier frame, or people using cutesy terms like babymoon or calling their significant other some pet name is maddening there’s no one who is going to stop you.  None of that is illegal or really even wrong so to speak.  But why? Why do we find ourselves wasting so much energy on these little things that have nothing to do with me or you.  Someone is living their life and enjoying themselves, they’re not attacking anyone, and yet we often feel the need to lash out passive aggressively or behind their back.  We are a society of eye rollers.

Life is good when you're just worrying about yourself.

Life can be really good when you concentrate on the sunshine.

I feel so much better when I’m around people who don’t engage in negativity – people whose currency is encouragement and positivity.  I am far from perfect.  I am just as guilty as the next person of engaging in gossip, general cattiness, and just big, fat, jerk-itude.  But I want it excised from my life completely, like a dark mass feeding on me, like a leech, I want it gone.   I really, truly feel in my gut that outward negativity is a reflection of personal insecurity or unhappiness.  I know it has been for me and so I’ll speak for myself only on that front.  And so, instead of turning my energy out when I have a negative, catty, or cynical thought, I’ve been trying lately to turn that energy back in.  Why did I just think that nasty thing about that person?  Why did I roll my eyes at that post? Why is this little insignificant thing bothering me SO MUCH.

I’ve noticed lately, maybe over the last year especially, that my best friend Meg and I often ask each other why someone would be so critical of someone else – we text the phrase “live and let live” way more often than you’d think.  And again, this is not holding myself or anyone else up as some bastion of moral strength.  It’s just something we both wonder about. Something we both notice a lot these days and something we’re both trying to be better at and avoid. For me, personally, cutting Facebook out of my day would go a long way to helping me live a more positive, productive life.  Social media and the internet in general, while immensely positive in many ways, also seem like a breeding ground for general nastiness – a place where you can forget that other people are human beings and revel in negativity.

This image I came across has stuck with me for a long time.

This image I came across has stuck with me for a long time.

I definitely don’t have all the answers but it’s something that I’m going to keep thinking on and I imagine I’ll only develop an even lower tolerance for it as time goes on. It’s not so much that turning 30 has made me a grumpy naysayer who doesn’t understand what’s wrong with kids these days, it’s just that as I figure out my own life more and more, I wonder why I was ever so critical of anyone else for trying to figure themselves out. As we share more of ourselves than ever via social media I wonder why it seems to have led to such an increase in criticism instead of high fives.  I wonder why, when we all struggle to “have it all” can’t we just be nicer to ourselves and our fellow wanderers?