Thursday, May 30, 2013

I am blogging from the sky.

As I write this, I am sitting on an airplane.

First, I'd like to tell you that I'm guest posting today over at Love, The Skinnys because Deidre is the nicest and asked me to write a little something-something for her blog. My post is about...what it feels like to fall in love! I'm attached to this piece and had a hard time parting with it for a guest post, so you should probably go check it out. Oh, look, here's an excerpt: "It was simple and sweet and like the rush of an oncoming train all at once..." Keep reading here.

But back to the airplane.

There is a cloud to my right and a sleeping passenger to my left. Plus a kid kicking my seat behind me. There is no good angle for an opportune death glare so I'll just enjoy the turbulent ride.

In the past few days, I have done the following: a) quit my job, b) sold/donated half my belongings, c) parked the rest of my stuff at my parents' house, d) handed over my condo key after 3 years in my little home, e) bought a plane ticket, f) gotten on the plane, g) written this blog on said plane, h) now we're all caught up to the present moment.

You could say it's been quite the week.

I mean, good grief you guys. Where am I at on all this? I think I'm half excited and half terrified. And then there's another half of me that's really hungry. (Where are my plane snacks?)

You may follow my shenanigans on instagram at @katildagrams if you'd like. I'm chasing crazy dreams and stuff. Please stay tuned.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A&A: a boy caught me eating an avocado at church

What we need up in here is a little lighthearted happiness and laughter. I figure some A&A is just the ticket, especially since I have two particularly excellent stories in the awkward category this week. Enjoy!


Awkward...
▲ I sent someone an email and didn't proofread it. I later discovered that I'd numbered a list as 1) and then b). So I'm really good at both counting and the alphabet.
▲ There is a city in the bible named Shittim. Dreading the day I get asked to read that chapter out loud at church.
▲ Recently I purchased lingerie for a friend for a bachelorette party. I'm about 13 rounds of bridesmaiding past being embarrassed about shopping for lingerie, but this experience became unique as I stood in line with four men behind me (one of them was a too-close-stander), and the cashier held a lacy little number up, looked at me with raised eyebrows and said, "Did you try this on?"
▲ Sometimes on Sundays, I have to arrive at church early (organ player right here) and I neglect to eat lunch. This particular Sunday, I grabbed an avocado and some tortilla chips on my way out the door for snacking purposes. Fast forward a couple hours: it was time for sunday school, and my tummy was like, "Feed me now or I'll make you cranky and ruin your social life." The sequence of events went as follows:
1. Slip into the kitchen and out the side door to my car to retrieve said avocado.
2. Make sure kitchen-to-hallway door is closed so I can chill alone with my shoes off while I mash up my avocado for eating.
3. Just as the first chip enters my mouth and my hands are covered in green smush (avocados are messy), the kitchen door opens and an attractive (important detail) fella enters the room.
4. I try to play it off and casually introduce myself in all my snack-eating, hiding-in-the-kitchen, barefoot-at-church glory. He reaches to shake my hand. I have to decline and admit that there is avocado all over my fingers.
5. I buy his silence with a tortilla chip.
6. Stories like this are why I'll be able to write a killer MoRo (mormon romance) novel someday.

Awesome...
▲ This article about a guy who took his elderly dog on a final amazing journey via bicycle.
▲ Amidst all my condo packing, I managed to pack all my underwears and take them to my parents' house with the first load. After showering yesterday at my own place, this obviously presented a problem. I then discovered a grocery bag in the back corner of my closet with a dozen brand new underwears waiting for me. You guys, it was a biblical miracle.
▲ Speaking of back corners of my closet, this discovery equaled about 10 levels of awesome.
▲ I've been in a Facebook poke war with a guy since 2006. Guinness here we come!
▲ Snap chat. Snap chat is both hilarious and awesome.
▲ Why you should date someone who travels.
▲ Kmart wins again with this big gas wordplay ad. I want to kiss their marketing team on the mouth. I mean that not in a weird way. If that's possible. No, let's just let it go.
▲ The entire avocado story was actually awesome in its own way.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Goodbyes are not for me.

(a photo with Chrissy because long roadtrip convos with Chrissy make me brave)

I am not a morning person, with rare exception.

