Thursday, December 29, 2011

Words_2012

Aye, 2012 be around thee corner. (Pirate talk intros... are they ever cool?)

Back in the olden days, my dear friend Ashleigh and I would rendezvous at Barnes and Noble (there's no "s" on "Noble" people) days before the new year and write out our wishful resolutions on tiny pieces of paper. That piece of paper would get folded neatly in my wallet and sadly become long forgotten until I emptied my purse looking for a Starbucks gift card with .80 cents left on it.

In the last few years, I've resorted to blogging about my hopes for the pending year but haven't held myself to anything terribly specific. Today, as I was thinking about all the millions of things I have to do, I built myself a tidy list of fairly actionable goals/thoughts to look forward to as 2012 lingers around the corner.

Here is what I jotted down:


  • Financial Peace University - Dave Ramsey is a financial consultant, author and well known radio personality. He experienced bankruptcy and financial debt at a young age due to the mishandling of his money but rebuilt his business and life to enormous success based on a rigid financial plan. Robbe and I are planning to go through the program next month which is taught at various churches across the country to learn how to manage and save money and kick the debt in our lives, especially as we're about to join forces. You can learn more about the 13-week course here.
  • Wedding-a-Week Countdown - There are 22 weeks left before I get married and there is still a lot to be done. I'm hoping that I'm able to commit myself to nailing down the remaining details, delegated in detail within those 22 weeks, so that when June 2 comes, I'm not bald and look like an aged turtle from stress. 
  • The Urge to Purge - I love getting rid of stuff. The fewer things I have, the better! I've lived at my current place for almost three years and for those almost three years, my stuff has been accumulating in our garage. I'm hoping to karate chop it or move it with me but the thought of going through everything is a little daunting. Target date: Spring when it's warmer to sift through everything.
  • Question a Day Book - My friend Mandy gave me a book for my 30th birthday where you answer a different question everyday. It chronicles your answers for five years so you answer the same question that you did the year before on that particular day. The book is around $17 or you can download the app as well. More info here.
  • To babysit or not to babysit, that is the question- I have six nieces and nephews and I always have a blast with them when I babysit. Usually our time spent together consists of dance parties, lots of hide-and-go-seek, charades, and watching TV. I'd like to make my time more meaningful with them like teaching them a craft or even, dare I say it, something educational--but fun! Of course. I know this runs this risk of toppling my "cool" status but in the end, I know it'd be worth it. Now I just need to figure out how to make uncool stuff cool. Hm...
  • Shut Up! Time - Our culture is so incredibly noisy. I don't know how to be still anymore. Even being still is distracting sometimes. I'd like to attempt to be alone, perhaps read a book or a magazine or the newspaper or just be completely quiet without feeling guilty or thinking I'm being wasteful with my time. 
My turn is up. You?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Words_2011

Well, 2011, it's been quite a year. You delivered:

  • an earthquake
  • a hurricane
  • the season finale of FNL
  • one of my best friend's weddings
  • a 30th birthdaycation (during said earthquake and hurricane)
  • the O's ousting the Red Sox from the playoffs
  • an always memorable trip to NYC
  • Bon Iver, Jay-Z and Kanye in concerto
  • the Ravens beating the Steelers not once but twice
  • me nearly losing my mind at work
  • the amazing Breaking Bad series
This time last year I was location-shopping for wedding venues. Presently, I've nailed down the who, what, where, and why but still need to make decisions about: wear, how, and how, wear. 

The concept of marriage is still sinking in. I'm not sure how long it takes to really settle into your psyche but I can only imagine it's in a moment of realistic disenchantment when you realize that the person you love farts unintentionally on you while sleeping (and vice versa) or snores so loudly it deprives you of sleep (purely hypothetical, I promise I'm not implicating Robbe). And the unintentional (or maybe intentional) farting and snoring is well, forever. Forrreverrrrrrrrrr (source: Sandlot). It's a daunting feeling when I really think about marriage as an isolated concept without the emotional attachment of a spouse. It changes every single thing about your life and you have to learn to function as a unit instead of independently whether you like it or not. Sure you can still be independent, but for the most part, you are half of a greater whole. It's an amazing responsibility and I'm not sure people realize what a deep commitment it is to say to someone, no matter what happens, I'm still going to stand by you and love you even after the honeymoon phase is over and we're poor and tired and fat and balding and the cute jokes that once worked don't work anymore. And then throw kids into the picture? Commitment just got real. I'm not trying to depress the idea of marriage. Again, the idea of marriage void of Robbe is overwhelming to me. But the idea of marriage with Robbe is exciting and humbling; a little overwhelming but manageable because I have my best friend and love at my side. 

Halfway into 2012, I'll become Mrs. Reddinger. I think I've had a pretty good run as Kimi Raspa. I've done mostly average things but not short of a few exciting things sprinkled here and there. I think one of the things I've cherished in all of this time is the friendships I've made and the depth they've yielded throughout the last 10-15 years. I look forward to all the friendships Robbe and I will forge together in the next few months of life, mixing old with the new. 

Happy early 2012 and Auld Lang Syne. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Words_Channeling Jo March

I just read today that Louisa May Alcott didn't write Little Women until she was 35. I also read that you can visit and tour her Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts. I also read that you can have a Little Women birthday party.

I die.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Words_What the What?

I found out as recently as a few days ago that this entire time I've known Robbe, his name "Robbe" is meant to be pronounced: Rob-ee. I've been spelling it with a 'y' this entire time to reference "Robbey." Seven years, people. Just finding that out now. Maybe it's an obvious assumption; maybe it's not.
And who could forget how I mispronounced his last name for a good year or so when I first started dating him. But I feel that may pale in comparison to this misstep. So to sum up, we're engaged and I'm planning on taking on an entirely new name that I just learned how to pronounce. I'm beginning to think I'm actually a mail-order bride.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Words_Fall Week

This week:

I've been officially Google Voiced (saved $18 on my plan so far).

Over dinner, Robbey asked me: "When do I start referring to you as a 'woman'?"

I watched Up All Night with Christine Applegate and Will Arnett and loved it! How do I get them to be my best friends?

I poured through some old blog entries from Xanga and hold everyone who read and encouraged my "humorous writing" entirely responsible for all my shameful, unfunny, ridiculous ghettospeak nonsense. I better not look back on these Blogger posts and retreat into a humiliating hole in the ground either, folks.

So grateful for the weekend and a Saturday to sleep in.

Happy Fall, ya'll.



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Videos_Whiffle Me This

Robbey joined a whiffle ball league.
His walk out song?


My walk out song.


My walk out inspiration.


Speaking of walk outs, here is our wedding reception walk out inspiration.
(I think it's obvious that I'd be Kanye and Robbey would be Jay-Z.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Words & Photos_High-Five Tuesday

1. Deeply encouraged and moved by this today, although the original hard copy version maintains the older language which, to me, is richer and more meaningful. Nonetheless, these words spoke to me:

The true expression of Christian character is not in good-doing, but in God-likeness. If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit divine characteristics in your life, not just good human characteristics. God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly. The secret of a Christian’s life is that the supernatural becomes natural in him as a result of the grace of God, and the experience of this becomes evident in the practical, everyday details of life, not in times of intimate fellowship with God. 

