Spinning Plates

Lately, I’ve been spinning a lot of plates, looking high and low for those elusive answers to mental health and spirituality.

I was raised Catholic and quite involved with church during high school. As is the trend for this religion, I fell off at age 18 when I started college. [Supposedly, I’m going to return around the age of 35 because I will need a structured way to teach my kids some morals and will be too lazy to formulate a new system.] Continue reading

Wondering and waiting.

I love watching friends and family take on life. We have a finite amount of days on this earth. To find joy and infuse meaning into some of that limited time is a beautiful privilege we cannot take for granted.

It seems like I am wistful on the daily, seeing people take on passion projects–casting aside fear, leaving behind judgment, and diving into what sets their souls on fire. Often times, these ventures align with my own desires. I feel bad for neglecting my writing for so long and wonder if I will ever commit to this dream. I get a tinge of jealousy that someone has managed to beat me to the punch. I ruminate on my experiences, qualifications, and skills. Where do I start and how can I start over?

And then I realize, preparation and aesthetics be damned, I must go for it.

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#GradSchoolGrind

Earlier this week, I entered another year of life on this beautiful earth. 2017 has been good to me so far.  I am focused on building better habits, taking steps towards my goals, banking memories with so many amazing people, and finding joy in the everyday. I’ve been acclimating and making moves in a new job that I absolutely love. In the 5 months since I started my position, I’ve attended multiple conferences revolving around high school/college success and the endless amount of related issues. Continue reading

The Road to Grad School

I’m really going to do this grad school thing. Against all my instincts and wishes coming out of college. I have never felt that my goals were clear and my dreams were attainable (with hard work, dedication, sacrifices, and passion) until now.

My GRE prep course recommended reading scholarly non-fiction books or articles. I subscribed to The New Yorker, mostly because there was a deal and I enjoy the articles and comics. (12 issues for $4, though.) I also purchased The Best American Essays of the Century. Just finished “Corn-pone Opinions” by Mark Twain and holy shit, it could not be more relevant during this election year. Can I just read all this interesting historic/notable/iconic stuff and be set for the test? Please?

Where has she been…? And who am I?

I’m in the business of seeing. At least I want to be.

Since senior year of college, I’ve been involved in the art world. As much as I’ve allowed myself to be. As much as the art world has allowed me to be. Creativity, expression, and art have always held an interesting place in my life. They have been my guiding lights, the tenets by which I live. Yet I have taken little action to assert myself in these ways. Without an artistic background or formal training, I have stood on the sidelines appreciating and wishing. It’s not that I am afraid of failure–it’s that sometimes it’s easier not to try. Sure, that’s not as gratifying. And there are always excuses to be made. But the point is I am now “doing me” as best as possible. As I’m rounding out my 25th year, I’m finding that not trying is getting harder than just doing the damn thing. This pent up energy must be put to good use. I still don’t have a clear picture of what this “thing” is, but I’m finally ready to start creating it. There is too much inspiration around me not to.

Consider this blog… why has it been 7 months since I have last written? It’s certainly not a lack of material. It might be hesitation to put myself out there, though people who know me would not believe that. Do I have better things to do? Have I been doing better things? Yes and no.

When I am getting to know somebody, I love to ask, “What you be doing if money, education, and time were not an issue?” Dream jobs can say a lot about person. Alternatively, I enjoy finding out what someone would do if they had one hour of free time. What would you most like to do in the world with 60 spare minutes? My default answer is writing. Specifically for this blog. But somehow, I’ve let seven months get away.

I do know one thing. I have been looking and seeing. And I’ve been inspired. I’ve been reading, watching, and listening. And I’ve been inspired. Feast your eyes on some of the beauty and creativity below.

