Thursday, November 12, 2015

An Update- My Eyes

Funny thing.  When you think you're going blind and you find out that you're not, at least not yet, anything less than that seems totally cool.  I imagine that's how you feel when you hear the words "you have cancer".  Initially you freak the fuck out, and rightfully so, but then you realize that there are far worse things that could be happening to you.  I mean hey, you're not dead right. 

I say that last line jokingly.  In the midst of Complete Panic and Fear I read an article that said the only thing worse than death was going blind.  The person who wrote that article should be killed.  Joking again.
It's taken me months and months and months to get to this point.  To the point where I can kid about such things.  To the point where I can talk about my eye condition without tearing up.  I tell you the words baby steps have never meant so much.  
Since January I've experienced a wide array of emotions and states:
Complete Panic, what the fuck is happening to me!
Fear, lots and lots of fear.  Most of it irrational.
Denial, this is not happening to me.
Sadness, like in I've never felt so sorry for myself.
Desperation, I'd do anything if things could just go back to the way they were before.
False acceptance
More false acceptance
Avoidance, ignore it and it will go away
Empowerment, this will not stop me
Preparing for what's to come
As you can see from the list above I still haven't found real true acceptance.  I know it will come though.  In the meantime I'm currently hanging out teetering back and forth between Ignore it and it will go away, Empowerment and Preparing for what's to come.
I’ve been in worse places! 

Anyways, I’ve come a long way from where I left you back in May (here, here) so I thought it was time for an update.  Let's do this list style shall we.
1. I'm still not driving and I have accepted the fact that I won't be anytime soon.  After 2 more payments my car is going back to the dealer.  
In January when things were fresh and new Dar and I decided that we would give my brain a chance to adapt to the floaters (that actually can happen) and that we would wait until the end of August to assess my driving. 
August came and went and I still wasn't comfortable behind the wheel but I couldn't let go of the car.  In my head hanging onto the car meant that I would drive again.  The car was merely a symbol though.   
Prior to recent events my greatest fear was always losing the privilege of driving.  I've had to work hard for my license.  Unlike most people I didn't start driving at 16.  I think I was 20.  Since then I've had to meet regular requirements like behind the wheel driving tests, full reports from my eye doctors etc..
There's more though.  The harsh fact is this, losing sight and losing independence go hand in hand.  That's a tough pill to swallow my friends. 
Giving up my car doesn’t mean that I will never drive again, but not driving again means that I have to rely on other people to get me where I need to go.  Having a car doesn't change that.  Besides, I haven't been a driver for 10 months now so it's about damn time I let go of the car and SAVE SOME FRICKEN MONEY.   
2. The vitreous floaters have not gone away, either have the veils of blurriness or the flashes of light.  I'll have a few descent days where my sight is almost where it was before all of this happened but then BAM.  On Sunday for example I ran out of our home office in a frenzy because I thought a giant bug (like 3 inches and super black) was slithering across the carpet.  I insisted there was something there.  Dar searched the room.  There was nothing. 
3.  For about 6 months I didn't tell anyone outside of a very small circle what I was experiencing.  There were lots of reasons for me wanting to keep quiet.  Mainly I was in denial.  I also didn't want people to feel sorry for me.  Ultimately though I didn't want to be vulnerable at such a vulnerable time. 
In the last few months that's all changed.  I wouldn't say I'm shouting my challenges from the rooftops but I am definitely opening up more when it's appropriate.  It's been pretty magical actually.  I'd like to show you what I mean by that…
Picture someone you don't know very well (really do this ok).  Maybe it's someone you work with, someone you see at the gym, someone who lives down the street etc.  Whoever this person is, they're someone from outside of your inner circle. 
I know you have ideas about this person.  How they are.  What they're like.  From the outside looking in they may seem like they live a pretty charmed life.  Or maybe they seem nasty and you think to yourself, man they must have a miserable home life. 
The point I want to make here is this.  You don't really know anything about the person you're judging yet you’ve managed to develop ideas and beliefs about them.  Beliefs based on very little, opinion really.
This is where the term "everyone has their stuff" comes in and why it’s so important to keep in the forefront of our minds.  The person you were imaging just now, they're going through something.   
What I've learned through all of this is that people (especially the ones outside of your inner circle) want to see you without your armor on.  It helps them to relate to you, to be more accepting of you, to be more understanding, more empathetic.  I’m pretty confident that if you opened up about whatever it is you've got going on in your life right now to the person in this world that you think judges you the most, they wouldn't dare hurt you.  In fact they'd probably want to help you and in turn it would change your relationship for the better.  I know this because it recently happened to me.   
I've gained so much support from literal strangers because I've been brave enough to share my story and to be vulnerable.  I've been inspired by people who after hearing my story wanted to share theirs.  It goes against all of our natural instincts but if you can take the leap it really can be life changing. 
4. I went to visit to the Braille Institute of San Diego.  The point of this trip was preparation.  Until my visit I really had no idea what types of services or aids were available for people with low or no vision. 
While I was there I bought a few magnifiers to help me see better (real magnifiers, not the crap you buy on Amazon).
I played with some really cool high tech gadgets that are truly incredible and ridiculously expensive!