Generally, the only time I voluntarily wake up early is if I have a plane to catch or a road trip to take. In these cases, I am too excited to sleep. The only other exception to my don't-make-me-leave-my-bed-unless-the-house-is-on-fire-and-only-if-it's-a-big-fire attitude usually fall into the I'm-too-anxious-to-sleep-and-my-mind-is-racing category.

I haven't slept past 6:30 or 7am in several days.

Of course, this often necessitates afternoon naps. I think I could marry afternoon naps if this marriage equality movement really takes off. The reason for my early rising falls into the last category listed above: my mind is very full lately and turns on the minute my eyes crack open.

But this blog post is about goodbyes, not mornings.

I am not one for goodbyes. I think this is because I am not a formal person, and goodbyes always have a tinge of stiffness to them. I'm prone to slipping out the side doors of parties and avoiding send-offs and final farewells. I think I just prefer my last interactions with people to be the real, everyday deal. These thoughts woke me up at 7am this morning, as I knew my coworkers were headed to work and I was not. A particular kind of sadness gripped me somewhere in the heart region and settled heavy in my chest. 

But really, I'm glad that my last interactions with my work friends involved Star Trek discussions while they chowed down on Taco Bell and played the office arcade. The real, normal stuff. I wouldn't have wanted cake and speeches and parting words. It's just not my way.

And now I'm off to work on saying goodbye to my condo, which is an entirely unglamorous process that involves scraping velcro off the wall. Don't worry, the aforementioned afternoon nap is definitely in the cards today :)

What's your take on goodbyes?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Unemployment and My New Story

So, I officially resigned from my job today.

The details of the story are not important for public blog world, but here's the gist: my position was being phased out by July and I made the really, truly difficult decision to go ahead and resign so I could focus my best time and energy on my job hunt. Raw honesty: I've been emotional all weekend about this decision like I just went through a kick-in-the-shins breakup. Woof, I know.

I can say that resigning (I dislike the word quit) feels better than waiting to be let go. First of all, what does the whole “let go” business even mean? “Let go” is something you accidentally do to balloons and kite strings. Unfortunately, one of those metaphors floats away into death-inducing thin atmosphere, and the other one crashes violently into trees and rooftops. So, that's fun.

Conveniently, I'm moving in with my parents this weekend.

Yes. I am 26 years old, my career is about to have a little...um...hiccup in it, and I’m moving in with my parents this weekend. (I already rambled about a lot of this in this post about humble pie.) Also, yesterday I found a huge jar of change in my closet and I’m seriously considering taking it to one of those machines in a grocery store so I can have cash on hand for if/when I put my entire life in my car or get on a plane and go chase some crazy dreams. I mean, who am I?

This isn’t one of those stories where I’ve already lived the ending.

This is my real life, right now. I haven’t tied up the loose ends and learned to laugh at the embarrassing parts and come to terms with the parts that hurt me, ready to tell you the tidy ending and eye-opening moral of the story. Literally, I am writing this down as it happens.

I really did resign from (...quit...) my job today. And I really am sitting in my plaid pajamas on my bed, with my bangs tickling my eyelashes because of the breeze from the overactive ceiling fan, with only a handful of days left in this upstairs condo bedroom where I've spent the last three years of my life. (I’ve heard that having a nice set of sharp bangs says something about your status as a respectable, grown-up woman. Do you think we can say the same for living off coin jars and moving back in with my parents? Yes? Excellent.) Good thing I'm not afraid to let my life scare me a little.

The point is, if I’m going to live through a highly unpredictable (this is certain) and wildly intriguing (we can hope) life phase, I may as well write it down in the process. I am a writer, after all. An unemployed one at this point, but hooverdamitall, just try and stop me and my words.

So here we are. Day one. Welcome to my unexpected little journey.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

I want to live the kind of life that scares me breathless now and again.

A life that keeps me on my toes and sneaks up on me and knocks me off balance. One that surprises me and unnerves me and unsettles me in all the best and worst ways. I don't want to live my life in safe corners, with a wall always at my back to steady me and a glass of icy lemon water in my left hand. Because powers above, I truly detest lemon water.

