Monday, October 31, 2011

zombie love/a very happy halloween to you!

This weekend Sean and I had our annual Halloween Bash and it was a huge success! We started the night ''adult trick or treating'' with some of our friends in our apartment building, and each spot had a delicious, Halloween themed adult beverage. The party then moved to our loft, where there was a ton of yummy finger foods and a punch that literally knocked me on my ass by the end of the night (aka...I had to buy a new shower curtain the next morning. whoops.)

Check out some of the guests.... everyone seriously looked amazing! Can you guess what everyone dressed as?
A heterosexual... hahaha :)

The Bronx Zoo Cobra!

Lady Gaga

My husband lookin' hot in tights... and he sewed his costume himself!


Me with the ''Modern Day Drug Dealer'' ;)

''It's not easy being green'' :)

I had a ton of snacks on hand: lots of cookies, candy, popcorn, pizza bagels, chips, and probably the biggest hit of the night....... witches fingers dipped in blood! They came out a little fat, so next year I'll know to use less dough. All you do is roll pizza dough into finger shapes and add sliced almonds for fingernails. The blood is marinara sauce. I probably ate about 304923042314 fingers.

And of course, the pups dressed up and had a blast eating just as much as we did. The more I drank, the more cookies and fingers they got. Shame on my part... you can imagine what happens when a dog eats a ton of food when they usually don't get anything besides dog food and a few treats. But a few times a year can't hurt :)

Do you celebrate Halloween? Did you dress up this weekend or are you saving your costume for tonight? I would love to see pictures if you have them :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

your ladder to the stars.

And you have your choices
And these are what make man great
His ladder to the stars.
{mumford & sons; timeshel}

I get inspired easily. By music. By nature. By a homeless man on a nearby block. By love. By the warmest venti cup of white chocolate mocha. By grass, trees, moving water, conversation, foreign film, old photographs, art of any kind...

I feel it deep inside my gut, and I obsess over it until I can find a way to share it. Because inspiration should be shared; we have a desperate need to feel inspired.

And there are so many things to bring about passion, so many choices that we can make. I practice living in the moment, but I want to incorporate my intuition. Following my gut feeling; following what inspires me. And not being so afraid of failure, because if you don't try... you fail by default.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

''Why do you spend money on tattoo's when you're broke?''

I was looking through my archives today and noticed a comment on this post that I hadn't seen until just now. And 'anonymous'.... I am not calling you out, because trust me you aren't the first person to -in so many words- call me a hypocrite for complaining about being poor and then getting tattoo'd. My skin is pretty thick, so I'm not offended by any means... but I think a response in necessary because I should be able to explain myself and then if you still think I'm a hypocrite, at least I'll feel better knowing we are just on two separate pages. It's ok to disagree... in fact, it's healthy at times.

Our society is seriously fucked when it comes to priorities. Yes, I chose social work... but why are the jobs that are sometimes the hardest, emotionally and physically, paid the least? There are many, many other jobs that come to mind.... teachers, police officers, I'm sure you can list underpaid workers for days. The thing that bothers me, is that this working class -the backbone of our society- is under appreciated. 99% of us are getting poorer, while the top 1% continues to get richer and richer.

Everyone's heard about the protests going on lately, and I am so proud of Richmond every time I drive by our little park and see the 'Occupy Richmond' protesters and tents. Peaceful protest is our right, and honestly nothing makes me happier than Americans expressing their opinions and working to improve our society. I work with so many people on welfare, and while some ''abuse the system,'' a lot of them don't. They're victims of their circumstance, and continue to fall between the cracks.

I work with teenagers. Many of them were born addicted to crack or some other substance. They are born into poverty. They are exposed to drugs and violence at an early age. Learn to steal or sell drugs in order to keep food on the table. And most who graduate from high school (which isn't many) do so without knowing how to read. The system isn't working for them. These people are stuck. Should we ignore them or blame them or even punish them? It's not a black and white scenario.

