Thursday, June 23, 2016

#TBT High School Prom Edition

June 1994, Long Beach Poly, Long Beach, CA

It's been graduation & prom time, which has made me nostalgic about my own. I really had a lot of fun in high school, and the end of it was such an impactful time. We were all just starting to figure ourselves out – not really our adult selves, but that weird time between 18 & early 20s where you’re not really an adult but you either think you are or wish you weren’t, and have no idea what is in store in life. I could write 100 blog posts about my high school years, and I am sure I have a few diaries in my closet from then. Don’t worry friends, I would only keep up diaries for a day or few at a time, every time swearing I was going to start writing every day. I still do that – shocker. Before I left for college, I also threw away multiple trash bags filled with intricately folded notes from my 4 years in high school; now there is texting. You probably don’t need to worry about me cleaning out my closet any time soon to find those diaries either – some things never change.

Anyway, prom was fun. I was definitely starting to struggle with who I was. My boyfriend at the time went to a different high school and I told him I just wanted to go to prom with my friends. It was so bitchy, but I just didn’t want to deal with babysitting someone for the night because they didn’t know anyone else – I just wanted to have a good time. And I did.
  • I designed my dress, picked out the fabric and my mom’s friend sewed it. Thank you mom & Carol! Fun fact – Carol also made my mom’s prom dress in 1964.
  • The day of prom I cut off my hair after it being long, blondish & permed for 4 years – I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it and I just showed up.
  • I wore argyle socks and brand new perfectly matched maroonish Vans. I am more of a Converse girl, but I couldn’t find any that were the right color.
  • I loved that my date drove us in a classic car instead of us going in the limo with the rest of the group.
  • I wouldn’t take the professional prom pics at the dance – probably a combination of rebellion against society and laziness, so I thank my friend Sandra for keeping these pics.
  • I drank a lot of tequila at the after party (someone’s house whose parents were very awesome – I won’t mention by name unless she lets me). I don’t recall drinking before prom at all – I am pretty sure we were all still traumatized by Donna Martin.
  • I made out with a guy friend that was not my date, and he just married the man of his dreams last weekend!
  • We all hung out by a fire pit and talked, and all in all it was an epic night.

I am so so so glad we didn’t have cell phones or Instagram or SnapChat in 1994. Our parents talk about their generation being simpler times, and I now know our generation was maybe not simpler times as far as what was going on inside our heads, but still more private and less cluttered. Yet we still had some of the same thoughts as anyone ending high school. Some of us did not get along with our parents, some people did. A lot of us were preparing to leave for college, some of us very far away from home. But we also still had one last summer ahead of us – in a beach town with sand, ocean and bonfires. Most of us with our own cars and independence, and ready to enjoy every last minute of it. I am 40 now, and I still plan to enjoy every minute of this summer.


My sister Marissa & I! <3

Saturday, October 31, 2015

#TBT Happy Halloween Edition

UPDATED October 2020 > I know I wrote a blog post a couple months ago about holidays (original post written in 2015) and how I have a hard time with a lot of them, but I have had a lot of epic and fun Halloweens! I was really bitter about it for a couple years since I didn't have kids to enjoy it with and I did have one really depressing appointment at my fertility clinic on Halloween day in 2013. However, I LOVED Halloween last year - I made one of my favorite costumes so far (Ursula from The Little Mermaid, in which I even won one of the costume awards at work!) and had a fun night out with friends. This year is kind of blah since I am unemployed, so I couldn't spend money to make a costume and I didn't get to enjoy the usual office celebrations. Plus two of my friends that I would normally get into the spirit with are out of town. BUT at least I am not bitter about it anymore! This year I am celebrating by just reminiscing about all the fun Halloweens I have had, and watching the movie Halloween like I do EVERY YEAR.

As a child, I loved the pumpkin carving (although I do remember slicing my hand with one of those "kid friendly" orange serrated carvers when I was about 7 or 8 years old). 

I am pretty sure I made almost all of my costumes as a kid and an adult. Here are some I remember:

1980? - devil. Leotard, tights, and construction paper FTW. Marissa was a cute little bumblebee.
My sister Marissa as a bumblebee
& me as a devil
1982 or 1983 (2nd or 3rd grade) - A book. My dad ran a corrugated box company and he made it for me, and then I decorated "the cover." It even had a spine and cardboard "pages" and holes to put my arms through. The one problem was that it went past my knees so once I had it on, I couldn't sit down. I remember I had to stand through the whole outside Halloween assembly at school.

