Thursday, May 31, 2012

happy birthday, blog

I'm a terrible mother.

Not like a real mother because I don't have any little ones running around, unless of course you count Plaxico, and as far as I can tell I'm not a terrible mother to him (except when I add peanut butter to my oatmeal in the morning and forget to let him lick the spoon - then I feel like a mean mom) but I am a terrible mother to my blog. A terrible blog mother. A blother.

And why am I a terrible blother you ask? (Blother's really not gonna catch on is it? Oh well, it was worth a try.) I forgot my own blog's birthday!!! Like I said, just terrible. No party, no cake, no pony rides. She was probably devastated. All the other cool blogs' moms are out baking funfetti cake and posting long reflections looking back on their first year of blogging. Me? Nada. How will she ever forgive me?

BUT, now that I think about it, I started this blog on May 18th, 2011, and it's actually the last day of May  today, the same month that I began this thing last year, so I think I can still salvage this. Really my blog is so special to me that I've been celebrating all month long. And today is the culmination of my blog's one year birthday MONTH! (Yes... this is going to work. Blog protective services, you keep your distance. This was my plan all along!)

In all honesty though, I feel an incredible sense of pride that I've been able to keep this thing going for a year. And if any of you out there reading have blogs of your own, I bet you can relate to the feeling that this little corner of the internet kind of feels like my baby. This little thing that began from nothing and has grown to having a personality and a sense of self. It requires nourishment and attention, and it is a direct reflection of my "parenting" as it gets older. Really a fitting metaphor if you ask me. So how did this baby come to be? (Don't worry, blog conception stories are ALOT less awkward than the other ones.)

Last May I began reading a blog called your wishcake. I found it because I followed a link someone had shared on Twitter. I was astounded by what an authentic voice the author, Kerri, had in her writing. I can remember staying up one night just to read post after post of hers because I enjoyed them so much, and I looked forward to each new post she would put up. She had such a sweet, kind, funny style and when I read her writing I felt that it was so... authentic. Like I was hearing her think and not just write.

And then I began to wonder: what is my voice? I wish there were people out there that looked forward to reading my words. But she had been writing for years and so all I could think is that I had nothing to start from. It was daunting: aspiring to be something that someone else has taken years to become. But then I found an awesome quote, one that I have seen many places since then, that was exactly what I needed to hear. I wrote it on a notebook of mine so I wouldn't forget it:

I thought to myself, a year from now will I still be reading every one of Kerri's posts wishing that I had my own blog? Maybe. But if I started that day, right then, in one short year's time, I could have enough writing under my belt that I might actually have the voice and the style that I was craving to develop.

So I just... started.

And here we are. I've gone through periods of posting a lot and not very much at all. I've written things that are funny, things that are sappy, things that I never thought I'd share with other people, much less everyone on the internet if they wanted to find it. I've written 61 posts in the past year, which is hard for even me to believe.

But this blog, my baby, is the one thing in my life that gives me more pride and satisfaction than anything else. I'm so glad I started this thing a year ago, and thank you all so much for reading and commenting and sharing. I can't wait to see her grow up to be two - who knows where she'll be.

Happy Birthday (Month), Bloggie - Mommy loves you. And next year there will be ponies, I promise.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

happy anniversamemorial day & a diy card idea

Happy Memorial Day... er... day after Memorial Day. I would have posted yesterday, but I was too busy grilling hamburgers in the sunshine and cracking open some ice cold beers. Wait... scratch that... that's what Memorial Days are supposed to be made of. Instead I spent mine filming two sponsor videos in tropical-storm-like conditions at the beach while the sand came whhhhipping at my legs (this also involved me wearing a GoPro camera on my head while at one point kneeling in shells as waves pummeled me. Let's just all take a moment to visualize that scene. Did you get a good laugh? Good. Oh, the things I do for my job...) Luckily there was the redeeming second filming location - a freezing cold pool filled with floating storm debris. Lucky lady, right here.