I discovered that yellow lenses help with sensitivity to light.  I learned that there are classes and resources to help me with things I never imagined I'd need help with.  Some things made me uncomfortable.  Some things I'm not ready to experience yet. 

I was so proud of my strength throughout my visit until I got to this space.

Each painting might as well have been a Mona Lisa.

Watercolor, clay, pottery, all done by those with little to no sight.  I was in tears the minute I stepped foot into this sun drenched space.  In that moment I felt hope.  Aw inspiring, completely consuming, hope. 

I don't know where I'll be six months from now.  What condition my eyes will be in or how I'll feel about what I'm experiencing.  I do know that while it might not always be pretty I will be ok no matter what happens.  I leave you here on a positive note.  All the best my friends.  XO

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

One Dollar, One Idea and One Story at a Time

For my birthday this year I received a gift that literally took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes.  The box arrived on the 29th.  I remember because I was headed out the door to get my make-up done for the Taylor Swift concert.  My excitement for the night's events almost stopped me from opening the package but something told me to open the box before I left.  I sat down on the doormat and I tore into the brown packaging.  Inside a framed map of Paris. 

One of the most meaningful gifts I've ever received.  Made even more meaningful because I know the sender had no idea what an impact their gift would have on me. 

This particular gift symbolized a dream that I know will one day come true.  It helped me to believe in myself. 

Last year I started talking about taking a trip to Paris but I quickly brushed the idea off.  I'm not the kind of girl that goes to Paris.  Paris is expensive.  Paris is so far.  Paris is for girls who are loved. 

It took the map for me to see that I am the kind of girl who goes to Paris.  Why wouldn't I be?  I don't know why but sometimes it takes having someone else believe in your dream before you can believe in it yourself.  I guess I needed validation.  Without question this trip seems overwhelming.  How will I pay for such an extravagant trip?  Dar and I have been known to take expensive vacations but I think I want to go this one alone.  This is my dream after all, not his.   

To help me not be paralyzed by negative thoughts and questions I've started saving one dollar at a time, or rather $40 at a time  It's a small amount but it easily goes unnoticed and over time will get me to Paris. 

Dreams get tossed aside because they feel too big, too overwhelming, unattainable.  We're so used to getting things we want right away that the idea of saving and working for something seems defeating.  I hate that.

Paris isn't my only dream...

If things go according to plan (which I've recently learned doesn't always happen) Dar and I will be retiring from our full time jobs in the next seven years.  He'll be 52, I'll be 45.  When financial freedom is finally upon us, I dream of running my own business. 

I've been an entrepreneur since I was five.  I've ran countless lemonade stands.  I packaged and sold mistletoe at Christmas.  I even owned and operated a neighborhood newspaper with a buddy.  Aren't we cute?