2. I follow a friend of a friend on Twitter who does who-knows-what in NYC. All I know is that she can tweet disgustingly amazing things like this: http://instagr.am/p/NqlWo/ Jealous doesn't even begin to describe how I feel.

3. Robbey and I have started working on our wedding site (puke? I know) and I must say, it is really adorable. It also reaffirms one of the many reasons I love Robbey in the way he writes, both humorously and poetically, especially about the people he loves.

4. Excited for a Nashville wedding next week and being a part of Robbe reuniting with some of his closest friends. In other news, can someone find me a cute dress to wear, please? Marchesa?

5. Has anyone ever bought a wedding dress or know someone who has bought a used/preowned wedding dress online? If so, let a homegirl know, please!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Videos_Emmys Recap

Just in case you missed it.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS!!!

Sally Draper, Mad Men

Most Adorable Tear Jerker of an Acceptance Speech: Melissa McCarthy

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Words_Ghetto Emmys

I came home to an occupied TV which means I had to watch the Emmys online... or so I thought. I thought the Emmys was streaming the entire show on their website but it really was all backstage coverage. It's like getting locked out of a VIP party and having to catch glimpses of it when someone comes in and out the door.

My only saving grace was comedian Michael Kosta who hosted all the backstage shenanigans (11 backstage cameras including the green room, a Thank You cam, main stage, press room, winner's room...etc.) and turned my frown upside down with his consistently incorrect celebrity identifications, butchering of celebrity names, his professed love for Friday Night Lights, and poking fun at not only all the actors but his colleagues (stage crew, producers, backstage directors).

 Here are some of my favorite highlights:

  • On the green room: "I love watching all the actors completely disregard each other." 
  • "There's a black person with a camera." 
  • "That was an opportunity for the crew to laugh but instead.... no one did anything. And now I feel awkward inside." 
  • "There's Sofia Vergara walking by and she's saying, 'I want to make love to you Michael.' Did you hear that? Can we rewind the tape?" 
  • "Turtle finally showed up proving that slow and steady wins the race. I'm sorry..." 
  • Peter Dinklage's speech to the Thank You cam: "This is heavy." (Referring to the Emmy.)
    Michael: "Peter Dinklage keeps it short as usual." 
  • "You can tell which camera is the Roaming Cam because you'll want to vomit everywhere." 
  • On Margo Martindale's Thank You cam speech: "Don't you want to ask her to make you some pecan pie?" 
  • "There's LL Cool J... oh sorry, that's the wrong camera. That's not LL Cool J, that's a white balding man; much different. We went from LL Cool J to LL Bean."
  • "These kind of sound like adult films: "Too Big To Fail", "Sherlock, A Study in Pink Masterpiece", "Mildred Pierce"... that doesn't sound too bad... and "Good Ol' Downtown Abbey". 
  • On watching Hugh Laurie in the Green Room: "Stars are just like us, I believe he just burped. We're getting some confirmation on that." 
  • "There's Amy Poehler. I sat next to her on a plane one time and she was very nice. Does she remember? Maybe mostly. She slept the whole time, but I tweeted 13 pictures of her sound asleep."
  • "I'm going to ask Pat (producer) to help me with identifying these actors. Pat just told me 'No one in the world knows who that guy is'; I'm sure that makes that guy's parents feel good."
  • "William J. Macy looks looks like a caveman managing a TGI Fridays."
  • "There's Gwenyth Paltrow and her brother. Is that not her brother? They kind of look alike. I don't think that's her brother. It's gonna be weird when they french kiss."
  • "I've slowly won our crowd over. Frank has fake laughed 60 times."
  • "This is Joel McHale and a shadowy figure."
I love you Michael Kosta but I vote for Josh Sorokach to host or co-host next year.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Words & Photos_Done-zo

We did it! After nearly a year of being engaged, Robbey and I finally had our engagement/save the date photos done by the lovely, ever patient, ever talented Misie; my dear friend, bridesmaid, and photographer extraordinaire. Can't wait to finally have some photos of Robbe and I together that aren't of me trying to pick his nose (but I can still do that, right).

Until then...


Friday, September 16, 2011

Videos_U-S-A!

Scored free tickets to the Ravens/Steelers game this past week courtesy of my sister-in-law and her ridiculous hook-ups. Thank goodness Robbe is a Steelers fan; otherwise I'm not sure if I would have made it to the guest list. Whether or not you're a Ravens fan, this pre-game taps performance and unraveling of the American flag with a stadium of 70,000+ people chanting U-S-A was pretty amazing to say the least.

Happy Purple Friday!


Ravens vs. Steelers Pre-game - Taps from Kimi on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Words & Video_Happy! Surprise! Love!

Today was quite a day. I threw not one but two birthday surprises for Robbey, all prepared seconds beforehand.

Surprise #1
I'm in my kitchen. I send a text to Robbey: "What's your ETA?" His responds: "Five minutes." I continue to put dishes away when I hear my front door creak open. I immediately leap behind the kitchen counter and wait a few seconds. The moment I see Robbey's head come into view, I jump out from behind the counter and yell, "Surpriiiiiiise!" He's unusually calm for some reason but flashes a wide smile. Was he tipped off? But how could he have been...
"Are you surprised?" I ask.
"Yeah," he says, still cool as a cucumber.
"Well, I got you this--" I pointed to a half eaten chicken sandwich I had just heated in the microwave. "And this--" I picked up an almost empty cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee. My eyes land on an almost empty bottle of Diet Coke. "And this, too!"
"Wow, thank you." He says flatly.
"I'm so glad I surprised you," I say. "I mean, I know your birthday's in May but I've been planning this for months now. I was so afraid last night that someone was going to say something and ruin it."
"I can't believe you pulled it off." He says.
"I just love you so much," I say.
He reaches for the Diet Coke bottle.
"Oh wait," I say.
"Can't I have this?" He asks.
"Actually... sorry," I say slowly. "That's my roommate's."

Surprise #2 (A half an hour later than Surprise #1)
Robbe takes a shower. I vacuum my room. I hear him turn the water off and open the door for air. I nearly close my door and turn off the lights, waiting expectantly for him to walk in.

This is what happened (skip to 0:11 seconds)



If you didn't know what love was, well, now you know.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Words_Here and Now

This Friday, my oldest niece turns eight. I asked my sister-in-law (her mom) for some birthday gift ideas. After some thought, she replied: "Gift cards." Yes, gift cards. For an eight-year-old. What happened to jelly shoes, slap bracelets and Jem and the Hologram trading cards?

Next week, I (finally!) take a five-day vacation with some of my oldest, dearest friends. We have miraculously coordinated an unprecedented group vacation to commemorate each of us turning 30 by the end of the year. How funny to think I'll be in a house surrounded by people who have been in my life as far back as 17 years. My, how we've grown!

