Climbing Clouds

The more I watch this video from Jetty Rae, the more I want to say "THIS! THIS!" It's sad, it's beautiful, and it really moved me. Jetty Rae, a new up and coming artist, lost her daughter and wrote this beautiful song in her honor. It inspires me and I hope one day I can honor Max in such a touching and creative way, too. You can listen to her music on iTunes or download it for free for a limited time on Noisetrade

November 2014 Favorites

Let's take a look back at favorites for November

Favorite Instagram feed is ondressingup. I've known Ana for a few years. We had photo project 5 years ago, 6748 Miles Apart, where we documented our mornings together. I love Ana's photography, she has amazing travel adventures, and now I get to see them daily, along with her cheeky captions. 

Favorite music is Jessie Pitts. Yes, as in the contestant that was voted off this season's The Voice. I've never watched one of these voice competitions (seriously) and I wanted to watch The Voice because Gwen Stefani was one of the judges. I'm so happy I did, I discovered Jessie's beautiful and haunting voice. I hope she comes out with an album, I would fangirl out over it. (photo from her IG feed)

Favorite moment was walking. Well, it was with crutches but I wasn't able to walk and was stuck in a wheelchair since August. I have so much empathy now for people with chronic pain and others that have legit problems with their limbs. I'm hoping I can be walking by next month. That would be a Christmas miracle. 

Favorite purchase was the Kitchenaid Pour Over Coffee Brewer. Scott and I make our coffee every morning via single cup Koziol. We love it but we don't love coffee enough to wait 20 minutes for one cup. When we have people over, my personal nightmare is when they ask for coffee. I end up spending more time with the coffee than with them. We love our KitchenAid coffee maker. It's SCAA approved, has a timer and it's ready to go with delicous pour over coffee.

Here's to December 2014!  

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a weekly collection of things I find darling. 

Hello Kitty Con offered scrapbooking work classes and the scrapbook packs were half off, I thought Hello Kitty Con would be a great start to my first scrapbook. Yes, it's sloppy but I had so much fun. Things like saving tags from favorite clothing will no longer make me feel like a hoarder. 

Hello Kitty Con offered scrapbooking work classes and the scrapbook packs were half off, I thought Hello Kitty Con would be a great start to my first scrapbook. Yes, it's sloppy but I had so much fun. Things like saving tags from favorite clothing will no longer make me feel like a hoarder. 

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. 

Pinrose Perfume

I haven't worn perfume in years and I miss it. When Pinrose, a California made perfume brand, emailed me to work together, I told them no. Why would I risk my to lids flare, my eyes to water, my cheeks to become inflamed and burn? They were confident of their natural product and sent me samples. We went back and forth for a few weeks, I tried it out and I almost finished their Petal Pack, oops! I was so excited to finally find a perfume, and especially one that fits my lifestyle. I feel honored working with a company that thinks beyond the commercial marketing of perfume.

Their perfume is made specifically for you (yes, you) in mind. They use a customized algorithm to match you. Take their scent quiz, to find out. I love how they also have playlists dedicated to the scent. Our favorite music expresses who we are and Pinrose uses that to help find your signature scent. Think of it like a favorite Pandora radio station, but for your scent. 

I really like Pinrose, I don't have to pay designer prices for a huge bottle that will sit on my vanity.  I love their Petal Packs best- they are small enough to carry everywhere and you can switch scents throughout the day. Take it on a date, to school, to work, or just have on you. My personal favorite was Renegade Starlet, a mix of gardenia, jasmine and Freesia. Get your own here


If you're new to this blog, Gadchick is a digital magazine all tech-related, cheekily named after "gadget" and combining "chick". It’s taken 2 years to have the 3rd issue out. It’s not even a full issue, it’s a “zine”. The content is light this issue because life has been heavy. I knew Gadchick was different when our tiny magazine was offered to be bought out. It was an insultingly low number, but made me realize something big was there. It also made me realize I didn't have what it took to run at the speed it was growing. We got an app out. A blog. We had best selling books and were even voted one of the best tech books. We did pretty good. We built an international following. Technology was moving too fast and for the first time I felt out of place. I took a break but now it's time to come back 

Gadchick had a strong start. The tech industry can seem intimidating and I wanted to make my own corner that someone like my mom didn't feel confused to read, but also someone like a Ruby developer to learn something new. I had people write all over the world, from Japan to my neighborhood thanking me for something like this. The funny part is, I made a huge mistake- uploading the wrong file for the first issue. It makes my stomach churn just looking back at it. Surprisingly, people loved it. Readers kept writing asking when the next issue would come out. It was an overwhelming great feeling, but also an overwhelming panic. I exhausted the only writers I had. I exhausted myself. 

