Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A New Day!

my view on the walk to work every morning... sometimes i pretend that i have woken up on that small island ;)

This year was by far the best birthday that I have had in quite sometime... possibly ever. First of all, thank you so much to everyone who made me feel loved and special and especially to Sean who spoiled me for an entire weekend! Wine tasting was amazing and I even enjoyed napping through the World Cup before dinner and a night on the town. Andy {we had a joint party} also mentioned that this was one of his favorite birthdays... so that also made me feel really good! We love you guys!

A lot has been going on lately. A lot, a lot. First of all... I have pulled about 7 of these out of my hair so far:



Yes, I am saying goodbye to the dreadies. Don't get me wrong - I am going to miss them and I seriously loved them, but 2 years is a long commitment to make when every day your hair looks like crap. I guess I'm not as carefree as I thought... because I really do take into consideration what people say and I also sort of missed running my fingers through my hair. I have a few more knots to untangle and they will be out... so expect pics because I've already planned a pretty crazy come back 'do!

I have also re-found a hobby! I am going to re-join a rock climbing club and hopefully meet some cool new friends who share my love of nature and who I can climb with {this means you jess!}. I have decided to take a personal interest in my health... especially since I need to be more concious since the transplant... and also started a food/exercise journal. I am so excited, because one of my best friends is doing this "challenge" with me, so we have been cheering eachother on constantly! Jessi is also going to help me with cooking... so I can prepare some {yummy vegan} meals for myself ;)

24 is going to be a good year............................ xo

Friday, June 25, 2010

i'm 24 today!

Things haven't changed much.............................
(notice the shark necklace in that 2nd photo, lol)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Flower Child.


Sometimes I wish I was a girl in one of Ray Lamontagne's songs. She always seems so particularly sad, yet so real and painstakingly familiar. Actually, she doesn't really seem all that real at all. She's more of an earthy goddess, so in touch with nature that she may actually have been born from a wildflower or out of a single rain drop. Sometimes I close my eyes and picture myself as her, bare feet stepping along stones in the forest and feeling individual blades of grass in between my toes. She makes dirty knees seem so romantic. And soft, pale skin. Maybe he found her when he was out wandering one afternoon, and she disappeared the moment they finished making love. Maybe she isn't sad at all. Maybe she enjoys appearing and disappearing as she pleases. She enjoys playing those games and then retreating back to the mountains where she sings along with the birds and dances with the leaves in the passing breeze. Maybe she only exists in his imagination, and he pulls her out whenever he's feeling lonely. And she is a secret that he keeps only for himself. And she enjoys being that secret.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My North Star.


My inspiration is back. And it took nothing less than returning to the place that I spent my childhood - the place where anything was always possible - to feel at home again in my own body. Every now and then I travel back to my old home with a friend that has been in my life since I was 3 years old. We quietly peer into our old windows and talk about what our rooms once looked like. Sneak in between broken fence posts and sit in silence as we remember birthday parties, neighborhood fairs, chasing bunnies. Tip toe in the feild behind my old back yard and try to imagine ourselves back in that place, running through sprinklers and climbing up my old swing set. Then, I sit upon the stump of my oldest, most favorite tree. With warm, swelling eyes I try as hard as I can to transport myself back to when I was 5 years old and sitting in that very same spot {probably wishing to be older}. Yes, that tingling in my throat is back and I finally feel like what I have to say is worth putting into words.

I think that Laurel Lakes must have been magic. Maybe it still is. Because the spell of my childhood has kept me young and imaginitive and alive like nothing I have ever experienced since. As I sit here now, I am giggling about how I used to sit in my kitchen on the phone with my best friend. We would talk about how pizza tasted better when it was square-shaped and how much adult swim really did suck. An afternoon dancing in the tall, tall grass of my neighbors backyard suited us just fine. Or riding our bikes so fast that our hair stuck straight out or hiding from our bus driver under one of our friends decks or just pretending we were fairy princesses. Nothing mattered and time seemed to go on forever. Then one day I woke up, and I was twenty-something years old. But I still feel like that little girl, and I hope she stays inside of me forever.

