Monday, December 8, 2014

Lake Tahoe : Part II

On our last morning in Tahoe, we ventured into the State Parks to get a closer look at the lake. Our internet searching and people inquiring led us to Emerald Bay. There was a breathtaking view from the top of the mountain and after a short but steep one mile hike, we found ourselves on the beach.

Apparently, this place is a hotspot during the summertime, but we were two of the three people on the shore that morning. It was probably one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. Just so vibrant and peaceful. The water was incredibly clear and tempting, but way too freezing to even dip my toes in! 

That island is the only one in Lake Tahoe. Out there is a "teahouse" which was constructed by the owner of the Vikingsholm Castle in the late 1920s. Occasionally she and her guests would take a boat over to the island and drink tea next to a fireplace inside the stone structure. You can't get to the island or the teahouse, but the "castle" still sits in great condition just feet away from the shoreline. Talk about a dream home...

It was the perfect way to end our trip.

When I am overwhelmed or feeling a lot of pain, I try to breathe and as cliche as it sounds, imagine myself in a calm and happy place. Usually when I meditate, I imagine myself in the ocean and every inhale, I imagine the waves lifting me in the water so my toes can't touch the sand, and then exhaling brings me back to the ground. But this week, I've been falling back into this moment as much as I can. It was pure bliss.

If you ever want to use this place when you're overwhelmed, please do! 

"Okay fine, use my happy place. 
I'm just gonna have to ask that you don't move anything…"  ;)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

For The Endo Girls : Battling Shame

Often times, I think I'm shameless when it comes to endo.

I'm very upfront about having it. I don't embarrass easily when discussing it. I'm honest when people ask questions about it. And while I may spare them a few of the more gory details, I'm not ashamed of having it. And I'm not embarrassed to talk about it. Not at all.

But then pain happens. In front of people. Unexpectedly. And suddenly all the shame I thought I was incapable of feeling comes rushing over me and I would give anything in that moment to just disappear.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Lake Tahoe : Part I

In an effort to take advantage of a few mutual days off work during Thanksgiving weekend, Weston and I road tripped up to Lake Tahoe. We both went into it with no real ideas about what to expect since Weston had never been there and my only previous visit occurred when I was 4 years old, but the town was even more beautiful and refreshing than I had imagined it would be.

We stayed at a cute little hotel in South Lake called Basecamp. Our first night in town was spent exploring the little shops and restaurants in Heavenly Village. Pizza, wine, and chocolate truffles in our bellies, we watched people circling an outdoor ice rink, admired the christmas decorations, and visited every firepit we came across for at least a moment or two.

The next morning, after breakfast, we took the Heavenly Gondola up to the top of the mountain. We had no idea how high this thing was actually going to take us until we were at the top… and then realized we were only halfway to our destination, haha. This was something that got recommended to us several times when we were planning our trip and afterward, we agreed it was worth the hype. After a scenic stop halfway up the mountain for a breathtaking view of the lake, we got back on the lift and continued all the way up to the ski lodge. We sat inside drinking hot chocolate and watching skiers and snowboarders make their way up and down the slopes for a while before heading back down to the snowless foot of the mountain.

Afterwards, we headed to lunch at Sonney's BBQ. I mention the name because it was seriously delicious and if you go to South Lake Tahoe, you should try it out. Weston said that if he could only eat one meal for the rest of his life it would probably be their pulled pork sandwich.

As we pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant, little snowflakes slowly started to fall. I was really trying to contain my excitement until one of the guys who works at the restaurant came out and exclaimed, "Yes, awesome! Snow! Woohoo! Nice!" If the locals can geek out about it, SO CAN I.

They seated us inside, next to a cozy fireplace and a nice big window so I could stare longingly outside in between starting at Weston, silently willing him to please-eat-faster-because-in-case-you-didn't-know-it's-snowing! This is probably a funny thing for you non-SoCal friends to read about, but I have only seen snow fall maybe once in my life and before this day, Weston never had! So we were thrilled to our cores.

After lunch, we crossed the street to venture into a forest of trees and explore in the snow. Trying to keep my camera dry was a funny process, but by the end of it, we were such pros that we even threw together a contraption that held my umbrella over the tripod so we could get a few pictures of ourselves via self timer - just like the locals do! Right? ;) 

I also got my first pair of rain boots for my birthday and this was my first chance to use them 
so there may have been a significant amount of puddle-jumping while in Tahoe.
^ This picture was right after Weston slipped off of a branch he had been standing on. Outtakes are usually my favorites and this is not an exception. :)

It was pretty magical. I wish I could have put some of that snow in my pocket and saved it forever, but these pictures do a really good job of taking me right back to the happiest moment of our trip. 

More of Tahoe to come.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Tunes : For Autumn

I'm realizing how quickly fall passes through Southern California. It takes until the beginning of November for it to make an appearance and just a few short weeks after that, everything is covered with Christmas decorations and autumn kind of falls second fiddle to the 'holiday' season.

In a way, maybe that's why it feels so special while it's here.