I look like a cardboard box (also accurate) but I was going for a book.
1983 or 1984 (3rd or 4th grade?) - A Cabbage Patch Kid. My friend Rachel and I got outfits to match our own Cabbage Patch kids and made wigs out of yarn. I remember mine was a light gray & pink sweatsuit and my CPK had short curly yellow hair. I bought some kind of yellow cloth shower cap and glued yard curls all over it. I hope Rachel or her mom has a photo somewhere!

1988 (7th grade) - A black cat. We had an epic party in our backyard for a lot of our junior high friends with awesome decorations, games and dancing. I remember my mom drove all around town trying to find a record with Monster Mash on it (and she did find it).
Rachel (same Rach I was a Cabbage Patch Kid with!) & I

1993 (12th grade) - I think this one I just wore a cute low cut tuxedo type shirt with a bat bow tie. I went to the annual Scarabs (high school sorority) dance without my parents knowing and spent the night at my friend's house whose parents were out of town.

1994 (freshman in college in Miami) - I can't remember what I dressed as, but we went out in Coconut Grove. My friend Stacey and I danced all night with two guys in enormous Beevis & Butthead paper mache heads. (Stacey - or was that sophomore year?)

1995 (sophomore in college in Miami) - Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter. It was right when the movie came out and I remember being annoyed that everyone thought I was dressed as Demi Moore instead of Hester Prynne:
1995: Stacey/Disco Vampire Queen, Caite/Angel, Me/Hester Prynne
1996 (junior in college) - Alice in Wonderland. My friend Caite & I hopped in her VW vanagon and drove from Miami to Atlanta and I sewed an awesome apron with lace and mushroom patches for my costume. Caite was The Mad Hatter. My sister was in school at Emory University so we crashed with her a few nights. We really wanted to go to the legendary Halloween Phish concert (from Wikipedia: Musical costume is a term for the band Phish's elaborate Halloween concerts that involved the band performing an entire album by another artist). We didn't have tickets though and they were really hard to get, so we went to try to buy them from a scalper. Some a-hole tried to sell us counterfeit tickets and thankfully I had seen real ones and knew they were fake. We never got into the show, but the parking lot was some great people watching for a while! Then we went back to my sister's apartment and went with her and her friends to a frat party. I am pretty sure I have an entire scrap book from this trip in my mom's garage that I need to find!

1997 or 1998? - Queen of Hearts - part of a group Alice in Wonderland costume. I really loved Alice in Wonderland. I bought fabric with playing cards all over it and sewed myself a skirt. We went to a party at Caite's house. She was the Mad Hatter again, but a made a different costume than 1996.
Alice in Wonderland crew. Me: Queen of Hearts
1999? - A ladybug. I am pretty sure this was a last minute costume and outing, but I made the wings out of red poster board.

Caite's Jersey Girl still makes me crack up!
Me/Ladybug, Tara/Cat

2000/01/02??? A devil. My friend Krista & I went to an N Sync concert, but I can't find any Halloween concerts on their list on Wikipedia. I am pretty sure we were the only ones there in our late 20s that didn't have kids with them. She was Britney from the Baby One More Time video. We had a blast!
Krista & I
2008 - Sarah Palin - this is probably one of my favorite costumes. I had a Mrs. Maverick sash, a stuffed moose and polar bear and some binoculars with a sign that said "I see Russia."
2008: Me as Sarah Palin! This is NOT an endorsement.

2009 - looks like I got a little lazy this year!

2010 - a witch. Someone gave me an Ed Hardy shirt with skulls on it  - It's kind of a cool shirt for Halloween, but I really would have no other occasion to wear it, so I added a hat. I went out with some friends in downtown San Diego. Then a guy that lived in my apartment building randomly invited us to his party. It was A TRIP. Some chick was dressed as a unicorn and going in the bathroom every 10 minutes and I am pretty sure she was doing blow, so we started calling her Unicoke. In probably related news, the guy whose party it was told us later that someone pooped in his shower during the party. I never hung out with that dude again.
Jessica Purrrrr, Me
Renee, Summer, Me in the weird lobby of the apartment
building where Jessica, Andy & I lived on 525 C Street!
2011 - Katniss from The Hunger Games. I wore the mockingjay pin I got at Comic-Con!
2012 - a butterfly. I got the wings at the zoo and found a matching mask at the costume store.
2013 - Snapchat. This was the Halloween that I wasn't into at all, but my awesome friends made me a Snapchat shirt and the rest of my department at work were all different apps.
Appy Halloween!
2014 - Ursula from The Little Mermaid. I had so much fun making this costume, especially my awesome Flotsam & Jetsam eel scarf.