Gadchick is a dream come true- I get to work and write about things I love- technology, science and gadgets. When my son died, it was enough to not ever want to open up another tech blog again, click on any links, close my laptop and anything gadget related I had no desire for. I still have a little flame burning for Gadchick, it’s just buried deep down, underneath the grief. I still want to work on Gadchick but I want to make it better, but in order to do this I need to make myself better. I’ll be a better boss, a better writer, just better.

So where does this leave Gadchick? The more I thought about it the more I realized it was silly to separate Gadchick and ourcitylights. This is a lifestyle blog (as much as that word makes me cringe) and it'll so much easier to combine. That means more tech related posts not just from me, but from our amazing writers and I'll be open to contributors. This is good news! I'm very excited for it and it's a huge relief. Thanks for following along! 

Celebrating Hello Kitty at The LINE Hotel

For Hello Kitty Con, The LINE Hotel hosted guests as the "official" HK theme. Sean Knibb designed the hotel and he was asked to design the suite to celebrate Kitty. The room couldn't be slept in, it was an exclusive gallery to the LINE guests. The bed itself, seen here, was created and represented everything Hello Kitty stands for. Not a corner was overlooked in the suite, every detail was decorated, even the ceiling. The man pictured below is Wayne, he was the man who made Sean's creativity come to life. There are over 18,000 rolls of Hello Kitty toilet paper that covered one room to mention one detail of the room. That's crazy. Does Costco sell this Hello Kitty tp? If anyone tp'd my house, please be sure to use the Hello Kitty kind. 

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a weekly collection of things I find darling. 

I'm ready for Christmas. This Puffin Edition of The Christmas Carol will make a great holiday decoration. I also love my new Disney ornaments. I'm ridiculously excited!

I'm ready for Christmas. This Puffin Edition of The Christmas Carol will make a great holiday decoration. I also love my new Disney ornaments. I'm ridiculously excited!

+ There is a holiday swap hosted by Candelles. Kelley has amazing taste and she brought together some of my favorite handmade artists to participate. I can't wait to see who my partner will be. Sign up here

+ I love Moorea Seal store and now is your chance to win $250! Sign up here

+ Reasons To Visit Anaheim That Aren't Disneyland. 

+ The Gear You Need to Tell Your Stories With Photography

+ Adeline takes you to Marrakesh, Morocco

+ Quote of The Day. More like Quote of 2014. 

+ I love reading Kyla's story and personal triumph

+ Sneak peek at She & Him's new track list

+ Can't wait to read this book! 

+ Maybe I'm traditional in the blogging sense, but I still love blogs, especially style blogs. The decline is real

+ Friday night (gluttonous) pizza night! 

Happy Friday! 

Hello Kitty Con: The Food

The food was just as cute at Hello Kitty Con as it was delicious. Hello Kitty Cafe, rumored to be in OC next year, served cute food and the LINE hotel, served spam sushi musubi, and we had Hello Kitty rosé wine to end a long day. 

And after you were done, be sure not to litter! 

I used the new ABM Lightroom presets. Personally, I love Lightroom over Photoshop and while I love the ABM presets, I can't help but favor the new ones. I can't wait to edit more HK Con photos! 

Giveaway! $200 Credit to Minted

I'll admit I felt a little strange at first using Max's footprint to include in a giveaway for promotion, but it shouldn't make a difference whether it's a happy little family of three on this card instead of his one footprint. He's still a part of our family and I'm so proud of what Minted helped design. It was a perfect card to represent everything we are and what we were going through. I'm so grateful to Minted for that memory. They're extending this chance to your family. $200 to Minted will be a set of holiday cards, wedding invitations, baby showers, baby announcements, anything Minted offers! This year, we're choosing Minted again, and I can't wait to share what our card will be soon. 

What I love about the company is the artists they hire for their designs . They work with indie designers and give them the opportunity for large exposure but still be able to have high quality cards with the Minted name behind it. This giveaway is open to international readers. Just leave a comment with what you'd like to use it for and fill out the Rafflecopter. Winner will be chosen in one week! You can check out Minted designs in the meantime! Good luck!  

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! 

Happy Birthday, Hello Kitty

"...I love the design of Hello Kitty. Her face is nothing but a few lines and dots, yet it's instantly recognizable and utterly iconic. The creators have broken down the essence of a character to the barest minimum and that's what's made her one of the best known characters in the world."- James Turner

Hello Kitty is 40 today! I had such a fun time at Hello Kitty Con, I can't wait to go back next year. It made me appreciate what the characters symbolizes and a great community that believes in happiness through a cartoon. I had a chance to be interviewed on BBC, according to them, I'm a "super fan" ha! You can listen here. I'll be sorting out through the hundreds of photos I took, I can't believe I didn't go overboard on Instagram. I have no idea how I'm going to be cutting back on such cuteness overload, not a bad problem to have. This is artist Sean Knibb for The LINE Hotel (the "official" Hello Kitty hotel for the convention). These plushes were dip-dyed in a lavender and hand sewn to the comforter. Amazing! 

