Saturday, April 30, 2011

Our Saturday in Pictures

Today was a lovely spring day spent with the love of my life and our beast. I could write about it pictures are more fun.









Did you all have a good Saturday?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Quote-Lovin' Friday

Via

I have another quote I would like to share today:

“When we're incomplete, we're always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we're still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on--series polygamy--until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.” - Tom Robbins


While I am not at a period in my life where I am looking for a relationship (obviously I'm pretty happy with the one I got) I can really relate to the part about being "responsible for our own fulfillment."  It is up to each of us, not the people around us or the people we are with, to create and cultivate the meaning in our lives.  I find myself often leaning too much on my husband, friends, or family members rather than striking out on my own and finding my own meaning/purpose in things.  This quote serves as a good reminder to me personally.

I often share this quote with friends of mine that are struggling with the concept of love and how it should fit into their lives and in their journey.  This quote sums up my feelings on the issue quite well.  Plus this author, Tom Robbins, is just plain amazing.  His writing style is a bit strange but if you're up to the challenge, I highly suggest "Skinny Legs and All" to start out with.

~~~~~~

Rob is going on a field trip with his Forest Ecology class (yep, it's just about as exciting as it sounds) on Sunday so I'm going to head into the "big city" and do some more shopping for summer.  Though, as many of you have read, I have developed quite a summery closet, I'm still on the lookout for some more new staples and some more new skinny jeans (why didn't I discover these sooner?!)

Inspired by Sarah over at anonymous was a woman, I bought this dress from Chloe Loves Charlie a few days ago:

Find this dress here!
When I showed it to Rob, the first thing he said was, "Wow, that would look great with Chuck Taylors." So I figure I'll either pair it with those or with some cute black ballet flats.

If you've never heard of Chloe Loves Charlie I highly recommend it - a lot of cute feminine pieces there.

~~~~~~

I wish you all a very happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday Hump Day

Today was just your typical work day. Working from home gives me the ability to take breaks by walking outside and spending time with my husband and beast.

I walked Cypress at around 2 p.m. today and it was B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L out! 65 degrees, sunny with a light breeze. I more or less sang out my happiness to Cypress for the entire trip (she was quite receptive, though disagreed with my optimistic assessment of the weather due to her double coat meant for -30 degree temperatures).

I nearly squealed when I noticed GREEN:



Might be kind of hard to see here, but IT'S THERE. I PROMISE.

I even walked around without a sweater for a lot of the trek, allowing my half-sleeve and the rest of my pasty white arms frolic freely in the sun and breeze after 5 months of huddling inside.

Later in the day I visited Adam, my tattoo artist, so he could take some pictures of my half-sleeve for his portfolio. I'll have to share them once they're up on his Facebook page. I've never had a tattoo entered into a portfolio so this felt like quite an honor. It makes me wonder if someone will tell him one day, "I want that exact tattoo, right now." Would definitely be weird to be walking around Western Maine and find someone with my awesome tattoo, though not all of my pieces are custom so I suppose that is to be expected regardless.

Remember how I took a picture of a "moment" the other day? This is a different sort of moment I captured during dinner-cooking time:



I promise I didn't pose this. A boy with his dog. :)

One final word: some of you may remember that I'm considering a matryoshka tattoo. I'm currently debating replacing the matryoshka face with a SKULL just to spice it up and make it a little more unique.

It is perhaps lamentable that this has become a bit of a tattoo blog, but it is what it is I suppose.

Inspiration:
This is not my picture, but I can't for the life of me find the original. So it's not mine, and I'm sorry.

Oh hey, also, here's a picture of Robbie and I from Easter:

I look like I'm clinging to Rob to keep him from leaping up and leaving.  Also my hair looks weird.  But still, nice to have a picture of the two of us together :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekend Bits and Pieces

I don't have it in me to write a long, paragraphtastic post, so here are some bullets from my last few days.

