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Resolutions Reboot!

At the end of 2016, I was cocky.  Or grumpy.  I’m not totally sure.  Either way, I decided I’d done resolutions long enough.  Years of making goals and reporting back to the world about how well I’d done seemed passé.  Who needed that shit?  Um….yeah, in 2017 I realized I do.

So, I’m back!  I have to admit, I’m really excited about it.  There’s a bit of a theme this year — it’s a reboot.  Those are popular nowadays, aren’t they?  They did it with Jumanji and it seemed to be a hit, so why not me?  (Really…who thought they would remake Jumanji?)

I realized with such big changes last year, I need to get back to some basics.  You know, get my bearings straight with some of the goals I’ve made in the past.  I’m a different person now and I’m eager to see what these older ideas will look like when I revisit them.

NYE

Even in one of my last selfies of the year, I look a little suspicious. Really it was the hat. I wasn’t sure about the dunce cap hat.

1.)  Write 15 minutes a day. Every day

Fifteen minutes sounds so easy, I know it does.  But damn, this one scares me the most.  I can’t put this off.  No excuses, no delays, not “I’ll do it tomorrow.”  Nope, this is an every day task.  Like exercise, I need to get myself in writing shape and this only comes with consistency.  I want to be that writer who has to write because it’s part of what makes me happy.  The best part, the most exciting part, is that I have no rules about what this fifteen minutes looks like.  I can do any kind of free write that enters my head.  If I want to write a whole dialogue about making out with some hottie lead singer, I get to enjoy every last heavy breath of it. (Phew, fan me off.) Let’s move to the next one.

2.)  Host Delish Open Houses

A couple years ago I had this one down on paper, but at the last minute I modified it with “try new ideas.”  Then I never did this.  Since big changes in 2017 when I became the sole Delish owner, I wanted to add some structure on growing the sales.  Each month, I’m going to host an open house where I showcase a particular item I offer on the menu.  There will be some samples for people who want to check out my goods before committing.  Hopefully, my regulars will show up and bring a few newbies.  This will be a timid toe-dipping in the idea of a store front and getting some customer feedback. I couldn’t be more excited.

3.)  Query

Yep, that’s right.  I’m pulling the trigger this year.  Finally time to finish some projects and get out there in the query game.  I feel like my heart is ready for the rejection that’s bound to come.  More importantly, I’m ready to complete a book.  My process has been stuck in molasses for far too long.  I need some action and the commitment to query before the end of the year is just the thing to do it.

4.)  Read a book each month

Excuses, excuses, excuses.  How did I get to a place where I barely read?  It doesn’t really matter how because I’m here.  Where I challenged myself to read 25 in a year before, I’m going a little more conservative this round.  Hopefully, I’ll be so inspired there might even be a Baked Book actually published.  (I hate to admit how many I’ve baked and not published.)

5.)  Recover quickly

I’ve saved the most important for last.  I tried this a few years ago and singing “recover quickly” became my mantra anytime I felt my skin rush red.  I’ve lost my way from this for a little too long.  When I lost some friends last year, I let things get under my skin and fester in so many terrible emotions.  The worst part was I was the only one losing any energy over it.  They moved along just fine without looking back to see me still looking for answers.  It reminded me sometimes it’s more important to recover and keep moving versus trying to figure out someone’s motives.  This year I am dedicated to recovering quickly and continuing to move forward.

Recover Quickly

Saw this sign and made the joke it would be a great tattoo for me. I think using it here is a wiser, long-term decision.

Although these are resolutions I’ve had before, it doesn’t make them any easier.  In some ways, they’re even tougher.  (Didn’t you compare which Ghostbusters you liked better?)  Resolutions always come with the same questions — What if I don’t get them done?  What if they’re too hard?  What if at the end of the year I can’t check off a single one?  Then I remind myself it’s all in my control.  I make these resolutions because these are important things.  Writing them down is only a symbol of the commitment my heart is ready to make.

Good luck on yours!

