Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"I'm Going to Live Here Forever."

My sister called yesterday, and I got all the details of Baby Mac's speedy arrival. (He was born within 3.5 hours of checking into the hospital!) She is doing well and completely in love with her son, of course. What an incredible experience! Hearing his small coos in the background melted my heart. I cannot wait to snuggle that little man!

Summer's journey into motherhood gives a little more depth to the story I wanted to tell today.

1991, Family trip to Yosemite (where Gary took his first steps!)

I must have been around the age I was in this photo, six or seven years old. One afternoon, I was sitting on my parents' bedroom floor, huddled near the glass sliding door. I busied myself with a sticker book while my mom was working at the desk across the room. The house was still. Somewhere in our on-and-off conversation, my mom mentioned that I would grow up and live in my own house someday. The words prior to that escape my memory, but I recall exactly how I felt when she said that. My own house? You mean, I don't get to stay here? 

"Why?" I asked.

She grinned, possibly marveling at my innocence and naïveté. "You'll live with your own family. You won't want to live with me and Dad. Trust me."

"I don't want to. I'm going to live here forever." I remember the exact inflection of my voice. Soft but with the passion of a world explorer. That house was my world, and I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. I was very concerned which is probably why she chuckled.

Not surprisingly, my mom was right. I did move out of the house. Twice, actually! But now I know that more than the house, it was the people in it that held, and still hold, my heart. Our familial titles have become secondary to our friendships as we've grown. I know I'm lucky, because not everyone has that.

I do prefer living in my own house with my husband, but I think what I was trying to say at that very young age was actually, "I'm going to love you forever." That is still true.

Linking up with Story of My Life (belated)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Auntie Linz

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I am officially Auntie Linz! My nephew, whom I shall call Baby Mac on the blog, was born last night, and he is a little bundle of cuteness! Since I am two hours ahead of my family in San Diego, I waited up until the wee hours of the night to scrounge up any details I could through phone calls and text messages. My mom sent me photos, and I just cried as I looked through them. Mac is such a sweetie! As we all do when we're fresh from the womb, he was sleeping in all of the photos. I can't wait to see which features he got from his mom and dad!

Summer, only Superwoman could move into a new house and give birth in the same week! Congratulations to you and Mike! This is going to be such an amazing adventure for the whole family. I will see you, hug you, and kiss you in 15 days! I love you so much!

Happy birthday (plus one day), Mac! You are so loved!


UPDATE: I feel it is important to note that my mom was live texting from Delivery. She is so hip and current! (Thank you for keeping me in the loop, Mom!)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Five of My Favorite Blogs

Reading blogs is like diving into an abyss. It starts innocently with pretty photos and funny stories. I click on links that bring me from post to post filled with things I am sure I cannot live without. Fashion on the cheap! Love stories! Green living tips! Birth stories! Travel adventures! Food! Pure ridiculousness! Suddenly, I realize that two hours of my life escaped unnoticed.

When I start to feel ashamed, I have to remind myself that we've all been there. Admit it. Well, if I'm going down, you're all going down with me, so... here are five of my favorite blogs (that you should read too).

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PostSecret: I've been a die-hard PostSecret reader since 2006. It is interesting to see what people are willing to tell in the confines of an anonymous postcard. Every Sunday, Frank shares postcards that hit nearly every emotion. Back when Mr. TBS and I were long-distance and newly in love, we would scroll through PostSecret while talking on the phone. Aww, memories!

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Chocolate-Covered Katie: You need to know about this healthy dessert blog. Yes, such a thing exists! My husband once told me, "You know I love you... but I really love Chocolate-Covered Katie right now!" Ditto, honey. Ditto.

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Mara Wilson Writes Stuff: The loveable "Matilda" grew up, attended NYU, and became a damn good writer who shares stories about her child celebrity past and her New York playwright present. Life seems so much more fascinating and funny through the eyes of a playwright. Days or weeks may pass between posts, but I promise they are worth the wait.

