Wednesday, November 30, 2016

12 New Puppies For Christmas

Recent conversation with my father...

Dad: I've been searching for part of your Christmas gift for a long time and finally just found it online!

Me: You can find everything online.  

{In my head thinking...I gave you a list...with every item hyperlinked for your convenience...not to sound ungrateful but please don't go rogue on me...let's just keep it simple and buy the shirt I requested from Old Navy that's on sale for like $15 right now and call it a holiday...}

Dad: I know, I found it online.  But I had trouble because I could only find it in huge quantities and only needed 12.

Me: Oh good.

{In my head...12??...12!!!...12 of what??!!...Please say he at least got the shirt...also please let it be 12 new puppies...or bunnies...I'm allergic to bunnies but who cares....please let it be 12 new puppies or bunnies...plus the shirt...it's a cute shirt!}




It's probably something simple like pens, but let's all collectively cross our fingers I'm Instagramming your face off on Christmas morning with my collection of new puppies!

XOKK

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Finding Gratitude


Today will include yoga, cooking a delicious meal, and going to the movies.  It's going to be a long but great day...I just know it!  

This year hasn't been easy.  Actually...it's been one of my worst years.  Just no way to sugar coat things.  But that doesn't mean I can't find plenty for which I am exceedingly grateful in my life...




My friends are my chosen family.  And holy smokes do I owe them big time after all the tears they've mopped up this past year.  They are pillars in my life who don't judge or walk away.  These amazing women just love and laugh and love some more.  I don't know how I ever got so lucky.  

My garden is my sanity saver.  I've always had an interest in gardening and plants, but it wasn't until I got my own community garden plot several years ago that I realized what a mental health benefit gardening cloud be in my life.  It gives me focus and a goal.  It requires me to problem solve {which feels a heck of a lot less lovely in the moment, but give me a bit of liberty today} and continue to learn. It gets me out in the sunshine and fresh air for hours on end.  I meditate and talk to my plants and then come home and make some incredibly delicious meals.  Gardening is delicious!  I feel truly lucky to have such a great Community Garden program in my city so that I have the space to play in the dirt!

My dad is my dad but also my good friend.  We all have complicated family relationships.  I don't have a relationship with my mother...so there's that.  And my dad and I are far from perfect.  But we are incredibly close and just as it has been for my entire life, we are happy as a little family of two.  I wouldn't be who I am without all the love and support from my dad over the years.  He fought for me and raised me and protected me in a way that would still be considered unusual by today's standards. I'm so lucky to spend my holiday with him this year!

My yoga mat is my health saver. I'm still learning and I still have periods when I don't get on the mat. But then I have weeks when I get on at least five times and those are the weeks when my world just works better.  Both my physical and mental health are so much better for every minute I am on that mat.  Even on off days when I take extra child's poses or days when I fall out of every other position.  I'm still better off than when I started.  

My Sadie is my heartbeat.  Forever.  I am so grateful that we had the most amazing 14 years together.  Every single thing in the world was better for me because of her.  Always, always, always...nothing but gratitude and love!

I hope everyone is having a kind holiday.  Today is a hard day for a lot of people, for a lot of reasons.  So I simply wish you a day where you feel kindness.  Anything more than that can just be a bonus!

Big hugs and love,
XOKK 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Finding Happy: Texts With Friends, Home Tours, And Snowy Barns

Ever on a quest to find my happy, I've been trying to be better about engaging in conversations and activities that bring a smile to my face.  Despite struggling with all things election, I managed to have a pretty great weekend!

Friday night was brought to me by the letter T.  For text.  I had three great conversations with three old friends, one of whom I've just recently reconnected with after more than a decade.  It was so amazing to talk and laugh with these amazing humans.  I truly felt like a lucky soul as I tucked into bed that night!

Saturday morning I went on a tour of a once beautiful home.  It sits up on a hill and overlooks all of Troy, NY and the Hudson River.  For the past 40+ years it's been owned and occupied by the local housing authority.  So the bad is that it's long ceased to be the beautiful home surrounded by beautiful gardens that it once was.  Instead it's offices for the housing authority and surrounded by public housing.  The good is that given it's current use and what I'm sure is a microscopic budget, it's maintained many of the amazing details.







I should have taken more photos of the fireplaces but this one below was hands down my favorite.  The marble, Italian, is not my personal favorite but was frequently used here in Troy 150 years ago.  It's all original.  The fireplace insert though, is what set my heart a flutter!  I've never seen anything like it and would venture it's the only one like it in the city.  