It's in my blood.  I have ideas.  I have plans. 

Right now though I have some pretty big responsibilities that I can't neglect.  For the next seven years I need to earn and save as much money as humanly possible so that our dream of retiring is a reality.  There is no freedom if this goal is not met. 

We're so close but sometimes the thought of waiting seven more years is infuriating.

In the meantime I try to satisfy that hunger by writing down every single idea that pops into my head.  Every business name.  Every service possibly imaginable.  For now this is how I keep this dream alive.

And ten there's the dream that's always been there.  The dream I think a lot of us bloggers share.  I want to write a book.  I want to write about my challenges and about how they've molded me.  More than anything though I want to write about how I'm learning to break the molds and become the person I'm meant to be. 

There are two things stopping me.

1. At 36 I'm still figuring it out.  I'm on the brink of something big right now.  A growth spurt of sorts.  I can feel it in the air and in my body.  I know whatever it is I'm about to learn will be pivotal.  This won't be my only growth spurt though.  How can I write a book on overcoming challenges and living an inspirational life if I haven't yet learned all there is to know?

2. I understand that there will have to be some back story but I really don't want to focus on the past.  I've worked incredibly hard to move away from it and only recently do I think I've finally broken free.   With that said, it might be too soon for me to write this book. 

My main objective is to inspire.  I want to prove that despite great challenges it is possible to be a whole person.  A happy person.  No matter what life has thrown at me I've always been able to learn and to grow and be an example and an inspiration to others.  That's a message that's worth sharing.

I think it's safe to say I've come a long way from the girl who wrote this more than a year ago.  Wish me well my friends.  All my love.  XO

Friday, October 16, 2015

I Just Can't Get Enough

I've been known to over-exaggerate but I assure you when I say I love, need, want a hundred different things a day that I mean that I love, need, want a hundred different things a day.  I'm a consumer and I'm easily excited what can I say. 

Insert clip of dog chasing it's tail here :)

Anyways, there are really truly special items/rituals that hold my attention.  That's how I know I love something.  When that happens I then have to tell everybody I know just how great such and such is.  This is the best blah, blah, blah in the entire world (see my zest for over-exaggeration). 

Today I wanted to share the things I just can't get enough of lately with you.

My Poppin pen.  How I only have one is beyond me. These pens write incredibly smooth and feel great in your hand.  I want all the colors.

Orly Nail Defense.  My nails were in really bad shape after 6 months of gel polish applications.  Gel is phenomenal for it's longevity but your nails really do take a beating over time.  I apply gel from November through the holidays and normally wrap up after our anniversary in April.  Sadly it usually takes the next 6 months to get my nails back in good condition.  This year however Orly Nail Defense had my nails stronger than ever in no time.  I can't recommend this product enough. sticker book.  I only bought my first planner in August so I'm very new to the planning world but I'm absolutely loving it so far.  My sticker book has made little things like haircuts and visits to the coffee shop so much more special!  This weekend is offering 20% off.  If you use a planner you should definitely pick this little book up, it's been so much fun. 

Sebastian Penetrate Shampoo and ConditionerI used Total Hair Care for years but thought it was time for a change.  After trying a few different shampoo and conditioner combos from Redkin I decided to give Sebastian a try.  I love this shit!!!  The volume after using these products is amazing.  My hair feels clean and smells great.  Bonus points for being able to air dry my hair and have it look fabulous.  This product is amazing and I can't recommend it enough.  

Free People booties.  The color, the leather, the comfort.  I can't get enough of these bad boys.  What more is there to say.

Aside from over cooking everything my second greatest downfall is the kitchen is not knowing how to season food.  Spices can make or break a dish.  I've been using Scotts Food Products Santa Maria and Lemon Pepper seasoning on everything from chicken to eggs to potatoes to roasted veggies and they've all turned out great. 

