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Pickles & Chapstick

Pickles & Chapstick: June 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013



Forgive me if I start to ramble. Pretty sure I've been on a rambling cycle this past week. Moving on - For as long as I can remember, teachers and sometimes even parents try to embed their idea of what success is or try to give you pointers on how to lead a successful life. They're using their knowledge, life experiences, etc. to help guide you down a certain path. Maybe it's the oldest child syndrome, or the fact that I hate being told what to do or perhaps it's the Aquarian in me but I've never 100% agreed with what their ideas of success was. 

I believe an education is very important and I may be a nerd in secret (i keep most of my old text books and reread them when I'm bored - dork!) but I know for a fact that college isn't for everyone and I know not everyone is ready to attend college at the same time. I'd never advise someone not to go to college but I do know how I was around 18 and the idea of making me go to college was like trying to teach a pig how to fly - it wasn't going to happen. I was very stubborn in my mind set and I was going to do things my way (interesting - some things never change). So what did I do? Move out to California after just turning 20. I needed to move away from a place where I felt suffocated. It didn't hit me until five years later but I realized that was one of my first successes. 

By most people's standards (& sometimes my own) I'm not a very successful person. I don't have some amazing job or career where I'm bringing in the cash or have a 401k, I don't drive a fancy car (fact - I never desire to drive a fancy car), I don't own a home, I have never been outside North America, I have debt & yes, i'm a single mom. I'm sure there a bunch more things to add on here but that's not what I'm trying to focus on here. To some or maybe to most this looks like an unsuccessful person but these things don't define success to me. I think success is more personal than some may realize. When I was pregnant I had gnarly morning sickness and managed to still go to work. I managed to deal with a very difficult pregnancy by myself. These may not like seem much to someone else but it was a huge success for me. It taught me a lot about myself and my nature. I've had highs with jobs where money wasn't a huge issues and I've had a lot of lows where it was and have lived paycheck to paycheck and somehow still managed to stay afloat. Mostly everyone has been there, its tough and it sucks and sometimes it does a number to your self esteem but you're a success in my eyes cause that's tough to do and you aren't throwing in a towel. If you're doing something that you love and not making much money as you would like but you're still doing it - you're a success in my eyes. You could be homeless or perhaps even crazy but still the most gentle and loving human being - you're a success. 

My Opa pretty much grew up in poverty and my Oma had nothing after WWII because Germany was completely bombed out, but they found one another and got married and had nothing upon moving back to the states (where my Opa was from). But they worked and somehow managed to make a little life for themselves and made a life for their children. My mama and uncles went to catholic school and never went without anything they didn't need. My Opa was a mechanic who would also work a part-time job here and there and my Oma was a full-time mom up until my mom went to school all day then got a part-time job. I've seem them struggle and I've seen them overcome lots of things. My grandparents are the most giving and loving people you'd ever meet and they've given my brother and I so much. They'd give you the shirt off their backs if meant you'd be clothed. I'm pretty sure my they love me more than my own parents do (no joke). They are two of the most successful people I have met in my entire life. They may not have the best of everything but they make the best of everything and for everyone around them. 

Don't get me wrong, I don't enjoy constant struggle and having more money would be amazing but I'm not going to sit here and think of myself as a failure because I'm still working towards things I want in my life. I want to eventually gallivant around the streets of Paris, snuggle a koala bear in Australia and hike machu picchu. Oh, and lets not forget sporting a pink wig and run around Tokyo like Scarlett Johnansson did in Lost In Translation. At some point would like a little family that I can dote on. I want to own a home so I can have a beautiful garden of my own vegetables and sit outside on warm summer nights and watch the lightening bugs come alive. I know for a fact that it can't rain forever and brighter days are ahead but for now I will dance in the rain and make the best of it. So if you're going through a rough time and you don't feel like much - I think you're a success. So if you come across this post somehow - I think you're pretty darn awesome! 



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

wednesday wants

Not that I need anymore tote bags but I'm kinda digging this one. Oh, and the same cute
little shop has an Edgar Allen Poe one woot! woot! 

One day I'll own the perfect cake stand and when I do, I hope it looks like this 

I may or may not have spent some of the morning drooling over this necklace 

Fell in love with these sandals today

Well, aren't you the perfect little bag


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

visually appeasing

Like most these days, I'm addicted to Pinterest. I've heard people complain that they don't like Pinterest because it makes them feel bad about their life or their belongings or it sometimes makes people want more than they can afford, etc. Pinterest has been extremely helpful in my everyday life. Not only is it the perfect place to find a quote that you may relate to but it's the perfect source for recipe and beverage ideas. It's also helped my creativity. It's given me ideas that have led to other creative outlets for myself. Creativity is something that is extremely important to me. I need it to function like food or water (& sometimes that much needed glass of wine). Pinterest is also a home to some of the most beautiful images I have ever seen. Sometimes I like to clock out of the real world and get lost in the beauty of images. Today I'm going to share with you a few of my favorite finds on Pinterest. annnnd now for this: if you're a fellow pinner, please follow me on Pinterest! It's always exciting to see what other people are pinning :)