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Rest area at The Ebell of Long Beach, CA

Diaper babies I made for a baby shower

Diaper babies I made for a baby shower

Restroom sign at The Ebell of Long Beach

Restroom sign

My Halloween nail adornments

My Halloween nail adornments

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Part of a Madmade Designs baby shower set-up at Booze Brothers in Vista, CA

Earlier this year, I made a decision to stay stagnant in my full-time position. It afforded me so much freedom, time for leisure, low stress. I convinced myself early on that I would have time to work on my other projects, which was true. Needless to say, I haven’t made much progress in those either. But I’ve reached a tipping point. I’m ready to do me. Really do me, even if that means doing extra work. Procrastination will no longer plague me. 2016 is not far off and there is plenty to accomplish. I’ve spoken some goals into existence, but here they are for good measure:

  • Find a meaningful full-time position
  • Lead a healthier lifestyle (physically and mentally)
  • Get my small business up and running (and profitable!)
  • Start (and hopefully finish) the digital photography certificate program I enrolled in
  • Buy a house
  • Travel to Europe

XOXO

Inside Oside: Experiences at In-N-Out

I’ve lived in Southern California all my life, which means I’ve had the luxury of In-n-Out available all my life. Even though In-n-Out is a “normal” thing to me, it still never ceases to hit the spot. Any time. All the time. Most Californians I know are loyal to this establishment, even after trying the famed Shake Shack, Five Guys, or gourmet burger joints.

In-n-Out has wallpaper downloads on their website

In-n-Out has wallpaper downloads on their website

There is currently one In-n-Out in Oceanside and it happens to be 3 stoplights away from where I live. I have gotten food there at least once a week since I’ve moved here. I’ve seen a couple knockoffs in Downtown Oceanside, which are named Angelo’s Burgers, and this is extremely funny to me because I encountered these while my friend Angelo was in the car. Downtown Oceanside will be getting it’s very own In-n-Out soon, probably to the dismay of Angelo’s Burgers. Angelo’s serves a bunch of other stuff, but they might want to look into rebranding.

Photo courtesy of Darrell P. on Yelp

Photo courtesy of Darrell P. on Yelp

During a recent trip to my beloved, I opted to go inside instead of braving the drive-thru filled with 15+ cars. While in line, I learned that you can add pickles to your burger. WHAT. I never order the “Animal Style” burger (only Animal Style fries), so it never occurred to me to get pickle slices. This was mind-blowing. While tweeting this experience, I also learned that you can get chopped chilies and fried mustard on your burger as well. Thank Heavens for fellow In-n-Out lovers on my Twitter feed.

My high was quickly diminished by a conversation I overheard while waiting for my order.

If these beef patties were just a little bit bigger, I’d be all about this place.

Excuse me, sir… you mean, you’re not already all about this place?! Fine, I get it, nobody is perfect. But how dare this person not be all about In-n-Out! I gave him my meanest side-eye, hoping this would someone bestow my wrathful thoughts on him. If he wants bigger patties, he should go elsewhere. His negativity is not welcome is this haven of fresh ingredients, friendly service, and relatively cheap, delicious food. This place is what “a hamburger is all about.” I refused to stand by and let this man disgrace this institution… so I took my order, and proceeded to enjoy my burger (with pickles!) and Animal Style fries in the comfort of my home. Foodie high restored.

Inside Oside: A Series

Oceanside is a beautiful, interesting place. I moved here less than two months ago and it’s already been quite a ride. Ez got stationed in California, which is GREAT. My work allowed me to switch regions and continue my regular duties, also GREAT. After more than 2 years of marriage, I finally live with my husband and that has been (and continues to be) a learning experience in itself.

When I graduated from college, Ez lived in North Carolina. I didn’t feel like moving there was right for me so we continued our long-distance relationship until he was assigned a new duty station. The stars aligned and we headed for Oceanside. I’m grateful to be close to my family and friends. Also, I found comfort in staying in California. How much different could it possibly be a couple hours south? It’s warm and sunny, there’s an In-N-Out, and we’re only a few minutes from the beach–but damn, it does feel like a military town sometimes! There are no people of color in our neighborhood and things can be quite conservative or unconscious at times.

I haven’t been out and about as much as I’ve wanted, but I have already witnessed some notable things in my short time here. I hope you’ll find as much amusement, life lessons, and/or challenges in these experiences as I do. Without further ado, I bring you “Inside Oside,” featuring some tales from my time in Oceanside and the greater San Diego area.

I’ll start you off with something simple. A few days ago, I was driving up the 15 freeway when I passed the following sign:

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