William Sonoma Oven Mitts.  Yep, I've got oven mitts on the list.  Dar and I had the same mitts for 11 years and I figured it was time to replace them.  These feel so fresh and the padding inside is incredibly cushy.  It's amazing how luxurious an oven mitt can feel when you've been using the same set for over a decade.

This only started three weeks ago but it's a habit I am so happy I've gotten myself into.  Dar and I work slightly different schedules and since I'm no longer driving, he drops me at work before he heads in.  I don't start until 8:00 so I have more than an hour to kill.  Until a few weeks ago I was a total nut and had been coming into the office and putting in an extra hour of work.  A lights can on and recently and I realized that my time would be much better spent at my favorite coffee shop either reading, working on Brass Honey or just relaxing.  It's been amazing and is the best way to start the day.

OBSESSED.  I picked up my Lettuce Be Friends tee in July and have worn it once a week ever since.  Same goes for the T-Swift concert tee I picked up in August.  New to the rotation is my Live A Great Story tee c/o.  I'm dying to get my grubby little hands on the green sleeved version.  The messaging inspires me and has ever since last November when I spotted this really awesome street art mere blocks from my office.  All three of these tees are incredibly comfortable, great quality and very me.  Dar teases that I only wear clothes with saying on them now.  What can I say, I love what I love.     

Free People bandeau!  I bought this in early August and am shocked as hell that I don't own it in every color.  I hate strapless bras.  I've tried them all and have NEVER found one that I don't have to pull up every 15 minutes.  This bandeau may not provide loads of support but when you're a B cup you don't really need it.  I constantly reach for this bandeau over a regular bra.  It's just so comfortable and the lace back is sexy as all get out.

I've never gotten more bang for my buck.  I wear these $27 shoes at least 3 days a week and have ever since I bought them in August.  They are so comfortable (minor break in period), look super cute and rocker chic and go with everything from a tee and jeans to a pencil skirt and sweater.  I LOVE THEM! 

What a crazy mash up of items right.  Everything from spices to shampoo and undergarments.  What are you loving lately?  I'd love to hear from you.  Have a happy weekend my friends.  XO.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Playing Well With Others, At Work

It's Saturday and I'm sure the VERY last thing you want to think about right now is work.  Shit, some of you may even have a long weekend ahead of you.  The thing is, if I don't get this post out today I'm going to have to rewrite the opening sentence.  A sentence I wrote on Monday.  I don't want to do that so here we go, we're thinking about work on a Saturday morning.  You're welcome!
Last week I took one of those cheesy two-day communications seminars, "Communicating With Tact, Diplomacy and Professionalism". 
I know, I know, like that entire opening paragraph was necessary for the above sentence.  What can I say it was a matter of principal!
Anyways in case you don't know this about me, I earned my degree in Communication Studies.  A long time ago.  Long before I had any actual experience working with people in a professional capacity.  Long before I had real life situations I could apply what I learned to.  Long before I even really cared about communicating. 

The honest to goodness truth is that in the eleventh hour I changed my major for the eight time so that I could finally graduate.  I actually use to brag because I graduated with so many more credits than what was required.  Crazy!

The point I'm trying to get to here is that a lot of the material covered in last week's seminar wasn't exactly new to me.  More than a decade after earning my degree though it served as a great reminder that there are things I can do to better communicate with people I've struggled to have good working relationships with in the past.
Which brings me to one last bit before we actually dive in. 


I don't like everyone I work with and I know that not everyone I work with likes me.  Shocking right?  The thing is, we have to work with people we don't like.  There's really no way around it.  

For me, the interactions I have with the people I know don't like me or that I don't like are always the hardest.  I really do think the tips I about to share will a great help though.  I've already put them to use and am quickly seeing results.  So here goes:

1.  Seek first to understand and then be understood.  People are a lot more likely to listen to you if they feel like they've been listened to.  Sounds simple enough right?  This is tricky though isn't it?  I mean how often do you raise your voice and immediately start talking so that you can get your points across?  Like being the loudest and first to talk is the only way to be heard.  Think about any heated argument you see on reality t.v.  I mean can't you picture all the housewives screaming and talking at once during a reunion show.  Nothing's actually be accomplished. 