1. Easter weekend was great. I got to spend a lot of time with my sisters, my dad, Robbie of course, and my in-laws. Typically family visits can be stressful since our families live an hour apart and being in cars all weekend can be a little frustrating. This time it didn't seem to bug me or Rob as much.

While we were in the car I had one of those moments where I looked at Rob and realized how lucky I am to have someone who so compliments my own character and who makes my life brighter by simply existing. I also think about how lucky I am that despite a year in Iraq, countless explosions and getting shot in the arm, that he's here at all, whole and alive. I have those moments somewhat frequently and usually I tell him, but this time I decided to take a picture of that exact moment. Here it is:





2. My sisters and I grow closer every day and I feel very fortunate that they are in my life. Same with my dad, who has been such a force and an anchor in my life. That was reinforced this weekend. I also love spending time with my little niece, Brielle, who is 18 months old and getting smarter and more effervescent every day. If you are my friend on Facebook you can see some of the awesome (if I do say so myself) pictures I took of her this past weekend.



3. I made a page for all of my tattoos that you can see here. If you like pasty skin and/or tattoos you sure will love it.



4. Rob and I are eating pasta, chicken and pesto tonight. One of our staples but it's always yummy.



5. I'm currently reading "Bossypants" by Tina Fey. I wish I had more time to read but unfortunately, I do not, and the going is slow. I also bought "Two Kisses for Maddy" by Matt Logelin. You should look up his blog if you don't know who he is - his story is truly inspiring.



6. Does anyone else have a husband that does a lot of the housework? Rob washed the dishes this evening and is now making dinner. I can't tell if I should feel bad about this since I work from home and probably should participate.



7. I might be going to Chipotle this week and that is extremely exciting.



8. I read a quote on a tattoo recently that said, "I will make better mistakes tomorrow." It really struck me and I'm going to take it on as a mantra for now. I think I'm a little too hard on myself lately.



9. I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Power Song

Does anyone else have a power song?



I absolutely love this song and this singer, though truthfully I prefer the non-acoustic version (couldn't find the original on YouTube, but look it up on Amazon or iTunes if you're interested).

The song is originally by Bob Dylan, and while his version is, of course, awesome, I prefer Mike Ness's because of the heightened emotion behind the song's message.

The song is about a breakup in which the couple just doesn't really mesh anymore and probably never really meshed, but I find that it makes a lot of sense to me in a different sense. I've gone through some stressful times lately, both personally and in my work, and this song always reminds me to let go of the people/situations that are toxic to you and move forward with your life as only you know how to live it. Seriously, on bad days I listen to this song 7 or 8 times.

In fact, this song has been so pertinent to me over the last few months that I'm considering getting a tattoo in honor of it. Just haven't hammered down a design yet. My husband also performed this song for me at our wedding, despite the fact that it's a breakup song, just because he knows I love it so much.

Enjoy!

Monday, April 18, 2011

On Weekends, Tattoos, Gelato, and Social Anxiety

This weekend was awesome in a lot of ways.

On Saturday Rob and I spent time with his brother and sister-in-law and then had drinks with his stepsister and a few of her friends. It was really relaxing and I love getting to spend time with other lovely people in our lives.

Sunday was tattoo show time!

Note: I'll admit that I was extremely nervous to begin with. I have a sort of insane dysmorphia when it comes to picturing my social interactions with people, particularly people who I want to impress or be friends with. I don't know if anyone else does this, but I generally picture myself speaking to others as about 4 feet taller, with knuckles dragging and a voice unnecessarily loud and incoherent. My husband tells me this is insane because I'm 5'3" and around 120 lb, but I'm sure someone out there understands this issue (I can't be the only one, right? Right?!).

Anyway I knew that my artist, who I generally avoid when I see him in the gym because of said dysmorphia and corresponding fear of making a total ass of myself, was bringing a bunch of friends with whom he trains (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) along with his wife and son. I didn't know any of these people aside from cursory glances at the gym and tattoo shop. Needless to say I was damn near a full-on panic attack more or less the entire morning.

