I think it is past time to admit that I am having a rough time with my depression. I have struggled with depression my entire life. The end of last year just really put a big stop sign in front of me and like an idiot, I obeyed all too well. I still have a million brilliant ideas a day (well at least I think they are brilliant). I just sort of abort them before they have a chance to flourish. The only thing I am really interested in doing right now is sleeping. I am sleeping way too much. Even the most passive forms of entertainment are losing their interest for me right now. All the signs are here, and I see them. The hardest thing in the world is to do something about it.

For years I have always hoped that self awareness was the key to overcoming a pronounced downshift in mood and life. Sadly, self realization of what is happening only adds to the acute suffering. There is a vibrant happy kernel inside of me shrinking every day, completely aware of its own mortality. I know I need to do things, I know I need to engage the world and remember how much love and joy there is around me. Somewhere between what I know I need to do, and what I do there is a disconnect. Some mechanism is stuck in a feedback loop perpetuating a murky swamp of stagnation. The best example that comes to mind is how I am just not working. I am not writing like I should, I am not working out. I make excuses for myself that I just have no muse, that I have no energy, that I need to save myself for working on myself. That is some goddamn bullshit. I am never happier than when I am exhausted mentally and physically from taking on challenges.

Maybe starting small will help? Honestly I have no clue. There has to be someway to remove the detour in my brain that is making me do the opposite of what I need to do to be fulfilled. Last time I checked, I deserved to be fulfilled. Maybe that is the core belief I am missing. I know it isn’t fun to sit and read someone else’s struggles but I can’t keep living in my mind. That is part of the problem. Engaging the world is also being vulnerable and opening yourself up wounds and all. So here it is, I am in a bad way but I am not bad.

Spring Has Sprung on the West Coast

I know that sadly much of the country is still in the middle of a never-ending winter and buried under snow, but in California Spring appears to have arrived. What we wouldn’t give for a month of winter storm precipitation, but alas. The sun feels great today and my brain is officially craving all things Spring (my second favorite season behind fall). My question to everyone is this: Do your wardrobe’s seasonal changes have as much to do with color as with texture and warmth factor? Mine do. I have a beautiful burgundy ikat top that I just could not wear today, it’s more of a late summer fall color for me.
Right now I am intensely into blush nudes, neutrals, pastels (pretty much a given this time of year for me no matter what) and dove greys and yes rose gold. I am not even really finding myself all that much drawn to black which is nearly unheard of. I decided to pull together a pinterest board for my spring obsessions, and i will be highlighting some of my favorites below.

hammered ear pin available from ChapamnJewelry on Etsy.

Jane Eyre scarf ThornfieldHall on Etsy

The perfect floral crown from Honeycomb Factory on Etsy

The perfect blush nude kimono from ASOS

Here is the pinterest board in all its pale glory: http://www.pinterest.com/pinksmish/spring-2014/

Valentine’s Day Idea: Palentines Dinner and a Movie With the People You Love

Valentine’s Day does not necessarily have to center around romantic love. I find the holiday much more fun when you take time out to express your feelings to all of the loves of your life. The husband and I will be getting a room to give my mother and step-father some time alone this year. If we both had our ‘druthers we would have a big dinner and a movie date with all the friends we love instead. Here is how the evening would progress based around my movie pick of “Heathers”. It’s got a love story, it’s hilarious, sarcastic, colorful, and Veronica Sawyer is a major fashion inspiration for me right now.

Set the scene:

These floor poofs from Land of Nod would make the perfect seating arrangement. In my Palentine’s Day fantasy the red one says “Sherriff”

These poofs are perfect casual seating, and since they come in bright primary colors are a perfect match for the color theme in Heathers. Red, Green, Yellow, Blue and black would be perfect to reflect the Heathers, Veronica and JD.

All these need is a white stripe (or 2 or 3) down the center. Image via Amazon

Paper lanterns in the same colors as the poufs only need a couple stripes of white to be the perfect croquet ball lighting.  Using as much green as possible on the major pieces of furniture (throw blankets and area rug) will also help set the scene for a bit of backyard fun in the dead of winter.


