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Flowers make me happy

12 Aug
Can you tell which of these flowers are store bought and which are from our garden?

Hydrangeas

Dahlias

Roses

and Lilies!

Take your guess in the comments and have a fabulous weekend!!

Wanna be a Mother’s Day!

16 May

As you know, last Sunday was Mother’s Day. Even though I’m not a mom and I’m not pregnant, I kind of felt like I should get a little bit of recognition because I’ve already taken steps in the motherhood direction. For example, I quit caffeine (again) and always take my prenatal vitamins. I also started clomid which makes me feel like hell for about a week. After we “tried” if you know what I mean, I stopped drinking alcohol AND I stood in line for an hour at Urgent Care on Saturday morning to get a blood test to monitor the medication. Plus, I’m my dogs mom, so that totally counts, right?

Anyway, I decided that this Sunday was going to be my special day and my husband and I would spend the whole day together. Usually, our weekends fill up with work, family obligations, husband’s golf, etc. and it has been a long time since we’ve had a day for just the two of us. So, I told my husband that today he was all mine and we had an amazing day!

It started with breakfast in bed on the couch made by my wonderful husband. We had really yummy breakfast sandwiches, but I forgot to take a picture, so you’ll have to use your imagination. Fresh baked focaccia with avocado, tomato, and cheesy eggs. YUM.

Then, I got dressed up in a new dress I bought for my friend Laura’s rehearsal dinner. I found it at Nordstrom Rack on sale from $118 to $45!! Plus, it was a size 2! The brand must run big, because I’m nowhere near a size 2, but it did make me feel amazing.

Our first destination was the Art in the Streets exhibit at MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art). Before we went in, though, we stopped by the Levi’s Film Workshop next door. It was pretty cool! They had a green screen that was all setup with a camera and monitors, a stop-motion workshop, thing cool thing where you could draw on filmstrips that they would later make into a movie, an editing station, and this cool camera:

Then, we headed in to the museum and it was pretty awesome.

When I was student-teaching 4 years ago, a student gave me a painting made from this stencil. He copied it from Banksy and I still have it hanging up by my desk.

This was my favorite piece. It was in a little room by itself and was a big sculpture made of paper cut-outs with lights shining from the inside out. The room was draped in white fabric, so the light made these beautiful shadows all around the room.

I want to live inside of it.

There were quite a few sculptures of very life-like people and animals. In the Bansky section, there were 2 men in white suits with gas masks on and a dog peeing on a wall. I had to hold my husband’s hand when we walked by them because I have always been afraid of that sort of thing. I can remember walking through an entire museum with my hand over my eyes when I was little (my mom was holding my other hand) because it was full of life-sized stuffed bears and wolves and other animals. I was terrified and it still REALLY freaks me out. Life-like people are even worse, so when we went into this dark hallway and turned the corner to find this:

I completely freaked out and ran the other way. I made my husband take a picture so I could share it with you guys even though I was terrified of it. It was a figure of a bum and I get the creeps just looking at this picture

Can you see my cute dress?

These are pictures shaped like bricks of train cars covered in graffiti . They covered three walls of one little room.

My husband’s favorite.

Who knew a tagged freeway sign would be considered art?

Little houses mounted on the wall – the wall was covered in different types of doors. See the little doggie?

My favorite door. I really wanted a print of this, but the gift shop was not too great. I’ll have to try to find one online somewhere. By Oso somebody.

Speakers! They also had a drum kit, guitars, and a keyboard set up that you could play.

A wall of lost pet posters. Sad, but cool.

What if we used this to teach the alphabet?

On the right, a poster for a great movie about street art called Exit Through the Gift Shop. You should see it. On the left, one of my favorite guys. Don’t hate.

After the museum, we headed to my new favorite restaurant Bottega Louie. This time I took pictures of our food. Some of them I remembered to take before we started eating, too! Win!

Modena salad. Or what’s left of it. Really yummy.

We loved it, can’t you tell?

Berry lemonade – light a refreshing, not too sweet, just sweet enough. Perfect for this caffeine-free lady.

Burrata pizza with prosciutto and broccoli rabe. Soooooo yummy.

Butterscotch Budino – butterscotch custard with sea salt and whipped cream. Holy YUM. Changed my life, just like the server said it would.

We also had a couple of cappuccinos which were delish (decaf for me) and took home some macarons.

I really wanted a cupcake with a mini macaron on top. My favorite was the one with the rose petal and pink sprinkles, but I had to walk away. Too many calories were consumed on my behalf that day.

When we got home, I went on a bike ride to Whole Foods for some peonies, my favorite flower.

It was the perfect day.

Have you ever declared a “me” day? What did you do?

Flowers from our garden

12 Apr

I forgot to include the “before” photo in my last post, but I fixed it, so make sure you check out what a DISASTER that little plot of land was before we my husband cleared it.

Our home had pretty good landscaping already started when we moved it, but we wanted more roses, so we have taken out some boring bushes and put in some new rose bushes over the last few years. It seems as though this year will be the year of the rose at our house, because they’ve exploded and it is still really early in the season.

Sunday morning while I was sleeping in, my husband cut a ton of them and put them in a big vase next to the bed for me to wake up to (cue the “awwwwww!” yeah, he’s pretty adorable). The house was a total disaster and I decided that I needed to clean it to bring it up to the roses’ beautiful level. Also, I divided up the big bunch into some smaller vases so they’d be more evenly distributed around the room.