I want my knees to shake a little. I want my feet to hesitate sometimes about the steadiness of the ground ahead, and then to keep walking anyway. I want my hips to lean toward adventure and my tummy to grow accustomed to knots and butterflies. I want my chest to swell with joy and ache with loneliness and collapse and expand and love and long. I want my fingers to fiddle nervously in my pockets while my elbows stick out awkwardly and sharply. I want my shoulders to learn to broaden by default, when the load gets bigger and things look a little heavy. I want to peel my eyelids open and look doubt straight in the face while my lips make promises about being bigger and braver and not backing down. I want to hear the word no and still be able to tell myself yes, a thousand times, yes.

I want to stumble over myself a little in the process. I want to break into a run, and I want it to feel graceless and divine and angry and holy all at once.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Delicate Art of a Doorstep Scene

I once went on a first date with a guy who hugged me from behind and laid his head on the back of my shoulder while I was putting my key in my door handle.

So, doorstep scenes aren't really my thing. This could be because I'm not really into hugging people I don't know very well, and it suddenly is highly expected of me after a first date. Dear culture, please make it stop. Also, there's the underlying fear that everyone is going around interpreting what a hug means. To that I say:


I recently dug up a newspaper column I wrote about doorstep scenes during my undergrad in Cedar City, Utah. It kind of makes me laugh and takes me back several years all at once. I mean, I dislike doorstep scenes now but I can handle them better than the 20-year-old version of myself.

Anyway, here's an excerpt from that gem:

Awkward Doorstep Scenes Present Present Courtship Difficulty
By: Katie Hawkes

Picture this: It's a frosty Cedar evening, the moon is full, and you find yourself on a doorstep at the end of a successful night of courtship. Up to this point, you've managed to quell the awkward monster inside of you and avoided any situations to go down in the archives of bad date stories.

But this is where things get tricky. The porch. The doorstep scene. The little siblings or roommates peeking through the blinds and flashing the porch light. The movie Hitch, in which Will Smith's character attempts to teach awkward, lovelorn individuals how to, essentially, "get jiggy wit' it," attempted to analyze this inevitable final scene of a date.

In the movie, Smith's character asserts that a girl will drop certain hints or clues -- namely, key fidgeting -- if she wants her date to smooch her. The movie purports that if a girl fiddles with her keys in her hands before she unlocks her door, then she's asking to be snogged.

We all have our own approaches to dealing with the infamous doorstep scene, and I'm sure I have yet to experience the extent of these tactics, but I am intrigued by the few that I am aware of.

First: the high five. Guys love giving high fives. It's kind of a "you're awesome but I'm too scared to touch any part of your body other than your fingers and palm for a split nanosecond" approach. It's a little juvenile -- but it's simple, it's friendly, no worries.

Second: the handshake. I've discovered this particular method to be typical of polite young men who may or may not have recently returned from a two-year hiatus away from interactions with members of the female species. (See: celibate church mission.) Some even feel the need to not only shake their date's hand, but also the hand of every living organism within the vicinity as well. More power to you, boys.

Third: the hug. This seems to be the preferred way of finalizing an evening together, and hey, who can't use a nice "skwudge" every now and then? However, the hug presents some quandaries of its own. For instance, arm placement. Girl's arms on top? Guy's arms on top? The one-over-one-under cross method?

This is an awfully big decision to make in that split second it takes to close the gap between the two of you. Be careful, if yours and your date's decisions are incongruent, you might accidentally cause a fumbling mess of tangled arms and the avoid-at-all-costs-too-close-for-comfort face collision.

The fourth approach is, of course, the kiss. Let's be honest, I'm not even gonna go there. Please refer to preteen chat rooms and magazines for advice on this one.

...end excerpt. Thank you for taking part in this ride down historical-Katie-writing lane.

...any of you single people or formerly single people (hint: this means everyone in the world) have an opinion about the infamous doorstep scene? Best or worst stories? Please do tell. It will be so fun for both of us.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tattooed Mormon Conversion Story

This video makes my heart warm.
Maybe it'll do something for your ticker, too. It's definitely worth watching all the way through the end. Thanks, Al Fox.


"Hard times will consistently be there, but so will Christ."
"Don't quit after one prayer."


Sunday, May 19, 2013

on eating humble pie


When I graduated from college a few years ago, I had no idea where I was going, who I was or what I was doing with my life.