“Heather always said you couldn’t accessorize for shit”.  While the Heathers were also masters of color coded scrunchies this memorable quote is referring to a swatch collection.  Swatches would make the perfect party favor for our guests.

available from Amazon



The obvious choice here is to serve dinner buffet snack style.  I can’t seem to recall ever seeing anyone sit down to an actual meal in the movie.  Pate, slushies and red vines would all have to make an appearance on the buffet.  I think anything goes to round out the rest of the meal but the adult beverages will have to be served in plastic bottles that have been cleaned out and relabled “Drain Cleaner”.


Finishing Touch

Fuck me gently with a chainsaw. Cookies from fancyfortunecookies.com

These decorated cookies are just a small nod to Valentine’s Day and allow you to insert up to 5 custom messages.  I would customize these with my favorite quotes from the movie.

First sickness of the year conquered

Shortly after the new year I went to Texas to help care for my grandmother after a corrective back surgery.  When I got back, I got very sick.  I am finally better and I wanted to work through some of my feelings from the Texas trip.

I am absolutely grateful I was able to go to Texas and spend some quality time with my grandmother.  It was probably the most rewarding thing I will do this year.  I got to reconnect with her and and frankly connect for the first time with my cousin.  Whatever kept me from being able to be “real” with my dad’s side of the family for much of my life is dissolving away and I love what I am finding.  I won’t go too heavily into all the craziness (on my part) that caused it to take so long.  I will however say my cousin is hillarious, witty, strong, independant, honest and one of the least pretentious people I have ever met.  We talked about some very dark times in our lives and we shared some seriously deep laughs.  Same thing with my grandmother.  I hope they both now understand how much they mean to me.

I stayed with my uncle while I was in Texas and from the moment I walked into the house I was hit with just how much everything reminded me of my aunt (who passed in September).  At times being there, with the people who were closest to my aunt was so difficult I did not know If I would make it.  You could easily choke on the grief.  My uncle is just now walking around again as it has taken him months to physically rehabilitate from the accident.  I think now the full weight of his loss is really sinking in.  It sunk in for me as soon as I got there.  I spent the first two nights crying myself to sleep because I could see the pain people I love were going through and felt helpless.

Physically my grandmother was improved from the day I picked her up.  It did become apparent that her own grief was manifesting itself in a lack of attention to her own daily health maintenance so my main goal became getting her back on track.  Getting her to visit my uncle (who needs family around him as much as he can get i think).  I was able to do both, and I think I was able to make an impression on everyone there.  I feel confident that my cousin now knows she has an ally in me.  She can come to me for anything, and that is how it should be.  My uncle started playing music again, and I think my grandmother might try to play bridge at the “club house” of her little senior community.

I know I am bragging but, shamefully these were people I did not know at all before I left for Texas.  Now that I am over my first sickness of the year, I am proud that I was able to do some good.  I think it was the best way I could honor my aunt and the best way to start off my year.

Gift Guide #3: Sustainable Gifts

It’s far too easy to get caught in consumerism this time of year.  Sometimes I feel like we buy people gifts out of obligation and some hungry wastefulness we don’t quite understand.  I am trying to develop a gift philosophy that only gifts for children should have a temporal element.  By this I mean I want to give gifts that will be in use 10 years from now.  I want to give people upgraded versions (durability and UX) of things they already love and game changer presents that make life better.  Talk about a tall order.

Think outside the cardboard box. This carrier can handle beer, soda, shampoo, garden tools.. anything that needs toting

This is a great example of an upgraded durable version of something people throw away quite often. My husband is a big craft beer nerd so its rare that we are buying 6 of the same beer. With this we can stack our own six pack and throw in some fancy soda for me. It seems to me this baby provides a lot more protection and looks a lot better. The design looks simply enough to be DIY’d as well for those that can (which WILL be me soon).


Cute, Useful and not something someone would think to get for themselves.

These produce bags can eliminate a ridiculous amount of plastic waste when used by just one family. They are also kind of adorable. You can add them inside a market tote or even fill them with a voucher for a local farm delivery service. To be honest though on their own they are so multi-purpose anyone would be happy to receive.

These last two I couldn’t find good pictures for so forgive the wall of text about to come your way.

Cars are extremely durable goods on their own already. While we cannot always afford to gift someone a new more sustainable vehicle (not to mention the potential waste if their current vehicle languishes). There *is* something you can do make their current ride a the best it can be. Automatic is a device/app combination that is a kitchen sink suite of driving aids. The biggest benefit is that it can analyze the way you drive and help you make small adjustments that will help you eke out as many miles per gallon as possible. It can also let you know why your “check engine” light is on without a trip to the mechanic. It even remembers where you have parked!

