A New Season

Thursday March 20th was the official start of spring. The end of March marks the end of the first fiscal quarter for 2015. Time for me to check in with myself, my 2015 goals, and where the rest of my year is headed.

First, to really gear up for this next season (spring) and a new quarter at work, the whole family got haircuts this past Saturday. Me, Jim and Morris Chestnut all look nice and cleaned up! Below is the best family selfie I could get. The boys were, clearly, not into it.

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I lightened my hair a touch because SPRING IS HERE, Y’ALL. 20150323_175859-1

Looking back at my beginning of the year goals, it’s been hit or miss.

  • Drink more water: I’ve improved, but could still do better! Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, Heidi!
  • Pet my dog more: I’m killing this one, loving up on Morris Chestnut on the daily. In addition to his after work walks, I now make sure to snuggle/play with him for an additional 15 – 20 minutes straight, minimum. That’s all in addition to his morning and evening walk and sporadic fetches and snuggles throughout the evening.
  • Play more ukulele: this has fallen by the wayside as I’ve taken up hand-lettering. I hope to make room for BOTH in the next 3 months.
  • Catch up on Game of Thrones Reading: this hasn’t happened at all, but I’m ok with that, since I’ve been reading enjoyable material at a good pace.
  •  Get More and Better Sleep: still working on this one. But I’m pretty proud that I’m ACTUALLY working on it! Eye mask, earplugs, routines and essential oils have been/are being tried.
  • Kiss my husband more: could always do more of this. 😉
  • Work on my relationship with my vacuum cleaner: it’s better, but there’s still room for improvement. And I obviously now need to also work on my dog’s relationship with the vacuum cleaner in order to improve my own. Oh, dogs!

Alright, 2015, I’m ready to tackle the rest of you!!

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What I’ve Been Reading

The most recent two books I’ve finished have been “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer.

“Station Eleven” follows a common thread connecting strangers, lovers, and acquaintances that are all touched by this one thing. As the narrative flashes back and forth in time, we see their lives before and leading up to, during and after an outbreak of a flu that destroys civilization as we know it. An amazing read that surely reveals something new in each heart each time it is read. Highly recommended. A few quotes below:

“Survival is Insufficient” (originally from Star Trek: Voyager, and yes, the book acknowledges that)

“Hell is the absence of people you long for.”

“First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.”

“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” addresses how we cope with loss. It’s pages and pages and pages of very real ways in which we process grief, loss, sadness and a whole gamut of complex human emotions. The main character is a boy who lost his dad in 9/11. I cried and I read and read until I finished it – all in one day. It’s not a short book, just emotionally gripping. Highly recommended (disclaimer: the author, Jonathan Safran Foer, also authored one of my favorite books ever, “Everything is Illuminated.” I may be biased.) . A few quotes below:

“Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”

“It was one of the best days of my life, a day during which I lived my life and didn’t think about my life at all.”

“I shook my tambourine the whole time, because it helped me remember that even though I was going through different neighborhoods, I was still me.”

Next up: “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman and “Painting for the Absolute and Utter Beginner” by Claire Watson Garcia

All the Feels

So many times, I’ve been told that my emotions run very close to the surface, that I wear my heart on my sleeve, that I’m sensitive, empathetic, emotive. Those things are all true. These things are also true: I am deep, I keep things close to the chest, I am strong, I don’t suffer fools and I can fake a laugh. Most of the time, I don’t fake it though. I am too full of real feelings to want to add fake any additional ones. My feelings are simultaneously deep and close to the surface because they are so big. They fill me up, top to bottom. Because of this, I can’t let them pile up. Emotional balance means I must live in the moment,  be present, and let myself feel the bigness of my feelings, the bigness that is life. Ignoring, denying or otherwise trying to convince myself that “I’m fine” and don’t feel all the feels only creates a backlog of big, big feelings to work through. I don’t know how to not have big feelings, but I am accepting that, for me, being fine INCLUDES having big feelings. When I am fine, I am feeling all the feels, because that’s either what I’m wired to do or what I know how to do. Maybe someday I’ll be able to look a feeling and say “you are there, but I do not feel you, you do not affect me,” but that’s where or who I am right now. Right now, the safest thing for me is to feel the feels.

Anniversary Weekend – The Sappy Stuff

My husband and I have been married for a whole entire year, as of March 1, 2015.

We have been married for a year. In that year no one killed anyone, no one filed for divorce, no one even slept on the couch. We adopted a dog and he is still alive and very happy and healthy. We also trained him during our first year of marriage – that was an adventure. We both got promotions to new roles and/or more responsibility at work. We flew to Pennsylvania and spent a week with family and friends there. We took road trips with the dog (and almost lost our sanity). I conquered my most recent bout of depression.

Let me repeat it again, in case you didn’t realize how completely impressive of an accomplishment my first sentence was: my husband and I have been married for a whole year. With a new dog. And everyone is still alive. You may now throw a parade in our honor.

It has been a year. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been immensely rewarding. And it has solidified my suspicion that my husband is a very good man who loves me very much and who tries so very hard to be a good partner (spoiler alert: he succeeds).