Troy, NY, was once the third wealthiest city in the Nation, in great part due to the iron work production. So it's likely this insert was made locally.  If you zoom in, you'll notice that the top of the insert has a spot for a tea kettle.  This fireplace is in what was once the lady's parlor {because lawd knows men and women shouldn't sit in the same room...faint!} and I just can't get over how beautiful it is!




Saturday was stunning.  So warm that I didn't need a coat and the sun was shining brightly.  Just the happiest of happy days!  

There's so much that I miss about Sadie, but topping that list is our long evening walk.  Knowing the weather was about to change, I got out to do my favorite Sadie walk in the late afternoon.  It felt so perfect.  And for the first time since she died, I didn't cry on the walk.  

This is one of my favorite views in the entire city.  And one that I bet most locals have never seen.  It just always feels like a step back in time to me.  Something about it has always felt a wee bit magical!




Again...Troy is known for architecture and iron work.  Please notice the elaborate iron railings with the pineapple toppers.  There are a few homes in the city that have these pineapples and I swoon over all of them.  




Brick and brownstone.  I personally have three {all very different} favorite styles of architecture.  You're looking at one of them.  Old {like 200+ year old} Dutch farmhouses and old FL or CA Spanish homes are the other two.  The running theme is OLD.  It tickles me to no end imagining all the lives and moments that have happened in these homes and on old cobblestone streets.  I love being part of a city and home's history, rather than the other way around.  




Do you see the Labrador?  Isn't it adorable?  I'd love to know the story behind adding a matching pair of dogs to your front stoop.    




The weather completely changed on Sunday.  I woke up to snow.  It snowed about a month ago, but it all melted quickly and we've had really nice fall weather for the most part this year.  This though, is the real deal.  The snow will come and go over the coming months, but winter is definitely here for the long haul now.  

Determined to stay on top of my happy, I picked up a Starbucks treat, turned on some Christmas music, and went snowy barn peeping for a bit.  Hard to argue with a view so charming.




So that was my weekend.  Low key and lovely.  Now tell me about yours.  Did winter find her way to your neck of the woods?  What's your favorite style of architecture- are you into old homes or new homes?

XOKK

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sadie Sunday: Our First Photo And A Dream Meeting

Dear Sadie,

You were just four or five months old here.  We were both so young!  I had no idea what I was doing as a new puppy momma.  Look at how tiny you were!  You still had your puppy fur on your paws and legs!  Adorable!




I wish so badly that I had more of these photos.  But do I ever cherish the few we were able to get together.  

You came to me in a dream this week!  It made my world right again to be able to see you jump up on the sofa.  Please don't ever stop coming to my dreams, sweet girl.  

I usually have a point to these #sadiesunday posts but today, it's just a little ramble.  I miss my baby.  I thought this grief business would get easier.  It turns out, in some ways it gets harder.

You have my heart forever, sweet Sadie.  

Until our next dream meeting...

XO Momma

Saturday, November 19, 2016

About Last Week: Sweet Potatoes, Art Museums, Christmas Trees, And Yoga

Sweet friends, tell me about your week!  Any shake ups, break ups, or successes to speak about?  Give me the skinny!

Because I'm now doing Thanksgiving with just my dad this year, I'm trying to figure out our little menu {that won't be little because it's impossible to make a little Turkey dinner...but it's okay as I love me some leftovers!}.  Do you have a favorite sweet potato recipe you use?  I have a box of sweet potatoes that I grew in my garden this year so I definitely want to use those as a side dish.  If you have a family favorite you can recommend, please share!






Do y'all still {or did you ever} coupon?  I used to be a rock star at couponing.  It was a sport for me.  But after a few years, I just grew exhausted.  It was harder to get big deals without going to 43 stores each week.  I'm pretty loyal to Price Chopper {because it's five minutes from my house} so I miss most of the other store deals.  It also became such a time suck.  It took so long to organize and clip and find deals and prep and then adjust in store and oy vey I just sort of gave it up.  Oh sure, I use a coupon here or there, but noting major like in years past.  All of this is to say that once in a blue moon, like say this week, I get a bee in my bonnet and make a little coupon magic happen for myself and get that sweet deal high again.  It's not enough to bring me back to the high savings but high time investment days.  It was fun though to save 65% this week at the grocery store.  






I hung out in the Albany Institute of History and Art for a few hours yesterday.  The first hour was waiting on District, who was running late.  The second hour was decorating a Christmas Tree any way we saw fit.  The luxury of having boxes upon boxes of ribbons and ornaments and beads to pick from and going to town gives us such a giggle.  We went with a simple red and gold theme this year, with a big madras bow that I made.  There are only a handful of things I can do well in life: baking pies and making bows top that list!