I wish I was getting married tomorrow. Instead, I'm getting married in less than ten months. That is hardly tomorrow.

Starting over is a delicate wound that heals slowly with constant attention and care. My mom and I have started over after many years apart. She is love and forgiveness. I am unworthy but I am free.

I am Jo March. Writing is all I really know how to do. My ridiculous and at times nonsensical semi-humorous stories are her mystery vampires and 'The Sinners Corpse'. I am searching, praying, understanding, hoping for opportunities to grow and truly write from the soul.

Life is but a breath. And I hope to reflect on these times as stepping stones to something much more meaningful and transforming. I want to be OK with living lightly and modestly, I want to learn how to truly give and then give some more; I want to be more concerned with other people and their needs than with myself; I want to share the amazing things God does in my life without feeling stifled; I want to live as if I'm just here, passing by.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Words_August Tenth

It is nearly the end. We are sitting side by side, elbows planted like stems sprouting from the width of the bar. I drink a seven and seven; he orders a Guinness. He plunges right into the unknowns, as if returning to a conversation we had derailed from because of an interruption. He unleashes a surprising peek of what tomorrow might look like; and the next day, and the next year, and the next ten years. It's difficult to really hear it for what it is: bittersweet, transparent, and promising. He is a million things all at once and I am humbled, honored, and rescued. I close out our tab. We drive to his car. It is the end now. We say 'I love you' and kiss goodbye with as much meaning that three weeks apart could possibly mean. He disappears into his car and I am alone in a haze of wonder and tempered excitement. He is the sound of the unlocking and lift away.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Videos_Bon Iver

Can't think of a better way to start off August.
From Bon Iver's sold out August 1, 2011 show at 930 Club, DC.
Favorite song. Favorite lyrics: "This is not the sound of a new man, or a crispy realization. It's the sound of the unlocking and lift away. Your love will be...safe with me." 
Hats off to the iPhone for impressive sound recording.

Bon Iver at 930 Club from Kimi on Vimeo.


"Hinnom, TX" snippet


Applause

Monday, July 25, 2011

Words & Photos_What I Made This Week

Birthday Royalty
Last Wednesday was Misie's 30th birthday. (Hip hip hooray! Repeat 30 times. No more, no less.) So it only seemed appropriate to make her a crown of celebration. Any fans of 13 Going on 30?

I feel like birthday crowns are coming back strong. And by 'coming back strong' I mean, 'just starting to get popular.' And by 'just starting to get popular', I mean 'I want them to start getting popular.' They're such fun gifts that allow you to get as creative as you want with them. They're great for people of all ages and they're pretty easy to make. (Tools: poster board, markers, scissors, X-acto knife)

So many more crowns to come...

P.S. Note in the photo below that she looks no older than 18.

Step 1: Sketch out words

Step 2: Color it in (why do I sound like I'm instructing a project for a 5 year old)
 

Step 3: Cut out white space to your liking

Step 4: Adorn the birthday girl with her crown of glory

About to Get Lawyered
My dear friend Mandy is taking the bar To. Mor. Row. And the next day. Annnd the next day. (Cue funeral music.) So it only made sense that a crate of encouragement was in order. For your crafters, I bought the crate at Michaels ($4) which is a great way to package an assortment of gifts and personalize, too, as seen below. Disregard the inside jokes for now (Lungoo/Jungoo, boss references, etc). 



Every anxiety-induced, over achiever law student needs a little something to keep them going...
Like a paper string of flamingos, a water gun to substitute as a real gun, a notebook for cheating, and the beloved Starbucks gift card.


And 5 hour energy, duh.
Peanuts mug featuring Lucy, duh.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Photos_Art(scape)

This past weekend, Robbey picked up some original art from a vendor at Artscape in Baltimore--Jaime Zollars to be exact. This is one piece but photographed separately below for clarity, 16x10, thereabouts.


This piece is a size of a CD album cover. I think everyone needs a tree full of birds in their present or future home, don't you agree?


Well done, Robbey. Can't wait to frame these and get them on the wall.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Photos & Words_Channeling Your Inner Fieryonce

So. You know when you make a shopping list like:

work clothes
large envelopes
wrapper paper (bridal shower)
summer shoes
jeans!
birthday card

And then you narrow it down to what you absolutely most positively need like:

WORK CLOTHES

And then you check your watch, throw on some comfy clothes that you can easily get in and out of ("boinggg" said every man's ding dong), and most importantly, slip into a pair of flip flops to allow easy outfit transitions without the burden of high maintenance strappy or shoe-laced shoes. And then you get to the store and try try try to focus on work clothes, work clothes, work clothes, but all you can see is cute shoes, cute shirt, cute-anything-but-work-clothes. And then you spend hours sorting through outfits and shoes that have nothing to do with work and then...well...this happens:

I luh-huv these shoes (TJMAXX, $25). That's a hyphenated nonsense word. Sound it out though. I think I'll only last in them for no more than 30 minutes but wow, that's going to be some 30 minutes.


Annnnd this:

These don't look that exciting here, I know. But I think they're a fairly practical buy. Not too wild. A bit clunky. But will go great with a flowy skirt or skinny jeans. I'm officially excited. Thank you, Franco Sarto (Marshalls, $32).

And well, these...
Clearance. Guess. That's the brand not a command. But did you guess anyway? How about $15? Because that's how much they were. They are my fieryonce shoes. That's fierce and Beyonce put together. They look great on, however it's a bit hard to walk in them and look like a normal person. They're unsteady due to that mini-stake of a heel and there's no strap to anchor me down to give me a good stride. Therefore, I resign myself to walking like a fancy cowgirl. A fancy cowgirl who loves sitting down and not walking around for any more than 10.5 minutes. I just reconciled with myself that I'll probably embarrass myself pretty good in these shoes. That baby heel will either snap off or get caught on a stray trash bag floating by. And yes, I'll go down like a chimney. But at least my feet will look fieryonce.

And that's the story of how I went shopping for work clothes and returned home with shoes instead. Don't worry; I cried, too. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Words & Photos_Movie Love

Well, it'll make you laugh, cry, question how you love, why you love, fear your parents dying, fear being alone, re-evaluate your relationship handicaps, remember what love is and the moments that defined it for you, and wish wish wish you had a devoted adorable dog who could communicate with you.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Words_The Weekend

I'm here. Robbe is there. Which means Harry Potter marathons instead of new Friday Night Lights episodes. Cleaning instead of vegging. Private Beyonce dance parties instead of adult conversation. Cracking up at my own jokes instead of, well actually, there's no difference there.

Speaking of Harry Potter, next week for the premiere, movie theaters are doing back to back movie showings of part 1 and part 2. In my younger days, I would have jumped at the chance to own that ticket stub, but alas, I'm the big O now. No, not owful. That's not even a word. I'm old, now, friends. Old. I feel tired before 11 p.m. I glance at young drivers passing by me and wonder if they lowered the license limit to 13. I scowl at groups of loud, energetic, good-looking tweens and make myself feel better about their beautiful white teeth and bouncy perky chests by thinking about how insecure they really are.

