Category Archives: Life Happens

It’s Been Awhile!

Standard

Hola!  It has definitely been awhile!  Life is crazy/busy/awesome, and you can catch up on some of my recent travel adventures over at La Aventura Project.

I’m still here, living in San Diego, making films, serving beers, and trying to be a better person every day!

Last night I finally had some time to sit down and look through all my old personal video footage and make something fun!  So here is a video of my team from 2014 (yes, it’s that old) SoCal Ragnar Relay!  Because running is a thing that I sometimes do, woohoo!

Advertisements

The Big Doozy: Changing vs. Not Changing My Name

Standard
One family=one name?
Source: http://www.truewoman.com

The name change issue can be divisive and controversial.  The changers and the non-changers too often pass harsh judgement on each other.  That’s not right!  We should all band together in realization that this issue is TOUGH and puts ALL women in a hard place.  I truly believe that what’s most important is that each woman realize the implications of either decision and truly give it some heartfelt thought and discussion with her partner before deciding.

That being said, my own name change journey involved lots of, well, changes- both changes of my own opinions and others’ expectations of me.  You see, growing up in a conservative family, I never considered NOT changing my name when I got married.  That’s what my grandmothers, mom, and all my aunts had done.  Until quite recently, I honestly never even gave it a second thought.  Like many of us growing up, I often matched my first name with the last name of whoever my current crush and doodled it in curlicued hearts along the margins of my notebooks.

Even early in my relationship with Zach, I first remember thinking to myself, and later actually admitting it to him, “It’s a good thing I like your last name.”  And I do like his last name.  It would sound good with my first name, maybe even better than my family last name.

Yet, as the prospect of marriage grew more real, I started to unearth other options…wedding blogs written by women who chose not to change their name, who hyphenated, or even women whose husbands changed their names (gasp!).  It was like stumbling into a whole new reality I didn’t know existed.  As I started researching and thinking more, I realized how weird/unfair/sexist it was that I had been so cultured into the idea that I HAD to change my name.  In so many other cultures, it is completely normal NOT to change your name.

Ultimately, I went through a lot of soul-searching of my own and a lot of discussion with Zach on the name change issue.  He (being wonderful) agreed with me that the concept is sexist, paternalistic, and unfair.  He didn’t care if we had the same last name or not.  He just wanted me to feel at peace with my decision and my name, whatever it ended up being.  Also, neither of us wanted to hyphenate; it just seems too cumbersome.  In the end, I decided not to change my name.  Woohoo not having to do all that paperwork!

Avoiding this is a definite perk!
Source: site.k2motor.com

Despite our comfort level with my current decision, we are both remembering that “nothing is set in stone.”  If kids come along, for example (a very big, and very far away “if”), and my feelings change, I can always change my name then, or we can choose to hyphenate.  I can change my name at anytime if I so choose; it’s not a decision that can only be made when I get married.

For now though, we’re happy with the idea that “You don’t have to have the same name to be a family.  You just have to be a family to be a family!”  (Quote stolen from a wedding blog I read but can’t find now, sorry!)

This issue has been much discussed but it is so important!  Did you agonize over the decision?

The Dreaded “D” Word

Standard

It’s easy to get caught up in fantasy land and think about nothing but whimsical details, cake flavors, and reception playlists while planning a wedding.  Zach and I recently got smacked back down to reality, though, when we heard the sad news that two of our old friends are getting a divorce. It was hard not to feel a bit shaken by this event, especially because these two seemed so awesome together that we even held them up as sort of “marriage role models” for ourselves.  This was also the first married couple in our circle of friends to break it off.  We’ve happily celebrated with many different friends on their wedding days, and it is SO WEIRD to think that statistically, half of those marriages won’t make it.

Honestly, I haven’t pondered the topic of divorce too much until recently, when I talked to my now-divorced friend for the first time in awhile and she basically tried to convince me not to get married.  Yeah, that was awkward.  But it did get me thinking hard.  It’s impossible, in this day and age, to take the cavalier “That’ll never happen to us,” mindset.  So why do we get married when the divorce rates are so scary?  Why do I, personally, still believe in marriage?

The answers, to be sure, are complex, emotion-riddled, and different for everyone.  I think it’s important for every couple to take some time and let the sobering divorce statistics sink in, and then really consider WHY they want to get married.  For Zach and I, from a logical standpoint, we want the many rights and benefits that accompany legal marriage (rights which someday soon will hopefully be extended to ALL couples!).  From a more philosophical standpoint, we both still believe in the commitment of marriage.  We find the concept of teaming up with one person for to be noble, desirable, and right.  Love is an action and a choice, and we have decided to continue choosing each other for the rest of our lives.