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Healthy Tipping Point: I have learned so much from Caitlin's blog! She has shared a lot of her life on the blog over the last five years: got married, completed triathlons, started Operation Beautiful, opened a holistic clinic with her husband, had a baby, and wrote a few books. This blog is a good balance of research and real life. Her posts are great, and sometimes, the comment section is even better.

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The Kim Challenge: I've been hard-core stalking Kim since 2011. She's down-to-earth, ambitious, adventurous, and sassy. I want to move back to NYC to become her new BFF and play around the city together. Is that so much to ask? Also, I can't wait for her book release in July!

There you have it! Now go read them! 

Linking up with Story of My Life (belated)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Major Bride Fail


True story: The bustle of my wedding dress broke soon after the reception started. What's a bride to do? Wear the ribbon used to hang the dress up around her wrist, of course! Genius move, in my opinion.

It's a good thing I didn't spend much on my dress, because I partied hard, and that dress went to Hell in a handbasket! First the broken bustle and then... well, let me explain.

In light of my wedding anniversary on Tuesday, I thought I'd show you my most epic bride fail. Last year I mentioned that "a margarita was spilled on my wedding dress, and I was too happy to care." Apparently, I was too happy to remember that I should get the dress cleaned and preserved too. We packed up our home and moved to another state three weeks later, so I'll blame the memory lapse on moving.

This is what two years of neglect did:



I was laughing hysterically when I put it on! It was a beautiful dress, but it didn't mean so much to me that I'd cry. I am disappointed that I can't sell it or donate it (which I had planned to do originally). Even if I take it to the cleaners, I doubt they'll be able to get the stains out after two years. It ain't pretty, my friends.

It's too bad we didn't have a Trash the Dress photo session.

Future brides, avoid this major bride fail. Get your wedding dress cleaned right after your wedding.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Flashback to High School: Cutting My Own Denim Shorts


I'm getting ready for my third Houston summer, and I'm saving money in the process -- thanks to my years of cutting jeans, dance pants, tights, and shirts in high school. Basically, I'm a professional clothing mutilator. It's as easy as one, two, three!


COME AT ME, SUMMERTIME. I'm ready for you.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

2nd Anniversary

2006
His first visit to NYC / The cab ride to JFK airport where we said our first "I love you"


2007
Birthday surprise


2008
Being silly, messy kids at Disney's California Adventures


2009
Getting our first Christmas tree


2010
Random bowling date


2011
I think it's pretty obvious what happened. ;)


2012
Having fun in the Dewberry Farm corn maze


2013
Our first "Just Because" trip to Leavenworth, WA

I love you, Mr. TBS! It's been an amazing two years of marriage. (Seven years together!) I am one lucky lady, and I am so excited to see where this fun and crazy life takes us. Happy anniversary!



Monday, May 13, 2013

My Day Without Mirrors

Hello, and good morning! I hope your weekend was as lazy and wonderful as mine. Today I'm sharing my experience of the Day Without Mirrors challenge as a follow-up to my book review of Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall.

THE CHALLENGE

In my opinion, looks matter to an extent. I want to look presentable. Put together. I don't think there is anything wrong with that, but it becomes a problem when looks determine self-worth. Total buzz kill. One interesting tidbit I pulled from Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall is that "a woman's body image accounts for almost 10 percent of her husband's overall marital satisfaction and 19 percent of her own marital satisfaction" (p. 9). I practically raised my hand and nodded my head in agreement as I read that. I admit that feeling unattractive and self-conscious makes me isolate myself from my husband which makes getting flirty and frisky... well, non-existent, and that makes for an even more unhappy Lindsay.

One day without mirrors didn't seem so bad, so I e-mailed Kjerstin with a fully committed, "I'm in on the challenge! Let's do this!" ... and then I  thought about it. Unlike Kjerstin, I did not have practice applying basic make-up without a mirror which meant I just committed to a day of being in public with no make-up, not knowing how my clothes looked on me, and managing my "wild woman" hair simply by touch. 

I'll admit that I felt too self-conscious to do this experiment on a work day. However, I purposely chose a Saturday when I knew I'd be out and about with Mr. TBS. We ran errands, went grocery shopping, and went out to lunch. I realized how habitual looking in the mirror is for me. Brushing my teeth, doing my make-up, getting dressed, fixing my hair, washing my hands, walking past the full-length mirror in the den, and putting on gloss in the car are prime mirror times. If there is a mirror on a wall, chances are I'll look in it.