Speaking of cleaning, tomorrow I hope to tackle my garage and fill some serious garbage bags with stuff I actually don't even want to know if I care about it or not. I think it's called blind cleaning. OK I just made that up. While cleaning, I'll be nuzzling my ears next to the voices of one of my new favorite podcasts: Mike and Tom Eat Snacks (MATES) (thank you Josh Sorokach) with Michael Ian Black and Tom Cavanagh (Ed). If you decide to sample their podcast, which is exactly what it sounds like by the way, except it's like 60% snack-talk and 40% life talk (not complaining), it's not for the faint of profanity hearts. Lots of F bombs. But it's worth it, especially for that Tommy C (just coined it).

Speaking of Beyonce, when are we going to start dance practice, Misie?

Oh, speaking of this weekend (this is the first reference), I hope to not eat a hot dog or a burger like I have done for the past 5 days and instead be kind to my body. Love my body. Body my body (sounded better in my head). All because I do have a very special photo shoot coming up with the talented Misie which involves homemade tattoos, alcohol, and Robbey, but not necessarily in that order.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Words_Red, White & I Promise I'm not Drunk

July. Psh. Look at you. Looking all... red, white, and blue. All self-righteously patriotic. 'Ohhh, look at me, I'm for America, I remind people of Betsy Ross.' Did you know, July--can I call you July?--that Betsy Ross had bad hair she hid under an embarrassing bonnet? Yeah, a bonnet. A glorified shower cap. (Do you think those will ever come back in style?)

Anyway, I figured I did a lousy job of blahgging (think Minnesota-accent) last month so I'm really going to hammer it out this month! (5 points for using home improvement language.) By the way that exclamatory sentence is probably a lie (no surprise).

So this weekend, huh? You? Me? A bottle of merlot? Wait, I don't even know you. Wait, you, yes. You, no. And you...well, I'd like to know you...wait, no I'm engaged! Oh, you are, too. Phew, OK. OK, I said! What is this blahg all about. Well, let me tell you. I did something. I did something ridiculous. (No, it's not the last three paragraphs.) (Long pause.) I sent an e-mail. GASP!!! NOOOOO!!! STOP LOOKING AT ME!!! Oh, doy. I didn't tell you the meat and potatoes. (Sorry vegetarians.) I sent an e-mail... to someone. OH GAW, JUST STOP IT! Doy squared! (Do people say "doy" anymore.) Sorry, OK, this is fo. Real. Sies. (Fo realsies.) (Do you hate me.) I sent an e-mail to a person who is a prettttty famous musician asking for an interview (with the vampire). I pray to God he doesn't read this and see that I described him as "a pretty famous musician" because the pairing of words makes it seem I think he's sub-par or under the radar of amazing celebrity-status. But no. He. is. not. (Emphasis on the "t".) It's basically equivalent to saying that I'm "pretty funny." And we all know that is the truth, girl, you betta just stop right now, okaaaaay. *Snap snap snap, snap. Snap. Annnnd snap!* OK I just blacked out. (Think about it.)

Needless to say, the e-mail I sent soliciting an interview was... it was...it....oh no. Ohhhhhh no. What have I done...ohhhh...it was crap. It was awful. It was embarrassing. More embarrassing than Betsy Ross's shower cap. Oh dear heavens, what have I done? My life is over! Career? Over! Love life? Over! Attempting a backhand-sprain? Ohhhh-vahhh.

Okay I'm over it.

I'll let you know what happens.

I sah-wear I'm not drunk people.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Words & Photos_CPR for Your Summer Wardrobe

It's almost officially summer. So why am I wearing the exact same clothes I wore in the winter?

I don't have the money to spend on a wardrobe right now. (Conscience: But Kimi, what about all those happy hours and lunches and dinners you went to last week and the week before that? Why don't you use that money towards new clothes?) (Me: Shut up, conscience, you're nothing to me!) 

Shopping at the mall right now is equivalent to shopping for a training bra. You see things you need but it doesn't exactly excite you or make you feel genuinely good about yourself. It's a purely economical purchase, void of any intoxicating shopping high which is, of course, part of the magic of shopping in the first place.

Maybe you feel the same way I do. Maybe you don't. And for those who don't, I hate you. Go be bffs with my conscience and do each other's hair and run away to Mars together. Haha, guess what, you can't go to Mars, it would cost a million dollars so joke's on you. Oh, you have a million dollars? Son of a!

Anyway, back to me. If you're feeling like your wallet's on a budget and you're feeling plain, poor, and pathetically un-hip, here are my three morsels of fashion wisdom. Remember, people, they're morsels. No profound tips here. I'm no fashion expert. I'm just offering some cheap alternative ways to spice up a wardrobe on its last breath.

1. Hey, shorty!
Right now it's all about cut off and cuffed denim shorts. I do not have the latter. What I do have is a nice pair of cut-off denim shorts, which I know sounds like I'm from 1985, but they've become a staple for me when I'm lounging at the beach or even when I'm going out and need that one piece to give a nice outfit an indie edge. So where did I get this staple item? Nordstrom? F21? Macys? No. My forgotten pants drawer. I resurrected them with some magic fairy dust and then chopped those suckas up. Now, here's how to make your shorts a fringe* different than the others. I cut them so they were a few inches longer than a normal pair of shorts.


Then, I rolled them up once as high as they could go...


...and folded the top down just an inch so the fringe hung down. 


It's kind of a marriage of the cuff/cut-off denim shorts.
Hey, it's something different. Something free. Something resourceful.
Something cool.

2. On the Fringes
I bought this shirt at Pacific Sunwear back in the beginning of spring for $7.


I liked the color and the applique but realized the shirt never came out of my drawer. Why? There was something missing that I couldn't put my finger on. And then one day, it came to me. What it needed, was fringe. So, the scissors made a return and valiantly sliced up the bottom of the t-shirt, and voila....


I wear this shirt all the time now with my cut-off denims.
Survey your plain tees for some fringe potential!

3. Ms. Mix-a-Lot
I bought this simple pretty summer dress from H&M last week, $12.


It's a little long than I'm used to (slut!) but figured it would be useful for work and play. I didn't have a good cardigan/clothing complement to the dress which made me instantly regret tearing off the price tag for fear I had made a poor wardrobe purchase. But without much thought, I decided to try on a light striped V-neck cardigan over top that I bought from Forever 21, which is unconventional of me as I don't usually mix patterns.


But, it proved to be a good move, in my humble opinion, no?
The coral color in both ties it together nicely.


Right now, I only have a pair of gold sandals and accessories to dress it up (see what I did there, I used "dress" as a verb to talk about the noun "dress") but I imagine this outfit would be adorable with some chunky wooden heels or wedges. Add a fun belt or a string of gold necklaces, and ay mami! Like buttah. But, I won't be purchasing any new shoes in the near future so my modest $3 Old Navy sandals will have to do.