Despite our persistent believe in marriage, the current divorce stats are still terrifying.  I don’t really know what else there is to do besides support our friends in good times and bad and keep trying to be the best partners possible to each other.  I also think discussing marriage and divorce with those holding differing beliefs is really important.

So let’s discuss!  Do you still believe in marriage despite the sobering divorce rate?  Why or why not?  If you’re in a life-long relationship but have chosen not to get married, how has that decision affected your life?

#WEverb12: CREATE

Standard

22: recharge [CREATE] What did you do to recharge your batteries in 2012?

As I’ve gotten older (argh….) I’ve gotten more and more dependent on two vital recharging mechanisms: exercise and sleep.

Running recharges me mentally those endorphins feel great!

Sleep…well, I am a sucker for a full 8 hours of sleep.  I miss the days of college when I could get only five hours a night for a week and feel fine.  Nowadays if I get less than six in one night I feel lethargic all day.  So, call me a grandma, but I love my sleep.

#WEverb12: Catching up again!

Standard

18. soak [LISTEN]: What have you soaked in this year? (Baths, sun, ideas?) How did it affect your mentality?

This year I soaked in uncertainty.  Traveling, living in Ohio for a few months, and then moving out here.  It was constant motion, lots of changes of plans, and not knowing what to expect.  It was hard for me, as I’m very type-A.  But it was good for me.  Uncertainty and second-guessing and plans changing are all part of life.  You could also call it FREEDOM!

19. exercise [LIVE]: How did you live actively in 2012? What will you change in 2013?

While we were backpacking, I didn’t make any effort to work out or anything.  But most of our days involved lots and lots of walking, sometimes with all of our crap loading us down.  We also went on a lot of epic hikes, went surfing, swimming and ziplining!  Travel is the best because exercise feels like an adventure!

Since getting back, I’ve done something I never, ever expected I would do.  I started running.  Not just lame-o occasional 30 minute jogs either.  Over the summer, I actually followed Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Plan all the way through, although I never did run a half marathon.  Working my way up to running 10 miles without any breaks and without dying made me really proud.  It was weird how easy it was, too.  Unfortunately towards the end I got a weird muscle strain in my thigh and when we moved I had to stop running for awhile.  As soon as my leg healed, I started the plan all over again, making sure I really stretch and cross train a lot to try to avoid injury.  So far so good!  I’ve gotten faster (which means a 9:35 mile, still really slow!) than I was in Ohio and I love running along the Sunset Cliffs!  I’m about halfway through the plan this time and I’m hoping to run my first half marathon in January!

302124_10100587535176780_898219880_n

The view helps me run fast!

20: reminisce [GROW] What distant memory/time did you find yourself longing for in 2012?

I’ve found myself reminiscing about college a lot this year.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve already been OUT of college for longer than I was IN it.  I graduated almost exactly four years ago.  College was just so much fun and so easy compared to real life.  It’s funny because when you’re in it you think life is so hard!  It’s pretty awesome that you get to live with your friends, learn about things that interest you, do whatever crazy clubs and activities you want, and you somehow still have enough energy to party it up!  More than anything, I miss my old roomie Erica.  She truly “gets me” and is one of the best friends I will ever have!  It sucks because we’re on opposite coasts and rarely get to see each other, but sometimes we’ll still text each other random, “Remember when…” texts.

Roomies for life!

Roomies for life!

(Hey Erica, remember when we met Mr. Belding?)

#WEverb12: GROW

Standard

12. toss [GROW]: 2012 was the last time for ________________

I finally, finally, finally went through all the clothes still loitering in my old bedroom at the parents’ house this summer.  There was stuff in there from way back in high school.  Man, I used to shop a lot!  I remember when I worked at Chick-fil-a and I did actually spend most of my money on clothes from Forever 21 and Delias and all those silly mall stores.  It was funny to reminisce about that with Zach because he’s never seen that side of me.  I’ve been shopping at thrift stores and penny-pinching for travel or bigger things since we’ve been together.

I was definitely more fashionable back then, but the importance of if has faded to me, rightfully.  Nowadays I find thrifting more enjoyable anyway because I can find things no one else has!

Needless to say, Ohio Thrift got a huge donation of early-2000s-era fashion after I cleaned out the old closet!

#WEverb12 CATCHUP!

Standard

I got really behind on this due to my business trip to Monterey and other life busy-ness.  I want to keep going so I’m going to catch up now!

7. enliven [GROW]:  Was there a book or article that inspired you to make a change in your life this year? What was the source and what did you change?

