personal

The Last Thing on My Phone

While scrolling around the black hole of YouTube, I found a series from both WIRED and Glamour that asks celebrities to answer questions based on the “last ____ on their phone.” It’s an alternative interview to give actors and actresses that are on press tours for whatever new movie/television show/etc. they are starring in.

For the average YouTube consumer, these may be relatively boring interviews, but for whatever reason I can’t get enough of them. I like to think it gives me a more realistic picture of the person being interviewed and provides them with a new set of questions to answer rather than the same old spiel they’ve been toting around. I’m also just plan nosey, so there’s that.

The other night, I was sitting at the table with my roommates and I decided we should answer the same set of questions, just to see what we came up with. Here were the results:

.

1) What is the last photo you took?

Rachel: This is the last photo I personally took rather than screenshotted, and it’s pretty great. It’s from just outside a dive bar right near Dodger Stadium and I just thought I needed to…well look: IMG_7104

Natalee: I have this one of the two of us (meaning her and I) celebrating [our friend] Nicollette’s birthday this past weekend.

IMG_3059

Me: Mine was also from Nicollette’s birthday, but it’s of this cool window.

Natalee: Yeah, that sounds like you.

OriginalPhoto-552726381.455333

(Note: if you’re ever in the Ventura area, check out The Tavern. It’s a really cool bar made up of a series of different rooms/outside areas, one of which is a speakeasy type room where I took this photo, right before we started dancing to swing music.)

.

2) What is the last thing you Googled?

Natalee: “Paprika spinners chips.” Rachel and I were talking about types of Cheetos and then I found these and I wanted to order them on Amazon but they aren’t on Amazon so I Googled them and it turns out they’re only sold in the Netherlands. So…

Rachel: I have two that I made right around the same time. First is Natalie Imbruglia who sings “Torn”, that song that came out when we were kids. And then the other is Heaven’s Gate, a cult I was recently researching. I’m big into cults right now.

Kim: I was trying to look up which skateboarding competitions Shaun White was going to be in to see if we could go watch any.

.

3) What is your last text?

Rachel: I mean, technically my last one is just, “oh yeah.”

Natalee: I sent one to our roomie group message asking Rach what kind of ice cream/donuts/Hot Cheetos we should get on our snack run.

Kim: Yeah the last one I sent was in response to Rachel’s response to that, which is this Bitmoji of me casually skateboarding with a raccoon.

IMG_0464

.

4) How many alarms do you have set?

Rachel: Oh gosh. Oh, actually I only have two right now. One is for 3:00 a.m. and another is 11:15 a.m.

Me: I don’t think I have very many. Nope, just four. One for work, one for church, one for naps, and one to take my pill at night.

Natalee: I must have some kind of record. I have 15 different alarms and they range from 3:55 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. They’re not all set at once, some are set for just Wednesdays, some Tuesdays and Sundays, some just for Saturday, you know? My favorite one is for 7:01 a.m. because I’m usually supposed to be up by 7 o’clock for work and that one extra minute makes me feel like I’m being risky.

.

5) What are your most frequently used emojis?

Rachel: My phone says these: face-throwing-a-kiss_1f618heavy-black-heart_2764expressionless-face_1f611thumbs-up-sign_emoji-modifier-fitzpatrick-type-1-2_1f44d-1f3fb_1f3fbsmiling-face-with-smiling-eyes_1f60a  But if I were going to go with my most frequent I would definitely say this one: i-love-you-hand-sign_emoji-modifier-fitzpatrick-type-1-2_1f91f-1f3fb_1f3fb I’m not sure why it’s not in the top ones, though. Actually, now that I look at it, I have a train on my frequently used that I’ve definitely never used before. I also have a motorcycle and a gondola? I don’t even know where these came from.

Natalee: Mine also seem kind of messed up, so I’m just going to give you the ones I know I use the most: face-with-tears-of-joy_1f602sign-of-the-horns_emoji-modifier-fitzpatrick-type-1-2_1f918-1f3fb_1f3fbwoman-shrugging-type-3_1f937-1f3fc-200d-2640-fe0fyellow-heart_1f49bface-with-rolling-eyes_1f644

Me: I think mine are pretty accurate: face-with-tears-of-joy_1f602smiling-face-with-heart-shaped-eyes_1f60dnerd-face_1f913thumbs-up-sign_1f44dsmiling-face-with-smiling-eyes_1f60a

.

6) What is your last voicemail?

Me: Mine is from my dad. It’s from a couple of weeks ago when my car started making this bad grinding noise and I called him to come check what it was. We decided to take it to the shop the next morning but he followed me home just in case and then left a voicemail telling me that in following me it didn’t appear as though my car was going to blow up before morning. So that was nice to hear.

Natalee: Mine is from some random company saying that it’s “very important” that they speak with me, I didn’t call them back.

Rachel: Mine is from CVS and they’re practically threatening me to pick up a prescription I don’t even want.

.

7) What is the last selfie you took?

Me: Mine is with our sunflowers that I took for one of the Plant Aunt videos. (For those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram, I’ve recently been documenting the growth of the sunflowers we planted in the backyard. It’s essentially me rambling/trying to stay involved because Natalee does all the work in watering them. Also, I’m pretty sure the neighbors think I’m crazy.)

IMG_4599

Natalee: Mine is too! I had a full on sunflower photo shoot the other day.

IMG_2927

Rachel: Oh no. You guys…

IMG_7091

.

8) What is the last app you downloaded?

Natalee: Ballpark. It was from when I was at the Dodger game getting to sit in the fancy seats for a day and this app let you order beer to be delivered to you!

Rachel: Mine is probably Game Time, that app that lets you download tickets on the day of a concert or sporting event.

