Did you know…? I am moving as of Tuesday afternoon? Anyone looking for a luxury studio (crazy nice, in unit washer and dryer, on and on!) in a building with a ton of amenities in one of the best neighborhoods in the city of Chicago that is below market value by quite a bit because of the way I resigned my lease. It’s available mid December (I am thinking the 18th but am slightly flexible) through August 20 at which point you would be able to renew with the building. For more info, you can read the post here. Or email me for details. Do you know someone who needs a place? Do you know someone who knows someone?
Did you hear that Carly Simon finally named names when it comes to her infamous song “You’re So Vain?” Warren Beatty, if you be that song was about you, you were right (or at least part of the song was).
Did you know that this week I feel like I have been riding the wave of hope and despair? I feel as if I am seeing and reading about the best sides of humanity and the worst at the same time. I hope to write more about it next week (Psst…Check out this powerful series of photos on where Syrian children sleep). And that’s just the about global events. Meanwhile, my emotions have been all over the place riding this wave of maybe moving, definitely moving, how the heck am I going to pack all by myself, etc. And then guilt that life is moving along while I am reading these stories about refugees and how I am sorting through clothes, deciding what to give away and what to keep, and it’s so first world problems I can’t even with my own self.
Did you know I used to be obsessed with Downton Abbey? Well, I can hardly even admit this to myself but I am several seasons behind. I have started it from the beginning and it’s as addicting as always. I forgot exactly how wide eyed baby Matthew was when he arrived on the scene and how much I love Mary. Michelle Dockery, you are a queen! (Second only to Dame Maggie Smith, obvi).
It’s about positivity today here! I mean, I do hope it is like that every day but this is going to be a happy Five on Friday. A close family friend passed away and so today and tomorrow I will be at a wake and a funeral. It’s hard. I want to be there for the people I love so on this Friday especially I want to keep it light and fun.
1. I confess I love this picture.
Two weeks ago I was on vacation with Bex at the beach. I think we have both made an effort not to talk about the trip and totally overwhelm you with: oh we did this, and this, and this. But one thing we did do? Take a photo with our elephant shirts. It was Bex’s idea. I have many elephant shirts but happened to pack this one. The whole trip was obviously a blast as you can tell from the photo.
Also, I just want to pat myself on the back because I have successfully branded myself as an elephant loving blogger. People tweet or email me: oh I saw this elephant lamp/shirt/figurine and thought of you! On Social Media, the emoji of an elephant is associated with me. It’s no longer weird when I reply with a single (or multiple) elephant emoji (which, if you think about it, people could take in a bad way).
2. I confess I have added something to my wish list.
Speaking of elephants…I saw these on IG and I don’t even know which one I would choose to put on my wish list.
Caitlin, whose IG I found through @elephants_of_insta (which I naturally follow), is volunteering in Sri Lanka next year to “save wild elephants in their national parks” because elephants are disappearing because people want their tusks for ivory. Not cool. What is cool? These shirts and saving elephants. You can find these shirts here.
3. I confess something new has been added to my official Bucket List.
Next week, you’ll see a recap of Harry Potter Land (my nickname for it). It won’t be a straight recap. I’ve got my own little angle going. Bex did a fashion post about it this week (hilarious). So we’ll see. One thing I can tell you though is that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was on my Bucket List, my real and true, things I must see or do before I leave this earth list.
Honestly? Before Harry Potter Land, I don’t know what else I would have put on it. I would have named some things but nothing concrete. Well, I have another concrete thing. I want to play with elephants. I don’t want to ride one because um, hey, they are super smart, and they aren’t asking to ride on my back. But I want to play in water with them with beach balls and paint with them and love on them and kiss them and get to know them. I’m thinking a younger to a baby elephant just because they seem more playful but hey, if a mama wants to play with me, I am down. I mean, I would want to play after being pregnant for 22 months. So Playing with Elephants is officially on the Bucket List. It seems so obvious but it wasn’t official until this week when I thought about it.
4. I confess I have been really burnt out here BUT I feel so differently now and a couple of things helped.
First and foremost, spending time with Bex, putting our heads together for each of our blogs, being creative by practicing photography for her fashion blog, taking her anniversary pics, my bullet journal (obsessed), and organization. Now I feel so excited for the content I’ve been putting out and will continue to put out. Next week: How to Empty Your Inbox (how I went from 50k emails to 0), HP, a book post, and more. Plus did you check out Summertime Makeup for the Pale Girl or the new series Nonna’s Cookbook Remix (this time was spaghetti + sauce), where I’ll be taking Nonna’s traditional recipes and making them healthy (ya know, the whole food as medicine thing). 5. I confess I could use some positivity. Tell me something happy. That would be awesome.
