Ain’t No Gift Like the Present Tense



In case you didn’t know, because I am vastly behind on my writing, we got a puppy you guys! Her name is Luna, and we’re completely smitten with her little face. She and the kittens are getting along swimmingly so far, and we can’t wait until they’re all a year and older so that we can breathe a sigh of relief for keeping them happy and healthy and out of trouble.

Puppies are a bunch of hard work, as are the kitties, but I feel like it’s all worth it when she snuggles up at night and goes crazy when we get home just because she’s happy to see us. It’s like all the emotions you normally feel when you see someone you really love expressed physically – and that’s something really special.

Luna | Providential LifeJeff is currently on an around the world trip for work, and having these three little monsters relying on me is pretty insane, I won’t lie. Luckily, we have INCREDIBLE friends who are helping out with Luna Bella – people watching her when I have previously-planned events, checking in on her at lunch when I can’t because I work too far away, and just generally being gung-ho about stopping by to see her little mug.


Luna | Providential Life

So here we are – a year into having our house with three little ones and full hearts. It’s like where we were meant to be and yet something I never expected, all at the same time.
Luna | Providential Life

Welcome home, little Luna. We’re glad you’re here.

101 Dalmatians & 20/20 Vision

1910034_509145321661_3165_nWhen I was 9, my BFF Lauren turned 10 and to celebrate we went to see 101 Dalmatians in theaters. I forgot to bring my glasses. We had to sit in the front. She doesn’t remember this, but I always did. She forgave me, apparently, and we stayed friends (and eventually she needed glasses, too.)

I’ve worn glasses since I was 7 or 8, and contacts since I was 12. Over the years, I have had various times when wearing glasses has been a nuisance or inconvenience:

The time I lost a contact in the ocean and had to walk back to my beach house half-blind.

The times I wanted to stay for a sleepover but couldn’t because I didn’t have contacts on me.

The time I lived in China for 2 months but the smog was so bad I had to wear glasses for most of the trip.

The several times I had to schelp to the store after arriving somewhere on a trip to get contact solution so I didn’t have to buy a hundred travel sized ones.

The time I put my contacts in two bowls because I couldn’t find a contact case and one of the bowls hadn’t been cleaned thoroughly enough and somehow I got garlic in my eye the next morning.

You get the idea. Not the worst thing, but glasses and contacts haven’t been the best part of traveling, camping, sports-playing, etc., over the past 20-something years of my life.

20140929_131100_DSC_183810399494_549504536471_162879_n 24325_536225158756_395265_nWearing contacts and glasses have always been part of who I am. But I am happy to say on Friday I am getting corrective lens surgery so I will no longer need these fashion accessories (although maybe I’ll get some clear lenses for old time’s sake.)

There are a handful of things I am SO EXCITED about: being able to see in the middle of the night; waking up on a plane and not feeling a jolt of panic at the blurry surroundings; going camping in the backcountry without needing to bring in lots of contacts, soap, etc., to guarantee my hands are clean enough to put contacts in…the list goes on.


This is something I’ve been wanting to do for years, and I can’t believe it’s finally going to happen. I’ve been wearing my glasses all week in preparation of the surgery, but by this time next week I’ll not need anything anymore. I will have just a little more freedom than I have now. And I am so, so thankful for that. Even though I am nervous (lasers near my eyes, yikes) I know this is going to be the beginning of a life-changing experience for me that will change the way I live my life. I can’t wait. I’ll never make anyone sit in the front row of a theater again.

Here we go!

love is all you came here for

My birthday’s here. 3-0. I’m one of the last to join the club, and so I feel like it’s a threshold I’ve already passed, with a line of spectators waiting on the sidelines for me to finish, screaming encouraging words my way like the end of a race, so excited for me to join them on the other side.

I’ve already started saying I’m 30. I used to always graduate to the next age when my BFF turned older than me in January. Since I started dating Jeff when I was 20, I feel like I’ve spent the last year in his and Nikki’s shadow, watching and learning and practicing for someday when.

But 30 still means something anyways, because doesn’t every year? Every threshold? Every moment. It’s a day like all others, except it’s not, because it is a reminder to ourselves to check up on our integrities and make sure we’re in line. At least, that’s how I feel about it.