Me: I don’t know which one was last. It was either Runtastic, which is a running app that is partnered with Run for the Oceans, or The ASL App which I got because I want to learn sign language, but I haven’t opened that one yet.

.

9) What is the last podcast you listened to?

Rachel: Ooh! Dr. Laura, Call of the Day.

Natalee: S-Town.

Me: Modern Love.

.

10) What is the last note you made?

Natalee: Mine is boring, it’s just work notes that I typed up and then sent in an email.

Me: Five minutes ago, when you guys were discussing your opinions on Cheetos, that’s a blog post waiting to happen. (Natalee picked up a few different bags of Hot Cheetos during our aforementioned snack run and then she and Rachel sat at the table and had a very professional opinion on which Hot Cheeto flavor reigns supreme, stay tuned for those results.)

Rachel: It’s notes for a calendar that I’m working on full of daily quotes that sound like they should be inspirational, but they really aren’t… (Also stay tuned for this, y’all, it sounds hilarious.)

.

All in all, I’d say it was both an educational and overall enjoyable experience. It’s interesting to check in on where you’re at with your phone, especially since we spend so many mindless hours staring at it. Plus, it’s always fun to be a little nosey.

For that One Person

It’s easy to want to be famous. To get a lot of attention. A lot of views. A lot of love from a lot of people you don’t know. It would make you feel important. Valuable. Loved. At least that’s what it seems like it would be.

I’ll admit, I struggle with both wanting that fame, and wanting to not want that fame, but I don’t fault myself for it. I love writing. And to gain fame, and thus gain value in the writing field, would give me the chance to make writing my one and only job.

But when I think about “fame” and all that it entails, I know I don’t really want it. I want to write, yes. I want it to be my job, yes. But I don’t want to write because it’s my job, because that’s not why I started writing in the first place.

I started writing because someone else started writing, or singing or making movies or simply smiling or laughing or just feeling honestly and openly for me to see. I started writing because I wanted to be as open and free as the people I saw doing the same thing. I wanted to feel and I wanted to make other people feel.

When I write, I try to spill out whatever I’m thinking, be it a serious thought, a goofy one, or somewhere in between. I try my best to say, “hey, this is where I’m at today, care to join me?” And it is my hope that somewhere someone is sitting or standing or lying down, reading that blog and saying, “yes.”

I write for that one person, hoping I can do for them what someone else did for me, even if it was just being honest. And when I think about doing that—or even better: accomplishing that, I realize that in no life would I ever need “fame,” because I imagine I have something far greater.

The way I see it, I’ve been given love, and I share that love (or at least I try to) in my writing. And if someone somewhere receives that love and then passes it on, I’ve already done the most important thing I could ever do.

For you, the person reading this, I hope that someday I can do that for you. And I also hope that whatever you do, you try your best to spread love with it. I hope you’re out there, living your life, living your love, feeling open and honestly, because you never know who’s going to need you. As you go about your day, there very well may be someone in your path who needs you to be exactly who you are, because it will inspire them to do the same. I for one am happy you’re you and I hope you know how much it encourages me to be me.

2018 Goals Check-in #2

Whoops, I blinked and now it’s July. Time to check in on those goals.

.

1) Do a handstand in yoga

1st Quarter Progress: 33.33%

Current Progress: 33.33%

I’ve definitely made more of an effort to go to yoga classes these last couple months, which is good, and I’ve been working hard at strengthening my arms at the gym. Now I just have to start trying to do a handstand. I’m only slightly terrified, but I’ll give it a go.

.

2) Take a kickboxing class

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

Unfortunately, I have not got around to this quite yet. The last few months have been extremely busy, so when I do squeeze in the time to exercise, I usually stick to what I know. But the next few months are a lot slower paced, so hopefully I’ll venture out and find a class.

.

3) Visit (at least) 20 museums in Los Angeles

1st Quarter Progress: 4/20 (5%)

Current Progress: 4/20 (5%)

This is another one that has fallen victim to my lack of time over the last three months. I think any spare moment I could find I spent sitting on the couch or trying to nap. That being said, with the beautiful summer weather sliding into play, I have no doubts I’ll find my way into more than a few museums over the next couple months, if only for the free air conditioning.

.

4) Get CPR certified

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

This one is still on hold until the fall because my aunt offered to take me with her when she gets re-certified before the coming school year. That being said, please hold all emergencies until September.

.

5) Shoot (at least) 1 roll of film per month

1st Quarter Progress: 3/12 (25%)

Current Progress: 6/12 (50%)

I’ll admit, those first couple rolls were a little rough on me. Both because it was hard to get back into the groove of shooting film, and because it was awkward to be behind an actual camera rather than a tiny phone. I felt like I was making everyone uncomfortable, but I’m pretty sure the only one that cared was me. Thankfully, these last few months have felt a lot more natural, and I’m genuinely excited to get my film developed.

.

6) Complete the 104 things to Photograph book

1st Quarter Progress: 10/104 (9.62%)

Current Progress: 23/104 (22.12%)

This one continues to be kind of hard to track because I take pictures of things and have no idea if they correspond to the list or not. So once I get all my film developed and scroll through the pictures I’ve taken on my phone, I think I’ll have a better idea of where I’m at. But for now, I’m taking a guess based on things I know I’ve taken a picture of.

.

7) Visit the sea glass beach in Fort Bragg, CA

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

I did some research on flights/how to get there/etc. and as of now, my roommates and I are planning on making the trip this fall! 🙂

.

8) Go to the dentist

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 100%

Yes, I went to the dentist. No, it was not fun.

.