Behind that underwater smile is a mild case of hypothermia.
Okay, I must admit, I'm being a bit dramatic here (no surprise, I know.) While the aforementioned is all true, it wasn't that disappointing as Memorial Days go. It may not have been all the R & R that the holiday typically calls for, but I did spend the day with friends, being outside and enjoying the beginning of summer, gale force winds and all. So what if a little tropical storm decided to show up this weekend? Such is the life of a Floridian. I also made sure to take time out to remember what the entire day was for - our amazing service men and women that make the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country free and safe. Just want to send a big thank you to all our troops out there. Your bravery is appreciated beyond words, and we should be thankful for your service every day of the year. So all in all, an unconventional Memorial Day perhaps, but an awesome one nonetheless.

Now that I think about it, this was actually a double-holiday weekend in the Sadlergeart household. As some of you may know, Sunday marked Jason and I's (Jason and my?.. oh, that's a tricky one...) two-year anniversary. Making anniversaries a big deal may seem silly to some, but I've always really valued the idea of celebrating this yearly milestone. If I'm being completely honest, Jason is the first person I've been with long enough to have a two-year anniversary. Yep, you heard me. Not that I have any aversion or incapability of dating someone for a long period of time (quite the opposite in fact because I think I'm a relationshipper to the core), but I have a firm belief that if you come to the conclusion that you and your mate aren't right for each other, you owe it to the other person to end it, no matter how hard that may be. Well, let's just say I have a history of ending it. I'm not proud of this track record by any means, but in a way I am proud that I stay true to what I know is right for me and that I find the strength to move on if it's not right - even when that means making hard choices.

So all of that being said, two years was big for me and big for us. Each person has their different idea of what celebrating an occasion like this means, but to me, I didn't care what we did as long as it involved quality time together. Don't forget - we live together, we work together, we pretty much spend every waking moment together. And while that sounds like a recipe for a ton of quality time, it's actually the opposite. We're so busy focusing on work, our daily household errands, etc. that while the time is plentiful, the quality time is scarce.

So on Sunday, instead of a fancy dinner or a trip somewhere, we spent a heavenly day of laziness together. Since Tropical Storm Beryl brought a veritable monsoon to our doorstep, we decided to take it as a sign and stay cooped up and cozy. We "pigged out" on Skinny Pop popcorn and mini Diet Cokes, two things that are treats in our household since we started eating a lot healthier. We also absolutely binged on TV, watching probably eight or nine episodes of LOST (we started over from season one - it's probably one of my top three favorite shows of all time.) We made steak and veggies for dinner paired with our favorite craft beers (credit to our friend Sean for getting us to hop on the craft beer train ... see what I did there? Probably not. It's a stretch.) and we topped the whole day off with Jason's famous almond meal dark chocolate chip cookies. Now I'm aware that to many people this definition of fun is probably pathetic. However, to us, it was an absolutely perfect day - a rare one in which we weren't worried about brainstorming business ideas, filming videos, or ordering t-shirts. For one day we got to celebrate being together by simply... being together. It was fabulous.

My favorite part of the day though, was the one element I left out. The one thing I always look forward to each birthday, valentine's day, anniversary etc. is the card. I grew up in a family where presents weren't necessarily a given, but cards were. And my mother writes the most beautiful cards. It's like her super power or something. But that's why I love them so much. I think of cards as this intimate opportunity for you, the giver, to share words with someone special, the recipient, and whatever you say - whether it's sentimental, funny, romantic, or whatever - the person reading it knows that you carefully selected those words for them, and that's meaningful. Anyway, I was concerned about coming up with a card for Jason because I usually make my cards but I didn't have a lot of time before Sunday to sneak away for hours and come up with an elaborately hand-drawn card. So I was absolutely delighted when Jason came up with the perfect idea for our card exchange: a game.

The completely arbitrary rules that we agreed upon were that each person would only get 30 minutes and the supplies they grabbed to make a card for the other person. I literally couldn't believe he suggested it. (Let's be honest, that's like something you always secretly wish a guy will do - hand make a precious construction paper card - but instead the convenience of Hallmark or Walgreens always wins out. And I don't know about you, but there's usually a high probability that said purchased card will be from the "Funny"section, meaning there is an 87% chance it will have some form of bathroom humor. Which is still 87 times better than one of those annoying musical cards. Anyway, this is when an ample craft supply at home and a rainstorm come in handy.)