And if I ever forget that she's there... I know my best friend will just know and we will return to that place and feel young again. We will eat ice cream and walk up and down our old street. Run as fast as we can to the park and spin around on the merry-go-round until we throw up. We will leave reality behind for a while and get lost in our imagination of what we once had and will forever share. Because it is really true, when Oscar Wilde said - We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

24.



I've never really been one to make a New Year's Resolution. But this is my last week of being 23, and I can't help but think of things that I want to improve upon as I start an entirely fresh year of life. It's a very odd feeling, because I have been so emotionally drained lately and haven't felt very inspired. Usually I come to this space bursting with insight and imagination... but lately I have looked at the blank page and nothings really felt worth writing about. The strange part is that as crazy as life has been and as uninspired as I've felt, it's caused me to focus inward and figure out what could get me going again. Like my father always says, You are responsible for your own actions. You are in control of your own mood. Dad, I believe you are right... as usual.

1. Find a hobby.

In high school I was always swimming or rock climbing, and I even took a few photography classes. And lately I have let things slide by and my priorities have shifted and I haven't really explored my interests. I think this year I will take an art class... or brush the dust off my camera and take some photographs... or start a journal. Maybe there's a rock climbing buddy out there who I haven't found yet, or a hiking group. I want to take this year to explore my interests and learn something new about myself.

2. Judge less.

I have found that lately I have become pretty judgemental, as embarrassing as that can be to admit. I look at people and automatically think that I know them and their motives. At the same time, I hate when people do this to me. I remember reading a book several months ago and it was talking about how people all feel the same emotions -- that bitchy girl may also be feeling insecure; the guy making a scene at the bar is probably a great person that just had a little too much to drink; that person who cut you off in traffic.... they were probably just in a hurry and didn't notice. I want to continually remember that all of us are basically the same, and share the same needs and emotions. I want to feel more connected to humanity and far less pessimistic. I want to love people first, giving them time to show who they are without instantly coming to a conclusion about who they might be.

3. Love myself.

Other people aren't the only ones who deserve my love... I am also worthy of my own affection. I want to eat healthier, exercise more and just enjoy being who I am as an individual. When people make a judgement about me, I want to be able to continue on living without thinking about what they said over and over and over again. In order to make a difference in this lifetime, I have to start by loving myself enough to believe that making a difference is possible. And the best way to make a difference is by loving more and hating less.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. {Dr. Seuss}


Friday, June 18, 2010

walk slowly, and bow often.

When I Am Among the Trees...
 
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
- Mary Oliver

Walk slowly this weekend, and don't let a moment pass without appreciation. Also -- do not forget to shine. xxoo

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ink.

I have a:
NEW INK OBSESSION...

"Hello, my name is Kara Hooker and I am addicted to tattoos."

I think that tattoos allow me to express myself in a way that is totally different and unique than any other form of self expression out there. So far, I have 8 tattoos... and I am already thinking about which ones I want to add to my collection. Nothing gives me an adrenaline rush quite like the feeling of the needle buzzing against my skin, leaving trails of ink and color. It is absolutely exhilarating!

I especially love tattoos that involve words. Probably because I love words so much and find them to be so inspiring. This is the first time in several years that I have taken off work for my birthday, and I plan on getting my quarter sleeve filled in with color {expect pics!!}... I am a bit of an astronomy nerd, so it's a mural of the solar system and I am totally in love with it. I am also considering adding a quote to my sleeve, similar to the area of the tattoo in the photo above. Only I want mine to say We are all stardust. I think it fits pretty well with the overall theme... and I am so in love with that quote!

What are you addicted to?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

This Weekend.

I just found out a few days ago that Sean & I will be spending most of our weekend here.