But the system isn't working for people like myself, either. I went to college, accrued a massive amount of debt, chose a field that doesn't pay much, and live paycheck to paycheck. I'm 25... and while some of my friends do have a savings account, most of us are just struggling to get by. Especially those of us who aren't still living at home or have the luxary of our parents paying for our bills or cars. Most people that I know can identify with having to decide to pay a bill or get groceries... and that doesn't always stop at age 25.

I chose all of this. And guess what, like I mentioned in that post... I am so very thankful that I am independent, and that while there isn't a lot of money to spare, I am still paying my bills and my loans.

So back to the original comment about why I pay for tattoo's (which let's be honest, aren't cheap) when I could probably be investing that money or saving it or whatever. You only get so many years here on Earth. There's only so much time that we have with our families, our friends, ourselves. I don't feel bad about saving up for several months so that I can slowly get a piece finished over the coarse of a year, because I work hard for my money and tattoo's are something that I enjoy and that make me happy. I've earned it.

Sometimes, I only have about $30 in my bank account. And guess what I do with that $30? I go to brunch with my friends, I go see a movie, I buy fresh flowers for my living room. This is my choice, because I work hard and I think it's important to enjoy life also.

And I love my life. I love my friends, I love my family, I love my husband, I love my broken down piece of shit car, I love making pizza out of hamburger buns, I love spending $7 on a bottle of wine and getting lost in the moment.

I work hard, and therefore I APPRECIATE everything that I have.

But not everyone enjoys tattoo's. Not everyone likes the river. Not everyone likes everything. I think the important thing, as a part of the 99% who are just barley getting by, is to appreciate our uniqeness and realize that we are not alone in this fight. Most of us work damn hard, and it's ok to splurge once in a while and treat yourself to something that may or may not be ''financially smart''. There's a time to stress out over money, and there needs to be equal time given towards appreciating life and all that it has to offer.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

i love halloween so much that i decided to get tattoo'd...

When I say that I'm obsessed with Halloween... I'm not exaggerating. I love eating candy, watching scary movies, and I especially love dressing up and being something totally different than myself for a day. I think that Halloween is the most magical time of the year, and I wanted to keep that spirit of magic alive all year.

A blank canvas, if you will:

Monday I said goodbye to all of my little freckles and looked at my bare arm one last time. I love getting new tattoo's. I have been patiently waiting for weeks, and I was so excited that I could barley sleep the night before.

First, Josh took an hour and a half sketching out the design. In marker. He is seriously talented...

Then he got right to work on the outline. I'm getting it filled in later... he's going to be out for surgery for several months so I'm gonna wait for him to come back to finish. I need to save up anyway, I'm poor ;)

There's a big creepy tree, a graveyard, a skeleton, bats, pumpkins, and candy corn. Not to mention, two very special graves marked ''HND'' and "ACW" for both of my grandfathers, two very very special men in my life.

I'm so excited for the start of my first sleeve!!!! :)

p.s. - one silly little thing on my bucket list is to end up in a tattoo portfolio... mission accomplished ladies and gentlemen! Josh snapped pics of the outline, and also my mermaid which he did for me in June. Isn't she curvy and gorgeous? Her names Oriona, after Orion the hunter aka my favorite constellation. Yes, I am a loser.

p.p.s. - check out the pretty fresh flowers I have all around our loft! the daisies are from the field behind our loft ;)

What did you do this weekend?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

an unexpected break in my routine.

I haven't been to work since Wednesday, because I've been at home resting my body and healing from a kidney infection. I only have one kidney, so the doctors want to make sure everything is 100% before I return to work. I was in a lot of pain up until Saturday morning, but today I am happy to report that I am feeling much, much better -- it doesn't even feel like anythings wrong :)

[lucky for me, I took Monday off a few weeks ago... so I don't have to go back to work until Tuesday!!!]