Just days before I pulled on my androgynous polyester robe and sat through a well-meaning commencement speech about the-economy-is-terrible-right-now and good-luck-out-there-new-graduates, I still didn't know if I was going to stay where I was (Utah) or head back to my roots (Arizona). But since I had no local job prospects when my apartment lease ended along with the semester, I put my entire life in my CR-V and drove south.

And then I spent two months eating cereal on my parents' couch.

I launched a daily routine: hunt for any-and-all jobs on my laptop, eat free food, attempt to make friends in a social hometown I barely recognized anymore, and watch four seasons of Lost on DVD. My job hunt was widespread and without focus -- I still had no idea where I belonged or who I wanted to be or what I wanted to do. But eventually a job came, and then another, and a couple more after that.

We'll skip all the in-between details, but my life has slowly but surely sorted itself out in some particularly beautiful ways.

I figured out many of the details about where I belonged and what I was doing with my life and who I wanted to be, and I moved a couple cities over and started doing those things and being that person. And life has been good. Stickier at some points than others, but good. Some significant growing pains for sure, but always ultimately panning out to goodness.

Recently, my little life kind of got turned on its head.

But not all at once. It was more like a cartwheel that started out with a little leaning and then a little more leaning and suddenly the trees were upside-down, my feet were in the sky, and my fingers were buried in the grass trying to grip some semblance of stability. (The worst part is, I'm wicked allergic to grass.) (That part's not a metaphor. It makes me itch something fierce.)

Long stories short: my previously stable employment is on its last legs, I'm not exactly sure where I belong anymore, and my condo lease is ending in 13 days with no option to renew.

So in two weeks, I'm moving back in with my parents.

I truly don't mind the idea of living with my parents. Momsie and Papanwa are the good kind of people. But I can't help feeling a little bit like it's a step back that I'm going to be sitting on their couch in a couple weeks, eating cereal and watching who-knows-what on DVD or Netflix. (Any suggestions?)

Last year I dated a guy who lived with his parents and younger siblings. And it bothered me. I tried to pretend I was able to look past it at the time, but I think it always festered. Part of it was the lack of privacy when I went over to his place, part of it was my uppity thinking that you-should-have-life-more-figured-out-by-the-time-you're-25, part of it was...well, we broke up eventually. I sat on my bed the other night pondering my current state of affairs, and somewhere between the rambling journal entry in my lap and the angry little hot tears leaking out of my eyes, I became fully aware of the thick slice of compelled humility lodged uncomfortably in that awkward place between my throat and my esophagus. I'm moving in with my parents, and my position is being eliminated at work. And try as I might, I still can't figure out how all my best intentions and hard work and plans and proactivity managed to land me in this place. And I thought back to that relationship from last year and some particular attitudes and beliefs I held at the time, my chin dropped a bit lower and I felt like a royal idiot. The irony was almost laughable. Here I am, and humble pie, indeed.

But here's what I know: it all works out.

I think I vaguely knew this truth when I went through the "what am I doing with my life" phase right after college, but now I know it in a tried-and-tested-been-to-the-cliff's-edge-and-found-a-saftey-net-at-the-last-possible-moment-as-my-toes-touched-thin-air kind of way. I also know myself about 110% better than I did during my last cereal-and-DVDs phase. Truth be told, I am not worried. Sometimes I feel stressed and/or emotional, depending on the day, but I do have an abiding core of faith that reassures me that the right things are going to pan out at exactly the right time. And it's comforting to confront the truth that, even as so many things I build my daily identity around -- my home, my work, my beloved Scottsdale that will always-and-always own a very large piece of my heart -- are slipping out of my hands, that I am not losing my identity at all. I am more than where I live or where I work. And that means that, regardless of external circumstances, I really am going to always be OK. More than OK.

And maybe some understanding and humble pie is exactly the taste I needed in my mouth right now. Just to keep my feet (or my wobbly cartwheel hands) on the ground.


Friday, May 17, 2013

ever make mistakes?

This communicates just about everything I want to say today, and then some.


Happy Friday.
p.s. Congrats to Antonette S. for winning the Conscious Box giveaway! An especially happy friday to her.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A&A: fanny packs & devil toast

I've gone radio silent the last few days, because....well, because. I think my post on Monday kind of took something out of me (in a good way) and I just needed to let it sit for awhile. Plus I had a raging fever on Monday followed by two days of headaches and wooziness (heffalumps and woozles?) so that didn't help my desire to look at a computer screen any more than I had to.