9) Watch 20 documentaries on Netflix

1st Quarter Progress: 4/20 (20%)

Current Progress: 4/20 (20%)

Honestly, I blame The Office for this one. I mean, I know I need to make more progress on this, but I also know that Jim and Pam just found out they’re pregnant. So I kind of need to see that (and three more seasons) through before I can really care about re-commit to this goal.

.

10) Perfect an omelet

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

I’m still on the hunt for a good omelet worthy pan. Anyone have any good suggestions?

.

11) See (at least) one movie in theaters per month

1st Quarter Progress: 3/12 (25%)

Current Progress: 6/12 (50%)

Even though things have been busy, I haven’t missed a month yet! Plus, this summer promises a bunch of good movies, so I don’t think I’ll have any trouble continuing to find ones I’m interested in seeing. Here’s a list of all the ones I’ve seen so far. In case your curious, I’d say A Quiet Place is my favorite so far.

  1. I, Tonya
  2. Call Me By Your Name
  3. Maze Runner: The Death Cure
  4. 50 Shades Freed
  5. Red Sparrow
  6. I Can Only Imagine
  7. A Quiet Place
  8. Book Club
  9. Incredibles 2

.

12) Read 20 books off the Time’s 100 List

1st Quarter Progress: 2/20 (10%)

Current Progress: 6/20 (30%)

I really tried to crack down on this one in the last few months, and it didn’t hurt that I spent a good amount of time waiting around in airports. The funny thing is, the more books I check off this list, the more I wonder if I’ll ever make it through this list. The books are tough, and long, and um, boring? Okay, not all of them, but I have struggled through a couple, and I’ll admit, I did quit on one. However, I’m still counting it because I made it 60% through, which is more than I wanted to, and I heard there’s a movie version so I’m just going to watch that and round it up to finishing the book. Hey, my goal, my rules.

.

13) Pay off credit card

Current Progress: Progress

Yeah so, let’s just say progress has slowed on this one. It hasn’t stopped, which is what counts. But these past few months have held *expenses* and I’ve had to crutch a little. I’m not worried about it though, I’ll get there.

.

14) See 3 WRLA’s – COMPLETED!

While on a trip to Seattle and Canada this past month, I was unexpectedly able to complete this goal, seeing the World’s Largest Cowboy Hat & Boots in Seattle, WA, the World’s Largest Paper Airplane in Mukilteo, WA, and the World’s Largest Tin Solider in New Westminster, BC, Canada!

.

15) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

1st Quarter Progress 0/5 (0%)

Current Progress: 2/5 (40%)

I’m excited to say I’ve found my way back into the groove of volunteering! It always takes all of one time for me to remember how much I love it and how good it makes me feel. After that, I’m constantly logging on and finding new opportunities. I’ve volunteered twice in the last couple months and already have three more dates on the calendar. Yay!

.

16) Donate Blood

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 100%

As I mentioned in my first check-in, I did have an appointment to donate blood at my church. And while I did go to that appointment, I did not give blood. Not because I chickened out, not because I overslept, not because I made any excuse whatsoever not to. My iron levels were just way too low, so I was physically unable to give blood. With that being said, I have decided that, for now at least, this goal is completed. I’ve also started taking iron supplements and done a lot of research on ways to start incorporating iron rich foods into my diet. Who knew this goal would be so educational?

.

17) Do the 1 second/day video challenge

1st Quarter Progress: 95/365 (26.03%)

Current Progress: 185/365 (50.68%)

I totally love this goal. Sure, it’s a little stressful when it’s 11:47p.m. and I sit up in my bed, panicked, realizing I didn’t take my second of the day. But I also love to see what I come up with in a pinch. The way I see it, on days when I’m out doing something exciting, it’s easy to remember to whip out my camera and record a snippet, but when I have a normal/routine day where nothing of interest really happens, I have more trouble. On those days, when that 11:47p.m. panic might take place, I find myself working through my routine again and picking out parts of it that I like/find interesting. In my first check-in, I gave a little sneak peak of what the seconds look like strewn together, but I think I’m going to keep the rest a secret for now. Stay tuned for the final product!

.

When we add that all together, my total progress is about 34%. As always, I’m a little behind, but I’ve found that tends to push me forward. It keeps me motivated and doesn’t give me room to slack off, which I need, especially when the thermometer is about to start reading consistent triple digits and all I’m going to want to do is sit around watching rom-coms and eating popsicles. (Though to be honest, I’ll probably still do that pretty often.)

If you set goals this year, I hope things are going well for you, and if you didn’t, it’s never too late to start! 🙂

May/June 2018 Favorites

Hello and welcome to another favorites post, where I hand out real life “like” buttons to things I’ve fallen in love with over the last couple months.

Let’s jump right in.

.

Ear Hustle & S-Town

After catching up with almost all the podcasts I listen to regularly, I did some research to find some new ones. Among the many articles I read, these two podcasts were constantly among the top recommended, and after listening to them, I can understand why!

Ear Hustle is all about San Quentin state prison. It goes through different stories and struggles associated with people inside. I was pretty much hooked from the first episode and binged the entire series until I was caught up.

S-Town is about a mysterious man named John B McLemore, who sends an email to a journalist at This American Life, the company responsible for the widely popular Serial podcast, requesting he look into a murder that was swept under the rug in his hometown in Alabama. This journalist is then immersed into the very strange and secretive life of John B McLemore, and ultimately discovers that no murder ever took place. My sister and I binged the entire podcast during our drive to and from the mountains over Memorial Day weekend, and were left completely baffled. (find Ear Hustle here, and S-Town here)

.