So, there you go. My first and probably last stab at dishing fashion tips (from the girl who wears the exact same thing every week). My friend Mandy would probably tear this blog apart (she's the true fashionista) but then again, I don't go around thinking t-shirts that are $150 are "practically free".

Happy fashioning!

*like twinge

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Words_Bar, Beef & Brains

About two weeks ago, my dear friend Amanda triumphantly graduated from Suffolk Law School in Boston and was graciously rewarded with a 12-hour day at the immeasurable Ocean Shitty Maryland with yours truly, an hour-long lunch at Hooters, and a sunset dinner at Seacrets overlooking an embarrassing number of over-fed, tribal-tattooed, spiky-haired 30-somethings whom we assumed accidentally wandered into the eating area after some serious audience participation at a neighboring bikini contest.

I imagine it went something like this:

"WOOOOOO! YEAHHHHH! OWWWWWWW! SHAKE IT GIRL!!!" Tribal-tattoo dude throws back a sloppy gulp of his beer just as a passer-by abruptly runs into him, causing him to throw his head forward letting out a string of emphysema-laced coughs and stumble a few paces from his front row spot. He suddenly becomes entranced with a pool of beer that landed perfectly in the middle of his big furry toe and wonders how it's maintained such a flawless circle whilst jerking his body around. He decides to test the liquid's density and carefully points his foot out in front of him. The pool of beer jostled slightly but remained in tact. He laughed a terrible laugh that nearly brought tears to his eyes and downed the rest of his beer while keeping his eyes on his toe. He started walking, eyes down, arms out, weaving in and out of unnecessarily loud conversations and pounding reggae music. He had gone nearly 20 paces without breaking the beer pool when he nearly ran into a very pretty girl with chestnut-blonde hair and a very displeased look on her face. 
"Watch it, beefer," the girl jabbed with disdain. 
He snorted. "Beefer..." He smiled and then pointed at his foot. "Look!" He hiccuped. "Look at that."
"Look. At. What." The girl's face was frozen with repulsion. 
"The beer, the toe," he said louder, still smiling. "It's a survivor..." He knew the words sounded familiar, like a song. "It's gonna make it...he's a survivor...she's on survival..." He wondered if this girl knew the same song or if he was just making it up on the spot. He looked at her now disgusted face. 
"What." He smiled. She was really cute. 
"First of all, the words are: 'I'M a survivor, not 'it' or 'he'; second of all, that's not beer, it's sand you mother-doucher; the stuff you've been putting your crusty feet in for hours now. I'm surprised the earth hasn't disintegrated under those Flinstones you call toes. Blech." She shivered. "Get lost, Beef." She flicked his forehead rather fiercely and walked away.
"Yow," he stumbled back and rubbed his hand over his face vigorously. "Pbbttt, pbbtttt," he shook his head back and forth. "Sand?!" He repeated the word slowly and looked down at his toe, squinting for clarity. The beer he once saw was gone and instead, his feet were just as she had said, covered in sand. "Whattt..." he burped and hiccuped at the same time. His chest hurt. He looked up to see a sea of dining tables and people moving past him with trays of food. He was suddenly hungry. He heard cheering and a voice over a microphone in the distance. It sounded like something he had heard before. He quickly dismissed the thought as he now had an instant craving for a delicious juicy burger, but he had no idea why.

Back to law school and graduation and pseudo-vacations. So, after this very brief celebratory vacay, Amanda is now holed up at her house for a rigorous two months of studying before she takes the notorious beast that is the bar. She studies from 6 in the morning until 9 or later at night all while living with her family (parents and 19-year-old brother) plus a dementia-ed grandmother who Mandy describes as "rebooting every 30 seconds" who thinks she's on vacation by Mandy's mother.

Needless to say, this girl needs some support and love and encouragement. And I'd like her to not kill herself anytime soon. So a care package is in order and ideas are welcome. The more creative the better. You're probably thinking a huge bottle of vodka or equally potent liquor but I don't want to kill her brain cells too much pre-bar or else I'll be on the chopping block. To be continued....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Comics_Peanuts, Of Course

One of my f a v o r i t e Peanuts strips. Mostly because it reminds me of someone. Hm, who could that be?


Words_June Bride Musings

June. June. June. Well, it's officially less than one year until I walk down a graveyard aisle to marry the man of my future half-Korean children (if they come out looking predominantly white, I'm gonna die). For some reason the year mark was like a siren going off in my head where I immediately felt panicked about everything that needs to be done. Basically, I felt exactly like this. In all honesty, there are quite a few decisions-in-waiting and I wish I could place a leave order for a two-week-wedding-planning-session to fully immerse myself in finalizing the bigger priority items, but I don't think that's covered in my work's leave policy.

A theme I've been experiencing as of late, which I feel I've always known in theory, is friends telling me what to expect as a married lady. And the theme has consistently been: it's incredibly difficult; it's a lot of work; with kids, it's added stress, tension, and sacrifices. Again, I have always known this in theory as I've been witness to many marriages/relationships that have faced the best and worst of times, but I think as I'm approaching this reality, its weight as applicable truth is sinking in fast. I worry about us driving each other absolutely crazy (we already do sometimes), I worry about us becoming disenchanted with the other, I worry about us being 30+ and living in my parent's basement, I worry that my "charming" antics will become stale and predictable, I worry that my parents won't ever be able to pronounce his last name right.

I guess there is only so much worrying I can do. When I look out into the landscape that is "Robbey and Kimi" I honestly have no idea what to expect. What's visible is what's right in front of me (which is a super size margarita); everything beyond that is a blank canvas. I wish I could say I was prepared but I'm not, and I think that's okay. Not because I have a more than fair amount of time to plan but because I don't think we're supposed to have these things figured out, boxed into a predictable package. The unexpected is a necessary thing to illuminate the joys and pains of such an amazing and wonderful covenant, a promise between two people to be selfless and loyal, champions of the other and for love, exchanging and fusing each one's gifts to serve God and those around them. I'm excited about exploring what this means for me and Robbey. I'm excited for the people we'll become together. I'm excited to understand love more deeply everyday and discover the here-and-there-places God will take us in our short time here on earth.

The moral of this story is that for the next year (and beyond), I'd like you to share your marriage wisdom with me whether from personal or second-hand experience. Also, don't be surprised at my continuous wedding posts or if there is a Jessie Spano-reincarnation freak out by yours truly. Because the truth is, Jessie was right. I am so excited, but I'm also equally scared. No truer words were ever spoken.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Photos_Robbirthday Weekend

A weekend of birthdayness celebrating the one and only Robbey with baseball, brunch, booze and best friends!

Perfect Sunday morning setting by Woodberry Kitchen.

Friends and family

"The Full Monty" Bloody Mary with Natty Boh chaser - Delicious!

The Breakfast Burger. Yes a burger is hiding under that egg. Double delicious!

Rebekah, Andy, Robbe - Game #2 O's vs. Nats; O's win again!

The best mint ice cream I've ever had. Period.