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My Little Voice

Usually at this time of year, you might expect to see a blog about how I’m spiraling into my annual depression. That bit where I haven’t done all the things I wanted and I feel like I’m wasting my life. Sure, I try to write some upbeat piece about my attempts to combat it, but I’m usually pretty deep in the “you should haves.”  It starts in November with my birthday and continues to grow with the new year looming right around the corner.  Through the holiday obligations, and as the clock ticks closer to midnight on December 31st, I reflect on what little I accomplished in the previous 365 days in comparison to what I should have done.  Lucky for me this year, I’m not facing this issue.  Unlucky for me, it’s because this entire year has been a constant “What the fuck?”

There’s something absolutely insane when you’re entire life that took decades to build feels like it’s been put into a blender.  Rapid swirling, loud noise, and a small blade cutting through anything you ever thought was solid.  Your whole world turned into a mushy mess, the consistency of baby food, in one not-so-simple year.  It seemed the harder I fought to keep my shit together, the more it oozed through my fingers.

I’ve always believed things happen for a reason.  This isn’t only for when something great blesses me and I think it must be some reward for clean living.  (Ha!  When did I ever live clean?)  Even in tough times, I tell myself there are no coincidences.  You have to look hard for clues to figure out what lessons you’re supposed to learn.  This is a little harder to swallow when you start to feel like nothing is going the way it should.  It’s easy to fall into “Can’t I catch a fucking break somewhere?”  However, that’s when this thinking is really tested, right?  So as I kept choking down this garbage year, I told myself some reason will explain why my life is falling apart.

angel?

Is this what clean living looks like? Wings out your neck?

When my birthday passed and no anxiety came with it about wasting my life, I assumed it was still on its way but was fashionably late.  When I went through Thanksgiving and I still wasn’t over analyzing my to do list, I realized something was different.  Why the silence?  Is it because I’ve done everything I ever wanted this year?  Ha!  This isn’t a fairy tale, people.  In fact, I haven’t really done shit.  There’s been time to write, but I haven’t.  I’ve had the opportunity to bake more and I didn’t.  Why haven’t I done a damn thing?  And since I hadn’t, why wasn’t I beating myself up about it?

Throughout the year when I looked at doing nothing with my time, I pulled out the easiest excuse — “This year has been so haaaaard.” (Totally said in a whiny voice.)  People accepted it.  Hell, they even encouraged it with a sympathetic “you’ve had the worst year.”  I reveled in their pity.  And guess what?  Still nothing got accomplished.

Then on a cold morning at the beginning of December, during my morning walk I thought about why there were no voices.  I went “real talk” with myself and admitted I hadn’t done more in 2017.  I’ve had the choice to do the things I want.  No obligations weighing me down, no time constraints to blame, no compromise to resent. All things that had been go-to reasons in the past when I told myself I should have done more.  In that moment, I had to face a hard reality.  The fact I didn’t do them rides 100% on my shoulders with the answer “because I chose not to.”

You might be thinking this is a sad discovery, to admit you’ve let yourself down.  It’s actually quite the opposite.  I learned something every important.  There’s an empowerment in holding yourself accountable.  You realize you are the one who gets to make the decisions that are right for you.  With this accountability comes a discovery it’s your own personal responsibility to make yourself happy.

First thing I did was tell myself it was okay.  This year was about transition and learning.  Things changed and I had to understand how to accept it.  That takes time and is still a work in progress.  Even more important, I’m forgiving myself more. Trying to work on not avoiding risks of falling down, but focusing on making the recovery time faster.  Jumping back up and continuing to take small steps in the direction I want to go.

I’m not saying it’s easy.  In fact, right now it’s the hardest thing in the world.  There’s lots of work to be done.  The falls still hurt.  Sometimes I stare at the scabs longer than I should and cry over the scars that will never go away.  In those moments, the little voice has changed from a berating  “you should have” to a soothing song of “It’s okay. You’re going to get there. Some day.”  And as I take a deep breath to get back up again, I think I might have found the most important lesson of all.

