The Truth Behind my Instagram Beach Pic

Remember the beach photo I posted last week of me in a bikini? You probably don’t because to you it was just a picture. But to me, it was a lot more than a picture! Here’s why: I’ve never, ever posted a picture of myself in a bathing suit. In fact, bathing suits have been my arch nemesis for most of my life. I’ve been uncomfortable in my own skin since before I knew what skin was. Honestly, I have vivid memories of self-hatred and regret about eating too much watermelon whilst wearing a bathing suit back when I was 5 years old. And many other memories from all different ages where I’m in my cover-up sitting in a shady corner of the pool or the beach, petrified that someone might notice how big my thighs are. But, recently, I’ve been attempting to ignore the insulting bitch in my head who tells me I can’t wear a bathing suit. Don’t get me wrong, she’s still there. And she still has quite a few offensive opinions about my body, but I’m choosing to tell her, “thanks for coming by, please leave now.” Because, who is SHE to tell me I can’t walk on the beach, bask in the sun, splash in the water and laugh with my friends on a sunny summer day? Cellulite isn’t a crime! Posting that photo last week was tough, I took about 100 shots of the same photo and got creative with the cropping and filtering just to be able to have the balls to post it (please see a screen shot of my camera roll below for proof). But, I’m so glad I posted it! Because it was a huge step for me. A step towards taking the power back and being nice to myself and saying, “girl, you look as good as you can right now and that is good enough for me.” And I’m telling you this, dear women of the Internet, because I encourage you to do the same thing. Take that beautiful body of yours out for a spin on the beach! Post photos! I think you look great, even if the voice in your head says you’re too tall/short/fat/skinny/old/young/pale/tan/bloated/chubby/flat-chested/freckled/scarred/etc. I think the voice in your head should take a longggggg nap (maybe in the sun, maybe without sunscreen on) and let you have some fun!

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Coachella Collaboration with Horseshoe!

A story about love(ing yourself)

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Jennifer, my boyfriend’s sweet friend (and now mine, too) asked me to do a collaboration with Horseshoe (the super-cute boutique she works at in Seattle). The idea was that they would send me some clothes that fit the Coachella vibe, with which I would put together some outfits. Then I would have photos shot of me in the clothes. I, of course, said, “Yes! That sounds fun!” but then quickly worked myself into a stressed out state of mind over it. You know, the old “I’m-too-old-too-plain-my-butt’s-too-big-my-boobs-are-too-small” negative self-talk that always seems to creep up in the back of my mind. But you know what? I’m getting real tired of that negative self-talk! So, I told it to shut up. I woke up early on my days off, I put on some makeup, I did my hair, I told the mean voice in my head that I didn’t want to hang out and I had my friends and my boyfriend take a bunch of pictures of me. Do I look perfect in the pictures? NO! Did I big-girl cry a little bit one day thinking they weren’t good enough? YES! But, in the long-run, it ended up being a really enjoyable, fulfilling project! And, the best part is — that I got to document myself at this stage in my life…31 years old, busy as hell, excited for Coachella 2015, full of love and life and complications and emotions. Forever now, I’ll have these beautifully imperfect pictures where I’m wearing Horseshoe’s cute Coachella clothes and attempting to love myself. Now that is something worth remembering! AND, I fell in love with a couple of the items and ended up buying them to actually take to Coachella…like the awesome Astronaut tank below!

To see the photos and interview questions that Horseshoe posted —> click here!

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Lessons I’ve Learned from my Boyfriend, Zack Hagan

Zack’s birthday was on Wednesday and we are celebrating all weekend so it seemed like the perfect time to put together this list of some important lessons he has taught me…

  1. Never text message when you’re upset. Even if your silence drives the person on the other end crazy. You’ll avoid a lot of trouble this way.
  2. Napping is necessary. So is dancing. And coffee. And bourbon.
  3. Wake up early, even on the weekends because a.) it makes you look responsible to others and b.) you can just take a nap a few hours later when you are tired and c.) it gives you lots of opportunities to use the phrase “carpe the fucking diem.”
  4. When in doubt, eat mac and cheese.
  5. If there are two things worth getting worked up over, they are sports and politics.
  6. You’re never too old to play games.
  7. Having a few high-quality clothing items is better than having a ton of low-quality clothing items.
  8. If you find a shirt, pair of pants or pair of shoes you like, buy it in multiple colors!
  9. Family and cats are super important! And even when they drive you crazy, it’s important to remember you love them.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Waiting Tables