Kjerstin's focus was on body acceptance. Surprisingly, being sans make-up was giving me the most anxiety, so my focus was bare face acceptance. I'm lucky, because my husband hates heavy make-up, so I never feel pressured to sexify my make-up. (Don't get him started on the smokey eye, red lips, or foundation!) Conventionally, I know I'm prettier with make-up. I have a myriad of flaws I could list but won't. If someone else doesn't notice them right away, why point them out? ;) 

I love the feeling of my skin sans make-up, but I've realized that I'm annoyingly apologetic about my looks. I apologize to my husband when I decide to skip make-up. I apologize to him when I don't style my hair with curling gel or a flat iron. I apologize for being "so short." I apologize for ruining a picture, because the lighting brought out the bags under my eyes. I'm annoyed just thinking about it, because when I am more removed from those feelings, I realize how shallow those words are. Focusing on looks alone diminishes intelligence, talent, compassion, and wit. It's disappointing to think of how often I say those things out loud and to myself.

Typing these words here makes me feel icky, because they wreak of teen angst and compliment fishing -- not to mention they make me feel like such an anti-feminist. Since I clearly need a swift kick in the pants, I'm going to do something way outside of my comfort zone and show you my sans-make-up face.


BOOM. There I am in all my naked (face) glory. My hair was unwashed and unbrushed from the day before. As uncomfortable/embarrassed as I feel posting that, it's not the end of the world. I'm not going to indulge in the typical #sorrynotsorry/"Sorry you have to see that" blogger business. There's my bare face, and I'm okay with that (or at least, I'm trying to be).

In short, the challenge wasn't easy, because a) I use mirrors out of convenience and habit and b) I'm uncomfortable when I don't know how I am physically presenting myself to others. I came away with more than just "I did it." This was a really good exercise in acceptance and focusing on important things -- like an afternoon with my husband.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day


By the time I see my mom on June 5, it will have been over a year since I last hugged and kissed her. Over a year! Of course, I totally miss her, especially since today is Mother's Day. As I've gotten older, my friendship with her has grown deeper, and I admire her more and more for the whole person she is, not just for the mom she is to me. How lucky I am to have been born to this woman!

It was also an exciting day for my sister who had her first Mother's Day! My nephew is due any day now. Here is a photo of these two hot mamas from today:


Happy Mother's Day to all the moms, stepmoms, adoptive moms, and mother figures out there!

Linking up with Story of My Life

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall

Could you go one year without using a mirror?

No way. I have a job! And a social life! And a husband! I need to keep this mess in check.

What about one day?

Just a day? That's easy. (NOTE: I did it, and it wasn't easy.)
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Sociologist-turned-blogger-turned-author Kjerstin Gruys proposed a "fun and adventurous challenge" to bloggers and readers last month on her blog, Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall. The challenge: A Day Without Mirrors. 

Let me rewind. I heard of Kjerstin back in August 2011 when I read a Yahoo! article about a blogger who committed to a year without mirrors despite her wedding smack dab in the middle of it. I remember thinking, "Wow, that is ballsy. There is no way I could pull that off." Being that she is a sociologist and Ph.D. candidate at UCLA, her blog is a really great real-life application of scientific data. 

Those who are uncomfortable with the term "feminism" can get a healthy dose of understanding too.


THE BOOK

It's been just over a year since she completed her one-year challenge, and she penned her experience in a new book Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall (released May 2). Despite my mountain of reading for grad school, I couldn't put this down. I admit that mirrors are used for important things like flossing and driving, but obviously, Kjerstin's project was about appearance and self-esteem. 

Her story is relatable. To this day, I've never heard someone say, "I love how I look, and I wouldn't change a thing." There has always been something -- a scar, bulky thighs, bushy eyebrows, love handles, crooked teeth, pale skin, chicken legs, small breasts, being short, a big derriere, splotchy skin, etc. We tell ourselves these things, but let's be honest, the world tells us too. (Sometimes, strangers will say it straight to your face.) 