Love

netflix-love-season-two

I’ll admit, I’m not all that great at keeping up with/finishing must watch shows, both on TV and on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. As a result, I tend to try and watch them all at once, and then never finish any. However, there are some that particularly hook me, causing me to sit down and watch them in their entirety without cheating on them with another show. Love is one of those exceptions. It is such a funny, relatable, different show that I’ve been spending a lot of quality time with lately. And since it’s third (and final) season only just came out in March, I like to think I’m not too out of the loop on this one. (find it on Netflix)

.

James Bay & Shawn Mendes

In the music department, I have these two gentlemen to recommend to you. They are both ridiculously talented, and recently released albums that I’ve been listening to on repeat. And since I can never quite do the description justice, here’s how iTunes describes them:

Shawn Mendes by Shawn Mendes: “an adventures voyage of texture and tempo”

Electric Light by James Bay: “a questing set of songs that crosses into simmering funk pop, taut alt-pop, and folky electro R&B”

.

Left Neglected51IB8yjROpL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

I would not even be slightly exaggerating if I said that I told everybody I know about this book. Okay, well not everyone I know, but mostly certainly everyone I came into contact with while I was reading it. It just blew my mind! The story follows a woman who, after getting in a nasty car accident, wakes up to find that her brain has completely lost contact with the left side of her body. She can’t move her left arm or left leg, she can’t see anything to the left of her center line of vision. As far as her brain is concerned, left doesn’t exist. I mean, just try not to constantly talk about it. (find it here)

.

Pores No More

porenomore

I am honestly shocked that in back to back favorites posts I have a beauty product to recommend to you, but here I am. I got this guy from Ulta a little while back, and as I do with almost every new makeup product I buy, I put in my bag and never used it because I was afraid my skin would rebel/catch on fire/etc. Luckily, when I finally worked up the courage to try this bad boy, I absolutely loved it! It didn’t irritate my skin, it helped with my oily complexion and it served as a great base for my makeup. Consider me a lifelong fan! (find it here)

.

White Chocolate Dipped Animal Crackers

A few weeks back my family and I drove up to spend Memorial Day weekend in the mountains. While we were there, we stopped by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. My mom and my sister were eyeing the candied apples, but not being a fan of them myself, I perused the outskirts of the store, trying to find something that suited my fancy. Enter these bad boys, stage right. They might be one of the greatest treats I have ever tried, one which I’ll never be able to deny should I find myself in the vicinity of a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. (Unfortunately they don’t list these on the website, so in order to find/try them, you’ll have to go into a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory store. BUMMER.)

.

Imperfect Produceblack_logo

After seeing this constantly advertised across my social media platforms, I finally decided to look this company up and see what it’s all about. For those of you also wondering: much like the company name suggests, this company sends you produce that is imperfect, or in other words, isn’t pretty enough to be sold in stores. So, they sell it to you at a discounted rate. You have a few different options regarding both box size (I do the smallest box), and shipment frequency (I do every other week), and on the weekend before your box is delivered, you can log in and customize it, adding or removing fruits and veggies you want/don’t want in your box. For example, I usually leave my box the way they have it, only removing produce I know I don’t like/won’t use like lettuce or cilantro. (Note: if you want to try it, you can click here. Full disclosure: this is a referral link from my account, but if you sign up with it, we both get a credit of $10! It’s a win win!)

.

The Skimm

skimmlogo-fbshare

And finally, I bring you The Skimm. I’m not even sure where/how I found out about this, but I’m very glad I did! It’s a roundup of the day’s top news stories that gets sent to your email every weekday morning. After signing up at the beginning of May, it’s quickly become part of my morning routine. Once I get to work, I read through my email from The Skimm, clicking on any links that I want further information on, and then I officially start my day, feeling well informed on what’s happening in the world. (find it here)

.

Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

My Google Search History (Part 2)

Hello and welcome back to another episode of why does Kim never close any Internet windows?

In this post a little while back, I talked about my tendency to max out the number of search windows open on my phone. And now, almost six months later, to absolutely no one’s surprise, I’ve once again reached the cusp of capacity, even though after that first post I closed every single window.

So, since this habit shows no signs of slowing down, I thought it was about time I took another dive into the mind of past Kim. What has she been Googling lately?

Let’s find out:

.

1) USA vs. Russia: Miracle on Ice/2024 Olympics/Daily Curling Schedule

My best guess why: These were three different searches but I grouped them together because they were all on the same topic: The Olympics! As I’ve mentioned before, I am essentially an Olympics addict. I even make a spreadsheet every year where I keep track of medals and make notes on athletes that were especially inspiring/cute/etc.

.

2) Sister Jean

My best guess why: I don’t consider myself much of a basketball fan, but during March Madness this year I was totally roped into the magic that was Sister Jean and the Loyola Chicago Ramblers. I’m still a little bummed they weren’t able to take home the championship, but there’s always next year. #TeamSisterJean4Ever

Sr.-Jean-e1522203989306

.

3) Gregory Peck

My best guess why: I was recently asked who my celebrity crush was and I mentioned this guy and needed some photographic support. This window staying open is the least surprising, as I’ve caught myself on more than one occasion scrolling through and glancing at this picture. I mean…

Gregory Peck

.

4) Washtucna, WA

My best guess why: Whilst on our spring break vacation in Seattle this past March, my friends and I spent a wonderful afternoon at the park, laying in the grass and watching planes fly by. At one point this teeny tiny city worked its way into the conversation and I wanted to see what it was all about. Spoiler alert: not much.

.

5) Banana Bread Recipe

My best guess why: As I mentioned in this post, I’ve recently been trying to do better at not letting leftover food go to waste. So once I saw my bananas starting to turn a little more brown than I was comfortable with, I did some research on how to put them to use.

