What a weekend. We went to Dallas to help a friend settle into their new house and get our family pictures taken.
As always, there were iPads and dueling Disney movies. There was Tangled and Frozen and Jessie, oh my! Luckily I dig all of those so the 4 hour ride there was tolerable.
Saturday morning was picture day. But first I had to do a driveby of South Fork. The fictional home of Dallas. Yeah, that show is my jam! I’m not a freak. You can actually see it from my friend’s house, so duh. I’m not a stalker or anything. It was on the way.
I stopped to get the breakfast of champions – a dozen donuts- and Allie and I waited in line. Just a good ole morning. And then the beast turned terrible.
She started to pull down her pants in the store.
I don’t want pants!
Um, no. Put them on! Luckily she didn’t take her panties with her. Pretty sure no shoes, no shirt, no service also includes pants. Before you ask, they weren’t circulation cutting skinnies. They were pajama pants. loose ones. Child.
And then there was pictures. Have you ever tried having family pictures taken with a two year old? Get a photographer you love who also has kids because dear Lord your hair will turn gray from one pic to the next.
is amazing and despite having the Tasmanian devil to work with, she got these great pics.
And then there was the broadway version of the Little Mermaid. But Allie didn’t think it was interesting so I spent half the time going up and down stairs, in and out of the theater. Fun times.
But the icing on the cake was the thunder snow. It happens. It’s real. And not just in Canada. What is it? It’s thunder. While it snows. Did I mention it was 80 just a couple days before? Yeah. Texas.
We spent six and a half HOURS trying to make it home on a drive that should’ve taken 3.5. The roads were horrific and I’m not even sure how many accidents I saw. Anxiety much, anyone? Thankfully we made it safely and the terrible beasts were kept in line and were actually angels.
So yeah. That was my weekend. Keeping me on my toes. No pants and thunder snow.
I promise I’m not always deep or a Debbie Downer. I’m good. Worlds better than I was. So what have I been up to? Well…
* I have a new obsession with nail polish. Namely color. Bright. And brand. Flower at Walmart. Why? I love all things bright which is funny because I used to live in black. Down to my dark nail polish. It’s cheap and I can feed the need while picking up dog food and yard bags. :shudder at people of Walmart:: oh wait… See me on Saturday morning there and I am one.
* my friend Adrian moved to Austin finally and she has become my hairdresser. And Ava’s! Did you know you should only wash your hair like 3 times a week? All that time we made fun of third day hair. Wrooooong. I did it yesterday and it still looked awesome.
* soooooo don’t run screaming. That’s me. Baring it all for you. No makeup. No filter. I hate my skin. It’s a sun touched and acne scarred mess. And also we’re growing up, y’all. Time to take care of the skin. I just started Rodan & Fields treatment line because my best friend sells it and it sounded great. So far so good. The smell didn’t make me want to puke like many heavy duty zit treatments do.
I am going to keep baring my soul (seriously that’s how it feels) for you guys and check in with picture updates weekly. Check her out, btw. Don’t let the cheesy picture of who I’m assuming is Rodan and Fields push you away.
not a sponsored post FYI. Bought all that stuff by myself. And I just love my Heather Feather, so obviously.
* I finally got my bracelet. This is one of the things I wanted but refused to get until after I finished the marathon. It’s perfect. It’s dainty. I have been wearing it everyday with my watch. I bought it from Georgie Designs on Etsy, if you’re looking for handmade jewelry. The packaging alone was impressive, which is why I took pics.
And then from the 80 degrees it was on Sunday, we had this. 40 degrees and blowing rain.
And there was coffee. Beautiful coffee and beautifully home coffee. Seattle’s Best makes k-cups now!!! I’ll have a post about that I’m sure. NOM.
And, my latest lock screen. KEEP MOVING FORWARD.
So yeah. That’s a 30,000 foot view of where I am this week. Weekend update coming soon and hopefully it’ll be a super fun one!
I hear her voice coming from upstairs in the sweetest of noise.
“Mama! Come get me!”
It’s not the warrior yell of a toddler on the rampage desperate for attention or a chocolate granola bar. It’s the call of a baby who has been woken by a bad dream and just wants her mama.
I pick her up, grab her favorite blanket of the moment (Tiana), and wrap her up tightly to protect her from the cold that’s blowing in outside. I hear her sigh as she knows I’m not banishing her back to bed alone. We both need this.
She snuggles in close, tucking both arms in under her safety shield and falls asleep. There are no arguments, no pleas that she’s actually done sleeping. At 3:30 in the morning.
Before long her tiny sighs have turned to sleep and I lay her down. Not in a crib. Not in my bed. In her own bed. Her twin bed with the princess sheets she picked out. She rolls over her beautiful little bed and onto the pillow made lovingly for her with her name on it.
