Sunday, January 14, 2018

New Year, Same Me

I had no images in this post, so I threw in my most recent selfie so you can see what 2018 Natalie looks like.
Which is the same as 2017 Natalie, but hey I cut my hair!

Ah, the first post of 2018. This is where I'm supposed to talk about my New Years Resolutions, right?

Lately I haven't been in the mood to focus on new changes and goals. After my wedding I've had trouble getting my mindset as things going back to "normal," and I've struggled getting settled into any sort of routine, so adding new things into the mix doesn't sound appealing. This winter just seemed to be one thing after another. After the wedding was the honeymoon (and we all know how it feels trying to go back to routine after a vacation), then when we came home there was Thanksgiving, and we started a month long run of a new show at the theatre. Then there was Christmas and everything that goes along with it.

I know it just sounds like excuses; but my mind has trouble focusing on too many things at once. Like, I found it hard to sit down and write a blog post (something I started doing, multiple times) when I would realize that I still had Christmas shopping to do, or thank you cards to write, or oh god the laundry has piled up again. Sigh. But I like to think that January is when we get to wind down a bit.

Kind of got derailed there. Back on track! We were talking about resolutions; or the lack of them, in my case. I spend a lot of time wishing I was one thing or another. I wish I was skinnier. I wish I read a book a week like those cool book bloggers. I wish I didn't let others opinions dictate what I do. Just to list a few. This year I'm working on acceptance. Making improvements on yourself can be great, but for the most part I also think it's great just to accept yourself as your are (assuming you aren't doing anything harmful - take care of yourself please!). So this year I'm working on that. For example:

"I wish I was skinnier." Even though this thought creeps into my head from time to time, I know it isn't true. I mean, I wish I was healthier, which can sometimes lead to being skinnier, but no matter. Something I realized in the past few months was that it wasn't my weight that made me dislike what I saw in the mirror, it was my clothes. My drawers and closet were full of things I hadn't worn in years, because they didn't fit well, and I was too sentimental to get rid of them. Keeping them around was only making me wish for the body I had when I was nineteen. I felt overwhelmed every time I was getting dressed because I'd have to rifle through clothes that didn't fit to find ones that did (can you tell I'm not good at organizing?). So I donated a lot of it, sold some of it, and the pieces I truly couldn't part with went into a storage box that went under my bed. Now my drawers and closet are much emptier, but every item in them are things that make me feel good when I put them on. It's a simple thing, but has done loads for my confidence. I do still have some bad days here and there, but it's a process I guess. I'm definitely still working on my health (have you joined Powerpuff Bloggers yet?), but the main goal isn't to lose weight.

"I wish I read a book a week like those cool book bloggers." I used to read much faster. Not a book a week fast, but...faster than I do now. This is something I feel guilty about sometimes. I used to pride myself on being "well read" (for my age, anyway) and that just wasn't the case anymore. My Goodreads reading goal for 2017 was forty books, and I only made it 70% there. What happened? Well, I have more things to do, plus a wider array of hobbies. Back then I didn't work as much as I do now. I also wasn't interested in blogging, video games, yoga, or going out as much. Those are hobbies that are also important to me, and I shouldn't feel guilty for indulging in those as well. But it does mean I spend less time reading, which I need to be ok with. My reading goal for 2018 is thirty books. I think it's a goal I'll still need to actively work towards, but I won't feel as pressured :)

I do have one goal I want to work towards for 2018...but I'm not going to call it a resolution, because I don't want to feel like a piece of shit if I don't accomplish it. This isn't something I talk about much (if ever), but...I don't drive. I've tried learning many times, but I have a lot of anxiety associated with it, which has made things very difficult. Being an adult that can't drive herself around is starting to feel ridiculous (no shame to others who don't drive, I'm simply voicing how it makes me feel about myself). Getting my license is something that I know will take time, which is why I'm saying it's something I want to "work towards." If I do have it by the end of the year, then great! But as long as I'm closer to it than I was at the start of the year, then I'll be happy. In case you're wondering how I currently get around (because people always ask), I use Lyft, sometimes the bus, I'm lucky enough to live two blocks from one of my jobs, and of course Andrew gives me rides when he's available (bless him). I've made my situation work, but that doesn't make it ideal, or any less embarrassing. Anyway, the first step is getting my drivers permit again. I attempted to get it on Friday, but no luck. I went to the DMV in town without knowing they were closed for remodeling. So I went to the DMV in the next town over and by the time it was my turn to talk to the clerk, she said the testing wait was over four hours and by the time it was my turn, they'd be closing. SIGH. But she did give me the paperwork so I can at least get started and bring it in next week and can hopefully take my test!

Well, I guess that's it. Sorry this post is all over the place, and not as fun as my other posts (and less visual, I can't even think of what kind of image I'd post with this). I just wanted to pop in and talk about where my minds been lately :) Hope you're all having a great 2018 so far!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Beach Blanket Babylon Bachelorette Party

Try saying that title five times fast!

Hello internet! I am now a married woman :)

I know I made my hatred of wedding planning no secret - but it ended up being the best day ever. I guess I would say it was all worth it ;) I can't wait to tell and show you everything; but I'm still waiting to get the photos back so we'll have to save that story for another day! In the meantime I wanted to share some photos from my bachelorette party!

My three bridesmaids planned a night out for me in San Francisco! A few months before they asked if there was anything specific I wanted to do, and I had absolutely no idea. A lot of people kept telling me to look into Beach Blanket Babylon - "the world's longest-running musical revue." It looked like a lot of fun, so I told the girls we should go see it! Everything else they planned on their own.

