Happy New Year!

January 1, 2015

2015 here I come!

 

Nothing like starting off the new year than celebrating the old ones. December 31st is my mom’s birthday and I usually just eat chinese food and fall asleep to Dick Clark, but this year I was able to sneak off as my mom got tucked into bed. My friend hosted the most awesome 90s party in the last 2o decades. We went for a grunge look. It was that or a big flower hat “Blossom” style. I wasn’t a fan, but you know what I’m talking about.  The host even had pop rocks, bugles, zima, bagel bites, ring pops, and plenty more flash back foods. Then we played Mario Kart on the Nintendo. Gabe couldn’t relish this flash back like I did, but he will shine in the 2000s party next decade.

I’m thinking I might go with this retro fashion look. Flannel, jeans, and doc martins. Classic. Let’s go 2015! 

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That Time of Year

January 1, 2015

363 Days until next Christmas. How did I hold out so long last year? It just seems so far away now. This year was purely magical. It was also stressful and expensive and stressful, but that seems to be unavoidable. I’m not sure what I would change. I think the only thing that would make it better is that if I’m self-employed next year. Then I’d take a whole month off to prepare and celebrate Christmas. Self-employed might not cover it, but rich might. Anyone looking to donate to a Christmas enthusiast? 

Christmas. It doesn’t start in December any more. I saw Christmas decorations out after Halloween. That is a little crazy if you ask me. Who is putting up lights the beginning of November? I believe the standard is to wait until after Thanksgiving. Give Thanksgiving it’s moment. Thanksgiving is my boyfriend’s favorite holiday. Only because there is a feast without any additional obligations. It’s a stress free tradition for him. However, I’m sure whoever is hosting doesn’t see it that way. This year I bent the rules just a little and decorated right before I left home for Thanksgiving. That way all the decor was up and ready when I got back. As if Christmas cheer was waiting for me. I also started my Christmas shopping in November. Nothing worse than putting off shopping and online shopping is the true savior of Christmas. 

There were certain activities that coincide with Christmas and I planned on doing them all. After the house was decorated the next thing it needed was a tree. It only took me 15 minutes this year to pick out the perfect one. When the roof is 6ft tall it really limits the options and speeds up the process, “I’ll take a hobbit sized tree please.” A Christmas tree really brightens up a room, don’t you think? Have you ever walked into a room with a shiny Christmas tree and thought this room would look better without it? Well maybe come March. We got the tree up right before my mom came to visit for the weekend. Now my Christmas addiction is genetic so when my mom is in town we had a itinerary of Christmas ventures. First up was Cirque Du Soliel. This doesn’t have a Christmas theme, but for the last 2 years I have gone with my mom and my boyrfriend, Gabe, as her Christmas present to us. This year we saw Kurios, which was magical. I think that is why it feels like a Christmas tradition because Christmas is all kinds of magic. 

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Next up was the Charles Dickens Fair. My mom and I stumbled onto this fair last year, but were not prepared for the overwhelming nature of it. This year we were ready. My mom had bought us matching dresses and designed jackets and bustles to wear. She, of course, finished it all the day of the event, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. She even finished my sister’s wedding dress hours before the wedding. That lady lives on procrastination adrenaline. We showed up to the event feeling good and looking great. Then we noticed our version of Victorian fashion was not the same as everyone else’s. Always one decade behind. Hoop skirts were all the rage. Well hoop skirts and cleavage. I had neither. We still had a great time walking around checking out the many victorian venders brought back from the dead. There were pewter and wood beer steins, hand crafted leather masks, apothecaries, emporiums, puppets, top hats, underpinnings, corsets, candles, and everything else you would have found in the London markets almost 200 years ago. After cruising all the shops we watched parlor girls perform a few songs then we finished off the night eating roasted chestnuts, which tasted a lot like potatoes. Just as we felt like we had completely embraced this little time warp my mom chats up some young chap telling him about how this was our second year and were excited to dress up. This sewer rat tells my mom, “Now that you see what you are supposed to wear you’ll fit in more next time.” What a Dick(ens). Just cause we weren’t in hoop skirts didn’t mean that we didn’t fit the era. Maybe we were a little off. Our dresses were a cross between burlesque dancer and a parlor girl, but don’t we get credit for trying. And we still looked awesome. Forget that scoundrel. Some people take this all too seriously anyways. Next year we will have it down. Maybe we will even work on our accents. Cheerio. Happy Christmas! After the Dickens Fair we went to a party from a work friend. Yep in our costumes. I think at first people thought that is how we normally go out. It’s San Francisco so you never know. Gabe met us at the party and we did our best to mingle. Gabe is better at that. I ended up just flocking to the people I know. It didn’t take long before my mom looked way too comfy on the couch. Off to bed youngins. 

Next on the Christmas list. Yes I was making a list… and checking it twice. I decided to make a few gifts this year. Just like every year I end up regretting it. First regret was a marquee sign for my sister. I bought paper mache letters to spell out DREAM. However, Joann’s was missing E(s) so I had to have my mom buy it for me because they don’t have a Joann’s in Berkeley. I then poked all the holes for the lights and spray painted the letters. Then I put the lights in each letter. It was all time consuming and worth it up to that point. I got up to DR before I decided to plug the lights in again to check out how awesome it looked. Awesome it did not look said Yoda. Half the light strand had gone out. The first half of course. I then took out all the lights and checked each bulb in the broken strand to see if I could resurrect the Christmas lights. For some reason the movie “Christmas Vacation” came to my mind. Luckily, I had another IMG_6535.JPG IMG_6617.JPG IMG_6621.JPG IMG_6616.JPG IMG_6624.JPG IMG_6601.JPG IMG_6615-0.JPG IMG_6588.JPG IMG_6606.JPG IMG_6604.JPG IMG_6591.JPG IMG_6567.JPG IMG_0305 IMG_6560.JPG IMG_6580.JPG IMG_6581.JPG IMG_6582.JPG IMG_6615.JPG IMG_6587.JPG IMG_6552.JPG IMG_6541.JPG IMG_6544.JPG IMG_6540.JPG IMG_6528.JPG IMG_6531.JPGback up strand because that whole check each bulb thing was a waste of time just like in the movie. I continued my project until I got to, well, E. E happened to be back in Redding. I had to finish the project when I went back home for the holidays. So when I finally spray painted that E and got all the way to DREA when I realized that I didn’t have enough lights to finish the M. I was 8 bulbs short in my strand. I really should have counted the bulbs before I made the holes. I had to buy another strand for 8 bulbs. 8 BULBS!!!

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Minus 8 bulbs

Back to Joann’s I went only to see Valentine’s Day presents had taken over and they were completely out of the lights I needed. So was Michaels, Target, and even dreaded Walmart. Why do I do this to myself? Next year I want to be so rich I can pay someone else to make anything DIY. I guess it would be DIT (did it themselves). I’m gonna check how much marquees are going for on Etsy. Wait right there…. Well, well, well Etsy. $785. Ok I’m done complaining. I asked my dad if he could use wire cutters and take out the half of the strands that didn’t work on the broken lights I had. Voila. Good ole dad. I put it all together and it looked great and I will never do that again. That was just one of the 6 hand made gifts I made… but that one was the only nightmare before Christmas…. get it? See it’s a double pun. The sign says DREAM and “Nightmare Before Christmas” was a movie. I knew you got it. 

One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is make Christmas cards. It all started one year when my sis and I decided to make one to send out to our friends. Since then I love coming up with creative photo ideas and seeing our friends’ and families’ reaction. This year Gabe and I brainstormed one evening until we figured out exactly what we were going to do. Then we set a date for our photoshoot and produced awesomeness. This year we went with a social media theme. I think we are starting to get a reputation. Not sure if it’s a naughty or nice one.  

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Another tradition Gabe and I started a few years back is going to “Not So Silent Night” (NSSN) music festival. Since our anniversary is in December we make it a mutual gift. The concert is always so much fun. This year the line up was Vance Joy, Cage the Elephant, Spoon, Alt-J, Imagine Dragons, Interpol. We were really surprised by Cage the Elephant. Classic rock stars. I can’t wait for next year. Here’s a little playlist for you. 


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My last week of work I made some “coal” for the kids I coach. It’s rice crispy treats dyed black. Gives them a nice evil tongue that I’m sure their parents enjoyed. The day before I left my coworker and I did our best to dress up. I had a real elf costume, but he was second best. 

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Last Christmas item on the list is to make sweet treats for our family before we head home for the holidays. Last year we spent the day in San Francisco and came home in the evening to make all our treats and we were up till 4am and had 2 hours of sleep before driving 3 hours to for the holiday. This year I had work at 8am and had a 7 hour break before I went back to work. Gabe was going to meet me in the city to walk around and see the Christmas sites. However, there was a massive rain storm in the afternoon so I let Gabe off the hook and walked the city solo. It was a good thing he did because he cleaned and cooked all day and when I got home we still were up till 3am baking cookies. We even decided to do 3 treats instead of 4. Making cookies used to be my favorite holiday tradition and it just got bumped down on the list. The chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter reindeer, and s’more cake pops were a hit. So good I didn’t get to have any. We also made candy cane vodka and almond butter. Yeah we are awesome.  

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We got 4 hours of sleep and left around 7:30am because I had an eyebrow appointment at 10:45am. We arrived right on time. I don’t know how Gabe does it. We then had 2 hours before Gabe’s family Christmas party. Nap time. I love the difference between Gabe’s family Christmas and mine. For one Gabe’s family serves alcohol. Second they serve alcohol. I’m not a drunkard, but nothing takes the holiday edge off like a spiked punch. I am really lucky that I dated my way into an amazing family. I had to fight my boss to get work off in order to spend the holidays with them, but no job is worth missing the holidays. I don’t know how some people can work through Christmas. I learned recently that I’m not motivated by money, but by freedom. I want a job that I’m free to make my own schedule or rules. I should really look into being self-employed again.

