Tuesday, February 28, 2017


I was driving to a student leadership conference one Friday afternoon during "Storm Satan," only to find out that I was going to have have to drive BACK to the conference again the same day because I had left my luggage behind. I was not happy.

We had arrived latte and missed the start of the conference because of the crazy rain. . I was tired, there was a family emergency going on that I couldn't deal with because I had this work obligation, and my toddler was sick with some weird viral cold {which meant that I was next and he wasn't sleeping all that great}. 

I did not want to drive back home. I was thinking to myself, "Seriously. Just one more thing. I cannot deal with ANY MORE."

Maybe it was because I had to drive really slowly, but all of a sudden, I really started to appreciate the rain. I've missed it so much during the last 5 years. California has been so dry, but with all of this moisture, the air is so clear and the mountains are covered in snow and everything is so verdant- my eyes missed this explosion of color. 

My mind wandered to the last 2 years. 2015 brought a wonderful gift- David truly is a blessing- but having to watch my aunt lose her battle to colon cancer was painful, painful, painful. It still hurts every single damn day, and I'm waiting for relief from that hurt to come, almost a year and a half later. I remember thinking while sobbing during Christmas of 2015- ok... 2016 has to be better. 

Then my grandmother was diagnosed with lymphoma in May of 2016. 

Get knocked down 9 times, get up 10, right? We were really hopeful that she would come out of this fighting. She told me she had so much to live for! 

After her last chemo treatment, Grandma was admitted into ICU because her immune system was so compromised. Her entire 3 week ordeal, coupled with mini strokes (which are seriously confusing because she has no cardiovascular issues at all!) made returning home to live on her own unlikely. 

Its awful watching someone so powerful and strong and vibrant become so confused. We had to place my grandmother into memory care. 

Needless to say,the last two years have been difficult. I feel like I'm in a California level drought right now- every day is so difficult. Every day seems to be some new part of my life unraveling. Every day I hope and pray that I don't lose it, because most of the time, I'm a heartbeat away from breaking down.  

But just like California made it through this drought, I know with absolute certainty that my drought will end, too. I don't know when... So every day, I make myself get up, get dressed and try. I may not be the best, but I try so very, very hard. And really, that's all I can do. 

I just have to give myself grace. Its going to work out, eventually. Eventually  my life will even out. This will be a happier year because I'm going to make it so, by doing the things I can to brighten up the dark days.

We all go through rough patches- sometimes, they feel interminable. But it ends... I know it will end. And really- we all need a little rain to appreciate the rainbow after the storm.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Currently in my handbag

I miss the days when I didn't have to switch between a diaper bag and a purse. Don't get me wrong- I love my diaper bag , but it does feel a bit... mom-ish. (I do see this bag transitioning into a great gym bag or travel bag someday, however... all the pockets!)

I've figured out how to make changing bags quick, easy and painless because, like a Girl Scout, I like to be prepared and have what I need on hand as much as possible. I only have to move 3 items total, because I've compartmentalized all of my things into smaller bags that are easy to grab and go.

I have my favorite wallet in the whole wide world, my Hobo Lauren wallet (the color I've linked is similar, because mine is so old.) I remember years back a girlfriend RAVED about "her Hobo," and I was mystified for two reasons. 1: It's pricey! and 2. It's a wallet! I finally decided to bite the bullet about 4 years ago, and I'm never going back. The leather is gorgeous, the quality is top notch, it holds up so well... frankly, I think it keeps on getting better and better as it ages. This thing holds it all- seriously. I've even used it as a clutch before. It's perfect.

I found this shop on Etsy sometime ago, and I love her fabric choices. I would buy all the things if I had a need for it! In this bag I keep some of my beauty tried and trues:

  • Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream absorbs quickly and it works. And- its less than $4
  • Burt's Bees lip balm in Hibiscus- quick swipe for color
  • Medela lanolin for my cuticles. Seriously, nothing works better
  • Bobby pins and hair ties #mombunlyfe
  • MAC lipstick in Syrup. I love lipstick, but I have a special affinity for MAC colors. This one is the perfect everyday shade. If want something a little brighter, I've been grabbing Lustering
  • ColorScience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 50 (they also make an SPF 30 version). I'm an SPF fanatic (although my wrinkles and melasma say otherwise). I go through at least 3 tubes of this a year [and they do offer a special 3 pack with additional savings.] I can't recommend this one enough. Seriously- if you do nothing else for your skin, do SPF! 
My current handbag is a second-hand bag I bought in college while I worked at a shoe repair shop. It's a brand called Tano. The long story short behind this bag is that I asked my mom to take it somewhere to get fixed and//or find new buckles for it (it had issues with the strap buckles) and she then LOST it. Well, 7 years later [yup, 7 years], she found it, and I took it in to get fixed. It;s like a brand new bag, and I love it! :)

The bag's first foray out in public after a long hiatus... getting a 24 week pregnancy glucose test (at 26 weeks along...)

Anything you think I should add? Are you a minimalist, or a maximalist like myself when it comes to your purse?


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Define "Success"

During university, I was obsessed with being the best at everything I dabbled in. I was going to be the best runner. (Fail.) I wanted to have the best fashion blog (believe it or not, there are 250 posts I have saved as a draft on my landing page from Reine Rose's previous iteration!  But I never got more than a dozen or so followers, and the dream died. ) I wanted to be the best student (I actually did get this one, and I have a plaque to prove it, little that it matters now in the adult world.) I wanted to be the best dressed (that never happened- you should meet some of my sorority sisters!) I wanted to be fit and thin (but pint night and late night runs to Chilie Peppers were major obstacles that set me up for failure.) I just never really achieved the success I thought I wanted. 

My January/February Work To-Do list... FINISHED

Then I started my career, and I was determined to be named Outstanding Young Agriculture Teacher in the state of California. I had a seven year window in which to make it happen, and dammit, it was going to happen. 

I slowly learned, though, that chasing success like this just isn't my style, and I'm finally embracing this about myself.  

I am not saying I'm not a good ag teacher. I work really hard, and I try to give students opportunities through a program I believe in, very, very deeply. But I have learned that in order to earn this prestigious award,  I'd have to give up some things that mattered a lot to me- and I just wasn't willing to make that sacrifice. Events in the last few years have taught me that my life passed me by when I was chasing a kind of victory I wasn't even sure I wanted anymore. 

In many ways, I'm not conventionally successful in my career. I don't have judging teams with silver bowls, no students who have earned national recognition for their speaking skills, no state or regional officers. These are truly wonderful accomplishments that can change a student's life for the better, and I have the utmost respect for those who can make these incredible things happen for kids....  But that's not necessarily how I define success for myself or my career today. I have students who have found their dream career in my classroom. I have students who overcame their tremendous fear of public speaking and managed to give a beautifully memorized and presented prepared speech. I've had students earn recognition for their hard work that would normally go unnoticed. I've seen students who think they couldn't pass a science class earn a C, and jump with joy. I think these are all successes, and I know that students' lives are better for it. 

I guess this is a long way of saying that YOU, and only you, can define what success means for you. Maybe you won't settle for being less than the absolute best- and if that's what you want, I have no doubt that you can achieve it. And it's positively okay if your definition of success changes- mine certainly has. We're each on our journey, and you can't judge someone else because you haven't walked their path. 

I do know this, with unwavering certainty- you can achieve success (however you define it) when you put your mind to it and if you do your absolute best

I have. One example of that is right here.