Oh and how cool is this table outside the cafe?  It's filled with sugar and meringues.  I just thought it was so cute for the holiday season.






I made a quick video tutorial on my favorite Turkey {or chicken} and Rice soup.  It's under two minutes if you want to take a peek.  

I've did yoga every day this week.  It's just barely enough to keep the cuckoo in the clock right now but I'm do my best.  

And finally, project organization is half done.  I finished half and then needed to be done until I could focus again this weekend.  Hoping to finish it all up by Sunday night.  It feels good to get things organized and put away and piled up to donate.  

XOKK

Friday, November 18, 2016

That Girl Thought She Was Fat

I posted this photo to Instagram yesterday on a whim.  It's been up on a pegboard near my desk for more than a decade and I just sort of noticed it and snapped a pic yesterday.  But it wasn't until hours after I posted it on IG that I really looked at it closely.




I look so cute {as do my pals L and Bestie, whom a few might remember from blogging days of yore}.  I was thin, had cute hair, and looked great.  I was 21, living in a cute apartment, getting good grades, confused as hell about life but holding my own, in a sorority, on the sailing team, and doing 400 million other fun things in school.  

But 17 years ago when this photo was taken in a random parking lot in Jacksonville, FL before the Georgia/Florida game, I felt insignificant and fat.  

Growing up, my mother was always on a diet.  Always.  For most of my junior and senior high years, she was on and off of this diet where she ate these doctor prescribed cookies.  Six gross little rubbery cookie-like but barely edible diet blobs.  That's all she ate each day.  

That left an impression on me.

Because of her relationship with diets, specifically, I always knew I would never go on one.  She struggled.  I look back and feel for her.  She would cook up beautiful meals for us, but would microwave two of those nasty cookie things for herself.  

So I've never been on a weight loss diet.  My opinions on meal substitutes of any kind are strong and negative.  That is just not a path for me.

My relationship with my body image though, until recent years, hadn't crossed my mind.  

Every woman I know has body image issues of some sort.  My chest and tummy have always been my sources of body shame.  I'm insecure and uncomfortable all the time because of my mid section.  I just never feel good enough.  Sometimes my insecurities even keep me from enjoying life moments like swimming with my Godbabies or going to an event in a fancy dress on a "fat" day.  




But as I looked back at that photo of that cute girl with her sweet friends, it hit me that she felt exactly as I do right now about her body.  She was so self-conscious.  She felt like the ugly duckling at all times.  Literally at all times and in every social group, she felt like the odd woman out.  Just as I do today.  

I'd give anything to have that body and face and hair today though.  That young girl who felt oh so adult was lovely and funny and pretty.  It's a crying shame she never knew it.

I cringe when I think about how I will feel as I look back on photos in another 17 years.

There just has to be a better way to go about our lives than not realizing your value on any level until a decade later.  Holy inefficient use of time!

This past year and a half have been my so called #yearofyes and I've done a good job of pushing myself out of my comfort zone more.  Next year, my personal focus needs to be something along the lines of self-acceptance and body positivity.  I just don't want to get to the end of my life and realize I missed out on enjoying it because I was so caught up in having a pudgy tummy.  Life isn't going to wait for me to get a better body image.  Life will keep passing me by if I don't learn to love the body I'm in as it carries me from moment to moment.  

Adulting is so flipping hard!  

XOKK

Thursday, November 17, 2016

You Take The Good, You Take The Bad

Without going into details, going to my family Thanksgiving is no longer an option.  This election changed everything in my tiny world and family holidays top that list.  I've been really crushed about it- it sucks to no longer feel welcome, wanted, or comfortable.

But then a really sweet thing happened.  On the Wednesday after the election, my dad and I were talking and out of the blue he said we would spend the holiday together, just the two of us.  I never imagined he would do that.  I had been tearing myself apart thinking about being all alone on Thanksgiving.  Now though, I get to spend the day relaxed with my Daddy.  I'll cook up a simple but delicious dinner and we can have a low-key holiday together.  

The bad, but with a sweet ending.

I'm suddenly in a big time organize and purge mood.  I have to strike while the irons are hot so I took everything I want to sort and put it in a GIANT pile in the middle of my bedroom floor.  Which feels horrible and daunting, to be perfectly honest.  But...I know that the end result will be less junk in my life.  I'm all about that right now.  Wish me luck though as the next 24 hours of working my way through the storm I just created is going to be taxing.

The good, but with a messy beginning.





See...life really is on a spectrum.  The bad isn't always the worst, the good isn't always the best, and none of it is easy.  

XOKK

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Coffin In My Garden

I've been planting artichokes for four years, however they've only fruited the first year.  Which I now know was a fluke.  Artichoke plants typically only fruit on 2nd year and older plants.

