Friday, November 29, 2013

Giving thanks

Happy Thanksiving !

Friday, November 22, 2013

A contender

Don't you worry there my honey, we might not have any money. But we've got our love to pay the bills. Maybe I think you're cute and funny; maybe I wanna do what bunnies do...with you. If you know what I mean.
Oh, let's get rich and buy our parents homes in the south of France. Let's get rich and give everybody nice sweaters and teach them how to dance.
Let's get rich and build our house on a mountain making everybody look like ants. From way up there, you and and I

Well, you might be a bit confused and you might be a little bit bruised. But baby how we spoon like no one else. So I will help you read those books if you will soothe my worried looks. And, we will put the lonesome on the shelf.
Oh, let's get rich and buy our parents homes in the south of France. Let's get rich and give everybody nice sweaters and teach them how to dance.
Let's get rich and build our house on a mountain making everybody look like ants. From way up there, you and and I

-Ingrid Michaelson

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Life Lately

*New Glasses, our first wok fried noodles, the coat of a street corner stranger, baby strengths, text messages, and good friends in the city.

Just a few things...
Can I have this backdrop in my living room forever?
I could wear this every day.
The most wonderful travel blog I've seen.
Definitely to remember.

Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.

xo Ellie

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Flashback - Denver

It's not quite time to share some of the big things happening in my life right now. Such is the internet - you never know who might be reading. In light of not spilling the beans, I'd like to make a post about a time in my life that helped set in stone a definition of me that I always envisioned for myself. When I say that: I mean that I imagined being a 'me' that I wasn't yet.
When I was young, maybe 14 or 15, I thought a lot about being an adult. I was pretty angry about a lot of things; pretty sure it showed. But I loved Pretty Woman and Heartbreakers - not only because they are super girly either. I loved this idea that just because you come from a certain place or are surrounded by certain people, you can just choose to be different, leave and change. Now that is fascinating. You might think 'everyone knows that', but I'm here to tell you that was not always obvious to me. And further on that - people don't always support you when you do.
I learned things as I grew up and started to understand myself. Even from then, I knew I wasn't a family person. I love my family, but not enough to stay someplace I don't want to be. That is a huge distinction in this life. Most people "end up" where family is. They might venture off in college or move for a while to "find" themselves...or, of course, start their own family and put that first. Family pulls people in. Not sure if it's because mine is small, or because we don't operate as a unit, or because I've never wanted children, or just because of my priorities. In any case, I was gonna be out in the world - I knew that 15 years ago and it's true today. The photo above I took from my car window. That's my Uhaul trailer when I drove from Tulsa to Denver. I had all the important things: clothes, art, bits of furniture, an apartment rented, and a part-time job lined up. Don't get me wrong, my family visits. That next photo is my mom and me in Denver waiting for the Harry Potter movie release. I just knew that I was meant to be somewhere else. And that I wanted to be this strong, independent, artsy woman who is healthy and happy. I based certain aspects of this person on my mom, and both of my grandma's, and, of course, I idolized people in popular culture. At the time I was this envious, selfish, attached, and scared young girl. But thankfully, all it really took was some time completely on my own to become a better person.

The first year in Denver went by so fast. I was working 3 jobs at one point, dating an idiot for part of it, and trying to get used to a new place. Eventually, I got a great job and decided I should buy my first house. Now that may not be most people's conclusion after one year, but it was right for me.

I couldn't believe it was mine. Everyone should own something that big. It's incredible. I remember the day I signed the final paperwork, I got home about 5:30 with my keys and I just laid flat in the middle of my newly carpeted living room floor. I was really glad to be me and proud of all the decisions I'd made leading up to that moment.

I tore that house apart. I updated everything I could get my hands on. Painted, scrubbed, changed, name it, I Googled it - and did it. It's so empowering! I could do absolutely whatever I wanted to that entire house and had not one single person to answer to. It was awesome.

After settling in and getting the house in order, I decided to rent the rooms in my basement. The rest is history, as they say. My second tenant quickly became my favorite person in the world. That photo is the first one I have of us together. I love that bossy guy. Someone would have had to work miracles to break my independent self-absorbed streak in life. This one makes me melt. Boyfriend continues to help me become a better person every single day.

