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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oh Cozy Mysteries, Why do I Love Thee?

Because your characters seem REAL to me and have real flaws!

I hate reading picture perfect stories about picture perfect people. I'm not one of those people; most of us aren't. So why would I want to read about someone or something I can't relate to?

I guess that's why I've always had a hard time reading fantasy or science fiction. It makes no sense to me.

My cozy mysteries, however, are just that: cozy, mysteries, and involve real characters. Okay, maybe not real in the sense of why does murder and mayhem follow them around, but you know what I mean. They have relationship issues, body image issues, they all seem to own a cat or two (now who doesn't like that?), they love food, they all have a great best friend and a "potential". They also all seem to have a mom who's still in the picture and "with it" (something which I can TOTALLY relate to!). They fell into sleuthing by chance; they weren't looking for it. You couldn't call any one of them Nancy Drew. Dead bodies just started popping up in their paths!

They do, however, seem to live in eye-pleasing, idyllic towns. THAT may be a little unrealistic, but it makes for good reading and a great escape. It also makes living in small towns seem not so appealing. They, too, come with their share of problems (again, a bevy of dead bodies and murderers living double-lives among the fine citizens of the community).

I'm drawn to them for all these reasons and many more: colorful book covers, animals with sixth sense, handsome plumbers and contractors who just seem to hang around, and life-balance; all of the main characters seem to have plenty of hobbies to keep their lives relatively stress-free.

And they all are strong women to boot!

Check out the various cozy mystery writer blogs in my blog list and cozy mystery websites!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

California Dreamin'

My craving for California is worse than ever. Maybe it's from all the rain and cold weather we've had here in Portland for, oh, 2 years now? I don't know. Call me crazy!

All kidding aside, it's more than just the weather. I miss open spaces, rolling hills (not mountains), the ocean with it's TRUE surfer-infested beaches, driving down precarious highways that practically hang off of cliffs, and, yes, the sun. I miss the laid-back attitude, but at the same time, it's only minutes into the BIG city. I even miss the superficiality of tanned skin, bottle blondes and deep checkbooks. You have to had lived it to know what I mean. It's all a little gift, wrapped in pretty bow!

Sure, Portland and Oregon are beautiful, don't get me wrong. But for a girl who's used to sunshine, golden hills and smog, yes, even smog, it can be somewhat stifling for me here. I never feel like I can see the proverbial forest for the trees, literally. I'm always looking THROUGH something or OVER something to see what I really want to see....and by then there's usually a bank of clouds or a mountain in my way blocking my view.

And the beaches aren't the same here, either. I'm used to true seaside living, complete with restaurants, shopping, PERMANENT residences (not vacation abodes) and crowded beaches with sunbathers, surfers, and roamers. I'm used to driving to the beach to only be greeted with disappointment as there are no more parking spaces to be had. I miss ducking under and around surfboards and longing to be able to swim in the ocean and ride the waves. I miss the smell of suntan lotion permeating the air and bad suntan lines from falling asleep in the warm sand. You don't see sunbathers on an Oregon beach (and yes, I do use sunblock!); it's an oxy-moron.

I could go on and on, but I'll only make myself more homesick. I can't wait to get back there and hopefully someday soon!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ah, Memories....Yours or Mine??

Being on FB (yes, I'm back on that tirade) has it's ups and downs.......sometimes travelling back through time is good. It can be fun to reminisce. Other times it's not so good.

My memories of me seem to be different than that of others memories of me. Opinionated? I've never thought of MYSELF that way. Outgoing? I always considered myself rather shy. Is it all a distorted view of me? But through whose eyes?

It's sometimes hard enough to see oneself in old photos. Yes, I was THAT blonde at one time. Yes, my hair was THAT stylish back in the day. Yes, age is creeping in slowly around my eyes. But when someone describes you as they used to think you were, that's an entirely different story. You begin to retrace your steps and wonder what if....what if I WAS that person being described? That may account for this or that.

There's a point though where you have to let it go. All of our perceptions can be distorted through time. We remember things as we want to remember them...sometimes the bitter seem more bitter and sometimes the bliss seems more blissful. What we thought of as difficult at the time, seems like nothing now. It's all relative to everything and everyone around us. As we get older, we're able to let more and more of it go or use youth as an excuse for the absurd. The past is all about who we are today.

Acceptance. That's what I've learned. Right, wrong or indifferent.

Monday, May 7, 2012


It's Monday...sigh....but the beginning of a fresh, brand-new week! I plan to make the most of it.

I've started by simplifying....clearing the clutter out of my life, slowly by surely. I deleted a couple of books off my Kindle that I really don't need. I unsubscribed to feeds on FB, I deleted some pictures out of the photostream on my iPod Touch. Feels good!

It's like a little weight has been lifted. A few less things to distract me, more time to pay attention to things that REALLY matter. I feel like the world is slowly opening back up from under the burden of being bogged down by the unnecessary.