Suddenly my baby isn’t so little. But she is. Proof is in this silly face of excitement in her new bed.
In those moments I’m ok with still being up at 4:30 am (the moment I’m writing this). I take in the white noise from Ava’s room and the sound of the cold front blowing in outside. I feel the heat on my cheeks as the heater cycles on after days with an air conditioner blowing onto us to cool the day.
I know I won’t get back to sleep before I have to be up soon, and that’s ok. You take the time where you can get it, and obviously this is when I was given the quiet in the house that I sometimes crave to just sit and write. The inspiration I need to put words to life.
I’ll kiss my babies good night just one last time and try to sleep. I’ll be thankful beyond words for all the love in my house–even more than I could imagine deserving. But they’re mine. All of them. And I say thank you.
If there’s something I’ve learned lately, it’s stop setting things so far out to look forward to. That sounds silly, right? Especially for a girl who loves going to concerts and buys those tickets months in advance. But in the meanwhile, between today and my next big thing, everything lapses and I just look to the next big thing. And when that thing is worry and not even something fun, that sucks.
Being mindful of the place your in, in the minute you are in it is vital because living till the next big thing makes life get away from you without you knowing it. Until it’s too late.
For me it’s been little things. Getting sutures out (oh yeah, foot surgery). Science fair participation prize assembly. Seeing old and great friends. Family pictures and a blogger meet up in one (wheeeeeeeee!). Little things to look forward to one day at a time. It’s easier than only looking forward to a super fun concert in August. Or a possible exciting adventure to be revealed later this year (after my BFF brings it to fruition-ahem. No pressure, A.)
I’m very guilty of living for the future, or rather going on autopilot till the next big thing on the calendar (Maroon 5/BFF visit anyone?). But all that happens is you miss the world around you. Not even that, things as simple as getting someplace or eating my food. I can’t tell you the details of how those things happened and that is sad. And kind of scary.
Have you ever tried doing anything mindfully? It’s an interesting art I need to learn. Have you ever driven to work and realized that you didn’t notice anything on your way there, you just showed up? Clearly, that’s lack of mindfulness.
How do you become more mindful? Simple=you work hard at noticing.
That sounds silly, right? But then it becomes like second nature, sort of.
The next time you’re doing something like making a meal, eating one, being outside, be mindful.
Take in the sights around you. Really look at what you’re doing.
Hear the noises and things in your environment. Birds. Wind. The sound of the microwave or the gas burning on the stove.
Stop and smell the roses.
Touch. What are you feeling? Bread? A blade of grass? Your feet hitting the pavement as you run?
Taste the food in your mouth. I’m so guilty of scarfing my lunches that they’re gone before I know it. I eat because I have to and forget to enjoy it along the way.
This sounds ridiculous, but trust me. It’s something we need to do. Just try it one day. Slow down–says the girl who speed walks everywhere she goes.
Maybe being mindful will make us more self aware. Maybe it’ll make us more empathetic. Maybe we will notice those around us who need a little something more in the moment before it is gone.
Just live for the moment. Live IN the moment. Not for the next big thing. Life will pass you by and you won’t even realize where you’ve been.
morning with mom. Taking the time to sit with her and be silly as I got ready in the morning. One of the times I’m most guilty of rushing through the motions.
I don’t want to eat. Do I really have to go to lunch?
I guess I should go.
At least I get to spend time with J for lunch at one of my favorite places in Austin.
I can always look around when we’re done.
I can always look around instead of eating.
At least I’m out. I’m trying.
There was nothing I wanted more during the deepest, darkest throes of my depression than to curl up under my desk and sleep. All the time. Unfortunately due to human needs (eating) and financial needs (being able to keep a job), that just wasn’t an option.
I remember walking through the store that day during the lunch rush. I was happy to be at Whole Foods with J for lunch, enjoying the bustling crowd. I was also depressed. Bad. It didn’t matter that all my favorite foods and desserts that I love were there, I didn’t want them.
We sat at the high top table and I people watched and was glad to see him enjoy his bbq meal as I nibbled my kung pao chicken. I bit at rice, I grabbed at chicken. My meal went back to the office, full.
When we were done I wanted anything but to go back to work. Not because it was work, but because this felt like a tiny escape. A tiny distraction from the sad. When all of Austin is bustling around you in a few thousand square feet of space, it’s hard to stay in a hole.
We wandered around as I looked at this and that. I almost felt like a ghost on the Haunted Mansion ride, floating around in circles in a stupor.
Then we came to the soap. I had just finished using a bar of chocolate soap from my precious Addye. She spoiled me–something I never used to do for myself. I never used bar soap before that, but I loved it. I was hooked. It was my special little corner of my sink–just for me, and no one else.