If you have been around here or here, you may have noticed I have a love of elephants. It began when a friend who knows her animals, listed off some facts about elephants and when I heard these things and then looked into the eye of an elephant, I fell in love. It was kismet.
Did you know elephants grieve? It’s one of the things that make them incredibly rare in the animal world. They mourn the dead. If the elephant is in their herd, they form a funeral procession. If they come upon a fallen brother or sister, they lift their feet and feel with their trunks–learning this elephant and saying goodbye at the same time.
Their pregnancies take 22 months and so life blooms slowly as grief is observed. I know my pregnant friends cannot imagine two years of pregnancies but maybe that is why these animals care so much for their dead. Someone once told me that if a mother’s baby elephant dies, she would try to lift him, over and over again, until she breaks her tusks.Grief is a hard thing. Saying goodbye to my papa was much more difficult than I ever anticipated. As someone who will do anything to avoid emotional pain, I was suddenly in fear of all my relationships. It wasn’t enough to only have people in my life who wouldn’t hurt me because they loved me, because inevitably, they would whether they wanted to or not. Glennon Doyle Melton writes about a conversation with her son and a dead goldfish, “I told him that we don’t love people and animals because we will have them forever, we love them because loving them changes us, makes us better, healthier, kinder, realer. Loving people and animals makes us stronger in the right ways and weaker in the right ways. Even if animals and people leave, even if they die, they leave us better. So we keep loving, even though we might lose them because loving teaches us and changes us. And that’s what we’re here to do. God sends us here to learn to be better lovers, and to learn how to be loved, so we’ll be prepared for heaven” (147).
I like that. I like it a lot. And yet it is hard for me. Because I don’t want to be weak and I don’t want to be hurt and I don’t want to keep loving knowing I may or will lose. I avoid these things.
Yet his power is made perfect in my weakness. He calls and commands us to love, both himself and the people he puts in our lives. And he doesn’t include exceptions like: love hard unless you may be hurt in the process. In the best book on grief I’ve ever read (A Grief Observed), C.S. Lewis admits, “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” Oh! That makes so much sense. Fear has chased me my whole life. It chased me right into God’s arms. It still keeps me awake at night. It still pushes me towards perfectionism. I hate fear and I hate grief and I hate loss.
Elephants mourn. They grieve. This makes them unique and special. They feel. I run away from feelings. I watched a YouTube video of a herd of elephants coming across a fallen elephant they did not know. They stopped, they took their time. They kept lifting their feet, in angst perhaps? Their trunks reached to touch him.
They did not run past him. They stopped.
And here is what I have learned. You cannot outrace grief. It will beat you every time. You must walk through it. What if I just felt these things as they came, instead of fighting them off–loss, grief, fear, hurt, pain? What if I allowed my heart to break?
I think God promises: if your heart breaks, we will rebuild it into something more like mine. I never thought of it like that before and all the energy I waste fighting those feelings back, against the current of feeling, could go towards loving and grieving and the mess that is life.
What do you think, buddies? Are elephants making me maudlin or wise?
One thing I did not count on when it came to blogging was the party invites. I keep getting invited to these cool parties because of my blog. I am not bragging. Honestly, I am humbled. When I get to the door they ask for my name and who I am with and I say, “Blogger?” with a big question mark in the air. The first was Veer & Wander where I found some amazing skincare that is changing my skin (more on that another day). Plus, swag bag!!!
The second party was put on by Poshmark and I brought Alissa with me.
Ding, Ding, Ding went the trolley
Chelsea visited me and we rode the trolley. Kind of for free. On accident. Anyway, it was so great to see this girl and to laugh and for her to make fun of my hair.
My new love. The Nutribullet.
I am obsessed. I make so many green smoothies except they taste delicious. I am like a mad scientist, mixing berries and greek yoghurt or maybe I want to go more tropical with the mango and pineapple? Anyway, the Nutribullet is small (very important in a studio apartment) and so easy to clean (very important when you don’t have a dishwasher). #love #LOVE
Have you ever become known for something? Well my family and friends continue to shower elephants on me and they are all so adorable, how could I turn them away?
So there was a small earthquake in LA. We definitely did not feel it in San Francisco but I realized I need to have an Earthquake kit. I am sorry but Earthquakes scare me. Maybe it’s because I have Alissa saying things like, “We’re due for a big one!” or talking to me about “The triangle of death” or maybe it’s the “The Triangle of Life.” The thing is she is dead serious but it doesn’t phase her. Now, if I mention midwest tornadoes, girl freaks out a bit. (Seriously the triangle of life???? It’s gotten to the point where we are places and she tells me, “Okay this is where you would want to crouch.” !!!!!!)