Gorgeous, huh? I am so excited that this place is on the water... and looks so amazing! Sean is going for a buisness trip and at first I wasn't expecting to go, but then decided that I couldn't pass this up. I am looking forward to spending time with my husband, because honestly things have been so crazy lately and there hasn't been a lot of time for us. We have totally different opinions of what a fun day looks like, so sometimes we get lost in what we are interested in and before we know it... have two entirely separate days planned out. This looks like the perfect remedy - the best of both our worlds rolled into one. I am so lucky and thankful that Sean is able to take me with him... and can't wait to get away from the usual weekend routine and spend it some place entirely different with my husband! :)

time worth wasting.

Do you ever spend an entire afternoon daydreaming? Sometimes I spend an entire day. Often it seems as if my life is one giant moment lost in a dream. I enjoy living with my head in the clouds and getting lost in my imagination. I don't like to be realistic. I dream about quitting my job and living in a commune full of people who have become family to me. Whose children I help raise and whose garden's I help plant. I also like to dream about being stranded on a deserted island. Or I look up at the sky and imagine everything out there that is left waiting to explore. Walking on the moon. Flying an airplane. Going back to school to be a tattoo artist or hair stylist. Writing children's books. Getting lost in the forest.

These dreams keep me going. The best daydreams are those that seem impossible. Like living in a field of wildflowers or being able to fly. Many would say that I waste a lot of time... that I need to grow up... that I shouldn't spend so much time dreaming about things that appear impossible. But I wouldn't trade these dreams for anything. My imagination takes over my life, and this allows me to see magic every day.

What do you enjoy daydreaming about?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

my birthday is in 10 days!!!

Anyone who knows me knows this: My birthday is a huge deal to me... basically a month long event! So... due to the fact that I am so so so excited that I will be 24 in 10 days, here is my birthday list.

{hint hint family - especially y.o.u. Sean}

:)

1. A New Pair(s) of Tom's

2. The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone


3. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

3. A cute grey kitten named Paisley


4. An IPhone {with cute cover!}


5. Friendship Bracelets


and of course.........


lots & lotsssss of ice cream!!

xo

you are all stardust.



Is it just me... or do you find this to be incredibly romantic?

Monday, June 14, 2010

You Live; You Learn.


I'm gonna be all the way out there, all the way fucking out there. Just on my own. You know, no fucking watch, no map, no axe, no nothing. No nothing. Just be out there. Just be out there in it. You know, big mountains, rivers, sky, game. Just be out there in it, you know? In the wild. {Chris McCandless}

This weekend was pretty much exactly what I needed. I learned a lot about myself and about people in my life who have more of an impact than I may have expected. I laughed. I cried. I was really, really angry. I felt loved. I felt hurt. I felt free. And all of this in 3 days. Communication is probably the most important thing that we have as human beings, and you never appreciate how important it is to vent until you do, and you realize how good it feels. And you also remember how much alike we all really are. And how people maybe even feel the same way that you do, and were just waiting for you to speak up.

I spent every single day in my bathing suit. I think that's really the best way to spend a hot afternoon. I did a lot of thinking at the river, and also a lot of not thinking. A lot of just being. I can't explain how much I love being near the water. Closing my eyes and listening to the current bursting over nearby rocks. Feeling the sun on my skin. Pretending that this is my home; and that I never have to leave. Sometimes I wish that I had the courage to be Chris McCandless and just leave everything behind and head to Alaska or some place far away. Some place where I can set up a tent in the middle of the forest, cook over an open fire, and not think about time or responsibility. Of course, he eventually went crazy and died in the wilderness. But that part isn't really the part I like to focus on. I like to focus on being totally free and completely surrounded by nature. In nature and apart of nature. One hundred percent.

And I think the closest that I will ever be to this type of freedom is when I go camping. Because even though I often fantasize about dropping my career and living somewhere in a tree house or on a beach nobody knows about, I don't think I could do it. I don't think I could leave the people that I love, no matter how much they irritate me. And even Chris  got a little lonely all by himself. As much as I hate to admit it, I think I would also miss gossip magazines and reality tv. I guess I'm not as much of a gypsy as I would like to believe.