I arrived at the show early and sort of stood around for awhile. For the first time ever I felt out of place for not having more tattoos...they were everywhere! I saw some beautiful work and some not-so-beautiful work, but despite the quality or lack thereof of the work itself it was awesome to be around so many tattooed people.

Long story short, it ended up being a total freaking blast. Everyone in the group was super nice and inclusive, and we were all pretty drunk (thanks to the attached bar) by around 2:30. My tattoo even won best in its category - Best Small Color Piece (Female)! It should've won Best in Show - Female, but alas, the judges weren't tattoo artists or even tattooed at all, so their tastes were a wee bit skewed in my humble opinion.

Here's me standing with Adam, my artist, along with my awesome sixth-grade hologram trophy:



Let's ignore a couple of things about this picture: (1) That it's really awkward and (2) that my stomach and hips look way bigger than normal.

Also, I was asked about this - Adam received a trophy as well. Why they give a trophy to the person who got the tattoo, I will never understand. All I did was bring the idea and sit there. But hey, gratuitous trophies are always fun and it is currently proudly displayed in our guest bedroom. Adam also won multiple awards for various other pieces - he's truly an amazing artist and tattooist.

My husband spent the day playing with his band, which apparently went really well. I'm really excited for them to begin recording and playing gigs. Rob's ideal job would be to just play music all the time and hopefully he can make that dream come true.

Confession: I also want him to get famous so I can get tattoos in visible places.

So that was the weekend. I'm really glad that I stepped outside of my comfort zone and met new people, made new connections, and did something I've never done before. Typically my social anxiety keeps me pretty limited in the activities I participate in, but once I break free I always feel proud of myself for the experience. That was my lesson for the weekend: it's never as bad as you think it will be and it's always worthwhile to challenge yourself and make yourself feel a little uncomfortable.

And to finish this post, here are some pictures from me and Robbie's gelato date this evening!





Mm, currant with chocolate...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Quote-Lovin' Friday



I would like to share a couple of quotes from my favorite author, Tom Robbins, to transition you (and me) into your (and my weekend).

"We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love."

"There is no such thing as a weird human being, it's just that some people require more understanding than others."

This weekend Robbie is going to the big city to practice with his band while I head in the opposite direction for a tattoo show. My artist asked me last week if he could enter my half-sleeve into the competition! I'm very excited but a little nervous.

What are your weekend plans?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rainy Days and Fun Finds



There are a lot of depressing seasons in Maine, my least favorite, of course, being winter. I believe that I have written at length here and on Twitter about my hatred of winter. In Maine this horrible season stretches from November until well into March.

But another atrocious season is that sort of half-winter-half-spring, and that's what we have going on now. Everything that you hate about every season--cold rain, snow, mud, bugs, allergies--all combine into a month called April. Unfortunately this not-quite-season also has absolutely none of the natural beauty of either season. Trees are still dead, grass is still brown, and bushes are merely random collections of sticks along the road.

Can you tell I'm a summer person?

Anyway most of today was spent, as most of my days are, working inside staring forlornly at the rain. Because my husband is awesome I've managed to avoid having to walk our dog in the mess. Today, however, due to my husband's busy school schedule, I had to take her on a half-mile walk, braving cold rain, wind, thick, feet-sucking mud.

If you have any doubts as to how unpleasant this was, allow me to let you in on one more glorious aspect of this walk.

Cypress and I found a Ziplock bag on the ground. With a horrible-smelling mass inside. And a SPINAL CORD and RIBS sticking out of it.

In all fairness, we didn't actually find it first. My husband essentially woke me up this morning as he left to warn me about its presence in case I found myself walking the dog. He assured me that it only smelled bad "if you hit it right."

It was like Mother Nature (along with this winter's snowmobilers) was sending me a huge middle finger in the middle of a depressing shitstorm.

Mother Nature, I'm ready for warm, I'm ready for sun, I'm ready for green.

