Free Month Trial

There's a Tumblr text post going around, 2016 is going to start February 1. January was a free month trial. That's exactly what January felt like. It was a lot of catching up from the holidays plus we are temporarily moving to Nashville for a few months. By the time I had confirmation, I've been so busy getting everything ready and packing, and blogging had to be set aside for this month. Do you know what it's like to pack 4-6 month's worth of clothes (including work attire, which I haven't worn in years) in one suitcase? It didn't happen but it was a fun challenge. We're excited, nervous and it's the perfect opportunity for us. There will be no other time in our life we just pack and go live across the country. We both work from home, we have family to take care of our pets and house, and we have no kids. So January may not have been the month I began blogging again, but I'd like to call it a head start into February. Thank you everyone who's emailed, and left motivational comments, I didn't think my lack of blog presence would be noticed, it's encouraging!


Hopes for 2016

I was so excited for 2015, blog-wise, but then life happened and all my personal goals were put on hold. I don't need a Jan 1 to start over, but I'll take the opportunity to start fresh. Here are some goals for my blog in 2016. 

+ Photoblog- If I don't blog, I get cranky. Even if I have 20 readers or 20k, over time I've learned to do it for myself and it's really like my own digital diary. One of my favorite things to blog about- taking a million photos of one detail that I fall in love with whether it be in a Barbie, a pair of shoes, or even a lipstick packaging, I love beautiful things. I love having a photo journal of things I currently love at the moment. One of my absolute favorite things to do is turn on music, have a cup of coffee, and edit in ABM actions. I'm excited to do that more. 

+ Series- I love having a collection of series. It gives me a sense of discipline, and I can't wait to share more favorites, and Marvel Mondays. I'm also happy to introduce photo journaling (even the ugly ones, yikes), and more outfit posts. 

+ Less business driven, more personal driven- I just want to blog and if a company likes what I blog about, great! I'm tired of chasing after companies to pay attention to me. If they wanted to, they would have already. I'm hoping to find companies that fit my blog in 2016. 

+ Share more joy- I shared so much grief and pain the past two years, I almost don't know what to blog about if I'm not experiencing pain. There are so many more happier moments, and while those are more special and saved for my personal life, I have to remind myself it's okay to share, too. 

+ Be nice to my blog- Every time I open my blog, I treat it poorly. I don't pay much attention to it, and when people subscribe, or compliment it, instead of saying thank you, I just go on and on how my life isn't worthy of sharing (but yet, I still share, lol). I need to remember I have a story tell and it's okay to admit people want to hear it. Chill, Diana, you're good. 

+ Reading- An update on the Library Challenge- I stopped going to the library because I got so many free books from BEA/BookCon in NYC, I didn't bother going much but I did save $208!! Please remember to support your local library, and you'll support your wallet, too! 

Happy New Year! Thanks for reading this blog! 

Giving Tuesday

Between Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Shop Small Saturday, I hope you were able to save some money for Giving Tuesday. You can read more about it here

This is a great opportunity to give to an organization close to your heart, support your community or just give back to someone else that needs it more than you do. If you don't have money to give, that's okay, sometimes time is an even better option for the program. It's a good time to keep things in perspective. Here are some of the organizations that I believe in

826 Valencia- Originally started by McSweeney's, started by Dave Eggers. It's a center to help under-resourced kids to read and write. Sometimes the kids even get published! 

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Keep A Breast- I love KAB because it doesn't sugar coat breast cancer, and it targets a younger demographic to educate and take better care of their health. Plus they offer breast cast art, how cool is that!

Books to Prisoners- Even if you're incarcerated, I still believe everyone should have access to books. This program sends books to inmates who are in jails that have shut down libraries or have stopped giving new books due to budget cuts. 

Milk + Bookies- This is an "after school" type program for kids in lower economic neighborhoods who's cities have closed libraries (an already free service). They expose kids to reading and help built their eduction. 