So now I am craving a camping trip. I want to pack up my life into a single back pack and sleep on the ground for several nights. Light up the campfire once it gets dark and look up at the stars and the moon and snuggle up in my sleeping bag. Get really dirty. Drink lots of beer. And then when I am tired, come home and take a hot bath. Because it always feels good when you know you can come home.

Yes. I think I will go camping soon.










Friday, June 11, 2010

Escape.


It's kind of been an emotional couple of days. One of those weeks when it's hard to keep smiling, but you do it anyway because you know that tomorrow's another day and things won't be like this forever. I think everyone is allowed a day or two every once in a while to feel discontent, and this was my week.

But I hold my head high and put one foot in front of the other. Because today is Friday. and it's kind of impossible to be sad on a friday. And yesterday I had a pretty awesome dance party with one of my best friends. I am pretty lucky. Nothing cheers me up like a good dance party.

This time tomorrow I will be soaking in the sunshine.... so life is still good and everything is always ok in the end.

Have a lovely weekend, and keep your chin up!



Thursday, June 10, 2010

What's Your Sign?


Do you believe in Astrology? I think I do. Maybe just a little bit. As you may have guessed, I am a Cancer. It's not really a surprise that I am a cardinal water sign, because I am instinctively drawn to water and am very creative. I'm also not really surprised that many of the traits listed above mirror who I actually am in reality. Which is strange. But cool strange.

For instance, let's start with the good. I love using my imagination and like to lose myself in daydreaming and express this through writing, story telling and an intense love for art and music. I am very protective - especially to friends and family. Right or wrong, I will have your back. I put on a front, but I am actually very sensitive and care deeply about others. I am extremely in touch with my emotions, and they come on strong. In a sense, I wear my heart on my sleeve and get a lot of joy simply by connecting with others on a personal level. I am extremely passionate. I'm also insanely spontaneous and love change... I love the rush of living moment to moment.

But... the downfalls also fit. Sometimes I get too sensitive and think about things more deeply than I should, causing me to be overly upset or hurt when a person may not have actually meant any harm. Of course, I keep a hard exterior and will wallow in self pity before I let you know you've hurt my feelings. I am stubborn and hate being told what to do. Embarrassingly, I can be a little clingy. Some people may call me self absorbed because I love talking and being the center of attention. I also like to talk about myself, because I think it helps me relate with others. Sometimes I could probably listen more.


So... what's your sign?


once upon a time..


Once upon a time there was a little girl. Actually, she was more of a fairy princess. Each day she would wake up as the sunshine seeped through her eye lids. She would wash her face with the morning dew and sing along with the robins and the blue birds until the gentle heat would lead her to a bed of clovers. She made a new crown of daisies and lillies every single day and danced among the dandelions, wishing for magical things like dragons and pearls and pretty unicorns that would take her up into the clouds so high that the trees below her became tiny green specs. Butterflies would chase her as she ran throughout the forest in her bare feet, stopping only for a moment to dip her toes into the cool pond before leaping from stone to stone and then climbing up into the tallest tree she could find. She would lay in a hammock of fresh leaves and talk to the owls as they hummed from there nests. At dusk, it was time to run as fast as she could back to her home - for the forest grew dark very quickly and soon she would not be able to find her way back. She would follow the fire flies back over the pond and through the trees and past her bed of clovers and dandelions into her mother's arms. With a tiny kiss on her nose she would snuggle into bed, her muddy feet peering out from the sheets and her knees painted green from the earth.




Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Vaccinations?

"Just knowing you exist changed the world for me."

Tiffanie DeBartolo (God-Shaped Hole)

This is probably pretty silly. But I've been thinking about what kind of mother I want to be. I figure, why not start now. When I have time to plan ahead and prepare myself for everything that's about to happen. Because I will be responsible for another persons little life, and I will be the only mother that they ever have. Even if it's 3... 4... 5... years down the road, this is something that I've dreamt about my entire life.

So, if you are a mother and you are reading this... please share your memories, dreams, realities. The good and the bad. I feel like I was meant to be a mother. I know that may sound funny, but I am nurturing and loving and am so excited for the day that a child enters my life. It may be really, really hard. Probably not always fun. But definitely worth it.