I usually try to do this on my birthdays, to share and ask you to learn something, do something, be something, change something. 30’s no different. Some modest advice, and requests, from me to you. Without further ado:

ONE: Sign up to donate blood marrow.

TWO: Find somewhere to donate blood locally.

THREE: Donate your time. This is one of our great equalizers, isn’t it? I’ve been neglecting this one, and I’ve got to get back to it. Alternatively, donate your old shit. You probably don’t need it.

FOUR: Help me save the bees. No bees, no food, big problem. Our bees (and other animals) are on the decline, and we have to do our best to help save them.

FIVE: Educate yourself about inequality. Watch for it. Bear witness to it. Change it. Example: the other day someone mentioned something to me about how I don’t like confetti or balloons because I’m not “that kind of girl.” What? Hello? I don’t really like (or purchase) confetti or balloons because I care about the environment, and find those things wasteful. I’m pretty sure I don’t think that has anything to do with my gender, however.

SIX: Find something every day to be thankful for. Practice gratitude. It can be so hard, but each day honestly is such a gift and we should all try to be a little more appreciative. Try to remember this when you’re cut off at a light or late to work or drop your breakfast or spill your coffee.

SEVEN: Speak up every time you stand. Speak up for those who can’t. Speak up for those who won’t. Speak up and speak out. Speaking your mind is one of the greatest gifts of our free countries. I hate when people say “Let’s not talk politics” because politics encompasses lit’rally everything about who we are as people and community and because it all affects us. We must have civil discourse in order to advance our thinking. Speak to open minds, but keep yours open, too.

EIGHT: There is always someone with more than you. There is always someone with less than you. Jealously and envy beget bad juju. Instead, see SIX and also: every time you see someone with something you want – a) figure out if you want it because you need it; b) think about how you could obtain it; c) think about what obtaining it would really mean d) do something about it or let it go.

NINE: Vote, please. Just do it. Civic duties have come at a cost.

TEN: Pay the fuck attention to food. Please?! Friends, please, please learn about what you’re putting into your body and how you’re fueling your life. Here is a good start.

ELEVEN: Share your tunes with me. I am jamming to new Matt Wertz, Brett Dennen, Beyoncé, and of course Hamilton. What’re you up to?

TWELVE: Open a door for someone else. It doesn’t have to be a real door. Recommend someone for a job. Offer to read someone’s paper/story/resume. Keep your eyes peeled for that perfect chair someone mentioned to you. Pay it forward in little ways that don’t really take much time out of your life. It’ll make everyone’s life just a little easier.

THIRTEEN: Practice your mantra. Here are some good ones, “Other people do that, I don’t do that.”; “Good for her, not for me.”; “Just breathe.”; “I am here.”

FOURTEEN: Try something new. Eat a new food, listen to a new band, drive to work a different way, walk a new path, try a new exercise, learn a new style of clothing or dance or speech. Keep it fresh, keep it fun, but challenge yourself!

FIFTEEN: Put yourself first where you can. The healthier you are, the healthier you can be for, to, and with others.

SIXTEEN: Get outside! Enjoy the outdoor world! Here’s a site for places near LA, but I swear, a quick Google search will help you find a place near you. You’d be surprised what some fresh air can do.

SEVENTEEN: Drink more water.

EIGHTEEN: Taking breaks is OK. Quitting is OK. Crying is OK.

NINETEEN: You know that thing you always want to do but never get to? Today, do it. #TreatYoSelf

TWENTY: Put the phone down. Look into someone’s eyes. Pay people attention. We all are guilty of not doing this more.

TWENTY ONE: Tell people who you love that you love them. 

TWENTY TWO: Get into yoga. Here are some places to get started. (Here, too.)

TWENTY THREE: Be aware of the environment. Shower shorter. Sort your trash and recycling. Use reusable bags. Reuse paper. Turn off the lights. In the words of me (apply as necessary relating to your local struggles) “THERE IS A DROUGHT, PEOPLE.” We get one world, like our one life. Use it wisely. Here’s some help.