2.  Explain yourself not because you have to but because it helps people who don't trust you understand your reasoning.  Basically get over yourself!  I've struggled with this one for a long time.  Right off the bat this internal dialogue starts to take place when someone questions me.  "I don't need to tell you why I made the decision I made.  God, what is wrong with you!  You should trust that I made the best decision possible because I am an ethical and considerate person."  I don't know about you but following that internal dialogue I become incredibly defensive which I'm certain is part of the reason the person in question doesn't like or trust me in the first place.  Vicious cycle.
3.  If you don't address and correct inappropriateness than you're saying it's ok.  AKA, what you permit you promote.  I'm actually ashamed by the amount of inappropriateness I've let slide, particularly when it comes to how I've let people talk to me and my team.  The next time a situation like this occurs I'm going to turn it around and ask whomever it is if there's something I've done to offend them.  Often times when someone does something inappropriate we freeze up and are unable to respond because whatever just transpired is typically so out of line.  Having this little gem in my back pocket will absolutely be helpful.  With that said you have to be prepared to ask the same person the question "is there something I've done to offend you" multiple times.  Changes are the person you're asking will be thrown off guard by the fact that instead of freezing up you actually had a response.      
4.  Keep your mind and words positive!  Side note: we become the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with.  Are you spending time with positive people?  I'm trying to kick butt in this department J.  I want to know what the most positive thing is to have happened to you today.  To share my greatest success for the week.  How cool is it to catch someone doing something right and praise them for it instead of focusing on all the people messing up? 
5.  Understanding what people value and fear will help you adjust the way you communicate with them.  The last hour of the seminar we took a short quiz to determine our communication styles.  I’ve taken dozens of these types of quizzes but found this one helpful none the less.  If you’re interested I'd be more than happy to email you a copy? 
The gist is this:
Imagine a large square divided in quarters.  Inside each quarter of the square is a different communication style (relater, initiator, thinker, director).  The location of your communication style (which is determined by selecting the characteristics that best describe you) in relation to the other styles determines how well you typically work together.  For instance the style diagonal to your style is supposed to be the style that you have the most difficult time communicating with.
I already knew my communication style but what was helpful was the list we were given of the qualities and traits valued by each style.  We were also given a list of the things that each style feared the most.  Right off the bat just having these lists helped me to better understand why I struggle when working with a particular style of communicator. 
Let's just say you're someone who's focused on getting the job done now aka. let's cut to the chase but you're working with someone who really values feelings and rapport.  These are two very different styles of communicators and they're bound to be issues!  It won't kill the person who's all business all the time to take a minute or two to build a relationship ("how are your kids", "what a great vacation photo" etc.) with the person who values people above checking the box.  Over time they'll begin to look at the person as less direct and "controlling" "rash" etc.  It's a win-win and a very small concession to make.  
6.  Last but definitely not least, some people are just assholes!  You can do everything in your power to be the best possible communicator and some people are still going to act like pricks.  Don't be discouraged when you run into these people and don't let them stop you from trying to improve communication with them.  You can't control how others will behave but you don't have to let their bad attitudes control you either. 
There are two people that for years now I have said hello to, opened doors for etc. and have received not a single hello or thank you in return.  One day, on a bad day I let that get to me and while holding the door open for one of them I finally snapped and said "you're welcome" as they walked through the door.  Still there was silence and all it managed to do was make me feel bad for sinking to their level.  I hated that I let myself go there but decided to ditch my ego and go on with the hellos and so on. 
Some people are just creeps.  That's all there is to say about that. 
I'm  really proud of this post and I truly hope you'll get some good use out of some of these ideas.  I'd love to hear if you have any experience with any of the above or if you have some tips of your own.  Have a fantastic day my friends.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Some Things Are Just Meant To Be

October 8, 2014
A Letter to My Internet Friend Mariah,

I’m writing this letter the morning after our first dinner together at Juniper & Ivy.  I say our first because I know we’ll go back in spite of a few lack luster dishes. 