 

 

Planting The Idea

I keep waiting for inspiration to jump start my writing.  Anything to bring back the passion for something I love to do.  Anyone who writes knows waiting for a muse is the death to a successful writing regimen.  Words don’t just “show up” in your head and force you to write them. (Contrary to what some writers say.) Writing takes persistence.  Hard work.  Dedication.  It doesn’t take long before you’re out of practice, sitting around waiting for it to happen, and letting your writing dreams die a slow death.

When Hubs and I moved into the home we built 14 years ago, we had to plant a tree in the middle of the yard.  It was part of the CCAs and being new to the home owning world, we thought we had to abide.  I was seven months pregnant when I shoveled a dump truck size load of dirt into the yard and we planted our tree.  We stared at it with smiles and glory as we talked about how it would grow with our first child.  It’s regal size would be a constant reminder of how precious time is and how strength can carry you even through the toughest storm.

We killed the tree within a year.

It could’ve been that I didn’t water it enough.  Or maybe I over watered it.  It could have been our tree selection choice, except neighbors seemed to have no problem with their trees that looked to be the same species.  Either way, our nine month old son played in the grass next to a wilted tree with no leaves.

We planted again.  Dug out that dud of a tree we bought the first time and carved out more space for the root ball for the second one.  We consulted with the nursery to make sure this was a hearty tree that could withstand people who had killed their first one.  The nursery people acted like it was a no-brainer.  You put the tree in the ground, water it occasionally and voila!  You have a booming tree to take you into your golden years.

Our second child was two when we had to admit out second tree was a goner.  It no longer produced any leaves and we were pretty sure it had stopped growing a few months before.  What the hell?  We fed it with food.  We watered it, but not too much this time since we learned over-watering was a thing.  The soil must be tainted.  There was lots of clay when we dug down.  How could all of our neighbors produce such fruitful trees when we continued to kill ours?

“Fuck this tree thing,” I said.  No more fantasies about it shading our house or building into the street’s charm by having it lined with mature trees like the older neighborhoods.

“It’s required,” Hubs said.

“Do we even really have a CCA?  I’ve never even seen anyone who acts like they check these things,” I said.

And we left our dead tree in the yard until I couldn’t take the eyesore reminder any more.

I suggested we fill it in with grass.  Hubs considered it briefly before buckling down and driving me back to the nursery with young children in tow.  They ran around on crushed gravel paths in a plant maze while I told the nursery worker I needed an un-kill-able tree.

She pointed to the first one we brought home.  “Nope. Killed it,” I said.  She took us to the pine trees and I grimaced at not wanting to make our front yard look like something on a Christmas tree lot.  She finally made her way to a smallish thing with no leaves.  “Fall is a great time to plant.  The leaves will show up next spring.”  Perfect, I thought.  At least I wouldn’t have to admit it was dead and deal with it until the next year.

We planted and gave it the same care we did our other trees.  In the spring it produced leaves.  We rejoiced.  Sang.  Possibly even danced around the small trunk no bigger than a PVC pipe.  Five years passed and we felt like we’d finally gotten past our curse of tree murders.

Then the top leaves stopped growing.  The trunk looked sickly and we knew what was coming.  It would travel down until no leaves stayed on the limbs.  I hated looking at it.  I had no idea how to fix it and each leaf that fell reminded me of failure.  This tree didn’t even represent anything like that first tree had.  That one was supposed to be a symbol of life and I killed it.  What did I care what happened with this tree? I started to resolve I would never have a beautiful tree casting over our home and blazing the sky with gorgeous fall leaves.

Hubs read up and asked a few people.  The nursery people said the culprit might be the sprinklers hitting the trunk.  The same thing we needed to keep our yard alive was poisoning the main staple in it.  They recommended we wrap it with a plastic pipe covering and we did.

We left that thing on well beyond what it needed.  Kind of like finishing a prescription well beyond when the infection is gone.  For fear if you abandon too fast, the illness will come back with a vengeance.  That wrap stayed on it until the trunk became so large it broke out of the protective shell we created.