I'm pretty bummed that I missed homecoming this year.... especially since I didn't get to go last year. But it's always nice to have an unexpectedly long relaxing weekend. Friday night my best friend Brittany dropped her plans and came over for a pizza/movie night with me so that I didn't have to spend the night by myself. I thought that was pretty special (i love you soooo much Britt!), and between that and the many texts and phone calls from friends and family checking up, it's safe to say that I feel pretty loved.

Saturday a bunch of my friends who live in my building and I got together for brunch. I had about 5 cups of coffee and a Sunny Morning Sandwich, stuffed with scrambled eggs, tomato, and lots and lots of seasoning. I don't normally sit and gulp down coffee by the mug full, so it's safe to say I was jittery all day... but it was so much fun laughing with good friends -- I am truly fortunate for the people in my life right now. 

This year got off to a rocky start, as I've made a conscious effort of ridding negative people and things from my life. It's not always easy to say goodbye to things, especially when they're unhealthy, but I can honestly say that the changes I've made have led me to a much happier and positive existence. I've met some really cool people, learned a lot about  myself, and I'm choosing a totally different career path. For once, I actually feel like I'm in control of myself and my happiness, and it feels empowering.

My friend Kari and I were talking last night, and she told me that she thinks I'll be successful no matter what I do. I don't think she realizes how badly I needed this reassurance, and how good it was to hear that some one believes in me. Actually, so many people have told me that they believe in me and the path I am on... and I am so excited to see where it leads me and what my life looks like a year from now.

Tomorrow I'm getting the outline done for a sleeve I've been planning for a while now -- so get ready for some before and after pictures... I'm so excited! I also plan on doing a little thrifting... I've decided on a vintage tea party theme for our Thanksgiving dinner, so hopefully I can find some goodies :)

Speaking of goodies, my neighbor Bart is an amazing artist... you've gotta check him out! I have one of his little masking tape birdies in my kitchen, and I'm totally blown away by his talent -- click here you won't be sorry!

Also, a little article I found this week that I found absolutely inspiring. What you spend your time doing is important, so spend it wisely.

That's all for now, hope you are all having a fabulous weekend!

p.s. This song's been on repeat all week long. I can't get enough.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

taste every apple.

I saw this quote this morning on Boho Girl's blog, and it really spoke to me. I think you have a pretty clear idea that I've been in the midst of changing my career path if you've been following along even the slightest bit, and that can be pretty scary.

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”

[Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum]
I have been thinking heavily about the impact that a career change will have on my life, and honestly at times it takes my breath because it makes me so nervous. But we are only here for so long, and I want to spend what little time I have doing something that I love. Surrounding myself with people that I love. I want to make sure that I taste all of the sweetness that this life has to offer, and that I don't let the fear of the unknown hold me back. Here's to tasting every apple!

Monday, October 10, 2011

a short ::pause:: from halloween

This weekend I was talking with Sean and we decided to host Thanksgiving at our loft this year. This is a pretty huge deal, because neither of us knows how to make a turkey and we're still working on the seating issue since our loft isn't small, but also isn't huge.

But, we decided that these little obstacles will be worth it in the end because for the first time EVER our families will be able to all sit down and have Thanksgiving together. Usually holidays for us are spent rushing to Sean's parents for a few hours and then getting in the car and driving almost 2 hours to my parents house. I always get really stressed out, and we both feel bad because we don't get to spend as much time as we'd like with our families. I want to get in the habit of us all being together, so that when Sean and I eventually have kids they won't have to spend most of the day in the car and we'll all be able to just relax and enjoy each others company.

Being the planner that I am, I've already been busy thinking about how to transform our loft into a cozy place to over eat and pass out. That's what we do on Thanksgiving, is it not? Here are a few of my ideas so far (via my pinterest):
[01] vintage plates unique to each guest [02] mason jar drinking glasses
[03] old whiskey bottle flower vases [04] dessert tower made from stacked plates and teacups

I'm pretty sure that I can find most of these items at our local thrift shops, and I'm also on the lookout for a really great lace table cloth or two. I'm getting so excited planning out our menu and thinking about how to re-arrange our furniture so that everyone fits ;)

How do you typically spend your holidays? Do you have to juggle several lunches and dinners, too?