His family drinks and snacks all morning and present opening happens close to 4pm. This is the first year there was chili instead of the traditional minestrone soup that his grandma makes but no one likes. Yes. Chili is the Christmas dinner. I love this family. We gave our silly cards and our treats, which were well received. At least the cookies were. Some people weren’t familiar enough with social media to get the card. Win some. Lose some. #yolo. Now Gabe claims that my family has more drama during the holidays. I tend to agree, but he has an unfair advantage with everyone in his family having a nice buzz to calm them. Well one girl didn’t have a buzz, but a full on meltdown at the end of the night. She went “Carrie”. His grandma tried to calm her down and the girl yelled back a profanity that would have given my grandma a heart attack. I would have slapped myself in the face for what she said. So Gabe’s family won that Christmas drama award. That was minus the weird “be an adult” lecture he got from his mom and sis. Drama, drama, drama. That was all small to the amount of fun we had though. So far so good. After we celebrated Christmas with Gabe’s family we still had 2 more Christmases to go. Well 3 if you count my Christmas party. 

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The next day was Gabe’s immediate family’s Christmas. His mom buys small gifts that fit in a stocking. It’s all super cute. Afterwards we watched “The Hobbit” and saw Christmas lights. Only one of them was worth the 2 hours. What is it about Christmas lights that are so magical? Next year I am going to get my family a Limo Christmas light tour. I came up with the idea a little too late this year and everyone was completely booked. 

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The next day we had a Christmas pajama party. It was a little crazy. There was a big debate between the Brown girls if it was even gonna happen. We all like to pretend that we are doing the most work and everyone else is lazy. However, we all went to our tasks and I think it went great. The food was amazing: bacon wrapped chicken, sugar cookies, bean dip, brie dip, bacon wrapped dates, peppermint muddy buddies, hot chocolate, apple cider, and other sweetness. We later played “HeadsUp”. I think some people were a little disappointed that they didn’t have the most friends in attendance… My mom was the social butterfly of the evening and she reminded us numerous times how popular she was. I think it will become and annual tradition. 

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The next day was my 4th year anniversary with Gabe. We were both busy in the morning and decided to convene around noon for a hike to the snow. I was with my mom and sister visiting a friend who sells clothes from home. Lularoe. Check it. After picking out some awesome tights I started to get the sweats. Not the kind you wear. Like uh oh, why is it so hot in here? It took another 15 minutes before I was in her yard puking last night’s feast. Too many sweets not enough green smoothie. I then spent my 4th year anniversary in bed eating soup and crackers with occasional visits from my guy. Very romantic. I don’t think I threw up again, but was happy to lay low for the rest of the day. Luckily, I had finished all my Christmas shopping.

Low and behold Christmas Eve rolls around and Gabe hasn’t finished his shopping. Boys. What’s with them and waiting till the last minute? As we drive around town like all the other idiots on Christmas Eve we spotted a lady with a sign looking for money for gas. We were given $200 from my parents to give away before Christmas. I so far had given $100. One guy I gave money to was in SF dressed as a dog with 3 dogs with him. He wanted me to take a picture with him even though he didn’t have a camera, but asked someone near by to take one with mine. He was so sweet.

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We then swung the car around and approached her and her cat. We gave her some money and said Merry Christmas. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Gabe so impacted. This lady had a one-eyed cat she was caring for and her motorhome didn’t have any propane. She was so thankful that it was heartbreaking. Why do we wait till the holidays to try to be generous? I told my parents that next year we will match whatever they wanted us to donate. I have amazing parents. Gabe’s family also has each person pick a non-profit organization to donate money to for Christmas. 

Christmas Eve. My family has this tradition that is Gabe’s favorite. Every Christmas present tag is individual written to fit the person giving and getting. For example, To: Michael Jackson, From: Cat Woman. Gabe was Michael for Halloween and I was Cat Woman. Now not everyone will always get the reference, but the person receiving it usually does and that is all the matters. They are always goofy and silly, but sometimes they take forever to think of so don’t wait till the last night for all of them. It’s best to write them as you wrap. Gabe and I have started saving our tags to put in a scrap book. Some are just too funny to forget about. This year my dad’s were the most clever. Maybe I should save those instead. Omg. I’m saving them all next year and putting them in a bowl for us to read out later. Thank you blogging out loud. 

Christmas. Every year my dad makes eggs Benedict. His family did it and now we do it. However, he has been complaining for the past 9 years about how much work it is and how you are too full to really enjoy the Christmas dinner later. Therefore, I volunteered to make breakfast this year. I told them it would be a simple European breakfast and that no one could complain. My sister didn’t get the memo. There was fruit salad, deli meat, cheese, and some orange juice. It was simple, classy, and left plenty of room for dinner. Afterwards, my sis volunteered to host breakfast next year. I winked at my dad. Oh she fell right into that trap. 

Not much else to say about Christmas. We ate, we opened, we slept, we saw a movie. The best part of Christmas is all the four play. I take it back. My pie. I made homemade pumpkin pie. All homemade. Crust. Pumpkin puree. Scratchiest of all homemade. It was delicious. Everyone said it was the best pumpkin pie they ever had. Secret? Candied yams…. damnit they weren’t homemade. Another awesome part of Christmas is the look on everyone’s face when they open presents. This year I made a lot of them and I was excited for my dad’s, sisters, and Gabe’s. My mom was fine with all paid purchases cause she got her made ones previous years. For my dad I made a collage in a shadow box frame of pictures of his dad along with dog tags and a Johnny Carson ticket stub. It took a lot of work to find and I think he really enjoyed it. Not as many tears as I was hoping for, but next year I’ll get him. My sister was that damn marquee. Gabe I made a little card deck of 140 things I loved about him for each day he would be gone in Italy. I also got leather luggage tags made for his suitcase. I love Christmas so much and I hate it when it’s over. Christmas is really the best time of year. I wish I had some none cliche thing to add to finish this post, but I don’t. Christmas is f*cking awesome. The End. 


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Hallowinner

December 30, 2014

Halloween. I finally enjoyed my Halloween to the fullest. In my last blog I describe how much I love Halloween and this year I got to go all out. When it comes to Halloween the most important thing is the costume. I have never paid full price for a new one. I always make one or buy a used one. In the city thrift stores were asking for a ridiculous price for their costumes. I happened to go back to Redding for a weekend before Halloween and went to the Goodwill there. Great selection and much cheaper. So cheap I bought 3 costumes. There were just all so awesome and I knew I could find a way to wear all three. First was for a Halloween party for the kids I teach. Then I had a work tennis party. On Halloween I was going to a dance party. So therefore I needed 3 costumes. Right? Well I got Elsa from Frozen, Wonder Woman, and CatWoman. CatWoman was more for my boyfriend. I don’t know what it is about CatWoman that guys love. First off did you realize that Wonder Woman is two words, but CatWoman is one? By the way, what’s wrong with Wonder Woman? She’s strong, beautiful, independent, and fights for justice. CatWoman just looks good in tight leather. 

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I get it now.

After I was all set with my costumes next thing to do was to pick out the perfect pumpkins at Redding’s Nash Pumpkin Patch. We got a small batch for only $15. My sis paid $15 for one pumpkin at a “patch” in LA. I knew Berkeley wouldn’t be any better.

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Nash also has a great Haunted House called Dreams of Darkness we love to check out. Every year it gets scarier and scarier. Gabe ran off without me when the chain saw serial killers started chasing us. Geez I love Halloween. 

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When I got home to Berkeley we rented a few scary movies and carved our pumpkins. Gabe started out with some super easy ones and over the years has really picked up his game. I’ve always had mad pumpkin carving game so I try to challenge myself. Without fail I get halfway through my pumpkin and can’t recognize what it is and believe I have failed. It all starts to look like dots and crazy lines with no specific theme. It continues to look like a 5-year-old practiced surgery until I put the candle in at the end. I don’t know why I doubt myself. Look at these beauties.

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Ursula & Mike Wazowski

The kids I coach Halloween party was coming up I had some finishing touches to do on my costume. I had bought this awesome 90s prom dress and all it needed was a cape and undershirt. I hand stitched some of my mom’s curtains together and then velcroed it onto my dress.

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Then I made Gabe an Olaf costume buy sewing felt onto a white shirt and gluing the snowman’s face onto a hat. Genius. Thanks Pinterest.

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Oh and the kids loved it. 

Second costume to finish was Wonder Woman. I bought a kid’s Woman Woman t-shirt and a dance uniform to go underneath it. I also bought red sleeves that I wore on my feet like boots. I found an awesome gold tie that I turned into a crown and bracelets. I cut out white stars from duck tape and put them on my skirt. Voila!

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Wonder Woman

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By then I was done with making costumes, so luckily CatWoman was a finished product. On Halloween there was the Giants World Series Championship parade in San Francisco. I wore my costume into the city because I didn’t have time to go home afterwards and who wants to carry a backpack around to change? Obviously everyone since I was the only person in costume. Boo. 

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Giants Championship Parade

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Thankfully the CatWoman suit kept me warm in the rain along with my cup of hot milk… with chai in it. 

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After the parade we headed to my work and to no surprise at all none of my junior players showed up. What kid wants to play tennis on Halloween when there’s trick or treating to be had? Gabe and I got to play tennis while we waited for all the no shows. I kept on having to cool off outside because I was sweating in my pleather suit. How does CatWoman stay so cool.

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My wittle kitty

No kids, but least got to see all my coworkers’ costumes. 