I want to be able to carry this mind-set through to other aspects of my life. I need to in order to survive and to keep my spirits up. I don't want to be distracted by things that don't really matter, yet still tend to upset me for no reason...but I guess there really is some reason or I invent one just for the sake of drama. Maybe it's my mind's way to giving it something to think about out of boredom or escape. I think I rather read a book instead!

Maybe on Monday's I will think of ONE thing to eliminate each week, whether it be the tangible (too many socks with holes that I have good intentions of mending but never do) or the untangible (bad feelings towards someone). Either way, it out out lighten the load!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Sundayist of Sundays

Today was a beautiful day! It's amazing how much weather affects ones moods.

It's been dreary for months in Portland.....seems as though we never really had a summer last year, skipped fall, went straight into winter, and barely seemed to have left although it's May.

Today, however, was an exception to that rule....sunny, warm, but not hot, and the perfect weather for strolling. And strolling my sidekick mom and I did. We ventured out on the open highway and headed a bit west. Okay, it was exactly out to the country, but instead to browse and window shop, but it was still getting out and going to the 'burbs. A wonderful way to end the weekend on a positive note, making Monday seem farther away and not so dreaded.

But, alas, Portlanders know that summer-like weather is fleeting. We must get out and enjoy it as soon as it gets here and as much as we can because before you know it, the clouds roll back in, the temperature dips, and once again it's sleepy weather again. We learn to take each day as it comes, never listening to the weather man, for he's usually wrong or in the least, incredibly "off" in his predictions. We are our best guides when it comes to the seasons...sticking your head out the door in the morning is usually the most "precise" method for determining what to wear.

I hope you got out and were able to enjoy some good weather and sun (don't forget your sunscreen) this weekend! Don't take it for granted and get out and inhale deeply!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Coffee talk...a lost art?

I want to love Facebook; I want to embrace it. But I can't fully commit to this relationship.

I have an account. I use it, I post to it, I even have to use it for work. Call me a cynic, but I'm still teetering on the Facebook fence.

While I want to keep up on everyone's some degree, there are parts of all of us I just don't care to know. It gives us all an air of mystery and I like that. I like catching up with someone I haven't spoken to in months. I think that's what drove me to write this blog today.

I hadn't spoken to my friend Rebecca in a couple of months. Crazy schedules, work, school, life got in the way.  While we both have Facebook pages, she rarely uses hers....and I realized I LIKE that. It made the phone call all the more special.

I have friends who don't use FB at all....and I like that, too. For one thing, having to pick up the phone or meet someone at Starbucks forces my introvert self to cross the line over the line into extrovertism  - is that a word? It is now! It makes it all more exciting: the thrill of the chase of hunting someone down whom I haven't seen a while. It makes all the little moments we share mean more and makes me listen harder. I can't scroll past a post; I have to look in their eyes over my latte while they confide the office drama or the details of a recent trip. It's all about sharing; it forces me out of my shell. I am beginning to think the art of spending time face-to-face with friends is lost; it's taken a wrong turn onto a one-way road of the information super-highway.

It just made human contact all the more real for me today.

I think FB is a GREAT tool; don't get me wrong. I follow many bloggers who have FB pages that their readers can follow and they post wonderful information out there. It's kept relevant to a common interest. I follow my favorite shops and get sneak peaks at new clothing lines and products. I can keep up with my favorite charities.

Am I crazy for not needing to read constant status updates or where someone has "checked in" throughout the day?

Then there's the hurt feelings. Admit it; if you've been on FB at all, you've experienced them. Someone who seems to be having more fun than we are or going to all the good restaurants. And what happens if you realized someone has changed their status settings to let only a few in to their daily lives? While I complain about not needing to know they just ate salad, I miss it when the posts stop popping up in my feed.

I've found old boyfriends there, their new wives, old friends, and memories from high school I don't care to remember. It's a mixed-bag of feelings. It's exhausting. I think of how much better off I'd be not knowing some of the things I do now. I would never have known them if it hadn't been for FB.

I try to stay away, but I can't. Am I a glutton for punishment? Probably. I'm not fully ready to give it up, though (I couldn't if I wanted to anyway because it's part of my 9-5 job), but I need to manipulate it more to suit MY needs. Right now it just seems to be feeding into insecurities.

Have YOU embraced social networking? How do you make it work for you?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Inspiration Friday - Yesterday

Yesterday is my inspiration for today and tomorrow!

I re-read yesterday's post and thought more about blogging last night. What blogs do *I* like to read? Which ones hold MY interest? I kind of determined what's best left for my private journal and what's best to post. Not an exact science, I am sure, but it gives me some boundaries and guidelines.

I'm a person who sometimes DOES work better "inside the box". I need the freedom to bounce off the walls of said-box, but I also need to be fenced in a bit. I guess it's MY version of "controlled chaos".

My goal is to focus more on the message for this blog than just using it as a creative writing forum for whatever suits my fancy at the moment. While I want there to be an element of freedom of self-expression, I also want it to contain appropriate-content...appropriate to MY message and purpose, that is.