Markakis!

The Warrens. Asher (right) "enjoying" his first O's game.

Federal Hill post-win after party

Mojitos all around

Happiest birthday to my heart and best friend Robbe.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Words_Come and Knock on Our Door - Part One

Part One

For the first time in seven years, Robbey and I live, yes live--not visit together, not share a laugh with, not hold each other for ten minutes--but live in the same state. Not province, not capital--just kidding I won't put you through that dead end of a joke. But I will put you through a joke that ends in you being dead. I know, not funny. Because I don't even know who "you" is.

So, Robbe made history in a couple of ways these past two weeks. He not only made the fastest successful house-hunting time in the history of histories but made the best house-hunting deal, which makes him--drum roll please!--Lord of the house-hunting land! (He makes me call him that now which is getting a bit tiresome with all the bowing I have to do every time I see/leave him. Help!)*

Before this official and deserved title, he visited two other places, one of which I was lucky enough to check out with him. And by "lucky" I mean, "out of my mind." Let me set the scene for you.

Charles Village, Baltimore.

Baltimore = home to Bubbles, The Wire, street rats (literally and figuratively), John Waters, Ray Lewis, the most unattractive use of the letter "o".

Charles Village = Johns Hopkins, hit or miss area blending livable, non-livable, and are there bodies in this basement?

We visited the latter.

We knew as we approached the steps leading up to the house that it was bad news. The small porch area had an overturned chair that had probably been collecting dirt for oh, approximately two thousand years. The random bits of fast food trash surrounding the historical piece detracted from its ancient authenticity but not its statement. The statement being: Robbe and I were going to die. And when you know you're going to die, the only thing left to do is to knock on death's door (which was a little wobbly by the way). So Robbe knocked. And Death answered...

*Non-death joke

Monday, May 16, 2011

Words_(Humble)Brag of the Day

People on Twitter might call this a "Humblebrag."
I'm calling it a "brag" because I like to be honest about all of my amazing accomplishments.

We all know I have blogged about GEL about a thousand (3-4) times in the last month.

One of you is nodding her head in agreement (thanks Misie).
Five of you are just nodding off.
Three of you are wondering how you got to this page by googling "Kim Jong Il."
And the majority of you can't actually read because you're under the age of 3 and arrived here by chance because Mommy forgot to close her laptop.

All this to say that my recent posts surrounding GEL and NYC and hating pretty talented people and realizing just how how dumb I really am has finally paid off.

The creator/MC/host behind GEL, Mark Hurst, read my GEL recap and well, let's just say, he and my post are going steady now. OK, not true. But he did like it and posted it to his Twitter and also to his GEL recap page. So, I'm pretty famous now. So famous that if you go to his recap page, you'll notice I'm listed as "Kimi." Just "Kimi." I don't need a last name. That's the kind of status I'm reppin' these days.

Oh, Madonna? Cher? Move a little to the left, please; you're in my light, thanks....mm...what's that? You want me to get you a medium 2-pump vanilla 183-degree no foam latte double-cupped? Right away!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Words_NYC Part Two

And the superlatives just keep on coming...
If you missed NYC_Part One, oh, it's right here.

FRIDAY, POST-GEL AFTER PARTY

Worst Friday Night Plan - "We're going to see The Kills but it's sold out and we don't have tickets. So I'm just gonna pray that we get in somehow." -- Nichole
Translation: We hung around Terminal 5 getting harassed by ticket scalpers; I somehow volunteered to start buttering up the bouncers (Stefan and ?) eventually asking if it was possible to let me and my friends in, to which Stefan responded: "Not now" (so, you're telling me there's a chance...); one of the ticket scalpers and I got into a bit of a verbal scuffle where it ended with him yelling "F*** YOU!" at me while walking down the street because I refused to buy a ticket from him (I had no idea ticket scalpers were so fragile these days); this made me feel oddly proud (and scared!) that I had so unwittingly pushed someone's buttons by 1. refusing a ticket (he responded by saying: "I wouldn't take your money anyway") and 2. responding to his "I'm a businessman" claims by reminding him of where he was and what he was doing: "Just remember that you're on the street. Trying to sell a ticket that no one wants, so..."; he probably could have cut me right then and there, would have gotten away with it, and sold my Asian hair to some rich housewife on the upper east side, but thankfully, that didn't happen; what did happen is that we ended up making one last valiant effort in charming Stefan (major fail) and took a walk of shame to the subway.

SATURDAY, GEL DAY #3

Best Morning Tour - High Line/Chelsea Art Galleries, NYC
High Line history
Favorite High Line photo

Best/Worst Picasso Quote in Gagosian Gallery ("Best" because it's outstandingly beautiful; "Worst" because it's to his mistress Marie-Thérèse)
"I see you before me my lovely landscape MT and never tire of looking at you, stretched out on your back in the sand, my dear MT I love you. MT my devouring rising sun. You are always on me, MT mother of sparkling perfumes pungent with star jasmines. I love you more than the taste of your mouth, more than your look, more than your hands, more than your whole body, more and more and more and more than all my love for you will ever be able to love and I sign Picasso."

SATURDAY, POST-GEL

Best Sushi Happy Hour - Jin Restaurant
A full menu featuring $3 happy hour items; amazing sushi; amazing avocado salad; all around amazingness.

Best Hookah Demonstration - Horus Cafe
(Sir) William, our kind hookah preparer, gave an impressive hookah demonstration where I was afraid he was actually on fire from all the smoke emanating from his body. He wasn't. It proved to be a valuable lesson as Emily's, Misie's, and my hookah technique were forever changed. I can proudly say my smoke level went from "candy cigarette" to "Care-A-Lot clouds."

Most Embarrassing Moment
Maybe it's because of his daily hookah demonstrations or years of perfecting the hookah smoke alphabet that impaired his vocal chords but I could. Not. Hear. What. William. Was. Saying. His voice was so quiet in the midst of surrounding street noise and other table conversation. I tried getting closer, cupping my ear, squinting/closing my eyes, but nothing worked. Once he left, I announced loudly, "I cannot hear anything that guy is saying." Misie and Emily's embarrassed faces quickly revealed to me that he was, of course, standing behind me. I turned and there he was, yes, right behind me, probably whispering, mouthing, or even miming words to another table. Please forgive me, Sir William.

Best Introspective Quote 
Our conversation naturally turned to Newsies (because that's normal) and who our favorite character was in the 1992 Disney musical (is this the bane of Christian Bale's existence?) Mine of course was Spot, from Brooklyn. Christian Bale (Jacky boy) was Emily's to which she shared this poignant and thoughtful observation: "I feel like Newsies was the point in my life when I became sexually aware." I take this quote with me until the end of time.