.

6) Where to find mascarpone cheese in the grocery store?

My best guess why: My mom’s birthday was in April and I had one of those “I can do anything!” moments while researching recipes for birthday cakes. Little did I know, I was in WAY over my head, starting with the trip to the grocery store for the ingredients. I wandered up and down the aisles, slowly gathering what I needed, but mascarpone cheese had me totally stumped. FYI: depending on the store it’s either by the specialty cheese in the deli or by the cream cheese!

.

7) Stagecoach FAQ

My best guess why: Leading up to my first ever Stagecoach Country Music Festival, I was avidly reading any and all information provided. There were definitely some good tips and tricks I found, and when I got back from the festival, I wrote my own.

.

8) When was happy birthday written?

My best guess why: I mean, haven’t ever wondered? It was in 1893, by the way.

.

9) Rose Bowl Parking

My best guess why: Another example of pre-event anxiety, I was desperately looking for the best way to get to and from the Rose Bowl for the Taylor Swift concert in May. If you ever find yourself in the area, park in the Parsons parking lot and take the shuttle, it’s the only way to go!

.

10) What are hushpuppies?

My best guess why: Since I’m a giant baby when it comes to spicy foods, whenever I see something on a menu that I don’t recognize, I’m always quick to Google it in order to avoid profusely sweating at the table. In this case, I had absolutely nothing to worry about as a hushpuppy is just deep fried cornmeal dough.

Hushpuppies

.

11) What’s the difference between forest and woods?

My best guess why: Again, have you ever really stopped to wonder? Consider me your one stop shop for fun facts you never needed to know. A wood is an area covered in trees, while a forest is a much larger area of trees, that often also includes shrubs, underbrush, etc.

.

12) Where to buy Bluebell Ice Cream?

My best guess why: Little known fact (at least to me until a couple years ago): Bluebell ice cream is THE BEST ice cream. Another little known, much more heartbreaking fact: they don’t sell Bluebell in California. So after finding my mom’s dream flavor (Banana Pudding) on our recent trip to Arkansas, we were heartbroken to know we wouldn’t find it in the freezer section back home. (If you’re curious where you can find it near you, look here!)

Banana-Pudding-no-shadow-624x494

.

13) “Hoofs”

My best guess why: This one made me laugh out loud because I have absolutely no idea why I Googled it. Was I checking my spelling—which was wrong, by the way. Did I need a quick reminder what hooves looked like? Was this a typo that I got too distracted to correct? I guess we’ll never know.

.

14) Badass names for plants

My best guess why: A couple months ago me, my sister and my dad spent a whole afternoon planting sunflowers, tomatoes, and peppers in our backyard. Since then, my sister has taken incredible care of them, making sure to water them every morning. I however, haven’t done much. Aside from one fateful afternoon where I was in charge of watering, and decided to take that opportunity to name all of the plants. There was one plant in particular that I thought had this buff, hardcore quality about it, and I wanted a name that would really do it justice. Unfortunately, Google didn’t really come through for me here, so I ended up naming it Denzel. IMG_4293

(In case you’re wondering, Denzel is thriving.)

.

Well, that’s all for now. I’m again going to close all the windows (except Gregory Peck) and see how long it takes me to max out again. Which to be honest, shouldn’t be too long…

I’ll Always Remember the Good Parts

A couple weeks ago my mom, sister and I took a trip to Arkansas to visit both my cousin Brittney and her family, as well as my great great Aunt Evelyn who just recently turned 97 years old.

Usually when I go on a trip, I like to blog about it (check out some examples here and here) but when it comes to Arkansas, I tend to just let it lie. Not because the trip is boring or not worth sharing, but because it always seems to feel different than any other trip, making it hard—if not impossible—to find a way to write about it. In a way it feels like it’s not so much a trip as it is a step into another world, one that I couldn’t explain to someone as well as I could show them.

Our past couple trips to Arkansas, while fun and the exact breath of fresh air I needed, have had a bit of sadness attached to them. With my Aunt Evelyn’s health declining first slowly, and then quicker than we could keep up with, we saw our trips change from spending afternoons reading on her porch, to sitting at her bedside in a nursing home. For these trips, rather than staying at my Aunt Evelyn’s house, we’ve stayed with June, a childhood friend of my mom’s mom, and her husband, Jim. This alone has balanced the scales of the trips, filling them with as much laughter as they had gloom.

This past trip, after being warned by June that Aunt Evelyn had fallen not once, but twice in the last few days, and that her cancer had spread to nearly every part of her body, we took a few extra breaths on our drive from Brittney’s to June and Jim’s, knowing that this trip would be somewhat of a goodbye.

Upon arriving at June and Jim’s, we all exhaled, because at least for the moment, we were home. In an instant we were laughing, almost too hard to walk. They greeted us at the door and we dropped our things, unable to peel the smiles off our faces. It was almost 6 o’clock when we got there, so it wasn’t long before we were back on the road, headed out to dinner at one of June and Jim’s favorite restaurants. June sat next to me in the backseat, cracking jokes and nudging my elbow whenever she made a snarky comment just out of Jim’s earshot.

At dinner, we talked about our trip to Brittney’s. About her husband Scott, their five year old son, Landon, and their two and a half year old daughter, Nora. We talked about the three days we spent with them; about the slow mornings filled with Nora’s singing and Landon’s giggling and dancing and soccer ball dribbling; we talked about the day at the waterpark and the evening at the comedy club; and we talked about the afternoons on the couch talking or napping or laughing or just simply being.