I stopped. I inspected the large display of scented and natural homemade soaps. They were all divine, but in the end I was proud of the big bar of green tea soap I brought home with me.
That was months ago. I’m not even quite sure when. Maybe October? Maybe later. I just know it’s when things were bad. Right now it feels like so long ago but really it wasn’t. And that’s ok.
Tonight I washed my hands and looked at the bar of soap. What was once a giant rectangular bar was now a small oval, hanging on for dear life. Bit by bit, it’s gotten worn down and it still hangs on. Bit by bit, the depression has worn me down, but I hang on. Bit by bit, I’m getting better and I hang on for hope that it’ll pass.
It’s funny how you can measure life with a bar of soap, but I can. I looked at it remembering back to when it came home with me. How long ago that seemed and how hopeless that light would be back, that I would never be the outgoing and loud Jess that I was. But was it really that long?
Progress is measured in minutes, not years.
It’s been a long road but me and my soap are hanging on. I’m working to kick my depression’s ass (pretty well, I might add–knock on all the wood), and my soap is sticking in for another couple weeks.
And maybe it’s like my best friend lovingly pointed out. Maybe it’s the depression washing away right along with the soap. I love that girl.
It’s not a race, it’s a marathon.
Sometimes that’s a damn good reminder when you are fighting a beast that is mental illness.
thanks Kim, Addye & Adrian for inspiring me to write real
I was talking to my friend/new hair gal Adrian (she’s awesome, super sweet and very patient, and she does weddings, btw) and she was asking me the go tos for Austin. She finally moved here from California a couple months ago and wants to know the low down on where to eat. Knowing that I am a woman who loves to eat, she came to the right place.
So here’s my top 5 restaurants:
1. Whole Foods. This also falls under things to do. Austin is the Whole Foods headquarters and there are over 1500 employees in the building. It’s pretty amazing. The store is huge and there are tons of things to see from makeup to ugli fruits and you can buy TOMS and grass fed only beef.
The best thing about WF is that they have food for every flavor. Pizza, Asian, BBQ (really good), burgers and the gamut. Obviously they have an outstanding salad bar. And dessert? Don’t get me started.
Want some wine? Check out their bajillion bottle selection. And you can stop off and have some beers on tap at their in house bar. It’s awesome.
Don’t forget to pick yourself up a bunch of flowers. They’re absolutely amazing and vibrant. You can grab some for someone else too. There’s enough flowers to make everybody smile.
2. Home Slice. I’ve talked about this place before. I’m not from the East Coast but I have to think they’d think this pizza is pretty decent, and the owners are legit NYC. It’s the only place I order from and call a pizza a pie. Every other place it’d be lame. Also, best Greek salad ever.
But wait! There’s more! This is a two-fer. Right next door is a trailer called Hey Cupcake. Biggest and best cupcakes EVERRRRRRRR. I love the tried and true vanilla on vanilla. But try one of their vegan cupcakes because they use in season ingredients.
3. Shady Grove. The most delicious hamburgers and use of green chiles. The atmosphere is so awesome and if you can go when it isn’t too hot, sitting outside is fun and you’ll probably catch live music in the evening.
4. Salt Lick (Driftwood). This is a Food Network go to. It’s an amazing BBQ joint that’s cash only (because they can) where there’s usually a couple hour wait in the summer–waiting anywhere for something when it’s 100 degrees out means it’s gotta be good.
Cool thing about Salt Lick? It’s BYOB so lots of people come prepped with ice chests and don’t mind the wait. Really great selection and it’s awesome just watching them bbq the meats. Oh and get the cobbler. Seriously. DO IT.
5. Chuy’s. Gotta have a Mexican joint on the list. In our case though, it’s Tex Mex. Legit Mexican food is hard to find and if you don’t already have one of these franchises in your town, go. And buy a cool shirt (you’ll see when you get there).
The atmosphere is bustling, there are pictures of dogs or random people you don’t know on the walls, and there’s enough color to make Dorothy happy. The tortillas are made from scratch and the chile rellenos are my favorite–that’s a toughie to accomplish. They’ve even got a dish called Elvis chicken (or something) and the chicken breast is coated with potato chips. Heck yeah.
This is a great place even just for happy hour. The bar has the back end of a car sticking out of a wall, with all the fixins for nachos. FREE. Just drink and eat free nachos. Sounds like a win to me!
6. (OK OK ONE MORE). Mandola’s. How could I leave off my favorite Italian restaurant ever in life? It’s good. Order anything or everything–I love the fettucini alfredo with peas, prosciutto and mushrooms. But also spaghetti and meatballs with fresh mozzarrella. Don’t fill up on the awesome bread or you’ll be sorry. But otherwise eat it all. Then have gelato and be happy.
