I feel like I say this every month, but how in the world is it the end of November already?! (Aside from the Earth continuing to rotate on its axis I mean.) I rung in my 34th birthday on the 4th with plenty of flowers and cake. And beers. It only took me 5+ years, but I finally had the pilot light in my fireplace lit. I’ve been using it for a few hours every few days and I’m kicking myself for taking so long! The fluffiest pumpkin spice pancakes happened, as did a new and much needed pair of Warby Parker glasses. I decorated a little for Thanksgiving with pumpkins, foliage, and a strand of edison bulbs. And then a few days later I put up the tree because I had an itch and scratched it. (And because when you’re 34 you can do whatever you want!) The weather has been unseasonable cold, which means the dogs have already been wearing their sweaters. One of them does not appreciate my mothering, obviously. Speaking of animals, my menagerie as expanded by one! Meet Rainey, the last of the kittens I fostered after the Moore tornadoes in May. (I’m well on track to being a Crazy Animal Lady by 35.) I managed to write out my holiday cards and get them in the mail the day before Thanksgiving, a first. This French Apple Cake with homemade caramel sauce and fresh whipped cream is my new go-to. Trust me on this one and make it immediately. We had some sleet, snow, and freezing rain last weekend, and I love any reason to pull out my Sorels! So warm and cozy. I also made some Apple Dumplings that didn’t last long after coming out of the oven. So now we’re in the homestretch of 2013, can you believe it? Let’s make December count.
October is my favorite month of the year, and it inevitable screws me over. It’s like a bad ex that I keep going back to year after year. 2013 was no different, but the second half at least threw me a bone to come back in 2014.
I found an old stash of senior pictures – definitely a case of baby face in the left one. The dogs have decided they much prefer a $50 hypoallergenic pillow on the couch to either a dog bed or blanket. Figures! I finally had the garage sale that’s been five years in the making, and I couldn’t be happier it’s over. (More on that later.) Took a fast weekend trip home to Pennsylvania and couldn’t not stop at my favorite hometown bakery. Three days later I was in sunny Palm Springs, CA soaking up some sun with a few of my favorite ladies. I also attended Camp Mighty and added a few photobooth strips to my ever-growing collection! Then it was back home to play a serious game of catch up and get some Bebe cuddles in.
Last Wednesday I departed on what was basically my first vacation in 7 1/2 years. I wish that were an exaggeration, but when it comes down to it I’m not the best at making time for myself. So a few months ago when a group of my favorite girlfriends decided to take a trip to Palm Springs I knew I had to join in or risk losing the small strand of sanity that keeps me going.
We stayed at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club, which made me feel fully indoctrinated into hipter-ism. The campy vibe was perfect and laid back, while everyone on staff was incredibly friendly and accommodating. Maybe more so than anywhere else I’ve ever stayed. I loved all of the little touches, from the teeny tiny cubed soap on a rope in each room to the heavy down duvet on my bed.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the Ace used to be a rundown Holiday Inn that was given new life, and I love that the lobby/restaurant/bar on site are housed in a remodeled Denny’s!
The majority of time was spent lazily lounging around and in the larger of the two pools. I’m a reformed water baby and definitely lapsed during the five days spent in PS! And miracle of miracles not one of us ladies burned thanks to frequent reapplications of SPF (though I’m kind of convinced it has more to do with the Ace existing in a magical bubble in the desert). I came home yesterday with a lovely glow – sometimes a overdose of sun is just what the doctor ordered.
The grounds were so well designed, too. Combed sand, art installations, and fruit trees abounded. (I borrowed three Meyer lemons to bring home with me!) We’re already planning to revisit next year for another girls’ retreat.
The underlying reason for being in town was to attend Camp Mighty. Last year I was lucky enough to attend Mighty Summit, and the instant I left northern California knew I had to get more of the invigoration I felt afterwards. Camp Mighty is an annual retreat for bloggers, Go Mighty members, online content creators, and life list enthusiasts who want to do good for themselves and others. It’s where 150 individuals gather to trade ideas, get motivated, and start projects. And it’s just the place to be if you want to make things happen.
Highlights included a space themed party (with lots of dancing by this girl), a group workshop to highlight each person’s top five goals for the coming year, inspired sessions (including keynote speaker Piper Kerman of Orange is the New Black fame), and a beautiful closing dinner. All within about 20 feet of a pool. Not too shabby!
Each of us wrote down our five goals for the year and taped them to a massive board. Then everyone else read the lists and hung a tag from the pin if they could help you accomplish anything. Last year I went the tough route, but after a hairy 2013 I decided to take it easy on myself this round.