Jason grabbed a couple sheets of construction paper after he spent a hilariously long time choosing which colors and coordinating markers to take with him. I'll admit, I kind of cheated at the game a bit since he slipped away to the office and I stayed in the "craft room" which pretty much had any and all supplies for me to choose from. I guess that's the benefit of making up your own rules - you can break them. But when I was in there, all I could think of was that I wanted to come up with something creative and different than what I normally do. I have these blank white greeting cards that I typically decorate with some funky handwritten font and bright colors. But I didn't just want to give him something pretty; I wanted it to be meaningful. Then I started thinking, what do I really want to say? And all I wanted to do was thank him for all the awesome memories the past year and tell him how much I'm looking forward to our next year together. So that's what I decided to do.

I thought it would be fun if I came up with all the things I wanted to thank him for and all the things I wanted to promise him for the next year of our relationship. The following is something that I think anyone could do for a handmade anniversary card. You could make it just as I did, or make it more of a memory bank - one for the past year of awesome memories/adventures and the other for all the things you wanted to do together in the coming year, kind of like a leap list.

Anyway, it's super simple but I thought it was worth sharing since I always scour the internet looking for unusual or unique card/gift ideas.

First I took one piece of paper and wrote all the things I wanted to "promise" to do in the upcoming year for Jason and for our relationship. On another piece I wrote down all the things I was grateful for that he had done in the past year. Then I (quickly) cut them all up into little slips - keeping them separated of course.

I folded each one up into little pieces and luckily I had some mesh little doilies around (have no idea what these are actually called, but you get the idea) so I balled up all the slips of paper and tied it off with a ribbon.

Lastly I added the tags. I wanted them to be parallels, so one said "last year" / "thank you for..." and the other said "next year" / "I promise to..."

Disregard the sloppiness and weird coloration of the "i promise you" tag... I was down to like a minute left and hadn't tied any of the bows on yet. (Hi, my name is Caroline and I take made-up games way too seriously.)
Tied those puppies on to each little pouch and - voila! - quite the unconventional card. (Truth be told I actually slid them into a small gift bag I also had around because I felt a little odd just handing him the two pouches.) To make it less odd though presentation-wise or just if you don't have any mesh doilies lying around, I was thinking you could easily just put the slips of paper into two envelopes with similar titles written on the front and back of the envelope. Um... yeah... now that I think about it maybe that would have made more sense. Give a girl a break - I only had a half hour! There was no time for logic!

Still, it was so fun seeing his face when we finally exchanged our "cards." The best part was watching his reactions as he opened each slip of paper and read each one, some of them funny/silly and some of them sweet. His card of course was absolutely perfect, one of the sweetest things I've ever received in my life. (Sorry, not going to share that here - I think he'd probably die of embarrassment. More than he is already, of course.) 

Basically, I couldn't have asked for a better holiday weekend, tropical storm or not. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed the day off yesterday, and thanks for reading yet another one of my long, rambly posts!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

loving it lately: black, white, and bright all over

Recently it has come to my attention that I have a habit of being a bit... eh hem... long-winded on this blog of mine. (And by recently I actually mean not recently at all because this is something I have always known.) But while I'm certainly appreciative for the few of you that endure my meandering musings on life and love, I decided it's a bit of a skewed representation of myself if I keep this blog to strictly diatribes. I swear I don't just spend my days contemplating the meaning of life - sometimes I simply enjoy looking at pretty things! So instead I've decided to introduce something a bit different today and (hopefully) fun!

As many of you know, I'm an avid pinner and have been since about a year ago. I think it's funny how sometimes I notice myself pinning things that are often in the same vein or have the same aesthetic. In the same way that I tend to fixate on thoughts and see themes emerge in my life, I also sometimes fixate on things visually and can see similar patterns emerge in my taste. Thanks to Pinterest, it's much easier now to detect when I've stumbled upon a certain trend that I like. And I thought it might be fun to share some of my current obsessions with you guys in a more visual way. These are things that are currently giving me inspiration, and the "visual style" that I feel represents me right now.

So without further ado, in the first installment in the "loving it lately" series as I'm calling it, I bring you classic black and white mixed with bold colors. (Unless of course I never post anything like this again, in which case it's less of a series and more of a completely isolated incident that we shall never mention again... I'm also sure someone has thought of this post series before and used this alliterative little title but I was too afraid to Google it because I already decided I like the series name so I'm going to blindly pretend it's completely original. It's not stealing if I don't know it exists, right? Right.)