Lately I have been reading a lot about vaccinations. I want to learn more about this, because I feel that my first decision as a parent will be if my child is vaccinated or not... especially since I now know that the Hepatitis B vaccine is typically given before the baby even leaves the hospital. Before their tiny immune systems have had the time to adjust to life outside of the womb. Not to mention, Hepatitus is usually contracted by exposure to the disease through sex, dirty needles or transferred from the mother during childbirth - not really something that most babies are at risk for. And they will have to be re-vaccinated around age 7. And I don't think I like that. The whole idea of vaccinations seems wonderful on the surface, but the more I read about possible side effects of autism, brain damage, seizures and SIDS... the more I wonder, is this worth it?

I want to have a natural birth. No drugs. And I would prefer a water birth at home. I especially don't want to circumcise my future son. So if I am taking all of these precautions... not drinking or smoking while pregnant, not using an epidural to ease what I am sure will be the most intense pain of my life, choosing to breast feed... why would I consider putting a foreign object into my child's body? I didn't even realize, but vaccines do not make you immune to a disease for life... so while I had chickenpox as a child and can now be exposed as an adult and be fine, some one who has had the vaccine is still at risk for catching this disease in later life, when it is much more dangerous and can often be deadly. Why not have "Chicken Pox Parties" like I had as a child... where they may get a little ill for a few days, but they will be immune for the rest of their lives?

Also, the United States has one of the highest reportings of SIDS in the entire world. And the peak death averages are around 3 months, 6 months and 9 months... coincidentally when babies are given groups of vaccines. Or is it a coincidence? That really freaks me out.

Maybe I am making a big deal out of something that I shouldn't. I am just not sure I am ready to close my eyes and hope that my child isn't perminently damaged from a shot that was meant to protect them. Any parents out there have ideas on this? How did you decide what to do... because I know that if my husband & I decide not to vaccinate... we will have to be armed with reasons why we chose this option for our child.


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

oh, and one more thing...

"This I believe: That the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual.” John Steinbeck

It's actually pretty amusing that I haven't written about this topic before... because it is something that I am very passionate about {and I rarely limit what I think or feel}. Also, I have refrained from writing about this because I don't want to offend anyone, which is equally amusing considered it is a topic I am offended by on nearly a daily basis. But it is still worth talking about it and if you are sensitive to the subject of religion, then you might want to just stop reading now. Because I'm not holding back. At all.

Still interested? Here goes. It is my personal belief that religion has no place whatsoever in the work environment. I'm in social work, and it's funny how because of my career people tend to assume that I am a Christian and that there is no harm in sending emails inviting me to church events, or even phone calls from contracting agencies who want me to join them for church supper or some weekend conference. Kindly, no thank you. No. No. No. I think this is extremely rude and insensitive, yet I have to laugh because there is so much of an emphasis on "cultural differences" within our training for social work - yet the reality is totally opposite when it comes to religion.

For instance, we had a "Holiday" {aka Christmas} party last year. There was a huge debate on whether or not we should have a Christmas Tree... even though there wasn't really the space for it. One of my colleagues went on a rant about how we are taking God out of every aspect of Christmas, and how dare we even consider leaving out a Tree? News flash.... most Americans who celebrate Christmas aren't regulars in the  church pews. It's become a day of celebrating family and loved ones and most of all -- lots of food and lots of laughter. It's a magical day for children, whether they believe in Jesus or not... and who are we to take "Santa" away from them? Ugh. Work meetings shouldn't waste time arguing about a stupid tree.

Lately I have been having nightmares nearly every single night. My mother is a pastor and my father and his family have been attending the same church since he was a little boy. Up until about a year ago, I attended church every Sunday and kept my mouth shut. My questions were turned away and if I disagreed with anything that was said, I was met with judgement. I have left that church, because life is too short to sit in a room and feel offended and bogged down for an entire hour or more. And I have been to many different churches... they all mention the same things.... Do this or you're going to hell. Do that and you'll burn for eternity in the fiery pits of hell. So on and so forth. Blah blah blah, fear tactics don't really impress me.