My 5 Goals:
1. Find my signature cocktail. (Really, I don’t have one.)
2. Get a tattoo with my mom. (I got two with my dad several years ago.)
3. Make an anonymous donation. (Truly anonymous, as in won’t tell a soul.)
4. Make spaghetti sauce from scratch. (I’ve never done it!)
5. Organize a charitable event. (It’s already in the works, so stay tuned!)
The trip turned out to be just what I needed after a very difficult start to the month. I came home exhausted, but with a renewed sense of getting my ass in gear. Are you a life list maker? Yay or nay?
We’ve been doing some updates, here Peanut the cat gives his approval on a new armchair in the living room. I hung this sweet porcelain horseshoe over my front door for luck. Bebe was awful scruffy (how I like her!) before getting her semi-annual fur cropping. Oklahoma has some of the best sunset I’ve ever seen and brought out her best for the month. I visited Plenty Mercantile for the first time (I’ll be going back. Often.) and picked a few giant sticks of colorful taffy to ogle. Last month I commissioned this beautiful MCM-inspired coffee table and it was delivered last week. We updated the front door with some vinyl house numbers for a fun, graphic look. S’mores candy corn exists. For the record it’s good, but not heavily s’mores-y.
I know I can’t be the only one wondering where August went. I took a little road trip down Route 66 with my friend/photographer, Caroline. The perfect red lip for my skin color is no longer elusive thanks to NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl. Shared a pre-prom Scarlett O’Hara Gone with the Wind photo, along with this hot swimsuit shot that brought sexy back. Made an appearance in the September issue of Dwell magazine in their international bloggers article (pinch me!). Hit up Shop Good‘s annual Mustache Bash and the accompanying Gentlemen’s Market, where sadly one could not purchase a gentleman. Caught Womb Gallery in all its psychodelic glory. Goose the seizure kitten was adopted! My Roxy Girl turned the big 1-3. Reminisced a little about starting my freshman year at OU 15(!) years ago. And, of course, spent way too much time playing/cuddling/photographing Bebe.
PHOTO: Gregory Krum
A few weeks back I had one of the most raging headaches I can remember ever experiencing. Migraines run in my family and I fall prey to them about once a month, but when this one was still hanging around a whopping five days later I knew something was up. None of my prescription or OTC meds were doing anything to even dull the pain that was originating at the base of my skull and radiating up towards my ears and jaw. That’s when I scheduled a massage, thinking that maybe some sort of deep tissue maneuvering might work a little magic.
I met with a master masseuse who ended up using a variety of massage techniques – not all comfortable and relaxing – to try and relieve the extreme tension that had built up in my neck and back. That’s right, it was a tension headache in migraine’s clothing. When the masseuse was finished she told me it was a challenging massage to give because I wouldn’t relax and that we needed more than an hour because I was so tense. Then she asked me whether I was stressed about anything (not really) and what I did for myself (uhhhh). My response was a very truthful “I’m not very good at that sort of thing.”
The massage did help, but the masseuse’s words are what really stuck. I realized I physically need to make more time for myself. Being a full-time blogger I have the advantage of a flexible schedule, it also means that I don’t have your typical weekend off. So I’ve decided that Wednesdays are going to be my recharging time, smack dab in the middle of the workweek. Feel Good Wednesdays, if you will. I definitely won’t be taking the day off, but I will be taking more time than usual for myself. A yoga class, less caffeine and more hydration (like with bubbly Ozarka® Brand Sparkling Natural Spring Water), maybe a mug of tea to wind down, a longer walk with the dogs once the temperatures drop, you see what I’m saying. I’m hoping that by slowing down just a little my life will thrive even more.
How do you make time for yourself? I can use all the advice you can give!
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July has been, hands down, the most trying month of 2013 for me. But among all of the late nights and long days there were plenty of good moments. Nursing this little foster guy back to health after a series of seizures is near the top of that list. School supplies are out! Every year I allow myself one or two things, I wish I were a perpetual student! I made the best berry galette ever (just added blueberries to this recipe). Experienced my first ever blowout from the lovely ladies at blo and got some beachy waves. Bebe turned 2 years old and Peanut turned 13! I spent an afternoon exploring OKC, which resulted in us celebrating Oklahoma City Week here on Design Crush. I received the best print from Read Between the Lines, it makes me smile each time I walk by. My kitchen has been getting the best golden hour sun. One afternoon I pilfered a bunch of crepe myrtle from my neighbor (except not really because it hangs over onto my property). A few afternoons afforded me some quality time with the pets, generally in the form of a nap. Loving my advance copy of The Art of I Love You!