These are my favorite. Note to self: need more two tone roses.

Doesn’t this look like a centerpiece at a wedding or something?

It smells amazing in our living room.

These aren’t roses, but they’re from our garden, as well! They remind me of Easter.

It’s so easy (and cheap!) to keep fresh flowers in the house in the spring. How often do you bring fresh flowers inside?

>Reflective

31 Jan

>In teacher school, one of the major buzzwords was “reflective” teaching. The idea behind this is that teachers should be continuously thinking about what they are doing in the classroom and changing what isn’t working. This way, teachers don’t get stuck in that rut of just recycling the same assignments year after year without adapting them to the students’ needs.

While I can get in teaching ruts, I think I’m pretty good at being reflective. I rarely do the same exact thing twice. I’m always changing things up and trying to improve my craft. I also try to apply this to my life outside of teaching. That’s one of the reasons I love therapy so much. If something is bothering me about my life, I make a mental note and bring it up at therapy. This usually leads to me making changes about how I act and react in certain situations.

For example, one thing that I’ve noticed about others and myself, is that we say we’ll do something and then complain about it. Yes, I will babysit but, oh I wish I was doing x instead. Or, yes I’ll go to that fancy dinner, but oh I really can’t afford it. Since I can’t change how other people make choices, I’m just going to change how I do. If I’ve been really looking forward to my yoga class and someone asks for a favor that would prevent me from going, I politely say no. If there’s an event that I’d love to be a part of, but I just can’t afford it, I nicely decline. If I said yes to these things, I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from complaining and that’s not pleasant for anyone involved. I don’t believe this is selfish of me, but I can see that someone might think that it is. Oh well for them!

That’s something else I’m working on: oh well! I’m trying to stop myself from getting so worked up about what others do or think or say. I need to worry about them less and focus on my reactions. Oh well is now my new mantra.

I’m far from perfect and I’m not striving for perfection. I’m just trying to be the best “me” that I can be. I know  that I can change because I’ve done it so much lately. I also know I’ve never be done reflecting and changing.

ps
I’m coordinating a wedding in September and the bride wants me to do her flowers as well! I love flowers, so here’s my favorite inspiration picture from The Knot:

Her colors are red, orange, and yellow. I think this bouquet is a lovely twist on that fall palette!

Floralscapes!

5 Jun

I live in LA near the 101 freeway. This is the fwy we take to go anywhere that isn’t in our local neighborhood. I try to think about how much of my life is spent on the 101 every year… I would guess I spend about 5-6 hours on it every week and that is kind of depressing.

A few months ago I noticed something different on my drive home from work. On the side of the freeway, where plants go to die and vandals go to tag, there was a beautiful mural… made of FLOWERS. 
This is the third design I’ve seen in this spot since they began. Each one depicts a Toyota Prius driving with a different background and the whole this is made of living, growing flowers.
This one is on the side of the freeway in Pasadena. Isn’t it amazing?


These are some other designs that I hope will be blooming near us soon!
You would think this would be extremely wasteful of both water and flowers. They change out the designs well before the flowers are dead. However, this project is really quite green! 
From a PRESS RELEASE: Toyota Prius ‘Harmony Floralscapes’ Blooming Along Los Angeles Freeways
“The Floralscapes are created from organic and reusable materials and are maintained using ecologically friendly techniques, including the utilization of non-potable water, solar electricity and ecologically responsible insect and fungi control. California-based businesses are contracted to install and maintain the Floralscapes. The non-profit Los Angeles Conservation Corps, which provides training, education and work experience to at-risk young adults and school-aged youth, will maintain the areas surrounding the Floralscapes.”

Great advertising, right? Well, according to The Novato Advance, The federal Highway Beautification Act doesn’t allow corporate names or logos in an interstate highway’s right of way.” Since there is no name or logo, it isn’t considered advertising, so it is legal.

I think this is wonderful, not only for my boring drive home, but for the planet and for our community. I hope other companies are watching and taking notes. I want to see these all over the freeways!

Laura and Scott’s Engagement Party

4 May

On Saturday, we celebrated the engagement of one of my dear friends, Laura to her fiancée Scott.

The happy couple being toasted.
Laura asked me to be a bridesmaid (which is a big honor and I can’t wait to be there for her on her special day), so I wanted to help out with the engagement party in the best way I know how. Our friend Michelle and Laura’s cousin hosted the party at Michelle’s parents’ house (thanks Gale and Dave!) and they handled all the food and beverages. Our friend Roxanne was in charge of desserts and I did the flowers and some of the decor!
I made several tissue paper poms from Martha to hang over the bar, outside, and around the house in the lovely arches.
My husband helping out. Isn’t his shirt adorable?
Michelle’s husband got roped into helping me as well.
The bar with poms and my floral arrangements.
We had a great time catching up with friends.
Some of the bridesmaids with the lovely bride-to-be!
Michelle made the delicious food, including these cute won-ton cups filled with Asian salad.
Cake with a photo taken right after Scott proposed on the beaches of Cabo.
My husband learned to shuck oysters, a new skill he is quite proud of.
Michelle’s sister Nichole with Michelle and Andy’s baby. Isn’t he the cutest?? His name is awesome too: Carter!
Being silly for the camera.
The guests during the toasts, they are so loved!
It was so fun to celebrate the engagement of two great friends! I love watching others experience the joy of marriage – bringing friends and families together and starting on a new and exciting journey as husband and wife! Congratulations, Laura and Scott!