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After tennis, I mean work, we headed over to the dance party. It was Soma StrEat Food Truck Park  Truck or Treat party. We were tempted to just head home and rent a scary movie, but some of our friends decided to go and ruined our laziness. Good thing we went because it was spectacular. There was free beer to first 100 people and the food was amazing. We all had a good time dancing and checking out the other creative costumes. 

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Gabe did not plan ahead what he was wearing and once again it was up to me… “Here She Comes To Save The Day!” Mighty Mouse anyone?

I had bought a Michael Jackson jacket at the Goodwill when I was home just in case I ever needed one. You never know…  but secretly I did know. I had a pair of red pants that he borrowed (it fit him a lil too well) and the jacket fit perfectly. Unfortunately for Gabe, going as Michael Jackson to a dance party puts quite a bit of pressure on you. When the DJ played Thriller, Beat It, and Billie Jean everyone would look to Gabe to wow them. Well by the third song everyone has used to the disappointment. Nobody expects Superman or Wonder Woman in the crowd to bend steel or break up a fight, but if you dress as MJ you better know how to Moon Walk.

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The rest of our group was just as eclectic: Pineapple, surfer, Mad Hatter, Cat Woman, Michael Jackson.

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I love being in San Francisco with so much to do and crazy people to do it with. Too bad I had work the next day so we left the party before midnight, which was when some people were headed to their outings. That made me feel pretty old, but my chariot was turning back into a pumpkin or was that my energy?

I have to start thinking about what I want to be next year. Some how I want to have friends that own a castle or have one of my own and help throw a terribly awesome party that makes Pinterest jealous. Free castle anyone? Ok Ok. Free castle rental? Free entrance to castle party? Now this might all seem over the top for some people, but this is nothing compared to how I do Christmas.

Move over Halloween your time is done. 

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see you next year

 

-Elsa aka Wonder Woman aka Cat Woman

Screamo

October 15, 2014

Halloween! It is my second favorite holiday.

Is it really a holiday? I still have to work and kids still go to school. Anywho. It’s not just the costumes, but the food, colors, weather, scary movies, haunted houses, carving pumpkins, anything pumpkin… costumes. Every year I go to a pumpkin patch and carve something that took 4 hours to decide on and can’t really pull off. I make a Halloween playlist. I know you wanted to hear it.  

Also, I changed all my ringtones. I’m considering leaving the Witch Cackle one for my mom till Christmas. My mom set my text tone to a T-rex roar and my sister’s is “Happy” from Pharell. So don’t feel bad for her. Every year I start thinking about my costumes months in advance. Which isn’t a bad idea, if you have some awesome halloween party to go to, but I never do. I end up dressing up to go to haunted house where I’m the only one dressed up along with whatever poor soul I convinced to come with me.

A couple of years ago, I convinced my boyfriend to go to Frightfest, at Six Flags. I told him everyone dresses up and it’ll be so much fun. So we pulled into the parking lot in my Tinkerbell costume and his Hook costume and as we scanned the parking lot not one damn(ed) soul had a costume on. Not one! Not even the kids. I apologized profusely, but said we are just more awesome than everyone else so who cares that everyone else is lame. So we went inside and were a hit. All the park employees loved our costumes. Moms would point to us and tell their kids “Hey look it’s Tinkerbell and Hook”. I got a kick out of it, but Hook looked as though a crocodile with a ticking clock was around every corner. It didn’t help that I also found out that he has a fear of roller coasters… more like a phobia. So I don’t think I’ll convince him to do that again. That’s ok. This year I’ve convinced my mom and sister. Suckers.

For as much as I love everything about Halloween I wish I didn’t get so invested into this day. Not because financially I can’t afford it since all my costumes are handmade or thrift finds. It’s not because I’m lacking the social group that throws crazy parties you only see on Pinterest. It’s because it’s exhausting. All that planning. Trying to figure out who or what to be, where to go, what to carve. No one else seems to care as much as I do. I think I’ve asked the kids I coach 10 times what they are gonna be cause I’m secretly trying to steal their ideas. I wish there was a cure for my Halloween curse. 

So here are the last few years of Halloween costumes and festivities.

In case we weren’t sure what some of the costumes were here is a list them: Einstein, Glenda The Good Witch, Tinkerbell, Malfoy, Strawberry Shortcake, Red Riding Hood, Alice in Wonderland, Miley Cyrus, Cat Woman, Doll, Angel

As for this year, this is what I’ve over planned so far. Haunted houses when I go home for the weekend. There is something about small towns and haunted houses that add an extra “Hills Have Eyes” effect. Going to the pumpkin patch and carving a scene from “Nightmare Before Christmas“. Yes I found it on Pinterest. Glow-in-the-Dark tennis for the kids I coach, which I hope goes well. Frightfest with my mom and sister. Then on Halloween… nothing. NOTHING! But it’s ok. This year I don’t want to stress about my Halloween plans. I want to have that “I don’t care” attitude. I wish my response to the question, “What are you gonna be?” was “Oh I don’t know. I don’t plan that far ahead.” Or I could say something like, “I’ll just do whatever my friends want.” Why can’t that come naturally to me. For one I’ve already planned too far ahead for the first to be true and second what friends? Even if I had a bunch of them that were having a party I’d probably be the party planner of the group. This year and from now on I want to be the one that just shows up. I want to be the one you ask on October 31st at 3pm “Where’s your costume?” and I say, “I don’t have one yet.” and they say, “I’ll find you something”. Then I just sit back and relax. You know those people right? Everyone seems to fill in the responsibilities for them. Doesn’t that sound nice? They are the same people that you ask what they brought to the party and when they say nothing you add their name to your card. You feel socially responsible for them. I don’t know why we have those friends, but since we do I’d like to be one. So if you don’t have one of those friends I’m willing to take their token spot. So what are our plans? I mean I don’t care. Whatever. 

 

But seriously what should I be?

Crossed off the list

October 6, 2014

2014. Can you believe we are 3/4 of the way through this year!! I thought 2013 was going to be my year to shine. First off I love odd numbers plus 13 is my lucky number. No reason, just felt like an underdog number and I like underdogs… I don’t like being an underdog, but rooting for them. I like being the top dog.  In just 9 months I’ve crossed off three things from my resolution list. Not 2014s list, but 2012. Here is the list of resolutions Better late than never. Resolutions

1. Moved to the Bay area last November. Check.

I love it here. There are so many things to do that I can’t afford…. but did anyways. I did a neon run in Candlestick Park. A neon run is similar to all those fun runs in which you don’t train and don’t always run, but spend more money to get a t-shirt and have people throw stuff at you.

2. I created… well hired somebody to create a website. Didn’t he do a great job?! Thanks again Nick! I think it took me as long to come up with the name is it did for him to code the whole site.  I think I wrote down at least 100 names.

infamy.com
crookedarrow.com
hellostars.com
goldieshocks.com
thesecretglow.com
charmingfox.com 
famousamy.com
triplebs.com
sneekpeak.com
sneakpeakamy.com
dreamy.com
unbeatonpath.com
outsidethenorm.com
relentlesslife.com
djodjo.com
simplyamy.com
infamyamy.com
andanotherthing.com
myopenmind.com
episodeone.com
talkinglips.com
crookedarrows.com
missedit.com
misshit.com
takeame.com
blushless.com
youknowwhatimean.com
icythoughts.com
 
And so much more…
This site help me narrow down the available ones. 
 
Now that I finally have my own site I don’t know what to write about. So much pressure
 
3. Live wholistically. I’m now in the perfect place to eat organic produce and find gluten free substitutions.  Now I still get my pizza and coke on an occasional Friday night, but I’m no longer straining to find healthy food options.
 
4. Read the Bible. I’m only in Numbers, but I gave up reading anything other than the Bible for Lent. I think this is my hardest Fast. Since I have a 45 minute commute time I got lots of reading done these past few months. Now I feel like an Israelite lost in the desert waiting to come to the promise land. The difference is that my desert is reading the Bible land and my Holy Land is Grisham Novels.
 
5. French. Parlez-vous francais? Well I’m not fluent or anywhere close, but I invested in Rosetta Stone. Thanks to Stone I’m even further away from being fluent that I originally thought.  Voulez-vous umm… do you speak English?
 
6.  Work in the film industry. I’m pretty far off from walking down the red carpet at the Oscars, really far off. I am working for free for a small production company. Baby steps. I connected with the filmmaker through a mutual “friend/ceramics professor” at the perfect time when he was looking for an intern. He recently complete a documentary about his mother going through Alzheimer’s. It’s a pretty devastating story, but it is essential to bring awareness to this disease. On my first day on the job he was featured on the home page of Newsweek. Check it out Newsweek Article.
 
7. 6-pack… no comment.
 
8. DJ. Last year I had survived on merely gigs alone. From weddings to reoccurring bar gigs I was kept busy and loving it. Nothing better than providing an ambiance that causes people to sing, dance, and enjoy themselves. Since moving to Berkeley I haven’t had any gigs because I didn’t bring my equipment with me. I don’t have any room in my apartment or a vehicle to haul it to gigs. I might get a more compact setup so I can pick up gigs in the city, but I don’t know how saturated the DJ scene is in the Bay.
 
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9. Rock and Rolla. Well I brought the guitar to the city only to see it sit untuned and unused in the corner. I still planning on some day being able to play a few songs around the camp fire. Some day. Kumbaya anyone?
 
10. That damn scrapbook. Still not any closer. I still don’t know how people do it. I should just stick to my digital ones. I’ve made many on Shutterfly.com, but for some reason outside the digital realm I have yet to dive into the glue stick and craft paper world.
 
11. Be less pretentious.  Um I’m pretty sure that I’ve gotten better at this. Life has an odd way of humbling you.
 
12. Healthy hip. Same shit different day. Still hurts. Still no tennis or any fun. I think I know what my injury is now though. Anyone heard of Iliopsoas? Well if you are a Dr. or know someone who can help please let me know. 
 