Sure, once in a while I'll break my own bounds and run free with a thought...or two....okay, maybe three. But in general, I think having more of a "system" in mind will put my mind at ease and make this more enjoyable for me. I'm even trying to develop a blogging "calendar"...WITHIN my chosen "theme" I can run free, but the key word here is WITHIN.

Bear with me; it's a work-in-progress. *I'M* a work-in-progress!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Did I let myself down?

I feel horrible for not posting lately. My excuses are as follows:

I've been SWAMPED at work.
I've been focusing on my resume with the help of a friend.
I've been tired.

But I think those mask the REAL reason. I don't always know what to write! My life isn't that exciting, and I don't want to overstay my welcome with my rambling thoughts. I want there to be SOME substance to my posts and my blog, but there isn't always.

I guess that's part of being human though. It keeps it "real". It can't always be life in the fast lane.

I recently started following a new blog, "Delightfully Tacky" after I was so impressed with Elizabeth's post from a few days ago. She summed up how I feel; I was/am amazed at how dead-on she is and how I couldn't agree more. She said what I guess I wanted to say and didn't, but should have. It taught me that I will be honest going  forward and I am doing this as much for myself as anyone else. In fact, it really IS just for me.

I need to write. I want to right. It's something I HAVE to do and not SHOULD do. I have to remember audience or not, I need to let my thoughts flow out through my fingers, whether the medium be a keyboard or a pen. The practice is almost zen-like for me. It keeps some semblance in my life and keeps me organized. It settles my mind.

I also found this blog calendar that I am going to try to incorporate into my blogging style. I have to have focus and organization; I can't function without it.

So, wish me luck! I'm gonna try this blogging thing again and not put so much undue pressure on myself!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Crazy Week and Incognito

It was a CRAZY week last week...and I was in hiding. Work was nutty to say the least and I found myself having to "deny" my activities and hobbies, including this blog, in order to just sail through the week (thought it felt more like I was on the Titanic) without getting additional projects thrown my way.

I love blogging and I love my blog...however, I want to keep it that way. It is something I do in my PERSONAL time, for my PERSONAL reasons, about PERSONAL things. It is not something at this point that I wish to do "on-the-job". So I had to play stupid and dummy-down my knowledge and skills. Sad, I know, but it was necessary.

It's unfortunate that I have to do that. But that's the rub of working for a TINY non-profit get too involved at times, whether you want to be or not. And unfortunately with no extra compensation. I'm only human....emotionally, I need the incentive...and I like to eat! If it was an organization that I was completely indeared to, that may be different...but all I do is feel like I've been repeatedly taken advantage of as of late.

The HUGE PLUS side, however, to all of this, is that I have been growing a spine...I've been learning to speak up and out and stick up for myself. I'm starting to gain more ground with this confidence thing. I realize now that I am not a punching bag, a doormat, something to be swept under the carpet or shoved in a closet. I am human and I have rights and I owe it to myself to set boundaries. I put up more and more fences every day, and if there's one thing I can say lately is that I feel so much better!

Hope your week was more sane than mine and I promise to be better this week....if you see someone lurking the web in Groucho glasses, a mustache, and cigar, chances are it's me!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Passionate Love Affair

Having refused to replace my TV last month has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only do I feel more relaxed at night and in the mornings (my "prime" viewing time too fall asleep and wake up by), but I have so much more time to READ! Simplify, simplify, simplify, I say!

Rising gas prices have also made me re-think my daily habits. Those lunchtime errands are usually completely unnecessary and have just been the result of frustration and boredom. Sitting at my isolated, corner desk (I'm the only person who can boast "real" walls in my office) or in my car on a nice spring day, I feel like I can truly maximize my break time and "down" time by sitting back with said books or a colorful magazine.

I've been going through 2 books a week which is huge for me! I can't get enough inexpensive, mass-market paperbacks! I actually get a little high when I grab something off the shelf! Great substitute when I can't afford a new outfit!

I love a good book, and I am a sucker for a pretty cover! While I admittedly own a Kindle, I use it mostly when traveling; it IS very convenient to pack. HOWEVER, I feel there are so many talented artists out there who design such LOVELY book covers, I feel it's my duty to support their talented efforts.

There's also just something about the book itself, its heft, its chunkiness, and the smell and feel of the pages. They are my Pandora's boxes and I get simply giddy when I can pick up a few at my local Dollar Books or on sale at Target. If I'm running low on funds, but need a quick pick-me-up, a little book will do quite nicely, thank you!

My current obsession is with Cozy Mysteries. Pretty much non-existent violence, no blatant sexual escapades, and minimal foul language, these books literally ARE cozy reads and great escapes. I find myself identifying with a lot of the main characters. They tend to run in series and I have several favorites right now:

These were my FIRST introduction to cozies! We were snowed in for a week and FINALLY got to the supermarket. I was desperate for a read and picked up "The Blueberry Muffin Murder" and was hooked! Set in a small Minnesota town, the characters are down-to-earth and remind me of my relatives! Read more about Joann and her Lake Eden friends on her website!