My issue is that I'm living about two zones too cold for them to reliably survive over the winter.  {Though they totally could have survived last year with our mild winter and I am ticked I didn't think to do this last year...but I digress...}.  

I love the plants- they are so unique and beautiful so even if I never get them to fruit, I imagine I will always grow them for aesthetics.  But as artichokes are one of my favorite vegetables, I'd really love to get them past the big, green plant stage and into the food producing stage.

And that's how I ended up with a coffin in my garden.




Okay...it's not really a coffin.  It's one of the chicken wire hoops that I use in the spring over the young squash plants, filled with straw, covered in a cheap plastic shower curtain, and placed over the cut artichoke plants.  My theory is that it might act as a bit more insulation to keep the plants from dying over the winter.




We'll see if this works.  If it does, I might get to eat my own home grown artichokes next summer.  If it doesn't, I'm out the cost of a cheap shower curtain.  Small price to pay for the potential of delicious artichokes next year!

It definitely looks creepy though.  Which kind of amuses me, so it seems to be a win on all fronts at the moment.

What experiments do you have brewing in your garden, home, or life right now?

XOKK

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Let's Talk Like Old Friends

Let's talk.  Like friends.  Because we are friends, old friends in many cases, at this point.

So how are you?  How was your Monday?  And can you believe that the election was one week ago today?  




My Monday was productive for the most part.  But then I started to get what I thought was a sinus headache mid afternoon.  That merged into a full fledged migraine by late afternoon and left me in tears.  Not the kind of wailing tears that happen when I think too much about the horrible election or losing my Sadie.  But the kind of tears that just seep from your eyes when you are in real pain.  Not crying- just tears.  

So by 8:30 PM I was in my pajamas, under the covers, with the lights off.  Monday and the migraine won.  

What else...oh Glennon announced she and Abby Wambach are dating.  I actually loved this announcement but I know others felt differently.  I think it's just so awesome when humans feel less and less boxed into one of just two ill-fitting labels.  Life, and everything in it, is on a spectrum.  I also suspected they were dating so perhaps that's why it was less of a shock for me.  I don't know much but I do know this gloomy season needs more bright spots...even if it's our favorite writer offering up a bit of a firework on a Sunday night.

Do you live in a city that has protests happening?  What are your thoughts on them?  Personally, I find them so uplifting and inspiring.  I wish so badly that I lived in a larger area and could participate.  I imagine it must feel so inclusive to be with a group of so many beautiful humans chanting for love instead of hate.  

What are you cooking lately?  I made a Butternut Squash Lasagna the other night and holy moly is it delicious.  It's super time consuming to make, so I only make it about once a year. It's huge though,  so that makes up for the time it takes to put it all together.

Also, someone please give me a virtual high five!  I've managed to stay the heck away from Facebook since Wednesday morning.  It was so toxic for me and just adding to the chaos in my head and heart.  I might go back next week or I might never go back.  Hard to say.  All I know is that right now, it feels darn good to not play in that sandbox.  

Alright sweets, time to start this day and start checking things off the list.  I hope your Tuesday is a great one!

Hugs {because everyone, regardless of politics or religion or anything else is need of more hugs!},
XOKK

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Good Things Happened Too

The past week has been dark and heavy.  And I've really struggled to understand {I'll let you know if that ever happens} and accept {it's a process...} the reality of America in 2016.

That said, I am trying so hard focus on the little rays of light.  So without much fluff or fanfare, here they are...

* I've had some of the most positive and uplifting conversations with friends this week.  One of my Butler Besties reached out almost immediately, knowing that I would be taking this all so personally, and she has not stopped lifting me up, talking, and just listening.  Never once has she dismissed me or told me it wasn't that bad or marginalized real-to-me fears.  She's been a rock and a love.  And that's just one example.  I've really been so touched at how many from my tribe of women have been on the other end of the phone to just show love or share our mutual concerns.  




* My garden is completely done being tucked away for winter so I am out of projects right now.  But the weather has been pretty mild so I was able to just go sit in the garden and take deep breaths and dream up new plans for next year.  If we don't get a flake of snow more this winter, I will not complain.  It's been helpful to go be in my happy spot this week.




* I made a Bluebarb pie.  Intended to be a celebratory pie {red rhubarb, white crust, blue blueberries} but it turns out, all pie is good at all moments in life.  Mmmm...pie!

* I got myself outside in the sunshine.  I swear this cures half my ills in life!