Being a cocktail waitress is kind of like being the host of a bunch of little parties. The guests come sit at the table (the party). I greet them; I ask them how they are doing; I offer them something to drink; I bring them food when they are hungry; and I clean up their messes. And I do this because I want them to have a good time at my party — every last one of them. I want them all to have a great time! Sometimes, too many guests show up to the parties at once and I can’t get them all drinks and food as fast as I’d like and it makes me feel like a bad host. Sometimes, one of the guests acts up, or pees in the sink or makes another guest uncomfortable and I’m like, “You’ve gotta leave this party immediately!” Sometimes, an asshole shows up to one of the parties and it’s really hard to make sure they have a good time and it makes me feel like a bad host and a bad person. I often wake up the next morning thinking about the parties from the night before and hoping they had a great time — every last one of them. So, if you are someone who likes to go to the little parties that waiters and waitresses are throwing at restaurants and bars across the nation, please be kind to your host. They care about you and want you to have a good time!

How to Survive Wedding Dress Shopping when you’re “Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride’’

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  1. When someone says, “You’re next!” immediately say it to another non-engaged person in the room! Even if you don’t know them. It’s like a game of dominoes! (silly voices are encouraged while doing this)
  2. Try to remember: you aren’t getting married, which is awesome, because you don’t have to be on a diet!
  3. Find a few descriptive phrases to add to your vocab. When you don’t know what to say about a dress, just throw one in, like “It’s very beachy,” “So classic,” “Oooh, princessy!”
  4. Repeat “I look good in EVERY color” to yourself all morning to avoid disappointment with your bridesmaid dress.
  5. Try to remember: today isn’t about you, which is awesome, because no one is staring at you. Everyone is staring at that girl in the puffy, sequiny thing.
  6. Wear something comfortable that you look good in while sitting in front of a mirror. There are mirrors everywhere and you’ll be sitting a lot. So. Many. Mirrors.
  7. Take lots of pictures from lots of different angles! Because, if you don’t, some other bridesmaid will, and you don’t want to be the lazy, less-helpful bridesmaid!
  8. Don’t compare yourself to anyone! This will be tough, ‘cause there are lots of beautiful women at bridal boutiques. But none of them are beautiful in the same way you are!
  9. Make at least one appointment at a fancy bridal boutique…why? Because FREE CHAMPAGNE!! (you’re gonna need it)SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSo many dresses

The Blogcademy!

About a week ago I went to this wonderful weekend class called The Blogcademy! If anyone is thinking of attending, you should! The class taught me way more than I could’ve ever dreamed about blogging, loving myself, not comparing myself to others, taking great photos, branding myself, embracing my weirdness and just being a supportive, fabulous female! Here’s some photos from my experience…

Super, super nervous in my car saturday morning right before I went in and met everyone.

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The Blogcademy Head Mistresses. They are awesome!

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(Photo by This Rad Love)

The beautiful venue. (I actually won a prize for this photo in the Instagram contest. Whoop whoop!)

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Practicing with still-life photos.

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Sparkly headbands from our gift bags (you better believe I wore mine all weekend and even made some trades!)

Blogcademy Sparkle Ears

(Photo by This Rad Love)

A group shot of the whole class.

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(Photo by This Rad Love)

My “diploma”, report card and a thank you note from The Blogcademy! Yay! (Oh, and some dinosaurs that I found under my bed. Seriously.)

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All in all, it was a weekend well spent and I would recommend it to anyone. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have so much to do to make all of my blogging dreams come true!

P.S. Did you happen to notice the new look of my blog? What do you think?