Kjerstin's story reads like a blog post (though much more in-depth, of course) -- like intimate conversation. I could hear her saying those words over coffee with a friend, not just from behind a podium on a stage.

This book is a genuine look into an extreme personal experiment, and it is such a bold reminder that looks alone are such a small part of life. If how we feel about our looks brings us down, it's because we're forgetting (or worse, neglecting) what really makes us us

This book also reminded me that while our image woes are the product of many things (our culture, the media, strangers, and ourselves), the discussion shouldn't end with blame. In our personal lives, how can we combat them? How do we determine our own self-worth? What kind of people do we surround ourselves with?

I don't have all the answers, but this book definitely has me thinking about these questions in a new light. Bravo to Kjerstin for following through with this idea and sharing it with the world!

You can buy Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall at:

Tune in on Monday for my Day Without Mirrors (with a photo I'll probably regret posting)!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Simple, Quiet Moments

When I get home from work, I'll take Amelie outside if the weather isn't crummy. We've had a relatively cool May in Houston, so now when I get home, she's glued to me. "Yay! You're home! Take me outside! Right this very minute!"

She waits.


She begs (a lot).


She gets her way.


Boone is content to wait for Mr. TBS to get home and play. This tunnel is his favorite "hiding spot."


On the weekends, you can usually find Amelie crashed out for a nap on the couch with the professional napper of the family (ahem!... Mr. TBS). ;)


These are my favorite simple, quiet moments of the day at home.

Linking up with Story of My Life


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Thing I'm Most Afraid Of

Most children are scared of things like monsters and ghosts. You know the drill. They watch scary movies on TV when their parents aren't looking, because they know that they're "too young for that" and that "those movies will pollute [your] mind." I would know. I did it. But monsters and ghosts didn't scare me. 

Robbers did. Yes, my biggest fear as a kid was that someone with a gun would break into my house. That's what I get for being a girl who loved watching 20/20, Dateline, and 60 Minutes, I suppose. Somewhere between ages 12 and 17, I became very afraid of snakes. This is not a mere distaste for the reptile. They truly terrify me, and I think this is getting worse with age! It's easy to list a slew of things that scare me. Robbers, snakes, earthquakes, car crashes. But the chances of these things happening are somewhat slim. It's not like they are daily fears of mine, and really, who in their right mind wouldn't be scared of those things? 

Of the things that truly strike fear in me, there is an underlying theme of unexpected loss. Losing Matt changed everything I knew about life and people and value. Losing my health (at my own hands) had me in a hospital and questioning how in the world I let it get to that. (The first night in a psych ward is effing scary, people.) Losing Big Paw (my family's first pet) and losing Tollhouse (mine and my husband's first pet) strangled my heart. Losing three of my grandparents within six months left me breathless and unsure of how one consoles a parent. Losing friendships... suck. Losing my mom to diseases that only sometimes make themselves visible makes me want to abandon my whole life just to be with her all the time for the rest of our lives.

Since I was 15, I've had a fear that I wouldn't be able to get pregnant, and I realize that this is still a fear of the possibility the I might not have that experience -- a loss of that experience. We've still not tried to get pregnant, so sometimes, that thought pops in my head.

Loss is something that everyone experiences, but I think there's the added layer of "How will I get through it?" That's the hardest part of losing something, isn't it? Finding the strength to move on which means leaving something behind. it is difficult, but it is totally possible. As cliche as this sounds, I guess the best thing to do about this fear is to make the most of the time I have with others, so that is what I shall do.

Linking up with Story of My Life


Monday, May 6, 2013

It's Getting Mushy Here Today

I'm a day late for yesterday's Blog Every Day in May prompt, but it is worth posting, so I'm gettin' crazy and breakin' the rules! (It may sound like I'm adventurous, but I have to admit that this wasn't posted yesterday, because I was doing school work and writing two papers. What can I say? I get wild on Cinco de Mayo.) 

