i’m back

i have finally decided that i want to return to writing down my thoughts.

here’s what’s happened since the last time i wrote in this space.

august 2016: brandon and i got engaged in solvang

september 2017: we got married in our dream wedding at la canada flintridge country club

april 2018: we moved to austin, texas when brandon took a job at a company he’s been wanting to work for for a long time

and…boom…that’s where we are. i drove to austin with my mom about 2 weeks after brandon came and started his job. i am still looking for a job. i’ve had 2 interviews for positions at ut, one didn’t work out, and the other i’m waiting to hear about. i’ve also applied for jobs with a number of non-profits in austin. i’m hoping that in the next few weeks i can secure a job and help contribute towards our financial future. while i do enjoy sleeping in and being able to decide what to do with my day, not working isn’t as fun when you’re being budget conscious.

one of the first things we did when we moved to austin was to buy a house. moving to austin was a two-fold decision. 1. brandon has wanted to work for his company for a while, so this is a great career opportunity for him with lots of opportunity for advancement. 2. we wanted to buy a house. we knew that staying where we were living we would never be able to afford the type of house we would want. we would’ve been purchasing either something very small, requiring lots of work or something quite far away from our jobs/community.

we found and purchased a lovely house in austin. we close this coming wednesday and we will probably move in about two weeks later once our stuff is shipped from storage back home. while i am undeniably excited about owning our first home, especially because we are buying a home that in my wildest dreams i never thought we’d be able to afford, i am still stuck in a funk about our move in general.

and basically it boils down to…this isn’t home for me. my family isn’t here, i don’t have a community network here, i don’t have my favorite haunts and walking spots here. and i know those things come with time. i know that everything doesn’t just fall together in one week, six weeks, or even six months. but, it’s still hard to maintain that optimism that comes with moving somewhere completely new when at least once a day i think, “man, i wish i was back at home.”

it doesn’t help that to move here i had to leave my job which i dearly loved. i have tried to fill the flower void by starting to volunteer at the lady bird johnson wildflower center once a week. it definitely helps, because it is a gorgeous botanical gardens and the focus is very different from the huntington. i am learning so much about native texas wildflowers. it also helps to get me interacting with folks on a regular basis out in the community.

i feel that as we continue to set up our home and move in, once i find a job, things will slowly start to fall into place. i will find new usuals. again, it’s a process, it takes time, and it’s important for me to realize that it’s totally ok to miss home, miss the people back there, and even miss silly things like specific coffee shops, specific streets, and even specific freeways.

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my clothing hack

“life hacks” are all the rage these days. i see articles for ikea hacks, closet hacks, cleaning hacks on lifestyle websites just about every time i navigate to one.

i have my own hack; it’s a clothing hack. sometimes i buy children’s clothes. don’t think i’m just waltzing into carter’s and gymboree to find the latest styles. i like to look for options from brands that make adult lines as well as children’s lines. there is a lot of design crossover. sometimes you can find items that are nearly identical, or at least very similar, in the children’s section and get it for a fraction of the price for the adult version.

i started looking at children’s clothes options when i worked at ralph lauren in the kids department. every season when the new collections would arrive, i noticed how many mini-versions of adult pieces were available for kids. it wasn’t just standard t-shirts and polos. there were dreses and jackets and sweaters all made in scaled-down versions. one time while stocking and merchandising, i thought “hey, this would probably fit me.” my co-workers quickly admitted to trying on and buying clothes from the children’s section, so i gave it a whirl. i found that at ralph lauren, i can fit into boys clothing size l (14-16).

buying children’s clothes for myself is not something i make a habit of, and the vast majority of my clothes are from women’s stores. however, i do love a good deal, and if it means buying a children’s version of an adult item, not only will i buy it, i will let everyone know.

christmas catalogues

in the kitchen at work there are a ton of christmas catalogues from all sorts of retailers. i don’t know who is bringing them in, but it seems like every day when i go to make my tea more have arrived.

the one i flipped through this morning is from frontgate which kind of reminds me of a cross between crate and barrel and skymall. there’s a lot of furniture and a lot of christmas decorations and a lot of hostess gifts that border on the ridiculous. but they also sell clothing and towels and bedding. it’s kind of a grab bag of crap that you can definitely find cheaper just by googling whatever it is you’re looking to buy.

i love the way the christmas decorations look, though. everything is so green and festive and cheery. you can almost smell the decorated trees through the pages. catalogues sell such a heightened reality on their pages. i wonder if anyone spends this much time and effort decorating for the holidays. i wonder if anyone really owns a set of christmas dishes that are literally only used one month a year. i think the fantasy is lovely, and the marketing team is definitely doing its job. these pages make me want to dive right into this world of christmas fancy.