TWENTY FOUR: Never be embarrassed of who you are. What the fuck for? I love Hanson. I love bad TV. I love good books, I love love, I sing loud in the car, I speak my mind whenever I want. I am loud most of the time, I like to talk, and I like to tell people stories, and I don’t shy away from any of it. Whatever, this is me. Get used to it.

TWENTY FIVE: Treat others how you’d want strangers to treat your mom.

TWENTY SIX: Find your anthem. Play it loud and proud. Mine jam now is “Sorry” by Beyoncé.

TWENTY SEVEN: Everybody fucks up sometimes. If you do, do your best to fix it, learn from it, and leave it behind. 

TWENTY EIGHT: Just breathe.

TWENTY NINE: Stop those little habits you hate that you do. Pay attention and spend time trying to stop. (For me, I pick at my nails when I’m nervous…I’m working on it.)

THIRTY: Keep on learning. Learning is living.

Mom, thanks for having me 30 years ago. Y’all, thanks for reading this. I love ya to bits.


and so the balance shifts

I turn 30 in a couple of days. As with most things, it’s snuck up on me mainly due to the wonderful things happening in my life that keep me busy from day to day – among them, two dear friends getting married this weekend and a new niece welcomed into this world on Jeff’s birthday. For reference, see some of the happy faces of joy from the past week.



But I did just want to say one thing about today. It’s June 7, 2016, and for the first time in our history, there is a woman who is going to be a nominee for a major party for President of the United States. I watched her speech in Brooklyn tonight, eyes welling with happiness. I thought of the future children I’ll hopefully have and how they might possibly be born when there’s a woman president. Jeff mentioned that it’s all Eleanor will have ever known (our new niece.)

In her speech, Hillary mentioned that her mom was born on June 4, 1919, the very day that the US Senate passed the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. A movement that is credited as starting in Seneca Falls, NY, only 115 miles east of where we watched our friends get married this weekend.

Women have had the right to vote less than 100 years. And look how far we’ve come in those 100 years. The cultural progress we’ve made in the past 100 years is astounding if you look at how long societal barriers lasted in every aspect of our world. It’s so humbling to think that these women couldn’t vote – there are women alive who remember a time before voting was allowed. There are many people alive who had mothers who couldn’t vote.

And now, look where we are. At the cusp of history again. I look at all that’s going on – the feminist movement, the focus on accountability for sexual predators, women’s right to chose, and beyond, and I see a world that’s finally moving towards equal. There’s a long road ahead, but it’s being paved every day by woman like me and you who are standing up and righting wrongs and saying YES to having it “all” and saying NO to sitting on the sidelines.

I know it’s not what everyone wants. Such is the discourse of this great country. But tonight I’m so proud to be in an America that’s about to finally, finally vote for a woman to not be less than.

We are enough. And so, the balance shifts.


on three words i try not to say.

As you get older and you have little people (aka nephews/nieces/friends’ babies) around that you want to help grow up loved and smart and happy, you start to notice the way people use their words.

I’ve always been a stickler for grammar and word usage, but as I get older, here are some words I’d wish people would use less:

  • Jealous. I hear 100 times a day “I’m so jealous!” of someone’s brunch, trip to a far-off land, weekend afternoon off, manicure, new jeans, etc. I hate that word. Don’t be jealous, be proud/appreciative/happy for them. And mean it. You’ll get yours. And even you don’t, aren’t you glad they did? Appropriate replacement: gratitude. Show gratitude for what others have and also gratitude for what you have – even if it isn’t a month in Fiji or a new wardrobe or standing manicures.
  • Sorry. I’ve talked about this before. Don’t say sorry unless you’ve done something worthy of apologizing for. Appropriate replacement: excuse me, pardon me, thank you.
  • Starving. This is one I think my mom said to me a lot that’s stuck with me. You are definitely not starving. You are very hungry. You are regular hungry. You might even be thirsty. But you are not starving. This is more of a mindset. In addition, please everyone stop getting so hangry all the. Be a responsible adult and carry a snack in your purse like the smart people do. (I need to take my own advice on this one often.) Appropriate replacement: Hungry. Very hungry. Hangry.

What do y’all think? Are there words you try to use less? Do you try to put more meaning behind your words as you get holder?