That’s just how life is you know?  A mix of incredibly wonderful and lack luster.

As you know I’m working hard at focusing on the good so I left the night thinking about the amazing company and the perfection that was the carne toast. 

Your friendship is like that toast. 

You are like that toast!

A perfect balance.

Mariah, you are cute and quirky and a bit of a spaz.

You’re incredibly smart and talented but a bit unsure of yourself too.

You have a kind and a loving heart.

You swear and flip out on people in the sweetest southern voice.

You have brought me so much happiness M.

When you offered to drive me the 2+ hours to my brothers for the birth of my niece and I lost my shit, you got it. 

You got it because like me, you don’t like to ask for help. 

We'll keep the reasons why just between us. 

On that drive to my brothers while in the midst of thanking you for the thousandth time I told you that you were "not that nice of a person".  You laughed because you knew exactly what I meant.  

It's comforting to be able to say something without over thinking it because you know the person on the receiving end knows that you have a good heart and that the words "you're not that nice of a person" don't mean that you're not a nice person.

You're the nicest person!     

You’re the first real friend I’ve met in 10 years.

You’ve seen my house messy, my fridge empty.

You dug around in my foot for chards of glass because I was afraid to.

You’ve shared so much of yourself with me. 

We’ve laughed together. 

We’ve cried together.

We hug and hold hands.

I’m not even mortified that you don’t carry a purse.

I'm used to waiting to eat until you get snaps of our food or drinks.

Our guys get along.

I can count on one hand the number of people who know me and accept me the way that you do.  

That’s a special gift M.

Do you remember your first email?

Our first call?

Both seem so long ago.

You were in North Carolina.  I was in California.

When something is meant to be there’s just no stopping it.

That’s how I feel about our friendship M.  You are meant to be in my life and I am so incredibly thankful for that.

All my love,

Thursday, September 3, 2015



Finally finding the perfect chambery shirt to replace the one you tore more than a year ago and being super pumped to get it home and washed so that I can start wearing the hell out of it only to find that the sensor is still attached.

That one car that just has to cut in front of you while you're merging onto the highway.

Picking up sushi for lunch and the cashier asking you if you want your change, $0.35.  Yes I want my fricken change!

Sorting through Halloween decorations to figure out what new items you might need for the year and having a dozen people ask you if you're decorating ALREADY.

Being excited to come home to a frame you ordered for your Taylor Swift poster only to discover that it's a total piece of shit.

Falling asleep while meditating and waking up in the morning with a stiff neck because you slept sitting up.

Ugh, all in a days work!  I feel better already though so thank you for letting me vent.  And the pictures, we'll they're from our trip to the Caribbean this Spring.  Something that was definitely NOT annoying.

What's got you peeved today?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Waiting For The Room To Clear

The silence here is starting to get to me. 

I'm not writing just to write though. 

I'll never do that again. 

I'm writing in the hopes that getting some of the stuff out of my head, even if it's just little stuff, will help me find focus. 

I have no focus lately.

In fact I feel like I have ADD.

My head is so fucking full of thought and ideas it's about to burst. 

Usually my thoughts race around like leaves in the wind.  I either catch a leaf or it blows away.  The leaves don't stick around.  They're always coming and going.   

What's been going on for the last several weeks is very different.

I've been trying to think of an analogy to use but I can't find a poetic way to describe "this", so here goes a long ramble. 

Envision a room.  Not too big.  Not too small.  Just an average room.

The room is painted in a muted eggshell color. 

The ceiling is low.

There are light colored hardwood floors, they're worn.

The room has no windows. 

The room has one door with a overly shiny gold knob. 

You're standing in the room alone at first.

The space is bland but it's comfortable. 