Anyway, I find myself constantly attracted to black and white for its modern yet timeless appeal, but I'm also a sucker for bright colors. I love the way color really pops off of a simple black and white backdrop, or how solid black details bring such drama to whimsical colors. I started noticing it mostly in graphic design, but soon I was seeing it in fashion, interior design, photography, even food! Below is a collage of some of my favorites (with links to all these pins below!)

Which of these do you like? What trends are you loving lately?

ps. If you're a fan of this type of post, please let me know in the comments below and I'll bring it back! I'm all about giving the people what they want. (Unless of course what the people want is for me to shut up. In that case I'll pretend my comment box is broken.)

pps. We all know I live and die by coral and teal but I had no idea my level of devotion until I looked at the scheme of these photos. Also, apparently bright yellow is making its way into my psyche. I see you, yellow. I've got my eye on you.

Click for links to these pins from top left to bottom right:
Black and white dresser with coral chairs
Coral porcelain lamp
Clean and modern web design
Kate Spade flats
Teal ottoman and chevron pillows
Beautiful yellow blooms in the street
Teal and coral wedding invites
Be brilliant.
Roasted Tomato Caprese Grilled Cheese
Funky business cards
Modern office space with teal wall
Striped napkin and menu
Bright yellow chairs against the city backdrop
Modern desk with orange accents
Yellow and black branding
Being happy is productive.
Teal headboard and bold accessories

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

aint nothing but a number

Today, my friends, is an epic day.

Thirty years ago today, my beloved Jasolpants came into this world. That's right, people, I'm dating a 30-year-old! 30!!!

Now, let me be clear, I don't really care one bit that my boyfriend is 30. It doesn't freak me out, or make me feel like he's automatically entering some completely different chapter of life while leaving me behind to wade through my twenties without him. But the weird part is, I've noticed that I think it does make other people uncomfortable.

In the few months leading up to today, Jason's birthday, I've gotten a few comments that have made me raise a brow at how we as a society treat age. I never realized what pressure we put on people based completely around one silly number, as if we're all living by the same "one size fits all" timeline.

Thirty, huh? Have you guys thought about "what comes next?" (I put quotes around that because this sentence was legitimately posed to me and the "what comes next" was practically said with one of those completely conspicuous winks where I wanted to say, Excuse me, is that something in your eye or did you just want to ask me when we're getting married?)

First of all, I wasn't aware that becoming 30 officially means that you have to get married and if you aren't even considering the possibility THAN YOU ARE WEIRD. Also, I was always under the impression that a marriage was about two people choosing to share their lives together (where one of these said people is still 23-years-old and not ready to make a decision affecting them for the next 60-70 years.) Sorry for the slight rant, but I just think this is a perfect example of how ridiculous it is that people think they have a firmer grasp on when these things should happen in your life than you do. I think everyone should be entitled to move into the next phase of life when they want to, not when their age dictates they should.

The point is, I really feel for Jason today, because 30 seems to carry this inherent responsibility and judgment with it. It's this benchmark that people constantly compare their young lives to (and especially the lives of those around them).

I always wanted to own a house by the time I turned 30. I wanted to be married with two kids by the time I turned 30. I want to have had three big promotions by the time I'm 30. Like, WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL WITH 30, PEOPLE?

In my opinion, Jason doesn't act a day older than 25. That's not to say he's immature, because he's not all, but he still loves the freedom and adventure that seem to come naturally in your twenties. He still wants to hustle in the business world, take risks, and not have to worry about how late he stays up or how his business decisions affect the family he has to prioritize for (aside from Plax of course, who gets plenty of prioritization.) In that same vein, I think I act like I'm closer to 25 than 23. I'd rather stay in and watch a movie than go out and get drunk at a bar. I love taking care of our house and making it a home. And somehow, despite our age gap of seven years, our individual timelines and priorities have synched up perfectly. Explain that to me, you one-size-fits-all-timeline folks!

I know that Jason has been dreading this day for a while. I know he can't help but think about the life he had pictured for himself at 30, and maybe some of those things haven't come to fruition yet. But instead of focusing on this bogus milestone, I wanted this day to be just as fun and light-hearted as every other birthday he's ever had. Forget about the number - who cares?!