I just started reading Leann's books and found a new favorite! Set in the south, they are homey, tasty little reads about a trio of cats and their faithful owner!

Found her first book at B&N one day waiting for my hair appointment. I couldn't get a woman to move to reach for another book so grabbed the first one from this series and was immediately drawn into the story. Very believable characters and setting in New England (always the sucker for that neck of the woods). Thank you, rude lady!

Her books are rather hard-to-find, but thank you, Dollar Books! Very quippy pace and language with a slight sarcastic edge, seems to run similar to how I talk to myself! No wonder, the author is a fellow Saggitarian...explains a few things!

I also follow some of my favorite writers at the Cozy Chicks Blog..

What are your great escapes? Is there a particular genre of books you gravitate towards when you need to be whisked away?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Shabby Apple Giveaway!

Pretty, vintage-inspired and affordable, Shabby Apple has become one of my favorite brain-break places to visit in my virtual shopping mall!

And who can resist a giveaway?? Enter to win your chance at a $100 gift card to use to purchase your perfect summer garden party dress or a 20's inspired swimsuit!

Visit Shabby Apple $100 Gift Card Giveaway to enter!

Keeping my fingers crossed!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Inspirations Friday - Bullying

I've been a little tired this week and feeling uninspired. I was FORCING myself to think of something that MAY or MAY NOT inspire me. Just wasn't feeling it.

A friend of mine were taking a break at work and she started telling me about the movie she just made her 15-year old son and one of his friends watch, "Bully". Suddenly I was inspired.

I'm not going to pontificate of the evils of bullying. If you're reading this, you already know, and you're probably NOT in denial that it exists. It's not just "boys being boys" or "spoiled little daddy's girls". It's mean, it's wrong, it's born out of ignorance and misguidance. There, I'm off my soap box already!

I've never felt a need so strongly to want to help, but not sure how to yet. I'm not a parent, not affiliated in any way with a school, but I was unfortunately, bullied in the past.

I found myself opening up to someone for the first time probably ever about the rough time I had in Junior High School and for the first two years of High School (same town, same kids so what do you expect?). Years later I found out it was my supposed "best" friend that was rallying for the assassination of my self-esteem. I had no friends in the seventh grade because of it, and it was a slow-start to the eighth grade. I think it really started in the sixth grade when puberty started to hit and everyone was a little bamboozled by the surge of hormones rushing through their bodies. I was a late-bloomer, wasn't quite there yet and didn't understand any of it.

While I still wanted to play "store" and act out stories from my favorite books, many of my friends moved on to other not-so-innocent antics. I guess bullying made them feel they had the upper hand and made them deal with the confusion in how their bodies and minds were changing. If they couldn't control that, at least they could control something...or someone else.

Usually it happened on a Friday or Saturday night. There were the slumber parties that suddenly I wasn't invited to anymore. There was the round-robin of crank phone calls all night, threats, harassment of my parents and the lies they heard. There was the awkwardness Monday at school, the whispers, the hush hush gossip, the giggles and know-it-all looks. There were the concerts and birthday parties I was excluded from, and the lunches eaten alone at the corner of the cafeteria.

And I didn't understand any of it. I hadn't done a thing, but I guess that, too, in a way was the problem.

Towards the end of the eighth grade, it had improved, but reared its ugly head again by sophomore year in high school. Different group of girls this time and I stared it down incredulously. Fine, go ahead, beat me up, taunt and tease me over lies, trust the other person whom you just meant and throw away our childhood friendships. Fine with me. I didn't need any of it anymore. I was beyond hurt. Anger started to take over because I wasn't going to be the victim this time around. And I wasn't.

I actually earned some respect and the bullying this time around stopped almost as soon as it started. That was lucky for me, but not the norm for many.

If you were bullied, or know someone who was or is still, STAND UP! Do something! Sitting back and letting it play out is not going to help. Being supportive in any little way can. Don't be afraid anymore. You have the upper-hand!

The pain never fully goes away. I still feel it to this day. I'm still baffled as to how anyone could be so mean and hurtful no matter WHAT their age or what is going on in their bodies.

My pledge to you is to start somewhere. If you have a Facebook account, "like" the following pages in solidarity. There's strength in numbers and you can find more great information on their pages!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"I Love It" Thursday - A Bonny List Fer Tha!

One of my favorite places that I long to travel to someday is Yorkshire, England. Rolling hills, misty air, sheep, and farms. While I am sure life for the farmers hasn't always been pleasant or easy, it looks idyllic to me, especially after a long day of sitting in front of the Samsung, straining to find hidden and random XHTML code responsible for webpage meltdowns....well, maybe always not-so-random (I am still in training, you know!).