I made so many great friends in Denver. The wonderful Mandy, who is never afraid of being goofy. She was my closest friend through a pretty rough time - but we'll save that for another post. Cat, my second favorite tenant, that crazy girl has fun doing just about anything. And Lenny, the coolest guy in Denver. Chris, who makes the best food and has the kindest smile. Corey, who is always down and the best drunk I've ever hung out with. Beth, the absolute sweetest person I know - still. Leanne, my advice girl, miss her. Dennis, Margo, John, and Barb, wonderful discussions and always with an amazing amount of goodness. And tons of others.

Boyfriend threw me a surprise birthday party...just cause. We were only friends at the time; it meant so much to me. I'll forever consider myself very lucky to be his friend.

I picked out my own furniture and discovered a side business. I made a lot of money just picking up free or really cheap things, making none or a couple of changes, then re-selling them. You just never know what opportunities life will throw your way.

I learned to like sports in Denver. I discovered hockey - its awesome. Went to see baseball games and my first NBA game.

I missed my family for the first time. It feels so good to know they're there. They came to visit for my first Christmas in my house. I'll remember that always. It might not really make sense, but it was just nice to miss them.

I officially changed my name in Denver And not just 'most people call me'...I always liked when people called me El or Ellie before - so, fuck it - I just changed it.

I got a dog. He didn't end up with me because of some situation like previous pets, I actually went and I picked him out myself :) I named him Gryffindor and he's been loving the heater and sneezing on me ever since.

I learned to snowboard, sort of. I tried Eggs Benedict and couldn't believe no one told me about it until then. And Bloody Mary's. They always seemed so gross - I mean, tomato juice? But they are fantastic!

I went organic; that was weird. I tried Zumba, hot yoga, picked up running again (hadn't since HS track). I made friends with pretty much every person I came in contact with - that taught me a lot. I baked cupcakes for my Vietnamese neighbors. I made dinners for people (that was a first believe it or not).

I was hit on while applying concrete mix to the brick on the front of my house. I borrowed my Mexican neighbor's ladder and cleaned my own gutters. I drilled out a door knob (might not sound big- try it, let me know what you think).

Through my job, I learned how to recognize value in real estate. I overcame my fear and photographed multiple empty, vacant houses in sketchy areas. I learned the city enough to drive around without GPS (I haven't done this since, by the way). My house had 18 different places to sit at one point. I found that extremely exciting.

I had my own painting studio. I was so busy that I only used it every couple weeks or so. But, everyday I had the option and that, I loved more than I can say.

I tore out a solid brick bar from my basement with 6 hours straight, a sledge hammer, and some serious Metallica. Yeah.

I experienced amazing generosity when I casually mentioned an expensive car repair I would have to pay for at the end of the day only to find out my boss went and called ahead to pay for it. If I am ever appreciated again as much as I felt I was at that job - I'll be a very lucky employee.

I got to feel important in Denver.

I fell easily into my role as a landlord. I learned to gently manage people, make rules but not be overbearing. I feel like those are good lessons for work and for life.

I partied for the first time. I hardly partied in college...most 4.0 students don't get out much. So this was huge. I knew the best dance places and the best drink prices. I'm irrationally proud of this and not at all embarrassed. I rode in those little bike buggies. I figured out my favorite drink and how many I should/can have. I loved living in a city where there's basically something happening every weekend.
I did learn to appreciate having people around, but I loved my time alone. I developed all these habits, that I'll always have I'm sure, with no influence - just mine. I like to eat tortillas with macaroni and cheese. I like hamburgers re-heated. I drink tea. I like sitting on the floor sometimes. I enjoy working out in the evenings. I prefer to hang out sans pants. If left to my own devices, I will happily sleep until noon - then have breakfast. Eggs are good all day. I like folding clothes while watching movies. I love alternative lighting. If it's on the ceiling - keep it turned off. Lamps are charming. I hate when the TV is the focus of the room. I like walking through the house when I talk on the phone. I'll always think you've really made it when water comes out of the front of your refrigerator. And I like playing solitaire with actual cards.

I'm so thankful I had my time in Denver. It feels like a rite of passage now. Like, that time when I learned who I was. But in my case though, I stand by what I said. I really just learned to be who I wanted to be.