13. Blog twice a month. Now that I have a new website I’m even more motivated.
 
I know have 3 more months to finish off this list. Have a 6-pack by Christmas? No problem. Now what did I do with that pumpkin bread?
 

Tahoe

September 23, 2014

Vacation. Freedom. Perfection. So I quit my job 2 days before I went on vacation with my boyfriend’s family for 8 days in Tahoe. I was pretty nervous leading up to this moment. I was scared about quitting my job and not having a stable source of income. As stable as minimum wage part-time job could be. I was excited to be free from a life as a useless clog. I wanted to pursue my dreams even if I wasn’t sure what they were. I know the life of being an artist is scary and unknown, but it can’t be worse than wasting it away doing something meaningless. As I drove home from that job for the last time the song that happen to be playing in my car was “Fuck You” by Lily Allen. It was perfect. I definitely had moments I wanted to say this to my superiors. To finish off the night my boyfriend treated me to a nice dinner to celebrate.

The next day I went to yoga ready to face my new life. I then met my family for a German breakfast (fresh bread, cheese, salami) at Starbucks, another quitting celebration. My family hates me squandering my dreams as much as I do. After that I had an amazing massage. This whole not working thing was feeling pretty good so far. The next stress was dropping off equipment for this psycho DJ I was renting from. Hellish ordeal. When I finally made it to Mt. Shasta and delivered his stuff I was officially free from any ties. No more stress. Well none of that kind. I work for myself now. The only person who is going to undermine and devalue me will be yours truly.
 

Since my boyfriend and puppy came with me we capitalized on the beauty of Mt. Shasta and took a wonderful hike around Lake Siskiyou. I promised my boyfriend that I would buy him pizza at this nice restaurant for all his help. We left tired, sleepy Viva in the car. Don’t worry it was pretty cool and we left her plenty of water. We had a great dinner and then headed home to finish packing for Tahoe. If life continued to go this smoothly the tension in my hip may finally leave. Well the smoothness didn’t last long.

 

As we were packing the car it started to get a little frantic and there was an “accident”. My boyfriend has this way of picking me up and throwing me over his shoulder when we are getting irritated with each other. It’s his way of saying this is stupid, calm down. It almost always works. This was one of the rare occasions that it had the opposite effect. Right after he picked me up I felt him stumble. Then in slow motion he tripped and I hit head first on the dirt with him falling on top of my shoulders. My head felt like it exploded.  It was like my brain was trying to escape from my skull. I was covered in dirt, stickers, and dry leaves. The (ex)boyfriend immediately tried to help me, but it was one of those don’t touch me give me a moment falls. I was pissed, frustrated. Here I was about to hit the road to a wonderful vacation and all my hopes and dreams were crashing down, literally. Boom. I had a huge scrape on my shoulder and some bruises forming on my legs leading down to a scrape on my foot. I know he felt awful. I know it was an accident. I was mad at him, but not the screaming you’re an idiot mad. It was I know you didn’t mean to, but I’m in a lot of pain now because of you mad. I knew I would get over it as soon as my head quit spinning and he did enough graveling. After I cleaned up I said let’s just hit the road. He was desperately trying to find a way to make it up to me. There was nothing to be done. If I was smarter I would have milked it, but being silent seemed all I wanted. So we drove 3 hours without hardly speaking. That last hour I was finally able to say you don’t need to apologize any more I forgive you. Well actually I said “if I ever complain about pain you can apologize again, but till then save it”. When we pulled into house we were back to our old goofy jokes. The first thing I did was grab a Mikes and lay down. Gabe (I was tired of writing boyfriend) got all the luggage and made sure I was all situated. Now I’m milking it. I get a massage out it as well. As the week continued I only brought it up when I needed some anti-bacteria rubbed on my shoulder. Just a daily reminder to gravel.

The rest of the trip was amazing. It was just what I need after working in hell for way too long. We played tennis, went hiking, the beach, kayaking, exploring, eating, cooking, drinking, everything you could imagine from a perfect vacation. The family has each couple cook one night out of the week. So when it is your day to cook half your day is spent at the only grocery store in town, food preparation, cooking, and cleaning. As long as you give yourself plenty of time it is still a very relaxing and enjoyable day. For our day we made calzone as the appetizer, Greek salad, baked beans, pulglisee bread, and salmon. I think we won best meal that week. 

To finish off the week we rented jet skis for an hour to ride around on the lake. We took turns trying to terrify the person on the back. It seemed like the perfect end to the week. Well until I took a big jump off a wake and landed the front end on another big wake causing me to lunge forward and slam my big toe on the foot stand. I wasn’t sure if I broke it, but I did hear it pop. I lost my jet-ski driving privileges, but continued to enjoy the ride for our last 5 minutes. By the time we got home it was purple and I continued to ice it the rest of the night. Luckily, it didn’t hurt as bad as it looked so I wasn’t prevented from enjoying a short hike the next day.

When it was finally time to leave I was somber. We hurriedly got on the road and 30 minutes out I was in tears. I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t have anything to go back to. I didn’t have a job. I didn’t have any idea what I was going to do next. The vacation had delayed the harsh reality that while I wasn’t a slave at one corporation I was still a slave to the unknown. Gabe was nice enough to drive us back to Tahoe so I could delay reality one for one more day. We then took the scenic route through Reno or Lassen Park home. We made a pit stop for lunch in Reno, but it was far from scenic. I don’t want to know what kind of people that town attracts.

We arrived home in the late afternoon to our hyperactive puppy. The first thing she did was grab the car keys from the lanyard hanging in Gabe’s pocket and took off running. She continued to play keep away for another 10 minutes until she finally rolled over for some tummy rubbing. I wish that we could take her with us on every vacation. I guess coming home had it’s perks. I’m so thankful that I dated my way into an awesome family that lets me join them on their vacation. I can’t wait for next year. I guess till then I better get to work so it’s as equally rewarding.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

April 23, 2014
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Serves 5
A delicious drop cookie
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Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
1288 calories
155 g
172 g
74 g
16 g
38 g
282 g
778 g
99 g
1 g
32 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
282g
Servings
5
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1288
Calories from Fat 635
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 74g
113%
Saturated Fat 38g
189%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 26g
Cholesterol 172mg
57%
Sodium 778mg
32%
Total Carbohydrates 155g
52%
Dietary Fiber 8g
32%
Sugars 99g
Protein 16g
Vitamin A
25%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
10%
Iron
24%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  5. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  6. 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 2 large eggs
  9. 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HO-- USE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  10. 1 cup chopped nuts
Instructions
  1. PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
  2. COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.
SLICE AND BAKE COOKIE VARIATION
  1. PREPARE dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.
  2. * May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks.
  3. FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes.
beta
calories
1288
fat
74g
protein
16g
carbs
155g
more
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
FOXY & THE HOUND http://foxyandthehound.com/

XnoMAS

January 14, 2014

Christmas. Oh that beautiful two-edged sword. So magical and warm, yet comes with the sting of family drama, stress, broke bank account, and let’s not forget the inevitable weight gain. These hardships have converted me to the naughty listed side. No more spending months finding and putting together the perfect gifts. No more staying up till 3am to make amazing treats and desserts. No more spending hours decorating a beautiful live tree. No Xmas. 

Come next Christmas everyone will be lucky to get one gift. And it won’t be a meaningful hand-made gift that spent hours creating. It will be store bought, with the gift receipt included. Forget that. Just gift cards. Target gift cards for everyone. I will not be making white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies, or dark chocolate orange French macaroons, or cute reindeer hot chocolate packets with homemade peppermint marshmallows. Everyone can have one Hershey’s kiss. The normal kind, not the cute red and white ones that come out during the holidays. Next year I’m not going to decorate a Douglas Fir tree with festive lights, coordinated ornaments, and tinsel. Charlie Brown’s tree will look like it belongs in a Macy’s day parade compared to the branch I’ll bring home that I’ve found in the parking lot of Home Depot. My friends won’t need to check their mail for a Christmas cards because instead of cute self-designed cards I’ll just send a mass text… “To Everyone: Bah Humbug”. What will I be bringing to the holiday feast? Well not a homemade Gingerbread Eggnog Pumpkin Pie like last year. (oh and I made the gingerbread crust from scratch) 

Instead of slaving away in the kitchen I’ll be swinging by 7eleven to pick up some ice… and maybe milk. I don’t know why we never have enough milk.

Why you might ask am I going from Cindy Lou Who to The Grinch? Well because I’m tired of ruining my holidays stressing myself out by doing everything I can to create the perfect Christmas. I’m tired of putting out so much effort for gifts that are either under appreciated or reciprocated with a big nothing…. I mean even naughty kids get coal. So I’m exorcising my holiday spirit for some good ol’ fashion me time next Christmas up into the mountains to veg on store-bought goodies. Ew that’s a lie I’ll stick bake my way to death.

Now to be honest I don’t want to give up on my holiday festivities, but I can’t survive another year acting like Santa’s Superhero Elf. Movie idea? You heard it here first. I want to enjoy the holidays stress free. Stress is just part of the holidays you say, chill out you say, it’s just Christmas. Well you probably are the person who shops last-minute, brings carrot cake to a party, and then drinks too much spiked eggnog leaving your friends and family having to drive you home. So rude. ***So what am I to do? How do I enjoy the holidays without overdoing it? How can I tone down my stress without killing Buddy the Elf inside? Damn you Pinterest! 