Christmas Trip to Seattle and Berkeley as Told by the Photos on my iPhone (and some from Zack’s Galaxy S5)

Zack and I just got home from our Christmas adventures on Sunday and even though I have a terrible cough/cold situation, I had a really great time! I’m not sure how we fit so much into 6 days, but we did, which is probably why I’m sick. Since I can’t think of a good way to explain all the things we did on our trip I’m gonna let the photos on my iPhone tell the story…

Free gin and tonics on our flight from Burbank to Seattle! Thanks, Southwest.

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I ate so many oysters! This is a white wine/oyster sampler at The Brooklyn in downtown Seattle.

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A cold and rainy walk from our hotel to Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

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Lunch at Sitka and Spruce in Capitol Hlll. I can’t stop thinking about the cured salmon and sunchokes dish, sooooooo tasty.  In fact, everything there was amazing and the decor was beautiful. It’s tucked right next to a flower shop so you can see happy folks picking up parcels of fresh flowers as you eat. And the kitchen is simply a big island, in the dining room, with talented chefs standing around it and putting together wonderful, gorgeous dishes. It feels like you are at a friends house except your friends are very talented artists and you’re scared to talk to them.

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Pike Place at night.

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The line at Starbucks Reserve in Capitol Hill (we did not go in because lines are dumb and well, it’s still Starbucks, and they probably still don’t have almond milk).

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The great wall of gum in Seattle. One of the few times in my life when I’ve found something to be totally gross and beautiful at the same time.

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Everyone kept telling us that we MUST try a Tom Douglas restaurant, so we had lunch at Seatown Seabar & Rotisserie in downtown Seattle with Kim and Damaris (who, sadly, aren’t pictured here). If it’s good enough for Anthony Bourdain, it’s good enough for me!

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The Fluevog store window in Seattle. I took this photo to send to my friend Patty because she loves fluevogs and I forgot to send it. But it still seems fitting…

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Early Christmas morning trek from Seattle to Berkeley where I started calling Zack my “luggage robot”

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Uncle Pauls extensive bug collection! We got to look at a bunch of them through the magnifying glass and they are fascinating. Some have eyeballs that look like glittery mesh!

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Christmas cuddles with my aunt Arayah.

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Day after Christmas brunch in San Francisco at my cousin Jenan’s house. My brother and cousin cooked a wonderful dish called “Shakshuka” and I made bloody mary’s with the finest ingredients I’ve probably ever used in a cocktail. Then we all ate outside on Jenan’s (sometimes) sunny patio. It was lovely!

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After brunch hike to Bernal Hill, which just about killed some of the older folks.

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Riding the Bernal Hill slide, which also just about killed some of us.

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Saturday was dubbed “memory lane day” by my parents, but then their memories failed them when they couldn’t remember which house we used to live in and just kept driving back and forth on the same block looking for it. After that we had lunch at Chez Panisse, where my Dad spent a lot of his days and was once a partial owner, it was fabulous as always. Our friend Michele (a retired Chez Panisse pizza chef) and Rebecca (my former nanny and a retired Chez Panisse bus-girl) joined us for lunch, with that much history sitting at our table we got lots of attention and lots of food. There’s something quite magical about eating at a well-known restaurant with some of the people who made it all happen.  And Alice gave me a signed copy of her most recent book!

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The beautiful sunset as we drove around Berkeley looking for people and places we used to know.

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Things that are not pictured but were still thoroughly enjoyed

  1. Dinner with Carol and Tal in Seattle.
  2. Dinner and drinks with Kim, Damaris, Jennifer, Cody and Ryan in Seattle.
  3. Christmas Dinner! yummmmmmmm.
  4. Dinner at The Sullivans house in Berkeley.