My head has been spinning long-past bedtime lately as I have a hard time coming off of my work-a-day high of trying to solve today's installment of "The Mystery of the Broken Hyperlink". Call me Nancy Drew; sometimes my brain seems more "on" at 3 a.m. than when it should be during the OTHER waking hours when I actually get paid to look like I know what I am doing. The only salve for my bruised brain (and ego) has been getting lost in a good read or a good British TV show, many which double as both. Dual-purpose entertainment - gotta love it!

Oh to be a Brit and solve all of life's problems over high-tea and scones! If it were only that easy...maybe reading tea leaves will unlock the mysteries of the web!

Here's a list of the countryside I've found myself meandering through lately (not all Yorkshire, but primarily!):

By far my favorite TV show and my introduction to the English countryside of Yorkshire. Seasons 1-3 and the specials are the best. I started reading the books when I was eight; the are frequently re-read and always loved!

A new treasure! Takes place in Kent and I am in love with the family! The books are on my Amazon wish list (in case you are planning on buying me a present anytime soon! - no pressure!). Yes, that IS a young Catherine Zeta Jones!

Almost slap-stick comedy at times at its finest! I can't believe this show ran for over 30 years and never seemed to lose its edge! Absolutely lovely Yorkshire scenery to boot! 

Takes place in London which occasional trips to the countryside, but I had to include it. Some of the best comedy written and no matter how many times I see the reruns on PBS or check them out from the library, the episodes remain as fresh to me as the first time I saw them!

Lovely Oxford countryside and although these families endured incredibly hardships, you can still appreciate their love for their land and each other. Hopefully the book will be just as good!

I strongly suggest you check any of them out when you have a chance! I've been lucky enough to find them at my local library, even if I have to wait a few weeks (always well worth the wait!).

Ohhh....and ANY Jane Austen movie will do in a pinch as well as they offer stunning glimpses of the English Countryside. My hats of to the Queen!

What do you get lost in?

Monday, April 2, 2012

My No-So-Latent Strength

In reading an email I sent to a friend detailing the events of the last two years of my life, I discovered something about myself this weekend: I never really thought of myself as a "strong" person, but what I've gone through, the decisions I've made and my strong convictions have taught me that I am, indeed, strong.

Strength is as much a willingness to make changes, no matter how frightening, as well as feeling in control and picking your battles. Strength is accepting your mistakes and pledging to learn from them, more so than it is to sit back and never try anything in the first place and just accept the status quo. It's going with your gut, when everyone else points in the opposite direction.

It's resilience.

I've learned a lot about myself in the last 24-months or so. Sure, it may take me a while, but eventually I come around. I've always been a slow or late bloomer. But when I've made up my mind to do something, there's no stopping me, even if it takes me longer than most. I don't have regrets. I would, though, if I just sat back and accepted everything as it was even if it hurt to do so.

I may at times seem overly-sensitive or indecisive. But that's just my mind working over-time to make sure I'm making the right choices. I tend to hash things out in my head, by myself. It does keep me up at night and gives me butterflies, but in the long-run, I am confident in my decisions. There's no looking back. I do what I need to do and move forward.

It's a quiet strength I never realized I had. I took it for granted as being weak. That's far from the truth.

As anxious as I was last Friday to make that phone call, I did, to surprising results. Once I put the nerves and excessive sweating behind me, I felt renewed and a huge sense of accomplishment. I could tackle anything at that point. I had no regrets and saw the anxiety I experienced as a blessing and opportunity.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Inspiration Friday - The Email

I was having a hard time trying to be inspired this week. It's been rough; I've had some challenges at work and with my allergies. I feel tired, spacey, dizzy at times, and just plain beat up.

I woke up this morning, actually thinking ALREADY about what I wanted to write and just feeling more and more drained with each thought.

I am also more anxious than my "normal" today. I get nervous making phone calls, especially to people I haven't spoken to in some time. I rather have in-your-face contact or write you a letter....both opposite ends of the communication spectrum. The phone seems like Purgatory to me and I don't handle it well. I's just a phone, but I am so in-tune to gestures, stance, posture, etc. that there are too many gray areas for me on the ol' handset, and I DREAD moments of silence. I don't know if you're mad at me, offended by something I said, or just taking a mini-break to wipe your nose. It unnerves me!

Trying to put my emotions and panic in check, I decided to read my emails this morning before my shower. I found my inspiration!

My cousin whom I was very close to for years, but lost contact with except recently on Facebook (ugh, yes, Facebook) wrote me an email. An actual letter to my own private email address, not a random status update or private message. And a WONDERFUL, thoughtful, courageous email at that! I could literally feel the stress melt. I was able to swallow my first dose of Zyrtec without it bubbling back up through the cuss words as per usual.

Her actions put to shame parts of my posting/rant on the evils of social networking the other day. It DOES have some benefits. Apparently my random status updates put a smile on her face and make her laugh. This blog may make her GAG, but I may invite her to join in on the fun as well.

If she could email me out of the blue, then I can make that phone call and get control of the situation. It doesn't faze me a BIT now.

So, thanks, Cousin, for your thoughtful words, for reaching out, and for inspiring me to put my anxiety aside and do the right thing! You'll never understand how much it was needed today:)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How Do I Love Tee?