Which is why when I was thinking about how I wanted to celebrate this momentous day I decided we WOULD NOT celebrate his 30th birthday - instead today we are celebrating his second 25th birthday. The number isn't what's important anyway. It's about feeling excited and special and having fun, so that's what we're going to do today. A 25th-birthday-themed 30th birthday. Because that's how I see him and I want him to feel like he still has all the time in the world to accomplish the things he always dreamed of. (And no, we won't be getting married any time soon. So... get up off our junk!)

Below is the madness that I set up to celebrate Jason's 25th. We woke up this morning and I handed him his card that read: "Happy 25th Birthday (again)"

He kind of chuckled so I could tell he appreciated the sentiment, but clearly the boy had no idea just how far I could take a theme. He had no idea what was waiting for him in the living room when he emerged from our room. This is what he found:

Ignore the completely haphazard nature of the streamers... It was about 2am and I was delirious when I was aimlessly throwing the thing in the air. Thank God for mini-hoops in the living room and Scotch tape.

Oh, I forgot, this is what he found after he made it through the crate paper waterfall. Because what 25-year-old doesn't want a crate paper waterfall on their birthday? Exactly. 

Presents waiting on the table, next to his delectable Diet Coke birthday cake. (Fun fact about Jason: he hates cake. We think it's something about the icing but his mom says he's hated it from childhood. Except his sister's latest creation which was a coconut cake with Cool Whip frosting. He downed a piece of that like a champ. Anyway, hates cake but LOVES Diet Coke, so I made him a cake out of 25 baby Diet Cokes.)

I also felt it necessary to carry through the theme on his wrapping paper, and a construction paper banner OBVIOUSLY. (I actually would have made this even more elaborate - if you can believe that - had I more than a few hours to devise my plans. When you live with someone, it's a bit hard to excuse yourself for a few days at a time to prepare your surprise. Luckily I set up shop in our guest room for a few hours and threatened to take Plax hostage if he tried to enter.)

CLEARLY should have been more strategic about my ribbon/wrapping paper placement. My wit is hard to appreciate when it's obstructed. Rookie move on my part... but hey, I curled those ribbons myself!

Again, just completely haphazard. Give a girl a break.

He opened his presents, Plax shredded some paper, and all in all I think it was a pretty successful 25th birthday if I do say so myself! Remember people, age aint nothing but a number!

Happy birthday Jason! (Oh, ps. If you want to give him 30 punches in the face for his birthday, you can do that here:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

a lesson from mom

I started writing this post about my mother and the infinite ways in which she is the most amazing woman on the planet. (Okay, I KNOW other people say that very same thing and write it on coffee mugs and stuff, but it's a tragedy they haven't met my mother because they would understand how foolish they are running around calling other people the most amazing women in the world when it's so obviously my mom. Seriously, how embarrassing for them.)

Well anyway, I started by saying all of that but none of it seemed to come across as sincerely and specifically as I intended and so it didn't really convey just how deeply blessed I feel to have my mom as well, my mom. So instead of listing off the million little things that she has taught me (though they are of supreme importance in my life and certainly deserve to be recognized), I've decided to use my single Mother's Day post to tell you just one value that my mother instilled in me.

I came across this quote last week and the first thing that immediately popped into my head was - "This is the story of my childhood." If I could boil my appreciation for my mother down to one simple sentence (an impossible task, but hypothetically let's assume it could be done), this is what it would be.

Image source

When I was kid, we didn't always have the coolest clothes, the best toys, or the most impressive house. But we had clothes. And we had toys. And we had a house. A house that was full of unconditional love, endless encouragement, tough lessons, home-cooked meals and a dinner table full of laughter. When I think about my childhood, there isn't one second where I think of the things I didn't have (though I'm sure there were moments when that was all my mom could think about.) The reason those things don't ever cross my mind is because my mom taught me how to be happy anywhere, with anything. When I had a problem or felt disappointment, she was always there to shed light on the silver lining (and she still does.)

Hopefully if there is anything you've learned about me through reading my posts, it's that I pursue happiness restlessly and passionately. It is the thing that I continue to strive for in every decision, every day and every moment. That's not to say I always find it, but it is the compass that tells me where my next footstep should land.

My mom is the one that taught me that (among so many other things.)

She conditioned me to find the happiness in any situation regardless of the circumstance, which is the single most important thing that gives me purpose in my life - to live happily, anywhere with anything.