In the afternoon I rode into the city with Maria and Alyssa, so we could meet Katie. Katie lives in Seattle, and was flying into San Francisco just to see us! The girls said they had planned one surprise, then we would get dinner, and finally we would see the show. I just followed behind the girls, until I realized we had walked into a psychic's studio!!?? I was both confused and amused, hahah. Disclaimer - psychics and that sort of stuff is not something I personally believe in. BUT I have to admit I was impressed. She went around the room talking to each of us, and a lot of what she had to say was pretty spot on (for some of us more than others). It was a really fun and crazy experience! I didn't take any pictures inside because I wasn't sure if that would be disrespectful D:

After our enlightening affair, we started walking towards our dinner destination. On the way was City Lights Bookstore, so obviously I had to step in there for a minute. One of the girls didn't know where we were right away, and this guy in the store peers down from his magazine to tell her, "You're ONLY in the most famous bookstore in the WORLD..." Thanks dude, hahah.

We ate dinner at a restaurant called Tacolicious. Because everyone loves tacos and margaritas! Our timing was perfect - happy hour was starting! I'd never seen so many tacos on one menu. I'm not normally very adventurous with my food, but the deal lets you pick 4 tacos so I decided to have fun with it. I loved all but one; and even then the flavor was good, but it was too spicy for me to handle! While we sipped our margaritas I gave the girls their bridesmaid gifts. I had picked out silver chrysanthemum pendent necklaces that I hoped they would love...and they did!! They even wore them to the wedding. Thank you, Etsy!

Katie is in the bottom corner of all the pictures because she took all of them!! Hahah.

After dinner we walked a block to Club Fugazi, the home of Beach Blanket Babylon! Beach Blanket Babylon is a constantly changing musical, but the main storyline stays the same. It follows Snow White, who lives in San Francisco and is looking for her Prince Charming. Glinda the Good Witch convinces her that her Prince Charming may not be in San Francisco, so Snow White goes on a journey all over the world. Along the way she encounters a large group of figures you'll probably recognize, who each have their own satirical song. Figures on the chopping block include politicians, film and TV stars, singers and athletes, and pretty much anyone you've seen on the news lately. I said "constantly changing" before because they often update the characters/references to coincide with current events. What really sets this show apart are their costumes. Their "thing" is for all their characters to have really, really huge and ridiculous hats. Some of them were so big that the actors can't even walk while they're wearing them!! Check out this pic to see what I mean. The woman in the middle with the huge SF cityscape hat stands on a moving panel that slides her forward, so she doesn't have to walk!

By the time the show got out, we had to head back to BART to get a ride home before the trains stopped running for the night. But before that we stepped inside the candy store across the street. I bought a package of Beanboozled that I planned on putting to good use later 😈

When we got back to town it was late and we were starving. So we went to the only place you go when it's late and you're starving - Denny's. I remember seeing one of those Tumblr meme things that said, "You don't go to Denny's, you end up at Denny's." It's true!! While we waited for our food and milkshakes I convinced the girls to play Beanboozled with me. I would probably categorize it in "things I'll never do again," yet we did it up until our food came so I guess it was that magical time of night where literally everything is fun and hilarious.

Finally, we ended our evening. I went home and had the best sleep I'd had in a long time. I'm so thankful to have amazing friends like these :)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Robin Sloan at Copperfield's Books

I LOVE going to book and author events. After reading and loving a book, meeting the author is one of the coolest things you can do. In this case, I read a book I loved and met the author in the same month :)

Last month, my friend Meg asked me if I'd like to join her in going to see Robin Sloan at Copperfield's Books in Petaluma (my fav bookstore). She said he wrote Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, a book I had heard of but hadn't read yet. The author was on tour for his new book, Sourdough. Even though I hadn't read the book I told her I wanted to go; like I said, I love author events! I ordered the book from the library, hoping it'd arrive in time for me to read it before going (I'm a slow reader). I literally finished it an hour before leaving the house. Phew. But I loved it! It was a fun adventure story centered around one of my favorite things - books! It also takes place in San Francisco (that's near me!). I think reading books that take place in your location is fun. Like "hey, I've been there!"

At the event Robin Sloan told stories about how he came up with some of the ideas for his books. It was so much fun! He seems like a really funny and chill person. It made me really excited to read Sourdough...even though I still haven't started it!! I promise I will soon. When I'm really stressed about something (right now - WEDDING) I find it hard to focus when I read. So I put the book on hold for a bit. I plan on bringing it with me on my honeymoon!

Not my most flattering photo - but hey! I got a picture with Robin Sloan!

At the end of the night he signed everyone's books. Those numbers at the bottom of the page are from a stamp he brings with him to all his events. They're the coordinates of the bookstore we were at that night! I thought it was a fun little touch :)

Since I haven't read it yet, I grabbed a bio to share with you on what Sourdough, is about:

Lois Clary, a software engineer at a San Francisco robotics company, codes all day and collapses at night. When her favourite sandwich shop closes up, the owners leave her with the starter for their mouthwatering sourdough bread.
Lois becomes the unlikely hero tasked to care for it, bake with it and keep this needy colony of microorganisms alive.  Soon she is baking loaves daily and taking them to the farmer's market, where an exclusive close-knit club runs the show. When Lois discovers another, more secret market, aiming to fuse food and technology, a whole other world opens up. But who are these people, exactly?

What was the last author event you went to?

P.S. - I really want to start blogging more regularly again. But it's hard. Between work and feeling stressed out literally every minute of the day (that's for another post) I find it hard to simply sit down and WRITE. I just took a look at my blog and saw I haven't since July. That really bums me out. This post is getting published a month after the actual event because I kept opening the draft and could only manage to write a few sentences, or I would just open the draft, stare at it for awhile, and then just close it again. Sigh. But, I'm working on it. In the meantime, if you're still reading this blog; know that I really appreciate you <3