So back to my nightmares. It is really a shame that my feelings about religion are surfacing while I dream. All of them have the same basic idea: people at my church find out that I am Buddhist and disown me. This is hurtful, because these are people that I have known for my entire life. Deep down I think that if they knew that I didn't buy all of the miraculous stories and flashy miracles... they would look at me differently and probably distance themselves. That hurts. I mean, my grandmother still thinks that I'm going to a Baptist church in the city, because I think she would literally die if she knew I was going to a Buddhist Temple.

Then there are my friends. I love my friends and respect their beliefs, but they are so offended when they hear that I'm still on the fence about whether God exists or not, and are appalled that I don't think it really matters either way. My parents feel that same way, and are still waiting for me to "wake up" and return to my "roots." I don't force people in my life to defend why they believe a certain thing... so why am I always put up against a group of people, defending mine. Not really fair in my opinion.

And who is to say that Christianity is getting back to my roots. What if I was born in China... or India... or South Korea... I mean honestly, luck is what it all comes down to. I am lucky to have been born to a family who loves me, in a country that is safe & to have the freedom to think for myself about the most important decision in my life: where did we all come from and why are we here? It just so happens that this same country is full of people who believe in God. {and a lot of that has to do with how you were raised}. But that doesn't mean that the majority rules and I don't get a say in my own spiritual path, or lack thereof if I so choose.

Recently I was told that I was going to hell because I am Buddhist. I am nothing special, but I love people and have spent my entire life helping others any way that I can. Not to pull the "I donated my kidney" card... but come on, I am not an evil person worthy of eternal damnation! In truth, I don't think anyone really deserves that, because who we are depends on where we've been and what we've seen or haven't seen. This is the same reason that I am 110% against the Death Penalty... but that's a totally different rant.

I am just annoyed, that's all. I feel that Christianity was founded on certain values such as --> not judging others and loving them despite their differences!!! Could be wrong though. That's just what I got out of 20+ years of my church experience. I hope that if you are still reading this, you maybe feel even a tiny bit the same way. You appreciate your freedoms in what spiritual path you choose, even if your path is unsure what to believe or maybe the path you follow has no God in it at all. Don't push your beliefs on others, and instead love them for who they are -- not who you think they should be. You never really know how what you say or do effects some one... so the safest bet is to let your opinions be opinions, for the sake of hurting people you genuinely care about.

And by all means... please please pleassssse keep religion out of the work place!







Monday, June 07, 2010

love will always set you free.

This weekend was so. much. fun. I haven't felt so free and alive as I have over these past few days, and it's always a plus when you learn new things about yourself. I lived in my bathing suite. Made new friends. Spent time with old ones. Listened to some amazing and soul inspiring local music. And enjoyed the sunshine and simplicity that the James River is always sure to bring. We also grilled out every meal, and you must admit that all things taste better on the grill.

I haven't felt this way in a long, long time. I think the summer weather tends to bring out a side of me that is hidden in the winter. Do you ever feel that way? It made me think about summer vacation and high school and how I couldn't wait to grow up... yet I never wanted those days to end. Then I started looking through old pictures this morning, and how even though some things have changed so much - they also stay the same.

I love to be free. I am a free spirit floating around in corporate america. And I don't pretend that others always understand me. I don't always understand them. But I was inspired yesterday when my friend was talking about happiness and money and how he just wanted enough to get by and be happy. Finally. Some one who gets it. Some one who is totally free doesn't always think about putting money into the equation. Because money doesn't equal happiness and it certainly doesn't make you free. Freedom always tends to come when surrounded by those you love. Those you can be yourself around without apologizing. The people in your life who make you better. And simple things like losing yourself in nature and forgetting that each moment is passing and we are quickly growing up. Because I like to imagine that I will be young forever. And I think that maybe sometimes that's perfectly ok.