I owe you all some marvelous pictures of my weekend in California. And some ramblings about the general craziness of my life lately. But since I already had the following post in the queue, I'm going to let it run and say, "Happy awkward and awesome Thursday!" We'll chat more soon, I pinky swears it.



Awkward...
▲ I discovered that Walmart sells fanny packs but calls them "freedom hip packs." I don't know if I'm inspired or troubled by this bold break from tradition. Either way, I wore one to Disneyland (plus space pants and R2D2 ears) and I definitely felt free.
▲ I went grocery shopping on Monday afternoon with a 101 degree fever. There was a lot of shuffling around and messy hair and mismatched pajamas. I'm still not entirely sure what's in my cupboard, but I'll check on that soon.
▲ This happened Tuesday morning:


Awesome...
▲ These cat exercise gifs were almost awkward but then I loved them so now they are awesome.
▲ This devil toast video probably made my entire month.
▲ That one time I went to Disneyland and a wheelchair was involved (legitimately needed, no deception with our gang) so we got to basically cut all the lines. I don't recommend doing Disneyland any other way.
▲ I found this blogger and she apparently designs clothes and then sews them and models them and I just think that's super cool and you can see the series of her creations here. Also, she likes Harry Potter.
▲ I had this amazing experience yesterday where I discovered that one of the best mexican joints in Arizona (the burger house in Globe, AZ) (yes, the burger house) has had sister restaurants all over the place for some time now. Don't worry, I've already been to the nearest casa reynoso and it didn't disappoint. There were even barefoot children wandering around like they owned the place.
▲ You. You are awesome.

Monday, May 13, 2013

I'm single, I'm happy, & I'm a mormon.

I'm 26 years old, and there is no ring on my left hand.



I've been rolling this particular post around in my head for probably close to a year now. Pieces of it are scattered on scraps of paper around my room and on random pages of notebooks and in various half-written notes on my phone. At the Elevate Blog Conference this weekend, the message I kept hearing was, "Be raw. Be open. Be vulnerable. Take the walls down." Particularly, the thoughts from Ashley at Little Miss Momma kind of hit me in the heart and settled heavy in my gut. And for that reason, I am sitting here on my bed, with my suitcase plopped in the middle of the room, 15 minutes after arriving back in Arizona, spilling a piece of my heart into my laptop.

To make it clear, I believe in and plan on marriage.

My religion places a heavy emphasis on marriage and family, and I'm 100% on board with that. I believe in that plan, I support it, I condone it. I wholeheartedly invite the blessings of marriage and motherhood into my own life. However, what I don't believe in is the strong cultural pressure that tells me exactly when and how those things should play out for me as an individual.

My story is not far off from many of my close friends: I graduated from college a few years ago, I'm doing the whole career thing, I'm active in my church and my community, I'm developing an ongoing and ever-evolving relationship with Christ, I socialize, I date, I volunteer, I have hobbies, I spend time with my family, etc. My life is very rich, and my heart is very full.

"So why aren't you married?"

Sometimes, people assume they know all the reasons why a normal, healthy mormon man or woman in his or her late 20s could possibly still be going it alone. "She's too picky." "He has commitment issues." "He's selfish." "She's immature." "He must not understand the way the plan works." "They don't know what they're missing out on."

The issue with these statements (other than the obvious fact that they are tasteless and hurtful) is the false assumption that anyone is capable of fully understanding or knowing someone else's story. Sure, maybe some of the above reasons do apply to some of my single peers. And maybe some of them have applied to me at one point or another in my life.

But what you're missing is the real story.

The guts and the heart and detail of it all. Gather a dozen single mormons in a room somewhere and I can guarantee each one of them will have their own personal, unique stories to tell about their individual relationship histories. And many of these stories will include elements of heartbreak, loss, abuse, infidelity, addiction, and any number of other tough (sometimes really tough) experiences. It is impossible to judge what you do not know, and it is unkind to put someone else's trial on a platter and deliver it up for laughs or thoughtless discussion.