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Monday, June 24, 2013

learning to love yourself


The other morning I had a conversation with one of my friends and she mentioned how she loved herself and explained why. While some people would take that as being conceited, I admired her in that moment. We live in a world where we love to watch the demise of public figures, we're encouraged to point out our flaws, we pick other people apart, etc. When I sit down and really think about it, it makes me sick because we're all guilty of it. Instead of celebrating our differences, we find ways to tear them apart. I think sometimes guys have it a little bit easier than girls. Girls are terrible and the thing is, it never stops. It starts when we're young and continues into adulthood and yet we're somehow surprised when the cycle starts again with your daughter, niece, cousin, etc. You should like yourself. No scratch that, you should love yourself.

In the past I'd let others influence and determine my self worth. I had a lousy self esteem. Regardless of what I was going through or how I felt about myself there were things that never changed. Looking back those qualities about myself or even the small things were the things that I should've really focused on. Instead I'd focus on how someone felt about me or the mistakes I've made along the way. When the reality of all of this is, nobody is perfect. "don't judge someone because they sin differently than you" pretty much sums it up. Oh well, you live and you learn.

A lot of my life changed the moment I had Charlie. I had someone who needed me to love and care for them. Even though circumstances were less than ideal and I feel that I've struggled more than I've succeeded in all of this, I finally found that place where I belonged. My life made sense in a unconventional way. He brought me back to reality to appreciate what life is really about. He didn't care how much money you made, or how much debt you were in or what you were wearing or what your mistakes might've been in the past. He doesn't judge. He loves you for being you and that's beautiful.

In the mornings are usually my happy time. I normally lay in bed and reflect for a few and think about what I'm thankful and happy for. For the first few moments I feel like I'm the luckiest girl in the world. I may not be rich or have the best of everything but I have a lot and more importantly I have some of the most amazing people in my life who make my life rich. I could be worse off. Then it all goes to hell when I realize I have to wake up and brush my teeth. Don't worry these teeth are brushed regularly but it doesn't mean I enjoy doing it. Some may roll their eyes at my little morning thought session but it's what makes me and it's something I've grown to love about myself (along with the fact that I hate brushing my teeth).

I think the more we learn to love ourselves, the more we can learn to love others. We should be building each other up, not tearing one another down. This all may sound like hippy talk but I like the idea of Charlie and any future children that I may or may not have grow up in a better world than the one we are currently in. Think about the lovely things you like/love about yourself. Makes you feel a little bit better, doesn't it? :)

Friday, June 21, 2013

the adjustment period

Like life, change doesn't come with a book of instructions. There's no proper way to cope with any sort of change that enters your life. Sometimes good changes come into your life that leave you wanting to pirouette in aisles of Target. Or sometimes change comes in forms that leave you feeling at times empty, useless and you wind up crying by the succulents in Home Depot. I'm currently in the midst of experiencing both of these things. With any sort of change there comes the "adjustment period". You're learning to adapt to these new changes.

In the past I had no issues opening up and sharing however I was feeling at the time. I was an open book. While parts of me are still an open book, there's parts of me that rather keeps things to myself. Sometimes because I'm afraid that the really good things will disappear but mostly because I don't like hurting people's feelings even if it's in a passive aggressive manner. I no longer enjoy being that person and I'm not sure I ever really did. While life was getting crazy with all these changes I found myself not on the Internet much and as much as I enjoyed it, I also missed blogging. Except I found myself having writers block. I had thoughts, I had photos of things that were going on, I documented meals, etc. I just couldn't put anything into sentences. There was a part of me that started to feel that I was very unoriginal. I sort of felt like that awkward 13 year old who doesn't really know where they fit.

Having a child isn't easy and it's especially a little harder when you have to share custody with someone else. For the past two years (roughly) my life has revolved around motherhood. This blog even turned mostly into everything Charlie but that's where my life was at. Now I'm sharing custody from a different coast. It's a big adjustment and as painful as most days are, I think it was the best decision. I'm sure there are people out there who have their own thoughts and feelings and that's fine but keep it to yourself. I'm thankful Charlie has two parents who love the crud out of him. I'm thankful that his father and I have people in our lives who also love and care for that kid. I'm thankful that this kid has been constantly surrounded by so much love. What more can a parent want for their kid?