Any time now, you heartless bitch.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bloglovin'!



I've "claimed" my blog on bloglovin'...so if you like what I write, please follow me! Thanks! :)

ABCs of Me

I couldn't think of anything to write this evening, so I am writing this ABCs of Me, inspired by Anonymous was a Woman.


Age: 24, 25 in a month.

Bed Size: Double, hoping for a queen one day.

Chore you hate: DISHES.

Dogs: Love them, especially mine!

Essential start of your day: Early morning snuggles.

Favorite Color: Green

Gold or silver: Palladium...doesn't make me itch.

Height: 5'3" or so.

Instruments I play (or have played): Violin, flute, and some guitar.

Job Title: Software consultant.

Kids: Lovely! We don't have any but probably will at some point in the future.

Live: Maine.

Mom's Name: Jennifer.

Nickname: Keek by my family, Moof by my husband.

Overnight hospital stays: When I had cancer as a child.

Pet Peeve: Self-righteousness.

Quote from a movie: Anything from "Wet Hot American Summer."

Right or left handed: Right.

Siblings: One older sister, one younger sister.

Time you wake up: On weekdays, anywhere from 7:30 to 8:30 usually.

Underwear: Yes.

Vegetables you dislike: Hmm...never had brussels sprouts but they seem gross.

What makes you run late: Sleeping!

X-rays you've had done: Chest/abdomen area.

Yummy food you make: Nutella lava cookies.

Zoo animal: The big kitties!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Summer Goals



Danielle over at Sometimes Sweet, a frequent read of mine, posited the question of summer goals recently and I decided to participate. I haven't actually sat down and considered my summer goals yet so I feel this is a helpful exercise.


1. Take more pictures. The first summer I got my D60 (2009) Rob got so annoyed because I simply would not stop taking pictures with it. I have folders upon folders in my computer of pictures, covering everything from some daisies we picked for the house to each of the whiskers on my dog's face. Last summer, due to a strenuous work schedule (I was traveling to Houston every week pulling 12-hour days) I didn't do much of anything when I actually was home, and this included taking pictures. Plus I got hired to do several weddings and photography became less of a release and more of a job. This summer I only have two weddings scheduled so I hope to carve out some time to just take some nice photos.


2. Speak more positively about myself. Summer is the time when more of my skin is bared, meaning there are plenty of opportunities for me to engage in one of my favorite activities--obsessing over how I look. But this summer is also the year that I have the most tattoos AND will have been going to the gym regularly for about 6 months. I'm in the best shape of my life and my skin is looking better than ever. Unfortunately the saddlebags are still there, the ass is still huge and the spider veins still appear here and there on my legs. This summer I'm going to try to let the good outweigh the bad and rock what I wear.


3. Walk the dog more often. This is another tough thing for me - my husband usually does ALL of the dog walking whether it is summer, winter, fall or spring. He's just more of an outdoorsman than I. But this summer I will take more responsibility for our beast and spend more time outside with her.


4. Get my thigh tattoo. I've spent a lot of time thinking about this actually. I came up with a design idea in January or February (a matryoshka doll with a banner displaying "From Russia, with Love" in Russian) and I've sat on it ever since. Quick note - I really thought that a matryoshka idea would be original. It's not, there are literally hundreds of them all over the Internet. I thought adding the Cyrillic would help boost the originality of the idea a little more. Since I *just* finished my huge, expensive half-sleeve I figured I'd wait another year so I could enjoy this one; however, we're most likely going to move next spring, and I'd hate to have to push it back even further as I searched for an artist that I could trust. So, since I won't have much time left with Adam (my current artist) I figured I'd share this design idea and experience with him. I'm making myself hold off until June or July before I give him my concept page so that I can get it done in August.


5. Write more. I don't think I'm a good writer. I can write RFP responses and prospecti up the wazoo, but when it comes to writing creatively or writing about myself I just fail. Hence why this blog comes off more as a diary. I'm going to try to develop this skill in between all the work I have to do.