Haunted Hay Rides and Scary Movies

This weekend was the first of the Halloween festivities that I've planned for the entire month! Friday a group of us went to the Haunted Hay Ride... and let me just say, it was worth the $20. I haven't been for a few years, and I was happy to learn that for the most part the less you scream the less attention you get. Times like these, I enjoy blending in with the crowd ;)

The hay ride dropped us off in a corn field, and we spent about 10 minutes walking on a path in the dark to our destination: the first house. There were about 3-4 haunted houses in total, and the general theme was an asylum, human experimentation kind of feel. There were parts where we had to completely get on our hands and knees and crawl through tunnels that were so dark that you couldn't even see your hand in front of your face. There were mazes where you would get to a dead end and have to turn around, only to find a creepy clown or crazy person hiding in the corner next to you!

The creepiest part was this room that was lit by strobe lights where body bags where hanging from the ceiling.... and there was a guy in the room with a chainsaw popping out everywhere! There was one point where a group of us were pressed up against the wall and he was just standing there grunting at us.... it was freaky! The funniest part looking back though, it how everyone in that room was running from the chainsaw and hitting themselves in the head with the body bags... it was intense! (I was .10 seconds away from pissing in my pants)

So that was really fun, but by the time Saturday came around I was really just looking forward to trading my running shoes in for some cozy socks and an oversized sweatshirt. We started watching movies/drinking ''Vampire Wine'' at around 1:00 pm and I ate more popcorn and snacks than I had in my entire life. We had BBQ sandwiches, cookies, brownies, chips, and Sean made this really amazing chili that got eaten up sooooooo quick! It was fun pigging out for a day/night :)

Here is our list of movies that we watched, and the order we watched them: The Grudge, Paranormal Activity (which after hearing the history/reason for numbers 2 & 3, wasn't as dumb as I initially thought), House of a Thousand Corpses, The Strangers, The Shining (#1 best movie of all time, if you haven't seen it.... you need to!), and finally Hocus Pocus! There are still a ton of movies that didn't make the cut this weekend, so I'm excited about watching them the rest of this month ;)

What did you do this weekend?

Friday, October 07, 2011

the poor girls guide to fall clothing (but first a quick update)

Holy moly, I can't believe it's already Friday! Buuuut... I am so, so happy that it is -- this weekend I'm crossing two things off my Halloween To-Do List: A Haunted Hay Ride and a Scary Movie Marathon. I'd be lying if I told you I haven't been panicking about the Haunted Hay Ride for the past week.... I keep trying to figure out a way to become the official ''bag holder'' without looking like a total wuss. Why must all haunted hay rides and houses have chainsaws?!?!?!

Anyway, yesterday was a really great day for me. I went on an interview, and it was probably the most relaxing and dare I say fun things that I have done all week month. I usually interview pretty well, but I've never felt such a connection and positive energy so quickly. I don't want to jinx anything so more details may be coming next week... just keep your fingers (and toes!) crossed for me! This would be a really awesome experience, and the thought of beginning a totally new career path in possibly 2 weeks is probably one of the best things that has been running through my mind in a long, long time!

So, now let's talk a little about being poor and adjusting your clothes to the seasons...

I haven't been shy about sharing my financial struggles on this blog, and one thing that I really struggle with (other than keeping up with a social life on a tight budget) is my wardrobe. To give you a visual, last year Sean visited me at work and said [direct quote] ''you look straight out of the breakfast club, and you look like a lesbian in those Birkenstock's!'' ouch.

Most people would probably be offended by that comment, but we actually had a pretty good laugh about it... because other than the Birk's I was sporting baggy black pants, a frumpy sweater, and his overly large black jacket which came down to my knees. It was bad, people. So from that moment on, I knew I had to figure out some kind of way to look stylish on a budget.