1940020_10102261633739685_5546081724240774634_nThankful for my handsome, sweet, caring, thoughtful partner who tries so very hard to excel in all things. Let’s do this for at least another year. Maybe we can get a second dog in our second year of marriage!

 

Anniversary Weekend – The Fun Stuff

For our very first anniversary, we spent a long weekend in Palm Springs, CA. We honeymooned in Palm Springs a year ago. We returned to some familiar places and explored some new ones.

First stop: Foundation 10’s compound, consisting of the hotel Alcazar, dinner restaurant Birba and brunch spot Cheeky’s. We checked into our room at Alcazar, relaxed, freshened up and headed to Birba for dinner. It was amazing. Three words: short rib ravoli. 20150301_120642
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We headed over to Kitchen + Workshop Bar for drinks and a snack (duck fat fries). The next we started off by eating at Cheeky’s. Photo evidence: us waiting for a table at Cheeky’s and being in love and stuff. image

Highlight of Cheeky’s: tie between everything. We had a flight of bacon, an open-faced short rib breakfast sandwich, and the most amazing eggs benedict. And coffee. Lots of coffee.

We went to an antique store (Zazzles, duh) and then hit up the record store. Last year, on our honeymoon, we bought a Rolling Stones record there. This year we scored a copy of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, on vinyl, from 1973! I repeat: original release edition of Dark Side of the Moon. The paper sleeve is still intact (holds the record while inside the cardboard sleeve). One of posters that originally came with the album is still folded up in there. Holy business. (Sure, it’s missing the other poster and the stickers, but there’s no such thing as perfection.) (According to my husband, based on the serial code, we have one of the early North American releases. Squeee!)

We checked into Korakia Pensionne, where we honey-mooned last year, got a couple’s massage and exchanged gifts.

imageWe celebrated the big ONE YEAR with a fancy fancy dinner at Tinto Palm Springs.

The next day, we drove out of town just as a giant rainstorm came in – a rare sight for Palm Springs!

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See you another time, Palm Springs. Thanks for the memories.

 

Treat Yo’self

For our first wedding anniversary, I treated myself to a new dress!

Here’s why: while we had a very lovely wedding, it turned into a much bigger to-do than I would have liked and had envisioned for my own special day, and despite the original intentions, I wound up doing a lot (A LOT) of the work. I had dreamt of a courthouse wedding with a vintage style knee or tea length dress and lots and lots of laughter and little to no stress. Since that little to no stress dream of mine was shattered during the wedding planning process, my husband made it up to me and planned our entire anniversary getaway, and I indulged myself in a vintage style dress. Win-win! Also, I got to marry the man of my dreams a year ago in a beautiful lace gown, so dress-wise, I really came out on top. I mean, I also came out on top with a magnificent spouse, but this post is about the dress. He’ll get more time and attention later. (He’s not sharing a post with a dress.)

I had a dress custom made to my preferences and measurements by TenderLane Boutique. They did an amazing (and quick) job! The owner, Allisen, has an impeccable eye for cotton patterns, so although I was initially leaning a solid color, I couldn’t resist seeing what floral she would pick out!

In the pictures below, I’m wearing the dress with a 24″ crinoline, but it can be worn without for a less dramatic look. I also purchased the crinoline through TenderLane. I purchased the shoes and sweater from Modcloth.com.

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I loved dressing up for our anniversary dinner, and I know my husband loved seeing me feel special and fancy! I feel that the dress is versatile enough to be dressed up or down plus or minus accessories and crinoline. I put a lot of thought into the things I purchased for this outfit, as I rarely purchase clothes and hope to have these items last for a long time!

Busy Weekend!

My husband and I both took yesterday (Monday) off from work and used our long weekend to get away and celebrate our first anniversary. It was an escape from real life that allowed us to have some much needed romance and down time. I’ll write more about what we did to celebrate our anniversary, but I had to share these pictures of the dog. He went to “sleep away camp” as we jokingly refer to it when we board him. The facility where we worked with a training one on one (or rather two humans and one dog to one trainer) and where Morris is groomed offers doggie daycare and boarding. Their boarding facilities are not kennels, but little individual rooms, like a doggie hotel! So Morris spent his days playing with his dog friends and getting lots of walks and his evenings and walks with a few of his favorite toys and comfort items in his own private space. He also got to see some of his favorite people over the weekend, his trainer and his groomer. Even though he didn’t have a specific appointment with either of them, they still make sure to visit him whenever he stays there and give him lots of love. He got very excited when we pulled up to the facility (as he always does) and practically leapt out of my arms when one of his favorite employees came to take him to the daycare yard. The employee pretty much had to catch him, as he threw all 22 pounds of himself at her in his excitement! He was very happy to be at “sleepaway camp.”

Three days with his friends = a very tired dog! He was OUT almost instantly after we picked him up and brought him home Monday evening.

Here he is, next to me on the couch, snoring the teeney, tiniest doggie snores:

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Having some puppy dreams:20150302_210453

Immediately after his last walk of the night, right back to sleeping:20150302_215944

Is it any wonder my husband and I (and everyone at “sleepaway camp”) love this dog to bits?