6. WEAR SUNSCREEN. ALL SUMMER. In past summers I have been horrible with this. I start out religiously applying sunscreen but by the end of the summer, when I stop burning, I just stop putting it on altogether. But now that I have a tattoo that is far more exposed I have yet another reason, aside from cancer avoidance, to put more on. SPF30 at the absolute lowest!


7. Read 5 new books. Outside. I'm a huge reader, but unfortunately my ability to read is often curbed by my work schedule and other "distractions." Also, my husband and I do not spend enough time outside on our patio just enjoying each other. I'm going to combine these two issues into this one goal.


8. Enjoy the weather. And the bugs. This may very well be my last summer in Maine (it may also not be, depending on Rob's job situation next year). I want to soak up the Maine summer as much as possible, because I believe that it is one of the best summers in the country. Not too hot (with the exception of last summer), not too chilly, and the bugs really aren't that bad where we live (they're worse downeast). The summer before last year was one of Maine's coldest and rainiest on record, whereas last summer was one of the hottest. Last year, due to the warmer weather, Rob and I were swarmed with deer flies every time we went for a walk and the flowers all bloomed and peaked far too early. I'm hoping after a few years of extremes that this will be the perfect summer to end my summers in Maine (maybe).


9. Go hiking. Rob's job this summer is essentially 80% hiking and he's asked me to come along several times. I really have tried to hike, but I usually hate it every time we go. This is the first year I'm actually in shape with some endurance and muscle tone to my name, so I'd really like to try again.


10. Curb my anxiety. This is an ongoing goal so I figured I'd include it. I'm trying to teach myself other ways of dealing with stress than constant anxiety. I'd also like to stop picking at my lips (a lifelong habit) this summer.


What are your summer goals?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Give me a Head with Hair

As with a lot of women, my hair has been a relatively constant struggle.

When I was young, I rarely brushed or spent time on it, which meant many hours with my mother dragging a brush or comb through my hair (my scalp just tingled in nostalgia).

At age 14 I'd load my hair with gel and make it curl into ringlets, or as close to ringlets as it would get. Frankly I'm glad I don't have access to pictures where it looked like that because I'm still embarassed to look at my awkward self.

By high school, I had cut it shoulder-length and wore it relatively straight. This is how my hair looked when Rob and I got together:



This was our first picture taken together. My hair was really thick, the ends were curly, and it generally drove me crazy because my hair was always crowding my face. When I was 17, I had a job as a counselor at a summer camp. On a whim I decided to chop off all my hair into a pixie cut and unveil it in front of the entire camp during an event (before I had even seen it).


In college I could hardly be bothered to work with my hair and it usually looked pretty messy. I was frequently mistaken for a boy or a lesbian (I went to a pretty liberal college, it happens) so I was constantly striving to look more feminine.


Eventually I started to do the whole, parted in front, spiky in back, which is how it looked on my wedding day.


I wore it like this for quite awhile until after the wedding when I switched back to a pixie cut (all parted forward kind of a thing). After seven years of short hair, I decided to grow my hair out again. The result, as of this morning, was this:


I tried, I really did. I tolerated the little Carol-Brady flip I developed in the back. I tried to tolerate the hair once again in my face and obfuscating my vision. I tried ignoring the tickle at the corners of my eyes and the increasing difficulty with styling.


But I gave in.

So now I'm back to the pixie. I think it's pretty perfect for summer and does make my beady little Irish eyes look somewhat bigger. But most of all, It's nice to spend a total of 5 minutes on styling my hair. Any hair horror stories from anyone else?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Presenting...

I really wanted to share the final iteration of my latest tattoo. Assuming you can't totally see what's going on up there, there is a C-47 aircraft with several paratroopers jumping into a field of poppies.

This is my first tattoo that required multiple sessions, and the first for which I actually really enjoyed the process. My tattoo artist and I worked really well together; so much so, in fact, that I'm sad to think that I'll have to find someone new once we move.

