Hello, Old Friend.

There are times when I cannot fall asleep. I lay in bed and think about how am I ever going to fall asleep when I have to be up in only X amount of hours. And then a bunch of other anxieties come up, too, and all the day’s prior meditations and mind-tiring tricks (counting sheep!) won’t help.

So where did I turn back to? Nope, not Xanax. I turned back to relaxation MP3s. They worked once long ago when I had a similar problem and they worked again. They were a life saver.

This time I turned to the Gaiam Meditation Studio app, which I’d gotten for free from a Starbucks download last year. I’d highly recommend downloading it because it’s cheap – like $3.99 – and it has TONS of meditations (including a bunch with my yoga teacher, Chrissy!). 

Take that, sleepless nights. Let’s hope the insomnia stays at bay this time. 

HAHA. Right. 

Sleeping Like a Baby

This is the view from the doorway of my extremely cozy and pretty-much-perfect hostel room at the Dream Hostel in Warsaw, Poland. There was a heated towel rack in the bathroom, for fuckssake. I’d recommend staying here even if you have the money to afford some fancypants hotel. This hostel was awesome, but this isn’t about that. It’s about how well I slept here. With the down comforters and the lack of noise outside on the main street at all (activity near Castle Square really dies down after about 9pm), plus my ear plugs and eye mask, I was basically a zombie for 8 hours a night. Saying I was sad to leave this hostel is an epic understatement.

But now that I’m home, in my own bed, I’m sleeping like a baby again. Better than I slept in my bed before I left. I don’t know what it is – the complete one-eighty from sleeping in strange beds for 10 days straight, or the new MyPillows that I bought, or maybe it’s knowing that it’s my bed and everything on it is perfect.

Side note: Not all was copacetic on my first night back. I went to bed stupid early because hello, jetlag and when I woke up around 11:30pm, I forgot where I was and freaked out when I saw someone come into my room and go into the bathroom. That someone was my boyfriend and he was in my room because, well, I was home. But did my heart stop for a split second? Yes. Oops.

I’ve been going to bed earlier, sleeping more soundly, and through the night. It’s lovely. I hope it keeps up because, although I used to say I could get enough when I was dead, sleep is actually a very lovely thing. 

Goodnight, Brain.

I once wrote about how I’d had trouble sleeping but that through a bunch of different ways, I’d cured myself. Well, “trouble sleeping” is back again. You see, J snores. Not all the time. And not that badly. But if he falls asleep before me, then all I can think about is “OMG I’M NEVER GOING TO FALL ASLEEP.” This obviously doesn’t help me try to fall asleep. And because I’m the lightest sleeper ever and I wake up if my cat looks in my direction, so I will especially never fall asleep ever if he starts snoring. 

So, what did I do? I bought Source Natural’s Melatonin tablets. And ear plugs (these are the best). And melatonin gummies. And Rescue Remedy’s sleep spray. And chamomile tea. (He uses nose strips, which makes it less worse, and peppermint oil.)

Basically I bought all of the things. 

And then I figured out: maybe I’m simply trying to go to bed before I’m actually ready, and before I’m tired enough. Although I’d love to get 8 hours of sleep every night, I’m “suffering” through 6.5-7 hours each night (because I now get up at 6am to meditate for 20 minutes before going to the gym). It’s great. I actually love getting up early before the sun has fully risen and it’s still quiet. I love sitting on my couch with my legs crossed and one hand petting Playbill while I meditate. 

Additionally, I’ve started to go to bed before J does because he’s a night owl and I’m not, so he can stay up and do whatever he does at those hours of the night in my living room and I can fall asleep. 

It’s really working so far. I still use the sleep spray each night, just as a security blanket, and it’s natural, so that’s OK. 

Let’s hope going to bed later and TM can cure me this time around.

A really, really, really restful weekend.

I needed this weekend. After seeing a ton of shows these past few weeks, I needed a weekend off from dealing with any plans. J and I went to one of his childhood friend’s weddings on Friday night in Westchester, but we managed to be home by midnight (somehow!). It was a really pretty, simple wedding on the small(ish) side and we both had an awesome time. 