SUNDAY

Best (And Only) Celebrity Sighting - Ty Burrell
AKA Phil Dunphy from Modern Family with his wife and baby near Union Square

Best/Worst "I hope this isn't my future" Moment 
Misie and I were rounding a corner near Union Square and the first thing I see is this fleshy blob that kind of resembles a human butt. Then I realize, it is indeed a human butt. Then I realize, it's quickly disappearing under brown pants. And then I realize it's a lady, an older Asian lady, who decided to use the sidewalk as her pit stop evidenced by the puddle of liquid left in her wake. She hurried away from it and glanced back at us, nervously, and then proceeded to her destination. Misie and I just looked at each in disbelief. She summed it up best by saying: "I guess when you gotta go, you gotta go." 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Words_NYC Part One

Take One
Let's talk about NYC. No, not New York and Company, although they do have a decent selection of business casual attire but let's be honest, it's a bit overpriced, don't you think? I'd much rather be blindfolded and pushed into Forever 21 forced to feel my way to a decent outfit than to pay anything on NY&Co.'s clearance rack that was probably up-priced first and then glossed over with a deceptive sale tag. Also, everything I just said might be (and probably is) entirely false.

Take Two
Anyway, back to New York City, the city that never sleeps. P.S. I adore sleep and think it's depressing that a city prides itself on refusing a fundamental necessity that keeps people sane, level, alive. Don't get me wrong, I love the city despite this minor flub, but how about something more like: "New York City, the city that naps like hell to stay up all night." It's a win-win, right? People love naps and they love to party so I guess what I've just done is I've spoken for the people. You're welcome, people.

Take Three
I went to New York City to attend GEL for the third time. A huge congratulations to Mr. Mark Hurst who put on another fine show of inspiring, intelligent, thought-provoking speakers who made your heart swell with adoration, which then turned to jealousy, and then finally depression because you realized your life pales in comparison to their awesome genius and creativity. So...thanks? But seriously, I truly had a great time and really enjoyed soaking in every detail, every experience, every nuance I could to take back with me to Maryland (to share with Carebear). With that said, I wanted to take some time to deliver some personally-a-la-Kimi-crafted GEL 2011 Superlatives, yearbook style, of course.

Best MC - Mark Hurst
I echo everything documented by this GEL attendee and additionally appreciate Mark's natural gift of speaking, his delivery, and his comfort in engaging a diverse crowd of people in such concentrated creative experiences.

Best Improv Performance - Paul Hurst (Mark's dad)
On GEL Day #1, I attended the Improv workshop with Cathy Salit from "Performance of a Lifetime". Eight people volunteered to perform their life in one minute in front of the large group. Paul gave a very charming and humorous performance depicting him as a midshipmen at the Naval Academy, graduating, yet just as green to take on life as he was the first day of his induction.

"I'm not crying, I have something in my eye" Speaker - Daniel's Music Foundation
An amazing story of 26-year-old Daniel, who suffered a brain aneurysm at 12-years-old, was confined to a wheelchair for two years, and now walks on his own. Music played a huge part in his rehabilitation which prompted him and his family to start Daniel's Music Foundation. Daniel's "Thank You" song had me gulping back tears.

Best Take Away Message - Nell Minow, Film critic, Corporate governance expert
I love failure stories because they imply mistakes and room for improvement. And they make me generally feel better about myself.

Best Slide Show Presentation - Anil Dash, Expert Labs

Best Videos Used in Presentation - Perry Chen, Kickstarter
Allison Weiss
www.iamithefilm.com

Most Interactive Speaker - Nicola Twilley, Author
It's funny to think that for a group largely introverted, we shared pieces of paper with each other that we had previously smashed our noses against. I think that's how you really get to know each other.

Most Ridiculously Good Looking Couple - Johnnyswim, Music artists 
Seriously, do you have to be this good-looking? C'mon, that's just not fair.

Most Ridiculously Good Looking Couple with Ridiculously Awesome Talent - Johnnyswim
Oh, so you're hot and you're talented. Let me guess, you turned down a modeling contract to pursue your dream of performing. Oh. You actually model on the side when you're not on the road? Well, that's just perfect.

Worst Audience for Johnnyswim to Perform in Front of - GEL (all white people with sprinkles of ethnicity)
Think high energy, Latin-infused, hip-swaying caramel-toned goodness playing to a crowd of paralyzed nerds. Can I get a clap, people?

Best Speaker Thumbnail Photo - James Chan, Venture Capitalist and Entrepreneur
Because it looks like he was in the middle of talking when someone snapped this photo and hit send right before the GEL speaker photo deadline.

Most Mind-Blowing - Vi Hart, Inventor, Author, Mathematician
I tried really hard to walk away from Vi's mathematically-composed music presentation enlightened, intellectually stimulated with hopes of maybe developing a pretentious English accent, but I quickly realized after my brain exploded a little that I'm just, well, dumb.

Presentation that Reinforced my "I'm Dumb" Theory - James Chan

Most Endearing - Alicia Hansen with Devin and Christian, NYC Salt
I met Devin, one of the NYC Salt's photography students, during GEL's lunch and was immediately drawn to this bow-tie-wearing, baby-faced high schooler. He's only 17 and has accomplished more than I have in my almost 30 years. I'm not jealous at all that he's going to SCAD with a more than handsome scholarship, or that his photography portfolio was one of a select few that was nationally recognized. Soooo not jealous. (Seething with jealousy.) What's truly amazing though is that he and Christian are the first in their families to go to college, so seeing him on that stage sharing his story made me feel like a proud blubbering mama desperate to shout out, "That's my baby!" Thankfully, that didn't happen.

To view all the speakers and contributors to the conference, check out GEL, as I didn't reference all of them here. Also, check out more refined reviews here and here, and my photos here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Words_NYC 2011

This year, I'll once again, pack my little bags (and Carebear) and head to the Big Apple for the 2011 Gel Conference. It's tradition now that post-conference, I lock arms (lips?) with my dear friend Emily who lives in Brooklyn, has no idea who Channing Tatum is, and is sometimes chased by old men making unusual dolphin noises. What a life. Additional, monumental, cataclysmic bonus to my trip? I'm rendezvousing with Misie and am planning on running away with her into the city sunset. But then I remembered that she's married and I'm going to be married so we probably shouldn't run too far. Maybe just run to the corner and back. And then draw a sunset in the air and squint our eyes like we're disappearing but really, our eyes will just be closed.

Back to Emily, one of my favorite people. Because why? Because this:

On Sun, Apr 17, 2011 at 10:13 PM, Kimi wrote:
HI Hi hi hi hi,
So it's our annual reunion. Get excited!
Is it ok if I stay with you Saturday, April 30th and then I'll have to leave Sunday afternoon. There's also a chance my friend might come with me too. Would that be okay if she stayed too? Let me know little flower.
<3 Kimi

On Apr 20, 2011, at 9:57 AM, Emily wrote:
YEP Yep yep yep yep.
I have drawn a little kitten on my calendar for Sat the 30th, which means that you & friend are coming.

On Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 1:51 PM, Kimi wrote:
I'm glad that you chose a kitten as your symbol for my arrival. That couldn't make me happier. Yay I can't wait to see you! Can we hang Saturday (make out) and hug until the early morning? (heavy petting)

On Apr 20, 2011, at 3:57 PM, Emily wrote:
Yep! I'll even shave my legs. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Photos_June 2012

After searching high and low, we've finally found our wedding place, thanks to Lt. Dan (dad) who happened upon this hidden gem while driving around the surrounding area one day. Wouldn't you know, it's practically in our backyard. I'm absolutely in love with it and am already taken with how beautiful it is with nothing added to it. Now, if everyone can just pray that it doesn't rain... 

Behind the seated area up a hill is a very dated graveyard with tombstones as early as the 1800s. Not sure if I'm going to incorporate this into my walk down the aisle, but it's certainly an option. 
Lt. Dan, I owe you a big one. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Words & Photos_A Raych Arles Wedding Weekend

This weekend, one of my dearest most precious friends took those terrifyingly wonderful steps down the aisle and committed herself to an amazingly sweet and loving man. I've known Rachel since she was 14, when she was crafting duct tape purses in my Mom's kitchen, teaching me animal sign language on the floor in Barnes and Noble, showing me what my college experience should have been like while visiting her at Covenant College. I had no idea that my relationship with this teenager would blossom into the sisterhood it is today. She is probably one of the most unique people I know: a tender-hearted, enormously lovable and charming black woman trapped in a white girl's body. She communicates more in noises than she does in words. She's unpredictably hilarious, a true marcher to her own drummer, seeing at times the worst in people as their best, and could fill a day's worth of audio with her own clever Raych Arles-ism sound bytes.

I asked Rachel and Asher, as I do most wedded couples-to-be, if they think they're going to cry during the wedding. Both answered pretty confidently "no."

During the ceremony, the pastor (who was also Asher's uncle) took about a minute or so asking Rachel and then Asher to look at the other's hands and take into account their meaning. That Rachel's hands would be the ones to one day hold their children. That Asher's would be the ones rough and worn from working to provide. I remember looking at Asher, unsure if the glare off his glasses was just a glare or in fact, tears. I settled on a glare when I realized he was sniffling and his nose had burned red and he was nervously darting his eyes from Rachel to us bridesmaids. I had to look away so not to lose it. What hit me the most was the pastor turning to Rachel and saying: "These hands are the hands you will support and defend, when everyone else has turned their backs against him." I suppose this hits home for me as I'm traditionally a people pleaser and tend to choose at times compromised peace over conflict. But in this statement, it really surfaced how much I am putting someone else first and championing them no matter what, even if it reflects poorly on me. It's losing my own self dignity for someone else and saying that whatever happens, I'm in 100 percent.

I loved everything about Rachel's wedding. I loved that she walked down the aisle to "For the Beauty of the Earth." I loved how she made nearly all of her decorations and executed such creative and unique ideas. I loved how we danced on a stage to Kanye West as she apologized while dancing when the "shit" and the "f" word among other expletives were unleashed. I loved how we were able to take gangsta photos. I loved seeing how much she is loved and the incredible fold of support she has surrounding her in this new phase of her life. I loved having time with just her early in the morning the day before and the day of her wedding to laugh, talk, and pray together. I love that this is honestly just the beginning. Rachel and Asher will be in my life for a very long time, for my own wedding and our probable move to Baltimore and I feel so blessed to have them by my side.

So, congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Warren. The world is better now, as am I, that you are bound together for life.


Words_Long Distance Lover

The glamorous life of an Indian Summer bass player.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Words & Photos_What the Kids?

One word to describe this weekend: Kids. Everyday. Asking a million questions about, well, everything. "Who is that? Why is that there? Is that real? Is Gracie here yet? Will we get to play on the playground? Did you know I know what zero times three is? Who do you live with? Whose is that? Can we have popcorn? Did you know my 1st grade teacher became a farmer? Did you know this is a Hannah Montana song?" (Well, it was actually an Avril Levigne song but whatever.)

Having kids under your authority for any x amount of hours opens your eyes to a lot of things.

1. They're a lot of work. I kind of knew this already having witnessed my brothers produce three children each in the last seven years but this concept is magnified when they're at your mercy for everything: safety, finances, conversation, direction, intellect, discernment. I think I exerted almost every fiber of my being trying to plan and direct a Saturday visit to a local book festival, disciplining when necessary while being loving and gracious and not overbearing but of course not forgetting to be fun all at the same time. Oh, and making sure they weren't abducted, too. Kind of important.

2. Playgrounds are freakin' stressful. When I have kids, I'm sitting just far enough away that I know they're having fun and they're safe. I don't need to know that girl #1 butted in line and now my niece and her are having this weird unspoken staring contest. I don't need to know that my niece is taking way too long on the slide or that she's a little timid to go down it and therefore holding up the line. I don't need to know that the moves the girls are doing on the monkey bars might warrant an ambulance. I don't need to be the playground police, stressing over every broken cultural rule. I just need to take a deep breath, open the flask, and drink it down.

3. Radios aren't safe for kids anymore. I know, that statement makes me very old now, which I am, but it's true. I thought one of our local stations 106.5 or 107.3 was a safe place for young ears but I was wrong. Although Rihanna's "S&M" song has an infectious dance beat and the girls loved it for oh, three precious seconds, I had to turn the station. I also had to turn off Ke$ha as a sheer matter of principle. Which left me with Avril Lavigne (Hannah Montana) singing about how all of her life she was good and now she's doing whatever she wants (hey thanks Avril, so when my niece becomes a coke addict and ends up on Intervention, I'll play your song as a memento). Of course I found out AFTER the fact the song was called "What the Hell" (how apropos on so many levels) so the next time they hear that song and Mom asks where they heard it they'll trace it back to my car which will guarantee me an unfit babysitter for life and probably also in the afterlife if they do end up being cokeheads on Intervention screaming unpleasant things in the same lyrical vein as Lavigne. The other choice which I settled on was Katy Perry's "Firework" which is pretty harmless (right? RIGHT?) and if it's not, well, it was the lesser of the three evils and we ended up listening to it twice on two different radio stations because I was overly stressing trying to decipher a song's message against a seductive beat in a matter of five seconds. Next time, I'm bringing pre-approved CDs.

4. Sometimes kids know best. Sometimes they know how to disarm a situation better than you can. Sometimes they know how to be the leader and garner the support of the majority more graciously than you.  Sometimes they're smarter than you. Sometimes they need pure unconditional love instead of tough love.

All in all, my weekend of baby-sitting, celebrating a 2-year-old's birthday party, and more baby-sitting was incredibly fulfilling and always a learning experience. I know kids are in my future but just not now. I think taking care of myself and Carebear will do for now.

The Weekend Gallery:
Annapolis Book Festival 
  • Entertainment featured at the festival worth watching: Mutts Gone Nuts
  • FML Moment: Realizing after we left the festival that NPR's Michele Norris was on a panel discussing race in America



Chuck E. Cheese Celebration

The birthday boy "rode" in a car which took your picture each time and he ended up collecting a handful of photos throughout his time there. This one was my favorite, of course.



The end.