The place is SUPER kid friendly and the people there are really nice. The Hill County Galleria location is my favorite and there’s even a playground outside for the kids and one heck of a view for everyone else. There’s not much more to say because the awesome speaks for itself. That and the fact that I’d probably eat there daily if I could.
So there’s that. Places to visit coming soon!
Just kidding. But not.
Love people everyday, not just when Hallmark and the retailers tell you to. Especially the days people need love the most and there’s no holiday in sight.
Love you, my friends.
I don’t relax. Ever. Evvvvvvvvver. It’s the thing I’m worst at ever in life but I’m working on it. I had a massage once. What did I do? Stress about it. Seriously. I’m in repair; I’m not together, but I’m getting there.
As I write this I’m getting a beautiful massage in a chair that’s magic and my first gel pedicure. Me. No kids. Headphones on and music rocking. Yes, I was texting one of my BFFs the whole time and I was on Pinterest while jamming. No such thing as too much technology.
Don’t worry I told the lady I needed to relax and she wasn’t offended. No awkward small talk required, but probably a little extra tip. FYI, best pedicure ever in life. Totally worth the price tag.
Wanna know how bad I am? I even tell them not to do the massage because usually I just want to get back home. Why? I’m nuts. That’s why.
One of the things I’ve learned the past couple of weeks is that I really need to learn to breathe. Chill out. Just let it flow. Get enough cliches in there? Good stuff.
It sounds super lame but I’ve been working on affirmations to remind myself of a few things. Think this pin from Pinterest (see below), except they sit in notebooks and on notecards for my own eyes. Try it. They’re awesome, especially if you’re a paper and pen girl like I am.
As women we are horrendous at taking time for ourselves. I mean bad. Why do we feel guilty for taking time for ourselves when it makes us happy and feel good? I don’t know about you, but I definitely know I deserve it, but I can rationalize it till the cows come home as to why there’s no time for me to do it. Despite the urging from an awesome and supportive husband, I don’t take advantage.
Hello! Happy mommy makes for happy life. Happy life makes for better wife and mama.
So ladies, don’t be afraid to gel. I’m still learning and taking baby steps, but I’m doing it.
Chill. Run. Breathe. For you, for me. Just do it.
Oh and go get a gel pedicure. Bomb. Dot. Com.
sorry there was no link this was an Instagram image so no credit other than if you click on the pic it’ll take you to the original pin.
It’s been a hard while for you. I know that, and you obviously do too. Even in the cloud of mine, that doesn’t mean I don’t see your pain and feel it for you.
The hardest thing for me is seeing one of my dearest hearts suffer through it. Knowing that you don’t believe that you are worth it and deserve the best life has to offer, no matter what your head or your heart lie to you.
You deserve the world.
Don’t believe the lies constantly in your head.
Don’t let people make you think that you are nothing when you are everything to someone.
Keep going. Life doesn’t end with one mistake. With one bad day. With one bad patch.
Depression and life can be a bitch. But you can get punch them both in the face and smile.
You’re in repair. You may not be together, but you’re getting there. One step at a time.
I think you’ve probably seen a trend this week in self care. It’s something I’m working on hard. Mostly because I have to.
Today is my favorite day. It’s easy breezy. We all get to hang out with no obligations and we can do whatever we want. Except for when Allie is at ballet. And then she takes a nap and I happily join her. But then there’s this:
That’s the awesome part. I get to come to Starbucks and sit with my Beats on, blocking out the shouts of “dopio espresso with unicorn tears for Rain!” I love music so this is my happy place. And here I sit quietly alone, writing, reading, doing anything I want.
I’ve always wanted an office at home. Not because I want big fancy equipment, I just want a space to be. Alone. Without children coming to ask for things or dogs barking and crying to be fed for the third time in one day.
I had a facial yesterday and it was magical. My face is feeling good and I think, or hope, that I’ll continue to make progress. Also? Murad is pricey! I had no idea so I’m hoping it’s made of leprechaun and gypsy tears and works like magic. I’m so tired of the sun damage and scarring. Yay for stress zits. Except not.
I’ve already been to Walmart this morning: tip, don’t take a 2 year old with you. She wants EVERYTHING. She was particularly attached to a book about cross stitch. Needless to say that’s one thing I asked the cashier to keep. Not only that, when you’re trying to buy Valentines for the kid you’re with. Either way, I’ve gotten everyone taken care of (including the man) and gifts are bought and done. I didn’t go overboard and no new crap will be entering our house. Books, cups, stickers. Stuff they love.
So anyway, even though our Starbucks is operating on a single espresso machine, THE HORROR! ::#firstworldproblems::, no big because I had coffee this morning with my Chick Fil A biscuit. I swear I’m gonna start a Bojangles out here. Gah. And a Tim Hortons and I’ll take over the world. Or, at least the Austin fast food markets.
Happy Saturday my friends.