Then a weekend of nothingness commenced. We slept in on Saturday until 10-ish and then ordered in from one of our favorite diners and ate ourselves into semi-hungover oblivion. We spent the rest of the day watching Hush and a couple of episodes of Silicon Valley. And after we went for a painful run (french toast is not a good primer for running, FYI) before stopping off to buy a new kind of wet food at Petco (which my cat will totally not eat and will barely look at it) and eventually ending up at a bar to refuel and watch a basketball game. I started to kind of understand how basketball works but mostly I just watched the guys running back and forth in between bites of my rice bowl.

We slept in again on Sunday (though I admittedly did not sleep in as late, and I used the extra time to write) and made eggs and chicken sausage (and coffee, duh) for breakfast and lounged around for the next few hours. We watched the documentary The True Cost, which is a horrifying expose about the price that the poorest in other countries pay so we can buy a $5 tank top at H&M. Result: I’m halting my long-time obsession with cheap shit at Old Navy and expensive-except-when-on-sale shit at Gap. I’m OK paying more for clothing as long as people aren’t dying to make it. /end rant

We made a plan to meet up at the movies after I went to a yoga class and we saw Captain America. This really should’ve been called “Avengers 3″ as it was not solely about Captain America at all. And it was really long. I enjoyed some parts but watching a bunch of characters that you know won’t be killed off fight gets old really quickly. 

The night ended with Game of Thrones, which I didn’t really pay attention to. When I did look at the screen, it looked like a medieval version of The Walking Dead

I also finally bought a Roomba and although Playbill didn’t know what to make of it, she did enjoy the box and I caught this adorable shot. She totally has Pixar eyes. 

How To: Sleep in a Hostel

You know what I perfected while I was abroad and sleeping hostels? Just exactly how to do that. 

Now you may be a heavy sleeper and have no trouble falling asleep after you’ve been awake since 8am and have walked 11 miles that day sightseeing, but I’m not. I’m a light sleeper and it blows. 

So, I had to adapt.

Sometimes you get roommates who snore. Sometimes you get roommates who check in really late at night (like the German guy who came into CBP at around 2am and I gave him my best sleepy “bitch please” face before rolling over and attempting to go back to sleep). And if you have a room with more than 2 people in it, people are usually coming in and out, so there’s light.

Whatever. You’re paying like $50/night for these rooms, so you have to suck it up. Here’s how I coped:

Eye mask: I wear an mask on a nightly basis anyway and I think I was about to not bring it abroad but I’m so, so glad I did. I needed that thing. People used nightshift eye masks like bandanas and stuff, but I was glad I basically had a blackout eye mask.

Melatonin gummies: These things are the best. Who doesn’t love gummy bears? Have 2 or 3 of these (or 4) and pass out. 

Ear plugs: Yeah, get these. You might have roommates who snore.

Ear buds + iPod with white noise: After my ear buds proved to be pretty ineffective, I went straight for my earbuds with an on-repeat rain track playing. It was sort of annoying to keep having to maneuver the iPod when I turned over but if it was between that or listening to my roommates snore, I’d choose the former. 

I think these things are pretty key when you’re sleeping in a room with strangers. Some wine might be pretty effective too, but I’d definitely recommend at least an eye mask to start with. Happy hosteling! 

A Weekend in Maine

I decided a couple of months ago to see if I could go stay with my aunt, uncle, and cousin at their house in Freeport, Maine for a weekend. They said “of course!” I took the train up to Boston on Thursday, where my aunt was in town for business, and we drove back together. Over the past four days I did:

  • I learned “Imagine” on guitar, thanks to my uncle.
  • Had two jam sessions including multiple guitars, a ukelele, and a mandolin.  
  • Went to yoga
  • Meditated
  • Baked super kick-ass peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars.
  • Baked double chocolate chip cookies.
  • Cooked Indonesian-style fried rice with vegetables.
  • Went to see David Byrne & St. Vincent at the State Theatre in Portland.
  • Burned a CD from my family of a ton of Guster songs.
  • Shopped: I bought three bras ($47!), jeans from the Gap (originally $60, on sale for $22), and super cute sandals from Bass (originally $90, on sale for $37)… among a few other things.
  • Played Clue (yes, the board game) for the first time in FOREVER.
  • Two days in a row I slept until the exceedingly late hour of 9AM. 

I had an excellent time. I’ll post pictures of food and the concert later. Now it’s back to real life!