Before I let lil Timmy freeze in the cold as I microwave my turkey dinner I must first brag about how awesome my last Christmas adventure was… by that I mean how awesome I was. I’d like to start it off by saying that I did wait till after Thanksgiving to get my tree; even though it was a late Thanksgiving this year. When the tree was up I quickly realized that the lights I bought at a thrift store didn’t hold out like I expected so I guilted my boyfriend into a late night run to target. I must mention that he continued to buy lights to go around the inside of our place. By the end of the night our tree looked magical. Gabe even bought a nice expensive tree topper to finish it off.

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Later that week I put icicle lights around our living room, dressed up like an elf (sexy elf if I must say), made hot chocolate, tried to teach our dog to sit and stay with her Rudolf nose and antlers on, and set out my boyfriend’s Santa costume. When he came home he was pleasantly (phew) surprised and excited to take pictures for our Christmas card. Only two hours later after story-boarding, taking hundreds of pix, giving Rudog too many treats, were our pictures perfect. 

Serious best Christmas cards you’d ever seen. We even made a nice version of the card because our card could be considered a little scandalous based on the Elf code of conduct (featured in section 231 paragraph 4 line 27, which states that no elf shall fraternize with Santa in any way, including hugging, holding hands, and definitely not sitting on Santa’s lap…  or anything else that happened afterwards) Bad Santa. 

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The next week I then proceeded to find all the Christmas Market,
“Weinnachtsmarkt” as the German’s would say in the East Bay. I was able to find some amazing non-refundable gifts, but mostly just sightseeing and awesome food. This one place called the Crucible was incredible. They featured almost every kind of art medium; from woodwork, ceramics, glass blowing, welding, leather works. It was so cool to be around creative people who made unique items that were too expensive to risk buying them as a non-returnable gift.

Now if I give up everything holiday related I would still have to keep this one thing: The Charles Dickens Christmas Fair. I found this fair online about two months before Christmas and I convinced my mom to join me when she visited in December. I didn’t know exactly what it would be like other than it was a Christmas Market with a Victorian theme. Well when we arrived I felt like we had stepped into another era during the happiest time of the year. Everyone… and I mean 70 percent of the people were dressed up in the traditional garb. You walked in the door and it smelled of roasting chestnuts and the sounds of old Christmas tunes along with silly accents and laughing filled the room. There were all different kinds of shops from corsets fitting, to elaborate masks, crowns, hats, and beautiful dresses and suits. As we walked through this new old world there were all kinds of shows going on throughout the day. There was the sing-a-long with the sailors, burlesque dancers, ballrooms dancing, Christmas Carol play, plus everything you could have imagined and more… so much more. Next year my mom and I and hopefully some more family members are gonna go as burlesque girls. If you decide to go try not to go too close to Christmas. It was all good fun, but there were way too many people.

 

So next on the Christmas agenda was to finish making and buying my gifts. My goal was to come home with all my gifts wrapped and ready for under the tree delivery. Of course, that never happened because some people are too damn hard to shop for and I was tired of using target paper bags as wrapping paper (my mom just has way too much every year. So why waste money?). Now before I tell you about the thoughtful creative gifts I got I first need to quote the wonderful, smart, funny fictional character Leslie Knope from “Parks and Rec” to encompass how I feel about gift giving 

Giving Christmas gifts is like a sport to me, finding or making the perfect something.  It’s also like a sport to me because I always win.”   

When I heard this I thought that is exactly how I feel. However, this is the end of the quote which has never applied to me.  “This year, though?  My friends won.  In fact, I got my ass handed to me.”  

This year my best gift would have to be the photo books I made my mom and boyfriend. I made my boyfriend’s gift in October before I moved in with him in November. My mom’s book was of our trip to Italy and Greece a couple years back. Unfortunately, my hard drive power cable broke so I had to hurry and transfer all the pictures in 15 second intervals to my desk top because it kept crashing. I ordered a new cable, but it was late and I had to get the rest of the pictures off Facebook in order to finish the book in time. Other than the misspelling of Zurick I mean Zurich on the first page it was a success. Here you can take a look at the awesomeness I have created. I didn’t get any tears like I did when I made my sister’s book, but… well no but…. I want my damn tears. 

 

 

Click here to view this photo book larger

On to the next one. So for my sister I made a silk screen in my printmaking class. It took me forever to do the 4 color print. It also too forever to find the perfect frame. I actually drove 50 minutes into another city to pick it up the last frame around… I mean I was heading there to pick up my sister from the airport, but still the agony. I even traded one of my art pieces for a lipstick silkscreen a girl in my class did that went perfect with my sister’s gift. Sometimes I give gifts that I wish I had kept for myself. Or maybe I end up wanting to keep them because they end up being the best gifts. If every year we had white elephant gift exchanges I’d always pick my gift. 

Next up is my dad. Now my dad, like most dads, is the most difficult to shop for. He is the simple don’t need anything kinda dad. I mean I have got him some excellent gifts, but he doesn’t always use them. One year I got him a flying lesson. Never used it. Good for one train ride. Never took me up on it. Fishing license 2 years in a row. Happy safe fishes. So this year I stuck with something simply, but classy. He got a new motorcycle shop so I got him a motorcycle decal to put on the wall. Simple. My mom gave me her copper ware that her and dad got as a wedding present 30 years ago. He complained about seeing it go even though they never used it so I got him a nice copper mug with a brass handle. Classy. Also, he is a foodie so I got him so nice olive oil and vinegar kit from a local olive orchard company. Simple and classy. 

Now for the in-laws. For Gabe’s mom we put pictures in a cute frame. For his sis I got her some lotion and a candle. Safe bets. Her fiance we got beers around the world. For my sister’s husband I found these neat coke bottles turned into glasses. He loves cream soda so I got him one made from a cream soda bottle. 

Now for the boyfriend. We decided that we would do events instead of gifts. So we did a Cosmic run in Candlestick Park, which was so much crazy fun. Then we went to Not So Silent Night and saw Phoenix, Alt-J, Lorde, Arcade Fire, Bastille, and The Neighborhood perform, which was eargasmic. Our favorite was Phoenix. If you can you must see them perform. 

 

We decided that we were still going to give each other little gifts. I gave Gabe a photo book of 2012 for our anniversary and then some small gifts for Christmas like a Swiss Army pocket knife and a Frisbee that lights up at night… small, but awesome gifts. I won’t tell you want he got me because then you will resent him forever. He is slowly redeeming himself. This could be a major reason why I’m cutting back next year. Or cutting him out of my life… it’s kind of a toss up right now. I mean what has Christmas ever done to me. Why am I punishing Christmas? 

 

Now Christmas is more than what you can just give… but you know that awesome getting presents thing is pretty cool as well. My obsession with giving gifts is from my mom. She always goes big on Christmas. She has a whole shed designated for Christmas decorations. Most years we run out of time to put them all up. We have to be pretty cheerful to attempt the Christmas curtain. Yep they exist and she made them herself. This year my mom asked me exactly what I wanted. Usually everyone just guesses and tends to get it right. I’m not that picky, but I did tell everyone that I did not want clothes or anything fashion related, not because they don’t pick out awesome threads, but because my tiny closet can’t handle anymore cotton intruders.

What I did get was way more thoughtful than skinny jeans. My mom got Gabe and I tickets to see Cirque Du Soliel Amaluna show in S.F. It was jaw-dropping. I can’t believe what the human body is capable of. She also gave us money to renew our passport and a snazzy wallet to put it in. I’m big into fitness so I also got a Garmin watch that has a GPS. 

My sister got me a gift certificate to a tattoo parlor to get sister tattoos. I know it is drastic and I was pretty shocked myself, which unfortunately, took away some of the joy from her face, but I loved it. It was thoughtful and we had talked about doing sister tattoos a long time ago. We will eventually get them, but ink free skin is a little nervous. I mean I can’t handle buying shampoos in big bottles in case I don’t like them. Maybe we will start with temporary ones. 

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To Infinity: And Beyond    

My dad always gets the most unique gifts. Last year I got an old Coca Cola ice chest. This year I got a vintage food storage that you use for camping. I also got lots more of useful and delightful gifts from mine and Gabe’s family. I mean who doesn’t love Starbucks gift cards. Set for the next 2 months.

Next up. The treats. Oh those amazing delicious goodies. Well for the past couple years Gabe and I have given the gift of gluten and diabetes to our friends and family. We finally narrowed it down to 4 holiday decadents. Chocolate chip cookies, white chocolate chip macadamia nuts, cake pops, and hot chocolate reindeer with homemade peppermint marshmallows. We had made the cookie batter two nights before we left home for his families holiday gathering, but left everything else till the night before. However, the day before we left I had work in the city and he agreed to meet me in the city for a Union Square Christmas Tree viewing and a pizza dinner. By the time we got home it was 9:30pm and we had lots of work to do. We blasted Frank Sinatra till Gabe couldn’t take it and it was so late that we needed something with more of a beat to keep us awake. At midnight we had finished all the cookies, and were half-way through the cake pops. 

Luckily, one of us had packed earlier in the week. Moi. Next on the list was the hot chocolate reindeer whose damn red noses wouldn’t stay glued on. By 1am we had scratched making the marshmallows until another day. We went to bed at 3am exhausted, but exhilarated.  We woke up 2.5 hours later at 5:30am to pack the car and our dog and head home for the holidays. Well not before we left some cake pops and a note for all the neighbors on our street. An hour from the Christmas party Gabe’s grandparents called to tell him that the party has been pushed back on hour. We get an amazing nap so we were able to enjoy the next 8 hours with his family. I mean a nap and alcohol made that possible. 

I think that might be one of my favorite Christmas memories. Looking back I had a lot of amazing memories. I was stressful, but fun and I think I wouldn’t change a thing. I mean I could definitely buy and make less presents, but everything else was so much fun. I love Christmas and I can’t wait to do it all again next year. Buddy is Back!