I took this photo the day I sold my house.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Day Drinking...and why it's just not for me.

Don't tell anyone but I'm going to be 28 years old in approximately 5 months. Now, thankfully - I feel like my life so far gives that number some oomph. I'm okay with it. And who knows? Maybe your very late twenties and thirties are just as awesome as your early twenties - if you keep the right mind...and hunt like Van Pelt for friends who have no kids. We all know kids suck the fun out of...well, ... Not that they don't bring along a new, sort of gross but interesting fun...maybe? What am I talking about? Ask someone who has them - I've been blessed enough to keep a safe distance from that madness.

Although, I am somewhat worried about the flare of online and bookstore obsession with "what to do in your early twenties"...I've been officially past that point for a couple of years now. Why do they think you can only go scuba diving in Bali at 24? It's ludicrous. Like a person's ability to jump off things and stay in shitty hostels ends at 25. Oop! Sorry, you must all of a sudden have joint problems and too much career focus.
Ok, ending the side rant now.

Back to the point - I've noticed with some of my new found (or newly fully appreciated) older friends, they day drink! It's like this late twenties - thirties phenomenon where they refuse to go to night clubs and they're favorite drinking fun involves pseudo-intellectual conversations with retired men and lesbians. Not that retired men and lesbians can't be very interesting, but when I drink I'm still in party mode. I wanna dance, man. Or at the very least let's play a game. Standing around (or sitting around) just isn't going to cut it for a great time. I'm wondering if my opinion will change on this, but until then here are 3 reasons I hate day drinking:

1. I get sunburnt! Half the beauty of nightlife (for me) is the night part. I can roam the streets and stand around beer tents for hours without even a moment's thought of "oh god - I could get skin cancer". Day drinking just ruins all of that for me. I have to put on a layer of sunscreen, then a layer of makeup...only to wait an hour and then ruin the makeup with a new layer of sunscreen. In an hour and half I smell like a bottle of Coppertone, I'm as shiny as if I just ran a marathon, and my whole body sticks to itself. You just don't understand until you've been there. If you're expected to actually look cute and it starts before 5, count me out. This is the reason I love sports games. Everyone looks disgusting and no one cares - that is just not the case at your afternoon beer crawl.

2. Where is the food? These day drinkers hang out all day and no one ever eats. Speaking as someone who sits down for about 5 meals a day, this is just plain unacceptable. Plus, drinking makes me hungrier. Unless we're having beer. Nah, I still get hungry. It's one thing to be distracted by loud, crazy club music or all night dancing. But, when I'm standing around chit chatting about work and men and furniture design, my tummy better be full or you're gonna get a face full of bitchy.

3. The time line is all off. Normally, you start drinking about 10 o'clock, you're dancing your butt off until 1:30 AM. At 2-2:30, you pick up a slice. Get home at 3, chug three glasses of water. On a bad night, you wake up at 6 AM with a headache, chug three more glasses of water and bam! Either way, you're ready for a perfect Sunday brunch at 11. Alas, when you day start drinking at 11. By 1-1:30 you're starving and bored - so you sneak off alone and eat too much. Between the food settling, the sun, and too much booze - you're headache starts at 5 PM (if you managed to find everyone again). At 8 o'clock you crash out. Only to wake up fully rested and miserable at 7 AM the next morning. Inevitably you're going to lay in bed and watch TV until 9:30, then promptly fall back asleep. You aren't actually up until 2 PM the next day. You're one "day-drinking" turned into a 10 hour hangover. Um, no thanks.

I mean, it's obviously a blast for tan people who drink protein shakes and have more control over their alcohol intake. For me it's a definite no brainier - I'll always pick a night out with silly college kids in a club with a pirate theme dancing to Lady Gaga mash-ups.

Regardless- after all that complaining, I know a snapshot of a cute little hand hugger is a nice change of pace:
Annnnd back to the grind I guess, xo

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Two faces, one big ole love lap

My two favorite guys Eskimo kissin' in my lap. Does it get better than that?