* I stopped checking Facebook on Wednesday morning and stopped watching the news on Thursday. That might not seem like a ray of light, but hear me out.  For a year now, I have been glued to all forms of news- online, on my TV, and via social media.  It's been toxic.  All of it.  Especially on Wednesday.  So I shut that all down.  This hasn't exactly solved anything for me, but it has stopped me from getting riled up further.  I suppose it's a bit of self-preservation.  As a result, I'm like a day late and a dollar short on other news of the world.  But all we can do is our best to take care of ourselves.




* I don't drink espresso very often but tried some sort of praline latte from Starbucks and didn't send it back when they put whipped cream on it.  I live life on the wild side, my friends!  Whipped cream!




* I've been rocking good hair days this week.  {It's the little things in life!} And safety pins because I just love the subtle sign to strangers that I am a safe person to talk to, I am on your side, and I am never going to stop fighting for love and equality for all!

* SNL.  If you didn't watch it, promise me you will at least watch the cold open with Kate McKinnon, the opening stand up by Dave Chappelle, and the Weekend Update.  Equal parts moving and hilarious.  Just what the doctor ordered!

I'm not at a place where I can make light of anything that's happened yet.  But I'm not blind to all the lovely life moments either.  We're in this life together, my friends.  One deep breath at a time!

So tell me, what is one happy thing that happened to you this week?  

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Have You Checked Out Your Local Ace Hardware Store Lately?

Have you checked out the gift department at your local hardware store lately?  If that answer is no, you need to hop to, sweet friends!  Look at these cute treasures.  From my local {non big box} Ace Hardware store!




Listen, this week has been horrible.  Truly wretched.  No possible way to sugar coat it.  And I feel like I am falling apart at the seams.  I'm just out of energy though to tell you about my feels.  If you're reading this, I'm assuming you have some of the same feels too.

So when I ran a quick errand to my local Ace Hardware the other day, I gave myself a few minutes of happy time in the gift department.  Which is so fabulous.  Lots of cute tea towels and bowls and trinkets.  It was five minutes of loveliness in an otherwise ugly week.  

We take what we can get, right?  Five minutes is better than no minutes.  

But seriously...they have all the cute treats for all the cute humans on my Christmas gift list this year!

*Not sponsored.  They don't know I exist.  I just genuinely love my local Ace stores here in Troy.  

Friday, November 11, 2016

Six Months After Your Death

Dear Sadie,

It's been six months.  And I still can't get two sentences into a post about you without sobbing.  Like right now.  I am no less heartbroken.  The pain is still so palpable.  

I've never needed you more than I do this week, my baby bunny.  Selfishly, I so badly wish you were here in my arms to smush and cuddle.  Momma is a wreck right now.  The world feels so dark and you were always my light in this life.

I miss your kisses.  I miss rubbing your ears and knowing you were so relaxed.  I miss rubbing your belly and your puds.  I miss our Eskimo nose kisses.  I miss just talking to you.  I miss when you would move your head back and forth as I talked.  I miss your little cry to go out.  

I miss every single thing about you, my sweet baby bunny.  I talk to you and about you daily.  I hope you can hear me.  That hope is often the only thing that gets me through those hardest moments.  

Six months seems impossible,  How can we have been away from each other that long?  Before now, the longest we were ever apart was the four month when you were born before I adopted you and a two and half week vacation to FL last year.  Between us, sweet girl, I'm still so lost.  




This was taken a few hour before you died.  I think you knew,  But you still loved me with your whole heart that morning.  And I loved you with mine.

You will forever be the love of my life.

All my love,
XO Momma

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Texts With Friends: Starbucks Cups Vs. The World

Here's the thing, this election isn't going to directly impact everyone.  Chances are good that if you are cis, white, straight, male, and middle class {whatever that means these days}, regardless of your opinions, you're life will remain unchanged.  So that's good news for lots of humans, I guess.

But if you don't fit into all of those boxes or the people closest to you don't fit into all of those boxes, there are going to be some pretty dramatic losses in your near future.  Even if that loss is just knowing court case after court case will be argued in hopes of somehow marginalizing your life.  

So maybe if you are in the lucky ducky won't be impacted category, regardless of who you voted for, you can just take a hot minute and realize how insulting it is to tell your friends and family they need to move on and get over it because it won't be that bad.  If you are in the category that won't be impacted, I'm happy for you.  But for the rest of us, I just can't begin to explain the sadness and fear swirling around our hearts and heads.  




Perhaps the next time your friend or family member or co-worker opens up about their feelings, you can just give them a hug or tell them you care about them.  You don't have to agree with them.  Just please stop trying to tell people their fears aren't important because your life is going to remain unchanged.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I Choose Not To Hate

I've done little more than sob for the past 17 hours.  Made worse by severe lack of sleep.