Anyway, this is by far my favorite so far and I simply can't stop staring at it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

"Style" Update

I wanted to share some additional finds for this summer and beyond. After these last few purchases I think I am finally complete with summer shopping.

1. HeartBreaker Black Vanessa Dress, Unique Vintage

This dress (click here) isn't too much of a challenge for me since I have one very much like it already. But it was cute and relatively affordable, so I figured I'd go for it. It wouldn't be a work dress because of the half-sleeve, but still a very versatile dress.

2. Sunny Soiree Dress, anthropologie

This dress (seen here) called out to me the moment I saw it. Everything about it is lovely and summery and, of course, versatile. I vacillated on this one quite a bit because of the price (around $150) but decided in the end that it was totally worth it.


3. A-Bit-Unruly Top, anthropologie


This shirt (click here) was another purchase that I had to sit on overnight. It's so cute and definitely summery, but like everything anthropologie it was also relatively expensive ($48). I've found that sometimes when buying clothes I have to just bite the bullet, which is what I did with this.


4. Pleated-Front Turtleneck, Express


This isn't so much of a summer shirt,but I've been on the look-out for high-necked blouses for work ever since I began to consider getting a chest tattoo. I like turtlenecks in general and this one seemed cute and feminine. Still not totally sure about it so when it gets here we'll see what I think. For $7.99 I couldn't really care less though. Click here to see this turtleneck.


Any other interesting summer finds?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Style (or Lack Thereof)

I've been going through a fashion identity crisis lately. Since college my fashion sense has been what I would classify as "neglectful." I don't dress in a masculine way, per se...but it's pretty clear that I don't care very much what my "style" says about me.

In reevaluating my personal style, I realized that I have a few staples that I wear almost constantly...Old Navy and NY&CO boot-cut jeans, Sambas or Chuck Taylors, and cute-but-boring tank-tops and shirts. And in the winter, let us not forget the ubiquitous hoodie sweatshirt. I have never found another clothing item that keeps me warm so consistently. Unfortunately there's absolutely no way to make it look cute. Scratch that, maybe there's a way for cuter girls than I, but I just can't pull that shit off.

So armed with this perspective, I decided to splurge and create a new wardrobe for myself, or at least a fashion foundation for this summer.

1. Prairie Dawn Dress, Forever 21


To see this dress on Forever21's website click here. I must say that Rob did not share my enthusiasm for this dress (he's not a big pink fan) I'm pretty excited to see it. I will also say that I'm not totally sure I can pull this off, but if I can, more power to me. I thought it was just the cutest dress ever. We'll see.


2. A slew of ballet flats from Endless.com and Target.com



These are from Endless.com's website (click here to see). If you've never seen Endless.com...GO NOW. Great prices on shoes AND purses, and free 2-day shipping! Anyway, I always wear sneakers of some kind with all of my outfits. In the summer, I wear flip flops, but nothing all that cute or feminine. I wore ballet flats for work for the first time and I realized just how versatile and adorable they are. So I bought a ton of them figuring I would find something that worked.


3. Lacy Graphic Tunic, Forever 21


This is another shirt (click here to see on Forever21) that I'm not positive I can pull off. My boobs are pretty small and as a result, flowy shirts and tanktops tend to look like what my husband calls "boob curtains."


4. Skinny Jeans from New York and Company


To see these on NY&CO click here. Buying jeans has always been a battle for me - I have a proportionately huge ass and huge hips, coupled with what I see as short, stubby legs. As a result my jeans usually fit in the ass and hips, but go down about 3 inches past the bottom of my foot. I've found a few companies that make a decent short-girl ghetto-booty pair of jeans and NY&CO is one of those. However, due to my ass's largesse, I am still not sure I can pull off this whole "skinny jean" thing. I have a little bit of a fear that my bottom half will look like upside-down triangle.


Any other awesome stores I should be looking at?