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This fall I stood in the front driveway and stared at that tree.  I enjoyed every single shade in each leaf, even the dead ones scattering the ground.  I didn’t compare it to the cherry tree in our neighbor’s yard that never had an issue growing large while we went through our problems.  I didn’t beat myself up for the two other trees I had to chop down and dig out.  Nor did I start to worry if this tree too would one day die.

Instead, I stare in silence and appreciate the quiet inspiration it shared. The wind whistled through its branches reminding me the truly great things take time, energy, and persistence.  The strong trunk reminiscent of how I could have chosen to leave in the skinny dead stick, or grassed over the hole like a grave.  Its whole being represented even though this wasn’t the original idea I had when I planted that first tree, I still got to a pretty damn good place.  All those things telling me that it only happened because I kept trying.

So here you have another blog.  A small attempt at growing something better.  A writing sapling planted in the ground waiting to see what will become of it.

 

 

Coast Modern’s debut album was even better than #CoMosapiens could have hoped for!  The album’s terrific vibe has pretty much stayed on repeat since Thursday night at 9pm.

To celebrate the release, I knew those Coast Modern gents needed a special cookie to pay homage to all their hard work in the last year and a half.  And I hoped this hit the mark.

como 2 tweet

It’s the icing on the top when they like what I’ve created in their honor.  It’s this wonderful thing where art inspires other’s art.  Which is exactly what happened in the contest where you showed off your #CoMoLove on Twitter and Instagram.  All the participants were put into a random drawing.

So let’s get down to the winner.

Congratulations
Natalie T!

You have won a Coast Modern inspired cookie box.  Along with SIX album covers of your own you will also receive the special Coast Modern eyeball inspired blackberry thumbprint.

thumprints

Thank you all for showing your Coast Modern love and I hope to see you at a show.

If it’s not clear, I’m pretty fucking excited about the Coast Modern album release on July 28th.  Once an official date was set, I pre-ordered the album, started chatting people up to do the same, and began planning how I would celebrate the day.  It started with something simple like wearing their swag, maybe playing with the dolls a bit, but now I’ve decided to throw an all out Coast Modern themed party at the office.

Image result for coast modern

Like any good party, the fun is in the details, especially with themed parties.  The care you put in the planning will pay off in spades on the official day.  Each piece needs to hold true to the theme to make sure your guests aren’t wondering if it’s a party or just a few people getting together.  Here’s a quick guide in case you want to throw your own Coast Modern party.

The Menu:

Every great party starts with the food and a theme party gives even more opportunity to amp it up with catchy puns.

  • Grilled Toast Modern – A Californian vibed grilled cheese sandwich. It’s provolone and cheddar cheese melted over arugula, bacon, and horseradish sauce on garlic Parmesan bread.
  • “Dive” into dip and chips.
  • “Now I’m Cool” Cucumber Salad.
  • Drinks will be made with “a little bit of this and a little bit of that” and each served with “Tiny Umbrellas” to pay homage to one of my favorite songs on the album.

Wardrobe:

Attendants have been asked to wear their Coast Modern gear.  If they don’t have a concert tee shirt, they can sport:

  • Dad shirts
  • Converse or Vans
  • Anything with a Californian vibe

Games:

Since my party will take place at my day job, I have to keep the activities on the up and up.  They’re even geared toward employee appreciation and positivity.  I’m not saying you still can’t use them, but I felt like I needed to explain why there’s no alcohol.

  • “Pockets Full of Knowledge” – I have little trivia game with random Coast Modern facts.  My staff love surfing on the Intenet for random info, so why not have them focus on a particular topic?
  • “The Way it Was” – Each person will write down a habit they want to change going forward to increase positivity in their life.  They’ll focus daily on something to make sure they keep moving forward and never go back to “the way it was.”

As you can see, I’ve stayed true to the  Coast Modern spirit by punning off their song titles and I’m pretty fucking proud of what I’ve come up.  It’s right up there with “You gotta be kitten me right meow” and “I don’t wanna taco bout it.”

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Invite all your friends to enjoy on the festivities!