This is my first official Five on Friday and not only am I excited but I hope the structure gives me the blogging bug again. Christmas threw me off a bit; plus, we were all sick…including my little sister.
…Merry Christmas, I love you.
Two of my three cousins aka the twins…obvi they love taking pictures with me
On my mom’s side of the family, where I spend Christmas day, I am the only girl cousin. I get ganged up on and made fun of and mostly, love every second of it. But I mean: sorry that I just don’t love watching sports the entire day long. Is there no compromise left in the world? Granted, I purposely do things to annoy them. I need to prepare them for the world, you know.
However, this year there was a new rule & we laughed so hard. We (let me honest, they) could say anything they wanted to me as long as they added: “…Merry Christmas. I love you.”
Here is an example: “Nina, I want to punch you in the face…Merry Christmas. I love you.” (Disclaimer, we are not an abusive family but get four boys together and there is rough housing. They don’t touch me because I’m a girl. They just use their words.)
The bigger picture is that I laughed so hard with both sides of the family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I mean so hard that I thought I was going to lose it. I collapsed to the floor several times in spastic giggles. It felt so good. Laughter is the best medicine, according to, you know–me.
Go West, Young Man. Go West, Young Woman.
Do you feel my pain?
This morning my brother started the drive to Portland. My dad decided that this was an ideal time to take a picture of the three of us kids. It couldn’t have been when I had makeup on? Or at least no bed head? And maybe a Hogwarts sweatshirt wasn’t the most chic outfit option? Even Ava needed to be bribed with chocolate. (All I know is, no one offered me chocolate to smile).
So I hugged him tightly even though we will both be on the west coast. It is insane to me that our parents produced two kids who are both ending up out west (at least for awhile). You have to understand. I grew up 15 minutes from both side of my grandparents. As we drove up to my aunt’s we talked about how crazy it is that as different as we are, as different as we view the world, we refuse to settle (not that staying in Illinois is settling, but opportunities presented themselves or we created opportunities.) We both want adventure and boy, are we getting it. I never thought I would end up in San Francisco. Manhattan? Sure. Philly? Yeah. I don’t think San Francisco would have even come to mind but here we are. You can fall in love with a city.
It’s not about the gifts. But…
And it’s not; it’s about Jesus. But my mom found a Hogwarts Alumni sweatshirt. How cool am I? So, so, cool. I also got a lot of elephant things, these pillows I’ve been coveting, the Naked 3 pallet (woot, woot) and even more exciting–money towards a new computer. Hip, hip, hooray! Currently I am typing on a computer from my sophomore year of college. This past quarter, when it came to hitting my number and bonus, my motivation was: computer, computer, computer. So needless to say, I’m excited!
via//I won’t be getting a decal but I do love this clever one
Like Cher said, if I could turn back time.
These two crack me up
It’s been a huge blessing for many reasons that I’ve been able to spend a huge chunk of time with my family during this season. But it’s going by so quickly. We joke that we need to go on Shark Tank for something and I guess mugsaren’t going to cut it long term (although there is a sale right now; 15% off with the coupon code comfortandjoy). Well, I nominate the idea of investing in bottling time so that when I laugh around the table with my aunt and nonna, I can just stop time. So when my cousins make faces at me and I fall to the ground laughing, I can just call time out.
One night I just could not sleep and went out in the middle of the night just to take pictures in the snow.
My brother is only two years younger than me and my sister is three years old. I love that I get to talk about adult things with my brother. I love watching my sister enjoy the magic of the season with such childlike wonder. You know, she is just happy whenever anyone gets a present. “Oh my gosh, Dad! That’s amazing! I love it.” It was a shaving kit. Ha.
Furthermore, I love my mom. She is so great. Watching my mom come over and give my little sister, who she chooses to love because she loves me, her present, was lovely. Miss Sandi (mia mama) gave Ava books. Which is perfect because on her Thanksgiving placemat, Ava said she is most thankful for books. Yeah, Girl! That’s my sissy! Watching Ava “read” these books to my mom side by side on the couch, made my heart just squeeze and squeeze and squeeze. Let me be clear: the fact that we can all be in a room (Mom, Dad, Stepmom, Ava, and Me) with minimum to no awkwardness is a complete God thing. A complete God thing. None of us can take any credit it for it. But we can all be thankful for it.