Now it’s time to go back to work and back to eating food from the 99cents store so I can pay off this trip! 😉

Halloween 2013

Come Play with us Danny…

I know Halloween was over a week ago, but I can’t stop thinking about it! It’s just so fun getting into character and dressing up like a creepy person. Or a cat. Or a banana. Or whatever you are into. This year I had to work on Halloween…so, my coworkers and I decided to be the Grady sisters and Danny from The Shining. If you haven’t seen that movie recently, you should watch it! Lots of people showed up to the party and my friend Spiros took some awesome photos! Here are some of my favorite pics:

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Mom

Today I’m feeling sentimental because it’s my mom’s birthday. She has always been a constant source of love and understanding for me over the years. As I was thinking about her and how great she is, my mind was flooded with tons of hilarious, heart touching moments we’ve shared together…

Like the time I started my period. I was in the hallway shouting her name because, even though I knew it was coming, I didn’t know it was gonna be SO INTENSE. She came running and told me to calm down. She talked me through the steps I needed to take and then waited outside the bathroom door to ask how it had gone. A few hours later, my Dad got home and said to me, “I heard you became a woman today,” and I could have KILLED her! But, I know now she was just happy to share the news that I was a real lady.

Or, like the time I lost my virginity. I had stayed the night at my boyfriend’s house, but he had to go to work, so I called my Mom for a ride home. On the way home, she asked me, “So, have you two gone all the way yet?” I looked at her like she was some kind of ghostly mind reader and said, “What do you mean?” She answered, “I mean, have you had sex?” I still don’t understand how on earth she knew to ask that question on the literal morning after, especially since my boyfriend and I had been working up to that moment for quite some time. But, she did, which is just a testament to her perfect maternal instincts. Her response was the best part though! She said the coolest thing a Mom could ever say at a time like that, “I’m so happy for you! This is a whole new world you’ll get to explore and, if you ever have any questions, I’m here to talk.”

Or, like the time she came to visit under not-so-great circumstances and we were all bummed out and sad, but somehow we ended up in my living room dancing to Fleetwood Mac with sheets over our heads and giggles on our lips.

Or, like the many times the power would go out in Amador and we would play board games all night by candlelight. Oh how we love board games and each other.

Or, like the time she tried to do the “James Brown” and fell on her face and had to live with the bruises for a month. I’m not saying I want her to have bruises on her face or be in pain, but that James Brown moment was pretty unforgettable.

Or, like the time we were having a birthday party for her and the neighbors called the cops on us. My mom said she would take care of it and next thing you know the cops are coming in to join the party, with smiles on their faces. She’s the cutest little flirt you ever did see.

Or, like the time my college boyfriend broke up with me right before Christmas, and I was heartbroken for the holidays. She just let me lie on the couch and brought me juice in a sippy cup and didn’t ask me to talk about it and gave me lots of hugs, which was exactly what I needed. That’s the amazing thing about her; she seems to always know exactly what I need, sometimes even before I do.

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Lessons I’ve Learned in Palm Springs

  1. Pool parties in Palm Springs are way less intimidating than pool parties in Vegas. All shapes, sizes, ages and varying levels of pastiness come out to play in their swimwear. Finally! A comfortable bathing suit environment!
  2. Pool tabs add up fast! Keep this in mind when you are the one putting your CC on file.
  3. You should always ask for a complimentary upgrade on your room.
  4. Drunkenly napping in the sun leads to a sobering sunburn.
  5. Pool toys are cool until you realize that a bunch of strangers are basically watching you mount something in your underwear.
  6. When choosing a poolside snack, keep in mind that soggy lettuce and soggy bathing suits are a bad combo. So, skip the salad and just go for the chips and dip!
  7. Palm trees make for pretty pictures.
  8. If you aren’t sure whether you’re a dork, a nerd or a geek, look it up online and discuss it over dinner! It makes for a very interesting dining experience.
  9. Vacation carefully. Cause douchebags go on vacations too! photo-29photo-26IMG_3293photo-27photo-30photo-28

30 Acts of Kindness for 30 Years

On my birthday, I’ll admit, I can be quite the brat. But this year, I was determined to do something that would force me to think less about myself and more about others. So, I decided to do 30 random acts of kindness for my 30th birthday. You know, one for each year. This all took place on May 8th, 2013 and was made possible with lots of support from my generous friend, Julia Ramage. It was a busy, rewarding, beautiful day! Below I’ve listed all the (not so) random acts, some with photos and descriptions, for those of you who would like to see them. Be kind!

First off, I should tell you that we had these cute little cards made to hand out with most of the random acts. They look like this…

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So, armed with those cards and a kindness bag filled with lots of other surprises, we headed out for the day. And here’s what we did…

1.) Gave Legos to neighbor kids.                                                                                                The neighbor kids love Legos and taught us everything we ever needed to know about Legos.