Just a few things I found browsing...
Love this idea.
Yes please.
For someday when I get to host a bridal shower.
My mom has one just like this.
Something tells me I'll be needing this soon!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Let's just start with the fact that I love Halloween. Always have. It's just awesome. You get to wear costumes and be something different for a few days. Um, and parties ! This article gets it just right. Lucky for me, this year's festivities went basically a whole week. For the first weekend.. our friend's Josh and Kelly are famous for throwing a great Halloween party so we had to head that way. They live out in the hills of Fremont (East/South bay). Luckily, our wonderful friend Kara volunteered to be the designated driver. Especially since my costume pretty much required a martini. Angelo's good buddy from high school, Phil, was in town (Kelly's brother), so it was cool to catch up with him. He's on our fantasy league. I actually beat him one week...and he's a sport's writer. One of my prouder moments. My less than humble-ness bit me in the ass though now because it looks like the arch nemesis of fantasy on our team is going to win! Phil was our best chance to beat him, but now boyfriend is coming up in the ranks. Fingers crossed for him! I'm still just hoping to make it to the playoffs. Anyhow - after Josh and Kelly's shindig, we had some downtime before we were meeting up with another friend for a late night house party in the city. So, we got back to our apartment and heard the neighbors' music. So I got brave. Knocked on their garage door. They let us join their party! It was a girl named Natasha's birthday as well as for Halloween. Her friends were so nice, we played some beer pong and chatted with everyone. I met a girl actual pilot who was dressed as Amelia Earheart - great costume. Flying a plane must be so fun. Maybe I'll take a few lessons sometime. I only wish I'd have had my phone on me so we could all meet up again later. Around ten, we went  to the Mission to meet up with Sam for her co-worker's house party. That was crazy. If you've ever been lucky enough to go to the backside of someone's house in San Francisco, then you know - it's like a secret village of awesome: backyards/patios/different levels of stairs. We had our Fourth of July party using our building's backside (and our neighbor's apartment). It's pretty cool behind all the SF houses that share walls, but Sam's friends had actually taken the whole back area between like 6 houses and made it one huge Halloween party. They had a bar with $2 drinks (I didn't pay - shh), a DJ, a photo booth - just awesome. So, 3 parties - 1 night - ultimate craziness. 

                     What is it with tutu's and Halloween?                     Me, Kara, and Samantha

On actual Halloween I decided to dress up at work. Fortunately enough, a few others did as well! So we had a fun little photo party. The pink bunny is my co-worker, the rest are other people from our building. The gnome is by far my favorite. I'm not sure if I've ever gone full out costume at work, but being a 50's housewife was pretty easy to make work appropriate. Lose the martini and good to go!

I won't lie, I got lazy with my costume. I didn't feel like I had the funds this year and when I saw those shoes at Betty Page, I couldn't not buy them. So, I needed a reason :) There were a few people who recognized me as a Madmen type character, which was cool. Otherwise, pretty sure I looked like a regular person wearing a pretty old school outfit.
The evening of Halloween I switched up my costume knowing I was going out out and didn't want to mess up my pretty full skirt from my other costume. So, housewife became pin-up. Told you I was lazy. Regardless, we had a fantastic time! Some friends booked a hotel in the city since they live in the bay so we started out there for some photos, of course. We got tickets to this place called Public Works. It was cool to start the night, but overall pretty dead. My favorite favorite was when we walked to Double Dutch. Now that, is a fun place. Great music! It was packed through so we lost some people and some sunglasses and a lot of sweat. Still so fun!

I ended up getting home at 1:30 AM, but secretly switched my solo cup from a drink to water at about 11, so work the next morning was perfectly tolerable.

Friday night we took a drive out to Dublin to our friend Kara's party...with our favorite game and puppy in tow. If you remember, our friends accidentally left it at our apartment to our everlasting benefit! We had a great time just hanging out and getting competitive. Drinks and Cranium just don't mix with our people. But all is forgiven next day! 

Such an awesome holiday and a great year! I love boyfriend in that yellow jumpsuit, probably my highlight. That, and finding a nightclub in San Francisco that doesn't just play house or mash-ups (who came up with this ungodly idea anyway?).

Happy Halloween everyone!
Can't wait for next year; I think I might sew a Sally from the Nightmare Before Christmas dress myself to wear. We'll see! (I even started a Halloween costume Pinterest board to start brainstorming)

xox Ellie