Lastly for music lovers.  Don’t buy them a CD. Unless you are an audiophile yourself I would hesitate to get them gear. What I do know goes over like special sauce on a double double is a gift card. Itunes, Googleplay, Amazon MP3. Take your pick and give give give. Yes music ages but good music is timeless and I personally do not have anywhere near a large enough bank account to support my habits.

Gift Guide #2: Gifts for Men

Gifts for men, dudes, brews, brosefs, guys, guise, boys, brahs and gentlemen.  They’re all hard to shop for if you ask me.  Scratch that, they are all easy to shop for, and hard to get really right.  Chances are one of the guys in your life is bound to be more receptive to the novelty gifts you see at Spencer’s but that doesn’t make any of them good gifts.  Giving a male member of the human race a gift that will be cherished is like stealing a hot dog from the mouth of a hungry ‘gater.  Totally doable, totally difficult.  I’m tossing my hat into the ring with this gift guide that should help you find gifts for the guys in your life.  I’m aiming for diverse here, because just like women, men are not always impressed with the same things.

gifts for guys, wrist rocket

This image and idea comes courtesy of Huckberry. Huckberry is one of those curated deal sites, but their curation is on point. If you have a dude who is really a big kid at heart, this is a great option. It’s an upscale wrist rocket that takes the idea of a sling shot to a “whole ‘nother level”.

brass comb, gifts for men

This brass plated comb from Izola is a perfect gentleman’s accessory. When looking for gifts for men, I like to try and find something quality they wont need to replace for a good long while. If the man you are shopping for likes to groom and look dapper, this is a perfect choice. Less volatile than a possible sartorial misread, a quality comb will never be out of place.

Playstation 4 is the best gamer gift this year. This is a game focused device that is on the top of any gamer’s list. Don’t have the cash to throw down on one of these? (neither do I). Here is my other masterful idea, get them a PSN gift card and let someone else do the heavy lifting.

Not all gifts for men who like tech need to center around gaming. The Roku is the gold standard for streaming devices and the Roku 3 is a serious upgrade from the original (which I have, and its still going strong fyi). Give someone the gift of freedom from their cable bundle this year. The future is streaming and Roku has been at this for years, they have thousands of channels. I borrowed this image from Amazon, and I kinda recommend buying it there if you have Prime.

Pumpkin Bread with Cream cheese Persimmon frosting

This pumpkin bread belongs to a family of breads known as “Quick Breads”. They are my favorite to make as the chemistry involved in making their texture moist and thick (how we like them) is very simple. This means that once you nail down the basic recipe for a quick bread you can quickly start inventing your own (which can seem REALLY impressive). This also means that there is little excuse to not do everything from scratch. The only excuse I usually allow myself is the one involved in today’s batch: The mix was so inexpensive that buying the individual parts on their own (even budget brand versions) would be more expensive than the mix was. So here we go.

Basics for the bread: (not pictured the extra cinnamon I added because I like my pumpkin bread spicy)

Ingredients for Pumpkin Bread

These came out looking home-made and a little extra fancy because they were baked in silicone molds. These molds are amazing and make any home-made pastries just a little bit more special (please forgive the photo im still terrible at taking them from above).

Pumpkin bread

Slightly cuter than just plain loaves (although there are three of those too in the photo)

The frosting is a frankenstein of my own creation. I used whipped cream cheese as a base and mixed in fresh mashed persimmons. I skipped any added sugar because persimmons on their own are very sweet and there is no need to mess up the beauty of their natural sugars.  My persimmons were not ripe enough to mash on their own, so I cooked them down with satsuma juice, black spiced rum and vanilla.  I then mashed this and added some satsuma zest.  The finishing touch was a couple cranberries.

ran out of daylight.  BAD BLOGGER.

ran out of daylight. BAD BLOGGER.