how much do you decorate for the holidays?

layering!

woohoo! it’s finally layering weather here in california. summer lasted all the way through to the end of october. it wasn’t a nice mild summer, it was a blistering hot sweaty mess of a summer. i basically lived in dresses, skirts, and sleeveless blouses.

now that cooler temps are back, i feel like i’ve forgotten how to layer. i have so many sweaters that are perfect for layering over blouses and i look at it all hanging in my closet and i feel so lost. the months and months of heat fryed the part of my brain that comes up with cute warm weather outfits.

i’ll just have to start throwing things together and see what sticks. my office is not super formal, so i can really focus on the comfort level and not have to worry so much about looking formal. my office is also the kind of place where inside feels like the arctic tundra, the a/c is always kept at full blast. from here on out, it’s chunky sweaters and chunky scarves.

do you love to dress snuggly when the weather cools down?

finding the right routine

i love beauty products, mostly skin and hair care products. i’ve had skin issues for what feels like practically my entire life, and i feel like i’m always on the hunt for something that will be the magic cure-all.

i have suffered from acne for a long time. for a long time it was pretty prominent all over my face. then in college, i went on a form of accutane which helped to clear up and heal a lot of my acne. finally, a few years after college, i started birth control and my skin cleared up about 90%. my acne is now relegated to mostly my lower jaw line and just under my chin. along the way i saw many dermatologists and tried many many different oral and topical medications. i felt desperate for anything that would rid me of acne.

as you can imagine, i pretty much jump at new skin care products that promise to help my skin. and not just with the acne, but with a whole host of other issues like redness, large pores, oiliness, excess shine, blotchiness, scarring. i’ve spent a lot of money at sephora, ulta, target, trader joes, and the drug store. some stuff has kind of worked, some stuff seemed to never work, and some stuff seemed to work at first and then kind of peter out over time.

some of this is my fault; i need to be better about sticking to a routine. even with all the issues i have with my skin, i still, on occasion, go to bed without washing my face when i’m super tired. sometimes when i’m feeling lazy, i don’t follow my full routine. i just stop after cleansing. i know that real results will come when i find a rountine that i like and really stick to it and really give my products the chance to work their magic.

what about you? do you have skin issues? do you love trying out new skin care products?

holiday shopping

this year, i decided to start saving money for the holidays early by putting away a little cash each month. i also decided to start shopping for the holidays early so that i wouldn’t be stressed out when december rolled around. both of these plans have been very successful this year, and i plan on carrying this new tradition into 2016.

by saving up a little cash each month, i have a pretty nice little wad to spend on the people i care about the most without feeling overwhelmed by how much i’m spending on each person. by shopping early, i have been able to buy stuff on sale and plan more carefully about who gets what. i can wait a little longer to pick up a gift for someone; i don’t feel rushed. these two plans together have yielded a nice result as well: i have been able to add people to my gift list that in previous years i wasn’t able to include because of timing and finances. this makes me happy.

i have also decided to save money on holiday cards by using up my extensive collection of cards left over throughout the years. i have remnants of holiday card boxes going back ten years! in past years, i have usually bought a new box of cards and i always have leftovers at the end of the season. i even have enough left over hanukkah cards to give to my family (fyi: aahs is a good store to find hanukkah cards). not buying cards will save me money that i can use to pay for postage to send my holiday gifts this year.

have you started shopping for the holidays? do you like to save money throughout the year for holiday shopping?

ironman

this coming weekend my boyfriend and i will be traveling to arizona so he can take part in ironman arizona. it’s very exciting, but it can also make me extremely nervous.

my boyfriend did this race last year and has done a number of half ironman races and other triathlons. but full ironman races definitely give me the most stress, because they are the most grueling and take the most time. they start right when the sun comes up and they don’t finish (at least for us) until after the sun has gone down. the only way of keeping track of my athlete is through the ironman website, which is spotty at best. no phones, no gps, no live streaming, no go pro cameras mounted to helmets. it’s hard not to worry while he’s out there.

we’re going to be there with some friends so i won’t be all alone during the race. we’ll probably go for some coffee (maybe a chai for me) and maybe some brunch (we got pretty drunk last year drinking mimosas) and check out the expo area. i also have vip passes that my boyfriend won, so we’ll definitely check out the vip area. and i’ll really try not to stress and worry.