I know I've said it before, but this thing called blogging has changed my life. There's no earth-shattering tale to tell. Rather, I started to get to know a few people through blogging last year. Like dating, jumping into the blogging community is overwhelming and fun. I came across so many interesting people, some with whom I seemed to have a lot in common and others who  lived lives that were foreign and fascinating. Reading turned into comments which turned into e-mail which turned into Skype dates which turned into texting and phone calls. I was officially "friend dating" some of these people! A small part of me expected that the newness would fade and I'd come to realize that some of these friendships weren't meant to me, but here I am over a year later, and guess what? These people are just as effing awesome as they seemed in the beginning. 

Jenni said to write about my love for one blogger friend. I chose nine. Sue me.


Jessica is the first blogger I reached out to when I started blogging. She is the epitome of "dream chaser" (and this girl has so many dreams). To know Jess is to have a life-long sassy friend (and for me, little sister). I don't know how she does it, but she always has room in her heart for more people. Also, she is launching her new business, Glisten Fit, soon. Stay tuned!

Bobbi is the cool kid in school with whom I have no business being friends, but somehow, she likes me. You think you're smart, witty, creative, and a total bad-ass? I thought I was, too, until I met Bobbi. Also, I'm glad she doesn't mind that Ryan and I blow up her Twitter with banters and nonsense.

Michelle is one of the best bloggers ever, because she is a writer. Whether she writes about her crazy co-workers or her husband or running into people from her past (much to her dismay), you'll wish she had written more. Even the crappy stuff in life is funny when it's told by her. I adore this girl!

Meg is the perfect Southern girl. Outspoken, super sweet, sarcastic, trendy, accent -- all without the gossip (like, none ever). :) We met in person last April, and she's just kind of wonderful to be around. I'm so glad we live in the same part of Houston.

Whitney and I are nothing alike -- at first glance, at least. She's a South Carolina beauty who loves her sweet tea and loves her sorority even more. We bonded over deep conversation and shared values, and I'm lucky that she also lives in the same part of Houston! She's like a slightly taller, Caucasian little sister to me. ;)

Gesci is my fellow animal lover! Yes, we have e-mailed about pets a lot. We've also discussed religion, marriage, food, and traveling (although that's mostly her talking). We share a love of Prince Edward Island and Anne of Green Gables. I'm the Diana Berry to her Anne Shirley. We are kindred spirits. Also, she taught me what Bible Drill is, so there's that. ;)

Betsy is "the challenger!" I have never seen someone take to debate and discussion the way this women does. She is not afraid to speak her mind, but she does it with such grace and respect. It's inspiring. We like to serve as sounding boards for each other whenever we feel like we're faced with a situation that requires perfectly chosen words. She's a good mirror to have!

Devon is the epitome of a free spirit. She quit her job to become a professional surfer and writer. I mean, hello? That girl's got balls. We went to the same university and knew some of the same people but only met once I moved 1,500 miles away. Go figure. She admits to what she's feeling, draws a lesson from it, and moves on with a calm confidence that leaves me in awe. Oh, and I get to hug the sweet life out of her when I'm in San Diego next month.

Emily and I met through a vlog link-up, and our BBF/BSM (blog best friend/blog soulmate) relationship unfolded from there. She is the kind of friend that everyone needs: endlessly supportive, witty, and honest. Life is just better with these "Emilys" in your life. Em's blogging journey ended after she moved back to the states from Australia, but we call each other and Skype. And... we're meeting in person for the first time (with Devon!) when I'm in San Diego next month! I CANNOT WAIT.

So, there you have it. A whole bunch of mushy, bloggy love today.

Linking up with Jenni for Blog Every Day in May


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sometimes, Other People Say It Best.

I have saved quotations from articles, books, plays, and people in my life for years. Like photos, they are small snippets that tell big stories. They bring you back to a specific memory or make you laugh or inspire you to dream bigger. I have several quotations saved in journals, letters, and even e-mail drafts (aka my electronic notepad), but here are three of my absolute favorites.


"You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for 
someone who will never be able to repay you."
-- John Wooden

This has been a favorite of mine since 2006. How wonderful is this? The world would be in better shape if everyone did one thing for someone else every day. Just one small thing -- note, a call, a smile, an errand, or a favor. Consider it.