I already have a ton of cardigans... I have a box filled with at least 50 of them because I have to cover up my tattoo's for work year round (Forever 21 is awesome for cardigans... they're like $30!). So my first advice to you would be to stock up... because these things can be worn all year round and dress up any outfit pretty easily. I have a ton of those $7 tank tops from Target, the really soft ones, and I usually just pair one of those with a cardigan and a skirt or even with some dress pants. It works... I haven't gotten the Breakfast Club comment in a while.

This summer I also stocked up on dresses. Every few months I would save all of my pennies up and buy a really, really nice dress that I knew was made well and would last. I have about 6 or 7 dresses from Urban Outfitters, 3 from American Apparel, and 2 from Modcloth. These were not cheap ($60 to me is a freakin' fortune) and my plan is to wear them ALL YEAR. How you ask?

First of all, make sure that when you buy a dress it's a solid color or if it's patterned, make sure you have several solid cardigans to pair it with. Most of my clothes are solid colors because I like to have a ton of ways to mix and match, and this makes it sooooo much easier. Almost everything in my wardrobe can be mixed and matched.... so it looks like I have way more outfits than I actually do.

Exibit A: Each of these dresses can be paired with your favorite cardigan. I have #1 in two colors, and wear the black one twice per work week with a different cardigan and nobody notices!

Since it's just the beginning of fall... I have been sticking to my favorite sandals for just a tad bit longer and keeping my legs bare with a long sleeve cardy. But once it starts to cool down and actually stays cool, there are other ways to continue wearing these dresses while keeping warm & cozy.

Exibit B: Invest in several good pairs of tights and at least one good pair of boots and flats.

The cooler it gets, the thicker the tights! Also... there is one last layer which is probably the coziest in my humble opinion.

Exibit C: The scarf. I wear these almost daily. You can knit your own, find them on side street vendors, or buy them almost anywhere (Etsy's my favorite place to shop -- they're exxxxtra cozy!).

I may not be the most stylish person ever, but I think figuring out how to wear your clothes year round (without looking silly) is definintly something to be proud of! And you know you feel best when you're lookin' good... so it's nice to know that you can feel and look your best, even on the tightest budgets. :)

Thursday, October 06, 2011

tunes perfect for night driving with the windows down and the heat on

I love fall, and one of my favorite things to do (which Sean hates because it's pretty wasteful) is to drive with the windows down on a cool night and blast the heat. This is especially fun when you're by yourself and have your iphone handy with some amazing tunes.

There's really nothing quite like it. It's relaxing and it makes even the worst days feel pretty great. Today was actually pretty perfect, so I felt unstoppable tonight as I drove home from dinner at my in-laws house.

What are my favorites, you ask? Check it:

First Aid Kits cover of the Tiger Mountain Peasant Song 

Anything Holly Ann, but in particular I fancy Every Night

Actually, I can never get enough of First Aid Kit in the fall. My favorite song is Pervigilo and I usually listen to it twice for good measure.

Mumford & Son's... my favorite is White Blank Page (I listen to it at least 10 times per day, no joke)

And finally, being the hardcore Copeland fan that I am, The Lulls in Traffic (Aaron's new band). My favorite is The Rope to Pull Yourself Together.

What are some of your favorite bands? Don't you agree that some songs fit specific seasons perfectly?

so this morning i woke up and my car was dead.

I really hate to start out the day complaining, but I'm so tired of being poor and for some reason I feel much better after a mini bitch session. Sean and I currently have 2 cars, and because his is on it's last leg and he has further of a drive to work.... I decided to basically be Mother Theresa and trade cars with him. Big mistake. The car had to be jumped yesterday after work, and this morning it still wouldn't start. Thankfully though, I was able to walk to work and I treated myself to a Venti Iced Coffee for the hell of it. Hey, it's the little things right?