A lot of friends have reached out to me and asked if I'm okay today.  Which has been pretty surprising, in a nice way.  I didn't realize they knew how personal this election felt for me.  I never think anyone notices me, so to be noticed and loved on, even by people who are happy today, feels incredibly comforting.  And I'm doing my best to hold on to that right now.




This wasn't an ordinary election.  This one has the potential for a lot of loss.  The entire platform for that man was about taking away rights and making every minority group feel less-than.  And that feels so personal.  Because it is personal.  It's personal to me to realize I will have fewer rights at the end of his term than at the beginning.  

Hate won the White House.  

But I choose to not hate.  I don't hate anyone who voted for him and I don't hate him.  Truly.  I hope in time, others will reciprocate that towards me, too.

One's gender, sexual orientation, height, abilities, race, heritage, and family are not choices.  Hate is.  Hate is a conscious decision, as is the decision not to hate.  So I will focus on that right now.  Focus on peacefully accepting how democracy played out.  Focus on the good.

One foot in front of the other.  One more deep breath in, one more long hot shower, one more cup of coffee, one more ...

We'll get through this.  Even though today feels dark and sad.  We will rise up stronger and more beautiful.  

XOKK


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Power And Progress Of Pants

I've read a lot of stories lately about women who grew up in the 50's and 60's, in a time when they weren't allowed to wear pants to school.  Regardless of the weather, girls simply weren't permitted to wear pants.

Over and over again I thought to myself, Geeze...that's so archaic and harsh.  I just can't imagine!

And then it hit me.  I wasn't allowed to wear pants to school either until my senior year of high school.  Not until the fall of 1995 did I wear pants to school!

I went to a Catholic prep school and wore a uniform- girls in skirts and boys in pants.  As I lived in South Florida, am comfortable in skirts, and knew nothing different, it never occurred to me until last night that being forced to wear a skirt daily was probably a big deal to some kids.  I know a lot of people who likely would have felt constrained and out of place wearing such feminine attire.




I guess that's progress though.  Progress in my thinking and general awareness that not everyone fits in the same boxes in life.  My comfort zone is different than your comfort zone and both are perfectly acceptable.  Progress in my alma mater that in 1995 women finally gained the right to wear pants on cold days.  Progress in society that wearing pants or suits or any other item of clothing is rarely controversial {can I get an Amen for jeans, my sisters?!}.  And progress that I've been wearing pants for so long that I forgot that I had a rather pant-less childhood.  

Here to so much more progress, large and small, in all of our futures!

XOKK


Monday, November 7, 2016

Odd Man Out: When Your The Only Non Trump Supporter In The Family

I wrote a very different post about how sad and heartbroken I felt after a recent family clam steam when I realized that Donald Trump changed the landscape of my every day life.  I talked about how my normally peaceful little family was now all about using phrases such as those little black kids and those Indians and keep those Mexicans and Muslims out!  I talked about the struggle my cousin is enduring as she bemoans not being able to use "the N word" around me or the word midget around her sister who has a dwarf son. I noted how insane it is that in just one year, this horrible human being has made hate hip again.




And it's not that all of that has suddenly stopped upsetting me or keeping me awake all the hours of the night with constant nightmares.  I still feel all the tension and nervousness.  I'm no less upset.

But I'm scratching that long post anyway.  I don't want to let those conversations play over and over in my brain and on this blog.  I will never convince them to be for the environment, for LGBTQ rights, for women's rights, for human rights, for healthcare, or for anything else.  We are never going to see eye to eye.  




It's hard to make peace with that.  It's hard to hug someone who has known me since birth and realize they will never vote for you to have the same rights and privileges as them.  And I guess it must be hard on their end to hug me back knowing we just have such opposite view points.  I'm not good at letting stuff go and this has been eating at me.

But I don't want to live in this internal turmoil any longer.  I'm not in a healthy headspace.  I can't hold on to this sadness.  

We only get one family in life and like so many others, mine is diverse in viewpoints.  We will love each other, even if we don't always like each other's opinions.  

So onward and upward.  From now on, I am going to focus on more positive things.  There's a lot more going on in this big, beautiful world than this toxic election.  

Crossing my fingers and hitting my yoga mat hard tonight...

XOKK

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Week In Review: Costumes, Concerts, And Cauliflower Oh My!

The past week or so has been busy, in a good way.  My big fear for summer ending is always that I will lose my marbles without access to sweating out my crazy in the garden.  So it's a big relief when I get to the end of the week and think, "goodness that was a busy one!"