So here I am.... in this weird strange adjustment period. The past few days have been very rough. Normally sad moments only last a moment and I'm able to snap out of it. However, the past few days have been a little tougher to snap out of and that's frustrating to me because I don't like being the "sad one". I've been living on a toddler schedule since Charlie became one. I still find myself getting up when he would and getting beyond exhausted around the times he'd nap. It's very frustrating because right now he isn't around so why is my body still hooked on this routine? I'd look at myself in the mirror and I wanted to punch it but that would hurt my hand and who needs all those years of bad luck anyway. I had moments where I hated all my clothes, my hair, my face, etc. I've been so used to being a mom that I sometimes forget what I actually enjoy doing. It's extremely difficult at times to focus primarily on myself and if I do I feel selfish. I find random articles of his clothes and breakdown bawling in the hallway when no one is around. Some people in life are good at facials, art, creating something out of nothing, picking sushi, etc. I'm really good at being domestic. I'm pretty sure this was one reason motherhood came so easily to me. It's frustrating because I don't enjoy doing anything as much as I've enjoyed being a mother on a daily basis. Oh, and party planning. I can plan a darn good party but that's a little off subject right now. Oh, and crafts. Okay moving on with this... I miss planning our daily activities and his weekly finger friendly food meals. I miss seeing the way his face would light up when he'd see our favorite people and watch their face light up as they saw his. It's pretty amazing to watch your kid interact with the special people in your life. It's just a difficult adjustment. After my daily FaceTime with Charlie this morning, I looked at my tear stained face in the rear view mirror and decided I had to snap out of it. I was determined to snap out of it. Crying hysterically in the shower because you aren't sure where your life is going anymore was starting to get old. Crying over other people's family instagram photos was annoying. I had to put an end to this "funk". I'm not sure why driving straight home would make me feel better but it did. I changed out of the dress that made me feel fat, I made the bed and opened the curtains in the bedroom. I lit candles in the dining room and bathroom. I plopped my new favorite smelling votive candle (because I can't afford a real size version of it right now) into a very girly looking candle holder (pretty sure the boyfriend might cringe at it) and lit it. Then I opened my laptop and started writing this entry. A quarter into my cherry coke zero and two bites into my piece of candy and I'm feeling a little bit better. I'm not sure if it was the nesting that made me feel better or maybe it was just being able to put my thoughts into sentences again. Or maybe it was knowing that I had a place to return to that makes me feel appreciated, supported, wanted and cared for and I'm happy to call it "home". I know I'll have good days and bad days but I think the best feeling is knowing that you have a group of supporters who believe in you and support you even when you're being grumpy because you're hungry.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

one wedding down

Phew! One wedding down, one more to go. I hear stories about women who are in several weddings over the course of "wedding season" and I have no idea how they do it. My mother's wedding took the place the other weekend. I loved the dress she chose and I'm so happy she's happy. It's also pretty awesome she got to return to Europe for her honeymoon and is having a wonderful time. 

I did learn that you can plan the heck out of something and something will go wrong and they did. My beautiful bridesmaids dress had an altering issue and I had to find something else (very quickly and I hated the dress). Scary organ music + toddlers don't mix. I already knew Charlie wouldn't sit for 30 minutes. So I decided I'd be the one to hang out with him and run around with him while the ceremony was going on and my mom had one of her friends fill in as maid of honor. There were several other issues that kept popping up as the night went on but by the end of the night, who cares? All that matters is she had a wonderful day, she looked beautiful and she was surrounded by the ones she loved.    

I quickly put together a "case of emergency" bride kit for her 

cutest ring bearer ever! 

and what's the best part of this union? I got three sisters! Pretty great deal if you ask me :)

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Monday, June 17, 2013

another saturday, another adventure day

Oh wait, I'm blogging? Yeah, it's been pretty interesting around these parts and by interesting I mean busy. Between moving, weddings, traveling, etc. It's gotten pretty hectic and it's starting to slow down just a bit (I hope). 

Saturday's in this place are dedicated to "Adventure Day". Adventure Day is just that, an Adventure. We visit places we've never been or haven't been to in a long time. Depending on what our funds are looking like is how we decide what we're going to do. In the past we've taken adventures to Chinatown (i've lived in for 9 years and have never been - say whaaaa?) & Alvera Street (in search for the perfect cinco de mayo decorations) and trips to Solvang and Santa Barbara. Another key factor of making this day an adventure is we find places that we've never eaten at before. 

We live in a world of fast food and chain restaurants and if you aren't eating at one of them sometimes you find yourself at over priced places and all of these types of establishments lack "soul" to them. When I talk about "soul" I'm not talking about soul food, I'm talking about food that has a little "sumthin sumthin" about it. When I was a child I always enjoyed a good BBQ (& most southern foods). I'm always down to find real BBQ places but unfortch we don't live in the south and it's harder to find those types of places out here in LA. 

We decided to try out JNJ Burger Shack. There's a burger side and a side strictly dedicated to BBQ. It's a little shack and they have outdoor seating. It was hands down one of the best places I've eaten at recently. The key is to order two separate dishes, sides, etc. I ordered the chicken with potato salad and corn on the cob and the boyfriend ordered the ribs with yams baked beans. Ohmylanta it was heaven! The potato salad was whipped and delicious. The yams pretty much left me speechless. That's how much I enjoyed them. If you live anywhere near LA, I highly suggest paying JNJ Burger Shack a visit. You won't be disappointed! 

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