"This above all things:
To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
Hamlet, Act I, Scene 3
-- William Shakespeare

Yes, I quoted Shakespeare. I'm so cliche! Quite simply, to be true to yourself is to be true to the world. Although I am guilty of yearning for the skills, smarts, and looks of others, I do my best to remind myself that I have the most to offer when I am myself.


"Wishes come true, not free."
"Children Will Listen" from Into the Woods
-- Stephen Sondheim
(Film adaptation to begin filming this fall!)

Everyone has dreams and wishes, but this lyric reminds me that we have more control than we think. For those of you who don't know the story of Into the Woods, it is the continuation of the fairy tales we know like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Jack (and the Beanstalk). The show is about what happens to them after "happily ever after." Their stories become intertwined, and they're faced with the complications of real life. This song is about children, the things we teach them, and how we teach them.


What are your favorite quotations or song lyrics?

Linking up with Jenni for Blog Every Day in May

Friday, May 3, 2013

Things That Make Me Uncomfortable

BINY karaoke bar in NYC, 2007
One girl sang every depressing, wrist-slitting Korean ballad under the sun. 
I was both uncomfortable and annoyed.

+ Mock interviews. They make me more nervous than real interviews. My husband is an interview pro and has offered to help me prepare for interviews, but I just can't do it.

+ The word "panties." Underwear and undies are safe. Panties are not.

+ Seeing a parent spank his/her child in public. I know parenting is a really big gray area filled with varying opinions and personal choices, so I am in no position to tell others how to raise their kids, but I am not a fan of spanking. Seeing it and keeping my mouth shut makes me really uncomfortable!

+ Talking with someone who lacks awareness of personal bubbles.

+ When people assume we agree on politics and religion and state very strong opinions. Houston is very metropolitan, so this caught me off guard. It has happened so many times in Texas, especially with last year's presidential election and Chick-Fil-A controversy. For the record, this has never been a problem with Houston bloggers I've met. It has mostly happened at work with people who are in their 40s-70s. Let's just say I've gotten really good at getting around those statements without agreeing or nodding my head. I usually just say "I understand what you're saying" (not a lie) and end the subject as quickly as possible. 

+ Four-inch heels.

+ I love watching how people react to pranks and practical jokes. However, I get severe secondhand embarrassment for genuinely awkward situations and embarrassing moments of others. Good examples include a singer cracking while belting and the person who repeatedly puts his foot in his mouth in a failed attempt to recover a conversation. 

+ Wedgies. Oh, man. Wedgies are the worst. I think those nudists are on to something. Kind of.

I hope your weekend is a lot more comfortable than this blog post! 

Linking up with Jenni for Blog Every Day in May

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Recipe: Veggie Pad Thai


Mr. TBS does most of the cooking around here, but I'm beginning to think I'm not too shabby in the kitchen after all. Today I wanted to share one of our quick and easy meals that has been added to our list of reliable standbys this year. Ready in 20 minutes!


Veggie Pad Thai for 2

Ingredients:
1/4 lb. thick rice noodles (or 1/3 of a 13 oz bag)
2 limes
1 carrot, grated
1 head of broccoli
4 tbsp warm water
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sweet red chili sauce
1 tbsp peanut or almond butter
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Optional:
Bean sprouts, chopped green onion, and/or raw peanuts to top off the dish
1/4 tsp hot sauce (For you spice lovers)


Recipe:
1.) Boil noodles and stir occasionally to cook through.

2.) Mix water, soy sauce, chili sauce, nut butter, garlic powder, and ground ginger in a small bowl. (Spice lovers, mix in your hot sauce.)

3.) Add broccoli crowns to noodles for 2 minutes. (We like our veggies to have some crunch.)

4.) Strain the noodle and vegetable mix quickly. (This should be a quick toss over the strainer and then immediately back into the pot so that the mix retains some water.)

5.) Add the sauce to the pot, and stir until the noodles are evenly coated.

6.) When serving, garnish with grated carrot and lime wedges.


Dig in! I hope you enjoy it!