The next morning, as we slowly got ourselves out of bed to the breakfast table and then out of our pajamas and into real clothes, we took another collective breath. My mom, my sister, June and I loaded up in the car to go see Aunt Evelyn, all of us the slightest bit nervous, even if we didn’t say so. When we got there, we found Aunt Evelyn asleep in her bed, so asleep it took two nurses to finally coax her awake to eat, even though she didn’t want to. I sat in a chair in the corner of the room, watching her slowly bring the world into focus, my mind flickering from the woman I saw in front of me, to the woman I’d sat beside in her living room watching reruns of Judge Judy.

As an adult, I’d never seen Aunt Evelyn without pain. She was always moving slow, her back keeping her slightly hunched and most content in her chair in the living room. But there were moments when it seemed to dull. Like when my sister made her favorite cookies in the kitchen and she giggled in her chair, excited to have three too many. Or when a story we told reminded her of a memory she carried. The three of us could never get enough of her stories. Both the good ones and the bad, the happy and the sad. Aunt Evelyn had lived a long, oftentimes hard life, and had spent many years living on her own, ruminating, reminiscing, and understandably burying a lot of memories.

As I sat in the corner chair, watching my Aunt Evelyn’s eyes squint and her brow furrow, I saw fear and confusion, pain and exhaustion. Then, for a moment, it passed. June cooed at her and Aunt Evelyn smiled in recognition, saying, “Hello June,” almost sarcastically, before softening her eyes and smiling at the sight of my mother, “Gina.”

But just as soon as peace settled in her eyes, the pain was back. The nurse sitting at her side offered her a bite of each helping of food on her tray, and Aunt Evelyn begged her to stop, hating every bit of it. Then, her eyes shifted again, this time into anger. She looked up at June and my mom, perhaps embarrassed, perhaps ashamed, perhaps longing for that woman I pictured sitting by my side in the living room watching reruns of Judge Judy.

“Get out,” she said. It was stern, but calm.

At first.

Then it was meaner. Louder. Fiercer.

“Get out of here!”

On the drive back to June’s we were all quiet, all bearing wounds that we didn’t want to talk about. Knowing what we knew about her health, we knew that could very well be the last time we would see her, and it was hard to swallow that as the last time. But just as I was able to picture her how I knew her, how I’ve known her, not in that bed but in her chair, in her house, in the hundreds of old pictures—some from stories I knew, others from those I might never know—I made a promise to remember her that way too.

On our flight home, my mind flashed with memories of trips we taken to see her. And even though there were hard parts, sad parts, bad parts strewn in, I clutched desperately to the good. To the funny and beautiful and indescribable. I hoped she knew I’d remember those parts most. And I’d visit them as easy as we did our weekend at Brittney’s as we sat across the dinner table from Jim and June. No matter what, I would always hold on to the good parts. Both today, tomorrow, and (if I’m lucky enough) seventy years from now, when I have my own chair in my own living room with a pair of great great nieces sitting by my side watching reruns and making me cookies.

You Keep Following Your Dreams & I’ll Keep Following Mine

In August of 2016, me, my sister, and my best friend Allison (except I spell it Alleeson because of a whole Kimberlee double-e solidarity thing) went to dinner at Islands. As we sat laboring over which hamburger to choose from the menu, Alleeson put her hands on the table and took a deep breath.

“I have news,” she said.

I put my menu down and looked across the table at her, trying to gage whether this was good news or bad news based on the tone of her voice.

“I got a job.”

“That’s great!” I said, relieved.

“It’s for a news station in Oregon.”

Not even a month later, she was moving into a house 12 hours away and I was both heartbroken for me and unfathomably excited for her. She was nervous, I could tell. But she was also excited and curious and determined to give herself the big break she’d been waiting for.

In November of that year, I was able to visit her. She took me on a tour around her studio and showed me where they filmed the show and the things she was in charge of. I even got to watch a live taping of the evening show and witness her talent in action.

Back home, I was trying to catch some of the fire Alleeson had left behind. I was in awe of her bravery and her ability to just go for it. She made it look easy, even though I know almost no part of it was. She made me want to fight the battles that had long been easier to stay out of.

As the months went on, even though we were now hundreds of miles apart, I noticed how we still managed to mirror each other. Since we both come from creative backgrounds, we are constantly looking to do more, make more, be more, and so we both have our ups filled with confidence and our downs filled with doubt.

One night, as we were both lamenting over where we were and where we wanted to be, we made a pact. We decided that since the paths to our ultimate dreams were somewhat blurry, the best first step would be to hone in the destination.

IMG_0975

In the last year, I’ve seen Alleeson dive even deeper into her work. Putting in day after day, constantly pushing herself and trying new things, trying to be more. And yesterday, just as I was getting home from work, I got a message.

IMG_4050

She called me and I screamed into the phone. I tried to tell her how proud I was, how excited I was, how much she deserved it. Because she did. She does. She took that big risk; she’s put in all that work. She’s carving that path towards her dream no matter what anyone has to say about it.

It would be easy to be jealous, but that would be a waste of time. Instead, I’m going to take this as a reminder of what we set out to. What we intend to do, no matter how hard it is or how long it takes.

So as I celebrate this huge step she’s made, I’m going to take a few more of my own. For we started this together and always planned to kick ass side by side from there.

Congratulations Alleeson! (And good luck at the 2018 Regional Emmy’s!) Keep following your dream and I’ll keep following mine, and may we continue to follow each other’s fire.

2018 Goals Check-in

Can you believe we’re already 3 months into this year? I seriously can’t get over how fast everything is moving! And with the end of March officially marking the end of the first quarter of the year, it’s time to check in on how I’m doing with the goals I set for 2018.

.

