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. 

Fall Flowers

Never underestimate the power of a good bouquet. it can light up a room, enhance decorations, and bring a new form of life in a room. My favorite flowers are from Bouqs, I got the Dawn, perfect for cozy autumn. Aline also sent me Harvest Moon, thank you Aline! 

Fall Flowers20 Bouqs on ourcitylights Bouqs on ourcitylights Bouqs on ourcitylights Bouqs on ourcitylights Bouqs on ourcitylights

Bouqs contacted me to work together, it's a company I've been using to send flowers and they are always a hit. The flowers come from a farm near a volcano, hence the "volcano flowers" term. They're a responsible company environmentally and treat their employees as such. I've yet to read of another flower corporation to offer on-site child daycare, competitive healthcare, high living wages, and pay for adult education. I love knowing that's where my money is going when I buy a bouquet. Plus they look beautiful, even when they are on the last days. 

Bouqs on ourcitylights
Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses
— Alphonse Karr

You Don't Win Friends With Salads

Well, with this salad you do. I love this strawberry and quinoa salad. It's easy, filling, and delicious. I ordered it from Plated, it comes with everything in the recipe. The only thing you need is a hungry cook! 

A little cooked quinoa, roasted almonds, spinach, fresh strawberries, and mix together with the dressing made of 1 tsp each of honey, lemon, mustard, olive oil and sprinkle got cheese. It's so easy! Scott and I had seconds and we still had leftovers. Thank you, Plated! My other Plated post is here

August 2014 Favorites

Let's take a look back at favorites for August. 

Favorite Instagram feed is littleredbowtique. Besides the play on words with "bow" I love, Marlyn posts beautiful landscapes, cute dresses, and polka dots. She's been a favorite for some time and so happy to share her feed. 

Favorite purchase was the subscription to Hatchery. I've been eating clean lately and Hatchery offers artisan cooking ingredients like healthy oils, spices, condiments like gourmet mustard (if you know me, I LOVE anything with mustard seeds), and sauces. The bottles last enough for a few uses and make a cheap meal like rice and beans taste gourmet. 

Favorite TV Show was X-Files. With a broken ankle, I've been hanging out in bed watching the creepy show. It adds a little bit of excitement to my slow day. Plus if you miss Breaking Bad, this show is a great alternative because Vince Gilligan was a head writer. All season are currently streaming on Netflix. 

Favorite moment was doing an outfit post. It was out of my comfort zone but I loved it! Even if it wasn't I would normally wear, dressing up is something I'm doing to take care of myself.  And for the record, the TOMS shoes I was wearing did NOT make me fall. It was just my clumsy self. I love those shoes so much, they add the right height without making me feel like I'm wearing heels. 

Here's to September 2014! Check out other favorites for this year here