Bay to La

July 18, 2013

I just got back from the most amazing week ever.

  

This is how it started. I was dreading a wedding I had to attend. I mean weddings already aren’t my cup of tea, but the real reason was because it was so far away. It was either 9 hours of driving or an expensive flight plus 6 hours of driving. Either way I was going to be out $200-$300. So after a long search for cheap flights, I came up with a far fetched idea. Instead of driving 3 hours to fly 2 hours there and back, I figured why not make an adventure of it. The plan I concocted was to go to Berkeley for another apartment hunt (that is a story in itself), then camp down the coast till I reach LA where the wedding was held. Now my boyfriend thought this sounded ummm… inconvenient. However, after some major convincing and manipulation and offering to pay for the gas, he finally agreed to go. We found some places to check out in the city on Sunday, which was a week from the wedding. It was a little longer than I planned we would be gone, but when you are desperate for a place you will go whenever you get a response and appointment.

After checking out some travel books from the library (Best Hikes with Dogs: Southern California, Fodor’s California Guide, and Back Roads California), borrowing camping equipment from a friend, and researching dog friendly camping sites, we were ready to go. The plan was to leave Sunday to look at two apartments Sunday evening, then either start camping Monday or Tuesday. We decided to not reserve any campsites till Wednesday night in case we found any other apartments to check out or, if by the grace of God, we got to sign a lease. After we packed the car Sunday, we got an email from one of the two places we were looking at, letting us know they already found someone else. Not the best way to start our trip. We drive to Berkeley to look at one place. On the drive, I emailed some listings and got a few more apartment viewings set up. We also ended up meeting up with a girl that was on the same hunt as us. She was awesome, but she also had a dog and the chances of finding a place that allowed two dogs was slim. Nothing seemed to be going right.

Monday started off in a huge fight that almost ended our trip and possibly more. After we resolved the issue, we took a break to fly a kite at Cesar Chavez Dog Park. It ended up being the perfect mood lifter. Neither of us had a flown a kite in years and it was much harder and entertaining than we remembered. Viva wasn’t a big fan of the flying kite monster, but that just made it more entertaining.

 
 
 
 
  
 
 

In the evening, as we were waiting for an open house, we got an email that a landlord was showing the place right then and we could come over and check it out. We hurry over to this apartment to meet an elderly lady who had a two story apartment and a basement that she had transformed into another apartment. The apartment was a little dark, naturally for a basement, but it had plenty of room and a yard! The lady offered us this “kale ice cream” she was proud of creating. I thought it was much better than any kale dish I had made, as for Gabe he was at least smart enough to smile and finish the bowl. Once we left, we went back to the open house. It was swamped with other potential tenants that were all kinds of obnoxious bragging about getting their doctorate degree and the lemon tree they were gonna improve the backyard with when they moved in. Pshhh is your PhD for ass kissing?

Wednesday we checked out an amazing place that was just adorable. It had a teal and red interior paint job and a front yard. Since we had nothing left set up to view, I searched for a nearby campsite. If we stayed close to the area we could come back into the city if we got any responses. I noticed a park to the east of Oakland; so, we headed there for the night. We quickly realized that camping near the city is not the same as camping up North (Redding). We get to East Bay Regional Park campsite and notice that camping here won’t be private or serene. We set up the tent which luckily was quite easy because we lost all our energy on a hike. We then proceeded to make dinner. Gabe had the duty of building a fire, and mine was to fix the meal. They both took the same amount of time. It was an amazing dinner with steak, corn, squash, and beans. True foodies.

 
  
 

The next morning was the iconic blueberry pancakes just like my grandma used to make. Well, other than I bought the mix from a cute bakery in Berkeley. We then proceeded to pack up the car. I had tent tear down duty, which was not nearly as easy as set up. The tent had to fit in a 2ft x 6in bag. After rolling and unrolling the tent 5 times because it was either too long or too short and bulky I decided to hand the job over to Gabe who proceeded 10 more times before we gave up and threw it in the trunk.

Since we didn’t have any emails from landlords we proceeded on our way down the coast. Next stop Morro Bay.

 
 
 

Now, my sister was in Morro Bay recently during her honeymoon and she insisted that we visit the place. Since we brought our lovely pooch, we had to be aware that not all beaches were furry friends friendly. Thanks to a local’s recommendation, we found a beach, North Point Natural Area, where our dog could roam and experience the ocean for the first time. It was so much fun to watch her charge into the water and run away from the oncoming waves. Then she rolled her wet self in the sand and immediately we regretted bringing this selfish bitch.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By the time we hit the road again, it had gotten a little late. We decided to try out a Mexican restaurant my sis recommended, Taco Temple. After a 40 minute wait and a quick run to the store to buy breakfast supplies we shared a ginormous burrito. It was delish and satisfied even my wallet, 8 bucks for the both of us!
 
 
By the time we got to Morro Bay State Park it was around 7:30. We drove onto what looked like a Best Buy on Black Friday. The tents were set up on a parking lot that had some sand thrown on it. There wasn’t any privacy or nature in the whole place. We were pissed. Do people really consider this camping? Luckily, we had already ate because this place wasn’t worth the firewood… well except for making hot chocolate. On the upside, we were close enough to the ocean that we ran across a golf course to catch an amazing sunset. Worth it? Shmunset… I want to camp dammit!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

That night, Viva reeked from whatever dead sea creature she rolled in at the beach. I drug her into my shower and after we got cleaned up we hit the sack. Viva always insists on being in the middle and under the covers. I’m not the spooning type; so, it’s fine with me.  That and I felt bad because she was still shivering from her traumatizing shower. By 7am we could hear kids screaming and diesel trucks driving close to our heads. We were over that place. We packed up quickly… well that damn tent won’t just go in its home… “You too good for your home?!!” We made a pit stop at Morro Rock, which used to be a Volcano or something before heading to Santa Barbara.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sitting in the car checking our email for the umpteenth time, I notice that I have a missed called and a new email.

“Hello Gabe and Amy,
After meeting with many amazing couples it was very hard to pick one. (another rejection is what I thought) I have decided I would like you guys to live in my apartment.”

I was hysterical with excitement. “Oh my God… oh my God. Gabe! Gabe… we got a place!! We got the place that was our first pick!!!” Right then I get another call from the same number. It was the landlord lady making sure we still wanted the place…. I’m thinking, “Calm down. Don’t sound crazy. Don’t blow this.” Breathe. “Yes Bev, we are so happy you picked us. Thank you so much. Yes we will be back in Berkeley Monday to sign the lease. Thank you.”

Ahhhhhh. The hunt was finally over. The floodgates open which allowed a carefree adventure to begin. We were so excited and relieved. I was so elated I didn’t care where we were going next.  If we hadn’t found a place by the end of the week, we were going to have to forgo a yard and then forgo bringing Viva. Weight lifted. Back to our now stress-free trip.

Luckily, the further south you go the more dog friendly it was… must be the weather. So, we end up on another dog beach, Arroyo Burro Beach Park. Right side of the beach was on-leash, left was off-leash. To the left, to the left. Since the water was warm enough to wade in, we dragged our poor pup out past the waves. She calmed down when she no longer saw white water.  I wonder what parents feel like watching their kids experience new things? I mean it can’t compare to mine because there was no crying or screaming… just a few adorable whimpers. She then surfed the wave back to shore and wouldn’t let us near her the rest of the time. Then she embarrassed us by spraying the burrito we fed her all over the beach. We had doggie bags, but there was nothing solid to pick up… TMI? Well, Gabe picked out a rock that he deemed to be the most naughty and punished it by placing it over the mess. On to the next one.

We then grabbed Viva some real dog food and some more doggie bags. We wanted to have a lavish meal to celebrate our housing success, but realized we are even more on a budget now. So we just got chicken, shrimp, veggies, beans, bread, fresh pineapple… you know the bare essentials. Poor or not, we are still foodies. We arrived at the El Capitan State Beach which had the correct human to tree ratio. Moments after we arrived, our neighbor informed us that the previous couple had a dog that got sprayed by a skunk. Well at least this meant we aren’t camping in a Walmart parking lot any more.

 
 
 
 

Even though the campsite allowed dogs, the beach fifty yards away didn’t. Can you believe that? What is a dog gonna do to ruin a beach? Hey, normally we don’t give her burritos. That was just bad luck. Dogs bring so much joy and to deny them the beach is tragic. One hour later we were drinking hot chocolate and Viva took off barking at something. By the glean of our lantern I saw black and a white stripe. Nooooooo!!!! VIVA!!! VIVA!!! Oh noooo… the smell.

Me and Gabe’s response:

“Gabe grab her!”
“You grab her!”
“Feel if she got sprayed”
“You feel if she got sprayed. ”

We really are a loving selfless couple. It didn’t seem like she got sprayed, but it was hard to tell because everything smelled like skunk. I figured if she got sprayed, I couldn’t stick my nose in her coat and sniff away. So close. Too close. We leashed her up. I know what you are thinking, “You didn’t have her leashed before?” We are over-confident parents. More like over-confident people which results in thinking we have the best dog ever. Reality slap in the nostrils. Leashed and next to us three more skunks still came to our site. We yelled, threw oaks balls, but nothing seemed to deter these demons. I think our site was on a skunk family farm. What other creatures that small and herbivorous causes so much fear in humans? I will do anything to avoid them, but why do they have to be so cute?

By the morning we are skunk free. We take our time in the morning to soak up the last of our camping experience. After another delicious breakfast, we packed up. On the last and final day, we were able to squeeze the huge tent into it’s tiny home. What a feeling of success. We conquered camping. Man make fire. (wo)Man take down tent. Huhaha. Beat on chest. Ouch that hurts. Rub girls and apologize.