I have never managed to grow big peppers in my garden.  So last year when I had a glut of small bell peppers, instead of making microscopic stuffed peppers, I cut them up and made a casserole.  With all the key players from stuffed peppers- rice, tomato sauce, peppers, sausage, cheese, and seasoning.  Mix it all together and bake in a dish until the cheese is melted.  It's an easy, cozy dish of comfort food on a cold fall night!  




I had two Halloween costumes this year.  First I was a cat.  I had the components and it was an easy one to throw on without any fuss.  The next night I was a Snow Woman and made a little tutorial video if you need to make any of the snowman components.  It was quick and easy to make and I think it turned out really cute.  




District and I {and half the Capital Region} went to the Indigo Girls concert.  I've seen them 15...or maybe 20 times.  Hands down my favorite band.  And the show was good.  But the audience was odd.  The two women next to me were obsessed with hearing Power of Two.  That is all they wanted to hear and talked about it endlessly.  They would shout it out Power of Two, Power of Two after every song.  Then discuss it between themselves.  The woman next to me would take photos and videos but then with her phone on the brightest damn setting, would edit and post them to social media during the songs.  It was beyond distracting.  Finally I turned to her and promised her that they would sing that song.  The funniest part was in response to my reassurance, she got huffy and was like They better- it's what I'm here for!  Praise Sweet Baby Jesus they played it so she didn't start a revolt.  Concert going is only as good as the audience.  Amy and Emily still sounded amazing though, so all was well and good at the end of the night.  Oh and my bag garnered several compliments!  




I planted my garlic in the garden.  If you're not familiar, garlic gets planted in the fall to be harvested mid summer.  It needs the long winter with a hard freeze to germinate properly.  I bought three different varieties of garlic this year to see which flavor I prefer.  I've never given much thought to garlic flavors so this will be a new experience for me!




There were three small heads of cauliflower still growing in the garden.  I could have left them to grow longer but they were in the way of what I wanted to do for winter prep so I picked them small, smaller, and smallest to enjoy that night.  No regrets- they were tender and delicious!  Man oh man am I going to miss my garden over the next seven months!




And finally, my This Pussy Votes tote bag has been so much fun.  I've received lots of funny reactions and compliments.  Do go check out the tutorial I made if you want to make your own {like mine or not}.




And that's been my week.  What went on with you this week?  Any fun stories to share?

Next week should prove to be crazy for all of us and on top of that, Friday November 11th is the six month anniversary of losing Sadie.  Here's hoping we all find a way to manage ourselves over the next seven days!

XOKK

Saturday, November 5, 2016

DIY Election Tote Bag Tutorial

Are you looking for a way to support your favorite candidate?  Need an easy craft project for yourself or as a gift idea?  I've got your back, Jack!




I made a quick two minute video {will embed later- struggling to get it to work at the moment} on my YouTube channel and I've love for you to give it a quick watch.  I show you step by step {IN JUST TWO LITTLE MINUTES!} how to paint your own bag with this design.  And of course, your need not be so sassy or political.  Though at this point...what do we have to lose?  I'd so greatly appreciate if you clicked this link and gave it a watch, thumbs up to like, and subscribe.  




And if you have any questions on how to paint your own tote bag, please just ask.  I was so please with the simplicity of this quick craft project.  A very fun way to get a very fun DIY tote bag!

XOKK

Friday, November 4, 2016

Favorite YouTube Channels To Take Your Mind Off The Election

A few more days, friends.  Just a few more days and this election will be over.  Just a few more days and our girl will be packing her bags for the White House.  I hope.

But if you need a little brain break this weekend, I offer up a few of my favorite YouTube channels that have zero to do with politics.  These are just a few of my current favorites to bring a little smile to your face as you turn off the TV and refrain from looking up stats.  If you need to smile or laugh or relax, I offer you these creative humans...




* Sprinkle of Glitter.  Louise is a charming, relatable, 30-something single momma.  And she's British so she has a lovely accent.  She talks about everything from dating to working {she has her hand in so many impressive projects} to parenting to fashion and beauty.  Louise is all things lovely and funny!

* The Sam Tsui.  I've been posting about Sam for ages on this blog.  But if you somehow missed me fawning over his insane voice, do yourself a favor and go watch now.  He's amazing!

* Casey Neistat.  He's what they call a "big YouTuber" and if you watch a few videos, it's clear why he's achieved so much.  I've got such admiration for his work ethic and creativity.  My mind is constantly blown watching his videos.  He also has the balance abilities of Cirque de Soleil stars as he films himself zipping between cars and buses in NYC daily.  

* The Next Family.  I love this family.  Not in a creepy, stalker way, of course.  But I adore their smart, open, and honest style, their three cute kids, and their realistic view of family life.  And as I grew up in a Spansih style house in south Florida, I'm newly obsessed with their new Spansih home in California. 