1) Do a handstand in yoga

Progress: 33.33%

So I have to admit, I haven’t been doing great at going to yoga. I started strong at the beginning of the year, but that petered out fast. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy yoga, I just didn’t particularly care for the class I was going to and haven’t been that motivated to find a new one. HOWEVER, I have been doing some at-home yoga using Yoga Girl’s program and have been very diligent about going to the gym. Thus, I am getting stronger, which was the ultimate plan in working myself up to do a handstand. Stay tuned!

.

2) Take a kickboxing class

Progress: 0%

I have not got around to signing up for a kickboxing class. However, I’ve done a bunch of research on where I can take them. In doing so I found a bunch of promotional deals on sites like Groupon, as well as a number of gyms and classes near me that offer a free class for beginners. So I will definitely be taking advantage of those opportunities in the near future.

.

3) Visit (at least) 20 museums in Los Angeles

Progress: 1/20 (5%)

This was another one that had a great start but has been in a solid lull since then. However, I’m not too worried as I love museums and I think it will take just getting back to one for me to fall into a rhythm and go consistently. As of now, I’ve only gone to is The Getty, but I’ll keep a running list in case you’re interested!

.

4) Get CPR certified

Progress: 0%

This one is on hold until the fall because my aunt offered to take me with her when she gets re-certified before the coming school year. That being said, please hold all emergencies until September.

.

5) Shoot (at least) 1 roll of film per month

Progress: 3/12 (25%)

It’s funny, I never realized just how long it had been since I photographed with my film camera or how out of practice I was until I shot my first roll. At the beginning of this year, I was feeling pretty confident and decided to ignore my instincts to re-read the directions on how to work my camera, and I moved through the roll of film pretty quickly, thinking, “I still got it!” This overconfidence however, came back to bite me when I finished the roll, tried to unload the film—while STILL not looking at the directions—and ultimately ruined the film all together. Since then however, I’ve got my groove back (and I’ve read the directions) and am currently on target.

.

6) Complete the 104 things to Photograph book

Progress: 10/104 (9.62%)

I made a spreadsheet to track this (which surprises no one) but I’m actually not 100% sure where I’m at, as I haven’t developed the film I’ve shot over the last few months. There might be some surprises that can apply to the book, we’ll see!

.

7) Visit the sea glass beach in Fort Bragg, CA

Progress: 0%

I haven’t had any time to do research on this one, so no progress yet.

.

8) Go to the dentist

Progress: 0%

I’m going to make myself an appointment today. I (probably) promise!

.

9) Watch 20 documentaries on Netflix

Progress: 4/20 (20%)

Before starting this goal I was a little nervous I wouldn’t find documentaries I liked or enjoyed and instead would feel like I was back in school trying not to fall asleep during an educational video. To my pleasant surprise however, I’ve found that documentaries come in a variety of flavors, at least one of which everyone is bound to like. Here are the ones I’ve watched so far:

  1. Happy
  2. The Mortified Guide
  3. The Mortified Sessions
  4. Minimalism

.

10) Perfect an omelet

Progress: 0%

For this one, I’ve both received tips and invitations for in-person lessons from friends, but the biggest thing holding me back is getting a good pan. So, once I find some extra room in my budget to grab one, I will take everyone up on their advice/help/etc.

.

11) See (at least) one movie in theaters per month

Progress: 3/12 (25%)

If you read my January & February favorites, I mentioned MoviePass, which has essentially been the key for keeping up with this goal. After seeing two movies in January for a total of only $10, I quickly convinced my sister and my roommate, Rachel, to sign up and I hope we take wild advantage of it for the rest of the year. Also, in case your curious, I’ll keep a running tally of the movies I see, so far that includes:

  1. I, Tonya
  2. Call Me By Your Name
  3. Maze Runner: The Death Cure
  4. 50 Shades Freed
  5. Red Sparrow
  6. I Can Only Imagine

.

12) Read 20 books off the Time’s 100 List

Progress: 2/20 (10%)

I fell a little off track on this goal after getting sucked into a couple books (Into the Wild & Into Thin Air, both of which I’d highly recommend!) by Jon Krakauer at the beginning of this year. In addition, once I was ready to start checking books off the list, I realized I either had to ask if people I knew had these books, or start working a second job to start buying them all. Luckily, my roommate Rachel discovered something MAGICAL, a.k.a the digital library. It works exactly like a physical library: you check out books and get them for 21 days. However, with the digital option now available, you can rent the books and have them sent directly to your Kindle! What a time to be alive, people! If you are in the LA area, you can check it out here, or if you’re not, I’d recommend researching whether your local library has an online database. It’s a real game changer.

.

13) Pay off credit card

Progress: 6.40%

So the whole point of this goal was to pay off my current credit card so I can open up a new one. Specifically one that gains your airline miles because flights are ridiculously expensive. That being said, the start of this year brought a lot of reasons for me to use my current credit card, so I fell a little behind. Good news is, I caught back up and am now in the green in terms of repayment, so hopefully I can keep trucking along throughout the year.

.

14) See 3 WRLA’s – COMPLETED!

Progress: 3/3 (100%)

While on a trip to Seattle and Canada this past month, I was unexpectedly able to complete this goal, seeing the World’s Largest Cowboy Hat & Boots in Seattle, WA, the World’s Largest Paper Airplane in Mukilteo, WA, and the World’s Largest Tin Solider in New Westminster, BC, Canada!

 

.

15) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

Progress: 0/5 (0%)

I admit it, I’m totally slacking on this one and I need to get on it.

.

16) Donate Blood

Progress: 0%

The day I started this progress report my church announced it is holding a blood drive at the end of this month. So, while I’m still slightly terrified, I feel like that’s kind of a sign to suck it up and go for it. Stay tuned for the next update to see if 1) I chickened out, 2) I went for it and passed out or 3) I went for it and handled it like a champ. #3 seems farfetched at this point, but you never know.