Christmas Gift Guide #1: Healthy Finds Under Fifty

I mentioned in my last post a bunch of goals I am getting started working on (although not the running yet- as a surprise trip to San Diego put a delay on the start of my couch to 5k program).  Being healthy and able bodied is on my mind right now, and while it may not seem like the best of gifts, I have come around to the idea that health gifts are probably one of the best ways to show someone how much you care.  Here are my picks for some under $50 options.  Tomorrow I will be posting a list over at ChubbyCheeksBeauty of some splurgey health gifts in case you have a little more to spend. Click on the image to be taken to the product.

Penguin humidifier, adorable sinus savior!  ACK! it comes in Owl too!

UV Toothbrush Sanitizer. Not at all obsessed with owls.

Image from redditgifts. The health benefits of tea keep piling up and this tea pot is ridiculously fun. I recommend the green tea sampler for an antioxidant boost.

Naturebox is a healthy snack subscription that would be an amazing gift for the avid snacker. The three month gift is slightly over the limit here but I have tasted their snacks and its totally worth it.

They don’t have a gift option yet, but creating an account for someone at my yoga online and buying them a couple months will allow them to destress and strengthen from almost any streaming device

These gifts might not be someone’s first thought when they make their list, but I think raising someone’s quality of life is the best gift possible.

Travel Weary and Not Finished Yet

This Autumn has just been getting away from me.  I had a lovely and terrible time at the memorial for my departed family member earlier in the month.  The loss is still very surreal and I imagine I will be feeling it for quite some time, but this was not the week for that.  Just two days after we returned from San Diego my sisters started arriving for Thanksgiving.  I think this may have saved my sanity, I could have spend the holiday dwelling but instead I got to be surrounded by family and love.

Thanksgiving, (okay more the ensuing food coma) pretty much steam rolled me and my last sister leaves on Wednesday morning.  I was hoping this would signal a return to boring routine where I could not only get a lot writing done but also get a jump start on any New Year’s Resolutions I wanted to make.  Turns out we are leaving Wednesday too to head back down to San Diego for a couple days to get some stuff done in relation to my husband’s start-up and their kickstarter (more on this when that launches).  We will be back just in time for the frenzy of my nephews birthday party (he was born on Christmas but we are celebrating early) and Christmas/New Years/ travel to Austin to help my grandmother post surgery.  Phew.  It’s going to be hectic.

I am also ridiculously ready to have my own place again.  My mother and step father have been beyond amazing letting us live here while we do the start-up and follow our dreams, but I am tired of living in someone else’s space.  No matter how beautiful it is (and this house is incredible) or how welcoming and supportive your hosts are (there is no concept of gratitude large enough), after a while you just need your own place.  I want to walk around naked if the mood strikes me, or paint a wall pink.  I simultaneously feel like I have no sanctuary of my own and like I am completely invading someone else’s.  It’s just.. stressful.  That’s a whole lot of whining for someone who is admittedly getting to explore a dream … right?  right.

I’m more than a little miffed by how negative my thoughts have been going, so I decided screw it, just because I have commitments doesn’t mean I cant still get a jump on my resolutions.  It doesn’t mean that I can’t put in the research needed for some of my dream projects (vegetable garden that produces enough to sustain us im looking at you).  So schedule permitting, I am setting goals.  Goals without a due date, but with a firm commitment.  In no particular order here are my goals:


Daily Writing – anything, but write.every.day

Be able to run 2 miles without stopping – I will be starting a zombie themed couch to 5k program to kick off this goal and I hope to be able to do some fun runs in the very near future

Be able to walk 15-20 miles in a day – The breast cancer 3 day ladies can all do it, I want to be able to too.

Be able to tread water for 45 minutes at a time between breaks – Yes there is a bit of a survivalist theme here but I want to equip myself to live and live well.

Learn to sew

Vegetable garden that produces enough to cut out a huge hunk of our shopping bill – this will probably be a tandem goal with moving our diet to be much more heavily plant based

Learn to can

Promote Chubbycheeksbeauty.com – It’s pretty much my baby, and I want to make sure I give it my all

Reconnect with my Grandmother – Get over the fact that I hate the phone, I’m just being a jerk.

Make sure I have a strong relationship with my cousin – Someday it will just be us.  That us needs to keep it tight.

Smile at least 3 times a day – Even if I don’t wanna!

Time to kick my lifestyle in the ass.  I’ve been able to make small changes over the years and I want to keep building on it.  These aren’t new years resolutions, these are things that will happen.

What are your future triumphs?


October 2016
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