Let me count the least FIVE!

It's "I Love it" Thursday! I am hoping NEXT week I will be able to share that I love my new allergy medicine, and I LOVE how I feel. At that point, it will be a week since I started my new meds; I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed that everything kicks in and helps me enjoy Spring. Right now, not so much.

Anywho...I am loving cute tees this week and found a vendor on my always-most-favorite-thing Etsy who sells the cutest, feminine-cut tees! Eden Bell a has so many adorable options! I've listed five of my faves (yes, I was able to narrow it down, but with much difficulty as you'll soon understand!)....I may just have to splurge on payday and pick up one..or two..oh, wait, maybe three. They are just all so cute that I can't decide on just one!!

What's YOUR fave or do you have others to share?  Happy Thursday! We've all made it this far..only one more day to go!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Love/Hate Affair with Technology

I'm torn. Part of me ADORES technology...I'd marry it if I could...or at least have a torrid affair. I love my iPod Touch. It's a God-send. It's my address book, my stereo, my TV, my mail, my games, my shopping, all rolled into one.

I love my laptop. It's enabled me to go back to school conveniently, shop for hard-to-find birthday gifts, keep in touch with friends and family, store my pictures, and do my taxes without having to pay H&R Block.

Don’t even get me STARTED with my digital camera...well, TECHNICALLY I'm doing without right now until I buy a new Cybershot, but anyway....I love the instant gratification it gives me, I loved snapping a gazillion pictures in NYC and DC this past fall, I love capturing special moments and sharing them and then storing them away without all the fuss and muss of stacks of photos that just collect dust.

Photoshop...what can I say???

And now I’ve embraced blogging!

HOWEVER, I've started to cross the line into hate when it comes to social networking and the constant line of communication it has opened. We are a nation that thrives on being overly-stimulated. Why we need to constantly interact and speak our minds, I'll never know. It's opened up a whole world of bullying, intimidation, feelings of inadequacy. That, I DON'T love. Constant status updates, tweets, and interjections feel like an interruption and exhaust me. We, and that does include ME (I’m not immune) don’t know when to turn it “off” at times.

My job has changed and for better or for worse, I've have to take up residence in this world as our online community manager. Unfortunately this includes living in FB and Twitter most of my day. I SEE the constant communication and I've started to ask myself...


What happened to saving up for the dinner table discussion or the phone call once a week to mom? What happened to the excitement of sharing the day’s events as something to look forward TO, as in, THE FUTURE, saving it as something special? I think in the process, that little part of our brain that edits what we say and how we say it has also shrunk; we tend to blurt things out quite easily these days, sometimes regrettably, and sometimes with serious consequences. ..and then there’s nothing left as we sit in silence with nothing but lasagna and tossed salad between us. How boring!

Sorry for my tirade, but it's something I've been struggling with for weeks now. While I see the INSURMOUNTABLE advantages of the technological age (advancements in medicine, safe and reliable transportation, etc.), I also see and feel the side-effects of so much activity.

How do you feel? Do you use Facebook and/or Twitter or any social networking?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Inspiration Friday - "Julie & Julia"

My inspiration choice this week is a PAST inspiration...something that got a hold of me a couple of years ago and never let go and carried me here today:

The move "Julie & Julia". It's the premise of the book/movie that made me want to blog and express myself. Oh, I've ALWAYS expressed myself through English classes and creative writing classes in college, but it was the movie and what Julie Powell did with her little blog (which she started for herself for her OWN motivation) and subsequently what happened that inspired ME to want to start to blog and have that one, beautiful moment when you finally see that SOMEONE, out of nowhere, is following along with you on your journey. It's like it finally all MEANS so much more! It’s about writing about what you KNOW, not trying to fake it!

I think the fact that her blogging started as a coping mechanism of Julie trying to deal with the stress of being in NYC on and after 9/11 and the nature of her job which dealt with the aftermath and stress of that horrible day is something that I can relate you. I by NO means am trying to minimize what she or any other New Yorker went through, but it's just what I can take from it and relate to my own tumultuous world of a couple of years ago. It's like that first crocus bud popping out of the snow. Out of everything that can weigh us down, something light and uplifting can sprout.

While I'm no cook and wouldn't DREAM of attempting Julia Child's recipes (I can barely make a decent bowl of oatmeal), it's my eagerness to learn to express myself more and more clearly that will evolve in this blog. It's getting over that fear of having nothing good or smart to say that will slowly diminish and make way for creativity and clarity, no matter WHAT it may sound like.

(however I WAS inspired to read "My Life in France" by Julia Child and watch her DVDS and LOVED them!)

It's the slow process of accepting me, who I am, what I like and don't like, what I will and won't put up with.

It's that “aha” moment! I finally accomplished something and saw it through and it actually makes sense!! And, honestly, I have to say, this is the ONLY thing I've done in years that gives me a HUGE feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction - it's something that neither school nor work have been able to fulfill in all this time:)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's "I Love This" Thursday! - In the Pink

I'm in love with pink this week...the paler, the better (not a huge magenta fan myself).