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Animal Assistance League of Orange County- AALOC is a no-kill shelter. We have cats and dogs, all that have been adopted through shelters. We love our pets and we were stunned at the kill rates when we first began looking. Every animal needs a chance and even if this program isn't in your location, look into your county for no-kill shelters to support. 

There are a few others I love such as World Vision (we've sponsored Hannah from India for 8 years and we love watching her grow in her education and help feed her family), and Libraries Without Borders. If you have favorite organizations, please comment below. 

On Letting Things Go

Not having a Facebook account is this generation’s version of not having television. I recently deleted Facebook and I feel amazing, like I lost an additional 10 pounds. This is definitely not a I’m better than you because I deleted Facebook post. I actually loved Facebook. It was the safe place where I told people I was first pregnant and the first place I told people about Max before anywhere else. It was great to find support in my lifestyle changes, meet new baby loss mom's. and see what friends are up to. But the older i get the more I value my time. I don’t want to spend hours on my phone wondering what other people are up to when I could just text, call (yes, as in a voice to phone) or email them. I love Instagram and Twitter and that’s enough to give me a glimpse of what’s going on with acquaintances and companies I love to follow, this makes it easier to let Facebook go. When I tweeted all the time I was at a different phase in my life, and I understand the excitement of being online and building community. After almost 10 years of being online, I’ve built my community and now I want to nurture the friendships I’ve made and slowly get to know the new ones I’m discovering. We’ve gone from tweets in 140 characters to direct messaging, to texting, to flying hundreds of miles to see each other. 

For months I would pick up my book, get ready for bed, and my plan for the night was to read into my sleep for one hour. Instead, hours later, I would catch myself refreshing my Facebook feed. I was spending more time with Facebook with anything else in my life. I hate admitting that, but I did. Just like I gave up TV, I wanted to give up Facebook. I'm happy with Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter. That already sounds like three too many social media outlets. 

After deleting it from my phone, I found myself refreshing it my computer. It became a distraction to what I really wanted to do. I kept coming back to this post from Where My Heart Resides. I love what Ashlee wrote, “If I’ve learned one thing this past week, it’s that social media should be avoided in a time of grief. You will never notice how much people complain about dumb things more than when you’re grieving about something of actual importance.” I thought about it all the time, even before Max died. Now, after dealing with the worst thing that could happen in my life, everything is noise. I want to just stop, enjoy the friends that have been through not just my worst tweets, but my worst moments. When life gets real and you leave the keyboard and computer screen behind, it’s a testament of love.

If I have to let go of things I like for love, then I’m ready to let it go.

Meet Brontë

Scott and I have been talking about getting a new dog. We occasionally looked at the pound and shelters but we wanted a puppy but they were adopted before we even had a chance to get in line for them. I knew what I had in mind- a black lab with a shiny coat and sweet disposition but I was a little worried at a lab size. Coincidentally, our neighbor's lab was pregnant with 7 puppies. She couldn't keep any of them and we happily took one of the pups as ours. She's perfect- she's a puppy, 9 weeks old here, a black lab with a shiny coat, and the father is a maltese, so she won't get too big. How crazy of a coincidence is that?? Our animals have literary inspired names, and she is Brontë, named after one of our favorite female authors, the Brontë sisters. She's beautiful, sweet and every time I look at her, I can't help but think how much Max would love her. 

Hopes for 2015

I want to set a standard for this blog for 2015 and instead of just throwing the "resolutions" label on it, I'm going to really work on things I'd love to achieve. 

+ Blog- That one seems too easy but I put off blogging due to the injury I had in the beginning of fall. I could barely move and the chronic pain killed my creativity. Blogging is an outlet for me and I would love to make it part of my day again. 

+ Combat fear- The word "combat" is a little dramatic but that's how I feel when fear creeps up. I'm afraid of sharing too much, not enough, or just sharing in general. I want to imagine I'm writing for myself and not an audience that will criticize at the smallest typo or won't agree with something I write about. I'd love to write, post outfits, my health, my weight loss, life after baby loss, and hope. There is so much hope I have, I feel it's my responsibility to share it and not to keep it to myself and fear tends to tell me to shut up about it. 