LA Bound! Now that camping is over we could arrive, however late we wanted, and not worry about leaving anywhere before noon checkout. We decide to take the Highway 1 through Malibu because it’s beautiful and there was a hiking trail, Zuma Canyon, that was designed to tire our fury friend. Well this empty trail was on a 45 degree incline for 45 minutes and we didn’t bring any water except maybe one cup. The view was far from worth it. The best part was knowing that I would lack any guilt in having pizza later. What’s better than guilt free pizza?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our hiking delay put us back on the road directly in 5pm LA traffic. Awesome… pizza I’m coming. We arrived at Gabe’s sister’s place in Seal Beach at 7:30 and by 8:30 we have acclimated her new pup, Emmy, and our dog, taken a much needed shower, and hit the road for BJ’s amazing deep dish pizza. My sis and her man mix up directions and arrived a little later setting back our eating time till 10pm. By then my guilt free pizza experience was closer to that of a euphoric drug than carb and cheese binge.

11:30pm pass out.

Next day. Guess what we did…? come on. If you have made it this far you should know. I’ll wait. Come on guess. Please just guess. Ugh you are no fun. We went to a dog beach. Now, don’t you feel silly you didn’t get it? This one was in Huntington and no library book was required to discover it. This one was packed. It was a dog cluster. Just so you know the beach looked like all the other beaches in So Cal. Dogs hadn’t ruined it. It didn’t stink. There weren’t dead sea lions due to dog contamination. People were still laughing and having a good time. I think people were happier here than at other beaches. They were here with a purpose other than tanning and checking out the opposite sex. Or maybe people who take the time to make sure their pets are happy are just better selfless, easy going people. It’s worth looking into.

 
 
 
 
 

We spent the rest of the evening lounging, which is something I normally struggle with. Now, I’m not a fan of board games either, but Gabe convinced the group to play Smart Ass. This is a game I play every day; so, of course, I win. However, when it got to betting time my team lost and it cost me clean up duties after our BBQ. Did I forget to mention we BBQ’d again. If only I was on the Paleo diet. Speaking of diet I would now like to mention that I only got Starbucks once on our whole trip… Yep. Also, I had 5 green smoothies/juices. I’ve very proud of my self control. Never mind there was a Keurig nearby. Proud.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Dog beach. Yep for the last time. Viva was finally getting used to the waves. The water was perfect and the waves were small. Even Emmy was slowly approaching the water.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We were having so much fun that when I finally checked the time it was 3:45. I had a wedding to attend at 5pm that was 45 minutes away. Gabe, Run! Sprinting in my swimsuit and flip flops with Viva in the lead we made it back to the house at 4. Ready and out the door at 4:25. Arrived at wedding at 5:05. Phew. I almost forgot about the reason for this whole trip. My friend’s wedding was in the Fullerton Arboretum which was gorgeous. After the ceremony and dinner I prepped myself for my favorite part of a wedding… Dancing! Well all the champagne in the world wouldn’t make me go out and attempt to salsa with the experts. I underestimated how Salsa inspired the wedding would be. The wedding couple met at a Salsa club and attend competitions and it appeared that is how they met most of their guests. The DJ gave us white salsa rejects some Daft Punk and Gangum Style to dance to while the Latin dance crew took a break. Oh well. I’m going to only play twerking songs at my wedding. So everyone start taking lessons now.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

It is now Monday and time to head back to Berkeley to sign our lease. We make a pit stop for lunch to meet up with my Sis again. I hate coming to LA and not going out to dance…. if only we salsa’d then she could have been my wedding guest…. 2 birds. 1 stone. Next time.

Berkeley why are you so cold? Too late now. We sign the lease after a little misunderstanding. The landlord thought we were moving in that day. Weird I know. I mean who packs up their stuff before signing the lease and checking out the place again? Well if I was moving to NYC I would. August 1 is our move in day. The place is pretty dark and will need some work, but we love it and are so happy to have a place. We even enjoy the landlord. She is a funky old lady that critiques Latin American children’s book for cultural relevance and racism. Yep there is a job for that. She did tell us about this amazing satire of the book Goodnight Moon called Go The Fk to Sleep. Hilarious.

  
 
The book reading by Samuel L. Jackson
 
 
 
 
 
 

 11:30pm we arrive in Benicia where we will crash before heading home in the morning. Did I say morning? I meant noon. On the way back the heat temperature rose and we (me) planned our move and reminisced about our amazing trip. I reminded Gabe about having to convince him to come and what a foolish man he can be sometimes. Time for these fools to rush in.

Hairspiration

March 1, 2013

So I have a hair appointment tomorrow. It’s getting that time to change it up. Now I’ve been wanting to grow my hair out for some time, but it just never seems to make it past my shoulders before I get the itch to whack it all off… must be the hot summers here.  Now before you give me any opinions let me please fill you in on the hair style I’ve already rocked… in chronological order.
 

1. 2. 3.4. 5.6. 7.8.9.10. 11.12. 13.14.15.16.17.
 
18.
Photo on 2009-12-18 at 19.43
 
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IMG_0180
20.
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22.
download
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24. IMG_1456
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IMG_1747
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So what shall I do next? 
 

Resolutions

January 31, 2013

2013 is going to be my year. A great year. I’m going to make sure of it. First step is to finally complete my resolutions. No more looking back at my previous resolutions to realize that over last 5 years nothing has gotten crossed off the list. So this year I am creating a system to keep myself accountable. I’ll make it public. So that means you… mom. Hi.Thanks for reading. And to anybody else that stumbles onto my blog.

So here is the list… hmmm I don’t like the word list. Sounds so temporary. Here is the 2013 commandments of Amy’s resolutions. Way more official. Nothing like more commandments that I can feel guilty for breaking.

1. Six-pack baby. 
I’ve always wanted one. I’ve come close a couple of times, 4-pack, if I had the flu. I know this seems like a shallow goal that doesn’t have any real benefits, but how is it any different than wanting to do other shallow thing. Ok so judge me… and my soon to be beautiful abs. I’ve been active my whole life so it’s time to take it to the next level. 

 2. Parlez-vous Francais. 
I took French in High school and a little bit recently, but since I want to live in France some day I should commit to learning the language. I just wish that darn Rosetta Stone software wasn’t so expensive. If you speak French or know someone who does please write to me in Francais and I’ll do my best not to insult the beauty of the language. Parlez-vous huma huma? I just couldn’t resist.


3. Rock and roller.  

 Learn to play the guitar even if it’s only a couple songs, good songs, not like happy birthday or Jingle Bells. I figure that if I practice at least 10 minutes each day I should be able to learn a couple songs each month. 10 minutes. That’s about the time I take to shower. Well that’s 7 minutes, but that’s not even worth tuning the guitar.

Joan Jett

4. GoDaddy.  

I created a cheap free website (my site) that has sufficed, but now I want something that has all my content without some long cheesy web URL and ads attached to it. I’m thinking either Joomla or Drupal as my CMS (content management system). Nerdy I know. Anyone have any recommendations?
This is what I want my website to look like. Seriously if you haven’t seen this site it’s amazing.

JimCarry’s Website
But something like these might be a little more realistic
http://fabiominduim.com.br/

5. Blog.
Well I can check this one of the list. Just 2 good blogs a month. Something that requires research, thought, and humor, not just my rantings. Even thought my ranting can be quite entertaining unless you are the reason for my rant. Here are few nice blogs I enjoy. 
http://www.wanderingearl.com/blog/

http://www.designsponge.com/ 

6. Healthy Hip. 
This is actually my number one priority, but there isn’t much I can do that I’m not already doing. Once I hear back from UC Davis I will head down there for another diagnosis. I just wish someone knew what was wrong and I would do whatever it took to fix it. In the mean time I’ll just pray.

7. Dear God.
Speaking of prayers and all that religious stuff. Next on my list is to read the Bible. The whole thing. Now as a Christian I should have done this by now. I guess I just worry about what I’ll find and if it will make my feminist heart cringe. If anyone has a feminist Bible I’d love to read that. Something that puts the injustice to women in some kind of context so I don’t view God as a misogynist. Also, I’m getting paid by an Atheist $150 to read it. Don’t ask. 

8. Live wholistically. 

Now this doesn’t mean become a Buddhist hippy on a RAW food diet… as lovely as that sounds, “Wholistic refers to the whole, a whole item or whole body of a person or thing. The word defines the consideration of the entire structure or makeup, which

includes the body, mind and the spirit in the case of a human being.” Since I’ve hurt my hip I’ve learned that your body needs more attention than just what you see on the outside. I need to take vitamins and minerals and be conscious of what I’m putting into my body. Now while organic food is expensive I know I can cut back on some things in order to get my body in good health. Less sugar, soda, dairy. More greens. I hate kale with a passion, but I’ve gotta get those lively foods into my system daily. Groan.

9. DJ Vive (VeeVah). 
Pretentious I know. When people find out I’m a DJ they always assume I must be like Deadmau5. Nope. I’m an event DJ. I play the songs you want to hear. I don’t mash up good music to crazy rave beats that make you want to take drugs. I enjoy getting people to dance not use glow sticks. However, it is my desire to be skilled in beat matching and mixing. I don’t have all the software I would need, but I’m ready to learn. While I don’t aspire to be the next Skrillex I wouldn’t mind partying it up with Nervo. Not because I love their mashups, but because they look so cool doing it.

https://i1.wp.com/www.elektrodaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/nervo-cover-girls.png?resize=317%2C320

Nervo

11. Get Scrappy. 10. Work on not being pretentious. 

I’m no Martha Stewart, but damn I’ve always wanted to make one scrap book. In high school I bought stuff for this crafty project. It counted as an art credit. Now I’m heading toward the opposite spectrum; craft nights with the cat ladies. I just want to make one cutesy book about my memories in Europe. I’ve saved all the useless ticket stubs, train passes, museum pamphlets and the memories are constantly collecting dust in the recesses of my mind. Pretty soon I won’t even remember who were in the pictures. I just hate the thought of actually scrapping. Sounds so old, lame, girly, waste of time, but I don’t give a scrap.