629

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig was the best and most challenging book I read this year.  It taught me a lot about philosophy but also went over my head a lot.  As I mentioned here, the book really helped me realize how TERRIBLE I am at staying in the moment.  I’m trying to get better at breathing in the present without fixating on the future, but it’s going to be a lifelong process.  Here are a couple quotes from the book:

“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.”

“The truth knocks on your door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away.”

“When you are no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn’t just a means to an an end but a unique event in itself. This leaf has jagged edges. This rock looks loose. From this place the snow is less visible, even though closer. These are things you should notice anyway. To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top. Here’s where things grow.

8. respond [LISTEN]: Do you actively listen to your inner voice/conscience? Describe a time this year you heard and responded to it.

I certainly do try to.  Planning a laid back, nontraditional wedding is an example of this.

9. triumph [CREATE]: How were you challenged by a project or goal this year? What did you learn from it?

The editing of La Aventura Project into a documentary is an enormous undertaking.  I learned that maybe I shouldn’t promise to make a documentary and then end up with a million other things to do and no time to edit.

10. lose [HOPE]: Did you have to say goodbye to a person, or even a cherished object, this year? Take a moment to celebrate the memory

I didn’t say goodbye to anyone permanently (I hope!) but I did say goodbye to many people as we traveled, moved, hosted Couchsurfers, etc.  Saying goodbye to the nomadic lifestyle was hard!  It was an amazing year on the road all over America.  But we’ll travel again!

11. spend/save [LIVE]: Are you richer or poorer this year, compared to last year?

Poorer!  But all that money went towards great times and great memories!  I don’t regret it for a second.

#WEverb12: GROW

Standard
575193_10100183386593780_1963172396_n

Ruinas Tazumal, El Salvador

4. experiment [GROW]: What did you do in 2012 that you had never done before? Will you do it again?

So many things!  What did I do that I HAD done in the past?  Not much!

I traveled through 10 different countries, met countless new people, sailed on a sailboat, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, got engaged, lived in Toledo (yuck, not doing that again), moved to California, and bought a surfboard!  I also started my own business and it is continuing to GROW.  Not too bad, if you ask me.  I’d love to go back to Latin America again but there are so many other countries in the world that I have to see first!

#WEverb12: COMPOSE

Standard

WEverb12 is a series of daily blog prompts designed for reflection on 2012 and getting ready for 2013. I’ve decided to participate in order to get back into blogging more about non-wedding subjects!

1. compose [CREATE]: Write a haiku for 2012 (bonus: write one for 2013)

2012:
Ten new countries seen
An important question asked
And now a new home!
2013:
Many things to do
To make our lives more awesome
Home in sunny lands

Ugly Duckling Syndrome

Standard

Confession: Wedding planning has turned me into a way more superficial brat than I used to be.

There’s nothing like imagining walking down the aisle with all those eyes on me, plus getting professional photographs taken of myself, to make me worry like crazy about how I will look.

Yes, I know everyone says brides ALWAYS look beautiful.  I know I have dreadlocks so I won’t seem like a traditionally-styled bride no matter what, not that I want to.  But I still feel tons of pressure to look my best!  This pressure is mostly self-inflicted, and lately I’m just feeling like an ugly duckling!

Pardon the bitchfest for a moment, but my two main complaints are my weight and my skin.  In a way, the weight is the easy one.  Too many desserts and cervezas have taken their toll on my midsection, but if I really commit to healthier choices I know I can shed a few pounds by June.  I don’t want to be unrealistic and go on a torturous diet, just lose the beer belly and get more fit!  I know if I can pull it off I’ll feel much more confident on my wedding day!

My skin has always confused me.  First of all, my skin tone is very uneven, freckly, and red.  I blame the Irish in me.  I’ve tried several different makeup regimens over the years but I always end up looking shiny by the end of the day.  With an outdoor summer wedding, I’m really worried about looking like a sweaty beast in all the pictures!  Secondly, I have really dark under-eye circles.  No matter how much sleep I get or how little caffeine/alcohol I drink, they remain.  I’ve even tried this:

The concealers I’ve tried never really hide my circles as much as I’d like, and they too end up melting down my face after several hours.  I’m really worried about how I’m going to DIY my wedding makeup when I’m not even satisfied with my day-to-day look!  I’m terrified I won’t feel confident and I won’t like how I look in the photos.  I know these concerns are totally stupid and conceited, but I can’t help feeling stressed about the beauty aspects of the big day!

Has anyone else been infected with Ugly Duckling Syndrome while planning “the most important day of your life”?  Anyone have advice on longer-lasting makeup brands?