So today... I give you some of my very own oldies but goodies:


“Something about her eyes or voice has always suggested the hint of a free spirit, trapped in a Peck & Peck cage, dreaming of making rude noises at public gatherings of Republicans.”
Jeff Greenfield.


Friday, June 04, 2010

feeling dreamy.

It's Friday! It's Friday! I feel like taking a walk outside today during my lunch break... I just found out that several vendors are parked along the river, and there are spots for people to picnic on their lunch breaks! I may have to try this out.... a co-worker and I were talking about this yesterday. Can you believe how quickly the week passed? I hope the rain holds off... because tonight I am seeing a friends band play and I really, really want to lay out by the river. I just love this hot weather... driving with the windows down and blasting music. Sundresses. Wildflowers. So. Dreamy.

Basically, this is the mood I am in today:


Today I want to just close my eyes and pretend I am in a bed of wildflowers and long, whispy grass. Laying on a blanket. Sipping lemonaide. Reading a book. And ultimatley - taking a nap underneath the sunshine and some big, puffy clouds. Perfection. There is no better way to spend a day than with Mother Nature.

Have a glorious weekend - rain or shine - and don't be afriad to feel a little dreamy. Put on a sundress and dance. I think that's what I will do this weekend.

xo

Thursday, June 03, 2010

theme of today: love yourself.





The theme today seems to be this: loving yourself. So many beautiful souls have written about this, and it's actually nice to know that we all have the same struggles and insecurities... because we are all going through this together. I have realized that I get a little self-conscious about my dreadlocks, because they're still babies and they don't do what I want when I want. Sometimes I crawl into a corner, because I see someone from across the room with mature dreads and I feel like they're judging me. Yet I still keep them. It's crazy... but I do love them and I know that one day the journey will get easier and I won't think twice about leaving home with them in my face and strung down across my shoulders. I like looking at these pictures of what they could  be.... but also like the suspense in not knowing exactly what they will be. They do seem to have a mind of their own.

This whole journey finally started after obsessing over this hairstyle since high school. I finally had the courage to get them - even though people told me not to. That they would look bad. That they may hurt my career. People even still tell me to brush them out. But I think they are empowering to a point, because no matter what people say, I have to search deep down inside myself and remember why I got them in the first place. Because I don't want to care what people think about me. The only thing I want people to see when they look at me is a kind person with a heart so full of love that at times it feels as though it may burst. I don't want to spend hours straightening my hair, when I could be spending it with people I love.

I have been looking at myself in the mirror lately. Really looking. And it's because I have been inspired by so many of you. When I look at my reflection I see a person, not a monster. Not some one who needs to lose 20 pounds to be pretty or to be happy or confident. I still feel uncomfortable with my body, but at least I am able to see some beauty when I look at myself. I have a long ways to go. I think people are right when they say that we are our biggest critics. Do you really notice my flabby arms, or am I obsessing to the point that I am making a big deal out of nothing. Am I really stressing myself out to the point where I can't enjoy myself, when you don't even notice that I forgot to put on make up this morning? Does it even matter?

So, I am so thankful and extremely lucky to be surrounded by such beautiful women in my life. Such confidence and reassurance and love. After reading some of your blogs today, I feel girly again and ready to pick myself up and continue living. Life is too short to worry about how I look in these jeans anyway. Besides -- I love my free spirit, tan skin, freckles and each of my pretty little {and not so little} tattoos!

What do you love about yourself?

should've gotten take-out.

So yesterday was an interesting day for me. After visiting a client, I decided to walk around the block and enjoy the sunshine - since I'm usually stuck in the office all day. I stopped for a few minutes and looked at the river... which was literally 2 blocks away... and it took everything in me not to run straight for the water and skip out on work altogether. But, like a good little worker I returned back to my desk and started writing reports. This is the moment I realized: I am growing up.

So I started thinking about how independent I have become and how I will have been married for 2 years come this August. Then, I got the worst idea ever: I will surprise Sean with dinner. Not just any dinner, something from scratch and really really fancy. Keep in mind, the only things I "cook" include PB&J, Grilled Cheese, Spaghetti, Pizza Subs, Mac & Cheese {from the box} and salad. Yes, I count salad. Long story short, anyone who has ever known me knows that I do not and cannot cook. Yet, I was inspired and spent the last hour of work planning the menu. 