It's just that being poor sucks. I work really hard at a really stressful job, and my bank account still goes into the negatives more times than I'd like. I have to cancel dinner/brunch/happy hour/etc plans with friends because I never have any money, and honestly it's embarrassing. Sean and I make pretty good salaries, but between student loans and rent... we are beyond broke. Every month we have to decide which bills to pay on time, and debate on if we should buy groceries and if so how many. I can't tell you how many times I eat a can of soup for lunch or tuna. I also can't tell you the last time I ate a dorito.... and I looooove doritos.

This is why I get SO IRKED by politicians, specifically extremely weathy white males who have no idea what it feels like to work hard and still not get paid enough. Have you been following the Wall Street Protestors? Basically, they are protesting because they are tired of the corruption in our government. It's not political-party based, it's just simply American's who are tired of working hard and getting short handed.

If you haven't already, please look at the ignorant comment that Republican Candidate Herman Cain made in a public interview:

Sure there's a degree of personal responsibility when it comes to wealth. But there are some poor people, myself included, who work their asses off every day just to make ends meet. How dare some one make such an outlandish assumption about a group of people that they obviously don't know very much about.

I hate politics. Enough about that.

This is what I am lucky enough to look at every day that I walk to and from work. Driving, I don't usually take notice and I miss a lot of the beauty. So I'm thankful that I was not only healthy enough and able to walk to work, but that I only had to walk 2 miles and the scenery was freakin' gorgeous. Plus, it felt pretty good to feel the cool fall air on my skin and I arrived to work feeling more refreshed than usual.

I'm thankful for my husband, who woke up early this morning and did all of the dishes that I didn't have the energy to wash last night after dinner. He also cooked for me last night, and made me laugh after a somewhat annoying day at work.

I'm thankful that I have a job, and that although I am struggling... my bills are getting paid and I am totally independent, which also feels pretty amazing. I'm smart and have learned a lot at my current job which will make transitioning into a new career field much easier. As a matter of fact, I went on an interview last week and I have another today. It feels good to have options.

I'm thankful for my friends, especially my best friend Brittany who has taken a vow with me to explore Richmond and meet new people and see new places. We've already discovered a really sweet place for brunch and a new bar that has some amazing live bands -- the Weezer Cover Band two weeks ago was particularly awesome!

And finally, I'm thankful for what little money that I do have and also thankful that I work hard for it and appreciate every last penny. I don't have to stand outside holding a cardboard sign, and I don't ever have to skip meals. I have plenty of options, and I'm lucky and thankful that I'm at a time in my life when I can explore them. Who know's what's around the corner...

It's important to be thankful for what you do have, and it's also okay to get upset when things don't go as you might have planned. Every emotion is sacred, and should be felt and then let go again. The Universe has a way of balancing things out, and I do believe that if you keep working hard you will be rewarded.

What are you thankful for?

Monday, October 03, 2011

a lovely tour of richmond via instagram...

Some people think Richmond is 'boring' or 'too small'... but I tend to think it's purely awesome, as long as you're open minded and know the right spots and the right people :)

Here are some of the places I frequent in this intimate little city:

[01] Shameless pup pics. Really, these two are awesome no matter what city they live in :)

[02] Brunch is a Richmond essential. Our favorites include: River City Diner, Can Can Brasserie, and Cafe Gutenberg (RIP)

[03] We have trains! Who doesn't love trains? (this is in my backyard!)

[04] Most of the lofts around here have rooftop decks, perfect for soaking up sunshine and gazing at our beautiful city skyline :)

[05] A perfect Sunday typically includes Mimosa's & amazing food at Comfort, followed by a peaceful day at the James River.

[06] There are so many historic warehouses turned into trendy lofts. This is my favorite alley-way behind where we live, Paper Company.

[07] The best sushi experience, and the best movie experience. Hands Down.

[08] Even though we're a city, we still have a ton of cool parks and places to relax under a tree :)
Some of my favorite parks include: Maymont, Bryan Park and James River Park.

 For more awesome places in Richmond, check out the guest post a did a while back for Sometimes Sweet. Also, here is another post that I wrote about being thankful for where I live. What are your favorite things about where you live??

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