+ DIY- I want to do 12 DIY's this year. That's one DIY per month. I'm bookmarking books, blogs, and pins. I am terrible at DIY's but that's only because I rarely do them. Of course my glue and painting are going to be messy, am I really expecting it to look magazine ready in one try? This one will be a fun challenge! 

+ Film! Every year I say I'm going to take more photos but I use my iPhone instead. This year I want to get back to the root of why I began this blog- to share film photography! I'm dusting off my film cameras and using the manual mode. 

Looking forward to 2015! 

Let's Get Weird

Thanks for the inspiration to Danielle's Let's Get Weird post to publish this.

My life is a constant paradox. The more I get comfortable with myself, the more I realize I'm full of contradictions. I tried for years to combine what should come easy, but I can't bring myself to do it. Instead of fighting the weird, I'm just going to embrace it. Below are the things that contradict one another, but they make me who I am. Some are very universal like I don't like cooking but I love eating, or I love the beach but I hate the sand (what) and below are some strange ones...

  • My favorite color is pink, but I wear all black. I think this uniform comes from working in a salon for almost a decade, and the ugly black uniform from cosmetology school. Black was all I had to shop for and it comes naturally. I hate pink in my wardrobe, true story. 
  • I don't like sports, well, since I'm being honest, I hate sports. But I love sports-themed movies and video games. Moneyball is my favorite movie, but I quickly turn the channel when baseball is on. NBA2K15 is constantly on PS4 but I would rather clean a toilet than go to a basketball game. Friday Night Lights is my favorite TV show, but I will never sit through a football game. Such a weirdo, I know. 
  • I love onion rings but I hate onions. 
  • I don't like dancing but I love dance music. So much sideye on that one.  
  • I text and email"loud" but I'm quiet in real life. My emoji's don't match my personality and apologies to online friends who finally meet me IRL. 
  • I love making to-do lists but I rarely "do" them. 

This is what I love to learn about people. I love to know their little contradictions, I find it endearing when I'm sure it drives friends and family crazy. I left the comments open on this post because I'd love to know what contradictions you have. 

October 2014 Favorites

Let's take a look back at favorites for October 2014

Favorite Instagram feed is christinawinkelmann. Her feed is playful, cheerful, and colorful. Kudos to ShopBando for hiring her as their social media director. If you follow her, tell her I sent you! I love introducing Instagram feeds you'll love. She could easily be my favorite every month. 

Favorite purchase was Hello Kitty Con. The actual convention, the hotel, everything about it was wonderful. October was hard emotionally. I didn't realize Max's first would be birthday/death-versary would hit me so hard. Hello Kitty Con was the distraction I needed. 

Favorite moment was Maryam visiting with her family. It was fun and got me out of my rut for a few hours. Honorable mention was carving my first pumpkin and then another with Aline. Yep, I've never carved a pumpkin but doing it with one of my closest friend I can see why it's a special tradition. 

Favorite album is Taylor Swift 1989. No shame, I love this album and I barely got it at the end of October. It's fun, poppy, and it's hard to be a in a bad mood for it. I used to believe in "guilty pleasures" but those don't exist. If you like something, own it. Buy it Amazon or iTunes. 

Here's to November 2014! 

Spanish Cheesecake (With An American Twist)

When Rustica Spanish Cookbook showed up at my door (well, my PO Box), I was nervous. I've never cooked European food unless it was Italian and I didn't know how to behead a fish according to one of the recipes. I sat for a few days on the cookbook, reading it like literature. I was schooled on Spanish food and the culture behind it. I realized I've never tried an authentic dish inspired from Spain. Seriously. Nothing. I fixed this with Spain's version of cheesecake. I had a graham cracker crust in the pantry that was waiting for the right moment and I'm glad I took the chance. The combination with the American detail tastes delicious. The broiled top gives it a crunchy texture to the normally creamy dessert. I don't have a blow torch, but a few minutes in the broiler gives it a similar effect.