And then...

Every few minutes or so a body walks into the room.  Another body.  Another body.  The room is starting to get full. 

Your standing shoulder to shoulder now. 

There is no ceiling fan.  It's getting hot. 

More bodies pile in.  Nobody is leaving, only more bodies coming.

The space now feels too full.  The air is getting thick.  Why won't someone leave?  Why does everyone want to stay? 

It's hot.  Did I say that already?

You're about to start panicking. 

I'm waiting for the room to clear now.   

Thank god the ideas and thoughts in my head are positive ones but damn, I feel like I'm going insane. 

I can barely manage to get out the mundane. 

I've been writing a life lately post since Tuesday!

The big ideas, they're hiding in the crowd somewhere. 

I may have to bust down the damn door so they can get out. 

In the meantime I leave you with some random shit. 

I'm currently reading 6 books (see ADD).  Six books at one time is not a good idea.  Twenty pages here, ten pages there.  I'm not making any headway. 
Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, the best book I've read in awhile.  I will finish this book this weekend if it's the last thing I do.
The Good Luck of Right Now, I picked this one up right after my 21 Day Challenge.  Gotta keep the momentum going!
Yes Please, I've got 20 pages left.  Why can't I finish this book???
How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I've Learned from Reading too Much, The first few pages made me feel alive.  I couldn't pass this one up.
Something More, I've been working on this one for more than a year now.  I may still not be ready for the journey but I have yet to give up.
Bossypants, such an easy read.

I've been meditating like crazy this week.  There have been lots and lots of Google searches for "guided meditation for focus".  Despite my best efforts nothing seems to be able to hold my attention these days.  Any advice here?  I stopped taking my meds several weeks back.  Could that be causing my lack of focus? 

I'm back to being totally obsessed with Bethenny Frankel.  Did you guys see her outfit for the RHONY reunion show!!!  I want every piece.  Of all the Real Housewives I have always related to Bethenny most.  I'm happy to see her back on the show.  Beyond that though Bethenny is a total inspiration to me personally.  I hope she gets her shit figured out because homegirl tries so hard at life.  I see a lot of myself in her and I want us to succeed :).  I knew what I was doing when I put meet Bethenny on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. 

Mariah and I are off to the beach today!  I will definitely be posting some snaps so be sure you're following me on Instagram if you aren't already.

Good vibes while I continue to wait for the results from the biopsy on my forehead and breast.  Get your moles checked my friends.

Six fun filled days until my 36th birthday!

Taylor Swift in 8 days.  I bought this tee for the concert.  So excited for T-Swift v. 2.

Other than that there have been Padre games, dinners out with my aunt, walks along the beach and work.  Just everyday life.  It's nice to catch up.  It's nice to be back here.  Wishing you all a happy weekend.  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Portland, The Good, The Bad And The Food

What a trip!  Portland is quite a city.  In the three days I was there we did  a lot of exploring and tons of eating.

Portland, the good:
1. The city is so green.  There are literally trees, flowers and foliage everywhere!  It's really unlike any other city I've been to in that way, absolutely beautiful.
2. The food is insane.  We ate 3 to 4 full meals a day with each of us ordering several dishes at a time.  I can't express enough just how much food we ate!  Of all the dishes only one was less than incredible and even then that dish was fresh and perfectly acceptable.
3. There's no sales tax.  In general Portland is far less expensive than San Diego and any other city I've visited really.  Every time a bill would come I thought I was being given my half only to discover it was the entire check. 

Portland, the bad:
1. Portland is full of hipsters and I'm just not that cool.  My mainstream self didn't fit in.  By day three I really lowered the bar and found myself dressing somewhat grubby.  Day three was the day the locals were the nicest.
2. The city is a lot bigger and more spread out then I thought.  Once again thank god for Uber.  Getting from one destination to another almost always required a car, especially in the 100 degree heat.
3. Service at restaurants is non-existent.  Mind you we were on vacation so we were not in a hurry but my god.  I'm not use to waiting 20 minutes for a side of cream cheese.  One two accounts I had to get up to ask for our check.  Seriously, I love a leisurely meal but this was on another level.
4. A lot of Portland's most popular restaurants don't take reservations!