Hopefully these little tips will help you gather friends to enjoy the band’s release day or solve the problem of your next birthday party theme. Whatever you decide to do, the most important part is to have a good time.  And listen to Coast Modern.

 

The time has finally arrived! A few months shy from when Hollow Life first hit the scene in 2015, and after five other slammin’ singles dropped, Coast Modern’s debut album titled “Coast Modern” will release on July 28th. The #CoMo fandom couldn’t be more excited. I’m about coming out of my freakin’ skin with anticipation. If not for the simple fact I don’t have to watch another person tweet or scream at a show, “When’s the album coming out?”

This is serious cause for celebration! A momentous occasion to be recognized!  What better way than giving gifts to the fans who have gleefully waited?  So a contest we will have.  Up for grabs is a Coast Modern inspired custom Delish Bakery treat box.  (Hint: They usually weigh several pounds.)  All you have to do to possibly win is show Ze Boyz some love on their premier day (July 28th) by posting a photo on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #CoMoLove.

How do you show your love, you ask?  By taking a picture of how YOU Coast Modern.  (Pretty open for interpretation, right?  Exactly!)  Still need some ideas?  Here are a few examples I might have been guilty of over the last couple years:

Buy their album
This seems like a pretty easy one.  You already love them, you can’t wait to listen to them, and really you’ve been screaming “take my money” for the last year.  Now you find out you’re getting a deal with 18 fantastic songs.  When you’ve secured yours, increase your entries by getting all your friends to buy it too.

johnny

Wear their gear
Maybe you have a shirt or six you wear on a constant rotation.  Maybe you rock their pin on your work lanyard or sport their sticker on your work computer so every co-worker asks you what it’s for.  No?  Just me? Well, whatever you’ve got, flaunt it.  Don’t have any branded merchandise?  Be creative! Highlight your Coast Modern make up look complete with blue lipstick, rock a palm tree or flamingo “dad shirt,” or go a bit rogue with writing the band’s name on your favorite shirt with a Sharpie.

sara

Make Coast Modern inspired art
I’ve seen the most amazing fan art in the last couple years.  Here’s a great day to showcase it!  You do you.  If that’s drawing a fabulous portrait, playing a Coast Modern cover on your ukulele, or even decorating cookies, spoil us with showing your work.

coast modern covers

Recreate an iconic photo
Lucky for me, I have Coast Modern dolls.  Hey, they’re fun, don’t judge.  Trust me, if you meet them, you won’t be able to put them down.  (I’m talking about the dolls, not the band.)  Every person to come in contact with these little yarn beauties can’t help shaking out Luke’s wild mane or smoothing back Coleman’s hair just right. However, for your photo you don’t need dolls, just grab a friend and strike a famous Coast Modern pose.

dolls

Get a stranger to follow their Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook
This is really where you’re doing someone else a pretty big solid.  You’re about to introduce them to their new favorite band.  And if they need any convincing, tell them about the killer puns found regularly on Twitter.  Who doesn’t love puns?  It’s pastability the bestest thing ever!

strangers

Create Coast Modern art with every day products
Who doesn’t love to spell out words in the craft store with the wooden letters?  Unfortunately, the photo below is photoshopped with Luke’s name. There was a massive manhunt and no Luke could be found in Southern Oregon*. Seriously, my posse looked through at least 500 bottles! Maybe you will have better luck.

coke

Make a video
Do you have some dance moves you’ve been dying to share?  Or a killer karaoke version of Comb My Hair?  Heck, maybe you really want your Guru shower version to take off.  Now’s the time to do it.  This one was made waaaay back in December 2015!

Create custom underwear
Okay, so you might think this one is a little much, but who doesn’t want one-of-a-kind Coast Modern chonies?  These happened to be made for a bridal shower gift game (as if I needed to explain myself.)  The bride is a big fan and I just might have convinced her to make these her bridal underwear.  I’m sure her new husband will be quite pleased.

underwear1underwear 2

As you can see, there’s really no limit to what you can do to show your Coast Modern love.  However, there are a few contest rules:

  • All entries require a photo to be uploaded to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #CoMoLove.  This is how entries will be identified.
  • Contest is open July 28th from 12:00am-11:59pm.
  • Prize to be shipped in the US only.
  • Winner will be randomly drawn from all entries.
  • Contest is not sponsored or endorsed by Coast Modern.