Here are a few of the songs that give me that refreshing "fall" feeling.
To me, they sound like warm apple cider, crunchy leaves, brisk cloudy mornings, and warm knit scarves. ;)

There has always been this one beloved tree, a Liquidambar, in our front yard. It was probably the only indication of seasons on our block. In the summer, the next-door-neighbor kids and I would picnic underneath it's huge green leaves. In the fall, it was only tree that shed it's red, yellow, and orange leaves, which we'd sweep and rake into a giant pile to jump in. In the winter it was bare, and I would look out my bedroom window, right through it's empty branches in anticipation of the first little green buds that would appear. We even "decorated" it for Christmas many times - with hula hoop ornaments and jump rope garlands. In the spring, it's little flowers would fall, giving us plenty of ingredients to make pretend "pea soup" in our sand buckets with it's green powder and some good ol' hose water.

A few weeks ago, the tree got cut down. It wasn't producing any more leaves and it's insides were being chewed up by insects so it was only a matter of time. My next door neighbor had planted it 24 years ago, around the time his son was born, and I think all of us probably feel that same little sadness when we look at the stump that is left there. It feels like the end of The Giving Tree.

But I'm so thankful for the tree that gave me the slightest glimpse of seasons as a kid.
Even here in the suburbs of sunny Southern California.

What songs make you feel like fall?
I'd love some new additions to my playlist. Send a suggestion or two my way!

Monday, November 3, 2014


In the last few months, I've caught myself nestled deep in a creative slump. Between all my other priorities and responsibilities, I find myself struggling to come up with content for this blog that didn't come from my iPhone and get clumped into some, large, "catch-up" post about what I've been up to after disappearing for months. What I'm trying to say is : it felt really good to have my camera in hand last weekend and I'm so excited to be sharing these pictures with you… If anyone is still reading this thing… Hello out there!

On Sunday, Weston and I drove out to Oak Glen to spend a brisk, cloudy afternoon exploring the orchards. As a born-and-raised Southern Californian, the slightest glimpse of fall excites the heck out of me, so as soon as red and yellow leaves started making appearances on the trees we drove past, I was pumped. This year, we made it in time to actually see some apples still hanging in the orchards too! Which was a success in comparison to our last apple picking attempt, ha! We browsed around a few different orchards and I even convinced Weston to stalk (get it?!) through an overpriced corn maze with me. Anything in the name of autumn, right?

^ the "my hands are freezing" pose ^

That last picture of me and Weston is proof that if some random mom, struggling to keep her two children from wringing each other's necks offers to take your picture as you walk back to your car…. you should say yes. No matter how awkward it is to smile at her while her boys literally throw each other in the street during a game of those-are-my-apples-no-they-are-mine. Because she may surprise you by taking a pretty good picture! 

Our first, highly anticipated, glimpse of the season has been wonderful. 

My room is always the coldest in our house (not to mention, I'm always the coldest person in our house anyway) and after our day in Oak Glen, I actually pulled my heated blanket out of storage! It is probably my favorite thing during this time of year. I mean, preheated sheets?! Come on! Keeps my little icicle toes warm all night! ;) 

Please, oh please, stay for a while, Fall.
No more heat-waves. I love you so.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Scary Movie Night has been a long carried-out tradition in our family. As a child, I remember sitting upstairs with Nolan, watching Ghost Busters or Casper, while much more terrifying scenes played out on the living room TV for the grown-ups.

In recent years, we've taken to hosting a small scary movie night around Halloween in our backyard.
Since the holiday fell on a Friday this year, we decided to wear costumes and enjoyed passing out candy to neighborhood trick-or-treaters in between our dinner and festivities.

I dressed as Megan Draper from her Zou Bisou, Bisou scene in Mad Men.
The necklace I wore actually belonged to my grandma back in the 50s! Loved getting to wear it all night.
"Un, deux, trois, quatre!" ;)

We started watching Psycho in our backyard just as some rain started to sprinkle down from the dark, cloudy sky. It actually made the night feel even more cozy and festive! We scrunched together under the patio awning and some umbrellas until the rain finally started falling too hard and we had to get the projector inside. We finished watching the movie in our living room, eating brownies (or in my case, gluten-free pumpkin pizookies, thanks to Weston's mom!) and even though we were warm and toasty inside, I still got chills at the end of that creepy film. Loved it!

Happy Halloween!

Monday, September 29, 2014


"Don't talk to me when I'm in my secret lair."

"I like your dress! Please wear it again tomorrow and every day."

"Is that REAL yarn?! Ooooh, I feel excited like a little cat!"

When I walked into the classroom looking exactly the same as the day before...
"Wow.. Miss Kelle O, you look different today. TOTALLY different. But don't worry, I love your new look!"

"She's afraid to go outside cause she'll turn into bacon."

"Rule #1. Don't knock over my block castle. Rule #2. Don't eat cheesecake in my block castle."

"That girl told me I'm her boyfriend."
"What did you say when she told you that?"
"I told her never mind."

"Why is it stinky over here? All I did was fart a little!"

me : "Your outfit is so cute, I love it!"
4-year-old : "Thanks! You can have it when it gets too small for me!"

"Ugh, why did God have to kill all of my dinosaur friends with that stinkin' little asteroid?"

-         -         -         -         -

My intention was not to disappear for so much of September, but… oops!

Without going in to too much detail, these last few weeks have been difficult.
The loss of a loved one, changes at work, my own health - things just felt messy and chaotic for a little while.

Thankfully, things are calming down. My classroom has fallen into a happy, steady routine in the afternoons, which has helped me get to know the children a lot better. They're a funny bunch, aren't they? :) So excited about the rest of our year!

I'm thinking October will be the start of much smoother sailing and happier days.