Would I go back to Portland?  Maybe!  I like to visit new cities though so unless I fall madly in love with a place the chances of me going back are not great.  With that said I can't emphasize enough how phenomenal the food was so if the right opportunity fell into my lap I'd probably return.

Let's move on with the trip recap now shall we.  Please bare in mind I am not a photographer.  All photos were taken with a shaky hand on an iphone :).  Thank you! 

I'm kicking myself in the ass for not taking pictures at our first stop.  In my defense though I think I was just so excited to be with Yoli that things like taking pictures didn't matter.  We basically plan these trips a year in advance (next year is Napa!) so when they finally roll around I'm like a puppy greeting it's master after a long day home alone #totalspaz. 

Anyways, we enjoyed a two martini lunch at the coolest old school restaurant.  Jake's wasn't on our list of must trys but when our first choice was an hour long wait we moved on.  Totally fine by me because I LOVED everything about Jake's.  Lots of dark wood, table lamps, old forest green carpet.  Everything about the place appealed to me.  Food wise I had a caesar salad and clam chowder which outdid any chowder I've ever had in San Francisco.   

After lunch we took a stroll to Tasty n Alder because the one thing you need after a two martini lunch is more cocktails.

After a few more adult beverages and some great conversation we took a car back to our hotel to check in and then headed to dinner.  It had been at least five hours since we had eaten after all :).    Cabezon was awesome.  A bit off the beaten path but the ambiance and food were both fantastic.

Our first of many rounds of oysters.  We had them everyday.

My Ono, perfectly seasoned and cooked to perfection.

Pate, ono sashimi and red wine.  It's a rough life.

The rest of the evening was spent exploring the Mississippi District #notafan.

When we had had all we could take we found a spot and enjoyed the quintessential I've been drinking all day and now I need carbs meal.  And yes, we are both in pajama shirts and leggings.   Buffalo Gap was the perfect dive bar that just happened to have a super cozy feel.  Our waitress was the best we had all weekend too. 

Nachos and a meatloaf sandwich.

The next morning was a bit of a slow start but we rallied.  Breakfast next door at the hotel's restaurant Aquariva and then a walk along the river.  The property was very scenic but totally basic and three star at best.  On Sunday we had facials at the hotel's spa, my aesthetician was done 25 minutes in and proceeded to spend the next 35 minutes massaging my arms and shoulder.  Not exactly the type of property and experience I'm use to but it served it's purpose.

Around 11:00 we headed to the Japanese Garden.  Pictures do not do this place justice. 

When we were chased out of the garden by a cranky old man (literally) we went all 50 Shades and had lunch at the Heathmann Hotel.

A little shopping around town, lots and lots of walking, some more cocktails and then dinner at Urban Farmer.

Yoli and I seem to have a routine on these trips.  Go balls to the wall on night one and then find ourselves in bed by 9:00 the next night.  Totally works for me (note, the below picture is proof I was in the bar the night before in my pajama shirt).

And just like that Sunday was upon us.  Breakfast again at the hotel's restaurant.  

Powell's Books!  Omg, I could have spent our entire three day trip in this one building.  Soooooo many books.  I limited myself to three which was hard but I'm very happy with my picks. 

Look at these super cute pillows.  Don't they look exactly like Beeps?  If I was traveling with more than a duffle bag I totally would have bought one!

We attempted to go to Voodoo but I just can't.  You may be noticing a trend here.  I just can't bring myself to queue up for food.  If there's more than a 10 minute wait I'm outta there.  Instead we headed to Dan & Louis Oyster Bar.

Just a cool old building I fell in love with.

Our last picture of the trip.

Our last cocktails of the trip.

Goodbye Portland.