3 Month Subscription Conscious Box Giveaway

Before you roll your eyes and think, NOT ANOTHER SUBSCRIPTION BOX, let me tell you I love Conscious Box for many reasons but I'll admit mostly because it's the most generous box I've seen. The CB teams strives to introduce subscribers to live a healthier lifestyle with high quality mostly organic brands from beauty, food, household items, kids snacks to even pet treats. Bonus the box is filled with items I would use and tons of coupons (including the $100 voucher for WINE. what!) There is the gluten-free box, a vegan box and the classic box, which is the one I subscribe to. If the subscriber does love what they  get, not only are there coupons, there is a discount on the items purchased directly from CB. Each month there is a theme, and this month's theme was of course, "sweater weather". It came with organic coffee, natural cold suppressants, and introduced me to organic dog treats along with an organic energy drink (I had no idea those even existed!) Sign up with details below! I opened up the comment section just for this giveaway. Giveaway is opened to US readers only. If you don't want to wait for the giveaway, you can sign up here for one month free. 

The Struggle is Real...With The Occasional Donut

As some of you know, I lost almost 70 lbs before I was pregnant and kept it off for about a year. I was embarrassed at first when I couldn't lose my baby weight, especially without a baby. It was one of the hardest thing I’ve ever done- watching my discipline grow and my body change. Grief changed my body more than pregnancy did and that was hard. It IS hard. I’m already fighting the demons of sadness, anger, a broken heart, why in the world would I fight with my body, too? 

I gave up losing weight for vanity long ago and embraced my new body. I love my body now more than I did when I was struggling to lose weight. Maybe if I had Max I’d have a different opinion, but each curve tells the story of how I carried him. A part of me feels crazy because if the stretch marks and the pregnant pouch can hold on to the small memory I have of him, I am really okay with that. I still eat healthy, I will still be annoying about loving my green smoothies but my now goal is to take care of my heart first. I eat what I want whether it was my favorite kale southwestern salad or a donut, I work out for energy and slowly I can see my body changing with no goal in mind. A part of me is crushed that baby pouch that once carried Max is going away. My body tells a story, and while it’s a sad one, it’s my story and I’m proud to tell it. 

Take care of your heart before taking care of everything else. My original goal was to carry a healthy baby and I did, but due to a completely freak accident he's not here. My goal now is to survive and if that means eating an extra slice of pizza, I am okay with that. And so is my beautiful body. 

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a weekly collection of things I find darling. 

I carved my first pumpkin EVER. It was fun and I can't wait to do more. 

I carved my first pumpkin EVER. It was fun and I can't wait to do more. 

+ The Power of Collection

+ Lomography released a turquoise enhanced film. Beautiful! 

+ Sleater-Kinney reunites! My jr high self is so so happy but too cool to show it. 

+ Quitting your day job to do what you love is scary and Vanessa writes her experience

+ Best sleepover ever

+ Do you handle more than two Instagram accounts? This should save you some time

+ I always forget the power of simple food making. Love love this post from Fine n Simple

+ Pretty Little Liars Books are free on iBooks 

+Friday night pizza night...for breakfast

Happy Friday! I'll be back this week with more blog posts! 

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a weekly collection of things I find darling. 

Bring on the fall decorations! 

Bring on the fall decorations! 

+ I'm looking forward to Keiko posting more of her Tokyo trip

+ Take me back- a Trapper Keeper, but for your tablets. 

+ Instagram on your desktop? Yes, and it's beautiful. 

+ Soup in a pumpkin!

+ When I visited Disneyland Paris, I was bummed The Mark Twain ride was closed and now I know why

+ The ranking of sweaters in Twin Peaks. 

+ I'm thinking of deleting Facebook for this blog. I've been thinking about it for some time and after reading this post (btw, this is one of my favorite things on the Internet, it always makes me laugh) and this post, it may happen sooner than later! 

+ Friday night (inspired Fall) pizza night

Marge Simpsons Nails

Last month I had a giveaway and I was tempted to call it off and keep everything to myself.  MAC Cosmetics came out with Simpsons collection and one of the items included this cheeky Marge inspired nail decal set. I love the decals alone but I wanted something to really rep Marge. I didn't want to buy the color of her dress (that strange green color) but I did have a blue in my collection that matched her HAIR! I also had the yellow. And they glitter! The decals apply easily, and file them down. I recommend adding a bonding aid to your nails. It adheres the polish and the decals much better and lasts a few more days longer. I also used a foundation for the polish after the bonding aid. Take that, nail chips! 




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. 

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a weekly collection of things I find darling. 

Ruthie sent me an amazing embroidered handmade necklace with my favorite cat on it. Thank you, Ruthie! Get your own from her shop. 

Ruthie sent me an amazing embroidered handmade necklace with my favorite cat on it. Thank you, Ruthie! Get your own from her shop

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