Day 2 of my San Diego mini-vacay brought even more sightseeing at the side of Design Milk! Our first stop – after bagels, duh – was the island of Coronado. I’m not sure what I expected, if anything, but I completely fell under the spell of this beachy village, its sweet shops, and its cottages.
Then of course there was the Hotel del Coronado, which I’ve dreamed of visiting for ages. I’d always pictured it living on a small cliff, but there it was right on the beach. The Del (as locals refer to it) is currently celebrating its 125th birthday, check out the oversize gold bow on the left turret!
The interior was pure old Hollywood magic and I really appreciated that the grounds are open to the public to enjoy as well as guests. Though I have to say it’s definitely high on my list to stay here for a getaway sooner than later!
Next up were the tide pools at Point Loma. It’s a long drive through the town, up a big hill, and past several military facilities to get there. Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery was a beautifully sobering site as we neared our destination. The cemetery is spread out quite a bit, but all areas have this incredible view of either the bay or ocean side of the Point. Such a peaceful resting place for those who gave up their life for our country, and so well-deserved.
We made our way down the other side of the gigantic hill to the tide pools… only had neglected to think of what time the tide would actually be out. It wasn’t and the pools were covered, but we still walked down the crazy cliffside and admired the striated cuts.
We then stopped at the Cabrillo National Monument for some stunning views. All the way to right? Mexico. For real.
Our last stop was Old Town, the birthplace of California where the first Europeans settled. Everyone was dressed in era-appropriate clothing and the signage was especially noteworthy to this designer.
All of the shops were so cute, I left the pottery one with a small piece – a cat of course! My only regret is that I made Jaime eat ice cream for lunch at the Hotel del Coronado and we were too full to stop at one of the restaurants for a bite.
In the information center they had a to scale version of the town as it most likely looked in 1850, this is only about 1/3 of it all. I’ve visited lots of settlements like this in the northeast, but it was really interesting to see one in a different region of the U.S.
Many thanks to Jaime and family for a super fun visit!
Saw a minor league baseball game from some great seats! Kept working to reunite animals and their owners separated by the Moore tornado. Enjoyed plenty of deck time with a view, including cotton candy clouds. Bikes came out of the woodwork! Bebe practiced for a yet-to-be cast roll as Toto. Spruced up the guest bath with a new shower curtain and the living room with an arc lamp. Oh, and me with a cute purse. Ate strawberries like they were going out of style. Spent quality time with this stinky butt, and this tiny pony, and this sad-eyed pup. Managed to sneak away for a few days and unplug and see The Sandcastle Man along the way.
Last week I picked up and headed west to visit San Diego and one of my good friends, Jaime Derringer of Design Milk! San Diego was the last major city in California that I had left to visit and I couldn’t wait to pack my bags and get airborne. Not even a sinus migraine or delayed flights could hold me back!
After landing much later than originally planned, Jaime and her beyond adorable daughter picked me up at the airport and drove me directly to the source of all things good in the world – fish tacos at Rubio’s, the supposed birthplace of my favorite Mexican delight! Now that’s a friend.
The next morning I worked them off (and then some) when we went hiking at Torrey Pines. I complained a little, sweated a lot, but couldn’t have asked for a better view along the way. The area is so well maintained, it’s seriously impressive.
I loved all of the crazy foliage everywhere, not so much the rattlesnake holes.
After a few trails we drove down to the beach and stood in the freezing cold water, then walked along the edge a little. I was busy looking for shells and realized the west coast is all about rocks. I collected four smallish ones and proceeded to unintentionally carry them along everywhere I went for the next few days in my purse. Let’s just call it extra weighted cardio, shall we?
I fell in love with this unattended lifeguard stand against the rocky outcropping of the reserve behind it.
Next we headed over to La Jolla, where I promptly picked out several seaside homes to live in that I can only ever dream of setting foot in let alone affording. The little details of the town are what really stuck out to me (well that and the bazillion foot tall palms), and the juxtaposition of an Armani Exchange next to a local shop selling seashell wind chimes was a treat.
I loved this woman sprawled out in the middle of this park with her pink bike and pink outfit!
What happened next was this animal lover’s dream come true. SEALS!
We walked out onto the seawall and I was in heaven, I swear I could have stood there for hours observing these flubbery, flippy-floppy guys!
I promptly picked out my favorite – the light brown guy just to the right of center – and a few minutes later realized he wasn’t a seal at all. Instead he was the lone sea lion on the beach! Such a Kelly thing to do.
We stopped for lunch at the sweetest converted house, Cody’s, where Jaime had the best fries ever and my chopped salad was amazing. I think I could have sat there for hours under the shade of all their umbrellas admiring this little modern building.
When we got back to Jaime’s I was just about as exhausted as Lulu the English Bulldog looked.
The adventure continues…