Another problem with the "why aren't you married" mentality is the implication that if you are not married that you must be doing something wrong. This, in turn, implies that there is only one right way to navigate life. It also portrays marriage as a milestone that somehow signifies, "Hey, you made it! You're finally worth something!"

But the real truth is that a person's inherent worth isn't, never has been and never will be about a wedding band or lack thereof.

Married or single or divorced or widowed or man or woman or tall or short or black or white or rich or poor, a person's value and worth is based on one thing and one thing alone: you are a human being. You are a creation and child of God. Not once, not anywhere, in my entire life of consistent mormonism, have I encountered a gospel doctrine that says a person's value is based on his or her relationship status at age ____.

A wise man named Gordon B. Hinckley once said, "Marry the right person, in the right place, at the right time."

What he did not say was the who, the where, the when or the how of exactly how that would play out in an individual life. He didn't put detailed specifics on the counsel to get married because God doesn't put specifics on it either. He simply says, "The right person, the right place, the right time." This could mean 18 years old, 22 years old, 30 years old, or possibly never in this life. Heavenly Father doesn't put an age on marriage or parenthood, and neither should we.

What's most important is that you're right with God.

It matters that we pray, it matters that we counsel with our Heavenly Father, and it matters that our hearts are in the right place. The decision of who to marry and when to marry is between an individual and God, not between an individual and friend A, family member B or well-meaning-stranger C. Certainly, close friends and family can play a trusted role in the path toward marriage, but ultimately, the decision is personal and sacred.

For me, it's most important that I be emotionally and spiritually ready to marry someone before I commit to time and all eternity. And that means that I don't put a timeline on it. I'm open to it happening this year, next year, 10 years from now, etc. Like I said earlier, I wholeheartedly invite the blessings of marriage and motherhood into my life, but that doesn't mean I want to rush the decision because I'm afraid of being alone or because someone says my particular path should be shaped a certain way. In my mind, I would rather carefully navigate and be fully committed to someone who I wholeheartedly respect and love than give in to pressure to be a wife or mother by a certain age.

Here's the truth I hold closest to my heart: in the eternal scheme, it matters more the direction you're traveling than the cultural speed at which you're getting there.

My intent in writing this post is twofold: to put into words what I and many of my peers feel in their hearts, and also to increase understanding for anyone who often interacts with a single friend or family member. This weekend I learned that one of the greatest powers of blogging is to be brave enough to put into words what other people are afraid to say. My hope is that someone will read this who really needs to hear it, or will pass it on to someone who does.

To anyone who feels that their relationship status, atypical life path or unconventional life goals mean they don't belong in the mormon world, I'm telling you: you have worth, and you have a place here.

I'm 26, my heart is right with God, I'm happy, I love and am loved, my future is bright and my faith is strong, I'm single ...and I'm a mormon.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

writing: slow burn


You are a slow burn.

Like morning, peeking into the cracks of my room and imperceptibly filling every corner.

And like waves, crawling slowly up the sand, not announcing every new inch they're steadily claiming, but laying foundations just the same.

And just as softly and surreptitiously,
You blended into my gaps, my skipped-a-beats, my between-the-lines.

Until your name is somehow already on everything my mind touches, and your approval is my silent catalyst, and your arms are my unexpected anchor, ready just behind me, bracing me at the elbows.

And your mark is heavy on my skin, though i can't recall pausing to give you permission.

Friday, May 10, 2013

music: bastille


Listen, I'm not here to make you feel bad about the fact that I'm at Disneyland today. Except I just brought it up so... #sorrynotsorry

I'll make you feel better by giving you a fun little ditty to enjoy. Plus, it's roadtrip kind of music so it's fitting for a vacation post. The African-esque chants are reminiscent of Toto's Africa, which is one of my favorite songs.

The original really rings my bell BUT...I couldn't resist this raw, hand-clapping acoustic version.



Remember, you can check in on my vacation adventures on Instagram at the hashtag #wegotocali. I assume many treasures will exist there by the time you read this.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

On California & Vulnerability

In blog world, occasionally you meet a friend online and the experience is something like this:


via

I feel extremely blessed to have several blog friends who would fit this category. This weekend, I'm going to California with three of them (Elise, Chrissy & Nichelle) to Disneyland and the beach and the Elevate Conference and did I mention Disneyland? I'm so excited I feel like I could dance and shout and cry and shimmy all at once. (I suspect most of those list items will actually occur this weekend.) (And a lot of snacks.)