* Grace Helbig.  If I could only watch one person on YouTube over and over, it would hands down be Grace.  She has the most brilliant comedic timing and is so flipping funny and creative.  Like Louise {Sprinkle of Glitter}, she has her hand in a large variety of projects including movies and TV shows.  She's wicked talented but seems like a genuinely lovely person who is open and honest about her quirks and anxiety issues.  As the kids say, she's #relatable.

* Living Rosa.  This is a new channel for me but I just smile every time I watch this cute little family.  Two mommas and their baby girl Lennon vlog about their life on the weekends.  This one is a true vlog and is basically the next generation of a blog.  If they were doing this a decade ago it would be on blogger.  But they're hip and young and they document their life on YouTube.  I only mention that for those of us who have been blogging for a lifetime...you'll really love the Roas family and their style of vlogging.

So there you have it.  Just a few of my current must watch channels to take my mind off all things politics.  I gave you a pretty broad variety so there should be something for everyone on this list.

Are you a fan any YouTube channels?  Share your favorites!  And if you want to know what else I watch, let me know that too.  I watch more YouTube than TV the past few years and my interests are fairly diverse.  Also, if you haven't already, please go subscribe to my own YouTube channel.  I am really still so new to using the platform from a creator side but I'm having fun adding to this blog via that channel.  It's definitely all over the place while I get my feet wet but I hope to streamline it more next year and use it in conjunction with this blog.  

XOKK

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

One More Week Of This Nightmare Election

I haven't slept in almost six months.

It started the night before Sadie died and well...it's still ongoing.  However, a few months ago a few election related things came to pass that triggered terrible nightmares for me.  So no on top of my life long battle with insomnia, not being able to sleep more than a few hours at a time because of such a deep grief over losing Sadie that just hasn't let up, I have multiple nightmares every single night about this horrible election.  Donald Trump is very literally bad for my health.




And they don't make a pill for this particular concoction of issues.

I am just beside myself.  To the point that my normally sweet, pearl wearing, pie baking self made this tote bag and have been proudly wearing it everywhere in anticipation of my chance to go to the polls on November 08th.




{Tomorrow I will link to the tutorial I put together for YouTube on how to make your own sassy political statement piece, should you want one.  The back is kind of awesome too.  Though to be clear, awesome in the I'm attempting to take back the power from a horrible human who is giving me nightmares kind of way.}

Tuesday cannot come soon enough.  And I'm quite sure that no matter who you are voting for or what country you live in, you are just as anxious for this madness to end.




But just to be clear, all day, every day, #ImWithHer!

XOKK

Owning My Truth




We met a year ago.  From the beginning with you, it was a web of lies.  From the beginning with me, it was a sea of sincerity.

I'm not trying to paint myself as a saint here.  Truly.  But I put kindness to you above everything else in my life because I believed in you.  I believed you were a good person.  I believed you needed support.  I believed you had good intentions.  I believed you loved me.

Every time I suspected something was off, you would make me feel such shame for the mere suggestion.  You were cruel for the sake of being cruel.  You were full of lies, manipulation, and hate towards me.

But I wouldn't know it for many months to come.  So when you introduced me to your family as your girlfriend, I wouldn't know for another six or more months that you were talking to someone else that night.  While your left hand was on my leg, your right hand was texting another girl.  

You were so horrible to me that night.  But I felt trapped.  So I stayed.  I thought if I just loved you more ways and for more days, you would give me kindness in return.

Fast forward to a few days ago...

Other than the occasional moments of sadness, I don't think about you much these days.  But I was talking to a good friend this past {dreary, lazy} Saturday and said the following...

It's 2PM and I am still in my pajamas.  I have no reason why I can't at least do an easy yoga video but so far today, I've done little more than drink coffee and be lazy.  If I can't make myself get on a yoga mat today, I don't know why I ever thought I could make someone stop drinking, stop lying, stop cheating, stop manipulating, stop hurting me, stop hurting themselves, deal with their demons, take responsibility and feel truly sorry for their actions, and put away their damn laundry!  I can barely change myself, what the hell was I doing thinking I could ever change someone else?!

This was just a tiny part of our conversation and it wasn't even focused on you or this topic specifically.  But right there in the middle of casual girl talk, I had a very Oprah ah-ha moment.  It didn't even fully hit me until the next day.  And that's when I realized, I will never get closure.  I won't ever hear you sober and sorrowful.  While that's sad, it's also in a strange way, a different kind of closure.  Owning my truth, I do believe, just set me free.

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