So thanks Mom, for being the most amazing woman in the world (I'm sure everyone is going to mail you their mugs now.) Your shining light and deep heart has made me who I am. And though we may not have had the best of things, we always made the best of things.

I love you, and Happy Mother's Day!

(And for everyone's craft-gawking eyes, a nice little canvas quotable I drew up for Mother's Day - my apologies for the terrible photography. Have a wonderful day with your moms and shower them with ridiculous amounts of love!)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

a world full of wonder

I'm back from San Diego!

It was an absolutely awesome trip jam-packed with crazy experiences and food that was to die for. (Okay, not literally because I like eating chocolate way too much to ever want to die, but I did in fact gain four pounds in that one measly week from all the yummy meals we ate and I'm not even mad about it.)

After a few days back on the wagon (this is the wrong phrase to use here. I started to type it and then realized that I was actually looking for something like "back on the horse" but back on the wagon came out and the fact that it's a metaphor for being in some sort of recovery for an alcohol problem kind of makes me laugh, so... I left it for you all to enjoy that little Freudian slip from my brain. Just kidding, I don't drink. Just kidding, I do sometimes. But not like in an excessive way. Unless you count college. Just kidding, I didn't go to college. Just kidding, of course I did! Man, this is a fun game!....)

WOW. It is a scary place this brain of mine. Let's try this again...

After a few days back on the wagon back in the swing of things at work, I started looking through the many photos I took while I was on vacation. We did some really fun things I never would have had the opportunity to do otherwise, especially visiting the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park. Seeing baby giraffes and rhinos up close and in what is basically a replica of their natural habitat - it was unreal. (But SERIOUSLY can we talk about how cute baby giraffes are? I love this photo I caught of one plus its mama who had a giraffe spot shaped like a heart. Could my heart melt any more? Hint: the answer is no.)

Hi, can I take you home?

In what world? 

Just me feeding a rhino. No. Big. Deal.

The Wild Animal Park was definitely a once in a lifetime kind of opportunity, but as I was looking at my photos, I began to realize that my favorite thing we did the entire trip was visit the Cabrillo National Park. It only cost $5 for admission and you basically hike about a mile down the rocky coastline exploring little tidal pools of crabs and snails and admiring the natural beauty of the jagged rocks shaped by the sea. The whole thing was mesmerizing to me. I got to just wander around not saying a whole lot, thinking quietly to myself and marveling at the awesome landscape that the earth created.

Being from Florida where the coastline is so flat and practically straight, I had never seen such a panoramic view of the ocean. I stood on a rock jetting out in the middle of the sea and looked out to find myself basically surrounded on the three sides. I was fascinated by the patterns created in the rocks caused by hundreds and thousands of years of erosion. The sound of the water hitting the rocks was so powerful, and yet so peaceful at the same time.

Kinda looks like you can just push that rock right off the edge right? You can't. 

Secret little caves and caverns everywhere. 

The lines of the rocks were like art to me. 

Definitely not like the Florida coast.

Those ridges are nuts!

I love the colors in this one.

Unbelievable rock formations.

The patterns!

This one almost looks like it was taken with a fisheye lens.

So fun to watch the waves crash against the rocks.


Look who I found...

Looking back over the pictures was like relieving the whole experience again and it made me realize just how magical it was. To stand there and simply soak in the wonder of the world.

There will always be something stressing you out, little things to obsess over and things to throw you off your games. I think finding wonder in the world and something that you can truly marvel at is one of the best things you can do to gain perspective and bring happiness to your life - at least for me it is.

Granted, not everyone is always going to be able to do things like this on a regular basis. Not everyone has a Cabrillo National Park in their backyard. But how many things a day do you pass by without stopping to simply wonder?

The idea is to get outside. Go find something that astounds you with its beauty. Feel small. Experience the world in a new way.

Because I guarantee you'll walk away more humble, more appreciative, and life will find a way to snap itself back into perspective.

What you don't know is how I almost peed my pants because this rock was SO HIGH and I had crazy visions of myself falling to my death as I went to take this picture.

So pensive.

Wait, WHAT?!
Oh, hello.

Kim (Jason's sister) and me.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

far more to celebrate

Today when I woke up, I realized that my skin had flared up again. On vacation? I thought. Come ON, universe, can't a girl catch a break?