I was totally inspired by Someone Like You's latest blog post about her prom's so lovely! I was also inspired by Rachel Ashwell (creator of Shabby Chic at Target) and her "Everything Pink" blog post the other day. Check both out!!

Soft, pale pink that's almost icy is actually a WARM color to invokes love, peace, femininity, softness. And it just OOOZES spring in this dark, dreary, dank Portland I'm living in right now. It can act as a neutral and you can mix so many other colors with it and it still doesn't loose anything; looks fantastic with green, orange, and red! As delicate as it looks, it has a quiet, inner strength of it's own that allows it to stand out from the crowd.

Here are a few of my favorite pink things this week:

Love a pretty little cupcake on a pretty little plate anytime!!

LOVIN' this purse from Shopruche!

I actually think I could make this, but if not, there's always shopping at!

I sadly waiting one week too long to purchase this from Shopruche, but was told they MAY get it back in stock!

Love these pretty little earrings on my favorite site, Etsy!

Okay, one more pretty pink purse from Shopruche. Hoping they get it back in stock soon. A must have for me!!

What colors are you drawn to? Any crazy combinations? 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Underdog of Superheros

One thing you'll quickly learn about me if you don't know already is that I am Anxiety Girl. I tend to over-think and over-dwell on everything...from what to wear in the morning, to what to eat for lunch, to my resume, etc. I have a hard time putting anything down and accepting that it can't all be perfect all the time. It's something I am constantly working on (hence, the shredder at times).

Right now, I'm at a crossroads about what to do with school and my so-called career. I say "so-called" because I've never really taken ownership of it; it's always just been a job I do in order to eat and keep my closet full. But as I get older, I realize that I need to take ownership and I need to make some choices. What to do? I think my alter-ego is the Masked Procrastinator.....I'm always assuming things will just work THEMSELVES out....

Do I go continue with school? I'm technically a Jr towards my bachelor's degree or do I get a better job in a company with more opportunity first THEN look at school. And if so, where, what and WHY?

AACK! I think I just want to hide under my cape!

I've decided to start a list (thanks, Mom) of not only what I am GOOD at but what I actually ENJOY's one thing to be good at something, but if you're not enjoying it, who cares? I'm looking forward to doing that. It's my next project now that school is over. As trite as it sounds, I need to do something meaningful where I feel like I am really contributing and getting something more out of it than just a paycheck (thought that always helps!). I gotta not only find the right answer, but the variables to the equation as well!

Do you love doing what you do? What do you love about it?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bet you thought I forgot to explain about the shredder, didn't you?

To follow up to my ode to the delete key, I promised I'd explain sometime about the shredder, another piece of relatively mundane, yet abundantly useful office equipment.

It means so much more to me than shredding the credit card offers, old insurance forms, tax forms older than seven years (let me just make that perfectly clear!), etc. It shreds bad ideas, bad relationships, ruminating thoughts, etc.

I won't waste anyone's time and rehash what a bad 2010 and 2011 I had (well the first part of 2011 anyway; it ended with a SPLASH, thanks to Sherry, NYC, and DC!!). However, I WILL say what a God-send the “big brown box” at work was, and still is, at times.

More valuable to me than ANY amount of therapy, self-help books, or medication, the shredder helped me literally SUCK impurities from my soul...all the bad thoughts, sad thoughts, anxiety, why-why-why's, anger (and PLENTY of it at that), unanswered questions, self-beatings, etc., that were tearing ME to pieces. All I had to do (and STILL do from time to time) is scribble down the obsessive, energy-draining thought, press the glorious green START button, (making sure no clothing or jewelry was in the way; I'd hate to have to explain THAT one), and VOILA! ...out with the bad and with each deep, cleansing breath after that, in with pure GOODNESS.

So many times I sat here at work wondering WHY ME? What did I do wrong? How could I be so STUPID...until one tired day I decided enough was enough. I started by writing down every unanswered question that would NEVER be answered and ran to the machine room, closing the door behind me and enjoying the moment all alone. The proverbial purging didn't work for me; I needed the real thing.

It was the miracle, happy ending I was longing for. Rarely do those thoughts creep into my head anymore...and if they do, I know IMMEDIATELY where they need to go!

Monday, March 19, 2012

My New Favorite Products

I'd thought I'd keep this post a bit light and airy today. It's a Monday after all and I'm home sick with an ear infection. Isn't that only supposed to happen to 12-year olds?? Anyway, I digress.....

I've been experimenting with new products lately...trying to go more "natural" and organic. However, with MY allergy issues, that isn't always easy. I'm allergic to practically every living thing in the Pacific NW and it's bad enough if some of these things in nature TOUCH my skin, let alone put them IN my body in the form of some pill, etc. I have to really watch it.