.

17) Do the 1 second/day video challenge

Progress: 95/365 (26.03%)

This has actually been more fun than I expected. While it is a little stressful to find something unique to record every day—especially when I forget and it’s already 11pm—I ’ve been very pleased with the results so far. My favorite part is knowing I’m the only person that knows what all the clips relate to, as some of them come off pretty obscure. When I watch them back however, they all awaken a specific memory from that particular day.  On March 1st, the 60th day of the year, I compiled all the clips I had so far in order to see what my first “minute” of the year looked like.

.

When we add that all together, my total progress is about 15%. So I’ve got a little ground to make up, but it looks like a lot of it will be covered by the end of this month!  If you set goals this year, I hope things are going well for you, and if you didn’t, it’s never too late to start! 🙂

Hot Guy March Madness

I consider myself to be a huge sports fan. There is almost no sport I can’t get into. Take Basketball for example, while isn’t necessarily my favorite sport, I can get behind it, especially during the craziness of March Madness.

This year, as I prepared for the start of the NCAA tournament, I came across a bracket.

This was not your average bracket, however. There were no rankings or underdogs or Cinderella stories. There weren’t even any basketball teams. This bracket was made entirely of hot guys pitted against each other to win an entirely different prize: the honor of hottest hot guy.

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 11.51.48 PM

All credit for this bracket goes to Matt Bellassi (who you can find here). He created the bracket for his podcast, with the sole purpose of deciding who among the men would have the grand honor of winning his heart. After coming across this bracket on Twitter, I immediately printed it out for my roommates and I to complete. You know, for bonding/research purposes.

Once we all got home from work, we sat at the dining room table like middle school kids doing their homework, and hunched over our assignment. While initially enthusiastic and giggly, soon the three of us became pensive and quiet.

This. Was. SERIOUS.

There were so many factors to consider. So many things to analyze and overanalyze. I mean, once you eliminated someone, they were gone, out of your life, 100% not going to be your soulmate. The pressure was practically unbearable!

At one point I eliminated someone because of a bad mustache incident a few years back, and then put someone else through because of a good mustache in recent years. One matchup was determined by my assumption that one guy would be more apt to “go outside with me,” while another we all determined was a no because, “his shadow would be scarily tall.”

In many ways it felt as if the men were all standing around us waving and smiling, anxious to win their next matchup and secretly hopeful to be awarded the top honor. Meanwhile, me, Natalee and Rachel were the modern day Simon, Paula and Randy, sitting behind our desks and listening looking close for just the right voice face.

In the end, the men who took home the top honor in our house were Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Hemsworth, and Rami Malek. We’ve sent word to their publicists and expect an embarrassing display of roses/candy/etc. to arrive from all three any day now.

Once we were all finished with our brackets, we discovered that while we each believed we had filled our brackets out correctly, we didn’t actually follow the directions put in place by Matt Bellassi. With further research I came to find there were questions that were meant to be associated with each round in order to help you make your decisions.

They were as follows:

Round 1: Who would conquer a bear to save me?

Round 2: Who would win in a mud wrestling fight against the other?

Round 3: Who can bake the moistest cake?

Round 4: Who can carve a ham with their hands tied behind their back?

Round 5: Who can crack a walnut with their butt?

I’d like to say that should I have filled out the bracket this way I would have stood by my man and still ended the day as Kimberlee Gyllenhaal, but I really don’t know the walnut cracking capacity of his butt or how it could match up to that of the other men on this list. But I suppose that’s just something you have to accept when you marry someone. As the old saying goes, it’s the size of their heart, not the strength of their butt cheeks.

We Are All Complex Characters

In a world bustling with digital content, especially sitcoms and dramas available on both mainstream television and a number of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, etc., it’s safe to say we’ve been introduced to a wide variety of characters in recent years. Some we can relate to, some we can’t; some we love, some we hate. Regardless, we feel like we get a sense of who these characters are, and depending on how long we binge their show on the couch, we sometimes even forget they’re not actually a part of our lives.

I have this problem constantly. When I watch a show I get completely attached to the characters and I talk about them as if they’re my friends or family rather than fictional characters created for entertainment purposes. It’s even worse when I read books.

One thing, perhaps, that makes these characters so real, is a show or book’s ability to give us a nearly 360-degree view of who they are and why they are the way that they are. We can sympathize with decisions they make because we know what’s going on in every facet of their life. And we can root for them because we know the inner workings of their hopes and dreams.

In real life, it’s often hard to remember that we and the people around us are just as three dimensional as fictional characters. We are what they are based on! We, like them,  are all complex and constantly changing and adapting, sometimes to seemingly unbelievable circumstances. We all have individual whys that define who we are and what we do, even if not everyone will be able to see them, or if we are never able to fully identify them within ourselves.

As we go through our day-to-day lives, we will often come into contact with people who rub us the wrong way. And while it’s important to stand up for ourselves and stand firm in what we believe in, I also think it’s important to remember that we don’t know anyone’s “whole story.” We don’t have the 360-degree view. We don’t know how their morning went or how their yesterday treated them and they are equally as ignorant to our lives. So before we jump to conclusions, it couldn’t hurt to give them a little patience.

The truth is, we are all complex characters plodding through our own unique, sometimes over dramatic sitcoms. Some episodes will be good, some will be bad. And just like any multi-season series, you can’t start in the middle and assume you know everything. You have to appreciate that just like you, they’ve probably gone through a lot to get where they are and still have a long road to get where they’re going, and we could all use a little help along the way.