For a moment I was a bit bummed and the familiar feeling of disappointment began to creep in.

In that moment, I could have easily pulled my pajamas back on and curled up into bed. No one would have judged me for it, and I could have watched movies or read my book or slept the day away. And for that little while, that's all I wanted to do.

But instead I got dressed. I took extra care in picking out my outfit (incorporating one of my favorite blue and white patterned scarves), and despite my instincts, I decided to put on a full face of makeup. Over the course of dealing with this stupid ordeal, I've learned a few tricks and tactics to lift my mood even when I'm not feeling my best. I've learned that no matter how loudly the sweatpants start calling your name, you never really feel all that great once you slide them on. Comfortable, maybe, but feeling dowdy and shapeless ends up making you feel unattractive, which simply perpetuates a blue mood. Instead, I've found that taking the extra time to make myself feel beautiful goes a long way in pulling me out of a funk. Going through the motions of getting ready somehow makes me feel productive, and for the rest of the day I feel good about the way I look, providing an instant boost in attitude.

I finished getting ready and while I certainly felt better than before, I still felt a bit down. I went downstairs and opened my laptop to find a message on Facebook letting me know that my new baby niece was born this morning, little Kennedy Grace. Suddenly it all snapped back into perspective for me. This little girl came into the world today, and in the blink of an eye my brother's family of three became four. What a miracle. She's healthy and perfect and her entrance has reminded me of something very important.

In life there will always be things to complain about, that much I know. But if you pay close attention, there are far more things to celebrate than to complain about. And focusing on those things is what keeps it all in perspective. Once I came to that realization, everything began to look up. The sun was peeking out (for the first time in two days), and I was thankful. I recognized that I was on vacation in beautiful San Diego with my boyfriend's wonderful family. How ridiculously luck am I? I thought, a far cry from the attitude I had when I woke up.

I'm sad I can't go hold my new niece today, but so glad that she's here. Focusing on her arrival and the thought of holding her for the first time has left me little time to even think about my skin. Shortly after I got the message, we went out to breakfast and then to the tidal pools at Cabrillo National Monument - a natural wonder that was one of the coolest things I've ever seen (pictures to come soon!) The whole time all I could think was, This sure beats laying around in my pajamas all day.

If you notice yourself wanting to complain today, I encourage you to take a second to think about all the things you have to celebrate. The birth of a niece, being alive, experiencing things some people only dream of.

On any given day, if you're paying close attention, there is far more to celebrate than to complain about.

Welcome to the world, Kennedy Grace!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

we bought a zoo

Okay, I lied. We didn't buy a zoo. But can we talk about what a terrible title for a film that was? Oh what's that, it was a book first? That just means it's even more remarkable that someone, somewhere along the line didn't say, Hey, this isn't a title. It's a sentence from a children's book. Can you imagine if Titanic would have been titled "We Sank A Ship." Hardly the same effect. Let's get a little more creative here, people!

Matt Damon, you're better than this.
ScarJo, feel free to keep doing B movies so I don't have to see
your bosoms on the big screen with my boyfriend sitting next to me.
So we didn't buy a zoo but we did go to a zoo yesterday. The San Diego Zoo to be exact. (Did I mention we're in San Diego on vacation? We're in San Diego on vacation for the week. I'm terrible at introductions.) For those of you that did not have the distinct privilege of being completely bombarded by my Instagram feed courtesy of Facebook and Twitter, I've also posted all my pictures below. I blame Instagram and those damn filters for making me think I'm a talented photographer and henceforth perpetuating my compulsive posting. Whatever, I'm not even sorry that I took a photo at just about every exhibit we saw. My friend Jason (different than my boyfriend Jason... I didn't want you guys to think I temporarily demoted him) told me that he felt like he was right there at the zoo the whole day thanks to my pictures and that's all I needed to hear to feel no guilt whatsoever about my posting overload. SO... expect more of that.

All of Jason's family members are actually big zoo people. (Now that I actually write it out, calling them "zoo people" seems a little silly. Like there is actually an entire group of people that are obsessed with zoos. Which I don't think is true. But maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps I lived a sheltered childhood. Dog people, cat people, zoo people... doesn't sound that strange I suppose. Okay but now that I read it again it sounds like they're actually this other secret breed of people that live only in zoos. I picture them kind of like cave people but riding elephants and camels after all the zoo-goers go home. Which is a visual that is currently giving me quite the chuckle. Okay brain, let's reel this thing back in...)