2015 - I did get up and go to a class at The Dailey Method this morning and wore my butterfly costume from 2012. These days I am at the barre at 8:15am instead of the bar at 8:15pm!

UPDATE: I totes rallied and Andy & I went over to Andy2's apartment. We people watched in the lobby as everyone was going out in East Village.

I recycled the butterfly... Andy2 had multiple costumes throughout the night, but I think this one I called "gay angel at a 70s luau."

2016 - This year's theme was paying homage to my favorite show, Stranger Things! For my Eleven look I got a pink dress from ModCloth, a vintage Members Only jacket from ebay, and some skater socks (of course I have my own Converse already). And yes, I was the only person who dressed up in my office but I gave 011 f***s. I also got some Eggos and threw a party at our place, complete with a homemade alphabet sheet - on a scale of 1 to 10, party like an Eleven.

Still one of our fave pics of Rob Zombie


2017 - You've been Trolled… by Poppy! I think this was one of the most fun costumes to make myself, with a lot of felt, glue, & tulle, plus I got to wear my hot pink rainboots. We also celebrated one of my bestie's birthdays which made the night even more fun. Even Andy got into the spirit (though the mohawk is his every day look).
I love hot pink & Poppy!

Punk Rock Poppy

2018 - I went for a current event theme, and I was Banksy's shredded painting. I already had the inflatable frame (I know…?) and then printed out and painted the "Girl with Balloon" on a poster board and cut it out, then used the paintbrushes in my hair buns. People LOVED this costume!

2018 - Oh, I also tried to dress up the doggies: 

2019 - I made a Halloween themed charcuterie board for Andy's office party! Clover & Churro joined in on the Halloween fun. Then I got dressed up as Rainbow Brite (another homemade costume that I worked on for a few weeks)! I went out partying in Gaslamp at Moonshine Flats with friends - all was well until I lost my phone, and a car ran over it, but then someone found it and called a friend so we were able to go retrieve it. Good times!

2020 - you can suck it!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Holidays, Birthdays, Milestones. Oh, and I LOVE FIREWORKS.

I am about 6 months out from my 40th birthday. I do love birthdays and tend to get stuck (sometimes good, sometimes bad) on dates, holidays, and milestones. I have a hard time with a lot of holidays because I feel that they are so kid focused, and not having kids has been a point of depression for me in the past few years. I even feel like I had a somewhat silly adult holiday ruined for me since we got pretty life-changing bad news last year on St. Patrick's Day 2014.

Surprisingly, I have made a lot of life changes in my 39th year – at this point sometimes you think you are just set in your ways and it takes a lot of energy to change your routine, but I have made a huge effort in the last few months to focus on myself. There have been a few downs, but I must say that July was an awesome month.

In really low times, Andy & I have skipped a few big holidays altogether. But, I realized that I LOVE THE 4th of JULY!!! This is not one of those times to get all political and activist – I know we have a lot of issues and things going on, but I really do feel lucky to be an American. Last year we were able to go to Washington DC for the 4th of July 2014, and it was an amazing vacation.
Besides enjoying the sights and some touristy things, I reconnected with family I hadn't seen in decades and attended a wedding for my cousin and his partner. We got to spend time with my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew and we watched the spectacular fireworks show above The White House.

This year, all I had were those great memories and we had a handful of friends over to our place in Bankers Hill to eat, drink, and be merry. We have an amazing view of the San Diego Bay fireworks from our little balcony - I ALSO LOVE FIREWORKS!!! Fireworks shows make me really happy whenever they happen, but this is one more reason to enjoy this holiday. I can also see them nightly all summer at 9:50pm (if I am still awake) over Mission Bay from both the balcony and our bedroom window.