That being said, here's just a handful of some of the products I've found myself loving these days:

Benefit's Yes They're Real mascara. The brush is amazing...gets ALL of my itty bitty lashes and best of all, no irritation to my sensitive eyes!

Benefit's Posietint...a big Benefit fan these days. Took some getting used to how to apply, but now I'm a pro and I love the soft color that you can use on your lips, too!

Tom's of Maine **NEW** Naturally Dry Antiperspirant in "Powder"..without going into TMI, I've been looking for something like this that actually WORKS and is good for me!

Tom's of Maine Whole Care Toothpaste in Peppermint or Spearming. Love the fresh taste without the added chemicals and I still get great checkups!

Aubrey Organics Natural Sun with Green tea SPF 30+ offer BOTH UVA and UBV protection! Everyone complains that natural sunscreens leave a white cast...not if you rub them in and be patient before applying your makeup. Worth the wait! No irritation, no smells, no burning..I can even use around my eyes!

Any new, favorite products you'd like to share? I'm always open to suggestions!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Inspirations Fridays

Well hello and an early Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It's been a crazy week to say the least. Learning a new job from scratch because my predecessor failed to document ANY processes he did nor how portions of our website work (I am now in charge of not only marketing, but also website maintenance and I manage our online communities) is dizzying....not to mention detrimental to my eyesight! Scrolling through pages and pages of code to find teeny tiny errors has got me seeing double!

On that note, I need a really good brain break this weekend (ugh...I also have to study for a final). I was browsing the aisles of Fred Meyer, our local "chain" everything store, doing some last-minute grocery shopping for work, when I stumbled upon the recent Spring 2012 copy of Romantic Country Magazine. What a breath of fresh air!

I have found my bit of heaven for the weekend.......and my inspiration! It will inspire me to relax and find some peace away from <div>'s and </br>'s and &nbsp's!!! Phew!

Here's a website I found that belongs to the photographer of the edition above. It's quite lovely and an inspiration in itself!

What's your inspiration today?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"I Love It" Thursdays

Thursdays are such a forgotten day that I thought I'd try to attribute something a little special to it...something it can call its own.


..."I Love It" Thursdays!

Here are five favorite things I found myself loving this week:

I love this site! I didn't think I would get that interested, but the more I pin, the more I see and like it!

Lulu's...a new favorite site with cute, little, feminine tops and bottoms and accessories. Great for spring and summer! I've been trying to find unique pieces of clothing lately so I don't see myself walking down the street!

I would LOVE these hanging over the breakfast bar in a retro kitchen or in the breakfast nook someday!! They are adorable!

Posted by my friend from childhood, Mary Ellen. Don't know WHERE this is, but I will go since it's obviously NOT rainy, dreary, Portland this week!!

I can indulge SO many of my little guilty pleasures here! I could literally shop and/or dream for days!!

Why do I love these treasures? I love them because they represent some facet of me, something I had lost for years that I re-discovered...self-expression, confidence, beauty, delicacy, femininity, coziness, simplicity. I just genuninely LIKE these things; if I could wear the teacup lights, I would! That's how much I love them! It's all about the color, the pattern, the age, they all represent. They are assets I try to incorporate into my daily life, if not literally, figuratively.

What do you treasure? What makes you tick, and smile, and get that warm, fuzzy feeling all over?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Oh delete key, how do I love thee?

The hand is mighter than the sword!

There's something sinister, yet so satisfying about the delete key. It gives one a feeling of organization and control; in one fell swope, abracadabra, it's gone. Whatever "it" was.

Even if only temporary.....

The delete key is the original "unfriend" tool. It's simple, yet so effective. It gets the job done in a simple keystroke. Delete a name, a file, a picture, an email. Poof, it's gone.

It can also be a life-saving tool. What would I have done if I hadn't been able to "delete" that email before I sent it or that ranting blog post? I was able to save face with one little "thump" of a finger.

That something so innocuous can be so powerful at the same time never ceases to amaze me.

Along with the "crop" tool, it's a God-send. A match-made-in-heaven. Chunks of my life instantly changed or removed. Everything is clean and tidy again and I can breathe a sigh of relief.

I could go on and on about the shredder, too, but I'll save that for another post.....

Happy Deleting, Everyone!'s a great little article I came across today, fellow bloggers and blog-readers! No wonder I can't get enough of Pinterest lately!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Patience Pays!!

I've wanted a new purse and THIS purse for some time now. Low and behold, I was strolling through my favorite Target store (we have SEVERAL here in NE Portland) and I couldn't believe when I saw it ON CLEARANCE!

Suspicious, I meticulously examined the treasure, making sure there were no flaws, missing parts, boobie traps, etc. Nada. It was PERFECT! And 30% off to boot!

I'm not that much of a fan of Jason Wu's stuff, but loving my purchase and hope to sometime soon, acquire the bag below. I'm a cat-lover and would LOVE to add this to my purse entourage!

What's making YOU happy these days? The transition from winter here to spring has been, well...interesting. Anything that makes me smile is worth the small price at this point!

Happy Shopping!