Well anyway they all love animals, and so there is nothing the family enjoys more than visiting the zoo together. I, of course, am thrilled to be roped into this tradition because frolicking around a park full of curious creatures is endlessly entertaining to me. (I'm also kind of a nerd and LOVE reading all the little plaques outside the exhibits. Like, as in, I kind of get angry when people are standing in front of them and I can't read along while I gaze at the animals. For instance, first my mind was blown when I was introduced to this little critter, the Hyrax, an animal I did not know even existed. But upon reading his little plaque I found out that the Hyrax's closest DNA relative is the elephant! Wait, what? An elephant?! You better believe I'm keeping that sucker in my back pocket for a Trivial Pursuit question later on in life. Can't wait.)

Did you ever see a group more excited to be at a zoo? Nope.
So between the knowledge bombs, the zoo churros (see below) and seeing some of my favorite animals like the giraffes and the gerenuks, yesterday was pretty much an awesome day. Today we're heading to  La Jolla (which I've been annoyingly referring to as "la holla" as in holla at your gurrrl or "la jolla" as in Angelina Jol-la. Yeah, I'm a tourist alright...) Apparently they have this awesome cove where these seals hang out and play. You can pretty much guarantee that I'll be blowing up your Instagram feeds with seal pics today (or yesterday, or twelve days ago, depending on when you read this.)

Hope your week is off to a great start, and sorry for rubbing it in that I'm on vacation. I can be a real jerk sometimes.

Please note: I didn't actually write down the names of the animals as we went along (come on, I'm not THAT nerdy), so some of these captions are best guesses. If any of you readers happen to also be zoo keepers (eh hem, I'm looking at you Brittany Sonke) then feel free to correct me in the comments below.

Devoured not one but TWO delicious zoo churros after I was instructed that it was a family tradition to consume these cinnamony bits of heaven. This is a tradition I approve of.

Super cool aboriginal art outside the koala enclosure. Love the colors. 

Why does this guy immediately remind me of the movie Aladdin? Also, sir, you have just a little something right... on the side.. by your nose... oh forget it.

North Chinese Leopard lookin like a wise old man.

"No king, no king, la la la la la la." Name that movie and we can be friends for life. 

Siberian Lynx. Imagine cleaning that kitty litter. No thanks. 

The position of this Snow Leopard had me cracking up. Just flattened out on his rock.

Two lazy leopards.

Large female panda. Fun fact: the female panda is only fertile for two days out of the entire year. The keeper informed us that despite this small window, her squat little man of a mate has never missed an opportunity to mate, which I found fascinating and quite impressive.

This is her mate and you can't tell here but he's actually spralled out leaning up against a rock. He's much smaller than the female and kind of rotund, so when I look at him I picture that bamboo shoot as a stubby little cigar. 

I always felt this blog was lacking a little underwater hippo butt.
In case you care about the front end.

My boyfriend's hands are the size of a gorilla's.

Mine, on the other hand, are not. 

What do you think he keeps in those little face pouches? Orangutan loose change? Pogs? Breath mints? 
Any Meerkat Manor fans in the house?

Sleepy kitty.

Found this sign that will only be appreciated truly by the Game of Thrones fans that read this blog. (Although considering the fact that this is supposed to be a crafting/lifestyle blog, that number is probably dramatically low.)

Koalas. FYI they may look cute but they can be mean, angry little suckers.

One of my favorite animals ever! Gerenuks are the only gazelle-like animal to stand up on their hind legs like that. They're so playful and cute!

Is this animal related to Plaxico? Because this is how Plax sleeps every night. In a little bean. 

Excuse me sir, can you spare a Coke?

Poor little Sloth Bear. In the bear world I imagine they're known for their "great personalities." 

I honest to goodness though these Grizzly Bears were making out. 

And then this happened and I thought, Well they're either playing or my idea of making out is FAR too tame.

And.. of course the obligatory couple pic by the giraffes. I love that the one behind Jason looks like it's posing too.

We ended the trip with dinner at La Puerta (delicious Mexican food) and some margaritas/sangria!

Not too shabby for a Monday!