Sean usually does the cooking in our house. I like to have my pajamas on by 7:00 pm and while I'm watching reality tv, he cooks up something really good and serves it to me... like, I don't ever get off the couch. This is how spoiled I am. Anyway, over the weekend I wanted to have mac and cheese for dinner and Sean informed me that this was a side dish not a meal... who knew? I then had a very scary thought -- what will I do when we have kids and Sean is out of town? I hardly think pop-tarts and ice cream will do... thus, the dinner plan was born.

I decided to make fried shrimp and couldn't think of a side... so I decided to try egg fried rice and veggies. Originally I wanted salad and garlic bread, but a co-worker informed me that those things didn't really go with fried shrimp. I'm no Denise, but I figured how hard can this really be? The recipes looked simple and only had a few ingredients... and I was so excited that I rushed home and started cooking. Usually I am really sloppy with directions and just throw things together, but I actually took my time and measured everything out perfectly... this dinner took me 2 hours to prepare!

I have only been eating seafood for several weeks, so I was absolutely appalled when I had to peel the shrimp out of their little shells. Nasty. I realized that uncooked, they look a lot like grubs, which reminded me of The Lion King, which in turn almost made me puke. But I peeled them and soaked them in a marinade for 45 minutes while I prepared the rice.I began to realize how messy cooking is and how long it takes... and this is exactly why I don't cook. It gave me a whole new respect for Sean.

Anyway, I will say that the shrimp turned out amazing! The downfall was that I decided to mix them in with the fried rice... which was soggy and altogether disgusting. Here's a picture of the shrimp though, to prove I'm not a total idiot:

Good, right?

So I put it all together in a bowl and I won't even show you what it looked like... it was that bad. Sean didn't even realize there were eggs in it. And I watched him as he poured spice after spice into his bowl, and his face as he took his first mouthful was priceless. I kept watching him force this awful meal into his mouth, then he would look at me and tell me how good it was. Sean, you are too good to me. I told him that I knew it was nasty..... and that it seems like there's only room for one good cook in this family. So he had chips for dinner, and my stomach hurt so bad after finishing my bowl that I had to go to bed early. Awesome.

Anyway... here's the recipe for the shrimp. I should've just left it at that. Better yet... I should've just ordered a pizza.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Summer Love.


Today I stepped outside and realized something: It's getting really hot outside! This time of year is so exciting to me. It brings back so many memories of summer vacation. Spending every day in my bathing suite. Eating sandwiches on the beach. Not brushing my hair {heh, some things never change!}. I love the water and I feel so drawn to it, especially when it's so bright and warm outside. It is so tempting to call in sick and spend the entire day at the river. Doing nothing, except daydreaming and sunbathing. Which is actually something. I love getting really, really hot and then jumping into the cold water. It's such an adrenaline rush! Smelling cookouts in the distance and sipping a cold beer... pretending there isn't anything else I should be doing. But once in a while, this is exactly what I should be doing.

Remember to always enjoy the sunshine. And to take a moment {or a day} to relax. really relax. Forget  about your job. Your reality. The "Real World". If you need to, take a personal day and spend it sleeping in or catching up on a great book. Spend time with nature. Spend it with family. Girlfriends. Boyfriends. Or ... spend the day with the most important person in the entire world: yourself. 

 xoxo



Tuesday, June 01, 2010

"The Office"

The time has come. We are staying in our loft for a little while longer, and I am determined to make it every bit as cool as anything ever seen on Apartment Therapy. Starting with the *ehem* very small and quite boring bathroom. I have already decided that I am set on a bright blue for the walls. Here are some other cuties I found:


Shower Curtain & Bath Mat from Target


Towel Hooks & Picture Frames from Urban Outfitters



...And probably a new shower rod, since I broke our old one. Yes, I fell on it. Yes, I was intoxicated.
 
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