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2.) Gave “free drink” cards to the stylists at Drybar.                                                                You know we had to look fly for my birthday! So, we got an 8am blowout and, when we were done, we tipped the girls generously and gave them some free drink cards to use at Bodega Wine Bar.

3.) Bought a coffee for a stranger.                                                                                              We went to Starbucks and asked the girls who worked there to buy a drink for the next person who came in and give them one of our kindness cards. At first, they seemed confused, but then one of them started shouting, “Yay for nice people.”

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4.) Left Starbucks gift cards at an ATM.

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5.) Left a Lotto scratcher in a stranger’s mailbox in Monrovia. 

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6.) Gave Legos to our friend Brittani’s elementary school students.                                    This was probably the best act of kindness we did all day! We found out that Brittani’s students LOVE legos so we brought them each their own minifigure. They were so excited! And, each one of them made me a birthday card! How sweet is that!?

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7.) Put quarters in candy and toy machines at Toys R Us.

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8.) Paid for the person behind us at the McDonald’s drive thru.                                           (And got ourselves some fries.)

9.) Picked up litter at Victory Park. 

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10.) Taped money to a vending machine. 

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11.) Left a hand painted pot with a succulent in it at the park.

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12.) Hung “Take what you need” signs.                                                                                      Julia loves making these signs! And she’s damn good at it. We hung some racier ones later in the night. *wink*

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13.) Gathered carts in the parking lot at Vons.                                                                       Some people were looking at us like we were crazy! But one nice woman stopped to tell us that we both had pretty dresses. 

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14.) Paid for a stranger’s carwash.

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15.) Scattered wildflower seeds.                                                                                                     In my opinion, the world can always use more flowers!

16.) Hid one dollar bills in the Dollar Store.                                                                                    I was scared that the staff would get mad at me so we had to be quick! We left each dollar with a note that said, “If you find this dollar bill, buy yourself something with it!”

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17.) Donated clothes at Out of the Closet. 

18.) Gave money to a homeless man in front of the Dollar Store.                                             He then told me I had beautiful hair. Why thank you sir, I just got a blowout!

19.) Left a Lotto scratcher and kindness note at a bus stop. 

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20.) Left notes on cars. 

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21.) Gave a homeless man a foot-long Subway sandwich with some cash in the bag.          He was so genuinely touched and thankful.

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22.) Left Lotto scratchers and a note for our favorite Tender Greens employee.                  Julia and I go to Tender Greens a lot! And we always refer to this guy as our “boyfriend,” ’cause he is so sweet to us, always bringing us refills in to-go cups and free cupcakes and stuff. I hope he won something! (P.S. Our friend, Eddie, met us at Tender Greens to join the kindness team)

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23.) Put handmade bookmarks and kindness cards in books at the library.                      Since my dear aunt, Victoria Wise writes cookbooks we made sure to find one of her books to put one of the bookmarks in.

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24.) Filled meters in Old Town Pasadena.                                                                               Ironically, right before we went to fill the meters, we got a parking ticket! Don’t they know we are the kindness team!? (And yes, that is Eddie filling meters with his mouth.)

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25.) Bought a drink for a stranger and left a kindness card. 

26.) Bought a drink and left a kindness card for the nice guy sitting at the bar at Haven.   He offered to move so I could sit next to the plug and charge my phone. After we got him the drink and the bartender gave him his kindness card he told us that he thought it was really cool and he was gonna hang it up in his home. 🙂

27.) Filled washers with quarters at the laundromat.                                                                    I got a little silly with the hand-written message I left on the kindness cards. I couldn’t help myself!

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28.) Paid for a stranger’s taxi. 

29.) Gave 3 hand-painted pots filled with succulents to my Mom.                                               I mean, it’s an important day for her, too, since it IS the day she became a mother!

30.) Gave away these awesome finger puppets! 

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I’d have to say that this was my BEST BIRTHDAY YET! Turns out, being kind feels really, really good. Cheers to thirty, flirty years!