12. Lights, camera, action.
It doesn’t have to be Lawrence of Arabia, but just a short film a month Anything about anything will do. I just need to get behind a camera and commit to editing the footage. Or tackle the hours of footage I already have. Just one a month. This month is almost up sooo I’ll start next month. 

http://paullanigan.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8344a4fbe53ef0133f410c5e1970b-pi

 13. You’ve got to Move It Move It!

I’ve been in Redding living with my parents for way too long. I keep thinking someone will discover my awesomeness and hire me on the spot for some crazy job traveling around the world. My only hesitation in moving is that I don’t feel like I’ve made my mark on this darn town. I’m still a small fish in a tiny pond. Well I wasn’t always small. I used to be the big Redding tennis star. Maybe I should have left it at that and never came back. Now if feels like I’m trying to recreate myself. I’ll have to talk to my therapist about that. I have about 6 months before my boyfriend leaves to complete his education. It’s not confirmed if I will follow, but I do love the thought of moving to S.F. I’ve always wanted to live in this amazing city.

https://i2.wp.com/mcmanuslab.ucsf.edu/sites/mcmanuslab.ucsf.edu/files/imagepicker/m/mmcmanus/san-francisco.jpg?resize=320%2C240

 13 resolutions is enough. It’s doable. Also, 13 is my favorite number and it matches the year. So if luck would have it all should go smoothly…. unfortunately luck is a conniving bitch who gives luck to people in my life that I can’t stand. Damn you luck! I said I was sorry. Anywho. This year is up to me. This time next year this list will be all checked off and I’ll finally have a new list of resolutions.

Friends shmends

January 17, 2013

A part of my 90 days plan to success one of my goals is to improve my social life. I can no longer avoid networking if I going to be putting my services out to the public. I’ve never been a huge socialite. I wouldn’t say I’m anti-social, but I wouldn’t say I’m social. I like the few friends I’ve made over my lifetime and don’t pursue finding any others. I think friends procure naturally. It is about your circumstances. Right now I don’t have any friends. I’d love to blame my circumstances, so I will. If I wasn’t living in the small minded sexist town I would be able to make friends. But due to circumstances I just don’t have any. I don’t really feel like I long for friends. Well yesterday I was talking to a friend, ok it was my counselor (aka paid pretend friend, which counts by the way) and mentioned my need to network and be social. I said I’m just not intrinsically motivated to interact with others and create relationships. My friend disagreed. She said everyone has a little intrinsic desire to have friends. Then I said jokingly, “ahhh I’m so lonely”. She just nodded. Whoa! What?! That shut me up. I did the uhhh pshhh uuughhh phssshhh squirm for a little while before I could regain my composure. Lonely?! Really?! I asked her, “Do I come off as some pathetic loser looking for friends?!” She replied, “That’s not what I said.” Then I got defensive. I tried to prove I was making an effort. Ok Ok. Well I did swing by my sister’s best friends birthday party before work, and not only because there was amazing food there and I was starving . After I stacked my plate I sat down into a bee swarm of menial conversation. Here is what the busy bees were saying.

1st bee: John is sooo cute with his new haircut.
2nd bee: Omg I know.
3rd bee: Ummm no guys, John is a dick. Remember he is a dick. (she obviously in love with him)
2nd bee: Oh ya he’s a major dick. Totally. (Doesn’t care as long as she is talking about boys)
1st bee: Uhhh ya. (not so secretly she still wants to bang John)
2nd bee: Omg I love this.
1st bee: What talking bad about people?
2nd bee: Uh ya. I mean no. Well ya a little.

I wanted shoot myself in the face… even though I definitely think the world could do without 3 dumb bees (haha I’m so funny. Friends… pshhh I entertain myself). This just justifies why I don’t need or want friends. Right? Luckily, I was only there for 20 minutes which included 4 more gossip convos I had to sit through. Who needs this shit?! Right. Well my “friend” said those aren’t the people you will become friends with. That’s all there seems to be in this town though. So I asked my friend if she had any friends, “You are young and professional do you have trouble finding female friends?” Well in college I had friends, but they aren’t here. So um yes.” Well looks who’s lonely now?! Still me. Even my boyfriend agreed with her. “What? I have you, my love.” He retorted, “But when I’m not around. You need friends. They are important to have.” Ok I got it. So I’m starting my search for female friends. I’m being specific because I never seem to have a problem making male friends (ew not like that). So these next 30 days will be my take on “I love you, woman”. But less cool and probably more crying. Let the hunt begin. Will you be my buddy?

Christmas gifts

January 17, 2013

My favorite thing about Christmas is creating the perfect present. The perfect gift is one that is personal, creative, and makes the recipient cry. This is that gift. It only took 20 hours, but totally worth those Christmas tears. This is an album of me and my sister’s adventure in Europe. These are some of my favorite sister memories. I hope that some day we can have another adventure equally as awesome.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Art Flop?

October 14, 2012

I did it. My first art venue. My artwork was featured in an art event where I had my very own venue to fill with anything I wanted. Second Saturday Art Night is put on by the Shasta Arts Council in Redding and every second Saturday of the month from 5-8pm local artists are featured at participating businesses around town. It is free and anyone can drive around town and look at art and enjoy the appetizers. I enjoyed being an observer at these events and was encouraged to be one of the artists of the month. 

So tonight I did it. I had my artwork up at a local real estate company which was located in a prime spot for the Art Hop. From 5-8pm I talked to guests and did my best to schmooze (so that’s how you spell it), which is not one of my best qualities. Luckily, the wine helped bring down a few walls. Most people who came in gave me positive responses and encouragement. Everything went without a hitch. People came, ate, drank, saw, and then it was over. It went smoothly. So why am I fighting back tears? Why do I feel so discouraged? Why do I feel like I’ve just been intimate with someone who doesn’t even remember my name? It’s not like I had a bad experience. It’s like I’m laying in bed naked while a stranger tells me, “hey you’re pretty good kid. I’ll see ya around.” and then walks out the door. I didn’t fail. I satisfied. Didn’t I? But it was a one night stand not love at first sight. As I left the venue and headed over to meet my boyfriends family at a near by bar to listen to some live music the feeling started to sink in. Am I loveable? Am I good enough to love? I sat down at our table and I felt like I was drifting. Somber waves were coming over me. At first I didn’t know what was happening. I had fun tonight. Right? Why do I instantly feel alone? Why do I feel so small? I just accomplished something. I had an art show. I am getting my name out there. I’m networking. I told myself it’s not about about selling anything even though I desperately hoped I would. Wait… I did sell something, but my boyfriend’s mom doesn’t count. That’s like a sympathy sale. I want to be loved. As my party leaves the bar I’m left alone at a big table listening to the soothing yet sad voice of a touring Swedish folk singer. I try fight the tears that are attempting to stain my face. This singer performing is trying to be loved just like I attempted. I love her. I think it would be harder to sing my way into love than just hang it on the walls. Even though there are die hard fans for singers rather than artists; The Beatles, Elvis, Katy Perry. No one buys 300 dollar tickets and waits all day crammed with 100,000 people to see a photo shoot with Annie Lebovitz… who’s that? My point exactly. But singing is never ending. You don’t get to hang it on the wall and be finished.

I hate the feeling that my surroundings are the only thing holding back the well that is close to overflowing. I know that once I leave the table and walk outside my body will release what small restraint it had left. This knowledge makes me stay. A small part of me wants to get the crying over with. I just want to purge myself of this emotion. I notice a tip jar on the stage. I want to encourage this artist. I decide I’ll tip her before I leave. I don’t know what is keeping me at this bar all alone listening to music from this folk singer who is keeping my emotions raw. Then the singer says she’s had bad days. She tells us and by us I think she is speaking only to me, that her dad once told her that being a successful artist isn’t how many cds you sell or how many states you tour in that it is about never giving up. Nothing could have been more perfect and horrifying to hear in that moment. I don’t know why that when you are upset that those perfect words that you needed to hear make you more emotional instead of cheer you up. Now I really wanted out of there to let the flood invade my face. I waited till she was done to give her a 10 dollar tip. I didn’t want to tip her that much, but I felt that I should. I knew it would be a little encouragement and that any amount of encouragement as an artist can make a difference between pressing on and giving up. I made it to my car before I broke down. It’s just so hard and vulnerable pursuing art. As I drove I tried to suck it up, as if tears make you more sad so if you fight the tears the emotion will be defeated. When that didn’t work I thought maybe if I just sob and heave then it will get out of my system sooner. I decided to purge, but I refrained from compounding my pain with pity using examples of how hard my life is right now; I have no money, I’m not good enough, I’m still battling an injury, I live at home, woe is I. I refused to take pity on myself. I don’t want to wallow. I want to get whatever this emotion is far away from me. I’m hoping that I will run out of tears and exhaust myself into indifference. I make it home just at the peak of my despair. As I turn my car off and put my head on the steering wheel my dog, Vive, jumps onto my window. She is so excited to see me. Doesn’t she realize I’m having a breakdown. As she jumps frantically around my car searching for a way to reach me my mind shifts. It feels great to have a friendly face who doesn’t care about how my day went. She is just so happy I’m home. Laughter starts to permeate through my sobs before it over takes them. Now I’m just laughing. This stupid dog has robbed me of my despair. It’s over. I pick myself up and walk inside. It’s not about how many pieces I sell or who likes my art, it’s that I never give up. I won’t give up.