In July, I also got to see some of my favorite people – my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew (he's 5 years old now) visited from Florida - we got to see them 2 Julys in a row! I took a few days off work, which I haven't done in a very long time, and it was a much needed, fun, and relaxing staycation. I got to enjoy their hotel pool, played some backyard croquet at our house, and we had Caleb and my mom (Granny T) over for a slumber party complete with indoor s'mores. I did have to sleep on the air mattress because Caleb wanted to sleep with Uncle Andy “Dod” in our bed, but it was totally worth it. In between I also had some much needed alone time – a few time chunks on the balcony reading in the sun (shocker, I know) and a long walk in Balboa Park.

Andy & I had a huge milestone on July 28th – the 20 year anniversary of our first date, which means I have known and loved him over half of my life! I feel very lucky to have this bond and partner in life. People ask me all the time how we do it – hard work, communication, and love. Maybe even more important than love, we genuinely like each other. There is no magic potion, and the longer you are with someone and the older you get, the more hurdles and challenges you will face in life. Just remember to support one another and be conscious of the other person's feelings. This isn't easy and I need frequent reminders myself. Laughing a lot also helps.

I am going to keep on working on myself and on the meaningful two-way relationships in my life, and August is already off to a strong start. The next holiday is Labor Day – I don't think I have anything against that one, except maybe that it symbolizes the end of summer!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I just finished The 30 Clean™!

For the month of June, I did a clean eating challenge!
I needed some type of goal to work on. As you might already know, I go to The Dailey Method barre classes 3-4 times a week and doing The 30 Clean™ was an option for part of the June challenge. I know there are many eating philosophies out there and I wanted something I could try out and commit to. If you would have told me that I could go a month without bread, cheese, or sugar I would not have believed you. I would have responded that I could NEVER do that or WHY?!

What I really like about it is the group support and participation aspect. There is a private Facebook board for the whole month and challengers are encouraged to share photos of their meals, ask questions about why we are or aren’t eating certain things, and give and receive feedback. This works for me, as I LOVE sharing pictures of my food (among other aspects of my life). It also adds the element of accountability.

Besides learning to eat healthier, I wanted to get into the habit of cooking at home and taking my lunch to work – something I haven’t been able to do in life! Andy & I work full time, we don’t have kids, and we live in a very urban area, so our meals are usually on the fly and from a restaurant. I really wanted to change that and this helped me get into a new routine and really stick to something. 

What I learned:
  • I can commit to something for 30 days, and that’s a good amount of time to learn good habits.
  • I really do feel a lot better, with more energy, and sleeping soundly most nights.
  • About 4-5 days in, I felt the “cleanover” – it kind of felt like I was hungover, but I was not because I also cut out alcohol for the first week (then had it in moderation the rest of the month). The cleanover/flutox only lasted about a day or two.
  • I do not feel hungry or deprived – I know it sounds cliché, but it is not a diet. It really changed the way I think about consuming food.
  • It was a lot of prepping, cooking for a few meals, and using leftovers. We went to Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market every Saturday (once the one in Temecula when we were visiting family for the weekend). I am also lucky to have a little Italian market on the way home with fresh meats and local veggies. 
  • I did get very tired of doing so many freaking dishes, but I really got the process down during the month.
  • I adopted the Rachael Ray “trash bowl” tip
  • I do love vegetables, and I am not a “sweets” person, so that worked for me. However, zucchini is (possibly “was”) one of my favorite foods. I was bummed one day when I realized that I had eaten it so much that it sounded unappealing.
  • It’s similar to Paleo - it's important to get the lean & clean protein in, but with more of a focus on the veggies. (See hilarious POPSUGAR article: I Went Paleo and Now I Hate Everything
  • I don’t miss things like I thought I would. I used to put cheese on a lot of things just because I thought it would make it taste better. I am sure that is still the case with a few things, but I didn’t really even think about cheese.
  • I do miss bread at times. I think that will be something I reintroduce in moderation, as well as some quinoa or rice.
I love pasta, but my favorite part of pasta dishes is the sauce. Halfway through the month, Andy surprised me with a Veggetti Pro, and I have been having fun making meals with it. This pic won an instagram (@pilarbower) contest! I need to figure out how to post the rest of my meals. :)

 Here are another few of my veggie noodle faves (these were also a huge accomplishment because after 20 years, Andy LOVED a meal that I cooked)! As you can see, I also got into different colored cauliflower. And using the PhotoGrid app.