Can’t wait to see what you come up with to show those gents you appreciate all the hard work they’ve put into getting here!

*Just one example of the “great Luke hunt.”  Even with her little hands digging through hundreds of bottles, we were unsuccessful.

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There’s nothing worse than an unreliable narrator.  You know, the thing where you’re merrily going along a story believing every word you’re told and then BOOM! A reality smack to the face.  Did everyone else feel like a total douche halfway through Gone Girl when you found out the wife was diabolical?  Everything you believed the first half of the book from her point of view was a false construction.  (Seriously, OMG, wasn’t that the greatest?  Who didn’t want to be that good of a revenge planner?) Didn’t read Gone Girl?  Okay, what about when Bruce Willis realizes he’s dead in The Sixth Sense? (I know, it’s a bit old, but I’m appealing to the masses.)  We happily believed he survived that gun shot wound. We didn’t even question what we saw.  Willis took us to the next scene and we just KNEW he survived.

A good main character weaves a fantastic story by tapping into your confidence or your insecurities.  The author allows you to draw your own conclusions as they lay out a well constructed path to where they hope you’ll walk.  Gone Girl plays on the idea a cheating man would kill his wife instead of leaving her.  Our cynical sides have us eating it up with two spoons, which is not hard to assume after watching news stories 24/7 with the exact situation.

In both examples, we were like “Huh?!?” or “Oh, shit!” or maybe even a “What the fuck!?”   I mean we loved Amy (Gone Girl) for being so creative, but we kinda hated ourselves for not suspecting her sooner.  Am I right?  That’s the thing with believing someone else’s perspective.  You think it’s truth because you only see the picture they draw.  You make your judgments on their perceptions.  You cheer, worry, celebrate, die a little, or get pissed based on someone else’s context.  It’s easy to believe every word that falls out of their mouth or is typed by their little fingers as absolute truth because why would they lie?

But what happens when you’re the main character?  Worse even, you find out YOU’RE the unreliable narrator?!  In these past months I’ve realized reality is pretty shaky.  There have been moments where I thought I knew something without a doubt only to be proven wrong again and again.  And unlike what you might believe, it’s not all about my insecurities this time.  While that usually is my downfall, recently I found confidence led me to false grounding.  My arrogance in thinking “I got this” and “those trusted people would never hurt me” brought me to that same “WTF?” feeling.  The result left me sad and hurt.  When I finally looked at this situation objectively, I had to admit the signs were all there.  I had become an unreliable narrator in my own life.

Snap Chat

Maybe we see ourselves though Snap Chat filters. Are you trying to say I’m not a librarian looking cheetah cub?

Does this mean the only way not to become an unreliable narrator is to never trust again, even yourself?  Of course not!  After The Sixth Sense, I paid closer attention to details in movies and didn’t assume I knew how the story would end.  Gone Girl inspired me to think how I present my perspective to influence others in how they see the world and I could apply the same rules towards the positive.

Even in my own personal examples after self-reflection, I realized I could be more attentive in relationships.  Experience what it was in the moment versus what I think will be down the line.  Recognize when things are changing and not dig my heels in because I don’t like it.  Accept paths might be growing apart gradually instead of being surprised on a sudden day when we were miles apart.

In all great stories, by the time the last page is read the main character is changed forever.  They’ve hurt, grown, and triumphed over some pretty difficult obstacles.  At some point if they were unreliable in their telling, they’ve had to face the truth and decide where they go from there.  This is where I am.  Forever affected by the story taking place and committed to making sure I grow instead of shrinking in self-pity.  Because if I know anything about story telling, we only want to root for the strong-willed who know they can do great things.  And in a deepest sense of truth, that’s who I want to be.