Let's get real for a second: it's been awhile since my life made me feel as vulnerable as it does right now.

I'm all about risk taking. I love being brave, taking chances, leaping into the unknown, etc. But for a few years now, the general foundation of my life (job, location, etc.) has been pretty steady. I've done some pretty gutsy things along the way, but the general core of my life has been fairly consistent.

Several long stories short, it's all about to get turned on its head. My condo lease is ending in 3 weeks, and for a series of complicated reasons, I don't know what's going to happen next in my life. I don't know where I'm going to be a few months or even a few weeks from now. After nearly 4 years of living in the same square mile, it's definitely making me lose my footing a bit to realize it's going to change.

The entire feeling is unnerving. Exciting in its own way, but unnerving. But I'll tell you what I do know: it's all going to work out. And there might be some rough patches ahead, but I can handle them. All the best parts of my life have come right after semi-dark limbo phases like this one, and many of my most crucial turning points have hinged on my blindest moments. So experience and faith tell me that I have no need to fear.

But in the meantime, it can't hurt to pick up and forget my worries in California for a few blissful days!

Please follow our shenanigans on Instagram at the hashtag #wegotocali. I would so love to feel like I have you all along on this adventure, too!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Shoes Have a Story: May 2013

If shoes could talk, they would tell the best stories.

Aside from a few barefoot moments, a pair of shoes has participated in almost every momentous occasion of my life: traveling, graduations, adventures, running, exploring, churching, first dates, last dates, etc. If the pile of shoes in my closet could talk, they would have much to say about how they came into my life and the things they've witnessed in the interim.

So, welcome to a new linkup series on my blog!
shoe stories
I'm teaming up with Victoria from Fashion Flirtation to start the My Shoes Have a Story linkup series. Once a month, I'll pick a pair of shoes from my closet and tell about the adventures and moments they've seen. Anytime during May, you can write your own shoe post and add it to the linkup below. When June comes, we'll start a new linkup for your next story. Feel free to grab the code to steal the image above and add it to your post. I can't wait to see what you all come up with!

Here's my first go at it...
"You're a real woman when you own red heels."

One of my best friends said it to me, when I was about 21 years old. Fact: I never wore heels in high school or college. I've always been a bit self conscious about being too thin, gangly, awkward, waif-like, lurpy, all knees and elbows and uncomfortably sharp hips. Not an ounce of me felt the need to put all that on stilts and display it to the world.

But one day, there they were. A pair of shiny red heels. Right on a day when I felt like my entire budding grown-up life was nothing but gangly, awkward, lurpy, all sharp knees and elbows. And suddenly the shoes were in my shopping cart. I think I had something to prove.

I had to grow into them. As silly as it sounds, I had to. I wore them in a way that someone wears their insecurities with a hopeful "please don't look at me but maybe just a little" unspoken invitation. I took the unexpected compliments in stride, eventually learned to walk without wobbling like a french string bean and ever-so-slowly grace-by-graced my way into owning the situation.

I showed up to church in the red shoes one Sunday after a boy broke my heart. My friend looked me up and down and said something like, "Girl, you've got an agenda today." She was right. I did. Because I had to show him I was keeping my chin up. Because I needed him to see I wasn't wobbling. Because I wanted him to know I was owning the situation. Because no matter how much I can casually throw them on several years later, the red shoes were always about having something to prove.

Your turn! Write your own shoe story and link it up below:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A&A: Stock Photos & Mario


I made this plan last week of posting an Awkward & Awesome post once per week because otherwise my list in both categories gets too long and everything is out of control. Mostly I'm just proud of myself for sticking to what I said I'd do and I wanted to pat myself on the bum for it. You can decide if this paragraph belongs in the awkward or awesome category.

Awkward...
▲ It took me three failed attempts to make that awkward & awesome graphic and spell both words correctly. Awkard and Aweswome, you guys. In other news, I love Microsoft Paint.
▲This list of banned baby names in New Zealand.
▲ This amazing collection of awkward stock photos. Seriously, that backbend...
▲ That moment when the cashier at In 'n Out manages to briefly convince Alicia that they are out of cheeseburgers. #itstheonlythingonthemenu
▲ Every day of my life when my Facebook profile asks me what my relationship status is. Facebook, don't be THAT friend.


Awesome...
▲ I'm going to Disneyland and the Elevate Conference with Elise, Chrissy and Nichelle in two more sleeps! Disneyland, you guys!!
▲I'm officially a member of the BlogHer publishing network! You may have noticed the fancy new ads in my left sidebar. Huzzah!
▲This Mario Bros. mock indie movie trailer basically makes my entire life happy.
▲ Speaking of movie trailers, the Ender's Game trailer is out and you can watch it HERE. (Have you read the book? Are you a sci fi lover like me? No? Read it anyway.) (Does Harrison Ford sound a bit bored in that trailer? We need Morgan Freeman up in here!)
▲ My conscious box giveaway that's still up and running! One of the entry options is to write me a haiku. (Please oh please!)
▲ When you're playing Apples to Apples and you get one of those trump cards that you know will win any round you play it on. (What are they for you? Mine are Sean Connery, Helen Keller and creamed corn. Let's be honest, it's just funny to think about creamed corn being any kind of adjective.)
This video about a man rescuing a kidnapping victim after 10 years. First, for rescuing her. Second, because he's hilarious. "We ate RIBS. We listened to salsa music!" Warning: he uses the word testicles during one of his rants, in case you are opposed to anatomical terms. Other warning: I used the word testicles in this blog post. #sorrynotsorry

Monday, May 6, 2013

My Decor Style: Eccentric Old Woman

There is solid reason to believe I have a prematurely geriatric soul.


If dressing up in slightly eccentric old clothes, wanting to dye my hair purple, wearing lipstick to social functions, never knowing how to work people's televisions and listening to oldies qualifies you as a senior citizen ...well let's just say, I'm about ready to start ordering from the discounted section of restaurant menus.

My old-lady-ism is largely apparent in my home decor.

Why? I love knick knacks. I love old things and thrifted things and charming things and eclectic things. I love afghans and teapots and flowers in green glass bottles. (I collect green bottles by the way. It just started happening one day and never stopped.)

You got a sneak peek into my living room in this post, and I wanted to share a few more treasures in my casa that make me oh-so-happy. Yes, I recently made that mosaic table and refinished that lamp. Yes, I will post a tutorial or something in the near future. Yes that's a small pig statue sitting on the table. Absolutely, it's OK to decorate with a brave little toaster in the living room.








Do you have a specific decor style you're drawn to?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

3:12 to Yuma: Jimmy Eat World concert

Last night I drove 3 hours to a concert in a desert border town.

I affectionately named our trip 3:10 to Yuma but we left 2 minutes late so it became 3:12 to Yuma from thenceforth on out. It may have helped if I had told anyone about the 3:10 plan to begin with. I made them all listen to me read the wikipedia plot summary of the movie instead and put up with all my leaning and reaching to take this train photo:


The point is, I had to see me some Jimmy.

These boys are my boys. There is no other way of putting that. My first concert ever was a Jimmy Eat World show (with the Format opening) when I was 15 at a small pub that was a 2-hour drive away. You could say they (and reckless concert-going) got in my blood at that point. So standing in this crowded little tavern with the band 5 feet away from me, all of us drenched in a humid cloud of sweat ...I know that might not sound appealing to everyone, but it warmed my nostalgic little heart in a big way and made me feel entirely young again. And of course, the music never disappoints.

Jimmy Eat World, you're a scholar and a gentleman.







Also, kudos to this girl for having only met me once at the last AZ Blogger Meetup and being totally game for an impulsive road trip with me and my friends who she didn't know. That's a good kind of person right there. (Also, the May AZ Blogger Meetup is TONIGHT. All I'm saying is, if you come, you could end up on a spontaneous road trip with me someday. BONUS.)



p.s. The movie 3:10 to Yuma was, apparently, named because of the time a train departs. While driving to Yuma last night, I not only a) saw multiple trains, but b) glanced down at the Google map instructions in my lap to realize the trip was predicted to take exactly 3 hours and 10 minutes. Also, c) Christian Bale was in that movie's remake. I feel like my Zen is particularly balanced today.